Gender Analysis

U.S. law requires that USAID strategies, projects, and activities are shaped by a gender analysis, which identifies the gender equality-related context, opportunities, and risks relevant to the intended development outcomes.

Gender analyses are crucial to ensuring that Agency policies, strategies, and programming address the specific needs of women, men, and gender-diverse individuals to achieve sustainable development outcomes. USAID activities are required to be shaped by gender analyses per U.S. law (Women’s Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment (WEEE) Act of 2018, the USAID Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Policy, and ADS 205.)

What is a gender analysis, and what does it achieve? 

Gender analysis is socioeconomic analysis of quantitative and qualitative information to identify, understand, and explain gender gaps between individuals, which typically involves examining the:

  1. Differences in the status of women and girls, men and boys, and gender diverse individuals and their differential access to and control over assets, resources, education, opportunities, and services; 
  2. Influence of gender roles, structural and systems barriers, and norms on the division of time among paid employment, unpaid work (including subsistence production, domestic work, and care for family members), and volunteer activities;
  3. Influence of gender roles, structural and systems’ barriers, and norms on leadership roles and decision-making; constraints, opportunities, and entry points for narrowing gender gaps and empowering women; and 
  4. Potential differential impacts of development policies and programs on women and girls, men and boys, and gender-diverse individuals, including unintended or negative consequences.

A gender analysis also includes conclusions and recommendations to enable development policies and programs to narrow gender gaps and improve the lives of women and girls, men and boys, and gender-diverse individuals. 

Data for a gender analysis should reflect the intersection of sex and gender identity with other characteristics (e.g., age, marital status, income, ethnicity, race, disability status, geographic location, sexual orientation, gender expression, or other socially relevant category) in education, health, political participation, economic activity and earnings, time use, GBV, and other relevant domains. It is important to understand a person’s intersecting identities to capture the extent to which they may or may not experience heightened marginalization or exclusion in society.

USAID is required to conduct a pre-award activity gender analysis according to the Women’s Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment (WEEE) Act of 2018, and implementing partners are encouraged to conduct a gender analysis post-award to inform activity implementation.

Why conduct a gender analysis? 

  • By analyzing gender gaps and root causes of gender inequality, gender analyses identify opportunities to promote gender equality and strengthen programmatic design, implementation, and impact.
  • A gender analysis allows for identification and consideration of unintended consequences.
  • Gender analysis, if well applied during activity design, improves programmatic outcomes across all sectors by addressing sector-specific gender barriers that impede the achievement of sector objectives. 

How does gender analysis differ at different levels? 

While gender analysis is required prior to or during the design of all country strategies, projects (where applicable), and activities, the scope of the analysis will differ depending on the level of focus.  

At the strategy level (for example, regional or country development cooperation strategies) the gender analysis should identify the macro or sectoral level societal gender inequalities or obstacles to gender equality and women’s empowerment.

At the activity level, a gender analysis should identify gender inequalities or obstacles to gender equality and women’s empowerment in the activity’s implementation context. An activity-level gender analysis should detail key gender inequalities and suggest ways that the activity could narrow or close gender gaps, address inequalities, and/or empower women and girls in the specific sectors or areas that will be addressed by the activity. The analysis should also examine anticipated levels of and possible barriers to participation of men, women, and gender-diverse individuals in the activity and whether/how the activity might affect individuals of different gender identities differently. The findings and recommendations of the analysis should inform and be integrated into the activity design, associated performance indicators, and related award documents.

How does USAID use the results of a gender analysis? 

Technical teams and program offices in all Operating Units must reflect the findings of these gender analyses in key processes and documents or their successors across the different levels of program strategy, planning, and design with which they are involved. These may include Regional or Country Development Cooperation Strategies (R/CDCS), Project Development Documents (PDD), Activity Approval Memoranda (AAMs), and solicitations (including Broad Agency Announcements). Technical teams and program offices in all Operating Units are also strongly encouraged to reflect relevant findings from gender analyses in any Public International Organization agreements, Development Credit Authorities, Memoranda of Understanding, and Government-to-Government agreements in which they are involved. Additional guidance is available in ADS 205 to effectively and efficiently incorporate findings of gender analyses into key documents.

Per the Gender Equality Policy requirement, all gender analyses must be uploaded by the responsible USAID staff to the Development Experience Clearinghouse (DEC).