Credits Women in Uzbekistan | UN Women/Janarbek Amankulov
Published on May 12, 2020

Promoting the Specific Needs of Women and Girls: The Joint SDG Fund Gender Marker

The evidence is clear. For Agenda 2030 to be effective, the different needs of women, girls, boys and men must be understood and met.  That is why the Joint SDG Fund includes the Gender Marker since its first call.  A tool that aims at putting gender at the heart of the UN response to SDGs!


  • Gender inequality is not only a pressing moral and social issue but also a critical economic challenge. If women—who account for half the world’s working-age population—do not achieve their full economic potential, the global economy will suffer. In a “full potential” scenario in which women play an identical role in labor markets to that of men, as much as $28 trillion, or 26 percent, could be added to global annual GDP by 2025.

  • Economic growth is indirectly affected through the impact of gender inequality on investment and population growth. Estimates suggest that between 0.4-0.9 % of the differences in growth rates between East Asia and Sub Saharan Africa, South Asia, and the Middle East can be accounted for by the larger gender gaps in education prevailing in the latter regions. Moreover, gender inequality in education prevents progress in reducing fertility and child mortality rates, thereby compromising progress in well-being in developing countries.
  • Higher levels of female education and literacy have been found to reduce child mortality and improve educational outcomes for the next generation.
  • The presence of women in political leadership positions appears to increase schooling for girls and makes more peaceful and equitable societies
  • UNDP finds a broad correlation between gender inequality and human development outcomes, with low-ranking countries on the Human Development Index (HDI) in general performing much more poorly on gender inequality measurements than high-HDI countries.

Since the Fund is a key contribution to ensure UN policy action is relevant on the most critical challenges and contribute to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development achievement, it cannot be gender blind. As such, Fund is ensuring that its entire portfolio is gender mainstreamed and that dedicated projects on gender equality in development are increasing. And here comes the necessity to have a gender score card to assess the gender dimension of proposals reviewed and put gender as a mandatory criterion to select the projects the Fund will support.

Girl Power - Kayllana from Brazil | UN Women/Gustavo Stephan



The Joint SDG Fund Gender marker is aligned on the UN System Wide Action Plan (SWAP) Gender score card as the joint program proposed to the Fund are joint and managed by UN country teams. Therefore, criteria assess gender dimension of a programme are the same that the ones used to assess UN Country Team performance on gender.

To that end, gender marker uses 3 of the 7 dimensions included in the UN SWAP Score card to address key Gender Equality and Women Empowerment (GEWE) components: programming, monitoring and evaluation; partnerships and financial resources.

The Gender Marker includes 3 indicators within 3-dimension areas. The dimension areas are designed to move logically through the programming cycle from planning to achievement of results. The scoring system enables applicants to report results for each indicator. Furthermore, the self-assessment process helps raise internal awareness and understanding of requirements for full implementation of gender mainstreaming into programs cycle.

With that score card, we ensure women and girls are not left behind but at the center of the Agenda 2030 implementation.