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18 October 2007 | Updated on 30 July 2020

GEM is an evaluation methodology that integrates a gender analysis in its evaluations of initiatives that use information and communication technologies (ICTs) for social change. It provides a means for determining whether ICTs are improving women’s lives and gender relations or not, and whether they are promoting positive change at the individual, institutional, community and broader social levels.

GEM is the only evaluation methodology that has been developed from the ground up, through collaboration with non-governmental organisations, and provides a systematic guide to integrating gender analysis and perspectives into projects – especially ICT-related projects. In addition to the step-by-step evaluation methodology, GEM suggests strategies and methodologies for incorporating a gender analysis throughout the evaluation process (and as far as possible, to begin with conceptualisation and planning) and offers insights from ICT for development (ICT4D) practitioners who have applied GEM in their projects and attribute increased gender-planning skills to GEM. The GEM manual is available in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Arabic.

Originally developed in 2002, a second phase of customisation started in 2007 to provide special adaptations in order to increase GEM’s user-friendliness. This adaptation process, which ended in 2009, included the contribution of community-based organisations working on rural ICT4D projects, telecentres, localisation initiatives, and on gender and ICT policy advocacy. The results of this second phase are a set of guides aimed for GEM workshop facilitators and evaluation practitioners in these four fields.

Why was GEM developed?

GEM was developed to facilitate the process of learning how to use ICTs for gender equality and to increase awareness of how ICTs can impact on women’s lives. ICT use is increasing everywhere. In particular, women are using ICTs to strengthen their organisations and build their movements at the local, regional and global levels. ICTs, however, can also pose a potential threat to women. ICTs can be used in ways that replicate or perpetuate gender stereotypes and biases, and can have unintended negative impacts.

Gender evaluation methodologies can be used to investigate whether ICTs are being used in ways that change gender biases and roles and do not simply reproduce and replicate existing ones. As more and more of today’s development work and money are channeled into projects that employ ICTs, their effects on women are of great importance.

Who is GEM designed for?

GEM is intended to meet the needs of ICT practitioners seeking appropriate gender analysis tools and frameworks for their ICT interventions. These include:

  • ICT initiatives for social change

  • Project managers and project staff using ICT in projects without a specific gender or women’s focus

  • Evaluators working in the IT field

  • Donors and development agency staff working in the IT field

  • Gender focal points that support women’s and IT issues

  • Policy makers

  • ICT planners

  • Consultants in the area of gender and ICTs.

The guide is available online here.

The GEM practitioners network

The GEM practitioners network is a network of individuals and organisations who apply GEM and want to learn more about gender and ICT evaluations. The network aims to enhance GEM expertise and build partnerships in order to incorporate a gender perspective in evaluation of ICT initiatives, and to promote gender accountability in global, regional, national and local ICT policies and initiatives.

Collected news stories on the impact of GEM

By using the GEM methodology, practitioners in Africa, Latin America and Asia uncovered results they would not have obtained if they had not included gender in their project planing and research. A series of articles based on reports and interviews with GEM practitioners demonstrates how GEM is changing the lives of women and the development of inclusive ICT practices. The stories have been published on the APC website as well as the GEM practitioners website.