Gender equality and development assistance

Much work remains to be done in practice to integrate gender equality work throughout Swedish development assistance. Concrete improvements can be made in the planning, implementation and follow-up of development assistance to achieve the Swedish goals of increased gender equality. Lessons must be learned but also applied in practice, write four representatives of InDevelop, who in a new thread invite to give concrete examples of successes and challenges for gender equality work in development assistance.

In two debate posts on SvD Brännpunkt (on March 7 by Anneli Rogeman, Lena Sommestad, et al., and on March 12 a reply by Sida's Director General Charlotte Petri Gorntizka) it has been debated whether women receive part of Swedish development assistance and whether it contributes to increased gender equality.

Sweden has a good reputation when it comes to gender equality in development assistance, and Sida has in various contexts been successful in pursuing gender equality issues as a dialogue issue. When it comes to integrating gender equality into practice throughout Swedish development assistance, however, there is still a lot to do, something that a good Swedish reputation does not automatically take care of for us.

Sweden's policy for gender equality and women's rights 'On equal terms' emphasizes the three parts of gender mainstreaming; targeted interventions, integrated interventions and dialogue. Sida's CEO, Charlotte Petri Gorntizka, refers to these three ways of reaching women and men as well as girls and boys and gives examples of how Sida works with these different parts.

What we see from the evaluations of development assistance initiatives that Indevelop has carried out is that there are major weaknesses in the gender equality analysis in integrated initiatives. Many times, the analysis of differences in needs between women and men, girls and boys is too weak already in the structure of the effort. We often see a lack of clear goals and ambiguities in what and how to follow up and report results on gender equality.

Our experience from working with organizations to strengthen their work with performance issues shows that if you do not include these issues from the beginning, they will not be given priority, with no results as a result. We also see that even in cases where gender equality issues are included in the original plan, it is not a guarantee that they will be given priority in the implementation of the initiative.

Reaching women with Swedish development assistance is not just about counting heads. Following the money, which is suggested by Anneli Rogeman and others, is a good way to follow how development assistance funds are distributed. We also think it is important to place greater emphasis on following up on how development assistance contributes to changing attitudes and behaviors that discriminate against women and men, boys and girls. Follow-up and evaluation is an important part of learning what works and what reasons lie behind goals not being achieved. However, it is at least as important to use these lessons to change and improve the design of development assistance so that we get better results in terms of gender equality.

Our experience of working with evaluations and gender mainstreaming in development assistance has led to we see opportunities for concrete improvements in working methods in planning, implementation and follow-up of development assistance to achieve the Swedish goals to contribute to increased gender equality. An important issue, where we see that improvements can be made, is in the analysis of which actors we collaborate with in the implementation of development assistance. actors are made. That Sida analyzes differences in needs between women and men in the preparation of the initiative itself is seldom sufficient. Another important area is the control instruments used. Sweden, like many other donors, is today placing increasing emphasis on organizations having a results-oriented approach. There are great opportunities in the design of goals and indicators to steer efforts towards achieving results in gender equality issues in a better way.

It is time to move from words to action and critically examine how we all, as aid actors, can take our responsibility and become better at contributing to change.

Indevelop has opened a thread where we invite you to give concrete examples of what has worked and why and what the biggest challenges are in contributing to increased gender equality in Swedish development assistance. Welcome to contribute

Catharina Schmitz, CEO Indevelop

Anna Liljelund Hedqvist, result consultant

Chris Coulter, Gender Equality Adviser

Jessica Rothman, Evaluation Advisor

This is a debate article. The author is responsible for analysis and opinions in the text.

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