A gender analysis is a type of socio-economic analysis used to identify, understand, and describe the different roles, rights, opportunities of and power dynamics between women and men in a specific context. It is the foundation for ensuring situational appropriate, equitable participation of women and men in development processes and projects. A gender analysis identifies disparities, examines why such disparities exist, determines whether they are a potential impediment to achieving results, and looks at how they can be addressed. It is a prerequisite for a gender-responsive design of German development programmes and thus mandatory for German development cooperation.

Ask yourself:

Do we analyse the specific living conditions and needs of different target groups?

Often our target groups are perceived as one homogeneous group However, living conditions, needs and interests differ according to a variety of factors, such as age, gender, socio-economic status or ethnicity. In order to challenge existing patterns that disadvantage certain population groups, we have to understand and analyse these patterns e.g. the gendered divisions of labour, access and control over resources, as well as traditionally defined norms and roles. Such an analysis can be based on existing local or international gender research or through our own gender analysis.

Do we enhance the participation and empowerment of poor and disadvantaged groups?
A development measure offers new opportunities and creates incentives to intentionally pursue balanced, socially just and peaceful development. However, it can also reinforce existing inequalities. Therefore, we should foster broad participation, especially of disadvantaged and poor groups, for example through consultation processes. Such processes can involve small focal group interviews or broad participatory consultations with the target groups as well as collaboration with corresponding civil society organizations, which represent such population groups. 

Do we avoid any unintended harm we might have on disadvantaged groups?
Development measures have the potential to contribute to transform gender and other existing inequalities. However, it can also reinforce them. Therefore, we have to monitor not only the positive impact we might have, but also potential unintended negative impact. For example, measures to prevent human trafficking can – unintended – limit the opportunities for men and women to migrate in order to sustain their families. Participation in consultations and planning can help to avoid such unexpected results.


Do we cooperate with other development actors on gender equality?
Gender mainstreaming and strengthening women’s rights are high on the agenda of the international community. In many of our partner countries, donors and others development actors align their efforts in bodies such as gender coordination groups. In coordinating bodies for different sectors, gender is tackled as a cross-cutting issue. We should join our efforts for transforming existing gender inequalities with other donors on our corresponding field.

Are strategic partners for gender equality (e.g. sector ministries, civil society organizations, focal points) involved in our project?
Our partners are affected by the project in different ways. A development measure offers new opportunities and creates incentives to intentionally pursue balanced, socially just and peaceful development. In order to do so, it is important to include partners who represent the needs and interests of different population groups, such as women or extreme poor, especially of those groups whose perspectives tend to be neglected. Such partners can either be state actors, such as women’s ministries, or nongovernmental organizations, such as women’s organizations.