Gender analysis for sustainable livelihoods frameworks, tools and links to other sources

Gender analysis for sustainable livelihoods frameworks, tools and links to other sources

Gender analysis from a livelihoods perspective

Are the livelihoods of women and men always the same? Do differences in gender roles mean that livelihoods interventions have different effects upon women than they do on men? How can sex disaggregated data and gender based analysis help guide livelihoods approaches in reaching all members of the community? This paper provides a concise tool for guiding the practitioner in the use of gender analysis for livelihoods approaches.

Gender analysis helps to understand the cultural realities of women and men, girls and boys, whose lives are impacted by planned development. If gender identities are culturally ‘constructed’ then so too are gender inequalities. Often these cultural gender constructions are highly political at the everyday level of people’s lives and affect their ability to participate in processes of economic development. A focus on participation affords better understanding of the different ways in which men and women do, or do not, benefit from particular livelihoods interventions. Chiefly, gender analysis seeks to understand: 


  • gender roles, i.e. ideas around what men should do and what women should be
  • what do these gender roles mean in terms of productive and reproductive work, i.e. who has responsibility for care of children, or who must do certain work in agricultural production?
  • how do gender roles affect who has authority to make decisions surrounding access and control over resources?
  • what are the distinct needs of women and men, given their current roles, or, if those roles were to undergo a fundamental transformation within society as a whole?

The briefing paper provides examples of three tables that provide different kinds of gender analysis frameworks:

  • a framework by DFID’s infrastructure department is designed to guide gender analysis at the primary stakeholder/community level
  • a framework provided by DANIDA is based on the understanding that it’s important to analyse gender aspects of policy and institutional arrangements and that these are supportive of livelihoods approaches for poor people
  • the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) provide a framework which shows how participatory (PRA) tools could be adapted for gender analysis, useful in eliciting qualitative data that can be used for planning or for influencing policy.

A final brief case study illustrates how participatory methods highlight important differences between men and women in terms of perceptions of wellbeing, therefore also in terms of their different livelihood needs. Integrating gender analysis in livelihoods planning helps identify the different needs of women and men, thus helping them achieve more sustainable livelihood strategies.

  1. How good is this research?

    Assessing the quality of research can be a tricky business. This blog from our editor offers some tools and tips.