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Aid flows and women and work in South East Asia

Aid flows and women and work in South East Asia

The Aid Flows and Women and Work in South East Asia report analyses aid flows in South East Asia, and the degree to which overseas development funding is spent on projects promoting women’s economic empowerment.

The report provides an overview of the flows of development assistance funding into South East Asian countries, and compares the aid flows based on gross size as well as relative size as compared to the recipient country’s gross national income.

The report also examines which countries in particular are providing development assistance to South East Asia, and analyses the thematic areas to which funds from the different countries are directed and how these contribute to women’s economic empowerment.


The report finds that the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam and Myanmar have received the greatest gross flows of aid from other countries over recent years. However considering aid flows as a percentage of gross national income, the countries receiving the greatest relative flows of aid are Cambodia, Laos and Timor-Leste.

Timor-Leste in particular received a very high level of support, with 7.8 percent of its gross national income coming from official development assistance in 2014. Similarly, Cambodia and Laos received relatively modest amounts, but in both cases it accounted for 4.0 percent of their gross national income. By contrast, the Philippines received the largest amount of official development assistance, but it accounted for 0.1 percent of its national gross income.

The report finds that Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and the United States have all actively supported women’s projects in South East Asia in recent years. The largest number of directly funded projects focus on themes of leadership and peace, while other common gender-focused themes include women’s participation in decision-making and leadership, sexual and maternal health, the role of women in peace-building, gender-based violence, and women’s rights as human rights.

Far fewer projects address themes associated with women’s economic empowerment, including the issues of livelihoods, entrepreneurship, labour migration, gender equality in the workplace. Among this cluster, the focus is on women’s livelihoods and entrepreneurship, with few projects targeting women as workers.


  • Official Development Assistance in 2015
  • Investing in women to achieve gender equity
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Investing in Women