Facts and figures: Governance and National Planning

Domestic public finance

  • In 2016, UN Women supported 82 countries to strengthen gender equality priorities in their national, sectorial and local development plans and budgets. 28 countries reported increases in budget allocations for gender equality and women’s empowerment [1].
  • Systems to track and make public resource allocations for gender equality are critical for strengthening accountability. From 2013 to 2016, a total of 45 countries developed transparent tracking systems for gender equality allocations [2].
  • The Government of Nepal increased gender-responsive budget allocations from USD 976 million in the 2013-2014 fiscal year to USD 2.10 billion in 2016-2017, accounting for 23.10 per cent of the total budget. The country developed, implemented and refined a tracking system to provide critical information on gender-responsive investments [3].
  • At the national level, resources allocated to address gender equality are consistently low. For example, a review of spending in 35 countries from North, Central, South America and the Caribbean found allocations to address violence against women ranged from 0.1 to 1 per cent of the national budget [4].  
  • The lack of investment in gender equality is costly both for realizing women’s political, economic and social rights and achieving inclusive economic growth. The 2007 Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific estimated that gender inequality costs the region nearly USD 80 billion a year primarily due to gender gaps in employment and education [5].
  • Available evidence demonstrates the potential gains from closing the gender equality resource gap. For example, a study on financial inclusion in middle income countries found that closing the gender gaps in women’s access to financial services would result in an average12 per cent higher income per capita by 2030 [6]. Further, the FAO estimated that closing the gap in access to access to land and seeds, fertilizers, credit, extension advice and markets could increase agricultural output in developing countries, on average, by 2.5 per cent to 4 per cent [7], which would also increase women’s disposable income and contribute to increasing the tax base.
  • For every United States dollar spent in 74 high-burden countries, society would gain almost nine dollars in economic and social benefits as a result of lower morbidity and mortality by 2035. As many as 147 million child deaths, 32 million stillbirths, and five million maternal deaths can be avoided within a generation [8].

International public finance

  • The total volume of Development Assistance Committee (DAC) members’ aid commitments targeting gender equality and women’s empowerment more than quadrupled from USD 8 billion in 2002 to USD 35 billion in 2014. However, in 2014-2015, only 5 per cent of the screened aid of DAC members targeted gender equality as its principle objective [9].
  • In 2014, exactly half of DAC members’ aid to civil society organizations was gender focused, up from 31 per cent in 2010. However, data reported by DAC members suggests that women’s groups may not fully benefit from this increase. In 2014, USD 192 million was reported as targeting women’s rights organizations directly, which is lower than in previous years. USD 192 million represents 3 per cent of the aid that targets gender equality as a principal objective, and only 0.5 per cent of the total aid to gender equality in 2014 [10]

Funding for women's organizations and private funding

  • The majority of women’s organizations’ budgets are very small. A global survey of 1,119 women’s organizations from 140 countries (2011) shows that the combined income of 740 women’s organizations in 2010 was only USD 106 million, with a median income of USD 20,000. This amount is a fraction of the budget for many individual, large international non-governmental organizations [11].
  • The percentage of women’s organizations receiving multi-year funding has decreased from 42 per cent in 2008 to 21 per cent in 2010. Evidence shows a worrying trend where more organizations are relying on one-time funds without any predictability and assurance of future funding [12].
  • According to a 2013 study, 23 per cent (USD 276.5 million out of USD 1.2 billion) of foundations’ human rights funding in 2010 was allocated for women’s and girls’ priorities. Analysis of how these funds were allocated among sectors shows that more than one third of these funds (37 per cent) support sexual and reproductive rights of women and girls [13].


[1] UN Women, Report of the Under-Secretary-General/Executive Director on the progress made in implementing the Strategic Plan, 2014–2017 for the year 2016 (2017).p. 13.

[2] Ibid.

[3] UN Women, 2014, Report of the Under-Secretary-General/Executive Director on the progress made in implementing the Strategic Plan, 2011–2013 for the year 2013 p. 26.

[4] Inter-American Commission of Women. Follow-up Mechanism to the Belem do Para Convention (MESECVI). Second Hemispheric Report on the implementation of the Belem do Para Convention. (2012)

[5] UNESCAP. “Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific,” (2007). p. VII

[6] Global Markets Institute. “Giving credit where it is due. How closing the credit gap for women-owned SMEs can drive global growth”(2014).

[7] FAO. “The state of food and agriculture 2010-11” (2011)

[8] The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the University of Washington. Advancing social and economic development by investing in women’s and children’s health: a new global investment framework (2013). p. 5.

[9] Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Development Assistance Committee (OECD-DAC). From commitment to action: Financing gender equality and women’s rights in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. (2015). p. 2.

[10] OECD DAC Network on Gender Equality (Gendernet). Donor Support To Southern Women’s Rights Organisations: OECD Findings. (2016).

[11] Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID). Watering the leaves, starving the roots. (2013). p. 16-17.

[12] Ibid. p. 123.

[13] Foundation Center and the International Human Rights Funders Group 2013, Advancing Human Rights: the state of Global Foundation Grant making, p. 17, 114.

[Page updated August 2017.]