Think of a gender lens as putting on spectacles. Out of one lens of the spectacles, you see the participation, needs and realities of women. Out of the other lens, you see the participation, needs and realities of men. Your sight or vision is the combination of what each eye sees.
Gender is about relationships between men and women. Gender equality is about equal valuing of women and men - of their similarities and their differences. We need equal, respectful partnerships between men and women to have happy, healthy families and communities in the same way that we need both eyes to see best.
A gender lens can be many things. A form of gender lens that is gaining popularity is a tool that governments and NGOs can use in their regular operations. (e.g. A gender lens for training programs would be used every time you develop training. A gender lens for planning could be used for developing each annual work plan. A gender lens for research and surveying can be routinely used in data collection.)
This operational gender lens often has these characteristics:
It is a list of questions, a checklist or a list of criteria.
It is routinely used (see above examples).
It is created in a participatory manner by those who will use it.
It is recorded in words or in pictures where literacy is low.
At least two copies are always kept in the same place in your organization’s files so people can find the gender lens to use it.
The key people who do planning & program development are given copies of the gender lens and orientation in why and how to use it. (e.g. senior management staff and planners, pertinent stakeholders).
A gender lens usually contains less than 10 points.
Each point focuses on the distinct realities of men and women.
Where appropriate, the distinct realities of girls and boys are included.
Many gender lenses include: planning, implementing, monitoring and evaluating. Other gender lenses focus...