Issue Deep Dive: EUI/Gender Equality

Last updated: December 8, 2022

ODA Spending

ODA in Context

The EUI ranks second out of DAC donors in terms of its total bilateral allocable funding (when measuring absolute levels) for projects that are in some way related to gender equality.

However, its prioritization of gender-related projects is low compared to other donors, putting it in 19th place in relative terms.

The EUI’s funding for projects related to gender equality has been increasing since 2016, but remains far from their target, which is for 85% of all new actions related to external relations to contribute to gender equality and women's empowerment by 2025.

Increases in gender equality-related funding have been driven mainly by support for projects that included gender as a significant rather than principal focus. However, despite the low share of principal funding for gender equality from the EUI, given their large volume of ODA overall, the EUI still ranks third among DAC donors when considering absolute spending on projects with a principal gender focus.

The EUI’s projects in the government and civil society, other social services, and education sectors are most likely to have a gender equality focus. These sectors received 29%, 14%, and 13% of the EUI’s gender equality-related ODA in 2020, respectively.


Explore the Deep-Dive on the EUI's ODA for global education.


Insights bundle

Isabela Vera, Kalila Jaeger, Zoe Johnson, Hugo Petitjean

March 1, 2021

Funding & Policy outlook

EUI have been increasing its policy emphasis on gender equality. In 2019, EC President von der Leyen announced in her political guidelines that building a ‘Union of Equality’ was one of the EC’s major priorities.

EUI gender funding is guided by a number of strategies:

  • European Gender Equality Strategy for 2020-2025: This strategy is mostly focused on gender equality in the EU but includes targeted measures to achieve gender equality through development cooperation, EU trade policy, and advocacy in international fora.
  • GAP III: This five-pillar strategy was put forward by the :abbrEC and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy in November 2020.
  • European Consensus on Development and the EU Global Strategy guide DG INTPA’s gender equality work. These documents identify equality and women’s empowerment as a cross-cutting issue for all EU policies and name priorities including empowering women and girls, ending violence against women, and girls, and ending harmful practices.

GAP III is based on five pillars:

  1. Ensuring 85% of all new actions related to external relations contribute to gender equality and women's empowerment by 2025;
  2. Implementing a shared strategic vision and close cooperation with Member States and partners at multilateral, regional, and country-levels;
  3. Accelerating progress by focusing on the key thematic areas of engagement including:
  • Ending GBV,
  • SRHR;
  • Economic and social rights and empowerment;
  • Equal participation and leadership;
  • Women, peace and security; and
  • Green and digital transformations.
  1. Having the EU lead by example by establishing gender-responsive and gender-balanced leadership at top political and management levels; and
  2. Setting up a quantitative, qualitative, and inclusive monitoring system to increase public accountability, ensure transparency and access to information on its assistance to gender equality worldwide. 

Gender equality is addressed through the Global Challenges thematic budget line: The 2021-2027 NDICI Global Challenges budget line includes support to SRHR and child protection systems and the provision for protection against GBV, particularly in situations of instability. Additionally, gender equality is mainstreamed as a priority for geographic programming.


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Sally Paxton, Alex Farley-Kiwanuka

November 2, 2022

Key bodies

Sheba George

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