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Gender and Local Level Decision-Making

Status: Completed

“The physical presence of women in local-level institutions is a false measure of achievement of gender goals.”
AREU’s Gender and Local Level Decision-Making project encompassed five case studies across northern and southern Afghanistan conducted in 2004-05. The project aimed to foster a better understanding of the gender dynamics of decision-making in rural households in order to improve policies and programming designed to expand the role of women in public life.
Evidence from the project suggests that there is some way to go before the programming and resources that focus on improving the position of women in Afghan society translate into change at a local level. In particular, the presence of women on a range of community decision-making bodies—a standard measure of programme success—does not necessarily produce the desired transformative or enabling effect on those involved. In many areas the pace of change is ultimately limited by the tolerance of community social norms to such shifts; NGOs and UN and government agencies will thus need to focus on a longer-term and more context-specific approach to gender issues that is rooted more firmly in community engagement.  

Publications from this research project:

Gender and Local Level Decision Making: Findings from a Case Study in Mazar-i-Sharif

This case study from Mazar-i-Sharif was conducted in 2004 as part of AREU’s Gender and Local Level Decision Making Project. This study uses a gender analysis—the examination of the situation of women and men and the relations between them—as a Read More

A Place at the Table: Afghan Women, Men and Decision-Making Authority

This briefing paper discusses findings from AREU’s research into women’s participation in the National Solidarity Programme and household and community institutions. It challenges development professionals to identify opportunities for gender-sensitive programming, policy formation and indicators of success.

Lessons from Approaches to Increase Women’s Participation in Development: Workshop Summary

Proceedings from a workshop held on 30 January 2005 that aimed to fill some of the gaps in knowledge and learning about women’s participation in development activities in Afghanistan. It was based on AREU research on gender and local level Read More

Gender and Local Level Decision Making: Findings from a Case Study in Samangan

This case study from Samangan was conducted in 2004 as part of AREU’s Gender and Local Level Decision Making Project. This study uses a gender analysis—the examination of the situation of women and men and the relations between them—as a Read More

Field Notes and Observations of Gender and Local Level Decision Making in Robat-e Sangi, Herat Province

These notes are from one of five case studies conducted between March and October 2004 for AREU’s Gender and Local Level Decision Making Project. The overall project objective is to improve policies and programmes that aim to increase women’s participation Read More

Gender and Local Level Decision Making: Findings from a Case Study in Panjao

This case study from Panjao, Bamiyan, was conducted in 2004 as part of AREU’s Gender and Local Level Decision Making Project. This study uses a gender analysis—the examination of the situation of women and men and the relations between them—as Read More

Field Notes and Observations of Gender and Local Level Decision Making in Kabul City

The researcher’s field notes from Kabul City for AREU’s Gender and Local Level Decision Making project.

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