Policies and Laws
Gender is a socially constructed concept which attributes specific roles, attributes, behaviours and activities that a particular society considers appropriate for men and women. Gender is different from the term ‘sex’ which is a biological feature.
Gender Equity is the process by which planning, implementation and strategies are designed while acknowledging that social and historical disadvantages prevent women and men from otherwise operating on a level playing field. It is a measure that leads to gender equality.
Gender equality, equality between men and women, entails the concept that all human beings, both men and women, are free to develop their personal abilities and make choices without the limitations set by stereotypes, rigid gender roles and prejudices. Gender equality means that the different behaviour, aspirations and needs of women and men are considered, valued and favoured equally. It does not mean that women and men have to become the same, but that their rights, responsibilities and opportunities will not depend on whether they are born male or female1.
The Gender related Development Index is one of five indicators used by the United Nations Development Programme in its annual Human Development Report to illustrate the inequalities between men and women in specific areas which are; long and healthy life (life expectancy), knowledge (education) and a decent standard of living (income).
The Gender Empowerment Measure analyses inequalities in three major areas; political participation and decision making, economic participation and decision making and control over economic resources. Through these standards it measures inequalities between men and women’s opportunities in a country.
Gender mainstreaming is the process of assessing the different impact of any planned activity, policy and legislation, action or programme on men and women separately. This approach to any activity ensures that a pluralistic approach is used to take into consideration the reality that the experiences of men and women are diverse. It takes this understanding into the creation of policy, legislation and programmes and seeks to benefit women and men in an equitable manner.
Gender audits analyse the income and expenditures of the government from a gender perspective. The basic assumption of gender audits is that public policy impacts differently on men and women. The purpose of gender audits is to lead to changes in public policy that contribute to an increase in gender equality.
Human development index is a comparative measure to understand the level of well-being of people in different nations. It is based on indices of life expectancy, literacy, education and standards of living, worldwide. It is also the measure that is used to distinguish if a country is under-developed, developing or developed.