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Gender Equality in Monitoring and Evaluation: The GEI Approach

Women knit handicrafts for export at Everest Fashion Fair Craft in Lalitpur, Nepal. Photo: Peter Kapuscinski / World Bank
It is vital that gender and inclusion are mainstreamed across national M&E systems. Essentially, robust M&E systems are feedback mechanisms that enable stronger governance and informed decision-making.

Imagine you are running a remote data collection exercise for an evaluation during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. You and your team design a plan that relies entirely on mobile phones for data collection, not realizing that the women in the target area are still 20% less likely than men to use the mobile internet.[1] The chosen research method may inadvertently reduce responses from women. How can you avoid this?

Or perhaps you are conducting a phone survey, and you know that keeping women or children on the phone for too long might trigger an abusive situation. Which questions will you remove from your interview to make it shorter when a woman answers the phone?

The real scenarios above illustrate the complexities of integrating gender into Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) and highlight the need for evaluators to be both cognizant and thoughtful in applying a gender lens to their work.

At the Global Evaluation Initiative (GEI), we believe that gender equality is a fundamental human right and a critical priority for the M&E community. Significant research supports the need to integrate gender considerations into policy development and analysis. With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to expose and exacerbate gender inequalities around the world, it is especially important that we keep gender at the forefront of our work now.

“Limited gains in gender equality and women’s rights made over the decades are in danger of being rolled back due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said António Guterres, UN Secretary-General, in April 2020, urging  governments to put women and girls at the center of their recovery efforts."

GEI was formed to support the efforts of governments and public institutions to build stronger M&E systems. GEI’s activities aim to foster a culture where M&E is valued, used globally and where governments and other stakeholders seek evidence to inform their decisions.

It is vital that gender and inclusion are mainstreamed across national M&E systems. Essentially, robust M&E systems are feedback mechanisms that enable stronger governance and informed decision-making. Building a gender and inclusion lens into any effort to strengthen governance and accountability – including strengthening M&E systems – is critical to enhancing the gender-responsiveness of public policies and decisions.  

In recognition of this, GEI has incorporated several gender-based indicators into its Monitoring and Evaluation Systems Analysis (MESA) Diagnostic Tool. The MESA tool will be used to work with countries to gain insight into existing formal and informal M&E elements and processes, as well as understand a country’s views, practices and mechanisms before proposing new M&E models and capacity development strategies. Including gender-based indicators in such analyses will help to bring gender considerations to the M&E systems discussion and will help GEI support countries on this important work. Once fully operational, the MESA tool will be a source of lessons learned and best practices that can be tailored and applied to an individual country’s needs.

Similarly, it is just as important that evaluators and M&E practitioners have the knowledge and skills to understand how to incorporate gender approaches, frameworks, and indicators into evaluations of already complex programs across all sectors.

GEI is committed to increasing the number of evaluators and M&E practitioners who are prepared and ready to incorporate a gender lens into their evaluative work. GEI will amplify the work already being conducted by our network of partners and support new efforts on training and increasing the capacity of practitioners to incorporate gender into their work. Our goal is to develop a cadre of professionals that can help public institutions successfully incorporate gender into programs and policies and track impact.

GEI partners are already sharing knowledge and conducting training on gender for evaluators, and we hope to amplify these efforts. For example:

- CLEAR South Asia developed a five-day workshop on “Applying a Gender Lens to Program Evaluation;”

- ENAP hosted an online panel discussion, “Gender Sensitive Evaluations,” during gLOCAL Evaluation Week 2021;

- The International Program for Development Evaluation Training (IPDET) is currently planning a workshop on “Gender-Responsive Evaluation: Enhancing Empowerment and Sustainable Development” in 2022 (please note that the list of workshops for the 2022 program may change slightly until applications open);

- CLEAR Latin America and the Caribbean hosted a Spanish-language podcast on Gender and Evaluation with María Noel Vaez, Regional Director of UN Women for the Americas and the Caribbean;

- Through its Program in Rural M&E (PRiME), CLEAR Latin America and the Caribbean has published several blogs in Spanish and English on gender in the rural development sector (see here and here).

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.

If you would like to contribute your knowledge to this blog, we would be happy to work with you - please contact us contactgei@globalevaluationinitiative.org

You can also sign up for our newsletter here.

 


[1] GSM Association. (2020) The mobile gender gap report. London: GSMA. (www.alnap.org/help-library/the-mobile-gender-gap-report).

Photo credits: Women knit handicrafts for export at Everest Fashion Fair Craft in Lalitpur, Nepal. Photo: Peter Kapuscinski / World Bank

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