ODA Spending

How much ODA does Australia allocate to gender equality?

Australia ranked 12th among DAC donors in terms of its overall spending toward projects related to gender equality.

In 2022, Australia’s prioritization of projects that incorporate some gender equality was 47%, slightly above the DAC average of 42%. Between 2021 and 2022, Australia rose from 15th-largest to 13th-largest donor to gender equality in relative terms.

How is Australian gender equality ODA changing?

All of Australia’s bilateral allocable ODA was screened against the gender marker in 2021, marking a significant success after years of continuous improvements in screening practices. In 2023, the government reintroduced a stronger requirement that all programs over AUD3 million ( US$2.1 million) must have a gender equality objective. 80% of development programs in their implementation will be required to address gender issues. The government also launched a new policy and performance delivery framework for Australian ODA, including key measures for Australia’s contribution to gender equality. Australia will evaluate its ODA for women’s equity institutions and organizations, as well as the number of services provided to survivors and victims of GBV. Minister for International Development and the Pacific Pat Conroy indicated that Australia would develop a new international gender equality strategy following the new policy.

In 2023, Terence Wood of the Development Policy Centre, Canberra, undertook a qualitative review of outcomes from Australia’s gender-focused assistance projects. He found that a smaller percentage of Australian assistance projects had a gender focus in the Pacific than in other parts of the world. Wood noted surprise at this outcome, given that challenging gender-focused issues in the Pacific had been regularly documented in previous ODA projects.

The FY2024/25 budget, announced May 2024, indicated that gender equality, inclusion, and disability sectors are estimated to receive AUD102 million ( US$66 million), including for implementation of expected new strategies for gender equality, LGBTQI+ rights, and disabilities. This also included funds for an Indo-Pacific Gender Equality Fund and a Southeast Asia-based GBV prevention program.

How does Australia allocate gender equality ODA?

Bilateral Spending

Australia’s gender-focused ODA mirrors the sector and regional allocations for the country’s bilateral ODA overall.

Visit the main page of the Australia profile to see an overall sector breakdown

As in Australia’s development policy overall, the Indo-Pacific receives particular attention. Australia’s Gender Equality Fund promotes gender equality in the region and received an estimated AUD65 million ( US$45 million) in FY2022/23. This funding included allocating to an emerging markets impact investment fund of AUD10 million ( US$7 million) to assist gender investments in Southeast Asia.

In February 2023, Australia’s Foreign Minister announced consultations across the East Asia and Pacific region to inform a future LGBTQ+ human rights engagement strategy. This strategy would be aimed at reducing social stigma and legal discrimination against LGBTQ+ people. AUD4 million ( US$3 million) will be provided in 2023 to assist human rights and civil society organizations, international bodies, and partnerships with expanding LGBT+ rights globally. Increased contributions would also be provided to the Global Equality Fund.

Multilateral Spending and Commitments

Australia channels some funding for gender equality through multilaterals including the UNFPA and UN Women. Recent contributions included US$31 million in annual core voluntary contributions to UN Women during 2022-2025 and an additional funding envelope totaling US$10 million for 2020-2022 for projects focused on ending violence against women and girls.

Funding & Policy Outlook

What is the current government's outlook on gender equality ODA?

Gender is a cross-cutting priority in Australia’s development policy: In line with Australia’s commitment to the COVID-19 response and recovery, its policy commits to investing in gender equality and WEE, given that women are disproportionately impacted by the ongoing crisis. Australia currently focuses on:

  1. Gender-based violence;
  2. Amplifying women’s voices in decision-making, leadership, and peacebuilding; and
  3. Improving the capacity to collect, analyze, and make available data on gender equality and women’s empowerment.

The Pacific Women Lead and Women Together initiatives are important mechanisms through which Australia supports gender equality: The Pacific Women Lead program is funded with AUD170 million ( US$128 million), while the Women Together Initiative will receive AUD300 million ( US$208 million) over five years. These two initiatives fall under the larger AUD1.5 billion ( US$1.1 billion) investment in Australia’s gender equality-focused ODA for FY2022/23, with specific focus on the Pacific and Southeast Asia. A 2023 qualitative review of outcomes from Australia’s gender-focused assistance projects, however, found that a smaller percentage of Australian assistance projects had a gender focus in the Pacific than in other parts of the world.

Australia’s development performance framework outlines that at least 80% of DFAT’s development cooperation investments should effectively address gender issues: According to POA reports, this target has never been met. The 2017/18 and 2018/19 POAs indicate 77% of development assistance investments effectively addressed gender equality in implementation. A 2018 OECD Development Co-operation Peer Review commended Australia for its policy commitment to mainstreaming gender, underpinned by strong performance targets.

Key Bodies

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