Gender-transformative approaches can be tailored to specific contexts as there is no one-size-fits-all. The guidelines in this document are intended to support NIPN platforms teams to better address gender in the daily work of data management and dissemination, also including relevant aspects of gender-transformative approaches, where feasible. However, adaptation to the local context is necessary.
Transforming gender norms and archaic roles and stereotypes is a long-term process, requiring sustainable efforts to maintain the achievements obtained. While tangible results will be visible only over the course of years, NIPN platforms can play a role in contributing to gender equality by maintaining a gender lens over the project cycle and raising awareness among partners and stakeholders involved in the NIPN initiative.
Taking into account the structure and conception of the NIPN, there are opportunities where gender can be considered, including gender-transformative approaches at different levels of the project cycle, including the organisational culture.
• Political will and institutional awareness: NIPN platforms rely on the institutional and political commitments of their respective countries. Suggesting recommendations that include budget allocations from a gender equality perspective (i.e., investing in studies that address the root causes of women’s/girls’ malnutrition or how gender roles are affecting access to food and development) will contribute to discussions between ministries and partners aimed at increasing investments to support gender-responsive actions and ultimately include GTA into their interventions. Bringing about structural changes, especially at the institutional level, requires a deeper review of internal processes as these might exclude or inadequately consider the rights of girls and women.
• Building leadership within the implementing partners’ organisation. Identifying gaps regarding gender expertise and analysing the principles of the NIPN implementing partner (IPs) organisations should be the first step, before extending into governmental institutions. NIPN teams may need capacity building to identify gender gaps and opportunities in questions formulation, data management, analysis and dissemination. The NIPN team can then network with governmental counterparts to share ideas and experiences, as well as facilitate cross-organisational dialogue, outline concrete strategies, practices and lessons learned to gain a common understanding of gender approaches and the value of addressing gender inequalities.
It is important that the organisation’s staff, contractors and partners are committed to gender equality principles and are able to call on expert support to promote the empowerment of women and girls through the programmes they manage.
• Refine data, evidence and measurements related to gender. More data and evidence on nutrition-related gender issues are needed. This includes measurements that capture the relationship between gender roles and inequalities in malnutrition status and food and nutrition security. The NIPN platform can generate evidence on how women’s and girls’ empowerment can contribute to the fight against malnutrition and food and nutrition insecurity.
• NIPN platform teams might have the capacity to create tools that can reveal gender inequalities and help direct attention to the most effective interventions through communications with key actors.
• Support partners to strengthen data/information systems at disaggregated level, promoting a systematic intersectional approach to generating, tracking, analysing and using disaggregated data (i.e., data broken down into detailed sub-categories), such as on diets, anthropometry, micronutrient status and other outcomes, down to the local level by sex, age, wealth group, education, location, ethnicity, disability and other context-specific disadvantaged groups.
• Ensure a situational analysis with a gender approach. Analyse the causes of malnutrition and food and nutrition insecurity and their relationship with gender inequalities, identify the most disadvantaged groups and understand differential needs and access to services.
• Place girls and women at the centre of programming efforts. The latest users or beneficiaries of the NIPN platform are best positioned to provide feedback on their preferred nutritional interventions, gaps and bottlenecks related to gender inequalities in nutrition.
NIPN can play a role in advocating for a better consideration of girls and women within nutrition programming by: i) supporting the identification of data that excludes gender perspectives; ii) sharing this information in its communications with decision makers; and iii) developing gender-oriented recommendations for future actions.
Programmes and policy decisions that address income-generating activities for women, support jobs with caregiving (workplace childcare) or empower women to develop a business will decrease the gender gap in nutrition and food insecurity and contribute to achieve gender equality.
Note: approaches to women’s empowerment, should in the longer-term, move from focussing on the division between men and women to addressing broader social norms and contexts.
Gender markers and indicators: Which indicators can be applied to NIPN platforms? How to measure the implementation of gender approaches?
Over the years, different ‘gender markers’ have been developed at planning level and well as to track and report on allocations and expenditures for gender equality and empowerment of women and girls (GEEW). Some markers focus on criteria such as ‘age’ or ‘ethnicity’. Donors and international organisations (IASC, EU/ECHO, etc) have developed their own tools to monitor actions. All of these assess the extent to which gender equality is targeted by a project/programme, but do not evaluate the quality of such actions, meaning that a higher score does not signify better quality gender mainstreaming.
The following steps should be taken to define and better frame the use of gender markers and indicators in NIPN programmes.
1. Gender analysis should be conducted to inform the design of the project, ideally at proposal stage, to identify socially assigned gender roles (i.e., nurses are women, doctors are men), different needs and constrains, power inequalities and level of access to assistance or tools, among other context-specific issues. The analysis might include not only data-related issues but gender-related issues in the NIPN platform (e.g., team composition in different bodies, ease for women to access positions of responsibility, cultural issues that may affect gender inequalities, etc).
The analysis should also assess the potential negative effects of integration of Gender responsive actions and GTA, especially in contexts where access of women into traditional male-roles or in relevant society-roles is stigmatised or discriminated due to particular country or cultural issues.
Note: where gender analysis was not integrated as part of the proposal documents, it is recommended that the analysis is planned within the first half of the project in order to capture baseline information on the gender situation allowing the plan and formulation of gender responsive activities.
2. Identification of indicators/markers appropriate to the country-specific platforms: integrating gender in country programming is essential for government assistance to be more effective, to better respond to specific needs and target actions targeting the most vulnerable.
Data collection and analysis conducted with a gender perspective can shape decisions on actions and target groups by providing evidence for policy decisions. Gender perspective can also be included in NIPN question development, as well as in the evaluation of data quality.
NIPN teams should consider the following prior to the selection of indicators:
• Data and indicators should be disaggregated by sex and age when relevant and possible.
• Gender inequalities must be reported and monitored throughout the implementation.
• Questions to discuss with partners regarding data collected at the local or national level: Who traditionally controls household resources in the country? Does gender impact the access to resources? If so, in what way? How do emergencies/crises typically affect different genders and their roles? Do coping mechanisms to crises vary depending on gender? What specific nutrition needs are there based on gender (i.e., during pregnancies, men vs women handling heavy tasks, etc.)?
• When using or designing a survey: Who is answering the questions? To whom are the surveyors addressing their questions? Are the surveyors addressing to different household members depending on the type of question?
3. Identification of selected (and measurable) indicators to evaluate progress towards gender equality objectives.
It is recommended that the NIPN IPs will take over the responsibility for applying and following the indicators with the support of C4N-NIPN Global Coordination.
The NIPN team should consider its overall capacity to apply the marker correctly, and request support if needed. C4N-NIPN Global Coordination will establish an internal quality control mechanism to guarantee the accuracy of the application, facilitating a M&E system complementing the marker.
9 Those that are using mixed, inclusive, respectful and participatory approaches, methods and tools that capture gender equality issues.