Highlighted results

882 civil society organisations and networks supported

451 contributions to positive behavioural change

Support to 36 organisations to strengthen women’s role in conflict resolution and peacebuilding

More than 60,000 women trained in economic skills

150 traditional courts made gender-sensitive and more effective

Additional sources

Theory of Change

Theory of Change on women’s rights and gender equality, Autumn 2018

Introduction

Through its international policy on women’s rights and gender equality, the Netherlands contributes to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular SDG 5 (gender equality and empowerment of women and girls). We focus on four sub-goals:

Increasing women’s leadership and participation in political decision-making

Giving women a greater say in the economy and improving the economic environment for women

Preventing and stopping violence against women and girls

Strengthening women’s role in conflict resolution and peacebuilding.

The Netherlands works worldwide to achieve these goals through gender diplomacy and gender-specific programmes. We support civil society organisations and individual women’s rights defenders who are committed to achieving the same goals. They play a major role in urging attention for and strengthening the position of women. The Netherlands also encourages cooperation with businesses to improve working conditions for women employees and generate more opportunities for women entrepreneurs.

The Netherlands is also committed to strengthening women’s rights and gender equality in international conventions, resolutions and agreements. An example is the biennial UN resolution initiated by the Netherlands and France calling for greater international focus on and efforts towards tackling violence against women and inappropriate behaviour.

Results 2019

Women can only play a greater role in politics, the economy and peace processes if they have the same rights and opportunities as men. The Netherlands is therefore working to improve the conditions that enable this. In 2019, we supported a total of 882 civil society organisations that play a major role in putting women’s rights and gender equality on the agenda and monitoring progress. These organisations also urge government authorities, businesses and other social actors to promote women’s rights and gender equality.

They also provide men and women with information and support women in their efforts to better realise their potential. As a result, more than 68,000 individual women and girls learned more about their rights and developed skills to increase their influence. Other social actors like policymakers, public administrators, police officers and teachers have been trained in promoting equal rights and opportunities. In 478 cases, we made a demonstrable contribution to legislation and behavioural change to better promote women’s rights and gender equality.

Result areas

Preventing violence against women Women, peace and security Economic participation Political participation

Featured project women’s rights and gender equality

Leading from the South (LfS)

In the past year, the Leading from the South programme supported 240 women’s organisations in 90 countries. The programme is unique because it is led and delivered by feminist women’s funds and organisations from countries in the South. This gives women and girls in these countries the opportunity to improve both their own and other women’s and girls’ position. The organisations work towards the political, social and economic empowerment of women and girls. An example is the work of the Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association. With the support of Leading from the South, this organisation has successfully appealed to the public prosecutor for better legislation and administrative rules for the handling of cases relating to domestic violence and sexual offences.

Leading from the South

Read more about the Leading from the South programme

Preventing violence against women

Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq (OWFI) protesting in Baghdad against violence against women on International Women’s Day 2018. Credits: OWFI

Women and girls are entitled to live a life without violence

The Netherlands seeks to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls. We pursue this goal through gender diplomacy and gender-specific programmes. For example, we support the annual Orange the World campaign and lobby for adoption of the biennial UN resolution on eliminating violence against women. The Netherlands also supported 79 civil society organisations committed to stopping violence against women. These organisations provide shelter for victims and work with the care sector and the police to combat violence. They have trained over 5,500 women and girls to stand up for their rights and resist violence.

Open result area

Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq (OWFI) protesting in Baghdad against violence against women on International Women’s Day 2018. Credits: OWFI

Violence against women is a major public health problem, and a violation of human rights. According to estimates, one in three women worldwide is the victim of physical or sexual violence.

The Netherlands seeks to eliminate all forms of violence against women. To achieve this, we are focusing on three levels: legislation and policy, enforcement, and changing norms and values that enable violence against women to persist. In 2018, the Netherlands submitted a UN resolution calling on governments to tackle violence against women and inappropriate sexual behaviour. We also focus attention on the need to eliminate violence against women through the annual Orange the World campaign.

Our gender-specific programmes support civil society organisations that are familiar with local conditions. These organisations help victims, call on governments to take action and work to reach and where possible engage with all parties. To stop violence against women it is essential to change the norms and values that enable the problem to persist. Husbands, fathers and sons, as well as public administrators, police officers, doctors and teachers, therefore receive training in women’s rights and preventing violence against women.

Results

Indicator

Number of demonstrable contributions to preconditions for the elimination of violence against women and girls

Progress

On track

Using a combination of lobbying, awareness-raising and training, Dutch programmes combat violence against women by contributing to changes to legislation and behaviour. The result was a total of eight demonstrable contributions to policy and legislation and 1,001 demonstrable contributions to changes in behaviour, norms and values. It generally takes considerable time to achieve changes like these, and the results are not immediately visible.

Why do we measure this indicator?

We tackle violence against women and girls at various levels:

legislation and policy

regulation and enforcement

communities and society as a whole where norms and customs enable this injustice to be tolerated and to persist

Dutch programmes contribute to changes to legislation and behaviour through lobbying, awareness-raising and training.

How is the value of this indicator determined?

Demonstrable contributions to preconditions that are more conducive to the elimination of violence against women and girls are measured at the level of policy and behaviour. Examples include improvements to legislation, action plans and procedures, or changes to the norms, values and behaviour of key individuals like political leaders or of societies as a whole.

Indicator

Number of women and girls supported in order to combat violence against women and girls

Progress

On track

2018/2019

Civil society organisations play a major role in tackling violence against women and girls. They are familiar with local conditions, provide shelter for victims and work with the care sector and the police to prevent violence. They also train both men and women in protecting women’s rights. Strengthening the capacity of both organisations and individual women is a central element of Dutch policy on women’s rights and gender equality.

Why do we measure this indicator?

In 2018/2019 the Netherlands supported 5,403 organisations specifically committed to stopping violence against women. These organisations engage in a variety of activities, ranging from sheltering victims to improving police services through training. These organisations also strengthen the capacity of many women and girls to stand up for their rights and the rights of other women.

How is the value of this indicator determined?

The number of organisations and women with enhanced capacity is measured using the 5Cs model. This means that they enhance their capacity or capability in at least one of the following fields:

capability to act, capability to achieve results, capability to adapt, capability to relate to external stakeholders and capability to achieve coherence.

Progress in result area Preventing violence against women

In 2018/2019, working through the Funding Leadership and Opportunities for Women (FLOW) programme, we supported 79 organisations committed to stopping violence against women. A total of over 5,500 women and girls were informed of their rights and received resilience and de-escalation training. An Iraqi women’s organisation regularly holds conferences in Iraq on improving women’s legal position, organises awareness-raising campaigns in the media for a wider public and provides training courses for women journalists. Working through the UN, the organisation exerts pressure on the Iraqi government to improve services for women and women’s legal position.

Orange the World campaign 2019

Orange the World campaign 2019

In 2019 as in earlier years, the Netherlands responded to UN Women’s calls to eliminate violence against women and girls by joining the international Orange the World (16 Days of Activism) campaign. More than 140 Dutch municipalities took part. The Minister of Education, Culture and Science, the Human Rights Ambassador and the mayor of Utrecht launched the Dutch events. For 16 days, more than 100 public buildings in the Netherlands, including Utrecht city hall and Amsterdam’s EYE Film Museum, were lit up in the campaign colour orange. Dutch embassies and consulates also took the opportunity presented by the Orange the World campaign to focus worldwide attention on violence against women. This year more than 40 embassies and consulates took part. The embassies in Harare, Dhaka, Rome and New Delhi were lit up orange and panel discussions were organised in partnership with major stakeholders.

Orange the World

Go to the website for more news about the campaign.

Women, peace and security

Within the NAP program in Libya, the Netherlands has supported eight civil society organisations, which teach through joint training courses on setting up gender-sensitive peace initiatives. Credits Cordaid

Engaging women in preventing and resolving conflict in a meaningful way

Peace negotiations with women at the table lead to a more lasting peace. UN Security Council Resolution 1325 focuses on strengthening the role of women in building peace and security and on protecting them against sexual violence in conflict situations. In accordance with the National Action Plan on Resolution 1325, the Netherlands contributed in 2019 to programmes in Afghanistan, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Libya, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

In 2019, the Netherlands also contributed to the Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund in Mali. With the Peace and Security 4 All pilot fund, the Netherlands supported small-scale projects focusing on themes and target groups that are somewhat neglected in the NAP.

Open result area

Within the NAP program in Libya, the Netherlands has supported eight civil society organisations, which teach through joint training courses on setting up gender-sensitive peace initiatives. Credits Cordaid

Research shows that peace negotiations with women at the table lead to more lasting, more inclusive peace. We know that highly diverse organisations tend to perform better. Likewise, peace negotiations in which all stakeholders are represented lead to a more sustainable outcome. For this reason, the Netherlands supports projects that aim to give women a place at the negotiating table. In Yemen, for example, the Netherlands is funding a project in which women, local NGOs and decision-makers receive training in gender norms. These norms often form obstacles to women’s participation in peace processes. It is also important to train local decision-makers, so that they can take better account of the needs and interests of women. In Colombia, the Netherlands is supporting a programme geared to implementing the peace agreement. Consultations with women leaders produced recommendations on gender and conflict that were taken on board by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Apart from meaningful participation in peace processes, protection of women and girls in conflict situations is a major theme of Dutch efforts. Sexual violence against women is rife in some conflict situations. It persists partly because of prevalent gender norms. It is for example difficult for women to report sexual violence to the police. The Netherlands funds projects that try to change these norms. In Iraq, for example, the Netherlands supports a project that aims to raise awareness among leading players in the community of the negative impact of sexual violence. Greater awareness among police

officers, for instance, will help lower the threshold for women to report incidents. The NAP programme in the Democratic Republic of the Congo specifically engages with men and boys in tackling harmful gender norms, for example through training.

Introduction

Results

Indicator

Number of demonstrable contributions to the preconditions for women’s meaningful participation in conflict resolution and peace negotiations

Progress

Progress, not on track

150

Using a combination of lobbying, awareness-raising and training, Dutch programmes help involve more women in conflict resolution and peace negotiations by contributing to changes to legislation and behaviour. The result was a total of 150 demonstrable contributions to behavioural change. It generally takes considerable time to achieve changes like these, and the results are not immediately visible.

Why do we measure this indicator?

Women’s rights are an integral part of an inclusive and lasting peace. For these rights to be guaranteed, they must be incorporated into the constitution and form the basis of policy on security and justice, healthcare and education. This may require sizeable investments in staff recruitment and training. Recognition of women’s role in peace processes and post-conflict reconstruction is gaining ground, albeit very slowly. Every structural measure is a step in the right direction.

How is the value of this indicator determined?

Demonstrable contributions to better preconditions for women’s participation in peace processes and post-conflict reconstruction are measured at the level of policy and behaviour. These may include improvements to legislation, action plans and procedures, or changes to the norms, values and behaviour of key players like political leaders or of societies as a whole.

Indicator

Number of women and organisations supported to enhance women’s meaningful participation in conflict resolution and peace negotiations

Progress

On track

In 2018/2019, we supported 36 civil society organisations committed to increasing the number of women participating meaningfully in conflict resolution and peace negotiations. We also supported 6,685 individual women and girls to enable their participation, for instance by training them in various skills or putting them in contact with key figures in peace negotiations.

Why do we measure this indicator?

Women’s participation in peace negotiations and reconstruction processes leads to a more inclusive, more sustainable outcome. The Netherlands supports civil society organisations to promote their local peace work and participation in official peace negotiations. We also support individual women to enable their participation. Research shows that women are able to connect with representatives of a range of political or religious groupings, and are prepared to reach compromises in the interests of peace.

How is the value of this indicator determined?

The number of organisations and women with enhanced capacity is measured using the 5Cs model. This means that they enhance their capacity or capability in at least one of the following fields:

capability to act,

capability to achieve results,

capability to adapt,

capability to relate to external stakeholders

capability to achieve coherence.

National Action Plan (NAP) 1325 2018 Learning Event at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Hague

National Action Plan (NAP) 1325 In the autumn of 2018, the Netherlands held the NAP 1325 Learning Event on women, peace and security with partners from all over the world. Watch the video for information on the main outcomes of this event.

Video: National Action Plan (NAP) 1325 2018 Learning Event

Impression of the National Action Plan (NAP) 1325 2018 Learning Event at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Hague

National Action Plan (NAP) 1325

Visit the NAP website for more information

Economic participation

Field visit to asparagus cooperative Vietnam

Women taking advantage of economic influence opportunities

Worldwide, women still earn less than men. They are often dependent on their husband, father or son. In 2018/2019, the Netherlands supported 28 organisations committed to improving the preconditions for women’s economic participation. More than 60,000 women received training in skills enabling them to become economically independent and to share unpaid care tasks more widely within their families. Apart from technical support, these organisations also inform women of their rights, and engage men in this process. The programme in Ghana led to fewer incidents of domestic violence, and child marriages are now a thing of the past in these communities.

Open result area

Field visit to asparagus cooperative Vietnam

A UN Women study of gender equality and inclusive growth shows that women’s influence and authority within their families and communities increase if their economic position is strengthened and they earn their own income. They are as a result less frequently the victims of domestic violence. Because women invest more in the health and education of their children, they also give a major boost to the development of future generations. According to a McKinsey study, greater gender equality can lead in ten years to a 25% growth in Gross National Product.

Results

Indicator

Number of demonstrable contributions to the preconditions for women’s economic participation

Progress

Progress, not on track

19

Using a combination of lobbying, awareness-raising and training, Dutch programmes help give women better access to financial resources and the labour market by contributing to changes to legislation and behaviour. The result was a total of 19 demonstrable contributions to policy and legislation. It generally takes considerable time to achieve changes like these, and the results are not immediately visible.

Why do we measure this indicator?

The involvement of local governments, public and private service providers and employers is essential to improve women’s opportunities to earn a living wage. Civil society organisations try to improve policy through lobbying, training and partnership agreements, so that women have better access to financial resources and the labour market.

How is the value of this indicator determined?

Demonstrable contributions to improved preconditions for women’s participation in the economy are measured at the level of policy and behaviour. Examples include improvements to legislation, action plans and procedures, or changes to the norms, values and behaviour of key individuals like political leaders or of societies as a whole.

Indicator

Number of women and organisations supported with the aim of promoting women’s economic participation.

Progress

On track

In 2018/2019 the Netherlands supported 28 civil society organisations working at local level to improve women’s economic position. Civil society partner organisations supported more than 60,000 individual women. Apart from training and knowledge transfer, these organisations also provide information on women’s rights and help women access markets, training or credit. They also work with businesses to improve working conditions.

Why do we measure this indicator?

Civil society organisations are working to ensure equal economic opportunities for women. They advocate better working conditions and access to markets, credit and technology facilitation and support for the formation of associations and cooperatives. They also train women to improve their skills in order to gain access to the labour market or set up their own businesses. An innovative method is to help women gain an understanding of the time they spend on unpaid care tasks, so that they can discuss this issue with their partners or employers.

How is the value of this indicator determined?

The number of organisations and women with enhanced capacity is measured using the 5Cs model. This means that they enhance their capacity or capability in at least one of the following fields:

capability to act

capability to achieve results

capability to adapt

capability to relate to external stakeholders

capability to achieve coherence.

Progress in result area Economic participation

The Netherlands is working to improve the preconditions for women’s economic participation. The involvement of local governments, public and private service providers and employers is essential. Action may focus on improving legislation, working conditions, values, norms and behaviour and on supporting networks. In 2019 , the Netherlands supported 28 civil society organisations working to create an environment in which women can earn a decent income and fulfil their economic potential. These organisations advocate better access to markets, credit and technology and support the creation of associations and cooperatives. They train women in economic skills and work with businesses to improve working conditions, for example tackling sexual harassment and violence in the workplace. The programme in Vietnam supports 5,400 women agricultural entrepreneurs in starting asparagus farms. This has proved to be a sustainable, profitable solution especially in the drier areas of Vietnam, enabling women to become economically independent.

Funding Leadership Opportunities for Women (FLOW) in Nigeria

Funding Leadership Opportunities for Women (FLOW) in Nigeria

Funding Leadership Opportunities for Women (FLOW) in Nigeria is an inspiring example of how a stronger position for women has a positive impact on entire communities. The women trained under this programme have not only undergone impressive personal development, but have also played a role in bringing two communities that had previously been at loggerheads – often culminating in violence – closer together. Women from both the Muslim Fulani community and the local Christian farming community in Plateau State took part in training while creating space for dialogue and cooperation. This was unprecedented. Through the training, the women not only improved their own lives but also organised a peace dialogue between the two communities. The local authorities supported this initiative, and representatives of the two sides entered into dialogue.

What does peace mean to you?

Read more about FLOW Nigeria

Better distribution of care tasks thanks to Funding Leadership and Opportunities for Women (FLOW)

Better distribution of care tasks thanks to Funding Leadership and Opportunities for Women (FLOW)

FLOW is the largest Dutch programme for women’s rights and gender equality. It was launched on 1 January 2016 and focuses among other things on improving the economic position of around 25,000 women in more than ten countries in Asia and Africa. One of the ways in which the programme achieves this aim is to help women share unpaid care tasks better with their husbands. These tasks are a considerable burden on women in rural areas in particular. The FLOW programme helps women gain an understanding of how much time they spend collecting water or firewood and preparing food. This helps them talk to their husbands about a better allocation of tasks. As a result of this project, the government in Ghana has agreed to pay the costs of childcare centres and has freed up land for new centres. In Pakistan, local authorities have now constructed drinking water and electricity facilities. This gives women more time to earn their own income.

FLOW programme

Read more about the FLOW programme

McKinsey Report (2015)

How advancing women’s equality can add $12 trillion to global growth

Women, Business and the Law 2020 – World Bank Group

Women, Business and the Law 2020 is the sixth in a series of studies of legislation that impact on women’s economic opportunities in 190 economies.

Political participation

In the run-up to general elections, women converged at the Bomas of Kenya to speak with one voice in support of the women aspirants in a bid to increase the number of women elected into political leadership. Credits: CRAWN Daisy Amdany

Women exercising power and leadership

A UN Women study shows that women’s participation in decision-making processes leads to more effective decision-making and policy. In 2018/2019, the Netherlands funded 538 organisations that work on encouraging various forms of female leadership, including participation in politics and governance. These programmes focus on creating a level playing field and improving preconditions for women’s political participation and leadership in various countries. The Netherlands also contributes to projects on this theme through UN Women.

Open result area

In the run-up to general elections, women converged at the Bomas of Kenya to speak with one voice in support of the women aspirants in a bid to increase the number of women elected into political leadership. Credits: CRAWN Daisy Amdany

Women’s political participation and leadership calls for an environment in which women and men have equal opportunities. In the reporting period, the Funding Leadership Opportunities for Women (FLOW) programme led to improvements in the necessary preconditions. For example, the provincial assemblies in the Solomon Islands supported the adoption of temporary special measures (TSM), an instrument enabling quotas for women in leadership positions. In Myanmar, an intensive programme was launched to coach 15 promising women candidates for the national elections in 2020. In Zambia, 250 women are being coached to stand in the 2021 national elections. In Papua New Guinea, 14 women were appointed to various local government committees, 20 women received coaching in taking up leadership roles in their communities, and five women were coached to stand in local elections. Women in Papua New Guinea rarely occupy leadership positions, so this can be regarded as unprecedented. Several consultation sessions were held with seven political parties in Lebanon. As a result, the traditional political parties nominated 38 women candidates for the 2018 elections; only six women had stood for election in 2009. In total, 113 women stood for election in 2018, compared to 12 in 2009. Women’s groups in Rwanda supported a colleague from the National Women’s Council in Gisagara district in standing for parliament. They were successful: the woman secured a seat in the Rwandan parliament for the 2018-2023 period.

Results

Indicator

Number of demonstrable contributions to preconditions for women’s political participation

Progress

On track

Using a combination of lobbying, awareness-raising and training, Dutch programmes aim to enable more women to participate in decision-making at local, regional, national and international level by contributing to changes to legislation and behaviour. The result was a total of 53 demonstrable contributions to changes in behaviour and nine demonstrable contributions to policy and legislation. It generally takes considerable time to achieve changes like these, and the results are not immediately visible.

Why do we measure this indicator?

Gender equality means among other things that women participate in decision-making processes and make their mark as leaders. Without women’s participation in decision-making on international, national and local issues, insufficient account is taken of their needs and interests. To monitor progress, the Netherlands keeps track of the necessary preconditions for women’s participation in political processes and leadership.

How is the value of this indicator determined?

Demonstrable contributions to improved preconditions for women’s participation in decision-making are measured at the level of policy and behaviour. They may include improvements to legislation, action plans and procedures, and changes to the norms, values and behaviour of key figures like political leaders or of society as a whole.

Indicator

Number of women and organisations supported to promote women’s participation in decision-making

Progress

Progress, not on track

2018/2019

In 2018/2019, the Netherlands supported 192 organisations committed to wide participation of women in politics and decision-making. Training and support in accessing the necessary resources and contacts have led to more women candidates and more women elected.

Why do we measure this indicator?

Women aspiring to a role in politics need to expect opposition, misogyny, threats and even physical violence. They often have to manage without the support of established political parties. Civil society organisations are therefore indispensable. They provide women candidates and politicians with training and access to a network and other resources.

How is the value of this indicator determined?

The number of organisations and women with enhanced capacity is measured using the 5Cs model. This means that they enhance their capacity or capability in at least one of the following fields:

capability to act, capability to achieve results, capability to adapt, capability to relate to external stakeholders and capability to achieve coherence.

Mensen met een Missie

Background information theme women’s rights and gender equality

Background

The gap between men and women has shrunk in recent years, but in general women and girls worldwide still lag behind. Women still earn less than men, and are often dependent on their husbands, fathers or brothers. At least one in every three women has experienced violence in the course of her life. In the majority of cases, this is domestic violence, but violence at work and in public spaces also occurs.

Women suffer the greatest disadvantage in the political arena; on average, they account for only 24% of members of parliament worldwide. Women’s participation in conflict resolution and peacebuilding processes is only now beginning to get off the ground.

A worrying trend is the growing resistance of conservative forces that seek to curtail women’s and girls’ rights. Preventing women’s position from deteriorating is therefore in some cases the best achievable result. To bring about sustainable improvements, it is essential to strengthen women and organisations that are committed to gender equality. Much was achieved in the past year. This progress and these results need to be quantified.

Glimpse into the future

In the 2018/2019 period, more support was given to organisations in the South than in previous years. The Netherlands seeks to continue on this track in the future. This gives women and girls the opportunity to improve both their own and other women’s position. The Netherlands will also launch new programmes focusing more closely on strengthening women’s organisations committed to gender equality.

The policy framework for strengthening civil society (2021-2025) was published in November 2019. It centres on a strong, independent role for civil society organisations and the social contract between the public, government and the private sector. The SDG 5 fund is part of the policy framework. It includes the grant instruments Power of Women, Leading from the South and Women, Peace and Security. These instruments focus on strengthening the capacity of women’s organisations in the field of lobbying and advocacy and encouraging social, economic and/or political transformation to achieve equal rights and opportunities and safety and security for girls and women.

Additional sources

You can find exactly how the budget was allocated in 2019 and which projects were funded on our budget website.

  1. Visit the website
    Programme budget Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation
  2. Select financial year 2019
Twitter account

Official Twitter account of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Task Force (TFVG)

Twitter account

Official Twitter account of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Ambassador for Women’s Rights and Gender Equality

Expenditure by channel

Metric

The budget in this figure is for the year 2019 and does not completely correspond with the results on this page, which have been collected between Oct 2018 and Oct 2019. More information on this can be found on the 'About the results report' page.