MCC: A Leader in Poverty Reduction through Gender Equality and Social Inclusion

Countries become partners of the Millennium Challenge Corporation when they can demonstrate that they respect the rights of their citizens to share in the prosperity that comes with new investments and economic growth. Gender and social inequality can exclude entire segments of a population from the benefits of economic growth, hindering that growth and a country’s fight against poverty.

That is why MCC has made gender equality an agency priority and a requirement for investing in partner countries. MCC’s efforts to reduce and remove barriers that prevent men and women from equally taking advantage of economic opportunities extend throughout the lifecycle of an investment, from selection of partner countries through compact design, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation.

Considering gender from the start

One of the factors MCC considers when it selects partner countries is gender equality. The gender in the economy indicator—one of 20 third-party indicators that MCC uses to assess countries’ commitment to just and democratic governance, investments in their people and economic freedom—measures a government’s commitment to promoting gender equality by providing women and men with the same legal ability to interact with the private and public sector.

After a country is selected to develop a compact, MCC’s groundbreaking Gender Policy spells out clear requirements to ensure that partner countries integrate gender equality objectives at every stage of compact development and implementation.

Reforms to promote equality

Where appropriate, MCC will advance gender equality by encouraging—or even requiring—governments to reform laws, regulations and policies so as to recognize and protect the rights of all citizens. Such reforms can level the playing field and enable both women and men to meaningfully participate in their country’s economic development.

Assessing gender during compact development

During compact development, the process of considering what sectors in which to invest includes an Initial Social and Gender Assessment (ISGA), a tool that complements and helps inform MCC-required analyses of constraints to economic growth and of investment opportunities. The ISGA analyzes how social and gender inequalities—as well as access to assets and markets—influence peoples’ economic decisions. It also identifies policies that affect how women and vulnerable social groups would benefit from economic opportunities. As one of the decision-making tools used to shape a compact, the ISGA ensures that MCC and its partner countries consider these issues from the beginning of their relationship.

A plan for each investment

Each MCC investment requires aSocial and Gender Integration Plan (SGIP), which provides a comprehensive roadmap for social inclusion and gender integration throughout compact projects; SGIP activities match project work plans to ensure accountability. Payment of the second disbursement of compact funds is contingent on the partner country completing and MCC approving this plan. The SGIP is a valuable management and monitoring tool for both MCC and partner countries.