By the end of this session, the participants should have a basic understanding of development approaches to gender and be informed on the evolution in approaches.
It is important for participants to understand how the use of different approaches impacts and is impacted by development goals. In addition, understanding the evolution of approaches will aid in assisting participants to appreciate the rationale for gender equality.
1.47 Women in Development (WID) first came to prominence in the early 1970s as an approach to include women in development. Research and information collected throughout the UN Decade for Women (1975-85) highlighted the existing poverty and disadvantage of women and their invisibility in the development process. Different policy responses and interventions focused on women as a separate group resulting in women’s concerns being “added on” and peripheral to mainstream development efforts. This frequently resulted in adding components and actions targeted only to women rather than integrating them fully into the project activities. WID policies and interventions have, in the main, concentrated on women’s productive work. The failure to make an explicit link to women’s reproductive work has often added to women’s workload. Gradually, it was recognized that an approach that focused on women in isolation was inadequate and not sustainable because it did not take into account the overall project objectives or integrate women fully into their implementation. Moreover, it did not address or change unequal gender relations in various social and economic settings.
1.48 The Gender and/in Development (GAD or GID) perspective emerged in the late 1980s as response to the prevailing Women in Development (WID) approach. The Gender and Development (GAD) approach was developed as a response to the failure of WID projects to effect qualitative and long-lasting changes in women’s social status. GAD focuses on social, economic, political and cultural forces that determine how men and women participate in, benefit from, and control project resources and activities differently. This approach shifts the focus from women as a group to the socially determined relations between women and men.
1.49 The GAD/GID approach promotes a development process that transforms gender relations in order to enable women to participate on an equal basis with men in determining their common future. The emphasis has shifted to the more strategic needs of women, leading to a sharpening of the gender focus of preparatory analysis. Although the approach emphasizes the importance of women’s collective organization for self empowerment, the target groups are still primarily women.
1.50 Gender Equality has become a much more commonly accepted principle and, once the links between gender and poverty were made explicit, approaches shifted again. Today, gender is about both men and women. Now, institutions take a much more comprehensive approach to analysis and design of development interventions, one that takes into account the situation and needs of both women and men. Several critics feel that dealing with both men and women may dilute the focus on women, who are clearly the more disadvantaged sex all over the world. The gender equality approach, therefore, calls for gender analysis to determine the needs of both women and men, followed by interventions targeted to one or the other sex (or both) as necessary. This approach also recognizes that both women and men must be targeted to successfully address problems such as HIV/AIDS, family planning, or violence.
1.51 For example, higher incidence of alcoholism and other risky behaviors among men can call for public education campaigns to address and changes these patterns, while lower school enrolment or completion rates for girls can call for providing schools that are closer to their homes, sex-specific latrines, or vouchers for school attendance. In fact, improving school quality has been shown to increase school attendance and completion among boys as well as girls. Because women are often the most disadvantaged, the Millennium Development Goals also emphasize gender equality and women’s empowerment.
1.52 Gender equality is now a core element of the Bank’s strategy to reduce poverty. There is a clear understanding that unless women and men have equal capacity, opportunity and voice, the poverty-reduction agenda set out in the Millennium Declaration, and the resulting MDGs, will not be achieved. In September 2001, the Bank adopted a strategy to bring gender equality issues into the mainstream of its country assistance, Integrating Gender into the World Bank’s WorkA Strategy for Action. The strategy rests on a country-led, country-specific approach, and recommends three basic steps to integrate gender equality issues into Bank operations:
- Conduct periodic assessments of gender-based barriers to economic growth and poverty reduction in each of the Bank’s active client countries, through a Country Gender Assessment (CGA);
- Use the assessment findings in country dialogue to identify priority gender-responsive interventions; and
- Integrate gender analysis and gender-responsive interventions into projects in the priority sectors identified in the assessment and agreed to in the country dialogue.
- Discuss the differences between these three approaches. Help participants to understand how the measures of outcomes would be different for each approach.
- Ask participants if they think the Gender Equality approach is likely to be effective and how the approach differs from CEDAW, Beijing and the MDGs.
- Follow the discussion with one or more of the following Learning Cases to further clarify the concepts.
Divide participants into groups and ask them to discuss one or more of Learning Cases 5-8 in the remaining time:
Reserve 15-30 minutes at the end of the session (depending on whether it is a half-day or full-day session) for the Expected Learning Objectives. Put the slide back on the screen. Discuss whether participants understand the key messages and respond to any questions they may ask.