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The Gender Policy (2015-2020) was approved in May 2015. The evaluation provides evidence, analysis and recommendations related to the Gender Policy’s quality, results and to the factors that influenced those results.

It covers the period from 2015 to 2019 and addresses three standard policy evaluation questions:

  • How good is the policy?
  • What were the results of the policy?
  • Why has the policy produced the results that have been observed?

The evaluation concluded that:

  • The Gender Policy remains relevant to WFP’s commitments to Agenda 2030, the SDGs and UN Reform but requires an update to support WFP’s work at the country level within UN system efforts to accelerate the support provided to partners as part of the Decade for Action 2020-2030.
  • WFP has shown leadership in establishing frameworks to supports its work toward GEWE. However, the strong leadership focus on efforts to address gender parity have tended to overshadow other aspects of the Gender Policy and present a barrier to strengthening WFP’s overall approach to gender equality and women’s empowerment.
  • WFP is missing opportunities to ground the design of programmes around a comprehensive contextual analysis of the needs and interests of women, men, girls and boys. Consequently, country offices often struggle to translate GEWE concepts into clear actions tailored to each of their CSP strategic outcomes.
  • Overall, WFP has strengthened the enabling environment for gender equality and women’s empowerment. However, attention to GEWE is variable and reliant on the individual decision-making of regional and country directors to lead gender mainstreaming.
  • Finally, the evaluation found that the limited financial investment made to operationalize the Gender Policy across HQ, Regional Bureaux and Country Offices weakened the organization’s ability to ensure that GEWE becomes integral to the culture and learning of the organization.

Key findings

Quality of the policy
The Gender Policy provides a clear strategic vision, framework and set of high-level objectives that are relevant to WFP’s mandate and to the Strategic Plan 2017-2021. The Policy recognizes the importance of leadership and capacity strengthening as well as the need to incorporate gender into WFP’s strategic and programme cycle. It has demonstrated innovation with the development of the Gender Action Plan and its associated accountabilities. It was informed by and remains relevant to a series of international gender norms and standards, including Beijing +20 and Agenda 2030, and to the work of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC), with WFP being one of two agencies to pilot and adapt the IASC Gender and Age Marker in 2019.
Policy results - 1
The Gender Office has been highly effective in establishing mechanisms to support WFP contributions toward gender equality and women’s empowerment (GEWE), including the Gender Action Plan, Regional Gender Strategies, the Gender Results Network and the Gender Transformation Programme.
Policy results - 2
There is evidence of WFP’s food assistance activities adapted to the specific needs of women, men, boys and girls and efforts to enhance the equal participation of women and men in the design and adjustment of programmes, but these examples are not widespread. Similarly, there are a growing number of transformative programmes where women have been afforded new opportunities to engage in decision-making. The limited use of sex and age disaggregated data and of gender analyses hinders the achievement of gender mainstreaming.
Policy results - 3
While progress has been made towards gender parity, this has not been achieved at all levels or for all functions and broader mainstreaming challenges have been overlooked. Despite considerable effort to create and promote learning materials and opportunities, investments made in capacity strengthening to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment at regional and country levels varies greatly. WFP, like other UN entities, remains without an accurate picture of resources for GEWE. Budget allocations to secure gender expertise and support gender mainstreaming have not kept up with the significant growth in overall WFP contribution income.
Factors explaining results - 1
The Gender Office and Regional Gender Advisors have made considerable effort to promote the integration of gender in WFP programming and strategies. The Gender Office has provided sustained leadership in creating the Gender Transformation Programme and supporting the Gender Results Network. However, WFP’s failure to fully meet stated human and financial commitments has limited overall progress against the Gender Policy.
Factors explaining results - 2
While there is evidence of modest progress towards gender parity, it has not yet been achieved at all levels or for all functions of the organization. There are wide variations in the investments made by regional bureaux and country offices on gender advisors and capacity strengthening to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment. Many regional bureaux and country offices view themselves as the users of overly theoretical subject matter rather than creators of context-driven knowledge and communications materials.