From Commitment to Action: Financing Gender Equality in the Post-2015 Agenda

Christine Schneeberger, Deputy Head Equal Opportunities and Global Gender and Women’s Issues FDFA

Mirjam Winzeler, Gender Advisor Equal Opportunities and Global Gender and Women’s Issues FDFA

Susanne Foerster, Academic Intern Equal Opportunities and Global Gender and Women’s Issues FDFA

23 March 2015 – The scope and ambition of the Post-2015 Agenda offers tremendous opportunities for accelerating the achievement of gender equality, but ambitious and effective financing is required to turn political aspirations into reality and deliver on Post-2015 commitments on gender equality and women’s rights.

Three days ago, the 59th session of the ECOSOC Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) ended in New York. This year’s conference was devoted to the 20-year anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action

Side Event on Financing Gender Equality

Together with Ethiopia, the host of the third International Conference on Financing for Development in July 2015, Sweden, the OECD and the World Bank, Switzerland organised a side event titled “From Commitment to Action: Financing Gender Equality in the Implementation of the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda” on 10th March 2015. The high-level panel stressed that gender equality should not only be a specific objective of the Post-2015 Agenda. Gender equality is at the same time a necessary condition to reach sustainable development.

Elimination of social and legal barriers

Benno Bättig, Secretary General of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, pointed out that existing legal and social barriers must be eliminated. Legal restrictions on registering a business, owning land, opening a bank account or inheriting family property prevent women from gaining economic and financial independence. Social barriers such as a gender pay gap, segregation in the formal labour market and a significant gender gap in top leadership must be phased out to guarantee women’s full economic participation.

Gender-responsive budgeting

Gender-responsive budgeting and investment planning at national level are necessary to bridge remaining gender inequalities. That is why several countries started integrating a gender dimension into their Finance Acts. Ms. Caren Gown of the World Bank underlined the possibility to take action in the area of fiscal policy in order to optimise the mobilisation of domestic resources.

A holistic approach

In the context of the financing for development process, Switzerland advocates for a holistic approach to a finance framework for all SDGs, including Gender Equality. Closing persisting gender gaps in areas such as access to finance; educational attainment; distribution of unpaid care work or closing gender pay gaps will significantly contribute to the implementation of the SDGs. There is a particularly important role to be played in this regard by the private sector which the panel encouraged to advance gender equality through actions such as trainings or voluntary quotas that contribute to women’s and girls’ employment, entrepreneurship and control of assets.

Gender Equality - a necessary condition for sustainable development

During the discussion the panelists reminded the audience that gender equality is a sustainable development objective in itself. Gender equality is a human right and a necessary condition for both sustainable and inclusive growth and development. The panel concluded that it is impossible to speak credibly about sustainable development without requesting necessary financial and human resources and policies to guarantee gender equality and full participation of women in the development process.