Women's empowerment: The 'DNA' of post-2015 development and financing

By Sibylle Koenig 27 July 2015

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, executive director of U.N. Women. Photo by: Jennifer S. Altman / U.N. Women / CC BY-NC-ND

A cursory glance through the Addis Ababa Action Agenda — the outcome document finalized at this month’s third International Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia — gives advocates of women’s empowerment reason for cautious optimism.

The Addis agenda “reaffirmed” that achieving gender equality is essential to sustainable development. It “reiterated” the need to mainstream gender in all financial, economic, environmental and social policies. The document called for the elimination of gender-based violence and discrimination, and noted support for the Women’s Empowerment Principles — a seven-point guideline for businesses to empower women, developed jointly by U.N. Women and the U.N. Global Compact.

But a closer look shows some gender-sensitive considerations that had been included in earlier drafts of the Addis agenda, such as the one on unpaid care and the reference to the International Conference on Population and Development program for action and women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights, have disappeared from the final document.

How then will U.N. Women ensure that financing is made available for these issues in the post-2015 era?

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About the author

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Sibylle Koenig

Sibylle Koenig is a development consultant and policy adviser with 10 years of experience in managing, monitoring and evaluating international aid programs and grant schemes, as well as advocacy. She has worked for a variety of organizations, including the European Commission, U.N. and bilateral aid agencies and NGOs in Latin America (4 years) and Europe, with extensive work travel to Africa (Tanzania, Uganda, Mozambique, Kenya, Botswana) and Asia (Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, India, South Korea).


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