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T.16 Gender Analysis

Gender Analysis looks at the impact of a humanitarian crisis on women, girls, men and boys and enables the WASH response to meet their distinct needs and priorities. It is an integral part of the assessment phase and must be considered throughout the WASH programme cycle.

Gender Analysis looks at the relationships between women, girls, men and boys. It considers their respective roles, access to and control of resources as well as the level of vulnerability and constraints faced by each group E.3. It analyses who in the population is affected by the crisis, what they need and what they can do for themselves. Sex (and age) disaggregated data are a core component of any Gender Analysis. Data about population demographics is also essential, such as the total number of households affected (disaggregated by sex and age), the number of single female and male-headed families and the number of families headed by children (girls and boys). WASH-related Gender Analysis questions include: what is the extent of WASH knowledge and skills and its relationship to health (women, girls, boys and men). How has the crisis affected them? What are the water uses and responsibilities in different groups e.g. for cooking, sanitation, gardens, livestock? What are the family members’ patterns of water allocation (sharing, quantity, quality) and who decides on the allocation? Who is responsible for the maintenance and management of WASH facilities? Are water points, toilets and bathing facilities located and designed to ensure privacy and security, and can different user groups access them safely during the day and night? What are the different needs and preferences for hygiene items? Gender Analysis is conducted through desk reviews, Key Informant Interviews T.23 and/or Focus Group Discussions T.14 and supported by gender specialists.


Gender Analysis is relevant to all response phases, taking place during the assessment (chapter  A ), Monitoring M.2 and Evaluation M.3 phases and using information collected throughout the hygiene promotion (HP) programme.


  • Consider initial Key Informant Interviews [T.23] with some men, women, community leaders, teachers and health workers to understand sensitive gender issues better

  • Use Gender Analysis to mainstream gender into HP interventions throughout the response 

  • Select team members based on their ability to work with girls, women, boys and men and train them to be gender-sensitive 

  • Consider how individuals experience life differently at different ages and life stages


  • Do not rely solely on secondary data

  • Do not only examine women’s needs, capacities and coping mechanisms but consider all genders and how they interact

Practical Example

A Gender Analysis done by Oxfam in Nepal aimed to identify the impact of the earthquake on the affected people and understand their needs and coping strategies. Key issues identified included: social taboos and discrimination, power relations, women’s participation in planning and decision making, control and access to resources and social subordination and exclusion. Based on the recommendations from the analysis, Oxfam’s WASH department explicitly and systematically integrated gender equality considerations into all stages of the project, including in budgetary provision where possible.

Key Decision Critria

Response Phase
Acute Response
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Protracted Crisis
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HP Component
Preconditions and Enabling Environment
Community Engagement and Participation
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Assessment, Analysis and Planning
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Social and Behaviour Change
Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning (MEAL)
Target Group
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Older People
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Persons with Disabilities
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Local Leaders
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Society as a whole
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Application Level
Individual / Household
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Community / Municipality
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Handbook and practical guidance on integrating gender equality into humanitarian action across sectors

IASC (2018): The Gender Handbook for Humanitarian Action. IASC Reference Group on Gender and Humanitarian Action, IASC Reference Group on Gender and Humanitarian Action

Toolkit to mainstream gender in emergencies with practical examples in WASH

CARE (undated): Rapid Gender Analysis

Guidance on Protection, Gender and Inclusion (PGI) in WASH (in different languages)

IFRC (2021): Protection, Gender and Inclusion in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion - Leaving No-One Behind in WASH (Available in different languages)

Guidance note to increase gender awareness among WASH practitioners

CARE Australia (2014): Gender Equality Programming. Guidance Note WASH. Ensuring Gender Equality Programming in Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion

Case study from Nepal

Oxfam (2015): Gender Analysis in WASH. Recovery Assistance to Earthquake Affected Communities of Sindhupalchok