This glossary seeks to define some of the key terms within the gender-environment-data space, to provide a common conceptual grounding for GEDA’s work. It was compiled by GEDA’s Technical Guidance and Data Mapping Consultants, Trimita Chakma and Bea Moraras.


Gender and environment data

“Gender and environment data” is defined as quantitative data (e.g. statistics) and/or qualitative data (e.g. description of lived experiences) that examine the relationship between environmental factors and gender equality. For example, quantitative gender and environment data could be the number of people affected by land degradation in relation to their food security in a community. The data could then be disaggregated by their sex, age, income, ethnicity etc. Qualitative could be transcripts of a focus group discussion on how land degradation affects food security of women, men, girls, boys, and non-binary people differently. Gender and environment data is important because environmental change has differentiated impacts on different genders, particularly women and girls who rely on land, water, forests, and other natural resources for sustenance.

Sex-disaggregated data & gender-disaggregated data

“Sex-disaggregated data” and “gender-disaggregated data” refer to data that is collected, analyzed, or communicated according to sex or gender categories. While sex-disaggregated data refers to data broken down into the binary of female/women and male/men, gender-disaggregated data includes gender-diverse categories beyond this binary. 

In the context of “gender and environment data”, it is important to not only collect statistics broken down by sex or gender categories, but to also collect qualitative data which captures socially constructed vulnerabilities and the specific needs, challenges and priorities of various sexes and genders in relation to the environment.

Feminist data

Feminist data is usually generated using feminist research methodologies that incorporate feminist principles such as sharing of power, centering the research around women’s lived experiences, using an intersectional approach to doing research, and applying feminist reflexivity in the research process. Feminist data seeks to empower women and serves the broader purpose of women’s emancipation from patriarchal systems.

Data is considered “intersectional” when an intersectionality framework is applied in designing research and analyzing data for the purpose of inclusion of marginalized groups and capturing their complex lived experiences of oppression.

Intersectional data

First coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989, the term “intersectionality” recognizes that different aspects of one’s identity, such as gender, race, class, caste, ethnicity, religion, ability, sexual orientation, nationality, migration status, refugee status, etc. intersect in affecting one’s lived experience of privilege and oppression. These different aspects of identity shape a person’s unique social location in specific contexts, based on which one can experience different forms of discrimination and marginalization (and privilege also) simultaneously. Therefore, these different aspects of one’s identity cannot be treated as mutually exclusive when analyzing their experiences.

Raw data

“Raw data”, or primary data, is unprocessed data that can be in the form of numbers (quantitative) or descriptions (qualitative). Examples of raw quantitative data are numerical survey results and statistical databases. Examples of raw qualitative data include transcripts of interviews or focus group discussions, written observations, and descriptions and analysis of participatory action research exercises.

Data vs. Information vs. Knowledge

“Data” represents a fact, a figure, or statement of event without relation to other things. Data can be in the form of quantitative data (numbers) or qualitative data (descriptions). Data is stored in databases. 

“Information” is data that is processed in relation to other data or integrated into a context. Information is stored in websites, etc. 

“Knowledge” refers to the analysis or insights representing a pattern in the information. Knowledge is produced through books, articles, etc. and is stored and cataloged in libraries. 

Research Methodologies

Feminist research methodologies

Feminist research methodologies emerged in response to the traditional social science research methodologies which emphasize “scientific objectivity” – that researchers should be objective in their inquiry and not allow their values or perspectives to affect their research. Feminist scholars have argued that scientific objectivity is impossible as all knowledge comes from positional perspectives, which is why women have been historically excluded from knowledge construction both as researchers and research subjects in male-dominated scientific fields. Instead, they decided to center their research around women’s experiences using theories of gender and power.

Participatory methodologies

Examples of participatory methods include social mapping, power mapping, body mapping, and photovoice, which usually generate visual data along with notes on relevant discussions.

Feminist Participatory Action Research (FPAR)

Feminist Participatory Action Research (FPAR) is a powerful conceptual and methodological framework for challenging entrenched, oppressive structures and gendered power relations. FPAR offers a comprehensive model for exercising theory and practice of feminism through a democratic approach to decision-making regarding the research methodology. In FPAR, power is shared between “the researcher” and “the researched” through considering all research participants as “co-researchers” or partners who jointly generate knowledge. FPAR uses a range of arts-based data collection and analysis methods that encourage inclusion, access, and diverse participation. Some examples include drawing, storytelling, social mapping, timelines, journaling, roleplay, theater, poetry, song and dance. Women use these methods to generate data rooted in their lived experiences, which is then collectively analyzed to produce reports. Evidence generated from FPAR is then used for political education, feminist organizing and action, and policy advocacy.

Contextual Terms

Climate Justice

Climate justice is about demanding wealthy industrial countries in the Global North take historical responsibility for the loss and damage they have caused to the people and the planet in the Global South through their polluting and extractive activities. Climate justice recognizes that it is fundamentally unjust that those who have contributed the least to cause the climate crisis (such as Indigenous Peoples, people of color, rural women, people with disabilities, the next generation of young people, etc.) have to suffer the worst of its consequences. Climate justice is essentially about reparations and righting the wrongs through mitigation (reducing carbon emissions), adaptation (adapting against climate change), or the recovery of loss and damage experienced by those on the frontline.

Gender-transformative & gender-responsive policy/ program

‘Gender-transformative’ policies/ programs take a holistic approach to dismantling social architectures that perpetuate gender inequality, by examining, recognizing, and working to address the root causes of gender inequality. A gender-transformative approach recognizes and calls out harmful power relations, social norms, and gender roles. It works to transform the realities of gender inequalities through shifting power, by giving agency to marginalized genders; advocating for equitable redistribution of resources for marginalized genders to have access and control; and creating equal opportunities for marginalized genders. 

A gender-responsive approach, on the other hand, acknowledges and considers the specific needs of women and men in designing and implementing programs and policies. The following figure of gender equity continuum (adapted from Pederson et al., 2015) describes how to shift from a gender-unequal policy/program to a gender-transformative policy/program.

However, this distinction between “gender-transformative” and  “gender-responsive” approaches is a relatively new development. In the environment sector, the term “gender-responsive” has encompassed gender-transformative work in the last two decades, such as identifying and responding to the root causes of gender inequality by changing roles, norms and power dynamics in the access, use, control and decision-making over natural resources. It is important to acknowledge this gender-transformative work done under the term “gender-responsive.”

Gender Equity Continuum

Source: Figure adapted from Peterson, A.m Greaves, L., and Poole, N. (2015) in UNFPA & UNICEF (2019) Technical Note on Gender-Transformative Approaches in the Global Program to End Child Marriage Phase II: A Summary for Practitioners.

Last updated: 23 February 2023

This research was conducted through the GEDA Technical Guidance and Data Mapping consultancy led by Trimita Chakma and Bea Moraras, outlined under A Snapshot of Gender-Environment Data. For more information on the consultants, please read their interview for the GEDA Insights Newsletter. 

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