Gender Equality

Women are discriminated against in all areas: employment, education, health and governance. Gender inequality causes both injustice and poverty. It hinders economic and social development.
The reduction of gender inequality and education, and the empowerment of women and girls are central to our strategy. We take gender issues into account in all the projects we support and we are a resolutely feminist institution.
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Gender equality, woman, Turkey
AFD AND GENDER: WORKING TOWARDS MORE EQUAL DEVELOPMENT
gender equality, woman, India

Gender is central to our strategy

AFD supports the reduction of gender inequality and education, and the empowerment of women

Gender is central to our strategy

The international community recognizes that gender equality contributes to development. Since 2018, France has been promoting a feminist diplomacy, based on the recognition and real exercise of every individual’s rights, through France’s International Strategy for Gender Equality (2018-2022).

In 2013, AFD defined its Strategy on Gender and the Reduction of Gender Inequalities based on three priorities: prevent gender inequality in its operations, promote gender and women’s empowerment and support progress in societies on these issues.

Today, it is pursuing its commitment with new, ambitious objectives for 2022: 

To analyze the integration of gender into our projects, we have set up a rating system based on the classification established by the OECD (DAC markers):   

  • DAC 0: the project does not target gender equality 
  • DAC 1: gender equality is an important and deliberate objective of the project
  • DAC 2: gender equality is the main objective of the project.

Promoting equal and sustainable development

women's empowerment, gender equality

Promoting equal and sustainable development

Worldwide, wealth is still poorly distributed between women and men, with men owning on average 50% more wealth than women. Women are overrepresented in precarious and low-paid jobs, particularly in the health and social sectors. The Covid-19 health crisis has led to an increase in gender-based violence and further widened the gap between the richest and poorest all over the world.

Gender mainstreaming is a powerful tool to increase the positive effects of our actions. Gender equality and women’s empowerment are therefore a priority.

Our projects aim to:

  • Develop healthcare, sexual and reproductive rights and comprehensive sexuality education
  • Fight sexist discrimination and gender-based violence, including harmful practices (female genital mutilation, child and forced marriages)
  • Promote women’s empowerment and their participation in political, economic, cultural and sporting life
  • Promote the social and political leadership of women
  • Develop access to primary, secondary and higher education for girls
  • Develop the “Women, Peace and Security” agenda and the role of women in crises
  • Develop gender and climate projects. 

Mainstreaming gender into all our actions

AFD aims to develop access to primary, secondary and higher education for girls and to promote women’s empowerment

Mainstreaming gender into all our actions

Gender is a crosscutting thematic area, meaning it concerns all our areas of action (such as poverty, education, water, health and climate justice) in all the countries we work with. Issues related to gender and the empowerment of women and girls are consequently mainstreamed into all our activities.

Back in 2018, AFD placed gender equality at the center of its work, with the objective of having 50% of the volume of its commitments contributing to gender equality by 2022 (according to the OECD DAC 1 and DAC 2 markers).

Between 2018 and 2020, this objective was largely achieved, with the share of DAC 1 and DAC 2 projects financed by AFD rising from 50% to 67%.
In 2019, our results for gender equality were highly encouraging: AFD committed €4.7 billion in loans and grants for such projects, including €749 million for DAC 2 projects (both loans and grants).

Working with our partners

prevention of sexual violence, combating gender-based violence, NGO Caméléon, Philippines

Working with our partners

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

New fund for feminist organizations

AFD supports the reduction of gender inequality and education, and the empowerment of women

New fund for feminist organizations

Announced by the French President during the G7 in 2019, the Support Fund for Feminist Organizations (FSOF) has a budget of €120 million and aims to support feminist civil society organizations operating in partner countries where France’s development policy is deployed. 
  
The fund is co-managed by the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs and AFD. It aims to build the organizational, financial and technical capacities of feminist organizations in partner countries and promote exchanges and networking between them to give them the means to take action at the local, regional and international levels.

Sixty-five percent of these funds focus on Africa, with the remaining 35% dedicated to Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and the Caribbean.

Supporting the global coalition of development banks

Strengthening the commitment of Public Development Banks to gender equality

Supporting the global coalition of development banks

Hosted by AFD, the first Finance in Common Summit gathered 450 public development banks to discuss the key issues of the 2030 Agenda. 

Through an ambitious declaration, these banks managed to form a global coalition determined to take action for the planet and people. This joint commitment is combined with the will to align financing with the Paris Agreement, support biodiversity and scale up the fight against inequality, with a focus on gender. 

The summit led to a proposal for a Paris Development Bank Statement on Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment, signed by 26 banks, which defines four priority areas for action:

  • Strengthen the commitment of Public Development Banks to gender equality through a dedicated institutional strategy
  • Increase the share of financial flows for gender-responsive operations
  • Contribute to gender-responsive climate policies
  • Improve dialogue and collaboration with all stakeholders on gender issues, including feminist civil society organizations.

In this context, AFD organizes working groups with UN Women on issues related to financing equality, good practices and accountability. The results will be presented at the Generation Equality Forum

749
million euros committed in 2019 for projects with gender as a main objective
67.1%
of projects financed by AFD in 2020 integrate gender

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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