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The World Bank and gender

Read Dr Maree Pardy's summary of the 2012 World Bank Report and explore how gender equality is recognised as valuable in its own right.
Cogs turning in opposite directions, one labelled 'equality' the other 'inequality'
© Deakin University

Gender equality is not just smart economics; it’s 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 and 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

Download the World Bank Development Report (2012) from the World Bank Repository and read one or more chapters that are of most interest to you.

Based on your reading, use the comments to share with other learners something that surprised or interested and the reasons why.

© Deakin University
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Gender and Development

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