This project seeks 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 will be on traditional aid data, we will also look 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 is 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 will track the available gender equality financing data by the top five donors in three countries to determine what information is available and what is missing. Based on this user experience, we will ultimately provide targeted recommendations and advocate more widely for changes to the publication of gender equality financing data.
Our approach and methodology
- Our approach will start with desk research to identify available gender equality financing data. The project will look 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 will also gather other related information, such as the three countries’ gender policies, relevant demographic information, and other streams of resources and work that are gender-related.
- We will then conduct in-country research in the three countries to both validate and supplement our desk review findings. In order to gain a complete picture, we will conduct in-country key informant interviews (KIIs) with various stakeholders, including government officials, members of civil society, project implementers, and other donor organisations.
- We will be advised by an informal advisory committee of national and international gender and development specialists. Click here to learn more about our informal advisory committee members.
- We will work with national consultants and networks to incorporate and build on local knowledge.
- We will produce three short, usable reports on the in-country findings, 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 will also speak to local data user needs, the availability of useable data and information and will put the findings in context with the country gender priorities.
- We will also produce a separate report, based on the country findings, that will discuss gender advocates’ information needs, how many of those needs are presently met, how useful and granular current available data is, what specific stakeholder groups can do to improve their data quality, and how mechanisms for sharing data, such as global data standards, might need to improve.
Ultimately, we will use 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, Guatemala, and Nepal. 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 Guatemala report is also available in Spanish and the Nepal report is available in Nepali. An executive summary of the Guatemala report is also available in K’iche’ and Spanish.
We are discussing the findings and recommendations of our research during three webinars. A panel – with representatives from government, donor and civil society organizations – will consider the significance of gender equality funding and the next steps for transparency.
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.