Launch of the Gender Action Plan to guide New Zealand’s Development Cooperation


Despite the spread of education and literacy, health services, employment and improved opportunities for women and girls since the last millennium, economic growth has not been gender neutral.

In no developing country do women enjoy equality with men in respect of economic, social, political and legal rights. The absence of gender equality means a huge loss of human potential and significant costs for the development of all people.

We must have stronger female representation to drive solutions to those issues that are having a dramatic and devastating impact on people, particularly millions of young girls and women. I’m talking about poverty, lack of education, reproductive health, gender equality, pay equity, violence and climate change, to name just some.

Hon Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, 2017

Gender equality and women’s empowerment is a human right and a core objective of effective and sustainable development. Gender equality provides the foundation for a fairer, healthier, more representative and safer society, increases productivity and improves development outcomes for all.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) Strategic Intentions 2020–2024 identified the priority deliverable of a Gender Action Plan to guide and scale up New Zealand’s development cooperation programming to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment.

The Gender Action Plan 2021–2025 aims to increase Aotearoa New Zealand’s gender principal investment to 4% Official Development Assistance (ODA). It also aims to increase our gender significant investment to 60% ODA by targeting and mainstreaming gender equality and women’s empowerment across our aid programme.

Several international and regional commitments to gender equality and women’s empowerment provide the strategic development and advocacy settings. They include The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Pacific Leaders’ Gender Equality Declaration (2012), and the Pacific Platform for Action on Gender Equality and Women’s Human Rights (PPA) (2018–2030).

Aotearoa New Zealand’s support for gender equality and women’s empowerment will embody operating principles grounded in Te Tiriti o Waitangi, recognising that our domestic challenges present an opportunity for authentic partnership, whānaungatanga and reciprocity.

Our strategic priorities are enhancing opportunities for women in governance and leadership, eliminating violence against women and girls, social protection initiatives including in response to COVID-19 impacts, women’s economic empowerment, women’s education and health with special focus on sexual and reproductive health and rights, and women peace and security.

The Gender Action Plan 2021–2025 aims to achieve transformative change of those formal and informal customs, norms, practices and laws in society that create or perpetuate gender inequality and social exclusion based on gender identity.

Want further information on this Gender Action Plan?

Please contact Tara D’Sousa, Senior Adviser Inclusive Development – Gender at Tara.D’


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