Gender Equality as Smart Economics: World Bank Group Gender Action Plan Four-Year Progress Report (January 2007-December 2010)

Published: May 2011

This document presents gender equality as smart economics. Launched in 2007, the World Bank Group Action Plan -- Gender Equality as Smart Economics (GAP) aimed to advance women?s economic empowerment by redefining the way the Bank does business in the economic sectors. The GAP focused on increasing women?s access and participation in four key markets: labor, land and agriculture, private sector development and finance, and infrastructure, which underpins access to all markets. It spanned a four-year timeframe and four main action areas: operations; results-based initiatives; research, impact evaluation and statistics; and communications. This fourth and last annual progress report summarizes the main accomplishments of the World Bank Group Gender Action Plan "Gender Equality as Smart Economics" (GAP) over the four years (2007-2010) and discusses lessons learned and remaining challenges to further institutionalize gender mainstreaming at the Bank. The report reviews initial conditions and changes over the period (section II); summarizes GAP resource mobilization and governance (III), and accomplishments and lessons learned (sections IV and V), and outlines the challenges and next steps (section IV).

Key Findings

  • Preliminary evidence (from self-reports by TTLs) suggests that substitution and crowding-out effects were largely avoided.
  • Since its launch, the GAP has progressed from an open, demand-driven approach to more targeted demand, and to funding strategic work.
  • More targeted approaches have helped ensure strategic focus and quick responses to emerging issues and priorities.
  • Supply-driven allocations helped strengthened the Action Plan's alignment with regional and country priorities.
  • Further efforts are needed to leverage the new and unprecedented opportunities for intensifying attention to gender equality-at the Bank and in client countries.
  • The targeted approach of the GAP helped raise visibility and allowed for clear messages to be communicated around "gender equality as smart economics".
  • This stand-alone approach raises challenges in terms of follow-up.
  • The GAP's reliance on incentives has also raised questions about sustainability. Yet,regardless of the approach, effective operationalization of gender commitments and mandates require dedicated budgets.
  • High-level gender commitments need to be reflected in country, regional and sector policies.
  • More work is needed to engage managers as champions and advocates of women's economic empowerment work.
  • More needs to be done to build client demand for work to empower women economically.
  • The demand-driven and incentive-based approach also broadened the base for gender work at the Bank.
  • The Gender Equality as Smart Economics (GAP) "Just-in-Time" window showed that small grants can influence large-scale operations.
  • GAP funds were successful at leveraging matching contributions from the Bank's regions and networks.

Populations Adolescent Girls, Women

Complementary Outcomes Women's Rights

Publishers World Bank

Geographic Focus Africa (Central) / Rwanda