Putting mdg reports under a gender lens
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PUTTING MDG REPORTS UNDER A GENDER LENS. Assessing MDG Reports as instruments for monitoring gender equality. Why should gender advocates scrutinise MDGRs?. Correspondence with Beijing PFA and CEDAW. ‘Strategic talking point’ for assessing barriers to gender equality.

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Putting mdg reports under a gender lens


Assessing MDG Reports

as instruments for monitoring gender equality

Why should gender advocates scrutinise mdgrs
Why should gender advocates scrutinise MDGRs?

  • Correspondence with Beijing PFA and CEDAW.

  • ‘Strategic talking point’ for assessing barriers to gender equality.

  • Can be used to hold donors and governments accountable for commitments.

  • Opportunity to enlarge the ambit of national dialogue, build commitment to gender equality.

Undp exercise may 2003
UNDP exercise: May 2003

  • Evolving a simple method to “check out” gender in national MDGRs

  • Testing the method against selected national MDGRs

Parameters for assessment
Parameters for assessment

  • Incorporation of gender issues and perspectives under goals other than Goal 3.

  • Mention/recognition of women’s issues under goals other than Goals 3 and 5.

  • Content/perspective of gender/women’s issues under each goal.

Main findings
Main findings

  • Discussions on gender primarily confined to Goal 3 (gender equality), Goal 5 (maternal mortality), Goal 6 (HIV/AIDS).

  • ‘Ghettoisation’ of gender issues within women-specific sectors regardless of authorship.

  • Women all but invisible in Goals 7 (environment) and 8 (development cooperation).


  • Perspectives on women are more instrumental than rights-based – difficult issues ignored or skimmed over.

  • Women identified as vulnerable group under Goal 1 (poverty), but no data on feminisation of poverty.

  • Gender inequality seen in isolation, impact of class/race/ethnicity ignored.


  • Include standardised gender indicators in global list.

  • Increase engagement of women’s groups and gender advocates in reporting process.

  • Support independent studies to collect qualitative information.

  • Gender sensitisation of statisticians for collection and use of sex-disaggregated data.


  • Mandatory reporting on capacity to collect sex-disaggregated data.

  • Gender module in training for country teams.

  • Info pack/mainstreaming toolkit with practical tips, templates, best practices.

  • Section on mainstreaming in Guidance Note.

Practical barriers
Practical barriers

  • Need to keep MDG Reports focused, simple and accessible.

  • Need to keep indicator set as small as possible.

  • Lack of research and reliable data on gender issues.

  • Lack of sex-disaggregated data on key indicators and low national demand for disaggregated data.

Practical barriers1
Practical barriers

  • Limited resources, perspectives and capacities of national statistical systems.

  • Limited resources and capacities of country teams to support the mainstreaming process.

  • Limited interactions between sectoral teams and different agencies involved in MDG reporting.

Deep down barriers
“Deep down” barriers?

Perceptions of key actors

  • that Goal 3 is enough to take care of gender issues

  • that other issues are as important or more important than gender, so gender can wait

  • that mainstreaming gender will lead to demands for inclusion of other issues

Deep down barriers1
“Deep down” barriers?

Opinions of national governments

  • that the MDGRs are “yet another report”

  • that the MDGR must present the best possible picture of the country

  • that the MDGR is an “official” document

Deep down barriers2
“Deep down” barriers?

Positions of women’s movement groups

  • that the MDGs are donor-led and depoliticised

  • that the returns are too low to justify the effort of engaging with the MDGR process

  • that energies invested in the MDGs will weaken struggles


Find ways to

  • make gender mainstreaming a mission for key actors

  • convince women’s movements to engage with the process

  • find and use appropriate data

  • motivate national governments to “open up” the process