You are on page 1of 16


from theory to praxis
• Changing thinking and practice on
women, gender and development
– ‘WID’, ‘WAD’ and ‘GAD’
– Rise and fall of gender mainstreaming
• Understanding gender mainstreaming
– Defining the terms
– Moving forward with change in
Changing Thinking and
Practice on Women,
Gender and Development
Theory and Policy:
‘WID’, ‘WAD’ and ‘GAD’
• ‘Women in Development’
– Rooted in modernisation theory and
liberal feminist ideas on equality
– Economic change = empowerment
– Rise of micro-credit policies and the
recognition of women in productive
Theory and Policy:
‘WID’, ‘WAD’ and ‘GAD’
• ‘Women and Development’
– Rooted in dependency theory and
Marxist feminist ideas
– Economic change = empowerment
– Advocated no real policy change
around involving women in the
development process
Theory and Policy:
‘WID’, ‘WAD’ and ‘GAD’
• ‘Gender and Development’
– Rooted in post-development theory and
post-structuralist critiques in feminism
– Economic change ≠ empowerment (e.g.
micro credit)
– Refocus on ‘gender relations and roles’
above ‘women’ as a category
– Gender ≠ women
– Effective poverty reduction is gender aware
‘GAD’ Ideas and Concepts
• Equality vs. inequality
• Roles, identity and value
• Empowerment and power
• Beyond household analysis
• Practical vs. strategic interests
• Double burden
• Men and masculinities
• Gender mainstreaming
Where are we today?
• Rise of gender mainstreaming as ‘solution’ to
global gender inequality and poverty
• Disillusionment with gender mainstreaming as
• Re-emergence of ‘women’s rights’ as focus in
development policy
– Tempered by GAD thinking
• Dual approach adopted in organisations
• Gender mainstreaming is still important
Understanding Gender
“the process of assessing the implications for
women and men of any planned action, including
legislation, policies or programmes, in all areas
and at all levels. It is a strategy for making
women’s as well as men’s concerns and
experiences an integral dimension of the design,
implementation, monitoring and evaluation of
policies and programmes in all political,
economic and societal spheres so that women
and men benefit equally and inequality is not
perpetuated. The ultimate goal is to achieve
gender equality.” (ECOSOC 1997/2)
“an organisational strategy to bring a gender
perspective to all aspects of an institution’s
policy and activities, through building gender
capacity and accountability. […] With a
mainstreaming strategy, gender concerns are
seen as important to all aspects of development;
for all sectors and areas of activity, and a
fundamental part of the planning process.
Responsibility for the implementation of a
gender policy is diffused across the
organisational structure, rather than
concentrated in a small central unit.” (Baden and
Reeves, 2000: 9)
All clear now? Perhaps
• Three point definition:
– Process – organizational change
– Output – gender aware policy and practice
– Goal – gender equality in society
• Lack of ‘process’ element is the short
fall of current definitions and actions
• Confusion over means with ends
Moving forward…
• Understanding institutional vs.
developmental politics
• Creating institutional change around
GAD is not just a technical process
• Need to tackle ‘norms’ and ‘values’ –
move beyond organisational
imperatives to staff and their beliefs
Creating change
• ‘Norm’ change:
– Organisational structures, policies, checks
and balances
• ‘Value’ change:
– Creating desire (challenging beliefs)
– Building capacity
– Raising confidence
Mentoring on Gender
• Pilot project in Commonwealth Education Fund programme (4
out of 16 countries)
• Promoted a long term ‘process’ approach to gender
• Mentor responsible for supporting staff in partner
organisations on gender
• Provided formal training workshops on issues relevant to
them but also work with them after meetings
• The mentor helped the staff work through issues not provide
the answers or technical advice
• The impacts were substantial on the way staff in the
organisations embraced gender and carried out their work
Further reading
• Chant, S (2000). From “'Women-blind' to 'Man-kind': Should Men
have More Space in Gender and Development”. IDS bulletin 31(2).
• Cornwall, A, E Harrison and A Whitehead (2007). Feminisms in
Development: Contradictions, Contestations and Challenges.
London, Zed.
• Piálek, N (2008). “Is this really the end of the road for gender
mainstreaming? Getting to grips with gender and institutional change”
in The challenge of development alternatives: Can NGOs make a
difference? edited by S Hickney, A Bebbington, and D Mitlin. London:
Zed Books.
• Sweetman, C (2005). Gender and Development: Mainstreaming - A
critical review 13(2).