International Labour Organization
SEAPAT
South-East Asia and the Pacific Multidisciplinary Advisory Team
ILO/SEAPAT's OnLine Gender Learning & Information Module 

Unit 1: A conceptual framework for gender analysis and planning

Exercise: Gender roles identification

Introduction

The concept of gender roles¾ along with this gender roles identification exercise¾ has been developed from the work of Caroline Moser. Gender roles identification can be a useful planning tool. In Moserís own words:

Existing gender relations manifest themselves through the different roles played by men and women. Obviously the concept of the triple role is a simplification of the complexities of the social construction of gender relations and divisions of labour in specific socio-economic contexts, and their changing dynamics over time. For planners, however, this provides the first key principle for a gender planning methodology that enables them to translate gender awareness into a tool for planning practice.

Above all gender roles identification is a tool that makes visible previously invisible work. The purpose of gender roles identification...is not only to separate out the different tasks both men and women, and boys and girls do. It is also to ensure the equal valuing of these tasks through the identification of reproductive, productive, community managing and community politics roles.

Objective

This exercise helps you identify gender roles through the various daily tasks of men and women in low-income households in different regions of the world.

Method

  1. Consider the daily lives of a husband and a wife in a low-income household in Africa, Asia or Latin America.
  2. Decide on the location of your household (urban or rural) and specify the members of your household (including their age and sex).
  3. Consider the tasks that the husband and wife do on an average working day.
  4. Chart these tasks during a twenty-four hour period in the respective columns using Table 1 below.
Table 1
 
Time
Tasks done by women
Tasks done by men
5:00
   
6:00
   
7:00
   
8:00
   
9:00
   
10:00
   
11:00
   
12:00
   
13:00
   
14:00
   
15:00
   
16:00
   
17:00
   
18:00
   
19:00
   
20:00
   
21:00
   
22:00
   
23:00
   
24:00
   
1:00
   
2:00
   
3:00
   
4:00
   
 
  1. List each of the above tasks again in Table 2 below, specifying F (female) after each task if it pertains to the wife, and M (male) if it pertains to the husband. Based on the definitions of gender roles given in Unit 1, determine which types of gender roles of the husband and wife are reflected in each of these tasks. Enter this information into column 2 of the table, using the symbols R (reproductive), P (productive), CP (community politics) and CM (community managing). Also fill in the following columns for each task:

column 3: is the task rewarded or not? (Y/N)
column 4: is the task routine or special? (R/S)
column 5: is the task biologically or culturally determined? (B/C)
column 6: is the task high or low status? (H/L)

Table 2
 
Task 
(F/M)
Role 
R/P/CP/CM
Rewarded 
Y/N
Routine/special 
R/S
Biological/ 
Cultural 
B/C
Status 
H/L
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
 
  1. Consider what gender-based patterns, if any, are revealed through the tasks you have identified¾ patterns, for example, in the time, location, degree of social interaction, type of activity, degree of routinization, status and rewards to the tasks identified.
  2. Consider whether the fact that men and women play different roles, perform different activities and therefore have different needs, may have implications for labour-market-related policy, program, or project design. If so, how?
[Adapted from Caroline Moser and C. Levy, Training materials developed for training in gender planning for development, 1984-90, in Caroline Moser, Gender Planning and Development: Theory, Practice and Training, Routledge, London, 1993; and Gender Issues in the World of Work: Gender Training Package, ILO, Geneva, 1995.]

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Advisory Team (SEAPAT) at Tel: +63.2.815.2354 or Fax: +63.2.812.6143
E-mail: seapat@ilo.org

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