All types of governance processes continue to display a low level of inclusion of women both in terms of numeric representation but also in terms of substantive representation of women’s needs and priorities. Depending on the context, women may lack a voice in governance processes for a variety of reasons including lower levels of education, poor access to information, higher vulnerability to violence and insecurity; lack of political experience compared to men, lack of role models, lack of access to financial networks to raise funds for political campaigns and lack of support for family care obligations.
In order to reflect these obstacles and give an accurate assessment of women’s needs and priorities governance assessments should mainstream a gender perspective in the development of their methodology, indicators, data collection and analysis.
Existing mechanisms of monitoring and evaluation of governance systems and services often rely on statistics and other sources of data that have not explicitly taken into account the differences between women/girls and men/boys. The lack of accurate statistics depicting the different situations, as well as priorities and needs, of men and women is a constraining factor in the design of many governance assessments.
Assessments built on these incorrect premises can serve to perpetuate women’s marginalization from governance processes and their benefits. Participatory assessment methodologies often benefit from a specific strategy to engage women and ensure the process is accessible and open. In addition governance assessments will often benefit from inputs by a thematic expert who is also gender sensitive. This expert should be able to assist in the preparation of a strategy for including women’s voices in the assessment and ensuring women’s experiences are accurately reflected.
Indicators, measurement and analysis tools that may be useful in capturing the gender differences in governance processes and public service delivery fall into four general categories:
Sex disaggregated indicators: Refers to indicators of measurement at the individual level that can be broken down to compare men’s and women’s responses.
Gender sensitive indicators: Refers to indicators that take into account women and men’s socially constructed gender roles and how this can influence responses. Most data sets do not take into account the differences in roles, interests or priorities between women and men.
Gender specific indicators: Refers to issues specifically related to men and women’s biological roles or implicitly looking at a sex breakdown.
Gender sensitive data analysis: Refers to analyzing the potential differences in the meaning of data for women and men.
Measurement tools and indexes can be specified by theme as well: