UK in world-leading commitment to gender equality in aid spend

The UK is set to make global precedent after a bill to enshrine gender equality in aid spending has passed its final stage in the House of Lords.


5 Mar 2014

The International Development (Gender Equality) Bill, which is expected to be given Royal Assent to become law within days, requires the Department for International Development to take gender into consideration when deciding how UK aid is spent.

Bill Cash's Private Member's Bill, which has been supported by WaterAid as well as the Great Initiative and Plan UK, is hailed as a significant and symbolic step in the fight for gender equality around the world.

Huge step forward

"Women make up half the world’s population but represent a staggering 70% of the world’s poor," said Barbara Frost, CE of WaterAid. "We know from our work that safe water and toilets are especially critical for women and girls, helping them to lead healthier, better educated and more productive lives, and helping to prevent harassment and violence that can come during searches for drinking water or a place to relieve themselves. Addressing the needs of girls and women in aid work is a huge step forward."

Secretary of State for International Development Justine Greening said: "In too many countries around the world girls and women are shut out of education and employment and given no choice over marriage and when to have children.

"Thanks to Bill Cash’s efforts, we have been able to enshrine in law the UK’s position as one of the world's leading supporters of women’s rights across the globe."

Bill Cash said: "Women perform two-thirds of the world’s work, produce 50% of the food but earn only 10% of the income and own only 1% of the property. All around the world, women are not participating in public and political life on equal terms or in equal measure as men.

"The Bill is part and parcel of a social revolution affecting the whole of the developing world."

The bill will entrench and expand upon gender-equity efforts which WaterAid is already incorporating into its projects and programmes, empowering women in decision-making processes and ensuring our projects and programmes are accessible for all.

Saturday 8 March is International Women’s Day, where people across the world come together to celebrate girls and women, and campaign for equality. Read the stories of six remarkable women who have inspired change for their families, communities and women everywhere >