Financing for gender equality in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals

This paper identifies a series of macro-level tools to create a supportive environment and generate the resources to promote the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to gender equality. The paper argues that financing for gender equality can be self-sustaining because of the feedback effects from gender equality to economy-wide well-being.

Among the tools related to targeted government spending are demand-stimulating macroeconomic policies to promote full employment and public investment. Two types of public investment are explored. Physical infrastructure investment, such as spending on clean water, sanitation and health clinics, can reduce women’s unpaid care burden. Social infrastructure investment, defined as investment in people’s capabilities, refers to the fundamental social, intellectual, and emotional skills, and health of individuals—or level of human development—a country relies on for its economy to function. Financing for gender equality in these areas is more properly seen as an investment that yields an income stream in the future due to the beneficial development and growth effects. The paper concludes by arguing to advance the SDGs, macroeconomic policy must be conducted through an equity lens with much more attention to its distributive effects.

This paper was produced for an expert group meeting convened by UN Women on 'Women's empowerment and the link to sustainable development', in preparation for the 60th session of the Commission on the Status of Women in 2016.

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