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Complementing Gender Analysis Framework Sociology Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Sociology
Wordcount: 1272 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Most gender analysis frameworks start with a premise that men and women are equal and should be treated equally. These frameworks are based on proposed equality principle which puts men and women in competing roles. Contrary to the existing gender analysis frameworks, the Complementing Gender Analysis (CGA) framework proposed by the author provides a new approach towards gender analysis which is based on perceived equity principle, putting men and women in complementing roles.

Keywords: Gender, equality, equity, framework, analysis

Gender analysis is a tool to examine the differences in women’s and men’s lives and the ways in which those differences, whether real or perceived, have been valued, used and relied upon in assigning roles and responsibilities to them. The existing gender analysis frameworks help in understanding the social and economic conditions, gender gaps, and inequalities affecting men and women. Most of the gender analysis frameworks such as the Harvard Analytical Framework or the Gender Roles Framework (Overholt et al, 1985; Rao et al, 1991), the Moser Gender Planning Framework (Moser, 1993), the Gender Analysis Matrix (Parker, 1993), the Women’s Empowerment Framework (Williams, 1995), and the Social Relations Approach (Kabeer, 1994) are developed in the context of developmental programmes and policies and are guided by the service oriented supply side of the intervention focusing on equal distribution of resources and power among men and women irrespective of the individual perceived needs – influenced by the proposed equality principle. The proposed gender equality principle is based on the premise that women and men are equal and should be treated in the same way. This view upholds the stands of radical feminists that men and women are equal and the root cause of women’s inequality is men and all relationships are social construct. The existing frameworks fail to recognise that equal treatment will not produce equitable results, because women and men have different life experiences and needs. Most of these frameworks are based on an assumption that women are in subordinate position and subdued by men rather than complementing each other by taking different roles based on their perceived needs. These existing frameworks are also influenced by the economic developmental model and analyse the gender relation examining the division of labour, access and control over resources, participation in decision-making, autonomy, and distribution of power among men and women. These frameworks do not consider the human elements of gender relation such as love, trust, respect, and mutual inter-dependence.

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Men and women are different entities having different biological, physiological, psychological, social and sexual needs. Thus they need other sex in realising their self and achieving developmental goals – complementing role. This mutual interdependence is based on human needs of love, affection and self actualization. Here, men and women play a complementary role rather than the role of oppressor in each other’s development. The existing frameworks of gender analysis which are influenced by capital (resource, power, and control) are somehow putting the male and female against each other – putting them in a competing role – leading to the competition between men and women over capital rather than complementary approach and owning the capital together.

The existing frameworks, undoubtedly, help in understanding the different roles undertaken and assigned to men and women. However, the major concerns with these frameworks are their over emphasis and demand of equal roles and control which puts men and women as competitors rather than complementors. Thus, the author proposes a gender analysis framework based on complementarity principle where men and women decide and accept the gender roles as per the perceived needs – perceived equity principle. Perceived gender equity principle takes into consideration the differences in women’s and men’s lives and recognises that different approaches may be needed to produce outcomes that are equitable.

Complementing Gender Analysis (CGA) Framework

The Complementing gender Analysis Framework supplements the other existing gender analysis frameworks in understanding gender roles. CGA is based on dynamic and inter changing gender roles as per the perceived needs and do not consider the fixed gender roles assigned to men and women (See table 1). The main postulates of CGA frameworks are the following:

Men and women take different changing roles irrespective of their sex based on need.

Men and women take the assigned roles and responsibilities based on complementing principle rather than competing principle.

The framework focuses on perceived equity principle rather proposed equality principle.

The framework recognises the human elements of love, trust, respect, and compassion in gender roles.

Table 1: Comparison between CGA framework and existing gender analysis frameworks

Gender Analysis Frameworks*

CGA Framework


Men and women are equal and should have equal access and rights based on proposed equality principle

Equality will lead to equity

Not based on human elements of love, trust, respect and mutual interdependence

Constructs gender gap using equality principles

Men and women have different needs and life experiences and should have access to rights and resources based on perceived equity principle

Equity will lead to equality

Based on human elements of love, trust, respect and mutual interdependence

De-constructs gender gap using equity principles


Leads to competition and the proposed equality will never be realised

Leads to complement each other which will lead to equal rights based on equity

* Gender Roles Framework (Overholt et al, 1985), Moser Gender Planning Framework (Moser, 1993), Gender Analysis Matrix (Parker, 1993), Women’s Empowerment Framework (Williams, 1995), and Social Relations Approach (Kabeer, 1994)

The CGA framework is based on a complementing role approach and perceived equity principle and helps in building trust and interdependence among men and women and subsequent decision about the role undertaken and assigned in a specific social and economic environment. In gender analysis, most gender analysis framework proposes to use existing compartmentalised gender roles where gender roles assigned to men and women are by and large defined. In contrast, CGA framework proposes that a researcher should go to the field with an open mind, without having any compartmentalised gender roles. During gender analysis, researcher should find the perceived gender roles and gender analysis should be done accordingly in specific context and environment. This framework also helps in understanding and studying the existing gender relations, linkages and factors among men and women in a larger social, economic, political and environmental context. The framework helps in establishing a balanced relationship between men and women and will help in formulating gender neutral policies. CGA framework can be used for transformative change process rather interventionist process; in understanding different aspects of the program planning, implementation, and review; and as an integral approach towards social analysis of programmes and its sustainability.


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