Gender Equality Glossary


The UN Women Training Centre’s Glossary is an online tool that provides concepts and definitions with gender perspective structured according to the thematic areas of UN Women. It includes gender concepts as well as international conferences, agendas, initiatives and partnerships related to gender equality.

The glossary is also available in Spanish and in French.

Browse using this index

Special | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z | ALL
Search: gender

Page: (Previous)   1  2  3  4  5  6  (Next)
  ALL

G

Gender roles

Gender roles refer to social and behavioral norms that, within a specific culture, are widely considered to be socially appropriate for individuals of a specific sex. These often determine the traditional responsibilities and tasks assigned to men, women, boys and girls (see gender division of labor). Gender-specific roles are often conditioned by household structure, access to resources, specific impacts of the global economy, occurrence of conflict or disaster, and other locally relevant factors such as ecological conditions. Like gender itself, gender roles can evolve over time, in particular through the empowerment of women and transformation of masculinities.

Source: UNICEF, UNFPA, UNDP, UN Women. “Gender Equality, UN Coherence and You”.


Gender stereotypes

Gender stereotypes are simplistic generalizations about the gender attributes, differences and roles of women and men. Stereotypical characteristics about men are that they are competitive, acquisitive, autonomous, independent, confrontational, concerned about private goods. Parallel stereotypes of women hold that they are cooperative, nurturing, caring, connecting, group-oriented, concerned about public goods. Stereotypes are often used to justify gender discrimination more broadly and can be reflected and reinforced by traditional and modern theories, laws and institutional practices. Messages reinforcing gender stereotypes and the idea that women are inferior come in a variety of “packages” – from songs and advertising to traditional proverbs.


Gender-based Violence (GBV)

GBV is an umbrella term for any harmful act that is perpetrated against a person’s will and that is based on socially ascribed (gender) differences between females and males. The nature and extent of specific types of GBV vary across cultures, countries and regions. Examples include sexual violence, including sexual exploitation/abuse and forced prostitution; domestic violence; trafficking; forced/early marriage; harmful traditional practices such as female genital mutilation; honour killings; and widow inheritance.

Source: UNICEF, UNFPA, UNDP, UN Women. “Gender Equality, UN Coherence and You”.

There are different kinds of violence, including (but not limited to) physical, verbal, sexual, psychological, and socioeconomic violence.

  1. Physical violence: Physical violence is an act attempting to or resulting in pain and/or physical injury. It includes beating, burning, kicking, punching, biting, maiming, the use of objects or weapons, or tearing out hair. At its most extreme, physical violence may lead to femicide, or the gender-based killing of a woman. Some classifications also include trafficking and slavery in the category of physical violence because initial coercion is often experienced, and the young women and men involved end up becoming victims of further violence as a result of their enslavement.
  2. Verbal violence: Verbal abuse can include put-downs in private or in front of others, ridiculing, the use of swear-words that are especially uncomfortable for the other, threatening with other forms of violence against the victim or against somebody or something dear to them. Other times the verbal abuse is related to the background of the victim, insulting or threatening her on the basis of religion, culture, language, (perceived) sexual orientation or traditions.
  3. Sexual violence: Sexual violence includes many actions that are equally hurtful to every victim and are used similarly in the public and private sphere. Examples include rape (sexual violence including some form of penetration of the victim’s body), marital rape and attempted rape. Other types of forced sexual activities include being forced to watch somebody *****, forcing somebody to ***** in front of others, forced unsafe sex, sexual harassment, and, in the case of women, abuse related to reproduction (forced pregnancy, forced abortion, forced sterilization).
  4. Psychological violence: Psychological violence can include, for example, threatening behaviors that do not necessarily involve physical violence or even verbal abuse. It can include actions that refer to former acts of violence, or purposeful ignorance and neglect of the other. Psychological violence may also be perpetrated through isolation or confinement, withholding information, disinformation, etc.
  5. Socio-economic violence: Socio-economic violence is both a cause and an effect of dominant gender power relations in societies. Some of the most typical forms of socio-economic violence include taking away the victim’s earnings, not allowing her to have a separate income (forced ‘housewife’ status, working in the family business without a salary), or making her unfit for work through targeted physical abuse. In the public sphere this can include denial of access to education or (equally) paid work (mainly to women), denial of access to services, exclusion from certain jobs, denial of the enjoyment and exercise of civil, cultural, social, or political rights.

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-responsive budgeting

Gender-responsive budgeting or GRB is a method of determining the extent to which government expenditure has detracted from or come nearer to the goal of gender equality. A gender-responsive budget is not a separate budget for women, but rather a tool that analyzes budget allocations, public spending and taxation from a gender perspective and can be subsequently used to advocate for reallocation of budget line items to better respond to women’s priorities as well as men’s, making them, as the name suggests, gender-responsive. 


Global care chains

This is a concept used to describe the ways in which care responsibilities are transferred from one household to another, across national borders, forming chains. As individuals move, work in the care sector is internationalized. Through these chains, households in different places around the world are interconnected, as they transfer care giving tasks from one household to another based on power hierarchies such as gender, ethnicity, social class, and place of origin. Global care chains are a phenomenon which is taking place within the context of globalization, feminization of migration, and the transformation of social welfare states. Chains are formed when women migrate to work in the care sector (domestic work, personal healthcare services, etc.), while transferring care work in their own households in origin and sometimes in destination to other women. 

Sources: Orozco, Amaia. (2009) Global care chains: Toward a rights-based global care regime? Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic: UN-INSTRAW (part of UN Women); Petrozziello, Allison. (2013) Gender on the Move: Working on the Migration-Development Nexus from a Gender Perspective. Santo Domingo: UN-WOMEN.


H

Human rights-based approach (HRBA)

A human rights-based approach entails consciously and systematically paying attention to human rights in all aspects of program development. A HRBA is a conceptual framework for the process of human development that is normatively based on international human rights standards and operationally directed to promoting and protecting human rights. The objective of the HRBA is to empower people (rights-holders) to realize their rights and strengthen the State (duty-bearers) to comply with their human rights obligations and duties. States’ obligations to human rights require them to respect, protect and fulfill women’s and girls’ rights, along with the rights of men and boys. When they fail to do so, the United Nations has a responsibility to work with partners to strengthen capacity to more effectively realize that duty.

A human rights-based approach (HRBA) to gender issues uncovers how human rights issues affect women and men differently and how power relations and gender-based discriminations affect the effective enjoyment of rights by all human beings. HRBA and gender mainstreaming are two of the five UN programming principles (the others are results-based management, environmental sustainability and capacity-development). As such, every UN staff member should use them in their programming work.

Sources: UNICEF, UNFPA, UNDP, UN Women. “Gender Equality, UN Coherence and You”; HRBA portal


I

Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality (IANWGE)

The Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality (IANWGE) is a network of Gender Focal Points in United Nations offices, specialized agencies, funds and programmes and is chaired by UN Women. UN Women also serves as the Secretariat for the Network. All UN member entities are represented in the Network. The network supports and monitors the implementation of:

  • the Beijing Platform for Action adopted at the Fourth World Conference on Women and the outcome of the twenty-third United Nations General Assembly special session "Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century" (Beijing+5); and
  • gender-related recommendations emanating from other recent UN General Assembly special sessions, conferences and summits, especially by ensuring effective co-operation and coordination throughout the UN system.

The Network also monitors and oversees the mainstreaming of a gender perspective in the programmatic, normative and operational work of the UN system. IANWGE's work follows guidelines recommended by the United Nations System Chief Executives Board (CEB) for Coordination, and its two high level committees, the High Level Committee on Programmes (HLCP) and the High Level Committee on Management (HLCM).

Source: UN IANGWE


M

Masculinity

A gender perspective, or way of analyzing the impact of gender on people's opportunities, social roles and interactions, allows us to see that there is pressure on men and boys to perform and conform to specific roles. Thus, the term masculinity refers to the social meaning of manhood, which is constructed and defined socially, historically and politically, rather than being biologically driven. There are many socially constructed definitions for being a man and these can change over time and from place to place. The term relates to perceived notions and ideals about how men should or are expected to behave in a given setting. Masculinities are not just about men; women perform and produce the meaning and practices of the masculine as well.

Source: UNICEF, UNFPA, UNDP, UN Women. “Gender Equality, UN Coherence and You”.


Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

Set for the year 2015, the MDGs are an agreed set of goals designed to respond to the world's main development challenges and to the calls of civil society. The MDGs represent a global partnership that grew out of the commitments and targets established at the world summits of the 1990s. The eight MDGs seek to promote poverty reduction, education, maternal health and gender equality and aim at combating child mortality, AIDS and other diseases. As 2015 approaches, consultations are underway to establish the Post-2015 Development Framework or Agenda, which will succeed the MDGs. 



Page: (Previous)   1  2  3  4  5  6  (Next)
  ALL