Impact evaluability assessment and meta-analysis of Finland’s support to women and girls and gender equality

Finland’s development policies from 2004 onwards have included a focus on gender equality and a commitment to enhance and protect the rights and status of women and girls. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) of Finland commissioned this study to assess the evaluability of Finland’s support to women and girls and gender equality, as reported in Finnish development policies, programming documents, and evaluations published between 2004 and 2016.

Gender evaluability study 2017 (Opens New Window) (PDF, 529 KB)

The meta-analysis and evaluability assessment contained in this report is intended to inform the upcoming impact evaluation of the MFA’s work in support to women and girls and gender equality. The study draws lessons learned from Finnish and international experience, and offers options for evaluation questions and methods.

The research found that Finland’s approach to gender mainstreaming is clearly defined at the policy level. However, the implementation of gender mainstreaming in programming, and the evaluation of the effects of gender mainstreaming onto gender equality is poor. It is unclear how gender equality is meant to be promoted through the implementation of programmes: gender is often mentioned, but there is limited evidence of its successful operationalisation. Often it is not clearly articulated how gender mainstreaming occurred or was intended to occur in practice. Even for programmes where gender is the core focus of intervention, it is often the case that the intended results are not clearly defined.

As a result, evidence of impact on women and girls since 2004 is limited. Gendered impacts have not systematically been documented. Few evaluations contained any specific results based on gender-disaggregated data on outputs, outcomes and impacts, and evaluation methodologies were not sufficiently tailored to ensure that gendered impacts are assessed, or to ensure the deployment of gender-sensitive evaluation tools.