• The theme of ‘financing gender equality for development and democracy’ raises the stakes on gender mainstreaming and gender policy to a new level. It is asking governments to ‘put their money where their mouth is’. This poses many challenges for governmental economic decision-makers: it will involve re-thinking and re-examining a wide range of decisions about economic management and governance.

  • This chapter attempts to make the case for financing gender equality for development, and to explore how this can be done. Because the issues related to financing gender equality for development are so numerous, it is obviously not possible here to discuss all in equal detail. Particular attention is thus paid to the ways in which the context of such financing has been changing. These include the Monterrey Consensus and Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the new aid modalities and other aspects of donor priorities and instruments. The paper places special emphasis on gender-responsive budgeting (GRB) as a means of promoting gender equality and monitoring progress.

  • The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are accepted as the international framework for development until 2015. While all eight of the MDGs have gender equality dimensions, it is clear that at least six of them cannot be achieved without integrating a gender perspective. Issues of gender equality, therefore, are central to the aid effectiveness agenda.

  • Micro-finance, which is widely recognised as a strategy to fight poverty, evolved and developed in many countries out of the women’s/gender equality movements. Yet, as it exists today, micro-finance is more about finance and less about gender. A significant proportion of the billion poor people worldwide who still lack access to financial services are women. The needs of women are different from those of men, and they often face the dual burden of productive and reproductive roles – providing livelihood security for their families and physically looking after their household as well as bearing children. Any attempt to tackle poverty and address the first Millennium Development Goal (MDG) must have a major focus on women. Micro-finance must thus be made to re-discover its original mandate as it moves forward in its journey of empowering the poor, especially women.

  • Financing gender equality in the context of development and democracy requires specific and focused attention to allocating budgetary resources for the education, health care, training, skills and entrepreneurial development that is necessary to improve the lives of girls and women and to promote the overall economic empowerment of women. In order for this to occur in a predictable and sustainable manner, there must be a strategic rethinking of frameworks of fiscal policy, public finance, debt sustainability, monetary policy, exchange rate management, financial market regulation, trade reform and the negotiation of trade agreements. Increasingly, these areas are no longer the sole preserve of domestic policy-makers but are becoming interlinked with the operations of the broader multilateral trading system (MTS), global finance and global macroeconomic arrangements through formal processes of coherence between trade and financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the World Trade Organization (WTO). This is also true of the harmonisation of aid under the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness.

  • Gender equality is ‘at the heart of development’, as the UK Department for International Development (DFID) puts it. Following recent evaluations across the development community, it has been established that a ‘step change’ is required in promoting gender equality. Such a move is necessary as gender mainstreaming initiatives often fall prey to ‘policy evaporation’, where good policy intentions fail to be followed through in practice. This chapter, based on a recent briefing note,1 sets out evidence linking gender equality and growth and looks at emerging issues for development agencies, including DFID policies and programmes.

  • 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.