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Learning with Purpose from Empowerment: A study of Methodological Barriers and Challenges to Enhancing Organisational Learning from Women's Empowerment and Gender Equality Interventions

Henriksen, Anna LU (2017) VBRM15 20171
Division of Risk Management and Societal Safety
Abstract
Since the early 1990’s, sector-wide evaluation reports have identified substantial weaknesses connected to women’s empowerment and gender equality interventions. These weaknesses result from the failure to institutionalise activities, a lack of resources and deficient reporting of results. Additionally, recent evaluation reports have identified the same weaknesses as were identified in the early 1990’s. Subsequently, funding for the sector have increased from an average of USD 5,2 billions in 2007-08 to USD 8,8 billions in 2013-14. This indicates an emergent need to investigate why weaknesses persist despite a sector-wide acknowledgement of the importance and relevance of women’s empowerment and gender equality. This thesis discusses this... (More)
Since the early 1990’s, sector-wide evaluation reports have identified substantial weaknesses connected to women’s empowerment and gender equality interventions. These weaknesses result from the failure to institutionalise activities, a lack of resources and deficient reporting of results. Additionally, recent evaluation reports have identified the same weaknesses as were identified in the early 1990’s. Subsequently, funding for the sector have increased from an average of USD 5,2 billions in 2007-08 to USD 8,8 billions in 2013-14. This indicates an emergent need to investigate why weaknesses persist despite a sector-wide acknowledgement of the importance and relevance of women’s empowerment and gender equality. This thesis discusses this paradox through a literature review; 64 evaluation reports and 19 academic articles concerning methodological barriers and challenges to evaluating and reporting results are reviewed. The purpose is to propose approaches to enhance organisational learning by identifying challenges to the evaluation practices of gender-specific interventions. The results indicate that several challenges exist for the evaluating women’s empowerment and gender equality; under prioritisation of learning, an emphasis on accountability, lack of impact-focus in measurements, a reluctance to prioritise context analyses and participatory approaches, and inadequate measurement
practices of empowerment processes. This thesis discusses how to reduce these challenges and three approaches are proposed; to increase collaboration and coordination through networks, to formalise enforcement tools and learning strategies and to mainstream organisational learning by decentralising evaluation responsibilities. This thesis thus concludes that the sector-wide weaknesses will persist unless stakeholders prioritise learning as a pivotal element of their organisational structure. (Less)
Popular Abstract
Each year, billions of US dollars are allocated through international development aid to interventions that aim to empower women and promote gender equality in developing countries. These interventions are often cross-sectorial, which means that they have several aims and seek to expand women’s ability to make strategic life choices in contexts where this ability was previously denied to them, while also improving societal conditions in areas of climate change adaptation, education, nutrition, infrastructure and health. Development aid to this sector has increased from an average of USD 5,2 billions in 2007-08 to USD 8,8 billions in 2013-14, which indicates a common notion of the importance and relevance of women’s empowerment and gender... (More)
Each year, billions of US dollars are allocated through international development aid to interventions that aim to empower women and promote gender equality in developing countries. These interventions are often cross-sectorial, which means that they have several aims and seek to expand women’s ability to make strategic life choices in contexts where this ability was previously denied to them, while also improving societal conditions in areas of climate change adaptation, education, nutrition, infrastructure and health. Development aid to this sector has increased from an average of USD 5,2 billions in 2007-08 to USD 8,8 billions in 2013-14, which indicates a common notion of the importance and relevance of women’s empowerment and gender equality. At the same time, taxpayers and decision makers in donor countries are increasingly demanding results and value for their money, which have caused a results-based agenda, affecting the ways in which development interventions are evaluated.

Subsequently, comprehensive reports have since the early 1990’s identified several weaknesses connected to women’s empowerment and gender equality interventions. Recent reports have come to the same conclusion, which indicates that the sector has not succeeded in implementing previous recommendations. This means that the same challenges and weaknesses identified in the early 1990’s still prevail, despite a sector-wide recognition of the importance of improving the practice of empowering women and promoting gender equality. The weaknesses often result from the failure to institutionalise activities, a general lack of resources and deficient reporting of results.

The fact that funding is increasing, while weaknesses persist, suggests a paradox. This thesis discusses this paradox by focusing on the defective practice of evaluating interventions and reporting results through a literature review. This is done through the analysis and review of 64 evaluation reports and 19 academic articles regarding the methodological barriers and challenges to evaluating and reporting results.

The results indicate that several barriers and challenges exist for efficient evaluation of women’s empowerment and gender equality intervention, such as an under prioritisation of learning strategies, an emphasis on accountability, lack of impact-focus in measurements, a reluctance to prioritise context analyses and participatory approaches, and inadequate
measurement practices of empowerment processes. This thesis further discusses how to reduce the consequences caused by these barriers and challenges, and three approaches are proposed.

It is thus recommended to increase collaboration and coordination through stakeholder networks, to formalise enforcement tools and learning strategies and lastly, to mainstream organisational learning by decentralising parts of the evaluation responsibilities to the local level. It is hence possible to conclude that the sector-wide weaknesses will persist unless stakeholders in the WEGE sector start to prioritise learning as a pivotal element of the organisational structure. (Less)
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author
Henriksen, Anna LU
supervisor
organization
course
VBRM15 20171
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
Women’s empowerment, gender empowerment, monitoring and evaluation, organisational learning, international development intervention, capacity development, women in development, climate change adaptation
language
English
id
8926754
date added to LUP
2017-11-14 11:00:32
date last changed
2017-11-14 11:00:32
@misc{8926754,
  abstract     = {Since the early 1990’s, sector-wide evaluation reports have identified substantial weaknesses connected to women’s empowerment and gender equality interventions. These weaknesses result from the failure to institutionalise activities, a lack of resources and deficient reporting of results. Additionally, recent evaluation reports have identified the same weaknesses as were identified in the early 1990’s. Subsequently, funding for the sector have increased from an average of USD 5,2 billions in 2007-08 to USD 8,8 billions in 2013-14. This indicates an emergent need to investigate why weaknesses persist despite a sector-wide acknowledgement of the importance and relevance of women’s empowerment and gender equality. This thesis discusses this paradox through a literature review; 64 evaluation reports and 19 academic articles concerning methodological barriers and challenges to evaluating and reporting results are reviewed. The purpose is to propose approaches to enhance organisational learning by identifying challenges to the evaluation practices of gender-specific interventions. The results indicate that several challenges exist for the evaluating women’s empowerment and gender equality; under prioritisation of learning, an emphasis on accountability, lack of impact-focus in measurements, a reluctance to prioritise context analyses and participatory approaches, and inadequate measurement
practices of empowerment processes. This thesis discusses how to reduce these challenges and three approaches are proposed; to increase collaboration and coordination through networks, to formalise enforcement tools and learning strategies and to mainstream organisational learning by decentralising evaluation responsibilities. This thesis thus concludes that the sector-wide weaknesses will persist unless stakeholders prioritise learning as a pivotal element of their organisational structure.},
  author       = {Henriksen, Anna},
  keyword      = {Women’s empowerment,gender empowerment,monitoring and evaluation,organisational learning,international development intervention,capacity development,women in development,climate change adaptation},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Learning with Purpose from Empowerment: A study of Methodological Barriers and Challenges to Enhancing Organisational Learning from Women's Empowerment and Gender Equality Interventions},
  year         = {2017},
}