The Support Fund for Feminist Organizations (FSOF) is celebrating two years of action for gender equality

On 8 March 2019, President Emmanuel Macron announced the creation of the Support Fund for Feminist Organizations (FSOF).

Co-managed by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs (MEAE) and the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), this €120 million fund was launched on 15 July 2020 to finance feminist civil society organizations of partner countries targeted in France’s international solidarity and development policy over three years.

Two years after its launch, the FSOF has maintained and strengthened its level of action.

Half of our development assistance, which has posted a record increase, must now contribute to reducing gender inequalities. I would like to announce here today that a €120 million fund will be created to help movements furthering women’s rights and status. That is the decision that French diplomacy is promoting. This fund is a concrete example of what we are doing globally to further this major cause of my term.
Emmanuel Macron’s speech at the ceremony to present the Simone Veil award to Aissa Doumara Ngatansou, 8 March2019

On this second anniversary of its launch, the Taliban’s resumption of power, the war in Ukraine, health, climate and food crises, and more recently the decision of the US Supreme Court challenging the right to abortion in the United States have strongly reminded us that the rights of women and girls have not been fully achieved and that they have been disproportionately affected by the consequences of all these crises.

Since 2020, the FSOP has become an emblematic tool of France’s feminist diplomacy. The fund meets a need for funding of organizations working to achieve gender equality and defend the rights of women and girls, at a time when they only receive 1% of international gender finance. This underfunding slows development while civil society is a powerful lever for overhauling social norms and public policy to reduce inequalities between men and women. An inclusive and innovative governance method has been introduced with civil society, based on cooperation, which has helped to together build the strategic framework of the fund.

Commitments delivered, support stepped up

With an aim of having €40 million circulate in three channels managed by the AFD and the MEAE every year, our commitments have been delivered. In 2021, more than €48 million was provided to local feminist organizations around the world. This first progress report has pointed out that more than 65% of the overall budget has gone to organizations in Africa and small and medium-sized structures.

Intermediary funds have helped reach organizations that usually do not have easy access to financial circuits. An example is the group Feminists in Action, led by the CARE Association, working for sexual and reproductive rights, for which €15 million was raised. Smaller projects, managed by the French embassies abroad, have supported feminist civil society organizations, for example, in Ethiopia, fighting gender-based violence, in South Africa and in Lesotho, working for economic empowerment of women in rural regions and in Tanzania, tackling climate change.

The FSOF is part of the momentum launched in the Development Act of 4 August 2021 and the overhaul of official development assistance that it has generated. The objectives to reach 50% of projects allocated to reducing gender inequalities by 2022, set at the beginning of the President’s term of office, has been increased to 75%, with 20% of projects specifically dedicated to this aim. Legislation now considers civil society to be a key actor of development and has started to increase the amount of aid circulating in these organizations. Over the long term, building their capacities must remain a core focus of France’s response to widening gender inequalities and the different collective crises.

Last updated on: 20 July 2022