are often an overlooked resource and an underutilized asset when it
comes to economic development. In Canada, women-led firms are creating
jobs at four times the average rate. Also, women own or operate nearly
one-third of all firms in the country. Furthermore, women continue
to play a key role in organizations and structures dedicated to renewal
and growth in our rural and urban communities. Coupled with this reality
is the fact that women's achievements are made despite a number of
barriers in the home and in the marketplace.
Some of these barriers make it harder for women to enter formal employment
or to access loans. An important role for CED practitioners and organizations
is to work with women to eliminate those barriers at the micro- and
macro-level. By not acknowledging the impact of gender, some development
initiatives have actually made the situation for women worse through
improper planning (MATCH, 1991: 60). If women haven't participated
in CED initiatives despite being encouraged to do so, there has often
been insignificant research and a lack or resources for understanding
the reasons why.
- Who is the target of the proposed intervention or program? Who
will benefit? Can anybody end up a "loser"?
- Have women been consulted about the problems the intervention
or the activity is intended to solve? How have they been involved
in the development of solutions?
- What results do women participants hope for?
- Does the intervention or activity challenge the existing division
of labour, responsibilities and roles between women and men (or
between young people and elders, or between different ethnic groups
- What barriers (social, cultural, economic) might prevent women
(or youth or ethnic minorities) from participating?
- What supports (training, access to credit, access to child care
etc.) need to be in place to enable women and men to take advantage
of new opportunities that will be created as a result of the proposed
initiative or enterprise? Are there specific modifications to
the initiative that will encourage and enable women to participate
in the initiative?
- Does your own organization have the skills and know-how to deliver
the program to a more diverse group than it may have in the past?
Does your personnel reflect the diversity of individuals you hope
- How have other organizations adapted to effectively deliver
programs to women?
- Gain an understanding of gender relations and the division of
labour, wealth and income between women and men. Who has access
to, and control over, resources in the familiy and in the community?
- Understand the environment. If you are doing a skills inventory
or listing of human resources, include community and volunteer
work, as well as unpaid work in the family, at home or on the
- Consult with women individuals, womens organizations
and gender experts.
- Identify barriers to womens participation and productivity.
These could be social, economic, legal or political.
- Gain an understanding of womens practical needs and strategic
interests, and identify opportunities to support both.
- Consider the different impact of the initiative on men and women,
and identify actions that can address these consequences.
- Collect baseline data on both men and women (that is, ensure
data is disaggregated for gender).
- Set measurable targets, define indicators and define expected
results for both groups. If one group has a greater distance to
go to reach targets, the initiative should address the special
needs and programs required for that group.
- Identify risks, including backlash, and develop strategies to
minimize these risks.
CIDAs Policy on Women in Development and Gender Equity, 1995