Gender equality

At a glance

Funding trends

In 2018, official development assistance (ODA) related to gender equality from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC) donors stood at US$44.0 billion. This represents a 39%-increase from US$31.7 billion in 2014 and includes funding targeting gender equality both as a principal and as a significant goal. Growth in funding toward gender equality since 2014 has been driven by increases in funding for projects marked as having a significant gender equality component rather than funding for projects that named gender equality as the principal goal.

When considering only funding marked as principally targetting gender equality, ODA stood at US$5.0 billion in 2018. Between 2014 and 2018, principal funding for gender equality has remained relatively stable, fluctuating between US$4.7 billion (2015) and 5.1 billion (2016).

Top donors

In 2018, the largest donors of gender-related ODA (including both principal and significant funding) were Germany (US$7.1 billion), the EU Institutions (US$6.7 billion), the United Kingdom (US$6.5 billion), the United States (US$5.7 billion), and Japan (US$3.3 billion). In relative terms, the top donors were Canada (87% of its bilateral allocable ODA), Iceland (86%), Sweden (83%), Ireland (78%), and the Netherlands (64%).

For funding with gender as its principal objective, the largest donors in 2018 were the United States (US$671 million), Sweden (US$624 million), the United Kingdom (US$598 million), the EU Institutions (US$592 million), and the Netherlands (US$446 million). In relative terms, the top donors of principal funding were Spain (21%), Sweden (20%), Australia (17%), the Netherlands (15%), and Iceland (10%).


Gender policy marker: Projects which “advance gender equality and women’s empowerment or reduce discrimination and inequalities based on sex” are tagged in the OECD’s Creditor Reporting System (CRS) database.

Recent research by Oxfam found that around 25% of projects self-reported by donors using the gender equality marker were mismarked. This has implications for the validity of funding figures.

The marker rates projects based on three possible scores:

  1. Principal: meaning that gender equality is the main objective of the project or program;

  2. Significant: for projects in which gender equality is an important and deliberate goal but not the main objective; or

  3. Not targeted: used in cases where programs do not target gender equality.

Not all projects are screened against the gender marker; this funding falls into the ‘not screened’ category.


Total ODA for Gender

Gender focus of bilateral allocable ODA

Gender funding ranking

For further details on methodology, see our Donor Tracker Codebook.