How Do Individual Donors Address Gender Issues In Their Policy, Programming, and Financing?

Published: December 2008

This document presents how donors, both individually and collectively, have made numerous commitments to advance gender equality through their official development assistance (ODA). For instance, the European Commission (EC) has acknowledged that gender equality is a fundamental human right and instrumental to achieving the MDGs. The research conducted under the EC/UNIFEM programme ?Integrating Gender Responsive Budgeting into the Aid Effectiveness Agenda' assessed to what extent some of these gender equality commitments had been put into practice. In addition to the EC, the research covered another major donor in each of the ten countries. This brief presents examples of how donors addressed gender equality concerns in their aid management practices and instruments in the select countries. It is important to note that these are not necessarily representative of donor practices beyond the countries covered in the study.

Key Findings

  • In the recent Accra Agenda for Action (AAA), donors made a commitment to ensure that their policies address issues of gender equality in a more systematic and coherent way.
  • Most country strategies refer to gender equality as a cross-cutting issue that needs to be mainstreamed into all areas of support.
  • Donor support to gender-equality interventions is mainly channelled through national women's machineries or NGOs.
  • In the countries reviewed, donors tended to support gender-equality related interventions in sector programmes in the traditional soft' sectors, such as education and health.
  • In most of the countries, donors supported non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that conducted gender equality-related work.
  • Donors, such as DFID, the World Bank, and Germany, are increasingly providing support to budget reform and public finance management (PFM) systems.
  • Only a few country reviews mentioned the use of specific gender-sensitive indicators, included in donor country strategy performance assessment frameworks (PAFs), which are used to monitor progress and determine how much funding donors will disburse.
  • Gender issues can be integrated into GBS disbursements through gendersensitive performance criteria or indicators in PAFs.
  • In the countries reviewed, donor agencies did not generally track their gender expenditures, or the gender impacts of programmes.
  • Most donor delegations in the review countries have staff members assigned as gender focal points (GFPs). However, these GFPs were not necessarily gender experts and typically worked on gender issues on a part-time basis.
  • Generally, donors did not address gender issues in their new aid modality (NAM) guidelines.

Publishers UN Women

Geographic Focus Africa (Central) / Rwanda, Africa (Eastern) / Ethiopia, Africa (Eastern) / Tanzania, Africa (Eastern) / Uganda, Africa (Northern) / Morocco, Africa (Southeastern) / Mozambique, Africa (Western) / Cameroon, Asia (Southeastern) / India, Asia (Southern) / Nepal, South America (Northwestern) / Peru

Funded by United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM)