Issue Deep Dive: Germany/Gender Equality

Last updated: January 2, 2023

ODA Spending


ODA In Context


Germany ranked first among DAC donors in terms of overall spending toward projects related to gender equality, but only 15th in terms of relative spending.


In 2020, Germany’s prioritization of projects that incorporate some gender equality was at 44% of bilateral allocable ODA, just below the DAC average of 45%.




Germany’s spending on gender equality increased moderately between 2016 and 2019 but increased significantly between 2019 and 2020 (+29%).


However, only 2% (US$376 million) of Germany’s bilateral allocable ODA in 2020 went toward projects and programs that targeted gender equality as a principal goal, putting Germany below the 2020 DAC average of 7%.


In September 2022, the BMZ announced the implementation of a target quota for projects that contribute to gender equality. The target aims for 93% of all BMZ projects from 2022-2025 to contribute to gender equality. Of these, 8% of projects must have gender equality as the principal objective, twice as many as in 2021. 85% of all projects will contribute to gender equality as a significant outcome. In 2020, Germany spent 42% of its bilateral allocable ODA on projects that included gender as a significant target (DAC average: 38%).

OECD data reveals that Germany’s screening of projects has improved in recent years. Since 2017 nearly all bilateral ODA (99%) has been screened.



ODA Breakdown


Bilateral Spending


The largest shares of Germany’s gender-focused bilateral allocable ODA in 2020 were allocated to government and civil society, other social services, and agriculture.



Mutlilateral spending and commitments


In addition to its bilateral contributions, Germany channels some funding for gender equality through multilaterals. These include UNFPA, which received US$80 million, and UN Women, which received US$16 million in 2020.


The table below summarizes Germany’s more recent commitments to multilaterals working on issues related to gender equality. Some of these commitments are considered core funding to multilaterals while others will be earmarked (bilateral) funding from Germany.


Funding and Policy outlook


Germany takes a three-pronged approach to tackling gender-based inequalities: With its concept for gender equality in German development policy, the BMZ pursues a three-pronged approach to ending discrimination against women and girls and dismantling gender hierarchies, including:

  • Gender mainstreaming in all development strategies;
  • Foregrounding women’s empowerment; and
  • Anchoring the strengthening of women's rights and equality in bi-and multilateral political dialogue.

Concrete measures are guided by a Gender Action Plan (GAP), initially set out for the 2016-2020 period, which covers 10 priority areas:

  • Acess to justice and jurisdiction, political participation, co-determination and representation;
  • Rural development, agriculture, and food security;
  • Violence against women and girls;
  • Armed conflicts, peacekeeping, and flight;
  • Education;
  • Economic empowerment;
  • Health, including SRHR;
  • Water and sanitation;
  • Energy; and
  • Climate change, disaster risk management, sustainable development, city and community development.

A feminist approach to gender equality: Development Minister Schulze has put a feminist approach at the core of Germany’s development policy. Gender equality has been named by the BMZ as one of its four priorities, including strengthening the rights, political and economic participation, and access to resources for women, girls, and LGBTQ+ persons, as well as advancing children’s rights and protection and eliminating gender-based violence.


Advocating for gender equality in global fora: On several occasions, Germany has used its standing in global fora to advocate for gender equality and girls’ and young women’s rights at an international level. During the negotiations toward the ‘2030 Agenda,’ the German government emphasized that gender equality and self-determination of all women should be anchored as a separate SDG, as well as a cross-cutting theme of the entire agenda. During the 2021 Generation Equality Forum (GEF; March of 2021 - June 2021), Germany co-led the GEF Action Coalition on economic justice and rights and joined the Global Alliance for Care, which was created by Mexico's National Institute for Women and UN Women and will address the burden of care that hinders women’s economic participation and opportunities.


Key Bodies



Kristin Laub

klaub@seekdevelopment.org

>See all publications from this expert

Explore other deep-dives