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Cogs turning in opposite directions, one labelled 'equality' the other 'inequality'
In 2012, the World Bank Report was devoted to gender equality.

The World Bank and Gender

Gender equality is not just smart economics its a human right.

The 2012 World Bank Development Report was devoted entirely to Gender Equality and Development.

For the first time the Bank articulated gender equality as an intrinsic value, not merely as instrumental to the broader objectives of economic development. The report states:

  • gender equality matters in its own right
  • gender equality matters for development—it is smart economics.

In the past, it was only the second of these claims that was made.

A turning point

This moment has been marked by some as a major turning point for the World Bank and for the Development Sector. The report brings together a significant volume of valuable information from more than 19 countries.

It focuses on three key areas:

  1. gender differences in education and health
  2. differences in voice; decision making authority in households and society
  3. access to economic activities.

It also recommends four priority areas for action:

  1. reducing excess female mortality and closing education gaps where they remain
  2. improving access to economic opportunities for women
  3. increasing women’s voice and agency in the household and in society
  4. limiting the reproduction of gender inequality across generations.

Your task

Explore the World Bank Development Report and dip into one or more chapters in the full text section, videos and graphs of interest to you.

Share something that surprised you or something that you found interesting.

More resources


World Bank 2011, WDR: 2012 Gender Equality and Development, The World Bank Group, retrieved 19 June 2017,

> Unit ADS714 program page

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This article is from the free online course:

Gender and Development

Deakin University

Course highlights Get a taste of this course before you join:

  • Chalkboard with 'Change the Story' written on it.
    Single stories

    Simplifying gender or development to a single narrative distorts our perceptions. Read Dr Maree Pardy and watch a video of Nigerian writer Adachie.

  • Female celebrity in gold sparkly dress signing autographs.
    So hot right now

    Watch videos of Madonna and Angelina Jolie speak up about Gender and Development. Read as educator Dr Maree Pardy examines celebratainment.