Gender equality

At a glance

Funding trends

In 2019, official development assistance (ODA) targeting gender equality from the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) donors stood at US$45.6 billion. This represents a 41%-increase from US$32.3 billion in 2015 and includes funding targeting gender equality both as a principal and as a significant goal.

Funding for projects with gender equality as a principal goal also increased within the same time period, from US$4.7 billion in 2015 to US$5.0 billion in 2019 (+7%).

Top donors

In 2019, the largest donors of gender-related ODA (including both principal and significant funding) were the United Kingdom (US$7.1 billion), Germany (US$7.0 billion), the United States (US$6.8 billion), EU Institutions (US$6.1 billion), and Japan (US$4.2 billion). In relative terms, the top donors were Iceland (91% of its bilateral allocable ODA), Canada (89%), Sweden (85%), Ireland (77%), and the Netherlands (71%).

For funding with gender as its principal objectives, the largest donors were the United States (US$1.1 billion), the United Kingdom (US$664 million), EU Institutions (US$548 million), Sweden (US$537 million), and the Netherlands (US$421 million). In relative terms, the top donors were Spain (24%), Sweden (18%), Iceland (17%), the Netherlands (16%), and Ireland (14%).

For more details on donors’ funding and policies for gender equality, see our  ‘insights bundle: Three pillars of gender equality’.


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.


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