An Introduction to Gender Audit Methodology

Caroline Moser
Caroline Moser Former Brookings Expert

May 1, 2005


Evaluation methodology specifically designed to assess the implementation of gender policies, strategies, programmes and projects has developed rapidly during the past decade. This has been of particular importance to the broad range of institutions that have implemented initiatives to achieve the Beijing Platform for Action (PfA) objectives of gender equality and the empowerment of women. These include donor agencies, government departments and civil society organisations.

This working paper outlines the main components of a recently developed gender audit methodology. Its purpose is to provide a background paper for those seeking to undertake gender audits, as well as to show the uses of gender audits within the broader development field of meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The paper was commissioned by the Evaluation Department of the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and is intended for staff working in London-based policy divisions and in field-based offices. Hopefully, it will also be useful beyond DFID, for others in development-focused organisations also grappling with the methodological complexities of auditing or evaluating gender mainstreaming in their organisations.

The working paper consists of the following five sections:

 Section 1 introduces the objectives of a gender audit and provides a brief background to the origins of this working paper.
 Section 2 introduces gender audits in terms of critical issues relating to definitions and approaches to gender evaluation and gender audits.
 Section 3 examines the objectives of gender audits relating to gender equality and gender mainstreaming.
 Section 4 focuses on the components of a gender audit, both the coverage and methodology for implementation and the structure and contents of an audit document and related measurement issues.
 Section 5 concludes

At the outset, it is important to emphasise that, as a working paper, this is not a set of ‘guidelines’: this would be a far more extensive project in scope, and require more broad-based comparative experience than is currently available. Nevertheless, it is hoped that it can provide useful guidance for those concerned better to understand the main objectives, methodology and components of gender audits.