Trainer’s Notes – Gender, sexuality and access to rights exercise.

Who would be placed under greater surveillance? How does this impact on ACCESS and use?



Exercise objective:

To show how our ‘gender’ and ‘sexuality’ position gives us differential access to rights. [For gender, use man, woman, trans. For sexuality, use the division of ‘good’ sexuality – married – and ‘bad’ sexualities – homosexual, sex workers, disabled etc. Break each up across genders.



Ideally 45-60 mins. Minimum 30 mins (but then analysis will be squeezed.).


Categories: (you can add or subtract)

  • Unmarried man
  • Unmarried woman
  • Disabled man
  • Disabled woman
  • Gay man
  • Lesbian woman
  • Trans man
  • Trans woman
  • Sex worker
  • Married man
  • Married woman
  • Disabled man
  • Disabled woman
  • HIV-positive man
  • HIV-positive woman



Each group must make its own ladder from these 15 categories. Separate man/woman and remember to mix them up when putting them on flip chart or projecting on a screen. Do not put them in a hierarchy yourself!



  1. Remind participants that there will always be exceptions to every categorization (give examples: eg an upper-class sex worker may have more power than a poor dalit man, but it’s an individual case. By and large, the categories show the power structure of society.)
  2. Mention that caste, class, education, language, age are some other factors that need to be considered. These are not water-tight steps or compartments. Give examples, based on people you know or work with.
  3. Categories can overlap: eg at an individual level, a woman can be HIV-positive and married. Etc.
  4. Participants should report back their group work. Who’s on the top rung? Who’s at the bottom? Where did they face challenges? Why? What were the discussions?
  5. In the analysis, if time is short, just do the top 2 steps in the ladder and the bottom 2 steps. If you have more time, do more.
  6. Wrap up by explaining that both gender and sexuality lead to differential access to rights – those with more power in the hierarchy are more likely to access rights, even though there will be individual differences.
Gender, sexuality and access to rights exercise: trainer’s notes