Civil society letter to the IMF Board to call for open consultation on upcoming Gender Strategy

24 January 2022 | Letters

January 24, 2022

Dear Executive Directors to the International Monetary Fund,

We write to request that you support an open and robust public consultation on the IMF’s forthcoming Gender Strategy.

We have learnt that the IMF’s new Gender Advisor, Ratna Sahay, will be presenting the first draft of the Gender Strategy to the Board in early February, with the plan to finalise the strategy by March. Civil society organisations, trade unions, and especially feminist women’s rights organisations from across the globe have over the past years been closely involved in the IMF’s gender work, submitting joint positions on the IMF’s overall approach to gender issues and developing in-depth technical proposals for the IMF’s work in this space, for instance in relation to its recently completed Comprehensive Surveillance Review.

We are reaching out to ask for your support for an open and meaningful consultation process around this Gender Strategy. We have been informed that there will be a CSO meeting ahead of the February Board meeting, but without a commitment to share documentation ahead of time, or to a wider and more robust consultation process. To engage meaningfully and prepare inputs and suggestions that tie into the actual strategy effectively, it is crucial that we are given the opportunity to contribute to an actual draft or outline, and that a process be put in place for incorporating CSO recommendations. In particular, given the tight timeline now ahead of us, we are concerned that the CSO consultation will be in name only and limited to commenting on an already finalized document, or that we spend significant time preparing detailed technical proposals without knowing what the strategy covers or aims to achieve.

While all of the IMF’s work should benefit from rigorous and meaningful CSO engagement, tackling gender inequality is in large part about dismantling structural inequalities to empower those that have been systematically disempowered, marginalised, and made most vulnerable. A genuine commitment to advancing gender equality therefore requires the meaningful, inclusive participation of women in the policy decisions that impact their lives, which include all areas of the IMF’s work. For that reason, it is particularly important that the IMF actively seeks out the input of women’s rights organisations from the Global South specifically for the development of its gender strategy, in addition to economists with deep expertise such as from the International Association for Feminist Economics, and not default to only speaking to major INGOs or the Fund’s conventional civil society community that is already well-placed to engage with the Fund.

Moreover, a robust consultation process should entail transparent feedback on how and why comments and suggestions from civil society were taken on or not.

Civil society and women’s rights organisations bring long-standing experience researching and developing concrete suggestions on these issues, which we hope to contribute to the Strategy’s development.

If your offices are open to speaking with civil society representatives on any of these issues, we would also be very happy to coordinate an informal meeting ahead of the Board meeting.

We call on the IMF’s Board to ensure that civil society and in particular women’s rights organisations in the Global South have ample opportunity to feed-in to the Fund’s new Gender Strategy, to ensure that it is robust and fit-for-purpose.

Sincerely, the undersigned organisations:

  1. ActionAid International
  2. The Advocates for Human Rights
  3. Arab NGO Network for Development, ANND
  4. Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD)
  5. Asociación Ciudadana por los Derechos Humanos (Argentina)
  6. Associação Mulheres pela Paz
  7. Association of War Affected Women
  8. Association Women for the Contemporary Society, R. Moldoava
  9. Association du Développement et de la Promotion des Droits de l’Homme (ADPDH)
  10. ATHENA Network
  11. Baobab Consulting
  12. Beyond Beijing Committee Nepal (BBCN)
  13. Breakthrough Trust (India)
  14. Bretton Woods Project
  15. CARE International
  16. Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales – CELS (Argentina)
  17. Center for Economic and Social Rights
  18. Christian Aid
  19. CNCD-11.11.11
  20. DAWN (Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era)
  21. D.Woman India
  22. Echoes Of Women In Africa Initiatives (ECOWA) (Nigeria)
  23. Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR)
  24. El Karama
  25. Equality Bahamas
  26. Equidad de Género: Ciudadania, Trabajo y Familia
  27. Eurodad
  28. Fiji Women’s Rights Movement (FWRM)
  29. Financial Transparency Coalition
  30. FOKUS – Forum for Women and Development
  31. Free the Marginalized Women’s Advocates (FREMWA) (Ghana)
  32. Fundación Unidas: Mujeres Construyendo Tejido Social (Colombia)
  33. Gender Action
  34. Gender and Development Network (GADN)
  35. Gestos (HIV and AIDS, Communication, Gender) (Brazil)
  36. Global Alliance for Tax Justice
  37. Global Network of Sex Work Projects
  38. Global South Coalition for Dignified Menstruation
  39. Halley Movement Coalition (Mauritius)
  40. Huairou Commission
  41. IBON International (Philippines)
  42. International Women’s Development Agency
  43. The Inequality Movement
  44. Indigenous Peoples Global Forum for Sustainable Development, IPGFforSD (International Indigenous Platform)
  45. International Center for Research on Women (ICRW)
  46. International Rescue Committee (IRC)
  47. International Women’s Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific (IWRAW-AP)
  48. Jordanian National Commission for Women
  49. KULU – Women and Development
  50. Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation
  51. Man Up Campaign US, Inc.
  52. Mujeres Unidas en Salud y Desarrollo (MUSADE) (Costa Rica)
  53. Multisectorial De Las Mujeres Y Disidencias (Argentina)
  54. MY World Mexico
  55. Organized Centre for Empowerment and Advocacy in Nigeria (OCEAN)
  56. Oxfam
  57. Palestinian Maintenance Fund
  58. PA Women’s organization Alga
  59. Phenix Center for Economic and Informatics Studies
  60. Protección Internacional Mesoamérica
  61. Public Services International (PSI)
  62. Publish What You Pay
  63. Radha Paudel Foundation
  64. Reacción Climática (Bolivia)
  65. Recourse
  66. Red de Defensoras del Ambiente y el Buen Vivir (Argentina)
  67. Red Dot Foundation Global (USA) & Red Dot Foundation (India)
  68. Resource Center for Women and Girls (Kenya)
  69. Salamander Trust
  70. SecurityWomen
  71. SEDRA (servicio de  desarrollo rural y Agricultura) (Chile)
  72. Shirakat – Partnership for Development
  73. Sisters of Charity Federation
  74. Soroptimist International
  75. Southern and Eastern Africa Trade Information and Negotiations (SEATINI) (Uganda)
  76. Success Capital Organisation
  77. Support for Women in Agriculture and Environment (SWAGEN)
  78. Tax Justice Network
  79. Tax Justice Network Africa (TJNA)
  80. The Gender Security Project
  81. Third World Network (TWN)
  82. Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights (UAF)
  83. Urgewald (Germany)
  84. Womankind Worldwide (UK)
  85. Women Against Rape (WAR) (Antigua)
  86. Women Deliver
  87. Women Engage for a Common Future (WECF)
  88. Women for a Change (Cameroon)
  89. Women In Development Europe+ (WIDE+)
  90. Women in Global Health
  91. Women’s Environment & Development Organization (WEDO)
  92. Women’s Major Group
  93. Women’s UN Report Network (WUNRN)
  94. WO=MEN Dutch Gender Platform (Netherlands)