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Tool Name: Moser gender analysis framework and gender audit

Tool Name: Moser gender analysis framework + participatory gender audit methodology

What is it?

A planning methodology aimed at the emancipation of women from their subordination and their achievement of equality, equity and empowerment.

What can it be used for?

·       Planning at all levels (e.g. project, policy, community, regional)

·       Examining policy assumptions.

What does it tell you?

·       Division of labour within the household and community.

·       Needs relating to male-female subordination.

·       Gender differences in access to and control over resources and decision-making.

·       Degree to which policies, programmes and projects address practical and strategic gender needs.

Complementary tools

24-hour calendar; Community resource map; Social mapping; Wealth ranking; livelihoods matrix; Participatory gender audits (see below).

Key elements


Establishing “gender planning” as a type of planning in its own right.

Incorporates three concepts: women’s triple role; practical and strategic gender needs; and policy approach categories.

Questions the assumption that planning is a technical task – gender planning is both technical and political; assumes conflict in planning process; involves transformative processes; and characterises planning as debate.


Data/ information

This tool generates data so the only requirement is data to identify sampling frame.


If integrated with ongoing participatory research, this tool can be applied in a single week, In cases where there is no significant qualitative work planned, a thorough exercise would involve two to three weeks of research.


Sociological or anthropological training is helpful, with an in-depth understanding of gender roles and relations in context.

Supporting software


Financial cost

When combined with other qualitative work, the incremental cost of gender analysis can be as low as $10,000. When no qualitative work is planned, costs can be up to $25,000.


Idea of “gender roles” can obscure notion of gender relationships (i.e. relationships between men and women)

Other forms of inequality (e.g. race, class, ethnicity) can be overlooked.

“Needs” language can make planning top-down and make local analysts appear as passive beneficiaries.

Can present a static picture which downplays the dynamism of intra-household relations (therefore needs to be used by skilled analysts)

References and applications

- Bolt, V. and K. Bird (2003) The Intra-household Disadvantages Framework: A Framework for the analysis of Intra-household Difference and Inequality. CPRC Working Paper No.32. Available at:

- International Labour Organisation (1998) A conceptual framework for gender analysis and planning. Available from:

- March, C., I. Smyth, M. Mukhopadhyay (1999) A Guide to Gender-Analysis Frameworks. Oxfam, Oxford.

- Moser, C. (2005) An Introduction to Gender Audit Methodology: Its design and implementation in DFID Malawi. ODI, London, UK


Moser framework: Procedure and examples


Possible approach


Step 1: Selecting local analysts


The sampling procedure used to select local analysts should reflect the needs of the research.


Step 2: Introductions and explanations


When interviewing local people to gather data, the researcher should begin by introducing themselves and explaining carefully and clearly the objectives of the research and the tool being used. Check that the local analyst understands and is comfortable with what is going to be discussed.


Step 3: Using the Moser framework


The framework consists of six tools:


Tool 1 – Gender roles identification / triple role


Using the three categories of reproductive, productive and community-management activities, map the gender division of labour by asking “who does what?” for activities in each. Using three categories helps highlight community management work that may often be ignored or overlooked in economic analysis. Use a matrix (Table 1) similar to the Activity Profile in the Harvard analytical framework but ensure that the three categories of productive, reproductive and community work are included.


Table 1. Activity profile example for the Moser framework










  - activity 1

  - activity 2, etc…

Income generation








Water related

Fuel related

Food preparation


Health related

Cleaning and repair

Market related






Community involvement

Attendance at meetings

Religious activities


Community activities






Adapted from: March, C., I. Smyth, M. Mukhopadhyay (1999)


Tool 2 – Gender needs analysis


Using the idea that women have different needs to men due to their triple role and their subordinate position in many societies, assess the needs of men and women using categories of practical and strategic needs.


Practical gender needs are those which, if met, help women with their current activities. They are a response to the immediate perceived necessities within a particular context and are usually of a practical nature (e.g. water provision, specific training or income earning opportunities to provide for the household). Their fulfilment, however, will not challenge existing gender divisions of labour or women’s subordinate position.


Strategic gender needs exist because of women’s subordinate social position and would, if met, enable women to transform imbalances of power between men and women. Strategic gender needs are context-specific but may include issues such as legal rights, education, equal wages or domestic violence.


A simple matrix, such as the following (Table 2), could be used to map out and record the practical and strategic needs.


Table 2. Example gender needs assessment matrix


Women’s practical gender needs

Women’s strategic gender needs

·          Access to seedlings

·          Firewood

·          Needs related to reforestation and forestry activities

·          Improved ovens

·          Marketing of rattan products

·          Specific training

·          Paid work

·          Collective organisation

·          Right to speak out

·          Skills in leadership and leadership positions in the project or community

·          Education

Source: March, C., I. Smyth, M. Mukhopadhyay (1999)


Tool 3 – Disaggregate control of resources and decision making within the household


Examine the differences in the control of and access to resources by asking “who controls what?”, “who decides what?”, and “how?” Examine the links between the allocation of resources within a household and bargaining processes. A matrix could be used to record the data similar to the Access and Control Profile used in the Harvard analytical tool (Table 3).


Table 3. Example of possible matrix for analysis of resource and decision-making control























Outside income

Assets ownership

Basic needs (food, clothing, shelter)


Political power/prestige






Source: March, C., I. Smyth, M. Mukhopadhyay (1999)


Tool 4 – Plan for balancing the triple role


Examine how a policy, programme or project will affect any of the roles women have. Ensure that all women’s work and responsibilities are considered – concentrating on one role will lead to unrealistic assumptions being made about the other roles. Ask how workloads might increase in any of the three roles. Will workload changes in one particular role affect women’s other roles? How will women balance their roles if a policy, programme or project is implemented? How will changes in policy in one sector affect women’s roles in other sectors?


Tool 5 – Evaluate intervention aims


This tool is used to consider how planning interventions transform the subordinate position of women. Examine to what degree they meet practical and/or strategic gender needs. Think about the approach that interventions might fall under.


Five approaches that have dominated development planning over the last few decades are identified in the framework:


  • Welfare (recognises women’s reproductive role and seeks to meet their practical gender needs through top-down handouts)
  • Equity (original WID approach – seeks to gain equity for women in the development process)
  • Anti-poverty (second WID approach – a toned down version of the equity approach)
  • Efficiency (third WID approach – preoccupation with ensuring development is more efficient and effective through women’s economic contribution)
  • Empowerment (most recent approach that seeks to empower women through greater self-reliance)


Policy approaches are not mutually exclusive and may overlap in practice.


The tool is mainly used to evaluate what approach has been used in a project, programme or policy. It can also, however, be used to evaluate future options. Ask how policies or programmes address gender issues. What approach is being adopted?


Tool 6 – Involve women, gender-aware organisations and planners in planning


Examine to what degree women and gender-aware organisations and individuals are involved in the planning process. Involving them to the maximum extent will ensure that women’s real practical and strategic gender needs are incorporated into the planning process. Examine how women gender-aware organisations and individuals can be directly involved at all stages, from analysis to implementation.


Step 4: Ending the process


Check again that the local analysts you have spoken with know what the information will be used for. Ask the analysts to reflect on the advantages, disadvantages and the analytical potential of the tool. Thank the local analysts for their time and effort.


Points to remember


The framework is aimed women’s achievement of equality, equity and empowerment.


Additional elements: Moser participatory gender audit methodology


Whilst the Moser gender analysis framework is primarily a “planning tool” aimed at establishing gender planning as a type of planning in its own right, a recent complementary methodology – a gender audit – aims to describe the impacts of gender mainstreaming in terms of three concepts: evaporation (where good policy intentions are not followed through in practice); “invisibilisation” (where monitoring and evaluation procedures do not document what is actually occurring in practice or ‘on the ground’); and resistance (when effective mechanisms prevent gender mainstreaming with opposition being political, and based on gender power relations, rather than on technocratic procedural constraints).


Participatory gender audits have increasingly become seen as important as awareness of the central role that organisational structure and culture play in the design and delivery of gender sensitive policies, programmes and project has increased. Gender audits emphasise the importance of examining systems and processes within institutions to measure the extent to which they live up to the shared values and objectives in terms of gender to which they are committed. They can be used to recommend appropriate policies, strategies and activities for institutions and organisations (taking into account national gender mainstreaming policies, strategies, institutional frameworks and activities); and to recommend practical ways to increase the gender equity focus of current and future programme policies, plans and activities so that they more effectively address disadvantaged women's strategic and practical needs and priorities. 


A gender audit comprises an external assessment of development objectives together with an internal organisational assessment. These, in combination, provide the contents of the audit document and their implementation involves a number of context specific methodological techniques or tools, which it is useful to establish before embarking on an audit. Whilst there is no specific methodology for conducting a gender audit, and local context and needs should guide the way it is undertaken, the following brief guidelines are suggestions for how an audit might be conducted.


The specific policy goal and associated strategies to promote gender equality against which gender issues are being evaluated need to be clarified, for instance through an examination of existing policy documents. Next, provide a context-specific working definition of a gender mainstreaming strategy by building on these documentary sources to translate the policy document and develop a working definition of gender mainstreaming. Identify appropriate quantitative or qualitative indicators against which progress in gender mainstreaming can be assessed.


A background review of gender issues undertaken by a gender expert from the audit country provides an important basis for a gender audit and an overview of relevant gender issues relating not only to gender relations but also the particular focus of the audit.


A wide range of interviews and focus groups discussions (e.g. to explore perceptions of mainstreaming and priority gender issues) should be undertaken at different stages throughout an audit and form its main component. A documentation review complements interviews and focus group discussions and can provide an important, detailed source of empirical information as well as a basis for triangulation with other data sources.


The qualitative desk review is complemented by further in-depth review, including through field visits which can provide a critical reality check, enhance the richness of the audit and also provide information that points to the limitations of, or contradicts, the written documentation reviewed. During field visits, consultations can be held with project or programme staff as well as primary stakeholders through interviews, focus group discussions and participant observation (e.g. at meetings and community-level gatherings).


Gendered cost-benefit analyses are useful in making the ‘business case’ for gender equality (as opposed to a welfare or human rights case) by calculating what the (extra) costs of an intervention are and what the savings are. Savings can then be compared with costs to get a net benefit (or net cost).


This external operational assessment can be complemented by an internal organisational self-assessment, which focuses on the management objectives of gender mainstreaming within an institution. Self-assessment questionnaires are the first of two components of the internal self-assessment and cover technical capacity (existing gender expertise, competence and capacity building in terms of gender mainstreaming in policies, programmes and projects) and institutional culture (institutional decision making and staff recommendations).


For analysing the data obtained a “gender audit scorecard” provides a useful overall methodological tool to briefly synthesise audit findings (see Table 4). The scorecard identifies different components and activities of an institution’s gender mainstreaming strategy (column one), identifies associated components and activities in greater detail (column two) and provides an assessment of their implementation in the gender audit context (column three).


Important methodological considerations I the process of conducting a gender audit include: clarifying definitions before starting an audit; developing a coherent conceptual framework; ensuring internal consistency between different methodological tools and their associated indicators required for different levels and stages of the audit; and recognising that the development of such methodological tools is an iterative process in which inductive results in the field are as important as predefined approaches and indicators.


Table 4 provides and illustration of a gender audit scorecard produced in a gender audit conducted between July to October 2004 to assess the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development Malawi office’s (DFIDM’s) policies, strategies and activities in terms of their implementation of DFID’s gender mainstreaming strategy. The gender audit was contextualised within the broader political, economic and social environment on gender issues in Malawi. This included the Malawian government’s Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP), its national gender policy and the associated institutional structure of its Ministry with lead responsibility, the Ministry of Gender, Child Welfare and Community Services (MOGCWCS). Its recommendations were intended to assist DFIDM in supporting the Government of Malawi (GoM) and civil society to achieve the country’s MDGs.


Table 4. Gender Audit Score Card


DFID Gender Strategy

Detailed GM Component

Assessment of implementation in DFIDM

Stated twin-track gender policy

Specific country gender strategy

DFIDM resists having a specific gender policy; it endorses gender equality and GM within its country strategy

1. GM strategy in country policy

Gender equality mainstreaming into DFID country strategy

Gender equality is mainstreamed into DFIDM’s country policy. Gender analysis is mainstreamed into poverty reduction focused CAP analysis; but GM evaporates in associated actions

2. GM strategy in sector programmes


a) PIM assessment of entire programme


b) All other components of GM strategy in 10 selected programmes


GM in Header sheet

(PIM marker)

Only 23% of current DFIDM programme have PIM markers so widely resisted or not identified as relevant (68 programmes), of which 75% are S

Gender specific objectives and  OVIs

Evaporation begins to occur with GA not mainstreamed into gender specific objectives (⅓), with more limited number of OVIs (especially those with quantitative targets)

Gender Analysis (GA): sex-disaggregated  data 

All programmes include gender analysis; in 50% this is extensive. Overall strongest component of GM strategy

Gender sensitive budget analysis

Virtually never included even when identified as priority in objectives

Gendered components identified in implementation

Mixed evidence but tendency to be invisibilised in DFID documents; more likely to be picked up in NGO annual reports and field visits

GM Training

Mixed results but not a prerequisite in all programmes

GM in OPRs (Effective systems for M & E)

Entirely evaporated with no mention of GM in ⅓ of programmes – resistance or lack of specificity in OPR TORs; other OPRs critical of GM relates more to invisibilisation in documents reviewed; frequently recommended as next stage priority

3. Specific activities aimed at empowering women

Strengthen gender equality in government, donors, and private sector

Technical support to strengthen institutional and operational capacity of the MoG in MOGCWCS drafting revised National Gender Programme. Weak status of ministry likely to result in resistance in its implementation; Donor harmonization through DAGG

Support to women’s participation in decision-making / empowerment

Specific ‘add-on’ components in some sector programmes particularly those with human rights approach, implemented by NGOs

Strengthening women’s organizations and NGOs through capacity building

Mainstreamed within general support to civil society and also division of responsibility within DAGG

Working with men for gender equality

Specific ‘add-on’ component in sector programmes particularly those working on HIV/AIDS

4. Internal institutional responsibility and associated capacity

building and budgetary resources


Responsibilities shared between all staff and gender specialists

No gender specialists although SDA take primary responsibility. Skilled advisors very successfully include GM in their programming

Internal capacity to implement GM by staff

Less than ⅓ are technically very knowledgeable on GM; less than 1 in 5 aware DFID has GM strategy

Manuals, toolkits

Available from DFID London but virtually none had consulted

Internal capacity strengthening

No ongoing GM capacity building in Malawi but high demand

Counterpart gender training


Allocation of financial resources for staff for GM


Source: Moser, 2005



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Poverty Analysis Monitoring Team, DFID and Social Development Department, World Bank

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