The 2030 Agenda aims for a world where every woman and girl enjoys full gender equality. Achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls in developing countries requires sufficient investments. Collectively, development partners need to maximise both the quality and quantity of financing to SDG 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
Official Development Assistance (ODA) from the members of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) is and will remain an important source of financing, especially in the Least Developed Countries. Additional finance however has to complement ODA, and the full “toolbox” of development finance needs to support gender equality to implement the 2030 Agenda and deliver for women and girls.
Official Development Assistance
OECD analyses the ODA invested by bilateral donors, which focuses on gender equality and women’s empowerment. The DAC members provide yearly reporting on gender focussed ODA, using the DAC gender equality policy marker.
Key facts (2019-20 data):
In 2019-20, USD 56.5 billion of bilateral allocable aid (on average per year) focused on gender equality. That corresponds to 45% of bilateral allocable aid commitments screened against the gender equality marker.
This level of 45% for gender equality remained steady compared to 2018-19 data, even as the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
The bulk of this aid was committed to programmes that integrate gender equality as a significant, or mainstreamed, policy objective (USD 50.2 billion). This represents 40% of total bilateral aid.
Only USD 6.3 billion per year, or 5% of total bilateral aid, was dedicated to gender equality as the principalobjective of the programme.
Iceland, Canada, Ireland, The Netherlands, Sweden and Belgium rank first in terms of shares of ODA for gender equality, indicating that these members place a high priority on this issue.
The OECD and DAC are committed to driving up the quality and quantity of ODA to gender equality. By analysing the investments made by bilateral donors, OECD provides evidence-based guidance to help DAC members better develop strategies and target their support more effectively. All DAC donors can do a better job of implementing a twin-track approach of both mainstreamed and dedicated funding towards gender equality.
Financing for gender equality beyond ODA
OECD is also looking at the quality and quantity of financial flows beyond ODA. That includes gender lens investing and DAC members' other official flows, as well as funding by non-DAC providers such as private philanthropy and private flows mobilised by public development finance. The work on wider financing involves learning and exchange at several levels with Gendernet members, civil society, foundations, and the private sector.
Financing that is dedicated to gender equality and women’s empowerment in developing countries as a main objective is rare. Such dedicated financing should target areas with greatest need and where other financing is not as effective. This includes support for women’s voice and agency, and reaching those women and men, girls and boys that are the most at risk of being left behind.
Financing with gender equality and women’s empowerment as one of several development goals (mainstreamed support) is more common, but not common enough. It includes much of the financing referred to as "gender lens investing".
Even financing that does not yet focus on gender equality should be aligned, as a first step, to a minimum standard of “doing no harm” to gender equality and women’s empowerment. The bulk of financing of all types does not yet integrate a gender perspective and may in fact harm gender equality and women’s empowerment.
The first element to take into account when analysing the data for one country or when comparing data between countries is the COVERAGE RATIO, i.e. the proportion of aid which is screened. A high percentage of gender equality focussed aid alone does not mean that aid is well aligned with the gender equality policy objective; such a conclusion would only be valid for a donor with 100% coverage. When comparing data between donors, both coverage ratio and % of aid focussed on gender equality and women's empowerment have to be considered.