The final session of the day focused on the role of bilateral and private foundation donors in supporting gender integration and female empowerment in international development programs. The prestigious panel discussed the internal processes institutions have taken to prioritize organizational gender mainstreaming and to focus on female empowerment in the social, educational, and economic spheres. Moderated by MSNBC journalist Richard Lui, the panel also explored the value of setting global standards for gender integration and the role that donors play in setting those standards.
- Both panelists and audience members acknowledged the need for greater collaboration between donors on setting and achieving milestones, particularly the Sustainable Development Goals. A lack of coordination among donors on gender equality and female empowerment priorities results in truncated funding streams that can lessen impact achieved already as implementers wait for the next surge of funding from another donor.
- Major bilateral and private foundation donors are funding comparable interventions on gender equality and female empowerment, yet the required indicators for measuring outcomes varies by donor. A mutually agreed upon set of gender indicators has enormous potential for expanding learnings across a spectrum of programs, geographies, and organizations. The result could be a body of information lending robust support for gender integrated programming. (See Outcome 3.)
- The role donor organizations play in support of gender integration relates to their funding mission. Bilateral donor agencies, like USAID and UK DFID, have taken proactive positions on gender integration through the establishment and enforcement of gender policies and standards that are both inward and outward facing. Private foundation donors have found focusing on female empowerment in key practice areas – like maternal and child health or economic empowerment – is more effective as a means to fund programs in line with the values of their corporate arms.