Gender Mainstreaming Training III

By Sammy Mwangi

The Gender Concept

It is a social and cultural construct and it refers to roles, attributes and values assigned by culture and society to men/boys and women/girls. It is by human design and does not mean men or women but it asks what roles we can do as men/boys and women/girls. In order to understand and address about gender it is important to change the attitudes and understand the concept.  According to the views of the participants the gender roles are determined by socialization which reinforces them such as poverty, culture, religion, education, taboos, politics, economic status, language, rule of stereotype e.t.c.  The process of socialization is maintained by women, men, law e.t.c.

In the discussion groups the participants were able to answer the following questions:

  • How do men and women relate in society?
  • Who has power and what power?
  • How does power affect men and women in society?

It was realized that the way men and women relate depends on the roles they take in the society. The are roles that men take willingly and comfortably as well as women do, the issue is that there are some roles which either don’t need to be infringed by the other. On the issue of dowry the relationship makes a woman treated as a property.

The types of power discussed were power over, power to, power with and power within. In power over it deals with authority or one who don’t let go. Power to is mostly concerned on decision making e.g.  Women having power to sell vegetables but not a sheep. Power with helps in negotiation or complimentary and power within is based on assertiveness, inner energy, renewal and seeing the need to do something.

Other key terms which are mostly used in highlighting gender issues are:

  • Gender Consciousness
  • Gender Sensitivity
  • Gender Discrimination
  • Gender Responsiveness
  • Gender Empowerment

Gender Consciousness

This is a process of making people aware of the low status of both men and women and the possibilities of raising these statuses in regards to the roles given to the society. It is also about realizing that our roles and identities as men and women in society are not natural given or in person but rather are socially constructed learned and specific.

Gender Sensitivity

It is a concept that brings the inequalities between men and women in terms of quality and quantity representation in any given scenario.

A conscientization strategy concerned with increasing people’s awareness to the implication of gender inequality and demanding that problems of gender discrimination be identified in policies and programmes.

Gender Discrimination

It is denying rights on the basis of sexual orientation and a practice of letting a person’s/sex unfairly become a factor when deciding who receives what job promotion, gift, benefit e.t.c.

Gender Responsiveness

Is a process of creating an environment that reflects an understanding of realities of women’s and men’s lives and addresses their issues. Equality is enabling men and women to understand the modern challenges they face.


Empowerment is both a process and outcome and it can be individual or collective. It is about women, girls and men gaining power and control over their lives. It about:

  • Building self-confident
  • Raising awareness to oneself and others
  • Increased access to and control over resources.

Gender Division of Labor

The allocation of differential tasks, roles, responsibilities and activities to women and men according to what is considered socially and culturally appropriate.


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. jane elizabeth wanyonyi
    Oct 09, 2011 @ 18:51:30

    What approach would be appropriate/ideal to adopt in institutionalizing gender mainstreaming in public service programmes? you may wish to contribute some more on the usually conceptual confusion on these terminologies: WID, WAD, GAG, and Gender Mainstreaming as a Mainstream stragety in organizations. I have a lot of interest in this line of study.



    • East African Counter Human Trafficking Efforts
      Oct 14, 2011 @ 08:52:55

      The aim of gender mainstreaming is to achieve equality i.e. women and men to have equal visibility, equal access and power concerning resources and decision making.
      The goal of achieving gender equality should be the guiding principle in the internal structure of the organization,reflecting on issues ranging from affirmative action,employment policies to taking measures against sexual harassment in the workplace, creating accountability is also a significant dimension in ensuring institutionalization of a gender infrastructure
      As an approach GM was developed in 1980’s after realization that women-focused projects carried until then were not able to secure women a fair share in allocation of development resources and opportunities. Women in Development(WID) rationale was that the efficency of development projects was undermined as women were excluded from development framework.
      With the initiation of the GAD ( Gender and Development) approach, the focus shifted from women to gender and from achieving efficient development sustainable development with gender equality and equity. GM emerged as a viable approach and strategy within the GAD framework to incorporate gender issues and concerns into existing developmental structures.



  2. Christiana Komeh Boima
    Jan 23, 2012 @ 11:15:17

    I want to be an actor in gender mainstreaming. I also want to know if you can offer training in this capacity. I am presently working in a child protection Organisation but have been working with a (gender) Organisation.
    I am a Sierra Leonean and even want to be a volunteer in any Organisation that is gender oriented.



    • East African Counter Human Trafficking Efforts
      Jan 23, 2012 @ 19:41:50

      Hi Christiana,
      Our main aim is to train people through our blog. We welcome your experiences of gender mainstreaming and child protection from Sierra Leone. They will help in disseminating knowledge to other people interested in these empowering children and women. We hence are only focused in educating through our blog.



  3. Demeke
    Dec 27, 2013 @ 02:15:00

    GBV is one o the serious problem that needs wholistic approach.



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