Mainstreaming Gender Into S.E.E.D.S


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Title of Book: Mainstreaming Gender into States’ Economic Empowerment Development Strategy (SEEDS): A Practical Manual

Publisher: National Planning Commission, Federal Republic of Nigeria

 Number of pages: 75 Pages

Year of Publication: (2006)

ISBN: None




 Otive Igbuzor, PhD

Country Director, ActionAid International Nigeria

Plot 590 Cadastral zone,

Central Area, Abuja, Nigeria.

Tel: +234 9 2348480 Fax: 234 9 2348482 or



May 11, 2006




The manual Mainstreaming Gender into States’ Economic Empowerment Development Strategy (SEEDS) is addressing two key issues that are arguably the most important in the world today-gender mainstreaming and development strategy. As the Economic Adviser to the President Dr. Osita Ogbu noted in the foreword to the manual, “gender mainstreaming in both State and National plans emphasizing political, economic and socio-cultural equity is critical for social justice, economic equity and plan effectiveness.”[i] Meanwhile, it is well documented that gender inequality is a constraint to growth and poverty reduction while a more equitable gender relation is an accelerator of poverty reduction.[ii] Therefore, any effort, tool or methodology that helps to close the gender gap and lead to a more equitable gender relation is not a favour to women as some would argue neither is it just good politics. It is good economics as well and will lead to poverty reduction and sustainable development. The manual itself gives a definition and justification for gender mainstreaming from which we quote elaborately:

“Gender mainstreaming is… the process of assessing the implications for women and men of any planned action, including legislation, policies or programmes, in all areas and at all levels. It is a strategy for making women’s as well as men’s concerns and experiences an integral dimension of the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programmes in all political, economic and societal spheres so that women and men benefit equally and inequality is not perpetuated.”    Gender mainstreaming means being deliberate in giving visibility and support to women’s contributions rather than making the assumption that women will benefit equally from gender-blind development interventions. Policies and programmes that ignore differential impact on men and women are gender-blind and potentially harmful for human development by reinforcing inequalities. Gender mainstreaming requires a focus on results to improve the well being of poor women.


Gender mainstreaming is not only a question of social justice, but is necessary for ensuring equitable and sustainable human development by the most effective and efficient means. Gender mainstreaming makes a gender dimension explicit in all policy sectors. Instead of gender equality being viewed as a “separate question,” it becomes a concern for all policies, sectors and programmes. Furthermore, a gender mainstreaming approach does not look at women in isolation, but looks at women and men - both as actors and beneficiaries in the development process.


It is important to mainstream gender perspectives in all sectors because the interests and needs of women (as well as those of men) must be systematically pursued in the formulation of all government policies and programmes. That is, attention to equality issues cannot be confined to a sector called "women’s development" or addressed through isolated or marginal programmes within sectors. Instead, government agencies must recognize that women are a major part of the public they serve in the different sectors.[iii]

Development strategy is a sine qua non for any nation that is in interested in meeting the development challenges of poverty, unemployment and marginalisation of women. The philosophy, content and perspective of a strategy determines to a very large extent the outcome. But we will not detain ourselves here because the manual is neither a critique of the strategy nor a validation. It is a tool for operationalising the strategy from a gender perspective especially at the state level.


This review is divided into five parts. The first part introduces the review and underscores the importance of gender mainstreaming and development strategy. The second part describes the content of the manual focusing on the five gender mainstreaming tools that the manual presents. The third part reviews the manual highlighting the strength of the manual, areas for improvement and significance of the manual. The fourth part argues that for proper development, there is the need to go beyond gender mainstreaming to challenge patriarchy. The fifth and last part concludes the paper with some recommendations.


2.         THE MANUAL

The 75 paged manual is made up of two sections divided into five parts each. Section one introduces the manual identifying the gaps that the manual is meant to address, the objectives of the manual, the target users and how to use the manual.
The specific objectives of the gender mainstreaming manual are to provide a framework for necessary gender sensitisation, capacity building, and value re-orientation that will enhance effective and sustainable mainstreaming of gender in SEEDS and to provide accessible tools and methodologies for gender analysis and gender programming, within the SEEDS framework.  Section two of the manual devoted each of the parts to a tool presenting the five tools that are presented in the manual. The tools are:

Tool 1: Conceptual Clarity on Gender

Tool 2: Gender Analysis Matrix

Tool 3: Gender Status Analysis

Tool 4: Gender aware programming tool

Tool 5: Gender sensitive monitoring and evaluation of SEEDS

Tool 1 (Conceptual Clarity on Gender) provides simple definitions of common terms used in the process of mainstreaming gender, and in the manual itself. It defines the concepts of gender, sex, gender analysis, gender sensitivity, gender equality, gender equity, empowerment and gender mainstreaming. Such understanding is necessary for gender mainstreaming in development, and more importantly in SEEDS.


Tool 2 (Gender Analysis Matrix) provides an overall framework of conducting a gender analysis of the situations posed by policy reforms and how gender intervenes with the expected process and outcomes.  It basically helps to identify gender concerns cause by inequalities. The tool is critical in setting priorities and defining strategies for SEEDS in the different sectors of the economy and different states or constituencies.


Tool 3 (Gender Status Analysis) is to be used in providing the evidence of gender concerns/problems, that is, the gender gaps existing in the sector or the state or other constituency.  It provides grounds for logical policy framework formulation and in integrating gender into the sectoral intervention strategies.


Tool 3  is particularly critical in defining the scope of investigations and sex disaggregated data that is needed for SEEDS formulation and subsequent reviews.  It provides the basic information that should be collected, and how this information should

be disaggregated by sex or by gender categories.       

Tool 4 (Gender aware programming tool)  emanates from a reversal of the outcomes of Tool 2 and is the positive programming opportunities that Tool 2 generates.  It allows users to define specific and relevant gender-aware policies and strategies to be integrated into the mainstream and to be subsequently monitored for gender-equitable outcomes of SEEDS policies


Tool 5 (Gender sensitive monitoring and evaluation of SEEDS) is to assist stakeholders in planning for and undertaking monitoring and evaluation of SEEDS programmes. It is necessary for states and other stakeholders to assess the extent to which SEEDS is contributing to bridging or widening the gender gaps identified in the situation analysis. 




 The production of this manual marks a significant landmark in gender programming in Nigeria. Reviews of several development programmes in Nigeria show that there are always problems with gender mainstreaming and programming. In particular, there is a dearth of skills and tools for gender mainstreaming and programming. Effective utilization of the manual will solve this problem. This is particularly important as this particular manual exhibits a lot of strength. First and foremost, the tools presented are comprehensive ranging from clarification of concepts to analysis and then programming and monitoring and evaluation. The manual will therefore be very useful in programme management beyond `gender mainstreaming.  Secondly, the prints in the manual are very reader friendly and makes for easy reading. In addition, it contains tables and diagrammatic representations that simplify the very complex concepts that are presented in the manual. Finally, the tool on gender aware monitoring and evaluation is very comprehensive dealing with what is to be monitored; when is monitoring to be done; how is the monitoring to be done; who is to do the monitoring; what is to be done with the results and what will be the cost of monitoring? The tool also deals with the types of monitoring indicators namely process indicators, output indicators and impact indicators. This is very important as monitoring and evaluation of programmes and projects (including NEEDS at the national level) is a key challenge in Nigeria.


Despite the strengths of the manual, there are clear areas of improvement when consideration is given for the production of future editions. Revised editions will benefit from a more professional layout of the publication with dates of publication, ISBN number and address of publishers. Furthermore, future editions will benefit from a more editorial work to correct some typographical errors. For instance, tool 2 was called Gender Status Analysis(which is the name for tool 3) instead of its proper name of Gender Analysis Matrix in page 5. Similarly, tool 4 was called Gender sensitive Policy Formulation in page 6 and also called Gender Aware Programme tool in page 33. There is the need for consistency.


There is no doubt that the  production of this manual is very important for several reasons. First and foremost, it is well established that gender consideration is key for development. Any development strategy that does not effectively address gender issues is doomed to fail.


Secondly, Nigeria is not short of strategies and policies. But there is a huge gap in translating strategies and policies into concrete programmes and activities. Production of this manual is therefore a landmark achievement for it will help to bridge this gap.


Thirdly, even though the NEEDS document from which SEEDs draw inspiration has been commended by international financial institutions and development partners, there are a lot of challenges in its implementation. For instance, the NEEDS document provides for an independent monitoring system:

A key institution is the Independent Monitoring Committee. The Committee- chaired by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and composed of government officials, representatives of the private sector, the press, and civil society-monitors and evaluates the implementation of NEEDS and SEEDS programmes and projects. It informs the National Assembly of its findings and report to the President and the National Economic Council for apprioprate action. The committee will post quarterly reports on performance on the Nigerian economy website ( A summary of the findings will also be disseminated to the Nigerian people, through print and electronic media. Members of the National Economic Council will use the results of the monitoring and evaluation to fine-tune implementation in their states. The reports of the National Economic Council review will also be forwarded to the National Assembly and the President.

One year to the end of NEEDS 1, we are yet to get the first report of the Independent Monitoring Committee. The utilization of this manual by the target users (States Executive Councils, Government Planning and Budgeting Officers, States offices of statistics, States Ministry of Women Affairs, women organisations and other stakeholders) will therefore assist greatly in monitoring and evaluation in the states especially from a gender perspective.



Various attempts have been utilized in different cultures and societies to address women exclusion from the development process.  At a point in time, it was thought that inclusion of women in development would address the women question. This led to what became popularly known as Women in Development (WID) in the 1970s. Meanwhile, patriarchal structures and systems were left intact. It did not take long before it dawned on practitioners that mere inclusion of women would not change the position of women in society. It then became necessary to interrogate the process of development and how that process marginalizes  and excludes women. This led to the response that became known as Women and Development (WAD) in the 1980s. Similarly, this approach ignored patriarchy and it did not take long for people to realize the place of patriarchy and construction of gender relations, which led to the approach of Gender and Development (GAD) in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Although the GAD approach was meant to interrogate gender relations, the main strategy for its implementation has remained gender mainstreaming. Gender mainstreaming is the systematic process of integrating women and men’s needs, concerns and experiences into the formulation, implementation and evaluation of projects in a way that would address gender inequity. Unfortunately, as gender was being mainstreamed, patriarchy was not touched. After about two decades of trying to implement GAD, the position of women all over the world remains precarious.


The challenge is what do we do to address the women question? All the explanations of why women are excluded from development relate to patriarchy in one-way or the other. For instance the materialist conception recognizes that capitalism and patriarchy reinforces each other. Similarly, some radical feminists locate patriarchy in men’s control of women’s sexuality and procreative functions.[iv] Also, culture and the construction of language and words are heavily influenced by patriarchy. Therefore, any attempt to address the women question must put challenge of patriarchy at its center. Some scholars have suggested that patriarchy is located in six relatively autonomous structures, which we have adopted in this review as programmatic sites that patriarchy can be attacked.[v] These sites include domestic production, paid employment, culture, sexuality, male violence and state. It is important to point out that the level of work at the six sites below has to be at the local, national and international levels:

  1. Domestic production


    Challenging patriarchal division of labour in the home[vi]


     Advocating for equitable distribution of housework


    Promoting male responsibility for fatherhood and


     Inclusion of domestic work in the computation of GDP.

  1. Paid employment

    1. Challenging stereotypes in paid employment

    2. Fighting discrimination against women in paid employment

    3. Promoting the entry of women into male “dominated or reserved” professions

  2. Culture and Religion

    1. Combating cultural practices that oppress women e.g. widowhood practices, wife inheritance, female genital mutilation e.t.c

    2. Challenging cultural taboos that subordinate women

    3. Challenging practices that promote son preference

    4. Challenging cultural practices that predispose women to malnutrition and restrict access to food.

    5. Challenging stereotypes in upbringing of the boy and girl child

    6. Promoting education of the girl child

    7. Challenging gender stereotypes in the media

    8. Promoting radical and women sensitive interpretation of religion

  3. Sexuality

    1. Empowering girls and women to have control over their sexuality

    2. Challenging practices that predispose women to infections such as STIs and HIV/AIDS

    3. Promoting women sexual and reproductive rights

  4. Male violence

    1. Combating violence against women

    2. Interrogating masculinity and feminity and promoting new conceptualizations of a transformed man and woman.


  1. State

    1. Challenging the patriarchal arrangement of the State and the violence in the State.

    2. Challenging neo-liberalism and fundamentalism

    3. Challenging State practices that fuel violent conflicts

    4. Promoting women participation in governance

    5. Promoting women friendly constitutions and legal frameworks

    6. Promoting redistribution of national budgets in favour of women

    7. Supporting affirmative action for women and other marginalized groups


There is no doubt that the exclusion of women has occupied a central place in the quest for development over the years. There is also a progressive and deeper understanding of why women are oppressed and what needs to be done to reverse the situation. Unfortunately, strategies, programmes and actions meant to address these issues have failed to transform the structures, institutions and systems that perpetuate women oppression. It is quite clear that patriarchy is a comprehensive explanatory framework. Therefore, in order to address the exclusion of women and transform gender relations, there is the need to challenge patriarchy in all its manifestations in domestic production, paid employment, culture and religion, sexuality, male violence and the State; and specifically promote women’s rights.


We are confident that if strategies, policies and programmes are carefully conceptualized in an innovative, creative and radical manner in a strategic way that will have the greatest impact on patriarchy, then we will be on the right path to overcoming the subordination,  oppression and exclusion of women and bringing about human centred development


5.         CONCLUSION

The production of this manual is a highly strategic move that will assist greatly in operationalising SEEDS at the state level from a gender perspective. Effective utilization of the manual will resolve some of the recurrent problems of implementation in Nigeria especially in terms of translating already settled strategies and policies into concrete programmes, projects and activities. Furthermore, it will assist in addressing the persistent problem of lack of proper monitoring and evaluation especially from a gender perspective.


This manual is no doubt a beautiful addition to the ever expending literature on gender and development. It will be a good companion of anyone who is interested in development not only in Nigeria but across the world. Let me use this opportunity to commend the National Planning Commission, DfID and UNIFEM for their foresight and effort in producing this manual. I strongly recommend the manual to States Executive Councils, Government Planning and Budgeting Officers, State offices of Statistics, States Ministries of Women Affairs, women organisations, politicians, civil society actors and indeed anyone interested in development.


The importance of gender mainstreaming and the need to go beyond gender mainstreaming to challenge patriarchy and promote women’s rights cannot be overemphasized. I strongly recommend that all levels of government, the private sector and civil society organisations should ensure that gender mainstreaming is incorporated into all strategies, policies, programmes and activities; and that there are specific programmes to challenge patriarchy and promote women’s rights. That in my view is the proper way to go to bring about human centred development.


Thank you for your attention.




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[i] Ogbu, Osita in Foreword, Mainstreaming Gender into States’ Economic Empowerment Development Strategy (SEEDS): A Practical Manual. Abuja, National Planning Commission.

[ii] Economic Commission for Africa ECA (2004), “The Missing Link in growth and Sustainable Development: Closing the Gender Gap” in ADB/ECA Symposium on Gender, Growth and Sustainable Development, 24 may, 2004, Kampala, Uganda.

[iii] National Planning Commision (2006), Mainstreaming Gender into States’ Economic Empowerment Development Strategy (SEEDS): A Practical Manual

[iv] McDonough, R. and Harrison, R. (1978), “Patriarchy and Relations of Production” in Kuhn, A and Wolpe (Eds), Feminism and Materialism: Women and Modes of Production. London, Routeledge & kegan Paul.

[v] Walby, 1990




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