Grantmaking with a Gender Lens

In this guide, grantmakers and grantees describe the experience of using a "gender lens" in their work. They explain what gender analysis is and isn't - and why it can help shape more effective programs and organizations. The guide also takes a closer look at how gender analysis has led to new thinking in fields as diverse as public health, international development, juvenile justice, and youth services. And it offers additional insights and special advice on issues ranging from "What about Men and Boys" to "Uncovering Gender Assumptions."

Highlights

  • Bringing a gender analysis to your grantmaking
  • Understanding how it can help grantees to be more effective
  • Applying it in your own organization

What's in the Guide?

  • Understanding What Gender Analysis Is and Isn't: "Gender" doesn't mean "not men," and "gender analysis" is more than a way of thinking about programs for women and girls. By uncovering assumptions about gender, grantmakers have found hidden opportunities, framed more insightful questions, and explored the possibility of new programs and organizations that work better for women and girls and men and boys.
  • Using It with Grantees: At its best, gender analysis is a tool for promoting curiosity, which in turn can help people improve the effectiveness of programs and institutions. In this section, grantmakers offer their advice on how to foster inquiry by asking the right questions at the right time, encouraging experimentation, and supporting learning.
  • Applying It in Your Own Organization: Gender analysis works best when it's on the agenda for the whole foundation. Grantmakers suggest a number of ways to get colleagues thinking about gender. The key, they say, is to emphasize connections between gender analysis and the values and principles of your organization.
  • takeaways
    Applying it in Your Own Organization: Making a Gender Lens Visible

    How does a grantmaking institution communicate its commitment to gender analysis — and to diversity and equity, more broadly — to the public and to potential grantees? Where do those commitments manifest themselves?

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  • takeaways
    Gender Analysis Tools

    Some foundations use standard gender analysis tools to assist their grantmakers and grantees in the field. Here are two common types, the interview protocol and the diversity table:

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  • takeaways
    Using it With Grantees: Gender Analysis in Grantmaking (Organizations)

    Think “compatibility,” not “compliance.” Grantmakers concerned about their grantees’ diversity expressed a dilemma. On the one hand, they believe their foundations are not only entitled to their values but have a right to look for grantees who share them. On the other hand, they are reluctant to interfere in and sit in judgment on the values of grant seekers. “We have aspirations,” commented one grantmaker, “but we’re not trying to manipulate people. We want them to share our values.”

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    Gender Analysis in Grantmaking: Support Learning and Experimentation

    Support wider learning and experimentation. Sometimes grantmakers encourage experimentation among a number of grantees — at a field level.

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    Gender Analysis in Grantmaking: Using Effectiveness Questions

    Use “effectiveness questions” to uncover gender assumptions. Typical questions include:

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    Gender Analysis in Grantmaking: Reflection

    During discussions with grantees, encourage curiosity. The biggest resource for helping grantees improve programs isn’t a grantmaker’s knowledge — it’s a grantee’s curiosity. Uncovering the gender implications of a program, and then figuring out how to respond to them, are creative acts.

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  • takeaways
    Gender Analysis in Grantmaking: It’s Still Relevant!

    Grantees may not see the connection between effectiveness and gender.

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    Gender: What It Isn’t, and What It Doesn’t Do

    Gender analysis does not explain everything. “There’s no such thing as a generic woman,” points out one grantmaker. Social position is not only about gender. Class, race or ethnicity — and sometimes sexual orientation, religious affiliation, caste, and clan — matter, too. Grantmakers who use gender analysis also tend to weigh other features of social position and need.

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  • takeaways
    Gender: What It Is, and What It Does

    Gender is social not biological. The term “gender” is used to refer to the social positions of men and women and our assumptions about who they are. Those social differences themselves differ from society to society, place to place, and time to time...The point of gender analysis is to identify and anticipate differences, explore their significance, and respond to them.

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  • takeaways
    Introduction: Grantmaking with a Gender Lens

    Many grantmakers have accepted a simple proposition: In virtually all societies, men and women have different social positions. Their different roles and upbringings give men and women different skills, opportunities, and resources — and, usually, different amounts of power.

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This guide is written primarily as a resource for individual grantmakers in their own work. It may also be helpful in encouraging learning and dialogue about the use of gender analysis with:

  • Colleagues at your foundation. Use the guide in staff development or retreat sessions as a framework for comparing experiences and developing grantmaking strategies.
  • Colleagues in your network or affinity group. Use the guide as a starting point to explore how gender analysis can help advance your shared goals.
  • Trustees in your foundation. A board of directors may want to use the guide to explore the place of gender analysis in the foundation's strategy and decisionmaking

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