Tracking Gender Financing for Better Gender Equality

Overview: ​This project seeks to improve the publication of gender-related financial and programmatic data to achieve better development outcomes and ultimately to contribute to improving the practice around transparency of gender equality financing and allocation of resources. While the focus will be on traditional aid data, we will also look at the availability of other streams of gender-related resources, such as a country’s own budget allocations and funding by international and national non-governmental organizations.

The Issue: There is now a global consensus that tackling gender inequality, including through Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5, is a crucial step in the improvement of overall development outcomes. Reaching and measuring progress towards SDG 5 will require more transparent, usable and robust gender data.

There is significant work already underway to address various gender data needs, but despite these ongoing efforts, our research found that it is difficult to track who is funding what, for what purpose, and with what results. Meeting the SDGs will require this kind of transparent information, particularly at the country level, in order to direct (or redirect), coordinate, and address the funding gaps, and to hold donors and governments accountable to their gender equality commitments.

Some funding flows are now being captured through the two largest sources of open aid data: the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Development Assistance Committee (OECD-DAC) and the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI). Both platforms have gender policy markers that allow publishers to identify their funding flows as gender-related. Despite these tools, development actors struggle to track current and projected gender-related financing, and remain unable to trace effectively how, where, and to what effect gender funds are spent. The markers, by themselves, are insufficient to meet most user needs – while they are an early indication of a gender focus, they are not uniformly applied or used.

Our Objectives: The purpose of this project is to establish a solid evidence-base on how much is being spent on gender, on what projects and in which sectors, and what results gender equality projects are achieving in country, including whether resources are targeted to meet identified gender priorities. Using a country-based approach, we will track the available gender equality financing data by the top five donors in three countries to determine what information is available and what is missing. Based on this user experience, we will ultimately provide targeted recommendations and advocate more widely for changes to the publication of gender equality financing data.


Our Approach and Methodology:


  • Our approach will start with desk research to identify available gender equality financing data. The project will look at financial data – gender equality disbursements and commitments - as well as programmatic data - basic project level information of gender aid, such as project descriptions, objectives, sub-national locations, and results. We will also gather other related information, such as the three countries’ gender policies, relevant demographic information, and other streams of resources and work that are gender-related.

  • We will then conduct in-country research in the three countries to both validate and supplement our desk review findings. In order to gain a complete picture, we will conduct in-country key informant interviews (KIIs) with various stakeholders, including government officials, members of civil society, project implementers, and other donor organizations.

  • We will be advised by an informal advisory committee of national and international gender and development specialists. Click here to learn more about our informal advisory committee members.

  • We will work with national consultants and networks to incorporate and build on local knowledge.

  • We will produce three short, usable reports on the in-country findings, along with other advocacy materials, to provide relevant policy-makers and advocates with information on how gender equality financing is being spent at the country-level and with what effect. These reports will also speak to local data user needs, the availability of useable data and information and will put the findings in context with the country gender priorities.

  • We will also produce a separate report, based on the country findings, that will discuss gender advocates’ information needs, how many of those needs are presently met, how useful and granular current available data is, what specific stakeholder groups can do to improve their data quality, and how mechanisms for sharing data, such as global data standards, might need to improve.

You can find our research methodology document here.

You can find our brief literature review here.

Ultimately, we will use our findings to advocate for the recommended changes at the country and global level.


This work is conducted in partnership with Publish What You Fund. 

For further information, please contact: 

Sally Paxton

US Representative

Alex Farley-Kiwanuka
Gender Project Manager

Jamie Holton

Gender Project Management & Research Officer

Henry Lewis

Gender Project Officer

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