Gender and development

DAC gender equality policy marker


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The OECD tracks and analyses development financing in support of gender equality and women’s rights, using the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) gender equality policy marker.

What is the gender equality policy marker?

The marker is a qualitative statistical tool to record development activities that target gender equality as a policy objective. The gender equality policy marker is used by DAC members as part of the annual reporting of their development activities to the DAC, to indicate for each aid activity whether it targets gender equality as a policy objective. In addition, philanthropies, multilateral organisations, non-DAC donors and other actors are monitoring their development activities using the policy marker. The data based on the marker provides a measure of the development finances that DAC members and other actors allocate in support of gender equality.

The OECD database provides information on:


  • Individual gender equality focused projects/programmes
  • The global estimate of aid committed for gender equality.
  • The proportion of DAC members’ aid focused on achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment.
  • The sectors prioritised for gender equality focused aid.
  • The investments within the individual sectors.
  • The countries prioritised for gender equality focused aid.

Three-point scoring system

The DAC gender equality policy marker is based on a three-point scoring system, to qualitatively track the financial flows that target gender equality. This allows the OECD to identify gaps between DAC donors’ policy commitments and financial commitments. The marker strengthens the transparency and accountability in development financing for gender equality and women’s rights. At present, 92% of total bilateral “sector-allocable” aid is screened against the gender equality marker.


  • Principal (marked 2) means that gender equality is the main objective of the project/programme and is fundamental is its design and expected results. The project/programme would not have been undertaken without this objective.
  • Significant (marked 1) means that gender equality is an important and deliberate objective, but not the principal reason for undertaking the project/programme, often explained as gender equality being mainstreamed in the project/programme.
  • Not targeted (marked 0) means that the project/programme has been screened against the gender marker but has not been found to target gender equality.

Policy Marker Handbook

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Definition and minimum recommended criteria for the DAC gender equality policy marker

Find more information on how to use the gender equality marker in the brief on the minimum recommended criteria for the DAC gender equality policy.

The purpose of the minimum criteria is to ensure a common understanding among DAC member agencies of the minimum baseline for projects to qualify for a 0, 1 or 2 score; facilitate the scoring process by providing a ‘checklist’ of minimum criteria for each category; and strengthen the comparability and accuracy of the data reported by DAC members.

The recommendations are not binding but set a common benchmark that DAC members are encouraged to meet.

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Handbook on the OECD-DAC Gender Equality Policy Marker

This handbook is the first guidance produced by the OECD-DAC Network on Gender Equality (GenderNet) on the DAC gender equality policy marker.

It is designed to promote a better understanding of the gender marker and to support DAC member agencies in applying this tool by providing recommendations for its effective application.

( Disponible aussi en français )

Creditor Reporting System purpose codes

Data on the different sectors in which aid activities are committed are recorded using “purpose codes” in the OECD Creditor Reporting System (CRS). Two purpose codes are directly relevant for gender equality and women’s empowerment, and complement the DAC Gender Equality Policy Marker. Aid reported under these purpose code are included in the data collected using the marker:

  • The women’s rights organisations and movements, and government institutions code (15170) covers support for feminist movements, organisations and institutions working for women’s rights (re-named in 2019 from “women’s equality organisations and institutions).
  • The violence against women and girls code (15180): The DAC introduced a new code in its statistical system to track aid in support of ending violence against women and girls in 2015, as ending violence against women and girls is a priority area in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 2030. This new tool will help hold governments accountable for delivering on the SDG commitments in this area.

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