Which Countries Fund Gender Equality Most? And Will #1 Keep Its Spot?

The report, created from data produced by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), shows where member countries rank in providing funding for gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Another day, another fascinating report on the status of gender equality philanthropy. Today I came across the report, Aid in Support of Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment, and read about how the United States stacks up against other Development Assistance Committee (DAC) member nations in terms of funding gender equality.

The data shows that as of 2014, the U.S. was the largest supporter of gender equality and women’s empowerment among the DAC membership. The report shows that of the $40.2 billion committed to gender equality and women’s empowerment, the U.S. was responsible for $26,211,000 of that. Second behind the U.S. is Japan, with a total of $16,817,000 in total aid screened. (It’s a complicated mix of ways this money is calculated, so you should look at the notes in the report to get an accurate sense of what they mean by “total aid screened” and other terms.) Third behind Japan in total aid screened is EU Institutions, with a total of $16,312,000.

My first instinct in taking in this data is to wonder whether, with Trump as President, the U.S. will remain a top funder internationally of gender equality and women’s empowerment. It doesn’t seem likely, given the significant cuts that have already been made to the UNFPA. Trump’s decision to cut $32.5 million from the UNFPA’s budget is one that will absolutely devastate worldwide efforts to help women with services as basic as safe childbirth and shelter for abused women. From CNN:

The decision “could have devastating effects on the health of vulnerable women and girls and their families around the world,” said Secretary-General Antonio Guterres through a spokesman.

Guterres “deeply regrets the decision by the United States to cut financial support for the UN Population Fund (and) believes that the decision is based on an inaccurate perception of the nature and importance of the work done by UNFPA,” said his spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

In Syria, UNPFA said it has helped an estimated 48,000 women with safe childbirth, some 74,700 individuals with gender-based violence outreach, and offered health services and psychological support. It has created 64 women’s centers and safe spaces.

On top of this, Trump is threatening to cut more State Department programs and other humanitarian aid to the United Nations.

That’s not good. With an estimated 222 million women in the world who still lack access to contraceptive services, this appears to be a rather cutthroat way to downsize movements for equality worldwide.

Further reading on the history of funding for gender equality is here at AWID: Donors thinking big: beyond gender equality funds

Author: Kiersten Marek

Kiersten Marek, LICSW, is the founder of Philanthropy Women. She practices clinical social work in Cranston, Rhode Island, and writes about how women donors and their allies are advancing social change.

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