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From: Gender is Easy (Cano, 2011)
Gender Analysis in Emergencies

As Gender is not a sector of its own, this resource (click here for the printable version) focuses on integrating gender into CARE’s emergency response focus areas of WASH, FOOD, SHELTER and LOGISTICS.

All of us are responsible for addressing gender issues in all of our work. A solid gender analysis (see the Good Practices Framework on Gender Analysis) should inform regular CO programming, drawing on existing learning about impact groups and their underlying causes of vulnerability. At the onset of an emergency, this easy resource will help you updating your analysis with key information. It is NOT a new tool but it guides you to using the available gender tools. Make sure you have the right documents and read up!

 Sector-Specific Guidance


For a broader list of questions please visit the Rapid Gender Analysis Tool for Emergencies


WASH (more on WASH and Gender Analysis)

Assessment Questions

  • What are the water, sanitation and hygiene practices of the affected community? How do they vary between women, girls, boys and men?
  • How do women, men, boys and girls use water and what are they responsible for (e.g. collecting, cooking, gardening, livestock)?
  • Who has access to and control of water & sanitation resources?
  • Who is responsible for decision-making and management?
  • Are water points, toilets and bathing facilities located and designed for privacy and security?
CASE: during a needs assessment, men dominated questions of water but had little patience for the questions on sanitation: their response was to say, “Ask the women”. It signals a certain gender divide: men control water issues and there is little space for women to express their needs in decision-making. Women control sanitation issues that may not reflect men’s needs or ideas. This endangers the opportunity to create a culture of good water and sanitation behavior.

ACTION: Training of skilled male and female facilitateors who engage both men and women as equal partners in making decisions and in taking on duties/responsibilities. Regarding water, sanitation and hygiene (WASHGender Market Kit).


Assessment Questions
  • Who builds shelters and who may not be able ot build their own shelters? How are women, men, boys and girls involved?
  • Do the shelters, toilet and bathing and sleeping areas have latches and locks?
  • Do households have materials for partitions to allow privacy?
  • Do single women have separate, safe and culturally appropriate shelters? How are the shelter for girls and boys without parents?
  • Who owns land and property? What protection do women, men, girls and boys have for their land and property rights?
CASE: From a previous emergency shelter response it was assumed that women prefer to cook outside. So, emergency shelters were built with no kitchen. Soon, women and their families were scrambling to find any possible material to cobble together an extension to shade their cooking areas. If women had been asked, they would have clearly expressed that they do not cook in the open in monsoon rains or oppressive heat. In focus groups, crisis-affected males and females recalled this and other design problems in previous emergency responses.

ACTION: Ensure women and girls have equal voice with beneficiary men and boys in all shelter and housing design.

Assessment Questions

  • How is food prepared and shared within families/households?
  • Who produces/buys/eats what types of food?
  • Do women and men have equal access to the local market, cash and food-for-work opportunities, credit and agricultural materials and services?
  • Who gets food aid on behalf of the household? Who decides how to use it? Who eats first?
  • Who were most at risk for nutrition problems and what has changed due to the crisis?

CASE: General distribution of family rations to male heads of housheolds meant that typically this food is shared with only one wife and her children. Multiple wives (previous families, or sometimes second and later wives) and their children often do not receive food from the family entitlement.

ACTION: Institute a registration system that recognized multiple wives as families in their own right, and /or register women as the eligible beneficiaries of food distribution programs.

Assessment Questions

  • What is the crude mortality rate disaggregated by sex and age? Are there disproportionate deaths among women, girls, boys or men? IF so, what are the reasons?
  • Who provides health care to whom? Can men provide health care to women/girls?
    What level of services exist – local units/clinics/hospital?
  • How are health messages, information share within community; and in relation to literacy level?What are the cultural practices around illness, seeking and receiving health care, pregnancy & giving birth?


Assessment Questions

Logistical decisions will also have an impact on ensuring equal access to aid, therefore before any distribution (be it food, hygiene kits, shelter material or other non-food items) sector program staff and logistics staff have to coordinate to ensure that men and women in the communities have been consulted on the following:

  • Location of distribution points so that they are close and accessible to beneficiaries (Sphere standards recommend distance of no more than 10 km)
  • Distribution arrangements (time, place, size and weight, etc.) including information on groups that could be marginalized
  • Culturally appropriate and familiar content (e.g. cultural practices related to women addressing hygiene needs during menstruation?)
  • Mechanisms for women and men to file complaints regarding the non-receipt and unmet needs
  • Strategies to prevent, monitor and respond to GBV and sexual exploitation and abuse (e.g. earlier distribution to allow beneficiaries to reach home during daylight)

Step 1- Pre-assessment phase: identify, recruit and train (partner) staff

  • Ensure that staff and partners are trained on gender in humanitarian programming
  • Include gender knowledge in all TORs for recruiting new (partner) staff
  • Recruit & train both women and men in assessment teams and ensure that at least one member has a good gender knowledge/ experience. Note! A gender analysis should never be obstructed by the absence of a gender specialist!
  • Deploy local male & female staff as their knowledge enables them to best capture the socio-cultural aspects of the crisis.
  • Ensure that at least one partner organization on the ground has a solid record on working with women.
  • Identify available sources of information (women groups, partner NGO, past evaluations) and build on available data
  • Coordinate with all actors to identify common priorities and develop common assessment tools

Step 2 – Assessment phase: collect data and information

Actively consult affected women, girls, boys and men in your information collection about their needs and priorities, through:

  • Individual/group interviews in single-sex and/or mixed-sex focus groups (Note: gather oral data if people are illiterate)
  • Collecting qualitative (participatory, observation) and quantitative sex and age-disaggregated data (SADD)
  • Use simple, flexible research methods and sets of gender-specific key indicators that do not require advanced skills
  • Identify how the emergency affected women, girls, boys and men differently (e.g. look at:
    • WHO is affected and in what way? What is sex and age breakdown of the disaster affected population?
    • HOW do different groups cope with the emergency situation?
    • WHAT are their needs, constraints, capacities and priorities? WHAT are their social and economic roles and responsibilities?
    • WHO accesses, owns and controls resources within the community and what prevents access?
    • WHO participates in decision-making, who has power and what prevents participation?
    • WHAT specific risks has the emergency caused (e.g. gender-based violence, child trafficking, sexual exploitation)?
    • WHAT specific risks (and opportunities) could CARE’s interventions and distributions entail

Step 3 – Post-assessment phase: analyze data and monitor implementation

  • Reflect on the assessment: who was consulted, was the analysis done properly and adequate action taken?
  • Review & analyze information and be ready to (re)assess & adjust as the situation on the ground changes constantly. Note: Collecting of information and disaggregated data is not the end result but rather the means to the end result.
  • Deliver feedback to the affected community
  • Use the data to take strategic decisions and identify priorities: What is needed, by whom first, where, why and how?
  • Design your project so that the results of your analysis are translated into activities and outcomes & monitor progress
  • Report your gender sensitive analysis in SITREPs/Emergency Strategy/Sector Strategy, highlighting the specific and different needs, capabilities, vulnerabilities and priorities of women, girls, men and boys.
  • Request technical assistance where needed (with Gender expert in country/region or in Geneva).


 TIPS: How to conduct Gender Analysis?

  • Consult women, girls, boys and men in all your needs assessments of the affected populations
  • Understand the social and cultural contexts
  • Refrain from making general assumptions that all affected population has the same needs
  • Guarantee gender-balanced assessment teams
  • Collect sex and age disaggregated data. Do not use generic groups (i.e. ‘people’, ‘communities’, etc.)
  • Do not target women only unless the result of a gender analysis suggests so
For more insights on conducting gender analysis, visit the Preparation Section.