"Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls" have been stipulated as the fifth goal of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in September 2015. It will be crucial to still take account of the comprehensive goals and measures set out in the Beijing Platform for Action of 1995 (the most progressive international declaration of intent on the promotion of women’s rights to date) within the scope of its implementation. Gender equality and the empowerment of women are major preconditions for poverty reduction, economic growth and social development. This is why the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) requires all its project partners to make a contribution towards gender equality.
Empowerment and gender equality
In practice, this means that ADA supports measures to ensure the equal participation of women and men and girls and boys in all its projects and programmes. There is a need to address and change discriminatory societal and social norms and practices in order to enable women and men to equally access education and resources such as land, income and capital. The greater recognition, reduction and sharing of unpaid care and domestic work (target 5.4 of the Sustainable Development Goals) are of key importance here. Promoting the equal participation of women and men in both political and public life at national and local level is another focus of ADA's gender work. Key factors in achieving this goal are the eradication of sexual and gender based violence as well as reproductive and sexual health and rights. In addition, the active involvement of men and boys is essential when reaching for sustainbale and effective gender equality results.
Good Governance through equitable budget allocation
Taking into account gender equality in government planning, programming and budgeting is necessary when aiming for a more equitable budget distribution. Gender-responsive budgeting (GRB) is a method that involves women and men more in budget decisions and strengthens the principle of gender equality in the distribution of public funds. It involves identifying interventions in order to address gender issues and gaps in revenue and expenditure policies at different levels as well as in budget plans. The goal of GRB is to analyze and address the gender-related impact of revenue-raising and budget allocations on men and women as well as boys and girls. Austrian Development Cooperation supports gender-responsive budgeting in its partner countries with the ultimate goal to advance gender equality. By incorporating gender-responsive budgeting in its constitution, Austria has also set a good example in this regard.
Women, Peace and Security
In conflict-affected regions and fragile states worldwide, ADA promotes the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and its nine ensuing resolutions on women, peace and security. In 2007, Austria formulated its National Action Plan with specific directives in this regard. It was revised in 2012 and strengthens cooperation between Austrian ministries on this issue.
Gender mainstreaming as a strategy for the EU
The European Council Conclusions on the EU's Plan of Action for Gender Equality (2016-2020) were adopted in October 2015. The plan’s objectives and actions to promote gender equality are mandatory for the EU's international cooperation: They apply to the EU member states, the EU Directorates-General for International Cooperation and Development, European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations office (ECHO) as well as the European External Service. The Gender Action Plan III is currently being developed.
International cooperation makes a valuable contribution to ending gender discrimination and enforcing the rights of women and girls. Gender mainstreaming and the definition of gender-specific results and indicators play an important role in ADA projects and programmes. Engaging men and boys is considered as being important for the achievement of gender equality.
The fundamental direction of Austrian Development Cooperation’s efforts to achieve gender equality is set out in the policy document “Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls”, which defines and ensures compliance with ADA's quality standards.