WIDE+ has shared it critical reflections and key recommendations to enhance the new World Bank Group’s (WBG) strategy on Gender Equality with the WBG
14 years after their previous strategy on gender mainstreaming, the WBG has decided to develop a new Gender Equality (GE) Strategy. Even though in its Concept Note the WBG states its intention to do more and better, the general strategy restates the premise put forward in the WB 2012 Global Development Report, namely that promoting gender equality is a matter of smart development and smart economics.
From a conceptual viewpoint, the new strategy outlined in the Concept Note presents important flaws.
First, it relocates economic growth and business promotion as key levers for achieving gender equality. The WB’s overreliance on women’s economic empowerment recalls the mono-dimensional approach stressed in its 2012 WDR and in the 2013 WDR Jobs, where a causal link between macro-economic growth and gender equality is assumed. Second, the WB Strategy conspicuously avoids any commitment with women’s human rights, nor does it conceptualise gender equality in connection with the do not harm approach or principle. Third, the Concept Notes stresses the importance of promoting the creation of “better jobs” for women, overlooking the important issue of decent work.
The following recommendations are intended to help the WBG enhance the consistency and coherence of their Gender Equality strategy, of its policies and field operations, as well as the effectiveness of their interventions:
a. WBG should Include Human Rights Frameworks in all policies, programmers, field operations.
b. WBG should incorporate an intersectional approach in their gender equality strategy.
c. WBG should include the do no harm principle in diagnostic tools, in policies and in particular, in WB/IFC operations on the ground.
d. WBG should promote Decent Work, rather than more and better Growth-driven jobs.
e. Promote Caring Economies: Gender-Responsive Social Protection is key to Gender Equality.
f. The World Bank should critically rethink its economic policies, programmes and field operations.
To read WIDE+’s analysis in full: WIDE_WBGstrategy_2015
My experience with the WB is that it is deeply against women’s human rights as any basis for gender equality, and that they take explicit steps to eliminate every mention of human rights for women or gender-aware development from any part of the work they present to governments. Their active censorship is really quite staggering.