What is Gender Analysis?

Gender analysis:

  • examines the differences in women's and men's lives, including those which lead to social and economic inequity for women, and applies this understanding to policy development and service delivery
  • is concerned with the underlying causes of these inequities
  • aims to achieve positive change for women

The term 'gender' refers to the social construction of female and male identity. It can be defined as 'more than biological differences between men and women. It includes the ways in which those differences, whether real or perceived, have been valued, used and relied upon to classify women and men and to assign roles and expectations to them. The significance of this is that the lives and experiences of women and men, including their experience of the legal system, occur within complex sets of differing social and cultural expectations'.

Gender analysis recognises that:

  • women's and men's lives and therefore experiences, needs, issues and priorities are different
  • women's lives are not all the same; the interests that women have in common may be determined as much by their social position or their ethnic identity as by the fact they are women
  • women's life experiences, needs, issues and priorities are different for different ethnic groups
  • the life experiences, needs, issues, and priorities vary for different groups of women (dependent on age, ethnicity, disability, income levels, employment status, marital status, sexual orientation and whether they have dependants)
  • different strategies may be necessary to achieve equitable outcomes for women and men and different groups of women

Gender analysis aims to achieve equity, rather than equality.

Gender equalityis based on the premise that women and men should be treated in the same way. This fails to recognise that equal treatment will not produce equitable results, because women and men have different life experiences.

Gender equity takes into consideration the differences in women's and men's lives and recognises that different approaches may be needed to produce outcomes that are equitable.

Gender analysis provides a basis for robust analysis of the differences between women's and men's lives, and this removes the possibility of analysis being based on incorrect assumptions and stereotypes.

Source: Ministry of Women's Affairs, New Zealand
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Gender Analysis Framework