Gender Equality

Women are discriminated against in all areas: employment, education, health, governance. Gender inequality causes injustice, but also poverty: it hinders economic and social development.
The reduction of gender inequalities and empowerment of women and girls are central to our strategy. We take gender issues into account in all the projects we support.
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Vietnam, gender equality, woman man, agriculture
Vietnam, gender equality, woman man, agriculture

Making gender central to the strategy

woman, Democratic Republic of the Congo


Gender equality is recognized as contributing to development by the international community. In 2013, the French Government made the promotion of gender equality a priority, by adopting the French Gender and Development Strategy 2013-2017.

In 2014, AFD defined its Strategy on Gender and the Reduction of Gender Inequalities. It is based on three priorities:

  • Prevent gender inequalities in the operations we finance; 
  • Promote gender as one of the objectives of our operations;
  • Support progress in societies on these issues.

Today, in line with the objectives set by the French Gender and Development Strategy: 

  • 100% of our projects are examined on the basis of OECD gender equality standards;
  • 50% of the operations we finance are rated 1 or 2 according to OECD standards;
  • 90% of AFD’s project managers have been sensitized to the gender issue.

The gender issue is a central theme in AFD’s new strategy for 2018-2020. 

Supporting sustainable and equal development

Cambodia, women, accountability


Wealth in the world is poorly distributed between men and women: 70% of people living on less than a dollar a day are women and two-thirds of illiterates are women. In certain countries, 50% of women are victims of violence. Women produce 50% of food and two-thirds of global labor, but only earn 10% of incomes, only obtain 1% of credits and only own 1% of property. 

Yet women are recognized as being a powerful and sustainable engine of development. According to a study by ILO (International Labour Organization), gender equality would allow USD 28,000bn to be obtained, i.e. a 26% increase in global GDP by 2025.

Taking gender into account is therefore a powerful tool for scaling up the impacts of our actions.

Our projects:

  • Ensure access to high-quality basic services for girls and women;
  • Ensure access to training and employment opportunities and increase the formal incomes of women; 
  • Combat violence against women;
  • Increase the participation of women in the decision-making and governance of institutions and projects.

Mainstreaming gender into all AFD's activities

Couple in front of their house, Cambodia


Gender is a crosscutting thematic area, meaning it concerns all our areas of action (poverty, education, water, health, climate, justice, etc.) and all the countries we work with. The gender issue consequently needs to be mainstreamed into all AFD’s activities.
To effectively analyze gender mainstreaming, at every stage of our projects, we have set up a rating system, based on a classification established by the OECD (DAC marker):

To situate the project by asking the following questions:

  • Is promoting gender equality a project objective?
  • Is it a main objective?
  • Is it a significant objective, but not a main one?

Rate projects on a scale of -2 to 3: 

  • The lowest rating increases or maintains inequalities;
  • A zero rating has a neutral impact;
  • Positive ratings reduce inequalities or, better still, make them their main objective.

In 2016, AFD achieved its objectives, as 51.1% of funded operations were rated 1 or 2 (DAC marker), meaning they effectively integrate the objective of reducing gender inequalities.

All AFD’s project managers are sensitized to the issue via documentation by sector and by country (cf. the 8 sectoral toolkits and 48 gender country profiles).

Working with partners

Ethiopia woman man agriculture

Working with partners

To prevent gender inequalities in the operations it finances, promote gender as one of the objectives of its operations and support progress in societies on these issues, AFD works closely with its partners:

of AFD’s activities have a positive assessment
projects financed in 2016
billion euros committed in 2016

Gender equality is still far from being achieved. The figures speak for themselves: 70% of people living on less than a dollar a day are women, as are two-thirds of illiterates. In certain countries, 50% of women are victims of violence. Women produce 50% of food and two-thirds of global labor, but only earn 10% of incomes. Women are discriminated against in all areas of society: employment, education, health, governance. Yet they contribute to the development of countries through their work. A number of studies have demonstrated that reducing gender inequalities contributes to the equitable and sustainable development of countries. 

Since 2013, AFD has been developing a strategy to promote gender equality in all the sectors and countries where it operates. It finances projects which specifically focus on reducing inequality, by increasing access to basic services, combating violence against women, improving access to the labor market and via the participation of women in good governance.

AFD has consequently developed a specific range of projects/products for gender equality. It has made a commitment that 100% of funded projects will seek to improve gender equality.

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