Once that is clearly understood and followed other things all fall into place. But working out the details of how that understanding can be maintained and mainstreamed in complex realities of development practice and policy requires experience, commitment and a lot of patience.

Gender Justice or Gender Equity

The condition of fairness and equality of opportunity whereby gender is no longer a basis for discrimination and inequality of outcomes between people.

In a gender just society both women and men enjoy equal status, rights, levels of responsibility, and access to power and resources. This enables them to make their own informed, realisable and free life choices.

Gender Difference

Those differences between women and men which are freely chosen and value-neutral.

Most ‘differences’ between men and women however, even where they may involve an element of choice (e.g. what to wear) are nevertheless embedded in structures of gender inequality. These generally ascribe lower value to women’s choices and perpetuate unequal access to power and resources.

Gender Equality

Elimination of those differences which ascribe lower value to women’s choices and perpetuate unequal power and resources.

Also refers to those more limited areas where men’s choices and access to power and resources are limited.

A distinction is often made between equality of opportunity and equality of outcome to allow for the possibility that women and men may freely make different life choices.

Women’s Empowerment

The process through which women, who are currently most discriminated against, achieve gender equity.

This will include support for men to change those aspects of their behaviour, roles and privileges which currently discriminate against women.

The extent of current disadvantage and inequality means that women’s empowerment may require support by development agencies at household, community and macro levels.

For more on empowerment concepts Click here

Gender Transformation

Where women and men are both able to realise their full potential as economic, social and political actors, free from all gender discrimination, for empowerment of themselves, their families, their communities and global humankind. This includes affirmative action for women, and support for men to change those aspects of their behaviour, roles and privileges that currently discriminate against women. It is likely to include different types of support for women from different backgrounds depending on other dimensions of disadvantage, and at different levels.


Gender is a social construct and can be changed:

  • Biological sex differences are very few and are unimportant in terms of determining gender inequality.
  • Gender inequalities are socially determined
  • As social constructs gender inequalities can be changed

Gender means both women and men:

  • Discrimination based on gender affects both women and men adversely.
  • Addressing gender inequality to redress discrimination against both women and men requires actions by both women and men to challenge their existing attitudes, privilege and practice.
  • Nevertheless in the current situation gender inequality affects women moreadversely than men.
  • This justifies prioritizing attention to those inequalities which affect women.


The GAMEchange Gender Justice framework combines two levels of analysis and action:

Participatory Visioning and Road Journeys:

Women and men at all levels: individual, household, community and organisational level do their own visioning and planning to achieve these visions. This is within an overall context of discussion about gender justice where peer pressure tends to reinforce certain messages and discourage certain other types of behaviour. This is done through using GALS visionning and followed by complementary diagram tools serve to deepen the gender analysis over time.

Meta-framework of women’s rights and CEDAW:

The CEDAW framework forms the basis of the organisational vision and informs which sorts of actions and strategies emerging from the participatory process are supported. Those actions and trends which reinforce CEDAW eg changes in women’s property rights, decision-making etc are erinforced. Those which infringe on women’s rights eg increased male control of decision-making, expenditure on alcoholism or prostitution etc are discouraged.

The CEDAW framework is used rather than other gender frameworks because it is very concrete and the CEDAW convention has been signed by most governments of countries where gender processes are being implemented. This means that gender cannot be dismissed as an external imposition.

In GAMEchange processes so far there has been little difference between the visions at community-level and CEDAW, even in the very first workshops. It has been observed that organisational staff are often more conservative than women and men in communities using the GALS tools.