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The UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) has just launched its new Strategic Vision for Gender Equality. Achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment is fundamental to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This Strategic Vision spells out what DFID plans to do to make it happen.
I was immediately delighted to see an upfront commitment to supporting the work of those best placed to tackle unequal gender power relations: women’s rights organisations and movements.
Encouragingly, the launch of the Jo Cox Memorial Grants – in support of critical work by feminist changemakers – shows DFID’s willingness to put its money where its mouth is.
I was also heartened to see the importance placed on advancing women’s political empowerment. ODI research shows that increasing women’s leadership capacities is critical to ensuring that their voices are heard in the decision-making processes affecting their lives; whether in parliaments, peacebuilding, or village panchayats.
There are some areas that miss the mark. The UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment – on which DFID was a lead member – recently highlighted the critical need to tackle the unpaid care and domestic work shouldered mostly by women. This includes investing in quality public care services and social protection. But little detail is given on how this will be taken forward.
There are promises to boost women’s economic empowerment by supporting increased access to jobs in high-growth sectors. Granted, this is important, but – as our recent report highlights – the reality is that many women in developing countries work in the informal economy.
Read the full article on DFID and gender equality by Abigail Hunt at Overseas Development Institute