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.


Current projects

Object 61 – 72 of 74

FarhangSara: Promotion of Cultural and Artistic Expressions

01.07.2016 - 31.12.2019

Through promotion of active citizen participation, in particular women and youth, in cultural activities, the project aims to strengthen shared and diverse values as well as peaceful interaction among people. It will collaborate with and enhance the capacity of public and private cultural and arts institutions and civil society organizations as well as female and male artists in five regions of Afghanistan.

Strengthening Human Rights Protection Mechanisms in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

01.06.2016 - 31.12.2019

This project will improve the protection of rights of the people in KP by strengthening the provincial human rights protection mechanisms. This will be achieved by strengthening the capacity of line departments to manage the rights related responsibilities that were devolved from the federal to the provincial government, by developing a human rights policy, and by raising awareness among civil society on the protection responsibilities of the government. 

Strengthening the legislative in Africa through an institutional partnership with AWEPA

15.04.2016 - 15.04.2020

A travers un partenariat institutionnel avec AWEPA, la DDC contribue à promouvoir la paix et la stabilité dans les Grands Lacs en renforçant les capacités des institutions législatives et en soutenant les échanges entre parlementaires de la région, européens et suisses. Le Forum des parlementaires de la CIRGL[1], qui sert de pont avec les parlements nationaux dans la mise en œuvre, manque encore de capacités. Ce projet contribue au renforcement du Forum et à la mise en œuvre du Pacte[2] et permet une promotion de la bonne gouvernance au plus haut niveau.  

[1] Conférence Internationale pour la région des Grands Lacs, mis en place en 2000 par 11 pays de la région pour la médiation, la prévention et le règlement des conflits. 

[2] Pacte pour la paix, la sécurité, la stabilité et le développement signé par les 11 pays membres de la CIRGL.



Strengthening Rule of Law in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

15.12.2015 - 31.12.2019

The Strengthening Rule of Law in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) project aims to increase access to justice for the people, especially women and other vulnerable groups in KP, and support the government in its efforts to stabilise the region by strengthening the legal system. This project aims to support KP transition out of fragility by ‘establishing and strengthening people’s security’ and ‘addressing injustices’.

Contribution to the Cotton Reform Multi-Donors Trust Fund of the World Bank in Uzbekistan

01.09.2015 - 30.09.2020

The World Bank led multi-donor trust fund will contribute to a sustainable cotton reform by thoroughly monitoring child and forced labour during cotton harvest, building the capacities of relevant authorities in terms of international standards and legislaion, raising awareness of the population and the stakeholders' groups involved in cotton picking. This will feed into policy dialogue with the Government and eventually eradicate this harmful practice for the rural population.

Handicap International: Comprehensive action against Antipersonnel Mines (APM) and Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) in three departments of Colombia.

01.08.2015 - 31.05.2017

The five decades running armed conflict in Colombia continues to cause humanitarian needs such as internal displacement, landmine contamination and the recruitment of minors by armed groups. Departments of Nariño, Cauca and Cordoba, by geography serve as strategic corridor to the Pacific and Caribe for the cultivation, production and trafficking of drugs, weapons and illegal mining among others, becoming scenario of social conflicts and armed confrontation. Rural communities in those departments are among the most affected by antipersonnel mines (APM) and Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) which generate victims with poor access to physical and psychosocial services, as well as option for social, economic and educational inclusion.

Strengthening of civil-political-economic rights and social auditing

01.07.2015 - 30.04.2020

In Honduras, strengthening Human Rights (HR), transparency, and the fight against impunity are central to breaking out of the spiral of violence. The role of civil society constitutes an opportunity and at the same time a means to contribute to the construction of Rule of Law. The program supports five civil society organizations (CSO) and the UNDP, with presence in the southern region and Muskitia, so they can work together to promote social audits and protection of Human Rights.

Beitrag an den Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund

01.07.2015 - 31.12.2019

Der gewaltsame Extremismus wird als globale Bedrohung wahrgenommen. Die Schweiz leistet zusammen mit anderen Ländern einen Beitrag an den «Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund». Es ist eine von zahlreichen Massnahmen, um die globale Strategie der UNO umzusetzen. Der Fonds soll in Ländern, die von gewaltsamem Extremismus heimgesucht werden, lokale Initiativen von Organisationen unterstützen, um die Resilienz gegen Radikalisierung zu stärken. 

Programme de Renforcement des Capacités d'Action des Femmes (RECAFEM)

01.06.2015 - 31.12.2019

Le programme va poursuivre l’appui au Gouvernement du Bénin et aux organisations de la société civile pour réduire les inégalités femmes/hommes aux plans social, culturel, juridique et économique. Le personnel des Ministères sectoriels et des organisations aux niveaux macro et méso sera appuyé, afin de renforcer son engagement et ses compétences, dans le cadre de la mise en œuvre des politiques publiques et des initiatives et actions de développement en faveur des femmes.

WFP Secondment Protection and Gender Advisor

01.06.2015 - 31.12.2016

In Myanmar especially conflict affected and rural populations suffer from moderate to severe malnutrition; but also extreme weather conditions may increase the situation of food insecurity. In recent years there have been reports on protection gaps in the implementation of WFP programmes and women and children are struggling to receive support. The secondment will provide technical support in the domain of protection and gender to the WFP country program.

RCA: UNICEF Sous-cluster protection de l’enfance

01.06.2015 - 30.06.2017

Par son appui financier au Sous-cluster protection de l’enfance, la DDC souhaite contribuer au renforcement du système de coordination en RCA, pour assurer une réponse de protection coordonnée pour les enfants affectés par la crise. Ce soutien rentre par ailleurs dans le cadre de la stratégie de la protection de civils (PoC), et plus spécifiquement dans le plan d’action du DFAE pour la protection des enfants associés aux forces et groupes armés.

Alternative Nobel Prize

01.05.2015 - 30.04.2020

The Right Livelihood Award (RLA) or so-called “Alternative Nobel Prize” is bestowed to individuals that offer concrete solutions to global challenges including sustainable development and poverty eradication. The contribution of SDC aims to establish a second RLA Foundation office in Geneva which will allow the RLA Foundation and the laureates to reach out and better network with the Geneva-based UN organizations, civil society, research community and media.

Object 61 – 72 of 74