Infrastructure plays a significant role in promoting gender equality and empowering women.
Poor infrastructure has a disproportionate impact on women’s health and safety, and can exacerbate gendered barriers to education, skills, employment and markets. Well designed and managed infrastructure development, on the other hand, can facilitate women’s equal roles, empower women and facilitate social inclusion through decent jobs and improved safety.
In accordance with DFAT’s Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Strategy (February 2016), 'Preventing Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Harassment Policy' (PSEAH) (April 2019), Good Practice Notes on gender in the programming cycle, and Gender and Infrastructure Review, AIFFP investments promote gender equality and women’s empowerment on two levels:
- At a minimum, by implementing, and requiring our partners to implement, the Do No Harm principle, to ensure that gender inequalities are not exacerbated and women are not disadvantaged
- By mainstreaming gender equality to ensure women benefit on an equal level with men, their needs and priorities are addressed, and the project contributes to narrowing gender gaps
This approach to promoting gender equality and social inclusion entails taking specific actions throughout project development to identify and address constraints for women to participate and benefit equally with men, for example by:
- Responding to women’s infrastructure needs, in particular to reduce women’s time poverty and unpaid work burden
- Strengthening women’s leadership and participation in infrastructure decision-making, in affected communities, in partner organisations, and in project delivery teams
- Promoting women’s economic empowerment, in particular equal access to procurement opportunities, entrepreneurship and decent employment
- Ending all forms of violence against women and girls, in particular through jobs and services that are free from sexual harassment
To operationalise DFAT’s GESI policies and strategies, the AIFFP:
- Inserts explicit requirements around gender equality into all project agreements as well as incentives for good performance
- Integrates gender equality into all of our analysis to identify key gender gaps that can be addressed through infrastructure investments
- Draws on specific gender analysis to understand how gender norms affect program outcomes or progress towards gender equality, what unintended consequences might occur for women and girls, which partners and institutions have made gender commitments, and who may be your champions for gender equality
- Recognises that women are not a homogeneous group, paying particular attention to the needs of girls, women with disabilities, indigenous women and other disadvantaged groups of women
- Helps partner governments to advance their own gender equality priorities, hold co-financiers to account for implementing gender mainstreaming policies, and encourage private sector partners to set and implement specific goals such as the Women’s Empowerment Principles
- Engages meaningfully with women’s organisations
- Tracks progress on addressing gender equality issues and monitor for unintended consequences
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