Issue Deep Dive
Italy / Gender Equality
Last updated: July 24, 2023
Using the OECD gender policy marker, Italy reported that 34% of its bilateral ODA in 2021 (US$486 million) supported projects that were gender equality related. This includes investments in programs that named gender equality as either a significant goal or the principal goal.
Italy’s ODA for projects related to gender equality remains relatively low; Italy was the 16th-largest donor to projects related to gender equality in 2021 in absolute terms and the 22nd-largest donor in relative terms, compared to other members of the OECD DAC.
Despite Italy’s work toward gender equality through development, only 4% or US$60 million of the US$486 million spent on gender equality in 2021 was channeled toward projects that targeted gender equality as a principal goal, lower than the DAC average of 6%. Italy’s funding share for projects with a principal gender focus dropped significantly following a peak at 7% in 2019.
Italy spent US$426 million or 30% of its bilateral allocable ODA on projects that included gender as a significant objective, below the DAC average of 36%. Italy’s financing of projects and programs with gender as a significant objective increased in absolute terms from 2019 and 2020, but dropped in relative terms from 2020.
US$574 million or 40% in 2021 was spent on projects that did not target gender. A total of US$359 million (or 25% of bilateral ODA in 2021) in project funding was not screened against the gender marker at all, representing a decline in screened funding, which was 12% in 2020. Unscreened funding is more than double the DAC average of 11%.
A total of US$486 million or 34% of Italy's total bilateral allocable ODA went to projects with gender equality either as a principal or significant goal. The share of gender-related funding has been on a consistent downward trend since 2018, when it stood at 43%.
Multilaterally, Italy provides funding to UNFPA. Italy has collaborated with UNFPA on projects seeking to end forced genital cutting, and preventing or responding to gender-based violence, including in humanitarian contexts.
Under Italian law, gender equality and the promotion of equal opportunity are enshrined as goals of Italian development cooperation.
AICS aims to integrate gender-mainstreaming in all its programs. AICS has set up a network of gender focal points that work to mainstream gender in project designs, monitoring, and performance evaluations.
A 2019 OECD 'Peer Review’ recognized Italy’s work on gender equality and noted Italy's piloting of a gender marker for NGO projects in recent years.
Gender equality is a cross-cutting theme in the latest available Programming Guidelines’ for 2021-2023 but is not mentioned as a main objective.
On January 10, 2023, Italy was elected by acclamation to the Vice Presidency of the Executive Council of UN Women, the world's leading agency for women's rights within the UN system. Italy joined the Executive Board in 2022 for a two-year term. The office was assumed by Ambassador Maurizio Massari, Permanent Representative of Italy to the UN, who will hold the position until January 2024.
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