2020 Equality Other

Development Goals and Gender Equality Change: Superficial Adjustment or Credible Commitments?

Helena Hede Skagerlind

Global performance indicators are now-common tools for global Development governance. This DDB gives an account of the influences of such indicators, studying the mechanisms of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and their effects on gender policy change in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The report was presented during the seminar Att omvandla policy till verklighet – lärdomar från Östafrika.

Main findings

  • MDG 3 was generally effective in prompting domestic policy commitments in Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSP). Commitments were in many cases made without action plans or budgetary allocations, which is likely to have hampered their realization.
  • The mapping revealed significant variation with regard to the degrees and patterns of policy adoption, both across countries and gender policy areas, indicating varying levels of national responsiveness to global performance indicators (GPI) influence.
  • MDG 3 appears to have played a role for gender equality progress as policy output increased across all policy dimensions.
  • The MDG adjustment demonstrated that GPI-related behavioural change was driven by the development partners’ economic conditionality and social influence strategies, which were facilitated by the substantial MDG performance monitoring.
  • Although MDG 3 internalization may have occurred at the individual level, there was a lack of evidence of elite socialization in both Kenya and Ethiopia. This helps explain the limited association of MDG 3 commitments with targets, timeframes and budgets and the slow and incremental nature of implementation processes.
Helena Hede Skagerlind defended her dissertation Governing Development: The Millennium Development Goals and Gender Policy Change in Sub-Saharan Africa in June 2019 at the Department of Political Science at Stockholm University. Her primary research interests concern global governance, Corporate Social Responsibility, human rights and gender equality policy.