Gender and development

Financing the unfinished business of gender equality and women's rights: priorities for the post-2015 framework


This technical paper analyses investments by OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) donors in six policy areas that are priorities for the post-2015 development agenda because of their catalytic impact on achieving gender equality and women’s rights: girls’ education; sexual and reproductive health and rights; women’s economic empowerment; women, peace and security; women’s participation and leadership; and, violence against women and girls. It is intended for representatives from donor agencies, partner governments and civil society.

Technical brief (pdf)

Short brief (pdf)


Key messages

  • MDG 3 has proved catalytic in galvanising new resources for gender equality and women’s rights. Retaining a strong standalone goal on gender equality in the post‑2015 framework alongside gender‑specific targets and indicators across all goals will be critical for mobilising the political will and investment needed to address the “unfinished business” of the MDGs.
  • Despite the upward trend in aid focused on gender equality since the MDGs, significant funding gaps remain in priority areas for the post‑2015 framework ‑ women’s economic empowerment, family planning, women, peace and security, and women’s participation and leadership. It is time to close these gaps.
  • DAC members’ aid flows in support of gender equality and women’s empowerment have tripled since the MDGs from USD 8 billion in 2002 to USD 24 billion in 2012. This represented an annual average growth rate of 12% for the years 2002‑12, while all sector specific aid grew at 6% over the same period. Most of this aid went to education and health.
  • There has been an overall upward trend in the amounts of aid focused on gender equality in education which increased from USD 1.2 billion in 2002 to USD 4.4 billion in 2012. This aid has had a consistent focus on gender equality since the MDGs.
  • While overall DAC members’ aid to population policies/programmes and reproductive health reached USD 7 billion in 2012, donor funding to family planning remained quite low at USD 700 million on average per year in 2011 and 2012.
  • Similarly, while USD 1.3 billion went to reproductive health in 2011 and 2012, these financial commitments have been insufficient to arrest the unacceptably high rates of maternal mortality. Accelerating progress beyond 2015 will require renewed commitment to investing in women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights, with a focus on universal access to quality, integrated sexual and reproductive health information, education and services throughout the life‑cycle.
  • Despite political statements about the importance of women’s economic empowerment, donor investments in women’s economic empowerment have remained flat and unchanged since 2007.
  • Despite numerous UN Security Council Resolutions calling for a strengthened focus on women in fragile and conflict situations, the amounts of aid targeting gender equality in peace and security were low ‑ USD 459 million on average per year since 2002.
  • DAC members’ aid to participation and leadership has had a strong focus on gender equality in 2011 and 2012 (67%). However, the overall amounts of aid in support of women’s participation and leadership remained low ‑ just over USD 1.2 billion on average per year for the years 2002‑12.

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