Gender equality Feminist development policy for sustainable development

Svenja Schulze, Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development
Half of the world’s population is female. Equality is a human right. Being clear on that and raising awareness continues to be an ongoing task.
Svenja Schulze German Development Minister

The new German government that took office in late 2021 is a strong advocate for equal participation by all people in social, political and economic life – regardless of gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, skin colour, disability or other traits. Acting in this spirit, the BMZ will be pursuing a feminist development policy.

Strong women – strong societies

30 %

increase in agricultural yields thanks to equal access to agricultural inputs

Mutter-Kind-Station im Krankenhaus in Almalik, Usbekistan

Maternal mortality could be brought down by

1/3

if medical care for women improved

70 %

of health professionals worldwide are women

A knotted pistol: The work "Non Violence" by the Swedish artist Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd has stood as a peace symbol in front of the United Nations headquarters in New York since 1988.

20 %

increase in likelihood of peace agreements being upheld if women are involved in negotiations


Better education

for women and girls reduces child marriages and unplanned pregnancies.



Two women at the Co-Creation Hub in Lagos, Nigeria

28 trillion US dollars

increase in global economic growth by 2025 if women enjoy equal participation

Equality of women and girls, men and boys and persons with diverse sexual orientations and gender identities has not yet been fully achieved anywhere in the world.

Discrimination against women and girls

Pupil at a school in Bangui in the Central African Republic

130 million

girls are denied the human right to education

75 %

of all unpaid care work and household duties is done by women


Plenary hall of the German Bundestag in the Reichstag building in Berlin

26 %

of all seats in parliament worldwide are held by women

One in

three women

experiences physical or sexual violence at least once in her life

A woman in Togo harvesting lettuce

14 %

of landowners are female

214 million

women have no access to modern methods of family planning

Feminist development policy – what is it all about?

Logo of the conference "Feminist development policy – transforming international cooperation"

Fighting hunger, poverty and inequality and asserting human rights, ensuring climate protection, sustainable use of our natural resources and fair globalisation are aims of Germany’s development policy. It is pursuing the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its pledge to Leave No One Behind.

That is why the BMZ takes care in all its development activities to actively address gender inequalities and explicitly promote women, girls and other marginalised groups and ensure their equal participation.

Feminist development policy is centred around all people and tackles the root causes of injustice such as power relations between genders, social norms and role models.

Feminist development policy enhances equality for people of all genders and thus is to the advantage of the whole of society – including men.

Feminist development policyis a powerful approach to take sustainable development forward and assert human rights – worldwide and regardless of gender and any other personal traits.

The key objectives of our feminist development policy

Gender inequality does not appear just by chance; it is the result of certain power structures, discriminatory norms and role models.

The aim of the BMZ’s feminist development policy is to eliminate structural inequalities, unequal treatment and discrimination in the long term. This also includes racist structures and power relations.

To that end, the BMZ is working at various levels.

Cover: A Toolkit on Paid and Unpaid Care Work: From 3Rs to 5Rs

Publication From 3Rs to 5Rs: A Toolkit on Paid and Unpaid Care Work External link

UN Women Toolkit on Care Work in International Cooperation, supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development

Realising rights

Feminist development policy is committed to eliminating discriminatory laws and achieving legal empowerment and equal opportunities for women, girls and LGBTI persons in all areas of life.

It draws on, for instance, the political dialogue on human rights issues that we engage in with our partner countries and supports civil society organisations. Its aim is to ensure that all people are able to fully realise their rights.

Using resources

There needs to be justice in access to resources. Feminist development policy, too, depends on adequate resources to be successful.

In the context of both bilateral and multilateral cooperation, more funds than before must now be earmarked to promote gender equality.

Improving representation

All groups that have so far been insufficiently represented are to be involved in policy decision-making processes and enabled to exert influence at all levels.

Women, LGBTI persons and other marginalised groups need to participate equally in international negotiations, government agreements, the development of new strategies or the drafting of new interventions.

As at: 01/04/2022