Gender Equality

Women are discriminated against in all areas: employment, education, health and governance. Gender inequality causes both injustice and poverty, and hinders both economic and social development.

The reduction of gender inequality and education, and the empowerment of women and girls are central to our strategy. As a resolutely feminist institution, we take gender issues into account in all the projects we support, and defend gender equality as part of our 100% social link strategy.
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Gender equality, woman, Turkey
AFD AND GENDER: WORKING TOWARDS MORE EQUAL DEVELOPMENT
gender equality, woman, India

Putting Gender at the Heart of Our Strategy

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

AFD and gender: a holistic feminist approach to reducing gender inequality

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:

  • Preventing gender inequalities in its operations
  • Promoting gender and women's empowerment
  • Supporting the development of societies in relation to these issues

As a feminist agency, AFD has also implemented the components of its 100% Social Link strategy in terms of combating gender inequality. It has financed flagship projects working to strengthen the consideration of gender in public policy dialog, in combating climate change, in combating violence against women and in improving sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Promoting Equal and Sustainable Development

women's empowerment, gender equality

Promoting equal and sustainable development

Worldwide, the distribution of wealth between men and women remains unequal, with men owning on average 50% more than women (in savings, wages and property for example). The Covid-19 health crisis has exacerbated gender-based violence and further widened the gap between the richest and poorest around the world.

Making gender a development priority can be a powerful way of maximizing the positive effects of our actions.

Our projects aim to:

  • Develop sexual and reproductive health rights and comprehensive sexuality education
  • Combat sexist discrimination and gender-based violence, including harmful practices (female genital mutilation, child and forced marriage)
  • Promote women's empowerment and participation in political, economic, cultural and sports life
  • Promote women's social and political leadership
  • Expand girls' access to education at the primary, secondary and higher levels
  • Develop the "Women, Peace and Security" agenda and enhance the role of women in handling crises
  • Develop projects on gender and climate

Accounting for Gender in all of our Actions

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

Accounting for Gender in all of our Actions

Gender is a transversal theme: it concerns all of AFD's areas of action (poverty, education, water, health, climate, justice, etc.) and all the countries we work with. Gender issues and the empowerment of women and girls are integrated into all our activities in order to strengthen the transformational approach of our projects and maximize their impact on gender. 

Since 2018, AFD has put gender equality at the heart of its action, with the following objective: by 2022, 50% of its commitment volumes will contribute towards gender equality (according to the OECD DAC1 and DAC2 markers).

In 2021, AFD's results in favor of gender equality were particularly encouraging: 100% of the projects were analyzed on the basis of DAC gender rating, with €4.2 billion committed, including €857 million for DAC2 projects. 

France achieved the objectives of its International Strategy on Gender Equality 2018-22 by using operational tools both internally and externally (via toolkits, training and country fact sheets).

Creating a Support Fund for Women's Organizations

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

Creating a Support Fund for Women's 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 supports 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.

The strategic framework of the FSOF was drafted jointly by feminist associations, the Ministry and AFD. Between 2020 and 2022, the FSOF financed numerous projects such as the "Feminists in Action" project (€15 million) which contributes towards developing a more egalitarian world between women and men.

In 2021, two calls for projects were financed: one on gender-based violence (€14 million) and supporting the resilience and diversity of feminist CSOs; the second, dedicated to the gender and climate theme (€5 million), aims to finance the fight for the respect of women's rights and gender equality in the face of the causes and impacts of climate change.

Supporting the Global Coalition of Development Banks

Strengthening the commitment of Public Development Banks to gender equality

Supporting the global coalition of development banks

Finance in Common

The second Finance in Common Summit in 2021 brought together more than 500 public development banks to discuss the key issues of the 2030 Agenda.  The previous summit in 2020 brought together more than 30 banks around the four priority areas of intervention of the development banks' declaration on gender equality and women's empowerment. It was in this context that AFD organized working groups with UN Women on gender financing, good practices and accountability issues, which were presented at the Generation Equality Forum.

IDFC

The IDFC gender group has been led since its inception by the Turkish bank TSKB, which began work in 2018 to map internal and external good practices in gender equality. Comprising 12 banks (AFD, Bancoldex, CAF, DBSA, KfW, BNDES, BICE, PT-SMI, TDB, ICD, BOAD and TSKB), the gender group is open to other banks.

Since 2022, AFD has acted as co-secretariat of the gender group, along with TSKB and the Argentine bank BICE. The group recently presented IDFC's collective gender roadmap 2022-2026. The next priorities will be the publication of a mapping of gender finance within the IDFC as well as the sharing of best practices between banks.

AFD Gender Expertise

AFD Gender Expertise

In its role of monitoring and guiding strategy, supporting projects and ensuring accountability with regard to gender equality, AFD has identified transversal themes that differentiate it from other donors working on gender. 

Disseminating Gender Responsive Budgeting (GRB): 

GRB is a results-based budgeting approach for the systematic consideration of gender-based inequality in the planning, implementation and monitoring and evaluation of public policies. Since 2018, AFD has been supporting Morocco, a pioneering example, in the implementation of GRB through a public policy loan and a capacity-building program managed by UN Women. AFD is also supporting the Government of Jordan and the Province of Santa Fe in Argentina in the deployment of gender responsive budgeting.

Taking on board gender and climate change issues: 

AFD wishes to further explore the link between gender and climate change in its work. The study carried out by AFD and Science Po-OFCE features an analysis of gender and climate issues, and offers recommendations as to how they can be reconciled. Several events organized by AFD in 2021 and 2022 also highlighted the link between gender and climate (Common Finance Summit in 2021 and CSW66 in 2022).

€857
million committed in 2021 for projects whose main objective is gender equality
49.6%
of AFD's projects took gender into account in 2021

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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