Women's rights

Implementing women's rights – tapping into potential

Pharmacology students in a laboratory at the Al-Azhar University in Gaza City

Throughout the world women play a key role in implementing change. Gender equality is therefore a precondition of development. Where the social conditions allow, women can develop their great potential – to the benefit of all. Germany promotes diverse measures to eliminate discrimination against women and girls through its development cooperation.


At international level the German government advocates the improvement of women’s legal situation in particular. Germany is working hard to

  • remove obstacles that prevent women participating equally in economic life;
  • embed the human rights and gender approach more deeply in international development cooperation;
  • take the needs of women into account more in the fight against HIV/AIDS;
  • realise the sexual and reproductive self-determination rights of women and men in equal measure;
  • ensure that the harmful traditional practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) soon becomes a thing of the past; and
  • put an end to all forms of violence against women.


In the partner countries of German development cooperation, Germany aims to ensure among other things that

  • existing laws on gender equality and violence against women are effectively implemented;
  • the issue of gender equality is incorporated into national Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs);
  • women and girls are actively involved in political, economic and social processes; and
  • women and men have equal access to land ownership, education, productive resources and financial services.

Furthermore, German development cooperation supports women’s networks and organisations. These networks and organisations have a special closeness to the population groups in question, and this closeness and the trust-based relationship they have with them mean that they can often implement projects very specifically and efficiently.

German financial contributions

Between 2007 and 2012, the German government provided 16.4 billion euros in bilateral development cooperation funding for projects that – regardless of their actual objective – have a positive impact on gender equality.

In addition, since then 902 million euros in funding has been committed to projects whose primary goal is gender equality. About 30 per cent of Germany’s entire Official Development Assistance (ODA) and 56 per cent of its bilateral cooperation has thus contributed directly or indirectly to promoting gender equality.

The German government committed a total of 61.75 million euros in bilateral official development assistance in the fiscal year 2016 to projects whose primary objective is the promotion of gender equality.

Priority areas

Details of some of the priority areas of involvement of German development cooperation in the field of gender equality can be found in the following sub-sections:

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