Gender equality

A woman and a man talk outside a hut.
The SDC is committed to gender equality in all its projects. ©SDC

Gender inequality is one of the greatest obstacles to sustainable development, economic growth, and poverty reduction. The SDC is helping to ensure that women and men have the same right to develop their potential and can use their resources in a meaningful way.

Poverty continues to have a distinct gender dimension: according to international studies, women comprise about 70% of people living in extreme poverty. Unequal laws and social norms put many women and girls at a disadvantage in terms of access to health and education, decision-making positions, financial resources, and the job market.

They often work under precarious conditions, in less productive sectors, and without social security. In addition, they earn less than men. Women also have less influence on social, political, and economic decision-making processes and often fall victim to gender-based violence, discrimination, and exclusion.

In working to ensure equal rights and conditions for women and men, the SDC integrates men and boys into its work on gender issues. These concerns are reflected in all SDC projects and strategies. Priority areas are conflicts, fragile contexts, the economy, and politics.

The FDFA’s strategy on equal opportunities and women's rights, adopted in 2017, made gender equality a major pillar of Swiss foreign policy. The Federal Council Dispatch on Switzerland’s International Cooperation 2017–2020 explicitly states for the first time the aim of strengthening gender equality and the rights of women and girls. Switzerland is also committed to implementing the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Its Goal 5 is to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. Switzerland is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) of 1979. Equality between women and men is enshrined in Article 8, paragraph 3 of the Federal Constitution of 1999.

Gender and women's rights in conflict situations and fragile contexts

The SDC implements UN Resolution 1325; priority areas are prevention of and protection against gender-based violence in conflict situations and women's participation in peace processes.

Strengthening women's political participation

The SDC is helping to ensure that women and men can fulfil their obligations as equal citizens.

Access to resources, education, and income

Women play a key role in poverty reduction and food security. To achieve this, they need access to natural resources, education, and income.

Instruments for gender mainstreaming

‘Gender Tool Kit’ and thematic aid.

Current projects

Object 1 – 12 of 65

Confronting and combating gender-based violence in Mongolia

Two female Mongolian social workers.

01.05.2016 - 30.04.2020

Gender-based violence has been on the rise in Mongolia since the turn of the millennium. Yet because of a serious lack of data, the extent of the phenomenon is difficult to assess and a culture of impunity continues to hold sway.  The SDC plans to conduct a national survey to address this problem.  At the same time, it intends to strengthen institutions, put in place appropriate services and raise public awareness.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Mongolia
Rule of Law - Democracy - Human rights
Human rights (incl. Women's rights)
Protection and access
GOVERNMENT AND CIVIL SOCIETY
GOVERNMENT AND CIVIL SOCIETY
Human rights
Human rights

01.05.2016 - 30.04.2020


CHF 4'390'000



Nepal: An array of measures to tackle gender-based violence

Group photo of the participants from above

01.02.2016 - 31.12.2018

Gender-based violence is a widespread problem in Nepal, and an obstacle to sustainable development. The SDC and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) launched a 3-year prevention and response project at the beginning of 2016. Women and girls are learning about their rights and being encouraged to report assaults. Men and boys are being encouraged to change their behaviour towards women. And duty bearers are learning to respond more rapidly and effectively. The project is already delivering first encouraging results.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Nepal
Rule of Law - Democracy - Human rights
Human rights (incl. Women's rights)
Protection and access
Legal and judicial development
GOVERNMENT AND CIVIL SOCIETY
GOVERNMENT AND CIVIL SOCIETY
GOVERNMENT AND CIVIL SOCIETY
Human rights
Human rights
Legal and judicial development

01.02.2016 - 31.12.2018


CHF 2'995'000



Forging a common «Nile culture» through music and academic training

Nile Project musicians on a boat.

01.05.2015 - 18.11.2018

To make the Nile Basin a common ground and shared ecosystem for the inhabitants of the eleven countries through which the Nile River flows, the SDC supports the innovative musical and educational Nile Project. The project brings together artists, students and concerned citizens. A series of acclaimed concerts has taken place since 2013; at the same time, students are developing initiatives to foster a better use of water resources.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Egypt
Economy and Employment
Education
Migration
Rule of Law - Democracy - Human rights
Education
Environment
Rule of Law - Democracy - Human rights
Economy and Employment
Culture
Disaster Risk Reduction – Preparedness
Education policy
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) development
Environment protection
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) development
Vocational training and skills development
Access to information incl. support to media and ICT
Mitigation of the effects of climate change
Culture
Human rights (incl. Women's rights)
Migration generally (development aspects and partnerships)
Protection and access
EDUCATION
OTHER SOCIAL INFRASTRUCTURE AND SERVICES
INDUSTRY
HUMANITARIAN AID
EDUCATION
INDUSTRY
GENERAL ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
GOVERNMENT AND CIVIL SOCIETY
OTHER SOCIAL INFRASTRUCTURE AND SERVICES
COMMUNICATIONS
GENERAL ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
HUMANITARIAN AID
Education policy and administrative management
Culture and recreation
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) development
Disaster prevention and preparedness
Vocational training
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) development
Environmental policy and administrative management
Human rights
Culture and recreation
Information and communication technology (ICT)
Biosphere protection
Material relief assistance and services

01.05.2015 - 18.11.2018


CHF 792'800



Life without violence, from dream to reality

The face of a woman who has been abused.

01.02.2015 - 31.05.2020

The SDC hopes that by backing a newly-adopted law in Bolivia on ending violence against women, it can contribute to more systematic and targeted care for female victims. Local and national authorities and the people are working together on a comprehensive approach to prevent assaults on women. Too often, attitudes are tinged with a male chauvinism that sanctions violence.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Bolivia
Rule of Law - Democracy - Human rights
Human rights (incl. Women's rights)
GOVERNMENT AND CIVIL SOCIETY
Human rights

01.02.2015 - 31.05.2020


CHF 4'070'000



Developing Skills for Better Employment

A student screwing a solar panel together.

15.12.2014 - 31.12.2018

Unequal access to employment and the mismatch between education and labour market requirements are among the reasons for the high youth-unemployment in Albania. The Vocational Education and Training (VET) system therefore is undergoing a reorientation in order to meet labour market needs. Through the Skills Development for Employment Programme Switzerland is supporting these reforms.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Albania
Education
Economy and Employment
Vocational training and skills development
Labor market development
Human rights (incl. Women's rights)
EDUCATION
OTHER SOCIAL INFRASTRUCTURE AND SERVICES
GOVERNMENT AND CIVIL SOCIETY
Vocational training
Employment policy and administrative management
Human rights

15.12.2014 - 31.12.2018


CHF 3'000'000



Supporting Civil Society Organizations in Nicaragua

01.08.2020 - 31.12.2024

SDC and other like-minded donors are engaged in enhancing the democratic and public policy processes in Nicaragua. A strong civil society is essential to the quality and sustainability of this effort. The proposed program will promote citizen participation, strengthen capacities of Civil Society Organizations and foster informed policy dialogue. 


Strengthening of civil-political-economic rights and social auditing.

01.05.2020 - 30.06.2027

Strengthening civil-political-economic rights, freedom of expression and social auditing is a priority to ensure the functioning of the rule of law and respect for human rights in Honduras. The role of civil society is essential in the construction of citizenship and to ensure a system of check and balance. Therefore, the program will support 6 to 8 national civil society organization with strong anchoring in the territories to promote jointly in a concerted, impartial and evidence based way these topics.


UNDP Business Call to Action

01.06.2017 - 31.12.2019

The Business Call to Action (BCtA) is a Public Private Development Partnership (PPDP) between multilateral organizations, bilateral donors and businesses from all over the world that works to accelerate and measure private sector contribution towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). BCtA challenges and supports businesses to bring the benefits of private sector led growth to the poorest by including them in their value chains as producers, consumers and employees.


Strengthening Human Rights institutions in Bangladesh

01.01.2017 - 31.12.2020

People in Bangladesh repeatedly suffer from human rights violations which especially affect poor and marginalised people with limited remedy and widespread impunity. The project strengthens (i) the National Human Rights Commission to more effectively promote and protect human rights and (ii) civil society to promote and monitor Human Rights and provide legal aid.


Diakonia International Humanitarian Law Resource Center (IHLRC) “Closing the Compliance Gap”

01.01.2017 - 31.12.2019

The Swiss contribution supports Diakonia’s International Humanitarian Law Resource Centre (IHLRC) to respond to the demand for accurate and principled legal analysis on International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and International Human Rights Law in the oPt, and to make it accessible to States and relevant organizations to ensure that their policies and international aid are not in contradiction with international law. This intervention is in line with the Swiss Foreign Policy in the Region and SDC Cooperation Strategy 2015-2018 that aims to promote respect for International Law, to ensure protection by all duty-bearers of the rights of the Palestinian population.


Contribution to UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women

01.12.2016 - 30.11.2021

Switzerland is renewing its contribution to the system-wide United Nations Trust Fund to End Violence against Women (UNTF). As the only global multilateral grant-making mechanism exclusively devoted to supporting local and national efforts to ending violence against women and girls (EVAW/G), including in fragile and conflict contexts, the UNTF has the advantage to possess a global overview of the legal provisions and practices, methods of prevention and types of support services needed. Dissemination of good practice will be strengthened to inform policy and programming.


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