To plan a public engagement initiative, you have to chose a topic and then define your objectives, expected results, indicators and activities. Gender equality should be integrated into all aspects of results-based management. This can be done either with stand-alone work on gender equality or through a gender mainstreaming approach.

Choosing and analyzing your topic

When designing a public engagement initiative, you will usually begin by doing research, gathering statistics and refining your understanding of the topic at hand.

To integrate gender equality, you will need to collect sex-disaggregated data in order to understand how the issue affects men and women differently. This will help you build a narrative around the gender dimensions of your public engagement issue and will help you analyze the causes and consequences of inequalities between women and men.

gender analysis (see ‘Further resources,’ below)is an exercise by which you collect and analyze sex-disaggregated data. You will need to ask yourself the following questions in relation to your public engagement topic:

  • Do men/boys and women/girls experience the issue in the same way?
  • Can they each express themselves freely on the issue?
  • Do they have equal decision-making power?
  • Do they face the same obstacles, difficulties and discriminations?
  • Are their activities similar? If not, why?
  • Do men/boys and women/girls have the same access to resources, opportunities, advantages and services?
  • Can they exercise their rights equally?

If you hire an external consultant to conduct background research and analysis, make sure the person has the skills required to do a gender analysis and remember to include it in their terms of reference.

The reason for integrating gender equality in your public engagement work is to show that inequalities between men and women exist, to explain the situation and to encourage people to take action.

Defining your objectives

A public engagement project is never gender neutral. You will need to integrate gender equality into your project objectives to ensure that it does not reinforce gender stereotypes and inequalities between women and men, but rather contributes to advancing gender equality and women’s rights.

Your objectives should briefly describe what your project aims to accomplish in the short, medium and long term – including from the perspective of gender equality. When defining your objectives you will need to take into account the information obtained from your gender analysis and identify specific changes that will contribute to reducing gender inequality.

You can include specific objectives on gender equality, or mainstream gender throughout all of your objectives:

  • Specific objectives on gender equality: These objectives are intended to raise awareness about stereotypes or inequalities between women and men.
  • Mainstreaming gender equality across all objectives: Gender equality is integrated into the framing of all objectives, regardless of the theme.

The following table illustrates these two options:

 Specifc objectives on gender equalityGender equality mainstreamed across all objectives
Campaign on agricultureImprove the perception of women’s role in agriculture by encouraging a positive portrayal of women farmers in the media and in political discourse by 2020.Advocate for legislation to protect farming communities from land grabs, including specific clauses to strengthen women’s right to own and inherit land.
Public engagement project on child labour (conferences, public engagement activities, marketing and media campaigns)Raise awareness of how child labour impacts girls and boys differently, and suggest possible solutions.Improve understanding of child labour, including how it affects girls and boys differently.

Choosing your indicators

Once you have defined your objectives, you will need to develop indicators to measure the results achieved at the end of your public engagement project. It is generally recommended that you use both quantitative and qualitative indicators.

It is important to use sex-disaggregated indicators to be able to assess how the project impacted men and women differently.

Example of indicators:


Percentage of conference participants who claim to have an improved understanding of child labour issues.


Percentage of women and men who attended the conference (to measure whether the event was equally accessible to women and men).

Percentage of women and men who attended the conference and who claim to have an improved understanding of child labour issues (to measure whether both women and men benefitted from improved knowledge).

Further resources