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Gender and Development Concepts

Module 3 builds on the importance of gender to World Vision’s work in sustainable development and on the importance of understanding a community’s theological perceptions of gender dynamics (Modules 1 and 2).

In this module, activities encourage increased awareness of historical dimensions of gender dynamics and the urgency and scope of current work in GAD. Participants learn essential concepts of Gender and Development, including the difference between “sex” and “gender”, the importance of understanding gender roles, the shift from “Women in Development” to “Gender and Development” (WID to GAD), empowerment  and women’s triple workload (three types of work: reproductive, productive and community), as well as practical versus strategic gender needs.

Most importantly, these concepts are linked to participants’ engagement in Area Development Programmes (ADPs) and communities.


Session Descriptions

1. Sex and Gender Roles

This session explores gender roles in light of participants’ own experience and cultural conditioning, as well as the importance of gender roles in GAD work. Distinguishing between “sex” and “gender” further clarifies the difference between aspects of our lives that are socially conditioned and those that are gender-related biological imperatives.

2. The Road from WID to GAD: Key Definitions for Gender and Development

Following the road from WID to GAD illumines reasons that gender dynamics have such a profound effect on the well-being of women and men, boys and girls. Presentations focus on differences in the WID and GAD approaches as development practitioners work with a community in problem analysis, as well as definitions of goals, solutions and strategies.

3. Practical Gender Needs and Strategic Gender Needs

This essential concept in GAD training is presented and discussed with the entire group participating. Using a worksheet to identify Practical Gender Needs (PGNs) and Strategic Gender Needs (SGNs), participants then work individually with a list of needs to determine which would be categorised as strategic and which categorised as practical. Because this concept is expressed in technical language, the session closes with participants’ construction of natural language (community language) expressions of these needs.

4. Women’s Triple Role: Productive, Reproductive and Community Work

After distinguishing between these three categories of work, participants work in small groups to develop a matrix analysing types of work present in their communities. Both gender needs (strategic or practical) and types of work are considered.

The session closes with discussion of the value of consistent technical definitions for GAD, as well as emphasis on recognising these concepts when expressed differently by ADP and community members.