Gender equality now considered in UK aid spending
by Nicola Slawson
The UK government has pledged to support the rights of women and girls in international development funding. The new bill will mandate that Secretary of State for International Development Justine Greening take gender into consideration in all decisions relating to how overseas aid is spent.
According to the BBC, women perform an estimated 60 percent of the world’s working hours, yet earn only 10 percent of the world’s income and own just two percent of the world’s land.
“Ensuring justice for women and girls is a fundamental human rights obligation and one of the most urgent issues of our time,” said Jacqui Hunt, director of Equality Now, an international human rights organization.
Jacqui welcomed the UK’s lead in linking development and humanitarian funding to gender equality, and urged other countries to follow suit.
“Recognition that one of the key priorities for successful international development is the empowerment of women and girls helps to ensure that everyone can reach their full potential and contribute,” said Jacqui, who stressed that rather than just supporting women, the legislation would lead to a win-win situation for both genders.
The new International Development (Gender Equality) Act 2014, which came into force on May 13, was originally proposed by Member of Parliament William Cash. Only 10 percent of private members’ bills become law in any given year. However, this bill received cross-party support as well as endorsement by Justine Greening, Prime Minister David Cameron and non-government organizations including WaterAid, Plan International and The Gender Rights and Equality Action Trust.
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