Main Issue

Safeguarding our environment for future generations requires a holistic, multidisciplinary and inter-sectoral approach. Women, who constitute half of the world’s population, are essential to every aspect of that approach. But too often, women’s needs, roles and capabilities are unrecognized or undervalued. What’s more, the legal, social and economic inequalities between men and women also hold back prospects for sustainable development and undermine sound environmental management. Read more+ Addressing gender equality and empowering women are important for generating global environmental benefits — from decreasing CO2 emissions and protecting soils to saving forest and preserving biodiversity. We are committed to make real change on the ground. When a woman’s access to financial resources, land, education or health is strengthened, she will be able to fully contribute or benefit from investments in the environment. To come up with meaningful solutions to environmental challenges, we need to ensure that the voice of both women and men is heard in our projects and programs — as participants and leaders. At the same time, we must overcome the barriers that limit women’s capacity to make decisions that could improve resource productivity, enhance ecosystem management and create more sustainable energy, water and food systems.

What We Do

The GEF believes that more systematic inclusion of gender aspects in our projects can create positive synergies between improved environmental impact and greater gender equality. As such, the GEF has a long history of mainstreaming gender as a cross-cutting priority. Together with GEF Agencies, we have made significant progress on gender mainstreaming over the past years. This progress has been guided by several GEF policies and strategies, such as the Policy on Gender Mainstreaming and the Gender Equality Action Plan.

In the last couple of years, the GEF has ramped up its ambition to promote gender equality. In 2017, the GEF adopted a Policy on Gender Equality that introduced a set of new principles and requirements to mainstream gender in the design, implementation, and evaluation of GEF programs and projects. The policy marks a distinct shift in GEF’s approach to gender mainstreaming - from a gender-aware “do no harm” approach to a gender-responsive “do good” approach. Read more+


There has been a notable shift and significant progress mainstreaming gender in GEF projects. GEF’s annual monitoring reviews highlight good practices across focal area projects in mainstreaming gender during project development and implementation. Findings from these reviews validate improvements of projects that have conducted a gender analysis and incorporated gender in results frameworks. Specifically, the analyses found that 66% (185 of 281) of projects—a majority of full-size and medium-size projects under GEF-6—have carried out some type of gender analysis. These figures demonstrate a notable increase of projects that conduct gender analyses in the project design and planning stages compared to the GEF-5 baseline of 18%. Gender analyses in these projects continue to provide valuable information on gender differences in needs, roles and responsibilities, and opportunities for equal participation and leadership of women and men. Gender analyses in many of these projects have led to the development of additional gender-related actions, including project outputs, activities, or sex-disaggregated indicators. Read more+