On 1 March, the BMZ announced its new strategy for a feminist development policy (FEP). The aim of the new FEP is to dismantle discriminatory structures – for women and girls, as well as other marginalised groups. The focus is on gender equality. In December 2023, the BMZ set out how this goal is to be achieved in its "Third Development Policy Action Plan for Gender Equality".

Objective of the FEP


With its new strategy for a feminist development policy, the BMZ wants to implement more gender-transformative and intersectional approaches. 

This means overcoming structural and systemic causes of a lack of justice and recognising the overlap between different forms of discrimination. Only in this way can all people participate equally and self-determinedly in social, political, and economic life.
 

Orientation of the Gender Action Plan


The action plan is based on the "3Rs" defined in the FEP: gender-related injustices and discrimination are to be reduced through

– Rights

– Resources &

– Representation
 

of women and marginalised groups. To achieve this, the third development policy gender action plan contains concrete measures for the years 2023 to 2027.

Intersektionalität

Intersectionality describes how different reasons for discrimination come together in people (intersection = overlapping) and mutually reinforce each other. This means that discrimination based on gender identity, sexual orientation, age, origin, disability, socio-economic status, ethnic or religious affiliation or ascription, for example, cannot be viewed in isolation or simply added together, but must be recognised at the intersections of gender, sexual orientation, age, origin and disability new forms of discrimination arise. For example, a Black woman is not only discriminated against as a woman due to patriarchal structures, but also as a Black person due to racist structures. The interaction between the power systems of patriarchy and racism gives rise to a new form of discrimination as a Black woman. (Source: FEP, p. 16) 

Multilevel conceptualization of intersectionalty, © FAO, 2023
Gendertransformative Ansätze

The feminist development policy of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development focuses on gender-transformative approaches in order to dismantle gender-specific power hierarchies in the long term. To achieve this, it is not enough to tackle the symptoms of gender inequality.
Gender transformative approaches address the causes of gender-related inequalities. These include, for example, discriminatory laws, unequal social norms and practices, discriminatory attitudes and gender roles and stereotypes that arise from patriarchal power relations.
 
For example, gender-transformative projects critically examine common images of masculinity and involve male actors. This distinguishes gender-transformative approaches from gender-sensitive approaches, which systematically integrate the specific needs of the genders into measures (for example by providing childcare facilities during training courses), but do not aim to actively change existing gender-specific inequalities.
 
The integration of gender-transformative approaches into the planning and implementation of development policy measures is central to the realisation of feminist development policy. Various national, international and European reference documents on gender equality also emphasise the importance of gender-transformative approaches for development cooperation, for example the third EU Gender Action Plan (EU GAP III).