Gender equality

A woman and a man talk outside a hut.
The SDC is committed to gender equality in all its projects. ©SDC

Gender inequality is one of the greatest obstacles to sustainable development, economic growth, and poverty reduction. The SDC is helping to ensure that women and men have the same right to develop their potential and can use their resources in a meaningful way.

Poverty continues to have a distinct gender dimension: according to international studies, women comprise about 70% of people living in extreme poverty. Unequal laws and social norms put many women and girls at a disadvantage in terms of access to health and education, decision-making positions, financial resources, and the job market.

They often work under precarious conditions, in less productive sectors, and without social security. In addition, they earn less than men. Women also have less influence on social, political, and economic decision-making processes and often fall victim to gender-based violence, discrimination, and exclusion.

In working to ensure equal rights and conditions for women and men, the SDC integrates men and boys into its work on gender issues. These concerns are reflected in all SDC projects and strategies. Priority areas are conflicts, fragile contexts, the economy, and politics.

The FDFA’s strategy on equal opportunities and women's rights, adopted in 2017, made gender equality a major pillar of Swiss foreign policy. The Federal Council Dispatch on Switzerland’s International Cooperation 2017–2020 explicitly states for the first time the aim of strengthening gender equality and the rights of women and girls. Switzerland is also committed to implementing the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Its Goal 5 is to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. Switzerland is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) of 1979. Equality between women and men is enshrined in Article 8, paragraph 3 of the Federal Constitution of 1999.

Gender and women's rights in conflict situations and fragile contexts

The SDC implements UN Resolution 1325; priority areas are prevention of and protection against gender-based violence in conflict situations and women's participation in peace processes.

Strengthening women's political participation

The SDC is helping to ensure that women and men can fulfil their obligations as equal citizens.

Access to resources, education, and income

Women play a key role in poverty reduction and food security. To achieve this, they need access to natural resources, education, and income.

Instruments for gender mainstreaming

‘Gender Tool Kit’ and thematic aid.

Documents

Current projects

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Strengthening Civil Society in Myanmar (Paung Ku)

01.07.2019 - 30.06.2023

By supporting Paung Ku, SDC contributes to more participation of vulnerable communities and women in decision-making processes and equitable access to public services. Paung Ku is a local non-governmental organization, unique in the reach of its network in Myanmar’s civil society that advocates for the rights of ethnic and marginalized people and strengthens civil society to drive positive social change towards a development that is pro-poor and environmentally sustainable. 


Support to Dealing with the past roadmap implementation in Nepal

01.06.2019 - 31.03.2025


The program aims to support a new inclusive and equitable mechanism of dealing with the past with the purpose to address the root causes of the conflict which remains an uncompleted process in Nepal. The implementation of a comprehensive national roadmap will guaranty to be victim-centred and a government-driven process. This program provides a solid basis for strengthening an inclusive federal state


Support to Gaza Community Mental health Programme

01.03.2019 - 31.12.2021

By supporting the provision of quality mental health services through Gaza Community Mental Health Programme, Switzerland contributes to strengthening the resilience of vulnerable people in the Gaza Strip, where distress, psychological and psychiatric problems continue to increase after more than a decade of Israeli closure and intra-Palestinian divide, repeated traumatic conflicts and the degradation of socioeconomic conditions. Addressing distress and traumas also contributes to the prevention of radicalization.


National Human Rights Program for Afghanistan (Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission)

01.02.2019 - 31.12.2023

The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission has a constitutional mandate to promote and protect human rights in Afghanistan. The Commission continues the journey of building an Afghan society free of fear and discrimination. It lobbies with the government and other actors and contributes significantly to enhance human rights awareness, education, monitoring and reporting, and to empower Afghan citizens to defend their human rights. Switzerland together with other donors provides financial and when required technical support.


United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine

01.01.2019 - 31.12.2020

The protracted conflict in eastern Ukraine and its devastating effect on the civilian population requires a continued comprehensive international human rights monitoring and engagement with relevant actors. The presence and impartial work of the United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission helps to identify human rights gaps and concerns in Ukraine with a special focus on the east and Crimea. The mission formulates specific recommendations for shaping state policies and international assistance programs.


She Leads – Women Leadership Programme

01.01.2019 - 31.12.2022

Federalism has created a historic opportunity for some 14’000 Nepalese women, over half of them from socially discriminated groups, to serve for the first time as elected representatives at local level. However, most elected women at local level remain excluded from political decision making due to discrimination based on patriarchal norms and values, and lack of resources and networks. The project promotes women leadership to support the peace process and to prevent future conflicts.


Multi-Donor civil society support program in Rwanda

01.01.2019 - 31.12.2020

The program aims at strengthening the capacity of Rwanda civil society to engage constructively with the Government on policy, planning and monitoring issues. It will improve a bottom-up dialogue and consultation mechanisms and promote the use of evidence in policy making for an effective implementation of the National Strategy for Transformation. The project is in line with Switzerland’s approach of fostering civic participation in Rwanda.


Support to Safe Spaces for Women, Youth and Children in Gaza Strip

Safe Spaces Project, Khan Younis, Gaza Strip

01.01.2019 - 31.12.2020

In 2019-2020, Switzerland will support the Culture and Free Thought Association (CFTA) and the Culture and Arts Association (NAWA) in the Gaza Strip to provide quality educational and cultural services in safe learning environments for children, youth and women, including persons with disabilities. This contribution aims to enhance the inclusion of marginalized groups in local development and in community-led initiatives, and to prevent wider spreading of violent extremism and radicalisation.


Programme contribution to Brot für alle / Bread for all 2019-2020

01.01.2019 - 31.12.2020

Bread for all (Bfa), the development organization of the protestant churches of Switzerland, has aligned its mandate with the Agenda 2030. Through a network of ten faith-based organizations active in partner countries, Bfa supports disadvantaged people to access Food Security, Education and Health. It also strengthens communities in peacebuilding and conflict transformation, while furthering the social responsibility of Swiss stakeholders.


Program Contribution to Fastenopfer (FO) 2019 - 2020

01.01.2019 - 31.12.2020

Fastenopfer (FO) is a Swiss Catholic relief organization established in Luzern in 1961. It supports disadvantaged people and communities of all confessions aiming at overcoming hunger and poverty in partnership with organisations in 14 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America as well as with partners in Switzerland. FO promotes socio- cultural and economic transformation towards sustainable development and is especially engaged in the areas of food security, sustainable economy and gender equality.


Non earmarked Contribution 2019 to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

06.12.2018 - 31.12.2019

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is Switzerland’s longstanding strategic partner in the area of human rights. The Office acts as the leading UN entity for human rights. The present non-earmarked contribution aims to assist the OHCHR in meeting its needs and objectives for 2019, and to help guaranteeing the independence of the Office.


United Nations World Bank „Humanitarian Development Peace Initiative“ (formerly „UN – World Bank Fragility and Conflict Partnership Trust Fund”)

01.12.2018 - 31.12.2021

The “Humanitarian – Development - Peace Initiative” (HDPI) is a joint effort by the United Nations (UN) and the World Bank aim to increase aid efficiency in contexts affected by fragility, conflict and violence through working closer together across the humanitarian – development – peace nexus. For the past eight years, Switzerland has been supporting the UN – World Bank partnership both politically and financially and is in a good position to promote further institutionalisation and scale-up

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