ODA Spending

How much ODA does the Netherlands allocate to gender equality?

The Netherlands is a global champion for gender equality and, in 2022, ranked 1st among DAC donors in its spending on gender equality relative to its bilateral ODA.


How is gender equality ODA from the Netherlands changing?

Gender-focused spending has steadily risen in absolute terms since 2018, including increased funding for projects with gender equality as a principal objective. This is in line with the Netherlands' increasing attention to gender equality, including hosting a Feminist Foreign Policy conference in 2023.


How does the Netherlands allocate gender equality ODA?

Bilateral Spending

Dutch gender-focused ODA mirrors the policy priorities and sector allocations for the country’s bilateral ODA overall. This approach was further strengthened by the launch of a Feminist Foreign Policy in November 2022. The Netherlands has increasingly shifted the focus of its gender programming to support grassroots organizations in partner countries and to empower and build networks among local women’s and girls’ rights groups, particularly in Bangladesh, Mozambique, Yemen, South Sudan, and Uganda.

On January 16, 2023, the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Liesje Schreinemacher announced that in response to the Taliban's decision to ban most female NGO employees in Afghanistan, the Netherlands has paused funding to the country, as it no longer met the required funding conditions. The Netherlands also instigated the World Bank to pause most programs from the ARTF, to which the Netherlands contributes. The Netherlands will not transfer new funding to programs in Afghanistan until it becomes independent from the Taliban's influence and equally accessible to women and girls.

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


Multilateral Spending and Commitments

The Netherlands channels some funding for gender equality through multilaterals including the UNFPA and UN Women.

Funding & Policy Outlook

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

The Netherlands views gender equality as a prerequisite to all other development goals. Equal rights and opportunities for women and girls and SRHR are two of the Netherlands’ development priorities.

In service of realizing equal rights and opportunities for women and girls, Dutch development policy has four main objectives:

  • Increasing women’s leadership and participation in political decision-making;
  • Improving the economic environment for women;
  • Stopping violence against women and girls; and
  • Strengthening women’s role in conflict resolution and peacebuilding.

The Netherlands supports two main policy frameworks aimed at promoting women’s safety, political influence, and economic stability:

  • The Power of Women, which provides grants to women-led organizations, funded with US$89 million from 2021-2025; and
  • Leading from the South, a feminist philanthropic fund that supports women’s rights activism at grassroots levels in the ‘Global South,’ funded with US$95 million for its 2021-2025 cycle.

Given the Dutch government’s focus on SRHR, many of its gender equality efforts are health-centered. In 2017, the Netherlands co-launched SheDecides, an international organization galvanizing political support for women’s social and political rights to make informed decisions around sexuality and reproduction. On March 2022, then Dutch Ambassador for Women’s Rights and Gender Equality and Director Social Development at the Dutch MFA, Pascalle Grotenhuis, explained the Netherlands’ position for menstrual health to be a central component to CSE, and for integrated gender approaches to WASH infrastructure. In October 2023, the Netherlands pledged US$109 million towards women’s and children’s health and rights at the GFF and tripled its annual contribution to the GFF to US$98 million.

Another focus of Dutch gender-related ODA relates to peace and security. The Netherlands partners with UN Women to support women in peace and security. TThe Netherlands co-hosted the first global conference on accountability for conflict-related sexual violence in The Hague on March 26, 2024 to promote joint efforts to research and prosecute sexual violence perpetrators.

At the 2021 GEF, the Netherlands co-led the action coalition on Feminist Movements and Leadership, pledging US$603 million to feminist organizations and gender equality movements for the 2021-2025 period. The Dutch delegation also made commitments to support other action coalitions, including Economic Justice and Rights, Bodily Autonomy and SRHR, and Climate Justice. The Netherlands also signed the Compact on Women, Peace and Security, and Humanitarian Action, a movement for action on security and gender equality.

Shortly after the GEF, the Netherlands released a list of its current strategic partnerships for development as of January 1, 2021, as part of the government’s policy framework, Strengthening Civil Society. The Dutch government selected 42 partnerships that are funded through the four funds of the policy framework: Power of Voices, Power of Women, SRHR Partnership Fund, and Women, Peace, and Security. The total budget made available for the four funds is US$1.9 billion between 2021–2025.

The Netherlands often takes a leading role in promoting gender equality in multilateral fora. On November 1-2, 2023, the Netherlands hosted the international Shaping Feminist Foreign Policy Conference in The Hague. Key topics on FFPs from the conference included:

  • Prioritizing inclusivity in FFPs to involve and co-create policy with the communities they will impact, prioritizing safeguarding rights, peace, and gender equality;
  • Integrating approaches in FFPs using a whole-of-government approach; and
  • Backing up FFPs withing increased and improved financing.

The Netherlands launched its own FFP on May 13, 2022, composed of seven foci:

  • Prioritizing equity across identities, with a focus on the rights of women and minorities in bilateral and multilateral contexts;
  • Mainstreaming gender equity across strategy and policy-making;
  • Standardizing gender analyses of expenses and decision-making;
  • Examining root causes of power structures and inequality as part of policy considerations and decision-making;
  • Meaningfully involving and consulting local social organizations and experts in policy and decision-making processes, with a focus on women;
  • Evaluating policy for its impact on women and LGBTQIA+ persons and adjusting if necessary; and
  • Increasing the government's gender analysis training and knowledge development, as well as structurally aiming for diversity, inclusion and gender parity at all job levels within the ministry and delegations.

On October 10, 2023, the Netherlands expressed that it would use its elected position as a member of the Human Rights Council for the period 2024-2026 to promote equal rights for women, girls, and LGBTIQ+ persons. The Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the UN, Yoka Brandt, from March 11-22, 2024, facilitated negotiations of the agreed conclusions of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) 68 on behalf of the Netherlands.

If the current four negotiation parties ( PVV, VVD, NSC, BBB) form a new coalition government, Dutch ODA and foreign policy in support of gender equality is at risk. The largest, right-wing negotiation party PVV committed in its 2023 election manifesto to ensure that municipalities do not participate in gender equality measures.

Key Bodies

Related Publications

A new era of development assistance: Key takeaways from the G7 summit

Donor Updates in Brief: 2023 OECD Preliminary Data

Germany’s 2024 budget: Massive ODA cuts after a fiscal odyssey

Looking for a cross donor perspective?

Learn more about SEEK's work on gender equality

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