Women and girls make up the majority of the world’s poorest. They are under-represented in governments and decision-making bodies, have fewer opportunities within labour and financial markets, and can be exposed to gender-based violence.
The EU recognised that gender equality and women’s empowerment are essential for sustainable development and made numerous high-level commitments to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment. These translated into the Gender Equality Action Plan 2010-2015 (GAP).
The evaluation took stock of progress in implementing the Action Plan in selected Member States and in the European Commission’s development cooperation and seeks to draw lessons to enhance future action in support of gender equality and women’s empowerment. The evaluation came at a particularly important time when the EU was developing a successor to the GAP and internationally as the Sustainable Development Goals were being debated. Findings from the evaluation were expected to inform the EU’s position on both of these.
A team of 22 international and national consultants were involved in carrying out different aspects of the assignment, blending expertise in evaluation, gender equality and women’s empowerment and EU aid delivery methods. The evaluation followed the typical EC evaluation structure. The inception phase served to confirm the evaluation questions, the judgement criteria and indicators, develop the overall evaluation design and conduct an EC gender policy review. The desk phase reviewed wide-ranging literature from the EC and Member States, including country and regional strategies, country strategy evaluations, budget support financial agreements, and tools for promoting gender mainstreaming in the EC and selected Member States to develop preliminary responses to each of the 14 evaluation questions and generate a set of hypotheses to be tested in later phases of the evaluation. The field phase focused on assessing how gender had been addressed by EU Delegations and focal Member States in 11 case study countries. Finally, the synthesis phase analysed the wealth of data gathered throughout the evaluation and drew together the main findings, conclusions and recommendations, which were presented in the final evaluation report.Image © Elections, Morocco. Photo Credit: Vensa Middelkoop (CC BY 2.0)