Young Mothers with her babys

    SDG 5 – Gender equality

    KfW promotes gender equality worldwide

    Inequality between men and women is still deeply embedded in societies. While progress has been made, disasters and crises such as climate change, pandemics or armed conflicts such as the war in Ukraine continue to set back the goals that have been achieved and pose new challenges to gender equality commitments. None of the 18 SDG 5 indicators have been achieved or nearly achieved to date, with only around 15% of them "on track". Whether it is a question of access to decent work, gender-specific differences in employment and pay, access to digital and other future technologies, basic economic protections or access to political and economic decision-making structures – women are generally worse off.

    Amplified by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic or patriarchal regimes, many women and girls experience limited access to healthcare services and education. The same applies to financial services. As a result, women often lack opportunities to earn a living independently and they remain dependent on their family or are exploited. If young women marry early and fall pregnant, they lack the time for education and employment. Violence against women also rises - and not only in armed conflicts. Women's knowledge and experience, e. g. with regard to the impacts of climate change or biodiversity, are often ignored. In addition, discriminatory laws exclude women from societal decisions, political participation and from land and inheritance rights. Women spend three times as much time as men looking after children or other people in need of care and doing (unpaid) housework, which leads to time poverty as well as lower income and consequently lower pension payments.

    All this, while gender equality between women and men is a human right. It is a prerequisite for sustainable development and contributes to significantly improving quality of life for all people. A fair and inclusive society, a sustainable and successful economy and a forward-looking approach to the environment can only be attained if women and girls are included. The empowerment of women also has a multiplier effect: while women spend about 90% of their income on the health, education and nutrition of their families, men spend only about 30 - 40%.

    The advancement of gender equality and strengthening of women’s rights are therefore a priority for international and German development policy and a core aspect of the 2030 Agenda. With the new legislative period, the BMZ is committed to a feminist development policy with the goal of realising human rights and the equal participation of all people in social, political and economic life – regardless of gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, skin colour, disability or other characteristics. To this end, a new strategy was presented in March 2023 that emphasises intersectionality, partner orientation, participation and the postcolonial, anti-racist understanding of German development policy. The "3 Rs" were identified as central areas of intervention:

    • Recognition of the Rights of women and marginalised groups.
    • Improved access to Resources
    • Representation as the key to equal participation

    While SDG 5 focuses exclusively on gender equality and empowering women, another 45 sub-goals and 54 indicators include gender equality as a key factor for the overall sustainability agenda.

    Through its projects, KfW is working to advance gender equality and empower women around the world, thereby helping to implement the 2030 Agenda.

    In 2023, many projects of KfW Development Bank contributed to achieving SDG 5. With more than EUR 414 million, gender equality was strengthened as the main goal. In addition, numerous projects with a total financial volume of over EUR 5.7 billion promoted gender equality as an important secondary goal. Within the framework of the feminist development policy, more than 90% of the BMZ's newly committed project funds are to be allocated to projects that contribute to gender equality by 2025.

    KfW thus supports its partners in strengthening gender equality and advancing the rights of women in partner countries.

    “We need perspective on gender”

    Interview with Dr Ursula Schäfer-Preuss, Deputy Chair of UN Women Germany and former Director General at the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) on discrimination against women worldwide and why feminist development policy is the right answer.

    Aids Prevention in South Africa

    Women and girls in South Africa are disproportionately affected by HIV, partly due to economic and socio-cultural structures that disadvantage women and often expose them to sexualised violence. Many of them are no longer prepared to accept this and are taking their lives into their own hands. The "Bumb'Ingomso" programme supports them in this.

    KfW's contribution to SDG 5

    Women in KfW projects

    Whether as an employee in the laboratory of a Georgian sewage treatment plant, a teacher in a newly built school in Maputo, a scholarship holder in a Kenyan secondary school or an entrepreneur who uses a loan to set up a confectionery company and creates jobs - in the picture gallery you will get to know very different women who all benefit from KfW projects.