Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and Gender Equality
The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) was established in 1968 to administer Canada’s official development assistance (ODA) program. CIDA’s priorities are poverty reduction, democratic governance, private sector development, health, basic education, Gender Equality, and environmental sustainability. CIDA works in concert with its development partners, fragile states and countries in crisis, selected countries and regions, and the Canadian population and institutions.
In 2005/6, CIDA administered $2.782 billion in overseas development aid.
CIDA and Gender Equality
Equality between women and men is a crosscutting theme throughout Canada’s development cooperation programming. CIDA’s first policy guidelines on Women in Development (WID) were developed in 1976. The current gender equality policy is based on best practices and lessons learned since the implementation of CIDA’s first WID Policy in 1984. Numerous updates and evaluations have taken place. The last update was in 1999, which resulted in the launch of CIDA’s Policy on Gender Equality.
CIDA supports development results that allow for:
- more equal participation of women with men as decision-makers in shaping the sustainable development of their societies;
- the enhanced ability of women and girls to realize their full human rights; and
- greater equality between women and men in access to and control over the resources and benefits of development.
Gender equality is promoted through the five main foci of CIDA’s development assistance programme:
- Governance: promoting women’s equal participation in decision-making at all levels; fighting gender-specific human rights violations such as sexual violence; and building the capacity of partners to promote gender equality.
- Health: improving access to, and affordability of, sexual and reproductive health services; strengthening preventive programs that promote women’s health; using a gender-sensitive approach to fighting HIV/AIDS; and eliminating discrimination against girls in health and nutrition.
- Basic education: supporting specific initiatives and general reforms that reduce or eliminate gender inequality, such as girls’ access to education; developing non-discriminatory education, skills development and training; and supporting education in the area of sexual and reproductive health.
- Private sector development: increasing control by women over productive assets like land, capital or credit, technology, and skills; increasing access to decent, more and better jobs; and increasing capacity of partner institutions to design and implement policies, programs, and projects related to private sector development that reflect the priorities and interests of both women and men.
- Environmental sustainability: integrating gender equality concerns and perspectives into policies and programs, and strengthening or establishing mechanisms at all levels to assess the impact of these policies on women and men.
In addition to the five sectors of focus, CIDA also supports gender equality results in its programming for fragile states and humanitarian assistance. Key areas of emphasis include the equitable participation of women in peacebuilding and disaster preparedness initiatives; measures to prevent and respond to sexual and gender-based violence; and protection of women and girls during humanitarian crises.