Publication Date
Publication Date: 
October 10, 2014

"Save the Children's Theory of Change is founded on working in partnership with others to develop innovative programs, support the voice of children and young people, and to use evidence that generates knowledge and achieves impact at scale. Gender is a fundamental component of this approach."

This toolkit emerges from Save the Children's belief that "it is essential that we identify and address the specific needs of girls, boys, women, and men across our program cycle if we are to fulfill our vision of a world where every girl and every boy attains their equal right to survival, protection, development, and participation. This process of gender equality integration, often called gender mainstreaming, is not only a requirement for many donors and partners, but drives positive, transformative results, and is key to effective and sustainable development."

As outlined here, Save The Children's Guiding Principles around gender include:

  1. equality as a right - upheld by international standards articulated by the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW);
  2. addressing root causes - requires addressing social norms and institutions that reinforce gender inequalities, as well as advocating for and fostering legislation and policies that promote gender equality;
  3. holistic approaches - involves transformative gender approaches that require working with whole communities, and at all levels, equally engaging female and male stakeholders in culturally sensitive gender equality policy and programme work;
  4. meaningful participation - based on the belief that girls and boys are active citizens who must be equally engaged in dialogue around gender and have equal opportunity to participate and to promote gender equality;
  5. independent and cross-cutting - focuses on gender equality as a central focus across Save the Children's work, as well as across all parts and levels of the organisation; and
  6. collaboration and learning - reflects the organisation's conviction that "[i]ntegrating gender analysis in our research and work opens up new insights and innovative solutions to development challenges that would not otherwise be possible without a gender-focused approach. It is essential to foster and participate in communities of practice, collaborate with organizations and stakeholders working on gender, translate what we learn into practice, and to share learnings widely."


This toolkit focuses on "gender mainstreaming", which is "a strategy for making girls', boys', women's, and men's concerns and experiences an integral dimension of the design, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of policies and programs, so that all intended beneficiaries can equitably benefit from the intervention. Stand-alone gender programming refers to programming that focuses specifically on gender inequalities or gender issues in order to achieve gender equality." Stand-alone gender programming is complementary to gender mainstreaming - but is not the focus of this toolkit.

Following an introduction that includes key terms and outlines approaches for gender equality programming, best practices, and frequently asked questions (FAQ), etc., the resource explores the reasons why gender mainstreaming is critical. The next section explores who affects and is affected by gender. The heart of the resource explains how to mainstream gender equality, providing an introduction, guidance (in areas such as strategic planning, proposal design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation (M&E), and accountability and learning), tools for gender analysis (e.g., the gender inequality tree), and guidance for gender mainstreaming across thematic areas of focus, including child protection, child rights governance, education, health and nutrition, HIV and AIDS, and hunger reduction and livelihoods. A glossary of terms, appendix, and references conclude the toolkit.

The development this toolkit was a collaborative effort guided by Save the Children's Gender Equality Working Group (GEWG) and drawing on contributions from: staff from Save the Children members from Australia, Canada, the United States (US), the United Kingdom (UK), and Sweden, the Child Protection Global Initiative, and Save the Children International (SCI) Country Offices in Ethiopia, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, as well as Regional Offices for West Africa and Asia. During the development of the toolkit, the GEWG engaged in a broad technical consultative process with various staff members from across Save the Children, including staff from Save the Children's Global Initiatives, piloting the first version (V1.2) of the Toolkit in Ethiopia, Nepal, Sierra Leone, and Somaliland in April 2014. Following these consultations, the GEWG produced a revised version of the Toolkit (V2.0).

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Save the Children's Resource Centre, accessed December 9 2014; and email from Katie Konrad to The Communication Initiative on December 15 2014.