The Association for Progressive Communications Women's Networking Support Programme (APC WNSP) developed GEM and GEM-related resources to facilitate the process of learning about using information and communication technologies (ICTs) for gender equality.
GEMworks provides a space for online exploration or off-line perusal of the different GEM resources.
GEM is unique in a number of ways.
It remains the only evaluation methodology specifically concerned with the differential impact of ICTs on women and men, critically looking at how gender-power dynamics and gender relations intersect with ICT, and encouraging a conscious and reflective process in addressing these issues.
It is use-oriented. This means that, rather than seeing evaluation primarily as a means of ensuring accountability, its emphasis is on how insights produced by the use of the methodology can improve ICT-type programme/project design and effectiveness, and thereby maximize the benefits to women and men equally.
GEM can be adapted and used with different tools and methodologies. Because GEM’s overall framework is “Learning for Change”, it remains flexible and adaptable to various needs, grounding itself as a very practical and relevant methodology for all communities.
The initiation, development, deployment and promotion of GEM was driven entirely by women in the South—by the desire of women working in the ICT field–from policy to practice—to have a means of assessing if projects were overlooking the differential impacts of ICT on women.
GEM is the only evaluation methodology that adopts a political and feminist stand—GEM challenges the self, the organisation, the project, the communities and all involved to balance power, to bring about greater gender equality, to seek change, not only in others but within themselves as well.
GEM introduces three frameworks to audiences around the world, all of which make up GEM’s conceptual framework. First is the evaluation framework principled on “learning for change”, and hence, why GEM is a utilisation-focused evaluation methodology. The second framework is the gender analytical and women’s empowerment framework, which draws on Sara Longwe’s work on how to wear a “gender lens” for those who want to address gender inequality issues. The third framework is “ICTs and social change”, which identifies the emerging gender issues surrounding the application, design and development and value-linked representation of ICTs. This is why GEM emphasises the importance of identifying and adopting gender-transformative strategies within the design and implementation of ICT initiatives. All three frameworks identify elements that are dynamic in nature and the severity or prominence of these elements are often contextualised and very dependent on how gender equality has evolved within a locality and community.
GEM takes the user through a very workable evaluation process—a series of 7 steps which are organised in 3 phases. Progressing from one phase to another is not necessarily linear. Often, in practice, GEM practitioners have had to revisit some steps even if they may already be at the second or third phase in applying the methodology. What anchors the methodology is the analysis and understanding of gender and ICT issues and consciously situating women’s empowerment within a gender equality framework. The methodology ensures a very thorough thought process as to the intended use and intended users of a gender evaluation and stresses the need to address gender and ICT issues within projects, both during the evaluation process and as a result of the findings. GEM is a utilisation-focused evaluation methodology and is meant to bring about evaluation that leads to “learning for change” in terms of concrete responses, substantive action, and in increased commitment from leaders and decision-makers. Explore GEM
Facilitating GEM Workshops
Designing and delivering GEM workshops has its own challenges. A GEM facilitator embodies the principles and practices advocated and encouraged by GEM. This includes being participatory and inclusive; being supportive and encouraging; allowing differences of views and opinion; encouraging open, healthy and friendly debate and discussion; and providing a ready space for a wide range of perspectives, experiences and realities, as well as communication capacities. The role is very challenging, and so to help develop better GEM facilitators and better designing and delivering of GEM workshops, there is now a complementary guide called the "Facilitators Guide for GEM Workshops". Some tips are also available here Facilitating GEM Workshops.
Reports from the Field
GEM was developed from the ground up with women from the South. The methodology was developed based on real-life experiences in the ICT field, from engaging with ICT policies to ICT practices. Feedback from these ICT practitioners and women's rights activists were based on their own realities of how best to assess their work in examining the differential impact of ICT on women and men. These experiences are documented in various reports: Asia, Central East Europe, Latin America