Step 3: Options analysis

In this step you will:

  • Use the information you have gathered in Step 1 and 2 to develop an option or options for your proposed policy, program or service.
  • Undertake options analysis to consider the gendered benefits, costs and overall gendered impact of the option(s).
  • This step pulls together all the analysis you have undertaken in Steps 1 and 2. You can use the information you have recorded in Template 1 and 2 for easy reference.

Record as much detail as you can in Template 3. You can use this template as evidence of your Gender Impact Assessment process and to meet your obligations under the Gender Equality Act.

Local councils

Have you considered:

  • tapping into peak bodies that can offer support and resources such as Local Government Victoria, the Municipal Association of Victoria and the Australia Local Government Women’s Association?
  • collaborating and sharing best practice and data with other councils?

The Municipal Association of Victoria hosts a promising practice portal that could be used for this purpose.

Part A: Describe your policy options

Using the data and evidence you have collected, develop options to address your policy issue.

For each option identified, describe the proposed policy solution or design of the program or service you are working on. Include a description of the overall aim and objective that you are trying to achieve, and a description of who you have identified as the target audience. Provide a brief description of the proposed strategies, activities or service design elements and how they will meet the needs and create benefit for the target audience.

Tip: If your policy, program or service is likely to have major and far reaching impacts, we recommend you identify at least two options and assess the gendered benefits and costs of each. If your policy, program or service is smaller in scope and impact you may wish to focus on just one option.

Part B: Describe the gendered benefits and costs

Here you will use your analysis in Steps 1 and 2 to identify the potential benefits and costs of your proposed policy, program or service.

The Gender Equality Act requires you to show how your policy, program or service will meet the needs of persons of different genders; address gender inequality; and promote gender equality. See if you can address these specific criteria when you are identifying the benefits of each option.

Below are some general guiding questions to assist you to think through the benefits and costs. However, remember that your responses should be based on the research, data, consultations and analysis relevant to your context. Be as specific as possible in terms of the change you expect to see.

Tip: Review Templates 1 and 2 to remind you of the potential impacts you identified as part of Steps 1 and 2.


  • Will some people benefit more because they have greater access, or does this policy, program or service do everything it can to ensure resources are distributed and used equally?
  • Will it contribute to transforming gender norms in a positive way? For example, will it contribute to a more balanced distribution of unpaid care labour and family responsibilities between women and men?
  • Will it make women and girls safer in public or private spaces?


  • Who is likely to be negatively impacted by this? How are the most vulnerable groups likely to be impacted?
  • Will this reduce a certain group’s access to economic resources or opportunities? If so, are they already disadvantaged?
  • Does it reinforce harmful gender stereotypes, for example, further promoting men in a male dominated industry?

Take the next step: Quantitative Analysis

You can also use the Quantitative Analysis Tool (referred to in Step 2) to help you understand how the estimated benefits and/or costs of your proposed policy, program or service options (where possible to quantify), may impact men women and gender diverse people differently. For example, if you have developed an alternative option that changes the gender ratio for a particular indicator, you can re-enter your policy impact into a new version of the tool, and understand how it affects people of different genders relative to your original option.

Part C: Overall gender impact

Consider your cost and benefit analysis. Do the benefits outweigh the costs or does your policy, program or service potentially have negative unintended consequences for certain groups of people that will outweigh any benefits? Figure 6 provides some examples of negative and positive outcomes. Consider whether any of these apply.

In the practical example below you will find an example of a costs and benefits analysis of two options. One of these options was assessed as having an overall negative gender impact and the other option was assessed as having an overall positive gender impact.

Negative or neutral gender impact

  • Perpetuates gender inequality by reinforcing unbalanced norms, roles and relations.
  • Privileges men over women and gender diverse people (or vice versa).
  • Ignores differences in opportunities and resource allocation for people of different genders.
  • Does not take into account issues of intersectionality.

Positive gender impact

  • Considers gender norms, roles and relations for people of different genders and how they affect access to and control over resources.
  • Promotes the elimination of existing gender gaps, or at least a significant reduction of them.
  • Addresses the causes of gender-based health inequities, including the prevention of violence against women, girls and gender diverse people.
  • Includes ways to transform harmful gender norms, roles and relations.

Practical example for Step 3