Gender-neutral, Gender-sensitive, and Gender transformative

The primary objective behind gender mainstreaming is to design and implement development projects, programs and policies that:

  1. Do not reinforce existing gender inequalities (Gender Neutral)
  2. Attempt to redress existing gender inequalities (Gender Sensitive)
  3. Attempt to re-define women and men’s gender roles and relations (Gender Positive / Transformative)

The degree of integration of a gender perspective in any given project can be seen as a continuum (adapted from Eckman, 2002):

Gender Negative Gender Neutral Gender Sensitive Gender Positive Gender Transformative

Gender inequalities are reinforced to achieve desired development outcomes

Uses gender norms, roles and stereotypes that reinforce gender inequalities

Gender is not considered relevant to development outcome

Gender norms, roles and relations are not affected (worsened or improved)

Gender is a means to reach set development goals

Addressing gender norms, roles and access to resources in so far as needed to reach project goals

Gender is central to achieving positive development outcomes

Changing gender norms, roles and access to resources a key component of project outcomes

Gender is central to promoting gender equality and achieving positive development outcomes

Transforming unequal gender relations to promote shared power, control of resources, decision-making, and support for women’s empowerment

Source: UN-INSTRAW (now part of UN Women), Glossary of Gender-related Terms and Concepts

» Gender Equality Glossary