Small Change or Real Change?

Commonwealth Perspectives on Financing Gender Equality

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It is now generally recognised that gender equality is essential for sustained economic growth and for democracy, peace and security. Small Change or Real Change? Commonwealth Perspectives on Financing Gender Equality presents key thinking from experts around the world on a topic that is currently of great international concern: how to ensure that sufficient financial resources are available – both through the new aid modalities and from domestic sources – to effect the necessary changes to make gender equality a reality.

The chapters cover the full range of issues around financing gender equality, including implementation of the aid agenda, the implications for gender equality of financing HIV and AIDS interventions, the impacts of trade policies on key sources of financing and women’s need for equal access to affordable finance. Of particular concern is the importance of tracking the gender impact of aid resources (including post-conflict aid) through mechanisms such as gender-responsive budgets and aid effectiveness approaches.

The contributors, all of them development practitioners though from diverse backgrounds, share one common goal: to influence governments, bilateral and multilateral organisations to scale up their commitments to financing gender equality and thus not only make a real difference to the lives of women around the world but also reduce poverty and promote sustainable development.



Gender Equality as Smart Economics: A World Bank Group Gender Action Plan

In January 2007 the World Bank Group (WBG) launched ‘Gender Equality as Smart Economics: A WBG Gender Action Plan’ (GAP). The GAP is a four-year effort that seeks to implement the Bank’s gender mainstreaming strategy (approved in 2001) in the economic sectors, where the Bank’s performance in terms of gender mainstreaming has been weakest. This chapter gives the rationale and background for the GAP; briefly describes the principles behind and contents of the plan; and gives some examples of initial work under the GAP, highlighting work in sub-Saharan Africa, a priority region for the Bank. Although the GAP only covers the Bank’s gender work in the economic sector, gender work in the Africa region in related sectors is also illustrated here. Implementation of the GAP and, more generally, implementation of gender equality agendas internationally and nationally is not cost-free. The lack of acknowledgment that gender equality work entails costs has probably affected the performance of countries in reaching MDG3. This article therefore offers some estimates, based on preliminary data, on the financial requirements for implementing the gender equality and women’s empowerment agenda.


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