Gender equality in your international project |

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Gender equality in your international project


In many projects, the role of women remains underrepresented. They still need more opportunities to achieve their full potential. The international projects we support must also meet gender equality objectives. This page explains what gender equality means for your project and how we can help you.

Gender equality worldwide is one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the United Nations (UN). These goals aim to make the world a better place by 2030. We are looking for ways to raise the impact of projects by promoting gender equality. Thus,  we have set gender targets for every project we support.

What role does gender play in granting subsidies?

In the projects we support, gender equality is not a goal. But we do expect participants to consider gender equality at all project stages. This approach is known as 'gender mainstreaming'. This means incorporating the concerns and experiences of women and men in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of projects and programmes. Gender mainstreaming also serves to increase the project's impact.

Women's economic empowerment

A programme or project achieves more if it works towards economic equality. When women are involved, they impact stronger connections with and influence society. This involvement describes economic empowerment, meaning that women have more significant opportunities and more of a say in important decisions. This causes a sequence of inevitable effects on their home situation, community and many aspects of their lives.

How gender benefits your project

Besides a sustainable impact on society, gender equality in your project may also bring you the following:

  • a good reputation as an employer;
  • improved business performance;
  • a better image with partners, press and investors;
  • practical preparation for ICSR rules and legislation beyond 2023;

In what ways can projects deal with gender?

Gender blindness: Policies and programmes that completely ignore gender.
They do not consider:

  • cultural, economic, social and political roles;
  • rights, responsibilities and power relations of women and men;
  • the dynamics between men and women, boys and girls.

As a result, inequalities and stereotypes may unintentionally increase rather than decrease.

Gender aware: Policies and programmes that analyse these aspects and include them in their plans, but without changing the underlying structures. Men and women both benefit from the efforts.

Gender transformative: Projects and programmes that aim to strengthen equality as part of the programme objectives. At the same time, they address underlying social structures, policies and social norms.


How can we support your gender equality project?

Our consultants are happy to discuss your gender approach to a project we support. They do so before, during, and on completion of your project. Would you like expert guidance from our advisors?

Consult our advisors

Stay informed

The following sources offer valuable insights into gender equality globally and in the European Union:

Global Gender Gap report 2022, World Economic Forum

An annual ranking of 153 countries on gender equality. The areas covered are economic participation and opportunities, access to education, health and political participation.

Gender Equality Index, European Institute for Gender Equality

A ranking of European Union member states based on Eurostat and Eurofound figures.

Gender Equality in the Netherlands, Equileap

A ranking of 100 leading companies on gender equality in the workplace and value chain. Equileap and Women Win commissioned this report. The ranking is part of the Building Bridges for Women's Economic Empowerment programme funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

See the following fact sheets, brochures and videos on promoting gender equality:

Gender as a Business Opportunity

An illustration with information on business opportunities.


A guide for SMEs on how to prevent violence in the workplace. Practical tips for preventing, signalling and addressing workplace violence.

Gender Resource Facility fact sheets

Topics include the relationship between gender and climate change, access to finance, food security, and sexual and reproductive health and rights. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs commissioned these sheets.

How the Netherlands is helping Ama expand her business

Animation (YouTube) on how the Netherlands is helping Ama expand her business in the European market. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs commissioned this animation.

See our project database and subscribe to our monthly Newsletter to stay informed.

Project Database

Visit our Development Cooperation Project Database for an overview of projects we carry out in development cooperation. You can filter by location, sector and programme, among others.

Our monthly Newsletter

To stay informed on our latest news items and top stories from all over the world, subscribe to our monthly Newsletter.

What is gender?

Gender refers to the characteristics, behaviour and various roles that a society or culture has defined for men and women. People often have different positions in society based on their gender. Overall, traits that society traditionally associates with women tend to be less valued.
Gender equality means no discrimination based on biological sex or people's role in society. All members of society can then have equal access to opportunities, resources and services: gender inclusivity.

Why is gender equality important?

Gender equality is not only a human right but also a tool for the sustainable development of peaceful societies. The empowerment of women also leads to economic growth.
Yet, women and men still do not have an equal place in society. Women are:

  • more likely to work in low-wage sectors,
  • more likely to do unskilled work with less job security, and
  • less likely to hold positions where they can make their own decisions.

Involving more women in the design and implementation of projects increases the local impact of these projects. We must give people equal rights and opportunities to achieve Sustainable Development Goals. This is also central to the Dutch government's foreign policy.

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