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Official Development Assistance: Gender Equality

Volume 698: debated on Wednesday 7 July 2021

What discussions she has had with Cabinet colleagues on the potential effect of the reduction in official development assistance on gender equality in the developing world. (902451)

Tackling gender inequality is a core part of the Government’s mission. The integrated review confirms our commitment to tackling the discrimination, violence and inequality that hold women back. Girls’ education is one of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office’s seven key priorities for ODA spending, and this year we will invest £430 million in girls’ education, helping to achieve the global target to get 40 million girls into education.

We continue to demonstrate the UK’s leadership in reducing gender-based violence. At the recent Generation Equality Forum, we launched the £67.5 million What Works to Prevent Violence: Impact at Scale programme, which is the first global effort systematically to scale up proven violence-prevention approaches worldwide.

The Gender Equality Advisory Council recently recommended to G7 leaders that they renew their commitment to the 0.7% of GNI target for overseas development assistance and urged them to ring-fence any funding for gender equality projects. Will the Minister assure us that she has assessed the effect on such projects of the recent cut of ODA to 0.5% of GNI, and that she is working with Cabinet colleagues to mitigate that harm?

It is important to recognise that the UK will still spend more than £10 billion on ODA in 2021, and we will return to spending 0.7% as soon as the fiscal situation allows. On impacts and equality assessments, I assure the hon. Lady that officials considered any impacts on women and girls, the most marginalised and vulnerable, people with disabilities and people from other protected groups when they developed their advice to Ministers as part of our decision-making process.