Lessons Learned on Gender Equality

Published: September 2013

The purpose of this evaluation study is twofold: Firstly, to compile lessons learned from Danida evaluations, evaluation studies and other evaluation publications, and secondly, to distil a set of recommendations relevant to the roll-out of The Right to a Better Life (2012), more particularly the planned update of Danida's strategy, Gender Equality in Danish Development Cooperation (2004). The evaluation study was carried out between June and September 2013. The methodology is based on a desk review of Danida evaluation publications carried out between 2004 and 2013, and comprises three interconnected phases:
1. Screening of a long list of 104 evaluation publications
2. Analysis of 26 shortlisted evaluations
3. Reporting findings and recommendation

Key Findings

  • There is silence on LGBT rights, which is likely to be a reflection of LGBT issues being a fairly recent phenomenon in the context of Danish development cooperation.
  • Targeted economic interventions can be an effective empowerment tool.
  • Mobility is key to economic empowerment.
  • Microfinance can be a vehicle for economic empowerment.
  • Links between gender equality and conflict insufficiently considered.
  • Community development can promote gender equality results.
  • Gender equality focus in evaluations not targeting gender equality issues explicitly, varies significantly.
  • The study finds a general tendency for interventions and evaluations to make use of a weak and somewhat 'fluffy' conceptual gender framework.
  • Danish supported gender equality activities often are equated with initiatives in support of women's rights and empowerment, not looking at structural inequalities between women and men and their socially ascribed roles and responsibilities.
  • Several of the evaluated interventions tend to focus primarily on women's participation, downplaying other dimensions of gender justice -- such as recognition and redistribution.
  • There is a significant lack of systematic compilation of experience and outcome from gender equality initiatives, to a large extent reported to pertain to a lack of clear gender indicators.
  • Gender mainstreaming in Swedish development cooperation tends to be stronger in analysis, training and use of expertise, while weaker towards the end of the programme cycle in monitoring, evaluation and feedback systems.
  • Civil society key to sustained gender policy dialogue.
  • New aid modalities can contribute to building dialogue frameworks on gender policy.

Populations Women

Complementary Outcomes Women's Rights

Publishers Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA)

Geographic Focus Africa

Funded by Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark (DANIDA)