Gender Framework and Impact

This section looks at both running community legal empowerment programs using a gender framework, and at the gender impact your programs can have. As reiterated throughout this Toolkit, all aspects of your work should be undertaken with consideration of gender implications. This should be reflected in the way you deal with clients and communities, in your strategic planning, in your evaluation of projects, in your communications, recruitment, support and all other activities.

This section will briefly cover the specific aspects of a gender framework that is related to community outreach and look at the gender-related impact such programs are able to achieve. Each section on community legal empowerment strategies contains a gender framework section as well, with specific considerations to keep in mind for each activity.

Gender framework and community outreach

  • Be considerate of the culture you are operating in. Whilst you will want to talk to refugee women and girls, you may have to navigate patriarchal structures (community elders and representatives) in order to gain access and trust of women.
  • When assessing the needs of a community, analyze the needs of men, women, boys and girls separately. Speak to each demographic to understand the dynamics, needs and aspirations within the community.
  • If you have reason to believe that women may be less likely to speak up about their needs in group session, structure needs assessments in a way that allows for segregated conversations.
  • Pay attention to the intersections of identity. If you are additionally analyzing the needs of other vulnerable groups (youth, disabled, LGBTI) disaggregate findings by gender and age.
  • Explicitly ask as many members of your community as possible to identify gender-specific factors which may make your proposed route forward (e.g. with Community Action Plans) less effective (e.g. pregnancy, harassment in public spaces, availability of child care, etc.)
  • Pay attention in certain contexts to the marginalization and invisibilization of women. If you call a refugee community to a needs assessment meeting at certain times of day, or in certain public spaces, will this discourage women’s attendance?
  • Does your evaluation methodology take into account different gender-perspectives and needs?

Gender-impact of community legal empowerment

  • You should always aim to have a positive gender impact in all aspects of your work.
  • In terms of CLE, this should mean working with women and men to overcome prejudice, discrimination, misconceptions, misogyny, machismo, marginalization of women and girls, and so on.
  • Seek to empower female leaders in your community processes.
  • Actively recruit female Community Advocates, Legal Advisers and interpreters.
  • Mainstream gender issues into all your trainings and workshops.
  • Run workshops on women’s rights with both men and women.
  • Promote gender aware language among the community and with institutions you work with.
  • Take great care to listen to gender-specific concerns in the community and structure your programs and action plans around these (e.g. men may not express difficulties in accessing land rights whilst women do; nationality or citizenship is in many countries passed down by the father, creating inequalities and even statelessness.)
  • Train your community liaisons (advocates and legal advisers) to deal with sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) and gender-discrimination cases, so that they are responsive and voice claims from within the community, promoting the internalization of gender justice.
  • Acknowledge and respond to the different experiences of men and women when delivering work rights trainings. Women and men often work in gendered professions (e.g. survival sex workers, domestic workers, flower pickers vs. manual laborers, drivers, etc) and these will have greatly different implications when putting work rights claims into practice. Some professions are more exploitative than others, and the fact that they predominantly employ a certain demographic will make that group of people more vulnerable to exploitation.
  • Make sure you include gender-related topics in your warm-up activities and icebreakers, to get people thinking about gender from the start.