Partnership for Gender Equality frequently asked questions
Why is this new partnership for gender equality important? What does it aim to do?
Women’s organizations and movements play a central role in spearheading change to advance gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls in developing countries, yet they receive the least amount of financial support.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) lay out a course of action to build a world where all are equal by 2030. In order to achieve these goals, however, innovative financing mechanisms and new partnerships are required as governments cannot reach the targets alone.
The partnership responds to this need by bringing the spectrum of grants, investments and impact investments together under one roof, creating a first of its kind global funding platform where interested partners from the private sector, philanthropic community, civil society and other donors, can pool and leverage their funds for greater collective impact and generate a sustainable source of funding for women’s organizations and movements in developing countries.
The partnership will transform how women’s organizations and movements are supported in their efforts to achieve gender equality.
How has the Government of Canada taken leadership to expand innovative financing for development? Why is there a need for this type of innovative financing mechanism?
To achieve the SDGs and build the better world they aim to achieve, we have to think bigger, smarter and more strategically about how to finance and deliver development.
In 2015, the Government of Canada helped launch Convergence, a global platform that connects, educates and supports public, philanthropic and private investors to encourage blended finance transactions in developing countries.
That same year, the Government of Canada also provided $200 million to the World Bank’s Global Financing Facility, a pathfinder for innovative financing of the SDGs focused on helping to address the unfinished agenda of women, children and adolescents’ health and nutrition and to close the financing gap.
In 2018, the Government of Canada launched FinDev Canada, Canada’s development finance institution, which is dedicated to provide easier access to financing for entrepreneurs in developing markets. During the G7 Summit hosted in Canada last July, FinDev Canada and other financing institutions announced the 2X Challenge, a commitment to raise US$3 billion toward businesses that benefit women as entrepreneurs, leaders, employees and consumers of products and services that enhance their participation in the economy and their quality of life.
As well, through Canada’s $1.5 billion Innovative Canadian Financing Programs, Global Affairs will deploy new funding instruments to encourage more private and public sector investments, and related private sector expertise, in underserved sectors to support the SDGs, particularly those relevant to women’s empowerment and gender equality.
These new approaches provide platforms that enable partners such as private investors to do more with their capital, whereby investors intentionally seek to create both financial return and measurable social impact.
What’s in it for Canadians?
Investing in women and girls, no matter where they live, benefits everyone, whether in Canada or abroad. If half of the world’s population is held back from reaching their full potential, we all pay the price.
A McKinsey Global Institute report tells us that advancing women’s equality could add $12 trillion to the global economy by 2025.
The Equality Fund have also identified a path to mobilize further support for women’s organizations and movements in Canada and will provide Canadians with a new way to contribute to and support efforts to achieve gender equality both in Canada and abroad.
How did the selection process unfold and how were the Equality Fund selected?
In May 2018, the government issued a call to action to members of the philanthropic community, the private sector, not-for-profit and non-governmental organizations to create a unique partnership that would mobilize unprecedented levels of resources to create a sustainable and predictable source of funding for women’s organizations and movements advancing gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls in developing countries. The call recognized the funding gap facing women’s organizations and movements and the need to establish new partnerships to advance the SDGs. The government committed up to $300 million to this initiative.
In September and October 2018, Global Affairs held a series of roundtable discussions in Canada and internationally to discuss the design and development of the Partnership for Gender Equality. The department received advice and guidance on key elements of governance and institutional arrangements. Participants were very supportive of the overall platform, confirming that the vision of the partnership is both strategic and the first of its kind, demonstrating Canada’s leadership in this area.
As a follow up, Global Affairs Canada established an External Advisory Committee composed of experts from civil society, the philanthropic community and the private sector to provide advice to the department throughout the process of establishing the partnership.
In December 2018, Global Affairs launched at two-step process to invite partners to work with the government to establish the Partnership for Gender Equality. An open request for expressions of interest (EOI) to design and manage the partnership was launched with the goal of identifying interested and capable organizations or consortia to design, establish and manage the partnership. Eleven EOIs were received.
In March 2019, following review of the EOIs, an invitation to submit full proposals to design and implement the partnership was sent to six applicants. Each of the six proposals underwent a rigorous, independent assessment based on criteria outlined in the Invitation for Full Proposals.
The Equality Fund consortium was found by the government to best meet its objective and vision. The Equality Fund is a consortium of Canadian and international organizations deeply rooted in and connected to women’s organizations and movements and with expertise in international development, investment and philanthropy. These organizations will combine their experience to create the first of its kind global platform where interested partners can pool and leverage resources to attract even more new partners and create opportunities to close gender gaps and eliminate barriers to gender equality. They bring together Canada’s only international fund for women’s organizations with Canadian community foundations, an international network of philanthropic foundations, and the voice of women’s organizations and women’s rights leaders from developing countries.
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