Food Security and Nutrition Network
Select Language

The Gender “Lens”: Examples of Introspective Steps to Improving Gender Programming for Organizations

Presenters: Carol Ann Miller, Deputy Area Director for Programs, Save the Children, Mara Russell, Practice Manager: Food Security and Livelihoods, Land O’Lakes International Development; Moderator: Kristi Tabaj, Senior Specialist, Child Hunger and Agriculture, Save the Children 

Many programs incorporate gender elements, but are organizations truly prepared to address key gender issues?  This session highlighted examples of how organizations have evaluated their own internal operations and management to improve the delivery of gender interventions, often addressing difficult questions that challenge organizational culture.

Panelists shared details about an internal gender audit process from a country office perspective. Carol raised a number of challenges faced including difficulties in achieving gender balance in staff recruitment and addressing negative gender stereotypes among current staff. Gender must be considered in all aspects of program design and management including M&E, policy, and position descriptions. Sufficient resource allocation are also important to carry out gender-oriented activities successfully.  Mara also discussed how Land O’Lakes International’s gender task force was created and staff resources dedicated through the support of senior level management. The task force was successful in putting this topic on the agenda with country directors and regional staff as well as those in headquarters.


The Way Forward: Participants made recommendations in the following areas:

Knowledge Sharing

Make technical resources available on gender and diversity, the Ag Source Book (ed. now available on

Access to more resource materials for gender training and guidance on gender networking within and between organizations would be beneficial.


Develop better clarity on terminology such as “gender integration” and focus on internal buy-in and education on gender and diversity; with partners as well (i.e. require gender training for all staff and partners)

Promote affirmative action and coaching strategies, etc. to recruit and retain women; share strategies for doing this

Monitoring and Evaluation

Develop clarity on how to measure success in being a gender-sensitive and diverse organization; develop organizational baselines and dashboards

Capacity Strengthening and Tools

Create a co-branded FSN Network gender analysis tool through the FSN Network Gender Task Force (start with the Save the Children tool as a basis and adapt).

Create a short document detailing standard criteria that any gender analysis should meet.

Technical support needed for agencies to conduct organizational gender scans.

Donor Policy and Practice

Conduct country-wide gender needs assessments, link to local gender forums