Gender and Development

Overview

The ultimate goal of gender mainstreaming is to achieve "gender equality"[1] in all fields of society. It is a process to identify men's and women's development issues and needs, as well as the impact on men and women of development policies, programs and projects, at every stage of implementation, monitoring and evaluation, on the premise that all development policies, programs and projects impact men and women differently.

Gender is often unconsciously constructed based on the mentality, culture, traditions and customs of a country. It also affects various policies, systems and organizations, while people may not even be aware of its influences. Consequently, it is essential to support national machinery such as the Ministry of Women's Affairs to ensure that the policies and systems in partner countries adopt a gender-based perspective.

In most cases, however, statistics, data and indices are not tabulated according to gender. If a philosophy of gender is introduced without fully comprehending the society in a target region, it may in fact produce negative results such as exacerbating gender disparity. It is critical to collect and comprehensively analyze fundamental data needed for plans and projects by gender, age, ethnicity and religious affiliation, and to develop human resources who have this perspective.

Although it is important to promote women's empowerment as part of efforts to advance gender mainstreaming, focusing solely on women may not achieve the desired results. This also requires changing the consciousness of men, decision-makers and socially influential people such as administrative officials, educators, politicians and religious leaders. In other words, it is necessary to reform the social structure and systems surrounding women.

It is essential to review areas and projects that at first glance may appear not to require a gender perspective and provide support based on the different roles of men and women. For example, one form of support would be developing agricultural equipment that is easy for women to use since they are responsible for the majority of agricultural work. Another example would be encouraging the participation of women in water quality control organizations.

Note

  • [1] According to the "DAC Guidelines for Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment in Development Co-Operation" issued by the OECD Department of Assistance Committee (DAC), "Gender equality does not mean that men and women need to become the same, but that their opportunities and life chances are equal. The emphasis on gender equality and women's empowerment is not based on a single model of gender equality for all societies and cultures, but reflects a concern that women and men have equal opportunities to make choices about what gender equality means, and work in partnership to achieve it. Because of current disparities, equal treatment of women and men is insufficient as a strategy to achieve gender equality." (Extract taken from page 13 of the Guidelines)

PAGE TOP

Copyright © Japan International Cooperation Agency