Development finance topics

Development finance for gender equality and women’s empowerment


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The 2030 Agenda aims for a world with full gender equality. Achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls in developing countries requires sufficient investments. Collectively, development partners need to maximise both the quality and quantity of financing to SDG 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.


Official Development Assistance (ODA) from the members of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) is and will remain an important source of financing, especially in the Least Developed Countries. Additional finance however has to complement ODA, and the full “toolbox” of development finance needs to support gender equality to implement the 2030 Agenda and deliver for women and girls.

Official Development Assistance

OECD analyses the ODA invested by bilateral donors, which focuses on gender equality and women’s empowerment. The DAC members provide yearly reporting on gender focussed ODA, using the DAC gender equality policy marker.

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Key facts: 

  • DAC members committed 44% of their bilateral allocable ODA on average per year in 2020-21 for gender equality (USD 57.4 billion). The bulk was committed to programmes that integrate gender equality as a significant policy objective: USD 51.6 billion (40% of total bilateral aid).
  • Only 4% of total bilateral aid was dedicated to programmes with gender equality as the principal objective, representing a decrease compared to the previous period.
  • Canada, The Netherlands, Ireland and Iceland rank first in terms of shares of ODA for gender equality.
  • Bilateral allocable ODA to women’s rights organisations and movements was USD 574 million on average per year in 2020-21, down from USD 581 million in 2018-19. 
  • Bilateral aid dedicated to ending violence against women and girls was USD 458 million on average per year in 2020-21, a decrease from USD 531 million in 2018-19.

Latest analysis:

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Financing for gender equality beyond ODA

OECD is also looking at the quality and quantity of financial flows beyond ODA. That includes gender lens investing and DAC members' other official flows, as well as funding by non-DAC providers such as private philanthropy and private flows mobilised by public development finance. The work on wider financing involves learning and exchange at several levels with Gendernet members, civil society, foundations, and the private sector.

Key facts

Based on a 2020 OECD survey of blended finance funds and facilities:


  • Out of the assets under management by surveyed blended finance funds and facilities, 65% responded that they integrate gender equality aspects (USD 49 billion).
  • Only 1% of assets under management was dedicated to gender equality and women’s empowerment as the main objective.
  • Blended finance funds and facilities span across several sectors, including energy, transport, banking and environment.

Read more: Blended finance for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls (2022)


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Important note on coverage:

The first element to take into account when analysing the data for one country or when comparing data between countries is the COVERAGE RATIO, i.e. the proportion of aid which is screened. A high percentage of gender equality focussed aid alone does not mean that aid is well aligned with the gender equality policy objective; such a conclusion would only be valid for a donor with 100% coverage. When comparing data between donors, both coverage ratio and % of aid focussed on gender equality and women's empowerment have to be considered.

For more information on OECD work on Gender Equality see