Research – Gender mainstreaming in foreign and development cooperation policy

The purpose of this evaluation study is to examine the extent to which gender aspects have been taken into account in policy development, implementation and evaluation. In 2015, IOB carried out its most recent evaluation of gender policy. Now, five years later, we investigate the status of our aim to promote gender equality not only through gender-specific programmes, but also as a cross-cutting theme in all areas of Dutch foreign and development cooperation policy.

The concept of gender mainstreaming has a long tradition in development cooperation policy. The most recent general policy document Investing in Global Prospects from May 2018 reaffirms its importance.

Gender mainstreaming is about integrating a gender equality perspective into strategies and policies, in the different phases of projects and programmes – from identification to implementation and evaluation – as well as in the systems and structures of organisations to prevent them from promoting gender inequality. The ultimate goal is to achieve gender equality.

Key question

How and to what extent has gender been mainstreamed in Dutch foreign policy and development aid and what do we know of the results accomplished? 

We will examine this question through two main lines of enquiry. First, we will examine to what extent policies and evaluations include a gender perspective by means of a document review. How has gender equality been addressed since 2016? What changes can be identified in these documents in response to IOB’s 2015 evaluation? For example, do civil society organisations make gender impact analyses in the evaluations funded by the ministry?

Second, we will conduct interviews to discover what policymakers identify as the challenges and opportunities in integrating gender aspects into different policy areas. This part of the evaluation aims to derive recommendations for the development of new instruments, activities and strategies for gender mainstreaming that will go into effect in 2021.


Marieke van Egmond - contact person
Paul de Nooijer


  1. Ready: Exploration
  2. Ready: Terms of Reference adopted
  3. Ready: Research in progress
  4. Ready: Report adopted
  5. In process: Drafting policy response
  6. Report to parliament