All regulations, policies and programmes relevant to gender affect the living conditions and access to resources for women and men. This effect is known as ‘gender impact’. An assessment of the gender impact of any initiative involves a process of analysis to determine the impact (tangible results) that the intervention could have on the effective equality of women and men.
On one hand, such analysis should try to comprehend the present situation for the groups concerned and understand how this situation could evolve without public intervention. On the other hand, the analysis should measure, as much as possible, how the planned intervention is expected to change the existing situation.
In order to guide the analysis, the following recommendations can be taken into account:
Analyse situation of women and men in the field
1. Collect information and data
About the existing situation for women and men in the areas concerned by the planned policy or legislative measure, looking for sex-disaggregated statistics.
2. Complement quantitative information with qualitative insights
For example from studies or consultations, and combine various sources (statistical office, academic works, policy reports) to gain a deeper understanding.
Identify existing gender inequalities
Take into consideration the views of those concerned (primarily the groups that are directly targeted) about what any public intervention should bring.
These could be some key questions to be used:
- What are their expectations and needs?
- Are these different for women and men?
- Is the planned intervention addressing the needs of both men and women, taking into account their different interest, roles and positions?
- How can the contribution to the needs of women and men be strengthened?
Consider inequalities between women and men in access to resources (work, money, power, health, well-being, security, knowledge-education, mobility, time, and so on) and in their exercise of fundamental rights (civil, social and political rights) on the basis of their sex or because of roles attributed to men and women (gender roles).
These could be some key questions to be used:
- Will the unequal distribution of income between women and men change? If yes, what will be the changes?
- Will the unequal use of time between women and men change? If yes, what will be the changes?
- Will women’s perception of security be improved? If yes, what will be the changes?
- Will women’s employment rate be increased? If yes, what will be the changes?
- Will gender segregation of the labour market be reduced? If yes, what will be the changes?
- Will women’s gender-based psychosocial health risk be reduced? If yes, how?
Consider the norms and values which regulate the process of access and control of resources. This is about the opportunities to participate on equal terms in all aspects of society. To do this, it is essential to take into account the following structures which sustain those inequalities:
The division of labour by gender
The structures which organise the division of labour regulate the distribution of work according to prevailing norms and values in the area of labour. This is about distribution of paid and unpaid work, and about the horizontal and vertical gender segregation of the labour market. Differences apply to different groups of women and men, according to age, ethnicity, education level, social class, validity, and other diversity criteria.
Organisation of private life
The structure of the organisation of private life is also regulated by a set of norms and values in the area of living arrangements, sexuality and reproduction, relationships between women and men, between adults and children. Women and men have different positions in this area. Maternity and paternity include different roles and are valued differently. These differences have consequences for the position of women and men in social life. Gender inequalities may be either reinforced or challenged by specific cultural, ethnic, religious, age-related and other diversity criteria.
Organisation of citizenship
This structure refers to the norms and values which regulate the process of control and decision- making. It is about the opportunities to participate on equal terms in all aspects of society. The media are an important part of this structure as well as the decision-making structures of political bodies, boards and commissions.
Strategic questions should be asked in relation to structures and it is important that reasoned arguments are provided:
- Will the organisation of division of labour change as a consequence of the proposed policy? If yes, what kind of changes?
- Will the distribution of paid and unpaid work change as a consequence of the proposed policy? If yes, what will the changes be?
- Will the representation of women in decision-making bodies change as a consequence of the proposed policy? If yes, what will the changes be?
- Will violence against women change as a consequence of the proposed policy? If yes, what will the changes be?