Taking action to support women

07 February 2011

New evaluation on gender equality and women's empowerment in IFAD's projects points the way to further progress

Rome, 7 February 2011 – An evaluation of projects and activities undertaken by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has found that, while there is room for improvement, the agency has made significant progress in promoting gender equality and women's empowerment in family agricultural production and farmers' organizations.

The report by IFAD's Office of Evaluation further underlines the central role the Fund can play in this area, especially given its specialised mandate in agriculture and rural development.

IFAD, a specialized UN agency and international financial institution, has adopted the three objectives to improve gender equality and women's empowerment, which the evaluation found were and continue to remain relevant, particularly with regard to achievement of the Millennium Development Goals:

  • Expand women's access to and control over fundamental assets.
  • Strengthen women's agencies - their decision-making role in community affairs and representation in local institutions.
  • Improve women's well-being and ease their workload by facilitating access to basic rural services and infrastructure.

IFAD has succeeded in addressing the many challenges faced by women in developing countries, the report says. Furthermore it states that the Fund has played an important role in promoting gender equality and women's empowerment in relevant global policy and advocacy forums.

The report outlined a number of areas where IFAD's performance and results on gender can be improved,  especially in enhancing women's well-being and easing their workload, ensuring better documentation and sharing of lessons and good practices, strengthen monitoring and reporting to IFAD's senior management and Executive Board, and advancing innovative solutions that can be scaled up to address challenges faced by rural women in developing countries. The evaluation does however reveal that recently-designed country strategies and operations are showing improved results, which implies that recent IFAD-funded activities are more gender sensitive and that the Fund is learning from its past experiences.

The evaluation found that IFAD is well positioned as compared to other development organisations regarding its gender balance in staffing, even though there is a need for more women to be represented at senior levels in the organisation. Moving forward, the evaluation recommends that the Fund reviews its human resources strategy in relation to gender to ensure that the required staff and financial resources are assigned to improving gender balance. It also suggests an approach to individual work planning and management that is more gender sensitive.

Based on the findings of the evaluation, IFAD will organize a joint workshop with other multilateral organisations to discuss policy solutions and their implementation with stakeholders from developing countries and civil society.  Conclusions and recommendations from the workshop will inform a process of updating IFAD's gender policy in 2011.

Press release No.: IFAD/02/2011

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) works with poor rural people to enable them to grow and sell more food, increase their incomes and determine the direction of their own lives. Since 1978, IFAD has invested over US$12 billion in grants and low-interest loans to developing countries, empowering more than 360 million people to break out of poverty. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized UN agency based in Rome – the UN's food and agricultural hub. It is a unique partnership of 165 members from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), other developing countries and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).



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