Upon completion of the project, an assessment must be conducted of whether, and to what extent, the project gender equality objectives were achieved, whether the objectives and analysis were sufficient, and if prevailing inequalities were successfully reduced or eliminated. Ongoing evaluation can also take place throughout project implementation, with the aim of seeking to have a process of continuous improvement.
Implementing effective monitoring and evaluation of projects requires integrating the gender perspective at all stages. “Gender-blind” evaluations will miss a key dimension to understanding of what works, and does not work, for different targets groups. In recognition of the importance of this role, it is obligatory to integrate the gender perspective in any scheme with ESF funding: “Evaluations undertaken in relation to ESF action shall also assess the contribution of the actions supported by the ESF […] to equality between women and men […] in the Member State concerned”.
Specific issues which can be explored in relation to gender include:
- Relevance: Did the project respond to the specific needs and priorities of young men and young women? Were such needs and issues identified at the planning stage? Was sex-disaggregated data on the target group sought/available? Were gender-specific objectives set?
- Effectiveness: Was there a balanced participation of young men and women in the project? If not, why not? Were there any obstacles to participation to women or men? Were any gender-specific objectives achieved? Were success/completion rates higher for men or women? If so, why? Were men or women more successful in gaining employment or access to further education after the scheme? What were the levels of satisfaction of women and men about the scheme?
- Efficiency: Was a specific budget allocation provided for men or young women? What budget was used for young men/women?
- Management/processes: Were both men and women involved in the design and implementation of the project? Were systems in place to monitor the gender perspective? Were key actors (trainers/tutors/employers/social partners) made aware of the importance of integrating a gender perspective? Did capacity-building and awareness-raising take place?
 Article 4(5), REGULATION (EC) No 1081/2006 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 5 July 2006 on the European Social Fund and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1784/1999
Requirements for evaluation
A plan must be drawn up in advance on how to assess the achievement of the project’s gender objectives, and arrangements must be made to collect relevant data and information. Key elements include:
- The gender impacts of the project activities must be evaluated, i.e. the outcomes for men and women participants and any changes in the gender situation since the intial gender analysis;
- The degree of achievement of all gender equality objectives set in the planning phase must be evaluated. Did the project achieve or partially achieve these goals? If so, what were the success factors? If not, why not? What were the hindering factors?
- The evaluation must also show the extent to which gender mainstreaming has been integrated into the structures and processes of the project. Was there a systematic examination of the progress against gender equality objectives at project management meetings? Did awareness-training sessions take place? (
- All data collected during the course of project implementation must therefore be differentiated by sex to facilitate the monitoring and evaluation processes.
In Finland guidelines for evaluation of projects have been developed.
The first questions that must be asked in the evaluation are:
- Has the project used gender-disaggregated data?
- What kinds of indicators have been used to show the development/results?
- Does the project staff possess competence in gender equality and the dual gender equality approach?
- Has the project consulted with experts in gender equality?
- It must also be asked: on what basis have the objectives been set?
Assessing the different stages of the project
The significance of the gender perspective must be assessed at all stages of the project. Hence, project assessment from the gender perspective involves the following phases:
- Assessment of the initial situation, the key problem and the operating environment
- Assessment of project goals
- Assessment of target groups
- Assessment of measures planned
- Assessment of monitoring and assessment methods
- Assessment of communications
- Assessment of the dissemination and embedding of best practices.
Source & further reading
- Gender Mainstreaming in Development Programmes and Projects, by Marja-Leena Haataja, Sinikka Mustakallio and Eija Leinonen, Valtava Development Programme, 2011, Finland [link]
- Integrating Human Rights and Gender Equality in Evaluation, United Nations Evaluation Group, 2011
- Gender and evaluation, OECD, 2012
- Evaluation of Gender Equality and Equal Opportunities within the European Social Fund, Department for Work and Pensions, 2010
- Gender evaluation methodology: GEM
- Guideline on evaluating the cross-sectoral gender equality goal in programmes, Agentur fur Gleichstellung im ESF, 2012
- Background Paper for the Seminar on Monitoring and Evaluating Apprenticeship and Traineeship Schemes, Ecorys, 2014