Gender Checklist for Iraq: A Sector Guide to Gender Concerns for the Assessment Missions

Sunday, June 1, 2003
Western Asia

Security Council resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security calls on field operations to incorporate a gender perspective in all aspects of peace operations. A gender analysis leading to gender mainstreaming must start from the very beginning of a situation to ensure that structures and programmes are designed to address the different requirements of women and men, girls and boys, for protection, assistance, justice and reconstruction.

Gender concerns should be identified and mainstreamed into planning procedures and programme implementation. The following is a preliminary checklist for use in assessment and fact-finding missions. More detailed gender analysis by sector will be needed for planning purposes.


A. How have men and women, girls and boys been affected differently by the conflict or displacement? Have Iraqi women and men been affected differently by specific events such as the destruction of schools, roads, sanitation facilities, markets, homes, etc.?

B. What are the different coping mechanisms used by men, women, girls and boys? What resources/supports are they using to survive? Are these in jeopardy or over-stretched? Why?

C. Do women have equal access to resources for humanitarian assistance in Iraq, return and reconstruction (human, technical, financial)? What would help increase their access to resources?

D. What specific power structures can be identified within communities? What are the specific threats or risks facing women and girls in the current environment? What can be done to remove these threats or minimize them in the immediate, medium, and long-term? Threats could include increased violence including domestic violence, marginalization in the political realm/exclusion from political processes related to peace building, the creation of an interim government, etc.

E. What are the prevailing attitudes, religious and cultural norms and practices that affect women's ability to contribute to and benefit from humanitarian assistance, return and/or reconstruction efforts? How can we ensure that these attitudes, norms and practices are not a barrier to women and girls' enjoying equal access to resources, opportunities, education, etc.?

F. Will women be involved in decision-making, including at the highest levels? What specific steps can be taken to increase their involvement? What barriers prevent women and girls from meaningful participation and involvement in decision-making?

G. What programmes are in place to prevent and respond to violence, abuse and exploitation against women and girls? Do these programmes involve the community, men and women, to respond to and support survivors? Are assistance programmes monitored to prevent exploitation and abuse of women and girls? Are there shelters and services for women and girls, particularly those who are displaced, unaccompanied or abused? How are the health, social services, security, protection/legal sectors involved in the prevention of and response to sexual and gender-based violence?

H. Do leadership training and capacity building programmes for women's groups already exist? How were women organizing in their communities and in society at large under the Baathist regime? Are

new networks emerging among civil society groups, particularly among women's organizations in the wake of the fall of the Baathist regime?

I. How are different roles, strategies, responsibilities and options of women, men and adolescents affected in the current unstable situation? How have these changed over the past ten years and during the current period of instability?

J. Do displaced/refugee women and children have access to documentation and registration? Are women able to register in their own right or are they officially 'recognized' through their husbands?

K. Has there been a disparate impact on women from different sectors within the society? Does the context in which women find themselves, such as urban or rural location, individual ethnicity or religion (Shia, Sunni, Christian, Kurdish, Assyrian, etc) affect gender relations in a particular area?

L. What data and analysis is available for each sector? Is it disaggregated by sex and age?

M. How can information be gathered and disaggregated to account for widows and female-headed households who may account for a significant proportion of the population resulting from two decades of war and a repressive regime?

N. Are equal numbers of women and men being hired (or trained) for both international and national staff positions in humanitarian assistance, return and reconstruction efforts? What can be done to further strengthen gender mainstreaming during planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation?

O. Is there gender balance on the needs assessment team, and has a gender focal point been designated to monitor and provide technical support to team?


A. Do women and men have different health needs? Will the health sector, when refurbished, address men's and women's health needs equally? Is access to services equal for men and women? What might hinder equal access?

B. Are there women health providers (medical doctors, ob-gyns, midwives) Do women have access to female health care providers?

C. Are there reproductive health services in hospitals, clinics and other health facilities for men, women and adolescents? To what extent do health workers receive gender-sensitive reproductive health training?

D. What mechanisms are in place to address gender-based violence? Is awareness training provided to international and local relief staff, including in the areas of detection, referral and

counseling? To what extent are services available, including shelters for victims?

E. What programmes are available to address psychosocial/mental health needs of the community, particularly for women and girls?

F. Are boys and girls and men and women equally nourished? How has intra-family food distribution changed to meet the emergency situation?


The Asia Development Bank checklist on water and sanitation provides a comprehensive and well-constructed module for considering the gender dimensions of this sector. This module should be used for needs assessments in this sector.

A. What are the constraints to Iraqi women and men, girls and boys in accessing appropriate water and sanitation facilities, water quality, water quantity, reliability, distance from source, distance from latrines, appropriate technology, maintenance, cultural acceptability?

B. Have feminine hygiene needs been addressed?


A. Do military personnel receive training on gender-based violence and human rights?

B. How are women represented in the security forces?

C. Are Codes of Conduct in place, used and monitored?

D. How has the presence of military, Fedayeen and other combatants placed men and women at greater risk for human rights violations, including gender-based violence? How will demobilization impact on men and women's health and livelihoods?


A. Are there equal numbers of male and female teachers, administrators and other leaders in education among the Iraqi population? How can they take leadership roles in creating and sustaining the education of girls and boys during recovery? Are there differences between primary and higher education as concerns girls' access?

B. What are additional specific barriers to learning in the current unstable environment? How are these different for girls and boys? What factors account for this trend? How will the education system track and remedy this trend?

C. What actions are in place to accommodate the education needs of disabled, orphaned, separated or otherwise unaccompanied children? Do girls and boys have access to the same services?

D. How do alternative or informal models of education accommodate the different vulnerabilities and changed roles and responsibilities of girls and boys in the current situation?

E. Are women and girls able to travel to school safely?

F. How are Codes of Conduct used to ensure appropriate behavior of teachers?


A. What community power structures exist in relation to the use of food in Iraq? Is food used as a weapon or only benefiting certain groups? What are the different roles of women and men in food management at the household level? Who receives food aid on behalf of the family and are women or men more likely to prioritize family sustenance over individual survival? Are ration cards being issued to women in order to strengthen their control over food? How will the new food distribution system ensure equal access to food aid for women and men?

B. How do gender, age and other disparities between and within groups relate to individuals' vulnerability to food insecurity? .

C. How much and what kind of food do women, men and children have access to? How much do they need? How do they obtain food and when and why do gaps between need and consumption occur?

D. What are the indicators of food security and development? Is information gathered for indicators sex disaggregated?

E. What percentage of agriculture work did women do? What type of work is undertaken by rural women such as cooking, cleaning, collection of water, firewood, marketing, child-care?

F. Have agricultural practices changed since the fall of the Baathist regime? Do women and men have equal access to land and training opportunities?


A. Do women and men participate equally in decision-making at the camp or local level? Are programmes in place to build capacity for camp management and equal representations of women?

B. Does the security situation affect men and women differently? Are women being targeted for certain violations? Are women's and men's security issues known and concerns being met? Do safe and accountable mechanisms for women to report and ensure redress for violations exist?

C. Will the emerging political system recognize and protect women's rights and interests? Will women be enabled to influence and participate in the political process? Will women who remained in Iraq and Iraqi exiles have equal opportunity to participate in new governance structures?

D. Will social sector reform address women's particular needs and concerns in an appropriate and adequate manner? Will women's capacities and skills be recognized and incorporated into the provision of social services? Will social reconstruction generate socio-economic relationships that are advantageous to women?

E. Will reviews of Iraqi legislation and the constitution incorporate gender perspectives with regards to inheritance law, property rights, etc?


A. Do communications strategies consider outreach to women and girls in all regions of Iraq?

B. Are women's organizations mobilized to provide awareness-raising and public information on unexploded ordinance and landmines?

C. Is medical assistance biased? Is priority given to military personnel (most often male) while civilian casualties take longer to reach medical services? Does gender segregation result in slower emergency services to women?

D. Who cares for victims of landmines? Are caretakers receiving adequate support? Are women and girls providing for the injured immediately following the injury and providing long-term support?

E. Do landmine injuries affect women and men differently? For example, does an amputee have fewer chances for marriage? Do spouses have grounds for divorcing landmine victims due to their injuries?


A. Have both women's and men's needs been considered when designing the infrastructure?

B. Will consideration been given to the tasks which are currently undertaken by women and men that could be affected, such as transport of food and other goods to the market, fuel and water collection? Will the location of transport-related infrastructure affect women's marketing of goods and other income-generating activities?

C. What access do women have to media programmes, in terms of production, dissemination and access to information?

D. Are education materials and information campaigns targeting illiterate men and women equally?