The purpose of the session was to highlight the importance of applying a gender lens in the specific realities and needs of everyone, including women, men, girls, boys and trans people. Gender issues are still too often misunderstood and considered relevant only for foundations working on issues specifically related to women and girls. This session aimed to provide an interactive and accessible skill-building exercise for foundations to explore how a gender lens can benefit their own grant making practices. The exercise took the form of two case studies: the first one related to education for Syrian refugees in Turkey and the other one referring to the criminal justice system in the UK. Participants worked together brainstorming on how to analyse and tackle the issue with a gender lens.
Key points raised by speakers and during discussion
UK Criminal Justice case: women in prison
Participants agreed that in order to analyse the issue with a gender lens there is a need to have more qualitative and quantitative data in order to have more knowledge about the “life journey” of the women in prison, e.g. cultural context, reasons why women are in prison, religion, ethnicity, if they have history of domestic violence, if they have special needs, social background, the relationship of the offending mother with her child/children, how criminality is pictured in the media etc. In order to design a programme, taking gender into account, it is a priority to invest in training of prison staff and police officials, focus on rehabilitation and reintegration programmes, and develop qualitative services (healthcare and childcare).
Syrian refugee case:
The analysis of this case is focused more on the intersectionality on issues. There is a need to better understand the traditional role of gender in the Syrian society and the expectations from the community. There is a need to analyse dropout rates, (mainly related to labour for boys and early marriages for girls) and take into consideration the language issue. In order to design a programme is it necessary to work on the integration side and in long term solutions rather than temporary fixes that consider the targets as victims in silos. Solutions include: investing in quality training for bilingual teachers, connecting with NGOs and organisations already working in the territory in order to coordinate and not to replicate interventions, providing education and training on how to use technology, training teachers on how to interact with parents, empowering and give resources to those who can make effective decisions.
Key points of learning
- Research on quantitative and qualitative data and their intersectionality with societal and cultural issues are key to starting the design of any programme that aims to tackle the problem with a gender lens.
- Listening to the needs of people themselves is a first step to empowering people and making a programme successful.
- Good practices and successful case studies tackling similar issues are very useful: they allow us to make comparisons and see what aspects could be replicated and transferable to a new specific programme.
- Not taking gender into consideration may perpetuate harmful practices and norms as there is no “neutral” intervention given the fundamental inequalities in society.
Gender is not a difficult or exclusionary lens, but complements and enhances existing priorities.All Sessions