Funding For Women’s Economic Empowerment Stagnates Despite Increase In Development Funding – Report

The report also showed that within women’s economic empowerment (WEE) funding, projects aiming to improve income-earning among women received the least grant.

A new report has shown that international development projects in Nigeria, Kenya, and Bangladesh are increasing, while funding for projects targeting women’s economic empowerment has remained the same since 2015.

According to the findings by Publish What You Fund, the global campaign for aid and development transparency, projects aiming to improve income-earning among women, such as those supporting financial services and banking, received the least funding. 

Despite limited funding, these projects are vital to improving gender equality, the report stressed.

The organisation tracked international and national funding for Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) in Nigeria.

International grant funding to projects that directly target WEE through employment, entrepreneurship, and productive resources, received the least funding compared to projects that support greater economic rights or create an enabling environment for WEE. 

In contrast, non-grant funding to projects that support women’s economic rights through rights, policies & supports received the least funding. 

In terms of national funding to WEE, the report identified a total of N132.28 billion was allocated for 1,908 gender-specific projects across 215 Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) between 2015 and 2020 at the federal level. 

This figure represents only 0.28 per cent of the N46.65 trillion of the Nigerian government’s approved budget. 

Out of 48 ministries, only 28 had at least one budget allocation targeting gender-related issues for WEE, Women’s Financial Inclusion, or Women Empowerment Collectives. 

A small group of ministries accounted for most of this funding; these include the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, and the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment. 

Sally Paxton, the United States’ Representative at Publish What You Fund, noted that WEE is key to realising women’s rights and full participation in society and the world of work, helping both to reduce poverty for all people and achieve gender equality.

“However, with the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic implications, WEE has not only stagnated since 2020 but is in reverse,” Paxton said.

“We hope the new evidence we have gathered will help inform policy-makers, gender advocates, and donors and enable more targeted and effective investments to improve women’s economic rights.”

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Zubaida Baba Ibrahim

Zubaida Baba Ibrahim is a journalist and a creative writer. Her works have been featured on Daily Trust, Premium Times and Guardian. She also has experience in broadcast journalism and is a graduate of Mass Communication from Baze University, Abuja. She tweets through @zvbaida

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