Having the ability to make effective choices and to transform those choices into desired outcomes. Agency can be understood as the process through which women and men use their endowments and take advantage of economic opportunities to achieve desired outcomes. (A common usage is “women as agents of change”, that is, seeing and respecting women’s potential to contribute to transformative development outcomes, for example.) (Source: World Bank)

Empowerment is the process of increasing the capacity of individuals or groups to make choices and to transform those choices into desired actions and outcomes. Central to this process are actions that both build individual and collective assets, and improve the efficiency and fairness of the organisational and institutional context which govern the use of these assets. (Source: World Bank)

Environmental human rights defenders are individuals and groups who ‘strive to protect and promote human rights relating to the environment.’ They come from many different backgrounds and work in different ways. IUCN also uses Women Environment Human Rights Defenders (WEHRDs), putting emphasis on the both the gender-based bias and violence that women defenders in particular often face, and the roles women play as leaders, protectors, agents of change and stewards of the earth. (Source: IUCN, UN)

Distinct from biological sex (that is, male / female), gender is the sociocultural construct that distinguishes, describes and generally characterises the roles, behaviors and activities that are expected and deemed acceptable for men and women and those of different genders, influencing the relationships between and among them. Generally thought of on a feminine-masculine spectrum, gender has bearing on power dynamics between individuals and groups. Gender is based on social, cultural, political and economic values, beliefs and structures; and thus, gender roles and relationships are dynamic, change over time, and vary widely between and within cultures. (Sources: IUCN, WHO, UN Women Training Centre, IFAD, others)

A gender analysis is a socioeconomic and sociocultural analysis of gender data and gender dynamics in a given context or locale, typically conducted in order to better understand gendered power dynamics between groups and individuals and to inform a given project or programme development and implementation. Gender analyses aim to gather and analyse data and information at multiple levels across key interlinking domains (see IUCN’s Gender Analysis Guide for more description). (Sources: IUCN, GEF, USAID, Government of Canada, UN)

GBV is an umbrella term for any harmful act (e.g. physical, verbal, sexual, psychological, economic) that is perpetrated against a person or group on the basis of gender. The nature and extent of specific types of GBV vary across cultures, countries and regions, expressions of GBV often overlap (e.g. physical violence to enable property grabbing), and GBV can be exerted through varied means (e.g. cyber, community, institutional). Examples of GBV include but are not limited to sexual violence, including sexual exploitation/abuse, rape and forced prostitution; domestic violence; trafficking; forced, early and child marriage; property grabbing; and harmful traditional practices such as female genital mutilation, honour killings and widow disinheritance. (Sources: IUCN, UNICEF, UNFPA, UNDP, UN Women)

The gender binary refers to the common classification of gender into two distinct and opposite categories – ‘man’ and ‘woman’. The gender binary is limiting in that it does not account for and include those from across the spectrum of gender identifies and expressions. Some identify otherwise, for example as non-binary, and many different sociocultural contexts, traditions or communities include additional genders, for example third gender or two-spirit, among other cultural terms and designations. People’s gender identities are how they see and define themselves. People outside the gender binary often face gender-based discrimination, harassment, criminalisation and social marginalisation if their gender expressions do not conform to societal expectations of what it means to be a man or a woman. (Sources: IUCN, OutRight International)

Gender data, or gender statistics, are data that capture information on the lived realities of women and men and those of diverse genders. Gender statistics include data disaggregated by sex (or gender); data pertaining specifically to women or men; and data that captures specific gender issues. (Sources: IUCN, UN Women, UN ESCAP)

Gender disaggregated data is that which is broken down, tracked, and evaluated and communicated by gender (e.g., numbers of women and men receiving direct benefits) for the purposes of illuminating or overcoming gender gaps. Sex-disaggregated data breaks down data by sex (e.g., numbers of males and females in a population, or levels of primary school enrollment). These terms are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same. While the majority of governments collect binary sex-disaggregated data, for example in national household surveys, increasing attention to gender-disaggregation is slowly becoming norm. (Sources: IUCN, UN ESCAP, UN Women)

Gender diversity, or those of diverse genders, refers to and recognizes that some people’s identity and self-expression fall outside commonly understood gender norms, including transgender and nonbinary gender identities, which may fall between the masculine and feminine ends of the gender identity spectrum or completely outside the gender binary. (Sources: IUCN, NAP Toolkit, Gender Spectrum)

Gender equality is the state in which all people, regardless of their gender, have equal rights, freedoms, conditions and opportunities. It does not mean that people – for example women and men – become the same, but rather that they have equal life chances and are valued equally. This applies not only to equality of opportunity but also to equality of impact and benefits arising from economic, social, cultural and political development – as well as opportunity to shape and influence those values, norms and systems. (Sources: IUCN, WHO, IFAD)

GESI is a concept that aims to understand and address unequal power relations between different social groups. The GESI approach to development focuses on the need for action to re-balance these power relations and ensure equal rights, opportunities and respect for all individuals regardless of their social identity. (Source: International Development Partners Gourp, Nepal, 2017)

Gender equity is about fairness of treatment for women and men according to their respective needs. A gender equity goal often requires measures to rectify the imbalances between the sexes, in particular to compensate for the historical and social disadvantages faced by women. Equity can be understood as the means, whereas equality is the end. Equity leads to equality. (Sources: IFAD, IUCN)

A gender gap describes a point of inequality (e.g., difference between women’s and men’s representation in parliament). Gender gaps refer to the disparities between men and women, as well as other gender identities, that result in gender inequality. Gender gaps reflect social, political, academic, and/or economic attainments and/or attitudes that impact how women and men access education, economic, health, political and scientific opportunities, power, rights and services. Across conservation, environment and sustainable development sectors, these gender gaps included the ways in which women and men have unequal access to (and benefits from) natural resources and services in relation to decision-making, governance, financial and productive resources, opportunities and roles. (Source: IUCN)

Gender identity reflects a deeply felt and experienced sense of one’s own gender. Everyone has a gender identity, which is part of their overall identity. A person’s gender identity is often but not always aligned with the sex assigned to them at birth. For transgender people, there is an inconsistency between their sense of their own gender and the sex they were assigned at birth. In some cases, their appearance and mannerisms and other outwards characteristics may conflict with society’s expectations of gender-normative behavior. Transgender is an umbrella term used to describe people with a wide range of identities, including people who identify as third gender. (Sources: OutRight International, UN Free and Equal)

Gender indicators are those used to measure changes in gender-related issues over time (e.g., the changes in the status or situation of women and men, such as levels of poverty or participation) as a result of a particular policy, programme or activity. (Source: IUCN)

Gender responsiveness is identifying and understanding gender gaps and biases, and then acting on them, developing and implementing actions to overcome challenges and barriers toward improving and achieving gender equality. In comparison to gender sensitive (see below), gender responsive has come to mean more than “doing no harm”; it means “to do better”. (Source: IUCN)

A gender-responsive approach is one that proactively identifies gender gaps, discriminations and biases and then designs and delivers coordinated actions to address and overcome them, including through advancing women’s and girls’ empowerment via enhanced access to and control of resources and services, benefits, participation and decision-making. At IUCN, this approach helps ensure that IUCN policies, programs or projects do not exacerbate inequalities, but rather take meaningful steps to reduce disparities and empower women, girls and members of traditionally disadvantaged groups, as fundamental toward meeting IUCN’s mission. (Source: IUCN)

Gender sensitivity is understanding and taking into consideration socio-cultural factors underlying sex-based discrimination. In application, gender sensitive has come to mean “do no harm”. (Source: IUCN)

A conceptual framework for the process of human development that is normatively based on international human rights standards and operationally directed to promoting and protecting human rights, a human rights-based approach (HRA) seeks to analyse inequalities which lie at the heart of development problems and redress discriminatory practices and unjust distributions of power that impede development progress. In this way, it is complementary to a gender-responsive approach. (Source: UN, IUCN)

The definition or ‘statement of coverage’ contained in the International Labour Organisation Convention on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries comprises: i. peoples who identify themselves as ‘indigenous’; ii. tribal peoples whose social, cultural, and economic conditions distinguish them from other sections of the national community, and whose status is regulated wholly or partially by their own customs or traditions or by special laws or regulations; iii. traditional peoples not necessarily called indigenous or tribal but who share the same characteristics of social, cultural, and economic conditions that distinguish them from other sections of the national community, whose status is regulated wholly or partially by their own customs or traditions, and whose livelihoods are closely connected to ecosystems and their goods and services. (Source: ILO, 1989)

Intersectionality recognises the interconnectedness of socially constructed categories, such as ethnicity, class and gender, which inform a person’s or group’s relative privilege or disadvantage. An intersectional approach aims to understand the complex way in which the historical and ongoing effects of multiple forms of discrimination (such as racism, sexism and classism) combine, overlap or intersect and attempts to recognise and improve the impact of these effects on the experiences of individuals. (Source: IUCN, UN Women, Oxford Dictionary)

Rather than making certain people or diverse people fit a system, social inclusion or an inclusive approach aims to intentionally and proactively provide for diverse people – and especially those who are commonly disenfranchised or left out – to be meaningfully included in order to shape, influence, and define a given structure or intervention that maximises everyone’s best potential. (Source: IUCN)

Masculinity(-ies) describes different notions of what it means to be a man, including patterns of conduct linked to men’s expected place in a given set of gender roles and relations. Most societies socialize their males to assume superiority, leadership, dominance, aggression and entitlement. Work to promote healthy and positive masculinities questions the dominant masculine values and norms that society places on men’s behaviour; identifying and addressing issues confronting men and boys, especially in the world of work; and promoting the positive roles that men and boys can play in attaining gender equality. (Source: FemNet, European Institute for Gender Equality)

Non-binary describes a person who does not identify with the male/female binary but somewhere outside or between. Some non-binary people use neutral pronouns like “they” and “them”. (Source: OutRight International)