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Using a gender lens

Last edited: January 06, 2020

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VAWG is a complex public health problem and human rights violation that is rooted in unequal power dynamics and inequitable gender norms. Research, monitoring and evaluation of this topic, therefore, requires a different approach to study design and data collection compared to many other public health topics.


Acknowledge the role of gender inequitable norms and unequal power dynamics during all stages of the process (design, data collection, analysis, dissemination). See GWI’s Research, Monitoring and Evaluation Manual and Toolkit for more on how to do this. Research, monitoring and evaluation efforts should strive to examine, question and change gender norms throughout the process of data collection, analysis and uptake of results. It should be done within the framework of safety and security of women and girls, particularly of survivors.  Use research and evaluation, as well as the data collection process itself, as avenues to promote social change and empower marginalized populations. This can be achieved by engaging the affected population – particularly women and girls throughout the design and data collection process (including input on the objectives, data collection tools, interpretation of results, participation in the research, etc.) and prioritizing their safety and security throughout the research process.

Box 5: Violence against men and boys


While men and boys experience gendered violence, women and girls are, by far, the most affected by this violence. The term ‘gender-based violence’ is “used to highlight the gendered dimension of some forms of violence against men and boys – particularly some forms of sexual violence with the explicit purpose of reinforcing gender inequitable norms of masculinity and femininity. This type of violence is socially constructed and revolves around the exertion of power by men (and in rare cases women) over other men to subordinate them into a less powerful position. As with violence against women, survivors often do not report this type of violence due to stigma.


When working with boys and men as part of violence research, it is important to take into account additional ethical considerations. For research that seeks to identify male survivors of violence, local GBV support services need to be willing and equipped to provide services to men as well as to women and girls. In addition, for studies that examine men’s perpetration of violence, these should not be openly identified as “perpetration research” and data collection questionnaires should not allow for victim or incident identification. Finally, procedures should be established so that if any research participant expresses immediate intent to harm someone, there is a mechanism to break confidentiality and engage with local or UN police services to provide protection services.