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Def and Con

Definitions and Concepts

1. Agency

The ability to define one's goals and act upon them.

2. Empowerment

The process of expanding an individual’s ability to make strategic life choices in a context where this ability was previously denied.

3. Gender Unaware

Initiatives that appear as if they benefit everyone equally but that in actual fact may have quite different and deleterious effects on certain members of the group. Often constructed on the basis of treating everyone fairly or the same, these policies assume “business as usual” and ignore gender norms, roles and relations.

4. Gender Equality

The state or condition that affords women and girls, men and boys, equal enjoyment of human rights, socially valued goods, opportunities, and resources. It includes expanding freedoms and voice, improving power dynamics and relations, transforming gender roles and enhancing overall quality of life so that males and females achieve their full potential.

5. Gender Equity

The process of being fair to both women (girls) and men (boys) in distribution of resources and benefits. This involves recognition of inequality and requires measures to work towards equality of women (girls) and men (boys). Gender equity is the process that leads to gender equality.

6. Gender Norms

Standards and expectations to which women and men generally conform, within a range that defines a particular society, culture and community at that point in time. Internalised early in life, gender norms can establish a life cycle of gender socialisation and stereotyping.  Although gender norms are learned, they are neither static nor universal and change over time.

8. Gender Identity

Each person’s internal and individual experience of gender. It is their sense of being a woman, a man, both, neither, or anywhere along the gender spectrum. A person’s gender identity may be the same as or different from their birth-assigned sex. Gender identity is fundamentally different from a person’s sexual orientation.

8. Gender Expression

How a person publicly presents their gender. This can include behaviour and outward appearance such as dress, hair, make-up, body language and voice. A person’s chosen name and pronoun are also common ways of expressing gender.

7. Gender-Responsive

Seeks to reduce gender-based inequalities by assessing and responding to the different needs/interests of women, men, boys and girls, and by incorporating the views of women and girls. Some gender-specific actions are implemented to redress inequalities, however, not in a comprehensive way.

8. Gender-Sensitive

Identifies and specifies different practical and strategic needs of women, men, girls and boys along with the potential differential effects of project activities or approaches. Considers gender norms, roles and relations and differences and tries to make changes within these rules and norms but may not directly change the norms.

9. Gender Transformative

Takes specific measures to change social structures, cultural norms, and gender relations in order to achieve more shared and equal power dynamics and control of resources, decision making, and support for women’s empowerment. Makes the social changes necessary to meet men’s, women’s, boys’ and girls’ strategic needs; addresses the root causes of inequalities; actively promotes gender equality. Denotes change in position not just change in condition.

10. Human Rights

Rights inherent to all human beings, regardless of race, sex, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, or any other status.

11. Intersectionality

The complex, cumulative way in which the effects of multiple forms of discrimination (such as racism, sexism, and classism) combine, overlap, or intersect especially in the experiences of marginalized individuals or groups.

12. Opportunity Structure

Refers to the presence and operation of formal and informal institutions, including the laws, regulatory frameworks, and norms governing behaviour that affect women and girls’ agency and access to resources.

13. Person-Centric Approaches

A way of thinking and doing things that sees the people using services as equal partners, working together to develop appropriate solutions that meets their needs. Person-centered approaches support people to develop the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to effectively manage and make informed decisions about their own nutrition and health.

14. Resources

To exercise agency, a person needs resources. These are usually thought of as financial or material, but they can also be human or social. It can include less often considered examples such as time, information, mobility, and bodily integrity.

15. Sex and Gender

The term “sex” is defined to mean the biological differences between women and men. “Gender” refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviours, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for males and females.

16. Social Inclusion

Seeks to address inequality and/or exclusion of vulnerable populations by improving terms of participation in society and enhancing opportunities, access to resources, voice and respect for human rights. It seeks to promote empowerment and advance peaceful and inclusive societies and institutions.

17. System

A formal or informal form of social, economic, or political organization or practice that can exist at the individual, household, community, organizational and societal levels.

18. Systems Thinking

A holistic approach to analysis that focuses on the way that a system's constituent parts interrelate and how systems work over time and within the context of larger systems. Systems thinking is goal-oriented and involves moving from observing events or data, to identifying patterns of behavior overtime, to surfacing the underlying structures that drive those events and patterns. 

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