3.5.1 Gender equality indicators

A ‘gender-responsive’, ‘gender-sensitive’ or ‘gender-related’ indicator measures changes relating to gender equality over time (Demetriades, 2009). Gender equality indicators can be quantitative, based on sex disaggregated statistical data or they may be qualitative, for example attitudinal changes to gender equality. Examples of quantitative indicators are male and female wage rates or school enrolment rates for girls and boys. Qualitative indicators might include an assessment of women’s experiences of lack of sanitation facilities, or men’s and women’s views on the causes and consequences of domestic violence.

  • What are ‘sex disaggregated data’?

  • Sex disaggregated data are data that are collected and recorded separately for male and female members of a population.

All indicators should be disaggregated by sex wherever possible so that the different experiences of men and women can be known. However, data for gender-related indicators are not readily available (Haile, 2014). Beyene (2015) provides a national assessment of participation of women and girls in the ‘knowledge society’ in Ethiopia. Her study collates quantitative and qualitative data from many sources about variables such as women’s health status, social and economic status, women’s access to resources, access to opportunities, level of political participation and access to science and technology education, among many others. However, for several of the topics Beyene comments that sex disaggregated data is scarce. As we have noted earlier, very little information is available that is disaggregated by both sex and disability even though the experiences of disabled men and women are different.

How can this situation be changed? In accordance with the general policy of gender mainstreaming, gender-related indicators can be incorporated into any policy, programme or project. The National Guidelines (MoWA, 2010) include recommendations for monitoring and evaluating gender mainstreaming for policies, organisations and programmes. Table 3.1 shows a small extract from these guidelines for the activity stage at programme/project level.

Table 3.1 Extract from the National Guidelines for Gender Mainstreaming (MoWA, 2010, p. 56).
Does the activity planning phase involve both women and men?Proportion of women and men involved in planning phase
Are there specific activities included to ensure gender equality and women’s empowerment (GEWE)?Specific activities planned to ensure GEWE
Are the planned activities considering the household workloads of women?Women's workloads considered in the planned activities
Are the planned activities data sex disaggregated?Sex disaggregated data incorporated in the planned activities
Do the programme/project implementers receive gender-mainstreaming training so that a gender perspective is sustained throughout the implementations process?Type and number of gender mainstreaming trainings given to implementers
Do women and men from the community participate equally in the implementation?Number and proportion of women and men participated from the community

In WASH, the One WASH National Programme has two gender-related indicators within its results framework that are assessments of the proportion of women on WASHCOs/Hygiene and Sanitation Community Groups and on Water Boards (committees with responsibility for water utilities). In both cases, the indicator is the percentage of committees with 50% of their members being women in decision-making positions (FDRE, 2013).

There are quantitative and qualitative elements to these indicators. The quantitative element is to find out how many committees have women as at least half of their membership. But it is more difficult to assess their role and position. Researchers could ask questions such as ‘what percentage of committee chairpersons are women?’ or ‘what percentage of WASHCOs have all leadership positions filled by women?’ But these questions would not assess the level of participation by all the women members. This is where qualitative indicators can help to show whether women’s participation is just a gesture or is active and meaningful (RWSN, 2016). One approach to improving the monitoring of gender in WASH could be to create more detailed checklists, developed from lists similar to the extract in Table 3.1, but with questions specific to WASH and with qualitative as well as quantitative indicators.

3.5 Monitoring gender equality and women’s empowerment in WASH

Summary of Study Session 3