Draft Bank gender policy queried

15 September 1998

The World Bank has circulated a consultation paper towards a proposed Policy Research Report on gender issues to be published in Spring 2000. The main questions it asks are:

  1. what do policymakers gain by including gender as a central analytical and design component of development strategies, policies, and programs?
  2. what are the implications for policy analysis and public action – by national policymakers, donors, academia, and civil society?
  3. what “win-win”, cost effective, opportunities are there to pursue these goals?
  4. Where do policymakers face hard trade-offs and how can they be addressed?

Various groups have responded, including Christian Aid which queried the draft’s conceptual framework. Their response argued that the paper should:

  1. explicitly recognise and justify the financial, human, intellectual, and institutional investments which will be needed;
  2. downplay the ‘level playing field’ analogy which masks the impact of power relations in pushing burdens onto women.
  3. leave space for critiques of the contemporary development model which point not just to targeted remedial actions, but to the reconceptualization of some of the model’s fundamental premises.

The Bank’s draft paper and the Christian Aid response are available c/o the Bretton Woods Project.

For information about a gender Policy Research Report listserve or about the Womens’ Eyes on the World Bank monitoring network, contact Lydia Williams, Oxfam America,