Gender equality is integral to modern democracy, a central goal UN member states, and a pillar of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. As observed in a recent OECD report, “Never before has the determination to achieve gender equality been so impressive – nor the need so self-evident.”[1] Despite these unequivocal declarations and statements of support, substantial gender gaps persist. In some cases, these gaps are even widening due to recent crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic or conflicts and wars that impact the health, participation, and well-being of women and girls.[2]

Policies that aim to advance gender equality must go beyond lip service. In addition to legal and regulatory provisions, gender equality requires budgetary planning, fiscal analysis, and the effective allocation and distribution of financial resources. Gender mainstreaming cannot leave funding out of the equation, as it is a critical lever for implementing the policy goals to which UN member states have committed. 

Gender budgeting (GB) requires that fiscal policies be developed and analysed in terms of their consequences for gender outcomes. While many countries have introduced measures to address gender inequality, few have systematically integrated gender into the normal budgeting process across all ministries and at all levels of government. Effective gender budgeting requires not only a strong strategic framework, with gender equality goals and legislative underpinning, but also tools for implementation and a supportive environment that includes training and gender-disaggregated data.[3]

In addition to gender budgeting, NGOs and initiatives that advocate for women’s rights need targeted funding. Such organizations have been shown to be primary drivers of gender equality,[4] and yet the resources they receive are usually small in scale and granted for project-specific work, rather than integrated into budgets for long-term, sustainable initiatives. Moreover, these funds tend to be granted to large intergovernmental organizations based in the Global North, and relatively little funding eventually reaches small grassroots organizations in the Global South. [5] In this context, funds are often allocated without engaging potential recipients in the decision-making process. The picture is further complicated by a lack of tools and data necessary to monitor the allocation and impact of funding for activities aimed to address gender inequality. The GEAC’s recommendations focus on the issue of funding at broadest levels of domestic and foreign policy: first, through the principles of gender-responsive budgeting; and second, through access to financial resources for domestic and international programs aimed at gender equality.

[1] OECD DAC Network on Gender Equality, Donor Support to Southern Women´s Organizations (OECD, 2016).

[2] Virginia Alonso-Terran et al., Gender Budgeting in G20 Countries (IMF Working Paper, 2021).

[3] Ronnie Downes and Scherie Nicol, Designing and Implementing Gender Budgeting: A Path to Action (OECD, 2020).

[4] Mala Htun and S. Laurel Weldon, “The civic origins of progressive policy change: combatting violence against women in global perspective, 1975- 2005,” American Political Science Review, 106: 3 (2012), 548-569.

[5] OECD, Donor support to Southern Women´s Organizations.

Our Experts

Jutta Allmendinger

Prof. Dr. h.c. Jutta Allmendinger, PhD is the chair of this year’s GEAC under the German G7 presidency. She was previously a member of the UK’s 2021 GEAC. Dr. Allmendinger is President of the WZB Berlin Social Science Center and Professor at Humboldt University Berlin. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Federal Cross of Merit, First Class, the Communicator Prize and the Schader Prize. She is active on numerous advisory boards in Germany and abroad, such as the supervisory board of Berlin’s BSR Department of Sanitation and the editorial board of the weekly DIE ZEIT. In 2021, she was appointed by Pope Francis to the Pontificial Academy of Social Sciences.

Zarifa Ghafari

Zarifa Ghafari (Afghanistan) is an activist, broadcaster, and defender of women rights in Afghanistan and beyond. She established the Afghan Women Development and Help Foundation to advocate for women’s inclusion in the Afghan National Army. Ms. Ghafari also served as the first female mayor to the Maidan Wardak province in Afghanistan. 

Juliane Rosin

Juliane Rosin (Germany) is Head of International Affairs at the National Council of German Women’s Organizations (Deutscher Frauenrat, or DF) and leads this year’s Women7. Her work for the DF has focused on women’s dialogues at the G7 and G20, the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and gender equality across Europe.

Sawako Shirahase

Sawako Shirahase (Japan) is Senior Vice-Rector at the United Nations University and Professor of Sociology at the University of Tokyo. She is currently the director of the University Tokyo Center for Contemporary Japanese Studies. Ms. Shirahase’s research interests include comparative social stratification and demographic transformation, gender and generational relations, and family change and the social security system. She has served on numerous Government of Japan councils and advisory boards, including the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications’ Statistical Commission and the Social Security Council of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.

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