Gender analysis is a process that informs and enhances your existing policy, program or service development cycle.

It's an extra layer of consideration that can be applied to your usual process for developing policies, programs and services. Your aim should be to consider gender issues at each stage of the existing process, not as an additional step added later.

Each section below outlines gender questions that should be considered throughout the cycle. The questions are just to get you started—you may think of other questions more relevant to your project.

Depending on the state of your initiative, for example, you may not need to start at 'identifying issues' or complete all parts of the cycle. Your answers to the questions and other gender issues will inform your future work and, regularly repeated, become the usual process for your work.

Our Gender analysis template can help guide your process and covers all elements of the policy, program or service development cycle.

1. Identifying issues

Gender issues may or may not obviously be the central focus of your initiative. While identifying issues, don't assume any initiative is gender neutral.

  • Will the policy, program or service affect women, men or other genders differently? If yes, how will each gender be affected and how might sub-groups be affected within a gender, such as the elderly or those with a disability?
  • Might certain genders be unintentionally excluded from this policy, program or service?
  • What don't you know about the issues and impacts on women, men or other genders?
  • Who else is addressing these issues, nationally and internationally?

2. Gathering evidence

Your own values and experiences may affect your perception or willingness to investigate the issue and gather evidence. The established priorities and processes of your organisation may also affect your ability to ask new questions and hear answers you may not expect.

  • Do you have separate data for people of different genders?
  • Is the available data separated by other social attributes (e.g. age, race, religion and disability), and is it quantitative or qualitative?
  • What information have you collected from those with experience and knowledge in this area, inside and outside your organisation?
  • Are there identified gender gaps relating to these issues?
  • Are other models available that address these issues?

3. Identifying and defining outcomes

When identifying and defining outcomes, beware of unintended and undesirable outcomes, especially for specific groups of women, men and people of other genders. Different measures may be required for outcomes to be equitable.

  • What are the desired outcomes of the policy, program or service?
  • What are the gender-specific factors that could affect outcomes (e.g. pregnancy, workplace sexual harassment, childcare or family responsibilities)?
  • Are there negative outcomes for women, men or other genders?
  • Are some gender groups excluded from the outcomes?
  • What are your legal obligations regarding gender equity and equality? Will they be breached or supported by the proposed options?
  • What performance measures will we use to evaluate the outcomes and do they distinguish between genders?

4. Planning

Consider the impacts on women, men and people of other genders as a key element in weighting and recommending the engagement processes and options, not as an add-on. Consider how each option and engagement process will be monitored and evaluated to determine the impact of your initiative on women, men and people of other genders.

  • What options are possible according to the data and research?
  • How do the proposed options support gender equity or equality?
  • How will people of all genders engage in the development of the proposed options as customers or stakeholders?
  • Do the issues affect other related strategies or initiatives?
  • Are there opportunities for collaboration with other organisations, government and non-government?
  • How might people of different genders assist in assessing and prioritising options?
  • Are gender equity and equality considerations when assessing options?
  • Are any additional resources required to implement gender-specific elements?
  • Are there any potential barriers or areas of resistance and how will you address these?

5. Communicating

Timing, choice of media, language and public involvement (if applicable) are important to ensure that the intent and impacts of your initiative are understood. The participation and acknowledgement of all stakeholders—both internal and external—can be a key part of communicating the initiative.

  • Who are your audiences, what is your main message and does your communication reflect the diversity of women, men and people of other genders?
  • Are your communication methods accessible to all audiences, including under-represented groups?
  • Do your language and visuals stereotype women, men or people of other genders?
  • Is your language inclusive and respectful?
  • How will gender-specific implications of your project be communicated?
  • Is there person-to-person outreach to marginalised or under-represented groups (e.g. elderly and people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds)?

6. Implementing

Consider specific aspects of implementation for your organisation, including how you might involve key personnel and other stakeholders. Consider linking with other initiatives being planned in your organisation.

  • Do your implementation and service delivery arrangements address the issues and needs of different gender identities?
  • Are there specific strategies to include women, men and people of other genders from marginalised and under-represented groups?
  • Who has primary responsibility for implementation and delivery, and how gender-aware are they?
  • Who else can contribute to good delivery and implementation?

7. Monitoring and reviewing

Ensure the gender impact of your initiative is an explicit part of the monitoring and review process and that those undertaking the evaluation have gender awareness.

  • How can you measure the impact of your policy, program or service on gender gaps?
  • How can you identify any unintended consequences?
  • Will your monitoring and evaluation arrangements involve clients and stakeholders, including women, men and people of other genders?
  • Are there measures in place to review and change the program if it is not delivering desired outcomes for different gender identities?

8. Reporting

Ensure the groups and individuals consulted at various stages in the development of your initiative are acknowledged.

  • How will you report on this policy, program or service?
  • Is the reporting method consistent with gender equity and equality, inclusion and diversity?
  • Are other reporting methods available that might better suit certain gender identities or sub-groups?