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What is Bringing Gender In?

Nau mai, haere mai, welcome.

Bringing Gender In is a tool to help you explore the gender impacts of your policy as you move through the policy process. Bringing Gender In prompts your thinking with key questions and provides examples and links to useful data and other relevant material.

More about the tool

Bringing Gender In, the gender analysis tool:

  • draws on theoretical models and similar analysis tools to establish key steps of the policy process (commissioning, defining the problem, establishing options, engagement, implementation and monitoring and evaluation)
  • was developed with the policy community and with the support of the Policy Project
  • takes you through the key steps of most policy processes without being overly prescriptive. Every policy process is different and you don’t need to follow the steps in order
  • draws off international good practice in gender analysis, adapted to New Zealand’s unique situation with relevant data and examples
  • updates the former tool, The full picture guidelines for gender analysis/Te tirohanga whanui, published by the Ministry for Women in 1996.

Why use Bringing Gender in?

Gender analysis is a key part of quality policy analysis. As policy analysts, we all need to better understand how policy affects the diversity of populations, including who is benefited and who is excluded from policy priorities.

The purpose of gender analysis is to achieve positive change for women (and men and people who identify as gender diverse), and therefore, for communities and the economy more widely. While there has been progress in many areas, gender still systematically affects people’s social and economic wellbeing in many ways along with age, ethnicity, disability, and other factors. Policies do not benefit everybody equally, and this needs to be identified and mitigated against. Questions in this tool are specifically designed to allow you to do this.

More info on gender and gender analysis

Gender refers to socially constructed roles and responsibilities (historically in most societies between women and men). It can be defined as more than biological differences between men and women. It includes the ways in which those differences, whether real or perceived, have been valued, used and relied upon to classify women and men and to assign roles and expectations to them. Sex, on the other hand, commonly refers to biological differences (again traditionally between women and men).

Gender analysis traditionally identifies differences in the social situations of women and men to take these differences into account when designing policies or programmes. While there is an emphasis on women in this tool that reflects the long-standing inequalities experienced by many women, gender analysis is also applicable to men and gender diverse people.

Gender analysis allows for equity, rather than simply formal equality. Gender equality is based on the premise that women and men should be treated in the same way. This fails to recognise that equal treatment may not provide equitable results, because women and men have different life experiences and constraints. Gender equity takes into consideration the differences in women's and men's lives and recognises that different approaches may be needed to produce outcomes that are equitable. In practice, the terms ‘gender equality’ and ‘gender equity’ are often used interchangeably.

Women (and men) are not a homogenous group and there are other identity factors that should be considered along with gender. Understanding the issues for and views of wāhine Māori (Māori women) is particularly important given the Crown’s Treaty of Waitangi obligations and persistent outcome inequities. But there are many other ways that women differ from each other, whether by ethnicity, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, age, disability, their family responsibilities, or where they live. This tool talks about ‘groups of women’ rather than all women.

More info on identity factors

Some groups of women face compounded issues and discrimination. For example, a disabled woman living rurally faces three intersecting forms of discrimination. Wāhine Māori seeking work in a ‘non-traditional’ industry for women can feel invisible as a woman and as Māori [link to Increasing Māori and Pacific women’s participation in trades training].

Other useful tools or frameworks to help consider compounding issues include:

The Policy Project’s ‘Policy Quality Framework

Te Puni Kōkiri’s whanau-centred policy development tool [link to come]

The Office for Māori Crown Relations – Te Arawhiti have Guidelines for engagement with Māori

The Ministry for Pacific Peoples’ Kapasa Pacific policy analysis tool

The Health Equity Assessment Tool (HEAT), developed by the Ministry of Health, helps users to tackle health inequalities when making health decisions.

The Ministry of Social Development has developed a Child Impact Assessment (CIA) Tool to help assess whether policy proposals will improve the wellbeing of children and young people.

The Ministry of Primary Industries has developed guidance to help policy makers 'rural proof' their policy during development and implementation.

How to use Bringing Gender In

Bringing Gender In prompts thinking with key questions across seven steps. You don't need to follow the steps in any particular order.

When working through the questions, you can either download a working Word document to enter your thinking on your home device, or you can enter their thinking onscreen to then download to your home device. No other party receives a copy or notification of, any information entered into the tool online.

I’m not sure about using this tool

You may have the following questions or thoughts about building gender analysis into your policy process:

“I’d really like to include gender, but I have other priorities I need to achieve…”

Gender analysis aligns with government priorities

The Coalition Government’s long-term plan involves:

  1. an economy that is growing and working for all of us
  2. improving the wellbeing of New Zealanders and their families
  3. making New Zealand proud.

Gender analysis helps contribute to all three of these priorities.

Gender equality is a human right and gender analysis assists with international obligations

Gender analysis assists the Government to meet New Zealand's obligations under international conventions and agreements. New Zealand is party to various international agreements that advance women’s rights, in particular the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and the Sustainable Development Goals, Agenda 2030. Government agencies have a responsibility to ensure the development of domestic policy is consistent with New Zealand’s international responsibilities in relation to the status of women. This tool can help facilitate domestic policy development in line with these responsibilities.

Gender implications are a requirement for Social Wellbeing Comittee papers

Gender implication statements are a requirement of Cabinet papers submitted to the Cabinet Social Wellbeing Committee (SWC) . The CabGuide notes: Gender analysis assists decision making by examining how Gender differences are affected by government action, and communicating that information to decision makers. A gender implication statement is required for all papers submitted to the Cabinet Social Wellbeing Committee.

The gender implication statement should say whether gender analysis has been undertaken, and if not, why not. The length of the statement will vary according to the complexity of the proposed policy, the number of alternatives considered, and the extent of the costs and benefits.

“I don’t have enough time to do a good job…”

Lack of time is a common concern. At a minimum, we recommend an hour to examine the questions in Step 2 and frame up your answers to those questions. Ideally, we recommend taking approximately an hour for each step in terms of thinking and exploration, for a total of around seven hours. More time may be required to incorporate your insights into action (e.g. engaging with women or implementing your policies in different ways).

We recommend you read through the tool when you do have time, in order to be better prepared for future policy projects.

“I can’t see how gender is relevant to the policy issue I’m working on…”

All government policies and programs affect people. While gender and diversity issues may be more obvious in some areas, such as education and health, and less obvious in others, such as transport, natural resource management and defence, this doesn’t mean that gender is not relevant. Investigation is needed before deciding that gender implications don’t exist or aren’t significant.

Some people believe that gender analysis isn’t required, as gender equity has been achieved in Aotearoa New Zealand. This is far from the case. Although New Zealand girls and women are doing very well in some areas, they still do not have equal opportunity in earnings or leadership and suffer some of the worst violence rates out of comparable countries. Wāhine Māori and Pacific women still experience worse outcomes than either men or other women in many different areas.

Men also gain from greater gender equity. Recent research points to advantages for men from improvements to their own personal wellbeing, better relationships with women, better friendships, greater involvement in parenting and from better workplaces and communities.

Further background reading about gender

Here are some suggested links for further exploration:

I'm ready to start

Great! There are seven steps to Bringing Gender In.

You can download a worksheet at the bottom of each step to help you work through your analysis. It contains all of the questions for that step.