How to explore gender issues and think about gender goals for policy

Activity 1.2

How to explore gender issues and think about gender goals for policy


Gender analysis has most impact when it targets relevant and significant gender issues within a policy area. Having an understanding of the broad external environment for your policy is an important step in understanding barriers and opportunities relating to gender, and setting your early gender goals. This will support your focus and approach to the next stage 2: Analyze.

  • What are current gender challenges and opportunities relating to my policy?
  • How can a PESTLE analysis help me set gender goals?

A quick way to understand high-level gender issues relating to your policy area is to conduct a PESTLE analysis. PESTLE is a fact-finding activity that organises your information into six domains: political, economic, sociocultural, technological, legal, and environmental. Not all domains will be relevant to every policy but at a minimum you should consider political, economic and sociocultural categories.

What are current gender challenges and opportunities relating to my policy?

Doing an environmental scan or current state analysis can help you quickly understand the gender issues that your policy may impact, and establish high level gender goals. These goals can then be tested in more detail in Stage 2: Analyze. A scan can help you understand the external environment, see barriers and opportunities for women and men, and minimise risks.

What to include in a PESTLE analysis?

There are many ways to undertake an environmental scan. A PESTLE analysis is one way and can be relatively quick to complete, and mainly considered desk research. It includes looking at,

  • Key policy documents
  • Research and reports, including APEC documents
  • Academic and other relevant literature
  • Sex-disaggregated and other data sourced (see Stage 2: Analyze)
  • Engaging with expert stakeholders (see Stage 2: Analyze)

Use the following table to organise your information and reflect on your findings in terms of barriers and opportunities for different genders. Examples of each section are given but this will be dependent on your policy.

There are many adaptations of these types of environmental scans.

How can a PESTLE analysis help me set gender goals?

Using PESTLE can help you quickly gain an understanding of key issues, pressure, barriers and opportunities for different genders in your policy, particularly for women and girls. It can help you critically analyse and set high-level gender goals for your policy. It can also help test and change any existing gender goals.

Focus writing gender goals that are,

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-specific

At this stage you can list your gender goals, and prioritise them for more in-depth analysis. For example, if looking at retirement policy your PESTLE scan may highlight legislation and work practices that impact women’s savings for retirement. Therefore a high level goal may be, address gender gaps in workplace participation between women and men that impact future savings.

These early goals will be refined, change or enhanced as you work through Stage 2: Analyze, looking more critically at the quantitative and qualitative evidence for your policy goals, and engaging with stakeholders.

Chinese Taipei’s gender analysis in action

In 2013, the Ministry of Labor (MOL) amended the Employment Service Act to regulate government planning for women’s re-employment. This was in response to work undertaken by the MOL who used sex-disaggregated data and gender analysis to identify gender issues relating to the Act amendment.

The MOL found that in 2013 the female labor force participation rate varied across age brackets. From a peak of 90% for females aged 25-29, participation rapidly declined, falling to 79% for 30-34 years old, 75% for 35-39 years old, and 68% for 45-49 years old.

Sex-disaggregated data analysis indicated that marriage, maternity, and family care influenced women’s employment across different ages.

Therefore, the government established two gender goals for the Amendment including:

  • help women who leave the workplace for family reasons more easily return; and
  • implement guarantees to women's re-employment.
Use gender analysis and stakeholder engagement to identify assistance needed for women re-employment

To achieve these gender goals, the MOL worked hard to find resources and measures to help women return to the workplace and eliminate barriers. For example, its analysis showed the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare should provide childcare support for returnees. The MOL also held external consultations, inviting ministries, local governments, academic experts, labor groups, employers groups, and NGOs to discuss the draft amendments. The consultation process aligned with the principle that participants of different genders represented at least one-third gender ratio.

Policy outcomes included higher labor force participation rate of women in different ages

The Employment Service Act added "re-employment for displaced women" as the target of promoting employment, helping to increase female labor force participation, and improve their economic status. The MOL launched a program to assist skilled women and organized activities for women to improve their professional competence and confidence. This included women seeking re-employment entitled to free vocational training, a living allowance during vocational training, temporary work allowance, and job-seeking travel allowance.

As a result of gender analysis and proactively targeting barriers, there has been a positive rise in women’s labor participation rate. In 2020, 87% of women aged 30-34 years old, 82% aged 35-39 years, and 76% aged 45-49 years were now participating in the workforce.

Case study supplied by Chinese Taipei.

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