Further reading: Equal opportunities and women´s power!
In 1906, Finland became the first country in Europe to grant women the right to vote. And exactly 100 years ago in November 1918, Germany followed suit. Milestones on the path to gender equality. But, even in today's European Parliament, women make up just under one third of MEPs. And on the management boards of listed German companies, there is only one woman for every 13 men. That means there is still a lot to do – and not just in Europe, but worldwide. 'Equal rights, equal duties, equal opportunities and equal power for women and men' is therefore one of the basic principles driving German development policy. This principle advocates greater equality and takes a stand against discrimination, structural inequality and violence against women and girls. It promotes better legal, political and economic participation, equal access to education and health care, and supports women's peace efforts. But it is not just about women's empowerment. In keeping with the human rights movement, it also aims to strengthen the rights of the LGBTI community, as you can read in our report from Uganda. Below we provide further insights into the guidelines on which our work is based, and also into projects that GIZ is implementing on behalf of the German Government and the EU – in full compliance with national strategies and the EU's current Gender Action Plan 2016-2020.
Have an interesting read!
'A welcome but tall order’ - Three questions for: Angela Langenkamp, GIZ gender expert
- Gender equality is a human right. Despite this, it has never featured so prominently on the political agenda as it does today. What's new?
Angela Langenkamp: For a long time now, various governments, including Germany's, the private sector, international organisations and financial institutions along with global funds and foundations have been working to empower women and put a stop to gender discrimination. They have undertaken action individually and collectively. However, so far actions and resources dedicated to this goal have frequently not matched commitments. Current agreements, like the 2030 Agenda or the UN's Addis Ababa Action Agenda address these issues directly. In the New European Consensus on Development adopted last year, the EU and its Member States undertake to prioritise women's and girls' rights, their equality, empowerment and protection across all areas of activity. That is a welcome but at the same time tall order, putting everybody to task.
- The motto of this year's European Development Days is 'Women and girls at the forefront of sustainable development: Protect, empower, invest'. What is GIZ's approach to this?
A. L.: Gender equality is firmly embedded in GIZ's corporate principles and standards. We have a Gender Strategy and, since 2015, we have been a signatory to the United Nations Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEP). Furthermore, in December 2016, GIZ rolled out its Safeguards+Gender Management System, a minimum standard that can be applied to all projects and programmes of all clients and commissioning parties across all business sectors. It enables us to identify and actively promote the potentials for gender equality in our projects and to respond to any unintended negative impacts that may ensue.
- What are the factors driving gender equality in and with an organisation such as GIZ?
A. L.: Clear commitment, guidelines and incentives backed up by dedicated resources. GIZ’s Gender Strategy provides a binding framework for promoting equality and empowering women in our projects and programmes and throughout the company. It is not only GIZ's managers who ensure that this is implemented, but also a network of over 100 gender focal persons worldwide. Events such as the GIZ Gender Week and the biannual Gender Competition, replete with awards for the best approaches, are good for cooperation and foster innovation.