Gender and Need Assessment in Sectoral Areas

A "needs assessment" is a systematic set of methods for determining needs, investigating their nature and sources, and establishing priorities for future action and programming. Planners can undertake needs assessments as part of continuous risk-informed development programming (preferably based on community-based goals and needs) and after a catastrophe as part of humanitarian response and recovery planning (i.e., rapid gender analysis).

Gender and Need Assessment in Sectoral Areas

Effective need assessment is the first step toward developing solutions and policies to address current gender discrimination. Gender concerns may be roughly categorized into the following sectoral areas

Food Security

Most research has found that adult women in the family eat less and last due to male predilection for sequential eating. One of the reasons girls and women are malnourished is the firmly held idea that males perform more labor and hence require more nourishment. Even when calorie output in everyday activities is higher, or there is food scarcity for different reasons, both men and women feel that women must go without. This disadvantage for women begins the minute she is born. The birth of a girl child is seen as a disaster. Beginning with the newborn's eating, this is mirrored. Aside from breast milk, all other sources of sustenance are supplied reluctantly, but a male newborn is welcomed with enthusiasm and nourished to the best of his parents' ability. This continues throughout the woman's childhood, adolescence, and maturity. Her dietary needs, qualitatively and quantitatively, are sacrificed to those of her brother/s, father, spouse, and, lastly, her children.


Poor health condition has long been a key sign of women's poor status in Indian society. Until the 1990s, almost all gender-related health statistics in the country demonstrated discrimination against women. Female newborn mortality is greater, maternal mortality is higher, general mortality and morbidity rates are higher in most age groups, and life expectancy at birth is lower. Parents are hesitant to take their girl children to physicians for fear of wasting money and jeopardizing their prospects of having her married. Nobody wants a "diseased" daughter-in-law. In her married household, a woman is also expected to be a carer rather than a seeker of care. Her family's needs constantly take precedence over her own. This is especially true if she does not have her source of money.


Girls drop out at a far greater rate than guys. Girl children are expected to help and care for their siblings around the house. Due to the lack of schools in every village/town, pupils must frequently travel to schools in distant locations. Post-puberty, parents are so concerned about their daughter's safety that they are unwilling to risk a probable sexual assault on the route to and from school. As a result, education takes second place. Girls are less likely to attend, stay, or perform well in school. Education assists men and women in asserting their rights and realizing their full potential in economic, political, and social arenas. It is also the single most effective means of lifting people out of poverty. Education is especially crucial as a basis for females' growth into adulthood. It should be an integral aspect of any plan to combat gender-based discrimination against women and girls, which persists in many communities. The following points will help to clarify the importance of women's education

The Right to Education − Everyone has the right to an education, as stated in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). These rights have been expanded to include concerns such as quality and equality, advancing the discussion of what the right to education entails and how it might be realized.

Cultural Transitions − Cultural and traditional values stand in the way of girls' educational opportunities. The realization of girls' right to education has the potential to solve some of society's profound imbalances, which consign millions of girls to life without excellent education - and, as a result, all too frequently, a life of squandered chances.

Improved Health − Fundamental education teaches girls and women about basic health, nutrition, and family planning, as well as offers them options and authority over their own lives and bodies. Education for women directly leads to improved reproductive health, enhanced family health, economic growth for the family and community, and decreased child mortality and malnutrition rates.

Poverty Alleviation − Educating girls and women is critical in overcoming poverty. Inequality and poverty are not inevitable.

Economic Participation

Women's autonomy can only be addressed once their economic situation is addressed. Patriarchal ideology creates intra-family labor divides and increases a load of home tasks placed on women. Most of the time, women find it challenging to work outside the home. However, when home finances deteriorate, more responsibility will fall on women. In prior classes, we learned about the triple burden of women. In this framework, we can see that most women have limited control over their jobs and are compelled to labor outside their homes. Self-sufficiency/employment prospects are another avenues for effecting change. The importance of a woman having a source of income to care for herself and her children cannot be emphasized.

Social Justice

Women's abuse is viewed as a weapon in society. Abuse can take the shape of either verbal or physical harassment. Again, harassment might be defined as either a physical attack or a sexual assault. Sexual harassment can take the form of molestation on one end of the spectrum and rape on the other. The most severe type of sexual assault is the systematic trafficking of women for monetary gain or sexual slavery.


Although armed conflict affects all communities, women and girls are disproportionately harmed due to their social standing and gender. In all cases of social unrest and disturbance of ordinary law and order, women and, by extension, girls face the brunt of the repercussions. Women are the most susceptible in all conflict circumstances, from being physically weaker to fighting assault and abuse to being the target of rape, gang rape, and mass rape, among other things. It is believed that close to 90% of modern war deaths are civilians, the majority of whom are women and children, compared to 90% of those who died a century ago and were military people. Parties in battle frequently rape women, and systematic rape is occasionally used as a war tactic. Murder, sexual enslavement, forced pregnancy, and forced sterilization are further types of violence against women committed during the armed war


Women endure a disproportionate share of the global poverty burden. Statistics show that women are more likely than males to be impoverished and in danger of hunger due to systematic discrimination in education, health care, employment, and asset control. Women face pervasive poverty, with many lacking basic rights such as safe drinking water, sanitation, medical care, and good jobs. Being impoverished might also imply they are vulnerable to violence and have no say in decision-making. According to some estimates, women account for 70% of the world's impoverished. They are frequently paid less than men for their employment, with an average salary disparity of 17% in 2008. Women confront chronic prejudice when applying for company or self-employment financing, frequently concentrated in insecure, dangerous, and low-wage labor. In Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, eight out of ten women workers are deemed vulnerable, with global economic developments wreaking havoc on their livelihoods.


Millions of women worldwide from all socioeconomic and educational backgrounds are affected by violence. It crosses cultural and religious boundaries, limiting women's ability to participate fully in society. Domestic violence and rape, as well as child marriages and female circumcision, are all examples of violence against women. All of them are breaches of the most basic human rights. Boutros Boutros-Ghali, the then-United Nations Secretary-General, stated during the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in September 1995 that violence against women is a worldwide scourge that must be widely denounced. However, he stated that the situation is worsening. Domestic abuse, according to the Secretary-General, is on the rise.

Fighting Hunger

Women have an important role in the battle against hunger; they hold the key to a future free of starvation as moms, farmers, teachers, and entrepreneurs. Here are five reasons why women's empowerment is critical to progress.

  • Despite accounting for little more than half of the world's population, women are more likely than males to go hungry in many regions, including Asia and South America.

  • Following natural catastrophes, women and girls are more likely to face food shortages.

  • A substantial amount of evidence demonstrates that placing more money in the hands of women improves health, education, and child nutrition.

  • Closing the gender gap in agriculture by providing more resources to women farmers might reduce global hunger by 100-150 million people.

  • According to surveys conducted in various nations, women devote 85-90 percent of their time to domestic food preparation.


Gender and need assessments in food security, health, education, economic self-sufficiency/employment possibilities, social justice, conflict, poverty, violence, and hunger-fighting. Given uneven and frequently gendered vulnerabilities, exposure, and recovery capabilities, a gender-responsive need analysis is critical for identifying capacities and needs in a disaggregated fashion. This prevents current disparities from being reinforced and ensures that recovery efforts diminish gendered inequities and dangers. UN Women offers technical support to various actors participating in the need assessment process, including national gender machinery, to ensure that evaluations are gender-responsive and informed by gender analysis.

Updated on: 14-Feb-2023


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