One of the central roles of the Office for Women is to assist Queensland Government agencies to develop and implement policies and programs that provide equitable outcomes for women and men. Gender analysis is the methodology used to develop and deliver strategies that address the needs of Queensland women.
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Gender analysis is a set of processes used to assess and deepen understanding about:
- the differences in the lives of women and men
- their participation in social and economic life
- the differential impacts on their lives of policies, programs and services.
The aim of gender analysis is to redress inequalities and inequities.
Gender analysis is a practical tool that can be applied to any policy or program. It provides a framework that can be used in any organisation to identify how a policy or program may impact on men and women.
Gender analysis assists with the development of actions to ensure that both women and men benefit from an activity, event or policy. It is broad enough to capture large scale impacts, and sensitive enough to pick up on how particular community members, such as single mothers or older women, may be affected.
Women's social, economic and political roles, responsibilities and influence have progressed markedly in recent history. A number of gains have been made by and for women.
For example women in Australia:
- no longer have to resign from their jobs in the public service or teaching when they get married
- have more choice about when, and if, they will have children
- have laws to protect them from sexual harassment, discrimination and abuse
- have the right to equal pay for work of equal value
- will soon have access to universal paid parental leave.
However, a number of areas in which women remain under-represented or experience disadvantage continue to exist. Some have remained unchanged over many years, for example high levels of domestic, family and sexual violence. Others have emerged as gender roles have changed, for example the challenges faced by women in leadership positions. These areas of under-representation or disadvantage can affect women's personal relationships, working lives, long-term economic security and overall health and wellbeing.
The following statistics provide just three examples of remaining areas of difference between women and men:
- Research suggests that Indigenous women living in rural and remote areas of Australia are 45 times more likely to be a victim of domestic violence than the non-Indigenous population. Around 50% of hospitalisations for Indigenous females were linked to family violence in 2003-04. It is estimated that 82% of these violence-related hospitalisations resulted from partner violence. For further information on partner violence visit the Domestic and Family Violence site.
- In 2006 in Australia, 87% of one-parent families with children under 15 years were headed by mothers. In 2005-06 approximately 593,000 people receiving Parenting Payments were women, making up 93% of all Parenting Payments (single) recipients, and 73% of all Parenting Payments. Nationally, it is estimated that 19.1% of sole parent families live in poverty.
- While the number of board positions in ASX200 companies increased from 1,487 to 1,505 between 2006 and 2008, the number of positions held by women decreased from 129 to 125 (or from 8.7% to 8.3% of all board positions). Only 11.0% of all board committee chairs are women. For further information visit Women on Boards.
The Office for Women's online publication, Profile: Queensland Women 2009, provides further information on where and how inequity continues to impact on women.
Organisations can use gender analysis to:
- ensure maximum participation by women and therefore increase benefits to society from women's skills
- better target policies, programs and services, ensuring that their desired outcomes are met
- support gender diversity. A strong positive association between women leaders and economic and social performance has been shown in several recent national and international studies. Business outcomes include improved marketing strategies, new product development and a broader clientele
- broaden the focus of economic analysis to inspire different questions to be asked and issues raised. For example, the issue of more women than men being in lower paid or unpaid work can be examined in terms of structural barriers that may limit women's opportunities for participation in the labour market
- analyse the equity of policy, program and service outcomes.
Applying gender analysis will ensure that the needs of both women and men are addressed, which in turn leads to better social and economic outcomes. These outcomes are good for individuals, communities, businesses and governments.
For example, ensuring that more women are able to participate in the workforce will:
- help individual women secure economic independence
- benefit the communities in which women are active participants
- benefit the economy through increased income tax revenue
- potentially minimise women's reliance on government support mechanisms.
Gender analysis takes diversity into account and can be used to identify impacts on specific groups such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, culturally and linguistically diverse groups of women and women with disabilities.
The Office for Women has developed a Gender Analysis Toolkit that can be used in any workplace to assist with policy or program development, implementation and evaluation.
It provides a step-by-step overview of how to conduct gender analysis, from the first stage (in which issues are identified), to implementation, monitoring and review. The Gender Analysis Toolkit includes background information, practical exercises, and links to further information.
The use of gender analysis is recognised as good practice both within Australia and internationally. Further information and other resources about gender analysis are available from: