GEI Launches New Project with Global Affairs Canada to Mainstream Gender-Transformative Approaches Across Partner Network
Shaha Zehra is a feminist first and a development professional second. She has wide ranging experience from SRHR education to child labor prevention and now M&E systems strengthening with the GEI. Shaha grew up in Pakistan and has a Masters degree in International Development and Economics from Johns Hopkins SAIS.
Editing support provided by Maria Fyodorova, Communications Consultant for GEI.
According to UN Women, despite some progress towards achieving the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets on gender1, 90 per cent of National Statistical Offices in low- and lower-middle-income countries report struggling to meet international reporting requirements. As of June 2022, only 42 percent of the gender data that is needed to monitor the gender-specific dimensions of the SDGs was available. UN Women succinctly notes:
“When crises hit, not everyone is affected quite the same way. Crises intersect with and exacerbate existing inequalities . . . We must re-double our efforts to invest in data production and the use of more and better gender data to understand and address the medium and long-term effects of the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and the cost-of-living crisis. Data is the best way to spur evidence-based and gender-responsive policy action and leave no one behind.”
At the GEI, we agree that evidence and data are crucial for helping governments make important decisions on a range of issues. GEI supports governments every day with developing systems and processes – and building capacities of individuals - that will help evidence be surfaced and integrated into decision-making. By including a gender lens in these decisions, governments are able to enhance the gender-responsiveness of their public policies and decisions – making sure their actions don’t leave anyone behind.
GEI’s strategic approach around gender and inclusion focuses on working with GEI Implementing and Associate Partners to surface critical lessons, identify knowledge gaps, and coordinate joint action to maximize impact. GEI is also establishing approaches for integrating awareness of gender and inclusion issues into our work with national governments in a way that is country-owned and country-driven (for example, the inclusion of gender data in the GEI’s Monitoring and Evaluation Systems Analysis Tool).
In line with the GEI’s goals on gender and inclusion across our Network, we have recently partnered with Global Affairs Canada to launch the three-year Feminist Innovation in Monitoring and Evaluation (FIME) project that focuses on a “gender transformative” approach to strengthening M&E systems. A gender transformative approach “seeks to actively examine, challenge and transform the underlying causes of gender inequality rooted in inequitable social structures and institutions.”2 It emphasizes addressing imbalances of power that create disadvantages for girls and women and creates an enabling environment for gender transformation by going beyond just including women as participants. There is already a significant body of literature and a strong community of advocates working on gender transformative approaches, in general. However, this project presents an opportunity to incorporate this lens into the advisory and capacity-building support that GEI Partners offer to partner countries. Later on, this project will focus on helping the wider M&E community – beyond the GEI Network - integrate these approaches. 191 countries have signed on to the SDG targets – including those on gender equality – and will need support in monitoring, reporting, and evaluating their policies and programs on gender equality.
The FIME project is designed in three phases. The first phase is focused on understanding to what extent gender-transformative practices are utilized across the GEI Network, identifying any gaps, and based on the initial assessment, devising concrete action plans to address those gaps. The second phase seeks to engage the next generation of M&E practitioners and involve them in activities that require a high degree of innovation and the use of emerging technologies around gender transformative approaches. Activities under this component will capitalize on key successful products of the GEI Network (i.e., gLOCAL and the GEI Launchpad) and use those as platforms to disseminate feminist approaches to M&E. The third phase of this work will create a global repository of gender-transformative tools, best practices, and other related knowledge products that will be hosted on GEI’s BetterEvaluation Knowledge Platform.
 The achievement of gender equality is the fifth of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) laid out in the Sustainable Development Agenda. Ten additional goals include gender-specific benchmarks.
 Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations
As GEI moves forward with this work, we want to learn and work with you! There is a lot of impressive work happening across the world on integrating gender into M&E systems, and we need diverse perspectives to help GEI achieve its objectives.
So please join us! Comment on this blog or reach out to us on social media: LinkedIn and Twitter. What has been your experience? Share your stories with us.
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Photo Credit: Lakshman Nadaraja/World Bank from Flickr.