Feminist Evaluation and Gender Approaches: There’s a Difference?

The purpose of this article is to provide readers with a historical overview and description of feminist evaluation and gender approaches. It is intended for those who are interested in understanding these approaches to evaluation, and their differences. ​

The information provided was supplied by Donna Podems, Director, OtherWISE: Research and Evaluation, and Svetlana Negroustoueva, Evaluation specialist. 

Authors and their affiliation

Donna Podems, Founder and Director, OtherWISE: Research and Evaluation. Research Fellow, University of Johannesburg, South Africa.

Year of publication 


Type of resource

Discussion paper

Key features

In this example, a comparative framework is used to describe feminist evaluation and gender approaches in a case in Namibia. The evaluation employs qualitative methods that explored the reality of sex work and sex workers through both semi-structured and exploratory questionnaires.

The approach was guided by feminist evaluation, gender approaches, and to a lesser extent drew on several other evaluation approaches.

The paper also provides a concrete example of how a non-feminist evaluator used feminist evaluation in a case that did not focus on women.

The findings of this study concluded that feminist evaluation and gender approaches should be viewed as distinct approaches. Their use should be of interest both to evaluation scholars and to those who design, implement and/or use evaluations.

Who is this resource useful for?

  • Advocates for evaluation;

  • Commissioners/managers of evaluation;
  • Evaluators;
  • Evaluation users;
  • Those involved in evaluation capacity strengthening;

How have you used or intend on using this resource?

This resource untangles the two approaches, which are often used simultaneously, or where one is a doppelganger. The case study demonstrates how a non-feminist can implement this approach, and how it can be used in a situation that is not focused on or about women.

Why would you recommend it to other people?

This resource is invaluable for anyone trying to understand the difference between feminist evaluation and gender approaches to evaluation, which are often used interchangeably, highlighting differences and synergies through the case study. Further this is particularly useful for those that are unfamiliar with feminist evaluation, or for those who that think feminist evaluation can only be used by feminists or with projects that focus on women.


Podems, D. R. (2010). Feminist Evaluation and Gender Approaches: There’s a Difference? Journal of MultiDisciplinary Evaluation, Volume 6, Number 14 ISSN 1556-8180. Retrieved fromhttp://survey.ate.wmich.edu/jmde/index.php/jmde_1/article/view/199/291.

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A special thanks to this page's contributors
Resource Suggested By
Director, OtherWISE: Research and Evaluation, Research Fellow at University of Johannesburg, and Assistant Professor, Michigan State University.
South Africa.
Resource Suggested By
Monitoring and evaluation , gender Expert, The World Bank group.
United States of America.


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