ActionAid UK warmly welcomes the launch of the Department for International Development’s (DfID) Strategic Vision for Gender Equality 2030 ahead of International Women’s Day.
The Strategic Vision builds on the Department’s previous strategies and leadership to date to ensure women and girls’ rights and gender equality continue to be prioritised in development and humanitarian responses. This is highly commendable.
We particularly welcome the strong analysis of the drivers of gender inequality and recognition of the need to address unequal power structures and discriminatory social norms, pervasive across all societies, that hold women and girls back.
The Strategic Vision aligns with the UN Sustainable Development Goals on ensuring no woman or girl is left behind and rightly recognises the interlinkages between issues. Eliminating violence against women and girls; realising sexual and reproductive health and rights and girls’ education; and advancing women’s economic and political empowerment cannot be achieved if they are addressed in isolation and without recognising that women and girls are affected throughout their life cycles and in all sites.
The continued focus on violence against women and girls; women’s economic empowerment; and the protection and empowerment of women and girls in humanitarian crises is extremely important. ActionAid UK also welcomes new areas of focus including the importance of working with adolescent girls and the recognition of the crucial role that women’s rights organisations play in achieving gender equality, especially at a time of shrinking civil society space globally. It is extremely encouraging to see DfID play a leadership role in championing and prioritising women’s rights organisations and movements as critical long-term leaders and partners.
In this respect, we applaud the launch of Jo Cox Memorial Grants and new UK aid support to help grassroots organisations and projects in developing countries that are working to get the voices of girls and women heard when holding power-holders to account, helping them find jobs and become financially independent and making access to family planning services easier.
ActionAid UK looks forward to working with DfID to ensure that the strategy is fully operationalised and the goals outlined become a reality for all women and girls around the world. The ambition of the Call to Action is commensurate with the challenge ahead and will require a redoubling of efforts from all involved, as well as strong partnerships and collaboration. ActionAid UK looks forward to working with DFID and others to achieve it.