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Gender equality and empowerment measurement tool

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Welcome to the Gender Equality and Empowerment Measurement (GEM) Tool Resource Guide.Footnote 11 This tool builds on a growing body of knowledge about feminist research and methodology, and on increasing global commitments to feminist priorities, including feminist foreign policies adopted by several countries around the world. Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy is one example of foreign policy that puts gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls at its core. In order to achieve this and other global feminist goals and commitments, innovative feminist methodologies are required.

The GEM Tool uses feminist methodology to capture information and data about the gender equality and empowerment outcomes of development programming. It offers useful training, resources and activities for feminist data collection that can be modified to fit any socio-cultural context. It can be used on its own or in addition to other evaluation and data collection tools. In particular, the GEM Tool offers a flexible, process-oriented and reciprocal approach for data collection that puts the voices of women, other genders and marginalized groups at the centre.

Flexibility: The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how research, evaluation and data collection take place. As a result, accessing information about project results has required innovative strategies and new modes of communication, using technology and online collaboration tools to engage project participants and partner communities. One of the GEM Tool’s unique contributions is its flexibility and helpful guidelines for data collection whether using virtual platforms or in-person interactions.

Process-orientation: In addition to collecting data on gender equality and empowerment outcomes or results, the GEM Tool emphasizes feminist process in data collection and focuses on the intersection of project analysis and local context. More specifically, the GEM Tool offers training and guidance to research facilitators to ensure safe, inclusive, collaborative, participatory, flexible and intersectional approaches to data collection. The process orientation of the GEM Tool combines knowledge generation and outcomes-based learning with a reflexive approach to data collection with project participants. It can be used by anyone interested in feminist data collection but it is highly recommended that facilitators either have local, contextual knowledge and expertise, or work in teams with community partners who can use their local knowledge in tailoring and conducting the GEM Tool, particularly context-specific insights into gender equality and empowerment.

Reciprocal learning: Among the feminist goals and priorities linked to collaborative research design are commitments to ‘do no harm’ and to engage in reciprocal knowledge sharing. The GEM Tool provides suggestions for how to collaboratively tailor and facilitate the GEM Tool for specific communities and also how to ensure knowledge is shared locally with community partners and project participants.

The GEM tool is designed to:

Intended users and use of the GEM tool

The intended users of the GEM Tool include anyone interested in understanding: a) gender equality and women’s empowerment outcomes of development programming and b) the process of learning with and from locally-based researchers, community partners and project participants. Anyone involved in development programming can use the tool including small NGOs and implementing partners, civil society organizations, large international NGOs, development organizations and agencies, etc. You do not need to be a gender equality expert or specialist to use the GEM Tool.

The main purpose of this tool is to complement existing data collection tools and evaluation practices with a feminist methodology focusing on qualitative data, local knowledge and experiences. The GEM Tool also provides examples of probing strategies to ensure collection of information that helps us understand why gender inequality persists, how it can be addressed, and how empowerment is defined and experienced by project participants in different aspects of their lives.

Using the GEM tool resource guide

There are three complementary instructional guides for using the GEM Tool that should be read together by individuals or organizations planning to use the tool to evaluate a project’s gender equality and empowerment results.

Gender equality and empowerment measurement tool -  Part 1: Training Guide

In this guide, you will find information and resources on practicing feminist research methodology, a brief overview of international commitments, policies and resources on gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, and a summary of definitions and key considerations to keep in mind for applying a feminist approach to research and data collection using the GEM Tool.

Gender equality and empowerment measurement tool - Part 2: Facilitator’s Guide

In this guide, you will learn step-by-step instructions for using the GEM Tool. The main method for data collection is focus group discussions with project participants (held in person or online). This can be supplemented with additional data collection through interviews with project partners. The information, definitions and examples provided in this guide serve as a starting point for learning about gender equality and empowerment results of development projects, and should be modified to fit the socio-cultural context of the focus group participants and setting, drawing on the knowledge of locally-based experts, research team members or partner organizations.

Gender equality and empowerment measurement tool - Part 3: Reporting Guide

In this guide, you will find instructions to help you analyze, synthesize and report your findings using two templates that are provided: a project report template and a synthesis report template. This guide also provides information for how the data that you collect can be shared with different communities through creative and locally-appropriate knowledge mobilization strategies.

Once you have familiarized yourself with the information and resources included in Part 1: Training Guide, you can then read Part 2: Facilitator's Guide, followed by Part 3: Reporting Guide, in that order. Links between the guides are provided as you may need to return to different sections to refresh your memory on specific information. There are also links to additional information and resources provided throughout the materials for your reference.

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