Gender analysis is a way of seeing/analyzing problems, situations and solutions with awareness of gender relations and in order to identify gender issues. The key elements of a gender analysis should include identification of similarities and differences between men and women and amongst women. These relate to work, resources, responsibilities and powers-Assessment of how gender relations have an impact on opportunities, needs, incentives and rewards. Assessment of capacity of intervening institutions to promote gender equality goals. Estimation of the potential obstacles and resistances to initiatives to promote gender equality and development of strategies to counter these resistances. It is important to understand practical needs and strategic needs of women.
Practical needs can be defined as women’s needs that do not question her subordination or traditional roles. These are often to do with the practical needs of day to day living such as housing, water; healthcare and employment. In contrast Strategic Gender interests are the needs of women identified on the basis of their subordinate position in society. They may vary from context to context and may include issues such as legal rights to freedom from domestic violence, rights to land and property, sexual rights, unequal divisions of labor in the family etc.These are often less obvious and have long term implications.
For example a woman who is not in dire poverty, may still fight with her brothers for equal rights of inheritance to family land. The struggle for strategic needs is more difficult and encounters much more resistance than the struggle for practical gender needs. It is the SGIs therefore that often get left out of gender planning .Merely fulfilling the practical needs of women do not improve their status in terms of power or equality. It is important to acknowledge that addressing both is critical to the success of planning; addressing Practical Gender Needs alone will not lead to long term improvements for women and may reinforce their subordination. Similarly addressing strategic gender interests alone may fail as a strategy if practical considerations are not taken into account. Other steps in gender analysis include collection of gender disaggregated data, and collecting information focusing on gender differences in activities, access to and control over resources and roles and position in decision making processes.
Analysis may take place at various levels-individual, household, community, institutional and politics. At the institutional level, gender analysis may look at institutional policy and services, organizational structure and staff qualifications and training. At the family level, gender analysis may look at who does what work, how financial resources are controlled and by whom etc.Many tools, checklists and questionnaires are available to assist gender analysis in various sectors.