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Equal opportunities for all

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Gender equality

The targeted promotion of gender equality and the elimination of any existing gender-based disadvantages are important for GIZ. The GIZ Gender Strategy comprises four central objectives and five complementary strategic elements (political will and accountability, corporate culture, gender competence, process adjustment, and equal opportunities within the company). Its objectives are geared to GIZ’s vision – we work to shape a future worth living around the world – and to the four areas of action of the Corporate Strategy – effectiveness, value for money, business development, and expertise and alliances.

Implementing the Gender Strategy, monitoring progress and reporting annually to the top executive level is the responsibility of GIZ managers across the company. The Management Board has also published guidelines on putting the strategy into practice. A well-established gender architecture is responsible for coordinating strategy implementation, monitoring and reporting, with a Gender Ambassador, a Gender Commissioner and a company-wide network of gender focal points in every department and unit right through to project level. It is the declared goal of the Gender Strategy to foster and realise equal opportunities and rights for all, both within the company and as part of our commissions and services, irrespective of gender, sexual orientation or sexual identity.

In order for the strategy to be implemented successfully, it is imperative that gender issues and dimensions are taken into account consistently at an early stage in all decisions at corporate level, as well as in the work of individual projects. The Safeguards+Gender management system ensures that opportunities to promote gender equality are identified from the outset in each project. Equally, any external risks or potentially adverse impacts of the projects are recognised and addressed during implementation.

By adopting its Gender Strategy and signing the Women’s Empowerment Principles for businesses in 2015 and the German Diversity Charter in 2019, GIZ has positioned itself as an important development actor and a partner in implementing the 2030 Agenda and the United Nations Security Council Resolution on Women, Peace and Security. GIZ also supports the German Government in the realisation of its ambitious objectives to strengthen the rights, representation and resources of women, girls and marginalised groups such as LGBTI individuals within the framework of a feminist foreign and development policy.

The success in implementing the strategy in 2021, and how well it is perceived both internally and externally, is reflected in the high level of interest expressed by commissioning parties and partners in the work of GIZ. In March 2021, Henriette Geiger, a Director from the European Commission’s Directorate-General for International Partnerships (DG INTPA), and GIZ Managing Director Ingrid-Gabriela Hoven shared their thoughts in a discussion entitled ‘Towards a Gender-Equal World’. The World Bank used the GIZ Gender Week to present its report ‘Women, Business and the Law 2021’ nationwide in Germany. These and another 66 events and contributions from 23 countries to GIZ Gender Week 2021 are documented on the GIZ Gender Website. In May 2021, Tanja Gönner, Chair of the GIZ Management Board, and GIZ staff from 28 countries supported Global Menstrual Health Day.

At the GIZ-wide gender network meeting held virtually in October 2021, which attracted over 460 participants, the German Development Ministry (BMZ), the German Federal Foreign Office and the European Commission set out their political goals in the field of gender, and engaged directly with GIZ gender focal points and experts. With support and advice from GIZ, the German Environment Ministry (BMU) and the company Zukunft – Umwelt – Gesellschaft (ZUG) gGmbH jointly developed a gender strategy for the International Climate Initiative (IKI), which was presented officially at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP 26) in November 2021.

Equal opportunities within the company

GIZ’s equal opportunities policy is designed to eliminate any gender-role-based disadvantage in the workplace, ensure that women and men enjoy the same career development opportunities at every level and in every area of the company, and make it easier to reconcile professional, family and private commitments. Ensuring equality at GIZ means giving all employees equal opportunities, regardless of gender, sexual orientation or sexual identity.

An employer/staff council agreement provides the basis for GIZ’s equal opportunity policy inside the company. It complies with Germany’s Federal Equal Opportunities Act, but gives GIZ a separate equal opportunities structure. At the top are the Labour Relations Director from the Management Board and the Director General of the HR Department. Equal opportunities commissioners who are elected by the workforce can be contacted in confidence by all employees.

Measures to promote gender equality are set out in the GIZ Equal Opportunities Plan 2020–2022, which guides GIZ in its HR development and planning. As such, it is strategically aligned with overarching HR and corporate objectives.

The achievements of our equal opportunities policy are plain to see. At the end of 2021, 47 per cent of all leadership and management positions were held by women. Inside Germany, the figure was actually about 54 per cent. In country offices and projects outside Germany the percentage of women overall was increased, as was the number of women in managerial positions. The share of management positions in the field structure held by women now stands at 41.5 per cent.

In 2021, the company’s three equal opportunities commissioners organised events on many topics including poverty in old age, male roles, feminist leadership, family-friendly relocation, reproductive health and the problem of white feminism.

GIZ conducted a remuneration check in 2021. This systematic analysis of pay will now form the basis for measures to ensure that there are no gender differences in remuneration. The analytical instrument can only be used to a certain degree in GIZ’s remuneration system, with its flexible salary bands. However, the figures analysed prove that there are very few instances of a gender imbalance in remuneration paid at GIZ. The gender pay gap in the company is between one and eight per cent. It is largely a reflection of the existing gender and age structure in the different salary bands and functions.

GIZ is working to close the gender pay gap. All HR Department staff as well as managers in all departments are offered training courses on unconscious bias and gender bias. A regular monitoring process also records remuneration data separately for women and men.

In 2021, GIZ decided to give the Integrity and Compliance Unit a key role in establishing facts, steering processes and monitoring complaints of sexual misconduct. In this way, GIZ is complying with the DAC Recommendation on Ending Sexual Exploitation, Abuse, and Harassment (SEAH) in Development Co-operation and Humanitarian Assistance adopted in 2019 by the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC). The unit has set up a committee that systematically and uniformly processes complaints relating to SEAH. The complaints committee as required under the German General Act on Equal Treatment has also been part of the Integrity and Compliance Unit since 2021.

Information on the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can be found on this page:

Graphic: GIZ: SDG 5 Gender equality
Graphic: GIZ: SDG 8 Decent work and economic growth
Graphic: GIZ: SDG 10 Reduced inequalities

Information on the following sustainability standards can be found on this page:
GRI standard 2-6, 2-7, 405, 406; UNGC 6; The Code 14, 15, 16