Gender in Political Economy Analysis (GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report 1071)



How is gender incorporated in political economy analysis, and which tools are used to do this?

Key findings

An initial review of the literature indicates that gender is not systematically included in PEA. This was also conveyed by a number of experts consulted for this report, who stated that few if any PEAs to their knowledge had included a gender analysis, with the issue usually treated only in passing. The report nevertheless highlights the existing examples of gender-oriented analytical questions used in common PEA tools.

PEA explores the political and economic processes in societies to provide an in-depth analysis of the power relations between groups. Gender analysis explores the power relations between men and women, and often frames this as explicitly political. It is generally acknowledged that inequalities and marginalisation contribute as drivers of conflict and crisis and must be taken into account in PEA (expert comments). Despite these areas of overlap, gender issues do not feature prominently in applied PEA or PEA frameworks.

This report takes a practical approach and lists the gender-focused questions found in common PEA tools. These are only a small proportion of the total questions asked in a PEA. Although PEA policy and guidance notes do contain some gender questions, this is rarely reflected in the degree to which gender features in completed PEA studies.

The few PEA studies identified that do incorporate gender focus on the following:

  • The role of gender in society.
  • Women in positions of power and influence.
  • Representation and influence of women’s groups.

Feminist scholars include these issues but are additionally concerned with how political economy impacts men and women differently, whether men and women are differentially able to access power – including patronage networks, how they are able to influence institutions, and how gender dynamics contribute to or block change (Petersen, 2005). These issues do not appear to be addressed in the PEA studies found for this short report.


Browne, E. Gender in Political Economy Analysis (GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report 1071). Governance and Social Development Resource Centre, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK (2014) 10 pp.

Gender in Political Economy Analysis (GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report 1071)

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