The gender is at the center in our new Strategic Business Plan (SBP) 2017 to 2020. In terms of gender, the main shift in the strategic period is gender mainstreaming to gender transformation.
The gender transformation process dedicates to rigorous gender analysis on capacity enhancement, institutional strengthen, research and development of gender responsive policies through meaningful participation of women and men. The transformative change process goes beyond identifying and exploring the symptoms of gender equality, socially constructed norms, attitudes, and relations of power that underline the cause of limitation of men and women.
In context of Nepal, women are confined to the domestic spheres mostly in rural areas due to socially embedded and culturally accepted gender roles and responsibilities. So, this process examines the questions and seeks to change the rigid gender norms that causes power imbalances by encouraging critical awareness. The change process of gender transformation mainly focuses to unfold the causes and consequences of existing gender values and addresses them accordingly. This change process further encourages the society to promote the position of women by challenging the unequal distribution of resources and allocation regarding the power relationships. There are four different pillars for gender transformative change, they are:
The first and foremost area that needs to be focused is capacity of women’s leadership. It helps to respond to the need and requirement of an organisation’s future strategy. The development of new policies and strengthening of existing policies from gender perspectives support women in leadership and decision making positions. Such policies support including the socially excluded, economically poor, and vulnerable in terms of disaster risk reduction and those deprived of access to information and resources. It further encourages partnering with like-minded government, non-government organisations and civil societies, additionally, the research on GESI helps to provide evidence for the areas of concentration to bring the gender transformation change in an organisation.
In context of Practical Action, Nepal office, there are two areas that need to focus. They are;
- Capacity strengthening and women’s leadership
- Focus on Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) through project activities
- Capacity building on Gender Responsive Budgeting (GRB) of staff and partners
- Initiate the Gender Audit through our existing projects
- Inclusive policies and partnerships
- Focus to implement of existing policies and development of new policies/ guidelines if required
- Partnership with like minded organizations to contribute on GESI areas in the implementation level
This comprehensive understanding of empowerment requires, not only the increase of women’s individual agency, but also changes to transform the structural barriers in order to shift social and cultural norms. This can be measured by examining three broad domains of transformative changes on empowerment, they are:
Agencies: Individual and institutional knowledge, skills and abilities
Relations: Complex and multi-dimensional and pervasive relationships to analyse through diversified tools and techniques
Structures: Power relationships governing collective, individual and institutional practices
These dimensions help re-frame the discourse of empower to focus on women’s individual agency to collect responsibilities and actions.
Overall, the gender transformative change impacts on institutional and individual level through gender inclusive policies keeping the women in front line positions in development interventions. This leads to rights of women along with gender related expectations. Eventually, it provides insights for gender transformative actions at organisation and programme implementation levels. Gender is so central to our new strategy. So, considering our organizational priorities, gender tansformative change is one of them.