Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services

Gender analysis

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.

What is gender analysis?

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.

Why is gender analysis necessary?

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
  • 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:

  • Queensland women are almost four times more likely than males to be killed by a partner, and were 79.4 per cent of total victims of intimate partner relationship homicides between 2006 and 2013. Find out more about domestic and family violence and how to get help.
  • In 2011 in Queensland, 85.1% of one-parent families with children under 15 years were headed by mothers.
  • Women have a labour force participation rate of 59.9 per cent in April 2015, compared with 70.8 per cent for men. Despite improvements over the past decade, women still only make up 23 per cent of members on ASX 200 boards in September 2016. Find out more about joining a government board or committee.

The Office for Women's statistical publication, Queensland Women 2015, provides further information on where and how inequity continues to impact on women.

What can be achieved with gender analysis?

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.

Gender Analysis Toolkit

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.

Download the Gender Analysis Toolkit.

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