Department for International Development (DfID) and gender equality
The Department for International Development (DFID) is the part of the the United Kingdom Government that manages Britain’s aid to poor countries. DFID is headed by the Secretary of State for International Development, Justine Greening, a Cabinet minister who is one of the senior ministers in the Government. Alan Duncan (Minister of State for International Development), Lynne Featherstone (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development) and Baroness Northover (Spokesperson for the Department for International Development in the House of Lords) also represent DFID. Mark Lowcock is the Permanent Secretary.
DFID has two headquarters (in London and East Kilbride), with over 2 500 staff, half of whom work overseas. DFID supports long-term programmes to help tackle the underlying causes of poverty. DFID also responds to emergencies, both natural and man-made. Current programmes support the achievement of the eight Millennium Development Goals . DFID works in partnership with governments, civil society, the private sector and others. It also works with multilateral institutions, including the World Bank, United Nations agencies, and the European Commission.
DFID is committed to improving the lives of girls and women in every area of its work, from education to maternal and child health, from safety and security to economic and political empowerment. Girls and women are at the heart of everything it does to help stop poverty before it starts. For example, getting girls into school begins a chain reaction of further benefits. Educated women have better maternal health, fewer and healthier children and increased economic opportunities. They are also more likely to send their own children to school – creating a virtuous circle of opportunity and prosperity. And we know that we can transform girls’ lives if we can reach them early enough. By giving girls greater choice and control over the decisions that affect them DFID helps to break the cycle of poverty between one generation and the next.
DFID’s vision for girls and women
DFID’s vision for girls and women, was published on 8 March 2011. The 4 pillars of action include:
- Delay first pregnancy and support safe childbirth
- Economic assets direct to girls and women
- Getting girls through secondary school
- Preventing violence against girls and women
An update to DFID’s Strategic Vision for Girls and Women, to 2020 and beyond, was published in 2014. Read more.
The wider focus on women
The UK is a strong supporter of UN Women and played a leadership role in its establishment. This new UN organisation is dedicated to gender equality and was established to accelerate progress on meeting the needs of girls and women around the world. It also has the potential to drive a much more effective response to gender inequality across the UN system.
DFID also works with all UK-funded multilateral organisations to step up progress for girls and women, and keeps a close eye on the implementation of the European Union commitments on gender equality and women’s empowerment in development.