When to use a Gender-sensitive Stakeholder Analysis

A gender-sensitive stakeholder analysis can be undertaken throughout all stages of the project cycle, but most importantly should be undertaken at the outset of a project in the
Design phase

  • Design Phase:
    In this phase of the project, a detailed gender-sensitive stakeholder analysis, involving all key stakeholders will help shape the development of strategic actions and inform risk analysis
  • Implementation Phase:
    to help identify who, how and when women and men stakeholders should be involved in project activities
  • Monitoring and Evaluation Phase:
    to serve as a reminder, providing a benchmark against which projects can monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of their engagement with both women and men stakeholders.

Gender-sensitive stakeholder analysis in the context of a climate change project involves the assessment of:

  • The distribution of tasks, activities, and rewards associated with the division of labour at a particular locality or across a region;
  • The relative positions of women and men in terms of representation and influence;and
  • The benefits and disincentives associated with the allocation of tasks to women and men.

How to Develop and Use a Gender-Sensitive Stakeholder Analysis

There are a number of ways to undertake a gender-sensitive stakeholder analysis. Workshops, focus groups and interviews are three common approaches. During the course of the project cycle, all three methods can be used, matching the technique to the evolving needs of the project. Whatever approach is used, there are essential steps in gender-sensitive stakeholder analysis:

  • Identifying the key female and male stakeholders and their interests (positive or negative) in the project;
  • Assessing the influence of, importance of, and level of impact upon each female and male stakeholder;and
  • Identifying how best to engage female and male stakeholders.

Below are some key steps to do a gender-sensitive stakeholder analysis:

Step 1: Identify key stakeholders and their interests

Who is most dependent on the resources at stake (women or men)? Is this a matter of livelihood or economic advantage?

  • Brainstorm on all possible stakeholders using the above question as a guide, talking with various stakeholders and asking them who they would see as potential stakeholders for the proposed project. The list of stakeholders may grow or shrink as the analysis progresses and the understanding deepens.

Learn about each stakeholder group in as much depth as possible:

Who are the women and men that are the most knowledgeable about, and capable of dealing with, the resources at stake? Who is managing these resources and with what results? Has there been a similar initiative in the region? If so, to what extent did it succeed? Who was in charge and how did local female and male stakeholders respond?

  • Use the matrix on page 33 to obtain more information about stakeholders. To fill out the first column in the matrix below, list the female and male stakeholders in relation to the above question and number each stake holder for easy reference. Then describe the interests or mandate of each stakeholder in the second column. The mandate refers to the nature and limits of each stakeholder’s stake in the resource (e.g. livelihoods, profit, lifestyles, cultural values, spiritual values, etc.), and the basis of the stake (e.g. customary rights, ownership, administrative or legal responsibilities, intellectual rights, social obligation, etc.)
  • For each stakeholder, describe their potential role in the project in column 3. Then note in column 4 if the stakeholder belongs to a marginalized group (e.g. women, indigenous peoples, ethnic minorities, youth, or other impoverished or disenfranchise groups).
  • Marginalized stakeholders may lack the recognition or capacity to participate in collaboration efforts on an equal basis, and particular effort must be made to ensure and enable their participation. In the last column you may decide who the key stakeholders are. For example those who, because of claims over or direct dependence on the resources, or their power, authority, or responsibility, are central to the initiative at hand. You may choose to validate this in a workshop where these and perhaps other findings, are presented to programme partners and stakeholders.

Step 2: Key questions to guide Gender-Sensitive Stakeholder Analysis

To conduct and effective gender-sensitive stakeholder analysis, both traditional and non-traditional research methods should be used to collect data. Traditional methods include formal interviews, surveys, mapping and research through libraries and organizations. Non-traditional methods include household interviews and focus group sessions, informal conversations, walking tours observing community practices, and other methods where there is participation by a diverse group of people.

When deciding what questions to ask in a gender-sensitive stakeholder analysis, the following should be borne in mind:

  • The purpose of the research
  • The level of gender awareness among the participants (W/M)
  • The literacy level of the participants (W/M)
  • Time and logistical limits (W/M)

To assess the influence and importance of each female and male stakeholder as well as the potential impact of the project upon each stakeholder, the following questions may be helpful:

  • Who is directly responsible for decisions on issues important to the project (W/M)?
  • Who holds positions of responsibility in interested organizations (W/M)?
  • Who is influential in the project area (both thematic and geographic areas) (W/M)?
  • Who will be affected by the project (W/M)?
  • Who will promote/support the project, provided that they are involved (W/M)?
  • Who will obstruct/hinder the project if they are not involved (W/M)?
  • Who has been involved in the area (thematic or geographic in the past (W/M)?
  • Who has not been involved up to now but should have been (W/M)?

Gender specific questions:

  • Who has the capacity to contribute to gender equality in the project?
  • Who has the capacity to hinder efforts at gender equality in the project?


Step 3: How to engage stakeholders: Forming partnerships

The next step involves determining how to involve the different stakeholders. Different types of stakeholders will be engaged in different ways in the various stages of the project, from gathering and giving information, to consultation, dialogue, working together, and partnership.

This third step in the gender-sensitive stakeholder analysis focuses on partnerships. Determining who needs or wants to be involved, and when and how that involvement can be achieved provides the basis for developing collaborations. Once the views of both female and male stakeholders are understood, a decision can be made on whether to pursue collaboration.

The importance of the process in planning and conducting successful collaborations cannot be over emphasized. Good-faith efforts are often derailed because the parties are not skilled in the collaboration process, and because insufficient attention is given to designing and managing it. Using an inclusive, transparent approach during project development and implementation will help build ownership and commitment. If it is not possible or realistic to have all key stakeholders involved from the outset, then a process for gradual involvement may be needed (WWF, 2005).

(Source: Nigerian Environmental Study/Action Team (NEST). 2011. Gender and climate change adaptation: Tools for community-level action in Nigeria. NEST, Ibadan, Nigeria)