Gender: What It Is, and What It Does

Gender is social not biological. The term “gender” is used to refer to the social positions of men and women and our assumptions about who they are. Those social differences themselves differ from society to society, place to place, and time to time...The point of gender analysis is to identify and anticipate differences, explore their significance, and respond to them.

Gender analysis is a form of inquiry. Gender analysis examines whether and how programs, policies, and even organizational cultures can affect men and women differently because of their different social situations. Grantmakers observe that people may mistakenly think that to use gender analysis is to subscribe to a specific ideological agenda. Yet understanding that boys and girls seem to have very different experiences of the juvenile justice system is not to say that there is an orthodox way to respond to those needs. Gender analysis frames questions; it does not dictate answers.

Takeaways are critical, bite-sized resources either excerpted from our guides or written by Candid Learning for Funders using the guide's research data or themes post-publication. Attribution is given if the takeaway is a quotation.

This takeaway was derived from Grantmaking with a Gender Lens.