Gender Equality and Financing for Development
Financing for gender equality is a critical part of the discussion on financing for development, in that sustainable economic growth and human development require women’s full participation in the economy, making it necessary to tailor development finance to the needs of both women and men.
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Monterrey Consensus and Gender Equality
The 2002 Monterrey Consensus, the outcome of the the United Nations International Conference on Financing for Development, agreed to integrate trade, monetary and financial matters into a consolidated framework for achieving better development results. The Consensus addresses financing for development (FfD) under six themes:
- domestic resource mobilization,
- mobilization of foreign resources,
- international trade,
- development assistance,
- external debt,
- and systemic issues.
In promoting a comprehensive approach to financing for development, the Monterrey Consensus encouraged a gender sensitive development approach, calling for gender-sensitive investments in social and economic infrastructure, microfinance directed to women, and gender sensitive business approaches. The outcome document also encouraged the mainstreaming of a gender perspective into development policies at all levels across all sectors. Moreover, it highlighted the need for building national capacity for gender budget policies.
Some women groups have argued that that the Financing for Development process and the ‘Monterrey Consensus’, in particular, has marginalised or downgraded the gender perspective in development financing. ‘Monterrey Consensus’ that the first FfD conference in 2006 only made scant commitments to women’s empowerment and gender equality.
Doha Follow-up Conference, December 2008
Gender equality has emerged as an important issue promoted by several actors also for the follow-up Conference on Financing for Development conference in Doha in early December 2008. This conference provides a strategic opportunity for the international community to advance concrete action-oriented gender-sensitive policy recommendations. During the conference, a high profile side event on Financing for Development and the Economics of Gender was opened by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
Civil society has also engaged to make Gender Equality a priority in Doha. Women’s rights organisations set up Women’s Working Group on Financing for Development which consists of a number of trade unions and a coalition of women’s networks and organisations. The Working Group participated in hearings leading up to the conference.
Commission on the Status of Women and “Financing for Gender Equality”
“Financing for gender equality and the empowerment of women” was also the priority theme of the 52nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women, held at the United Nations headquarters in New York from 25 February to 7 March 2008. In its outcome document the Commission called for scaling up investment in gender equality and women’s empowerment, including mainstreaming gender perspectives in resource allocation, as well as by ensuring the necessary resources for targeted activities for gender equality. It also recommended ways for ensuring resource allocation in economic policy and public finance management, specifically noting that national plans for gender equality should be costed and their implementation adequately resourced.