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.

 The Generation Equality Forum framework

The Generation Equality Forum (GEF) was a major global gathering for gender equality, bringing together government delegates, UN representatives, youth leaders, civil society advocates, academics, and members of the private sector to bring new life to the global movement for gender equality and set a course toward bold gender equality outcomes by 2026.

The GEF held two meetings in 2021, in Mexico City in March and in Paris in June, and culminated in the launching of a 5-year Global Acceleration Plan to achieve irreversible progress towards gender equality. The Acceleration Plan is based on a series of concrete, ambitious, and transformative actions, and is backed by US$40 billion in financial commitments pledged at the summit.

Action Coalitions will mobilize stakeholders across sectors to deliver concrete results for girls and women.

The Mexico City event officially launched the Forum’s ‘Action Coalitions’, multi-stakeholder partnerships across six major themes of gender justice. Each coalition has identified critical goals in their area to be achieved by 2026.

Gender-based violence (GBV)

  • States and regional actors ratify international and regional conventions; public and private sector institutions strengthen, implement, and finance evidence-based laws and policies to end GBV
  • Implementation of evidence-driven prevention strategies in public and private sectors, including humanitarian settings, is scaled up
  • Implementation and financing of coordinated, survivor-centered, comprehensive, affordable services for survivors of GBV, including in humanitarian settings, is scaled up
  • Support for girl-led and women’s rights organizations working to end GBV is enhanced

Economic justice and rights

  • Number of countries with comprehensive set of measures to recognize, reduce, and redistribute unpaid care work is increased
  • Number of working women living in poverty reduced
  • Women’s access to and control over productive resources including land ownership is increased
  • Gender-responsive macro-economic plans, budget reforms, and stimulus packages are designed and implemented to reduce number of women and girls living in poverty by 85 million

Bodily autonomy and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR)

  • Delivery of comprehensive sexuality education in and out of school is increased to reach 50 million more adolescents and youth
  • Quality of and access to contraceptive services for 50 million more adolescent girls is increased; restrictive policies and legal barriers to abortion are removed to enable 50 million more girls and women to live in jurisdictions with legal abortion access
  • Through gender norms change and increasing knowledge of rights, 260 million more girls and women are empowered to make autonomous choices about their bodies, sexuality, and reproduction; legal and policy changes are enacted to protect and promote bodily autonomy and SRHR in at least 20 countries
  • Accountability to and support for autonomous feminist organizations (including girl-led and indigenous organizations) working to promote bodily autonomy is increased

Feminist action for climate justice

  • Percentage of global climate finance flows (public and private) for gender-just climate solutions is increased, including through a 65% increase in proportion of bilateral and multilateral climate finance with gender as a mainstreamed target
  • Proportion of women and girls in leadership positions in environmental governance is increased
  • Capacity of millions more women and girls to build resilience to climate risks, mitigate climate change, and address loss and damage (including through community-based cooperative models and land rights) is enhanced
  • 19 countries increase production of gender-environment statistics

Technology and innovation for gender equality

  • Half of gender digital divide across generations is reduced
  • Investments toward feminist technology and innovation increased by 50%
  • Proportion of women working in technology and innovation is doubled
  • Majority of countries and tech companies implement policies and solutions against online and tech-facilitated GBV and discrimination

Feminist movements and leadership

  • Global annual growth rate of funding from all sectors committed to feminist-led movements, organizations, and funds (including those led by trans, intersex, and/or non-binary people) is doubled
  • Civic space, including online, is promoted and protected to support efforts of feminist human rights defenders (including those who are trans, intersex, and/or non-binary)
  • Meaningful participation and leadership of girl, women, and feminist leaders (including those who are trans, intersex, and/or non-binary) is increased through efforts to (i) advance gender parity in all aspects of public and economic decision making across sectors, (ii) promote and expand feminist, gender transformative, inclusive laws and policies
  • Specific, flexible financial, technical resources are dedicated for adolescent girls and young feminist leaders and their movements to strengthen them and create safe, inclusive spaces for their meaningful participation in decision-making processes

For more information on the Action Coalitions' design and goals, view the GEF Global Acceleration Plan.