International Development Strategy a 'step backwards' for women and girls

16 May 2022

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In response to the release of the new International Development Strategy,  Frances Longley, Chief Executive of ActionAid UK, says: 

"While we welcome the focus on women and girls within the new International Development Strategy the blurred lines between delivering aid and advocating for UK trade are actually a step backwards for the millions of marginalised women and girls around the world. Prioritising ‘honest and reliable investment’ does not acknowledge the ways in which women and girls are so often negatively affected by foreign businesses and trade rules. We are also extremely concerned that the IDS contains very little reference to ‘development’ and reducing poverty.

"The focus on women and girls is an important recognition of the need for women’s and girls rights to be achieved and we urge the Government to include this focus across all of the UK’s international policymaking. They must also match their words and promises with adequate funding. This not only requires a return to 0.7% ODA, but the Government must commit to properly funding women and girls’ rights organisations and increase the proportion of aid that goes to programmes that focus on gender equality and long-term change.  

"We look forward to seeing more detail in the upcoming women and girls’ strategy, particularly given that just last year the Government cut programmes which, by their own assessment, would have advanced gender equality including access to education, sexual and reproductive health services and gender-based violence programmes."