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TIPS FOR GENDER MAINSTREAMING

Traditionally seen as niche domains, gender and social inclusion are becoming fundamental to humanitarian and development programming. As a gender and protection expert, I consider genuine gender mainstreaming as examining the lived experience of women, men, girls, and boys individually. Such gender analyses, which account for very real discrepancies in access, agency, safety, and opportunities between community members, benefit project design and are now key components across sectors. Here are four insights from my experience.

Tips for gender mainstreaming

Accurate information

Gender mainstreaming is designed to support the gathering of accurate, contextual, and timely information. As donors and primary stakeholders alike are seeking transformative change as a result of their interventions, implementors should know how women, men, girls, and boys are each being impacted. I have seen how social norms contribute to or exacerbate vulnerabilities, and thus assessing contextual shifts through rigorous analysis is essential.


Meeting needs

With evidence-based assessment and information gathering, gender mainstreaming can identify specific priorities of the population, ensuring the targeted approach considers the needs and vulnerabilities of women, men, girls, and boys. An appropriate and effective response, with an integrated gender analysis, can uphold the human rights of all members of the community, facilitate empowerment, and even result in a wider transformation of social and gender norms.


Intersectionality

The complexities of conflict and disaster produce a myriad of compounding vulnerabilities and intersecting identities. Recognizing that women, men, girls, and boys are affected by conflict, disaster, and insecurity in different ways allows for a more robust and strategic response. Thus, addressing the intersection of gender with nationality, race, religion, class, ability, or sexuality can identify additional opportunities for impactful intervention.


Short term impact v. long term benefit

During acute crises, onset emergencies, and natural disasters, the exchange of broader social change for meeting basic needs often occurs, regularly disregarding factors such as gender. As a result, a lack of consideration for intersecting vulnerabilities ignores barriers or constraints to receiving humanitarian assistance, thus excluding the most vulnerable. With a gendered lens, projects can successfully address inequality to ensure long term benefits for all.


Author

Kenzie Anderson, AEI's Project Manager and Expert in Gender, Protection and Social Inclusion, has over 5 years of experience with humanitarian initiatives across multiple contexts. She has led proposal development, donor relations, and project implementation in multiple countries including work in South Sudan, Senegal, Ethiopia, Ukraine, and the Balkans. She is passionate about supporting women’s initiatives.

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