This project sought to improve the publication of gender-related financial and programmatic data to achieve better development outcomes and ultimately to contribute to improving the practice around transparency of gender equality financing and allocation of resources. While the focus was on traditional aid data, we also looked at the availability of other streams of gender-related resources, such as a country’s own budget allocations and funding by international and national non-governmental organisations.
There is now a global consensus that tackling gender inequality, including through Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5, is a crucial step in the improvement of overall development outcomes. Reaching and measuring progress towards SDG 5 will require more transparent, usable and robust gender data.
There is significant work already underway to address various gender data needs, but despite these ongoing efforts, our research found that it is difficult to track who is funding what, for what purpose, and with what results. Meeting the SDGs will require this kind of transparent information, particularly at the country level, in order to direct (or redirect), coordinate, and address the funding gaps, and to hold donors and governments accountable to their gender equality commitments.
Some funding flows are now being captured through the two largest sources of open aid data: the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Development Assistance Committee (OECD-DAC) and the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI). Both platforms have gender policy markers that allow publishers to identify their funding flows as gender-related. Despite these tools, development actors struggle to track current and projected gender-related financing, and remain unable to trace effectively how, where, and to what effect gender funds are spent. The markers, by themselves, are insufficient to meet most user needs – while they are an early indication of a gender focus, they are not uniformly applied or used.
The purpose of this project was to establish a solid evidence-base on how much is being spent on gender, on what projects and in which sectors, and what results gender equality projects are achieving in country, including whether resources are targeted to meet identified gender priorities. Using a country-based approach, we tracked the available gender equality financing data by the top five donors in three countries (Kenya, Nepal, and Guatemala) to determine what information is available and what is missing. Based on this user experience, we provide targeted recommendations and advocate more widely for changes to the publication of gender equality financing data.
Our approach and methodology
- Our approach started with desk research to identify available gender equality financing data. The project looks at financial data – gender equality disbursements and commitments – as well as programmatic data – basic project level information of gender aid, such as project descriptions, objectives, sub-national locations, and results. We also gathered other gender-related information, such as the three countries’ gender policies, relevant demographic information, and other streams of resources and work.
- We then conducted in-country research in our three focus countries to both validate and supplement our desk review findings. In order to gain a complete picture, we completed 79 in-country key informant interviews (KIIs) with various stakeholders, including government officials, members of civil society, project implementers, and other donor organisations. We followed these interviews up with a post-KII survey, which has been completed by 42 interviewees.
- We were advised by an informal advisory committee of national and international gender and development specialists. Click here to learn more about our committee members.
- We worked with national consultants and networks to incorporate and build on local knowledge.
- We produced three short, usable reports on the in-country findings for Kenya, Nepal, and Guatemala, along with other advocacy materials, to provide relevant policy-makers and advocates with information on how gender equality financing is being spent at the country-level and with what effect. These reports also speak to local data user needs, the availability of useable data and information and put the findings in context with the country gender priorities.
- Finally, we produced a global transparency report. This report is based on our country findings, Javier Pereira’s work tracking gender-related Development Finance Institution (DFI) funding, and Development Gateway’s work tracking the availability of gender-related humanitarian and gender-related philanthropic funding. Our global report discusses gender advocates’ information needs, whether these needs are presently met, how useful and granular current available data is, what specific stakeholder groups that fund gender equality work can do to make gender work more transparent, and how mechanisms for sharing data, such as global data platforms, might need to improve.
Ultimately, we are using our findings to advocate for the recommended changes at the country and global level.
Kenya, Guatemala and Nepal findings
In March 2021 we published the findings of our country research, mapping national and international funding flows for gender equality in Kenya, Nepal, and Guatemala, and Despite important efforts by national governments and international donors to make their gender financing transparent, we found it remains difficult to paint a comprehensive picture of this funding, and to know if it is making a difference. Based on our analysis, we propose key considerations for these national governments and international donors to build on their progress and effectively engage with other gender equality stakeholders so that data is published and used to increase awareness of ongoing gender equality efforts, inform program design, facilitate consultations to (re)allocate funding to effective initiatives, and ultimately to improve development outcomes. This blog summarizes our findings. The Nepal report is also available in Nepali and the Guatemala report is available in Spanish. An executive summary of the Guatemala report is also available in K’iche’ and Spanish.
We discussed the findings and recommendations of our research during three webinars. A panel – with representatives from government, donor and civil society organizations – considered the significance of gender equality funding and the next steps for transparency.
Click on the links below to view the country webinar recordings:
- Kenya webinar: Wednesday 7th April, 2021
- Nepal webinar: Wednesday 21st April, 2021
- Guatemala webinar: Wednesday 14th April, 2021
Global report: Making gender financing more transparent
To build on donors and data platforms’ important efforts to make information about international donors’ funded gender equality initiatives more transparent, this report presents common barriers that prevent gender equality stakeholders in all three countries from accessing high quality data. Through consultation with key gender equality donors, data platforms, and gender and data experts, this report offers actionable recommendations for donors and data platforms to address these issues at the global level. Our report suggests that donors and data platforms can improve the transparency of gender financing by enhancing three components: data capacity, data engagement, and data quality. These improvements can help all relevant gender equality stakeholders’ awareness of ongoing gender equality efforts, inform program design, facilitate consultations to (re)allocate funding to effective initiatives, and ultimately to promote SDG 5 and other development outcomes.
To view the online version of the report, which can be translated into other languages with the translation button, please click here. To view a downloadable PDF version of the report, please click here. Please find a summary and an overview of all donor and data platform recommendations here.
We launched the report at a virtual event on July 8, 2021. You can watch a recording of the event here. The event was hosted by the Brookings Institution and included a short presentation of the report’s key findings (by Sally Paxton, US Representative at Publish What You Fund) and a panel discussion, including moderator George Ingram (Brookings), Louise Holt (Global Affairs Canada), Lisa Williams (OECD), Michele Sumilas (USAID), Marijn Wiersma (CDC Group), Tenzin Dolker (AWID) and Amanda Austin (Equal Measures 2030).
Video tutorial series
Over the course of our research in Kenya, Nepal and Guatemala, interviewees repeatedly highlighted that there is insufficient knowledge or capacity within their organizations to navigate and track gender financing. As a result, we would like to provide gender advocates with helpful tools and resources to find and use this data.
We have created a video tutorial series for anyone who would like to learn how to track aid and development funding for gender equality. The main focus of the four videos is to help you track international donors’ funding to improve gender equality, using some of the most trusted and well-used data sources.
The videos are available with French, Spanish, English and Nepali subtitles and can be accessed here.
This work is funded through and in partnership with Friends of Publish What You Fund. The Gender Financing Project also receives support from Plan International USA and Save the Children US.