Germany ranked first among DAC donors in terms of overall spending toward projects related to gender equality, but only 12th in terms of relative spending.
In 2021, Germany’s prioritization of projects that incorporate some gender equality was at 48% of bilateral allocable ODA, above the DAC average of 42%.
Germany’s spending on gender equality increased moderately between 2016 and 2019 but increased significantly between 2019 and 2020 (+23%), driven by an increase in funding toward projects that target gender equality as a significant goal. In 2021, Germany spent 45% of its bilateral allocable ODA on projects that included gender as a significant objective, which is above the DAC average of 36%.
Only 2% of Germany’s bilateral allocable ODA in 2021 went toward projects and programs that targeted gender equality as a principal goal, putting Germany below the DAC average of 6%. Germany’s funding for projects with a principal gender focus has been increasing since 2017 when the funding level stood at US$209 million or 1% of bilateral ODA.
In February 2023, the BMZ announced the implementation of a target quota for projects that contribute to gender equality. The target aims for 93% of all newly commissioned BMZ projects from 2022-2025 to contribute to gender equality. Of these, 8% of projects must have gender equality as the principal objective, twice as many as in 2021. 85% of all projects will contribute to gender equality as a significant outcome.
OECD data reveals that Germany’s screening of projects has improved in recent years. In 2021, nearly all bilateral ODA (99.7%) has been screened, more than the DAC average screens (11% in 2021).
The largest shares of Germany’s gender-focused bilateral allocable ODA in 2021 were allocated to government and civil society, other social services, and health & populations.
In addition to its bilateral contributions, Germany channels some funding for gender equality through multilaterals. These include UNFPA and UN Women. Some of these commitments are considered core funding to multilaterals while others will be earmarked (bilateral) funding from Germany.
According to the BMZ’s Agenda 2030 Thematic Model, introduced by the BMZ 2030 Strategy, gender equality is defined as a ‘quality feature’ underpinning all of BMZ’s development measures.
A feminist approach to gender equality: Development Minister Schulze has put a feminist approach at the core of Germany’s development policy. Anchoring a feminist development policy has been named by the BMZ as one of its four priorities and is a so-called initiative theme within the ‘Agenda 2030 thematic model, which means that it will receive special attention for a selected period of time.
New guidelines on feminist development and foreign policy: In March 2023, the BMZ published a new feminist development policy strategy. On the same day, the Foreign Office launched its guidelines on feminist foreign policy. The BMZ’s strategy focuses on overcoming structural drivers of inequality. In particular, it focuses on inequalities between genders, as women and girls represent the largest marginalized group globally.
The strategy defines four fields of action:
- Strengthening gender equality through better representation, rights, and resources for women and marginalized groups,
- Anchoring feminist core principles in projects by targeting gender equality in 93% of newly commissioned programs by 2025;
- Increasing understanding of feminist development policies and building international partnerships; and
- Improving the structures, processes, and working methods of the BMZ and its implementing partners to ensure gender equality internally and in cooperation projects.
Concrete measures are guided by a Gender Action Plan (GAP). The GAP initially set out for the 2016-2020 period covers 10 priority areas:
- Access to justice and jurisdiction, political participation, co-determination and representation;
- Rural development, agriculture, and food security;
- Violence against women and girls;
- Armed conflicts, peacekeeping, and flight;
- Economic empowerment;
- Health, including SRHR;
- Water and sanitation;
- Energy; and
- Climate change, disaster risk management, sustainable development, and city and community development.
Advocating for gender equality in global fora: On several occasions, Germany has used its standing in global fora to advocate for gender equality and girls’ and young women’s rights at an international level. During the negotiations for the 2030 Agenda, the German government emphasized that gender equality and self-determination of all women should be anchored as a separate SDG, as well as a cross-cutting theme of the entire agenda. During the 2021 Generation Equality Forum from March-June 2021, Germany co-led the forum’s Action Coalition on economic justice and rights. Germany also joined the Global Alliance for Care, which was created by Mexico's National Institute for Women and UN Women and will address the burden of care that hinders women’s economic participation and opportunities.
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