With a new development strategy, Germany is to focus more on a gender equal policy and seeks, among other aims, to enforce the right to education for all.
Photo: © Shutterstock/ Nataly Reinch

Development Minister Schulze presents feminist strategy

A new strategy for a feminist development policy was presented by German Federal Development Minister Svenja Schulze in Berlin on the 1st of March. The strategy is aimed at guaranteeing women the same rights and access to resources as men and working to ensure that women are equally represented and involved in political and economic decision-making processes.

By 2025, more than 90 per cent of the Development Ministry’s newly committed project funds are to be earmarked for projects that advance gender equality, announced German Federal Development Minister Svenja Schulze on 1st of March  in Berlin, together with Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, who presented her guidelines for a feminist foreign policy. Feminist foreign and development policies complement one another in striving to ensure equal participation for all people, the two ministers declared.

 “To me, feminist development policy is a question of equality,” Schulze said, adding that women and girls made up half of the world. “They should also have half of the power,” the Minister demanded. “Women are strong, women have innovative ideas, women have knowledge. No society can afford not to use this potential if it wants to progress. If women have equal rights and equal responsibility, then there is less poverty, less hunger and more stability in the world.”

The three Rs for an equal gender development policy: rights, resources and representation

The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) wants to bring about a change in perspective through its strategy for a feminist development policy. So far, support for women and girls has mostly happened within the existing, often patriarchal social structures. Germany’s realigned development policy is to contribute to changing unequal power structures. These efforts are guided by the 3Rs – rights, resources and representation.

The rights include, for example, the right to bodily self-determination. Every woman should be able to decide for herself whether and when she wants to have children. This also includes the right to education. All girls should be given the chance to graduate from school and learn the profession they are interested in.

Women need to be guaranteed the right to go to court if they face unfair working conditions, if occupational health and safety standards are not met, or if wages are paid that are not enough to live on.

The resources include, for instance, access to land. World-wide, women account for 43 per cent of the workforce in the agricultural sector, yet less than 15 per cent of landowners are women because of discriminatory inheritance laws. In addition, women need equal access to social protection systems such as health systems and provision for old age, and also to the financial system and loans.

Women make up 50 per cent of the world’s population – hence they represent the world’s largest disadvantaged group.

Where people are displaced by wars and terrorist attacks, the difficult conditions on the move or in overcrowded camps are especially challenging for LGBTIQ+ persons and people with disabilities. Not only women but also queer people become victims of sexual and gender-based violence. The strategy for a feminist development policy is aimed at achieving equal rights for all people.

With a view to achieving the 3R-goals, the strategy works at three levels:

Firstly, the feminist development policy is mainstreamed in the BMZ’s procedures and instruments for the cooperation with our partner countries. The BMZ has set itself the goal of increasing the proportion of new project funding to promote gender equality to more than 93 per cent by 2025 – the share was 64 per cent in 2021.

The proportion of funds for projects with the principal objective of gender equality is to be doubled, taking it to eight per cent. The funding for measures where gender equality is a significant objective is to be increased to 85 per cent. The objectives and programmes are being jointly developed by the BMZ and its partner countries.

Secondly, the BMZ is putting feminist development policy on the agenda of international cooperation, for instance within UN, World Bank or European Union fora.

Thirdly, at least 50 per cent of all BMZ leadership positions, for example, are to be held by women. In addition, the Ministry pays heed to ensuring gender equal representation – for example in panel discussions.

The BMZ’s strategy was drawn up in a broad consultation process that involved German and international civil society, international organisations and academia. It provided space, in particular, to voices from the Global South in order to shape development policy on the ground together with the partner countries.



More information:

Link to Germany’s Feminist development policy for sustainable development


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