Sample Material of Current Magazine
Rural Development Programmes
The Eleventh Five Year Plan (2007- 2012) of the Government of India which had
reiterated the commitment to gender budgeting also stated that the plan “will
ensure that each Ministry/ Department of both Centre and State should put in
place a systematic and comprehensive monitoring and auditing mechanism for
outcome assessment. In addition, the Ministry of WCD, Ministry of Finance, and
Planning Commission will ….undertake gender audits of public expenditure,
programmes, and policies…..” (Vol II Social Sector, pg 200).
Keeping this as the backdrop, the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD)
planned to undertake schematic analysis of the programmes/schemes of the
Government from a gender perspective. To facilitate the process of Gender Audit,
however, it was felt essential to develop a concept note. The concept note will
help to develop clarity on objectives and need for gender audit, and its
definitions and concepts. There was also a need to study international
practices2 in gender audit and based on the learnings and best practices a
methodology most suitable for carrying out gender audit of programs / schemes in
the Department of Rural development, Govt of India, is prepared taking into
consideration the existing Systems and Structures.
Gender Audit- an introduction:
Women and men from various social groups are positioned differently in
society- in the workplace and family- and have different responsibilities and
needs. Due to this, women and men have different experiences, knowledge, talents
and needs. Therefore, different programmers/schemes are designed to address this
imbalance. Public services like education, health, transportation and welfare
are utilized differently by women and men; as a result budgets impacts men and
UNESCO defines gender audit as management and planning tool. Gender Audit
evaluates the gender responsiveness of an organization’s culture and how well
the organization is integrating the gender perspective into its work. The audit
outcome aims to assist the organization to become more gender responsive. It is
also a kind of impact evaluation that assesses or measure the impact of
interventions on gender equality and women’s empowerment.
Traditionally audits are commonly associated with accounting audits in the
financial world, used to certify that the finances and administration are
legitimate, with established rules and regulations correctly followed3. In the
1980s, quality management audit was introduced in companies to promote
improvement of company performance. Following the same principles, social audits
have been developed in a range of organizations to measure the extent to which
they live up to “the shared values and objectives” to which they are committed.
Social audit is a framework which allows an organization to build and develop a
process whereby it can account for its social performance, report on that
performance and draw up an action plan to improve on that performance. Gender
Audit is one such form of social audit.
Therefore, it can be summed up by stating that Gender Audit is a guided
process to examine “what has been done” and “what has not been done to meet the
Governments stated objectives of gender equality. The definition of Gender Audit
as adapted from various international definitions would be as below:
A Gender Audit is a tool to assess the accountability to and extent of Gender
Budgeting accomplished- the integration of gender concerns into policies,
strategies, programmes and schemes of all types. Its aim is to see whether the
policy, guidelines, practices, systems, procedures and budgets are being used in
the most effective way to deliver the Government’s commitments to gender
Characteristics of Gender Audit:
1. Gender Audit takes into account whether internal practices and related
support systems for gender mainstreaming are effective and reinforce each other.
2. Monitors and assesses the relative progress made in promoting gender
3. Identifies critical gaps and challenges
4. Recommends ways of addressing these challenges and suggests new and more
effective strategies to overcome gaps.
5. Documents good practices towards the achievement of gender equality.
Aim and objectives of Gender Audit in the Department of Rural Development:
The overall aim of gender audit is to review mainstreaming of
gender effectively in policies, programmes and structures of the Department of
Rural Development and assesses the extent to which such policies have been
A Gender Audit provides the tools to audit the processes
which have been undertaken by the Department under the various policies, schemes
and programmes. It examines whether and at what level Gender Budgeting
initiatives have been adopted in the planning, implementation and review of the
policies and budgetary allocations of the Department. The results of Gender
Audit can provide learning and guidelines for Gender Budgeting to revisit
policies, programmes and schemes as well as implementing mechanisms to ensure
Gender mainstreaming. The Gender Audit will help the institution to identify
gaps between their own gender equality policy and practice, and the way their
programmes impact on gender equality The objectives of the gender audit
Gender Audit of Institution of the Department and its offices
1. Generate understanding of the extent to which gender perspective has been
internalized and acted upon by the office staff and senior officers of the
Ministry. This will include a qualitative assessment of gender sensitivity and
perspectives of the women and men staff
2. Assess the extent of gender inclusion and responsiveness being developed in
terms of infrastructure facilities, Human Resource policies etc
3. Examine the representation of women at the different levels of the Ministry
Gender Audit of the programme divisions of the Department
4. Gender audit of the major schemes and programs of the Department to assess
whether gender mandate of these programs have been implemented and whether the
process, rules and implementing mechanisms are gender sensitive and cater to the
needs of the women.
5. Also to measure progress in implementing action plans on gender mainstreaming
and give recommendations as needed; and
6. Identify gaps for improvement and suggest possible strategies to make
Ministry’s schemes/programmes more gender sensitive.
Rationale of doing gender audit:
The fact that women and men have different access and control
over resources is well known. Therefore, different project, schemes and
programmes impact them differently. The way programmes and projects are designed
in the Ministry has strong correlation to the gendered nature of the
organization. The core premise underlying to conduct gender audit is to ensure
that gender equality must be ensured in the organization’s programming and
organizational practices in order to bring about the sustainable change toward
achieving real equality.
Purpose of gender audit:
The entire process will be conducted to garner information on the status of
gender equality. The audit will be carried out at two levels namely:
i) With the different programmes of the Ministry (MGNREGA, NRLM, PMGSY, IAY
ii) Within the Ministry.
The outputs of the audit process will fetch the following:
i. A reflection of the status of gender mainstreaming and equality in the
institution of the Ministry
ii. A pool of information for discussion and analysis
iii. A participatory process that builds organizational ownership for the
Ministry’s gender equality objective and ongoing plans on engendering the
The audit process will enable Ministry to identify the impact of the gender
relations in the programme as well as within the organizational boundary.
Gender Audit Process
The gender audit process will be carried out in a methodical
and participatory manner and should include voices from different levels and
programme divisions. Responses from the different levels and personnel from the
programme divisions of the Ministry will augment and build organizational
understanding, ownership and readiness to act on gender equality.
A gender team/ advisory group comprised of senior level
government officers having a sound understanding of gender issues, challenges
and hands on experience on engendering policies and government programmes to
prepare a plan for conducting the gender audit throughout the Ministry and its
programme divisions and also able to lead the team in each step of the process.
Steps to be followed:
- Preparing for a gender audit: a comprehensive institutional assessment
like gender audit needs a well thought out strategy for communicating the
purpose, objective and benefits of gender audit. Through the communication
strategy, Ministry should be receptive to the idea of conducting gender
audit and must commit to carrying out each of the processes of the audit.
The essentials elements of the communication and orientation strategy which
a. Content: what should the gender team tell the respondents about gender audit
b. Medium: it will be in participatory mode including power point
presentations4, discussions and case study method
c. Target group: representatives from the programme divisions, senior, mid and
junior level officers will be invited as the buy in is necessary for the
department to regularize the activity.
d. Timeline: one day orientation/workshop may be organized to have a common
understanding of what the audit aims to achieve with its objectives.
ii. Staff survey: conducting staff survey for the gender
audit will reveal a perception of the programme divisions about the gender
integration in the programme and serves as a stock taking of what they believe
can the programme, policies of the Ministry serves as a scope for furthering
gender equality in the organization as well as within the programme divisions.
The goal of the survey will be to elicit as much as
information possible from the respondents about what they believe about the
organization is doing to advance gender equality in its policies, schemes and
programmes as well as in its internal operations. Two types of questionnaire
will be designed to elicit the information. One for the programme division and
second for the department (Institution). The questionnaire on programme
dimension will delve into the following four dimensions like: 1. Programme
planning and designing, 2. Programme implementation, 3. Monitoring and
evaluation, 4. Technical expertise, 5. Partner organization.
iii. Focus group conversations: focus group conversations
with selected staff are a valuable way to gather additional information and
insights about the belief of the staff within the organization regarding gender
equality, gender mainstreaming. The objective of the FGD will be to uncover
additional information about the survey results and to discover participant’s
vision of a “gender friendly organization”.
iv. Gender action plan: the whole process will lead to the
formulation of the Gender action plan (GAP), which is off course an on-going
process and also the plan intends to promote gender integration in the
organization. The results of the survey and discussion will be presented and
discussed with the gender team formed for this purpose. The results of the
survey and the focused group discussion will be the basis to identify
recommendations and activities for planning.