The Caren Levy Framework


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The Caren Levy framework (1996), or 'web of institutionalisation', is a widely-recognised tool for analysing gender mainstreaming. The tool enables staff (and partners) to view their organisational structures and practices through a critical gender lens, and to understand where there are strengths and where improvements are needed. 


The Levy Framework comprises 13 elements related to the conditions needed for effective gender mainstreaming. These are organised into four spheres:

  1. Beneficiaries Sphere: roles, needs and perspectives; representative structures, active participation and influence
  2. Policy Sphere: resources, political commitment, policy
  3. Organisational Sphere: responsibility for gender mainstreaming, procedures for gender mainstreaming, staff development
  4. Delivery Sphere: delivery of programmes and projects, methodology, research, theory building  

Participants work in groups, using guiding questions to discuss whether the elements of each sphere are strong, medium or weak in terms of gender mainstreaming. The groups use blue to indicate strong gender dimensions, green for medium and red for weak. If time is short each group may each focus on one sphere, but where there is more time they may all discuss the whole framework. The participants then come together to share their insights. (See Appendix[CS2]  3 for introductory powerpoint slides and guiding questions for the exercise.)