The Gender Equality and Macroeconomics (GEM) project is a partnership between the Bretton Woods Project (BWP), the Gender and Development Network (GADN), International Women’s Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific (IWRAW Asia Pacific), and the Latin American Network for Social and Economic Justice (LATINDADD). It is aimed at challenging the ways in which macroeconomic policies currently promoted by international financial institutions (IFIs) undermine gender equality and women’s rights. To change this, the project, initiated in 2015, examines the implications of current macroeconomic policy approaches in relation to gender, engages in direct advocacy and works to support a wide range of civil society groups and organisations towards building an enabling macroeconomic environment for women’s rights and gender equality.
Advocacy briefings (BWP)
- The World Bank and Gender Equality: Development Policy Financing – August 2019
- The IMF and Gender Equality: Operationalising Change – February 2019
- The IMF and Gender Equality: A Compendium of Feminist Macroeconomic Critiques – October 2017
- I. Positioning women’s rights and gender equality in the macroeconomic policy environment
- II. The gender dimensions of the IMF’s key fiscal policy advice on resource mobilisation in developing countries (APMDD)
- III. The gendered costs of austerity: Assessing the IMF’s role in budget cuts which threaten women’s rights (CESR)
- Turning a blind eye to women in the informal economy (WIEGO)
- The IMF’s role in creating an enabling macroeconomic environment for women’s rights and gender equality
- The IMF and Gender Equality; A Critical Analysis – June 2016
CSO guides and toolkits (BWP)
- Keeping the IMF accountable to women’s rights and gender equality at the national level – November 2019
- Gender Just-Macroeconomics; The World Bank’s privatisation push – March 2019
- Gender-Just Macroeconomics; Engaging the IMF and World Bank – October 2016
Briefings and toolkits (GADN)
- Push No One Behind: how current economic policy exacerbates gender inequality
- Can public-private partnerships deliver gender equality?
- How social protection, public services and infrastructure impact women’s rights
- Realising women’s rights: the role of public debt in Africa
- The impact of economic reforms and austerity measures on women’s HR
- Macroeconomic policy and women’s economic empowerment
- Making trade work for gender equality
- Sharing the load: Unpaid care work and women’s economic empowerment
- Breaking down the barriers: Macropolicies that promote women’s economic equality
- Making the case for macroeconomics in gender equality work
- Towards feminist advocacy on macro-level economics – workshop report
- Gender progress? The World Bank’s approach to new gender strategy criticised
- World Bank releases new gender strategy
- Gender equality at the IFIs: progress or PR?
- IMF on gender and income inequality: from research to implementation
- IMF Ukraine programme’s impact on women’s rights criticised at Human Rights Council
- The World Bank’s new Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative: Recycling a broken model?
- Will IMF’s response to UN report on women’s economic empowerment change its policies?
- The impacts of IMF-backed austerity on women’s rights in Brazil
- BWIs’ instrumental gender approach ignores structural elephant in the room
- The World Bank’s role in crafting a neoliberal hegemony with a feminist face
- We-Fi’s roll-out continues to ignore long-standing feminist concerns
- Civil society left unconvinced as World Bank promotes PPPs as tool for gender equality
- Debt and gender equality: How debt-servicing conditions harm women in Africa
- World Bank’s women entrepreneur initiatives just “smoke and mirrors”
- World Bank results: “box-ticking” on gender, weak monitoring and evaluation
- An IMF that promotes gender equality? A long road ahead… – Oxfam Views and Voices blog
17 August 2016
- Bursting the macroeconomic policy bubble for gender equality – RightingFinance blog
30 November 2016
- The IMF is certainly no ally of women – The Guardian
5 March 2019
- Frau ist Geld – Die Tageszeitung (German)
24 October 2019
For all BWP’s articles relating to gender equality, please find our dedicated gender page here.
Background to the GEM Project
Over the past 35 years evidence has been accumulating on the importance of macroeconomic policy to gender questions in industrialised and developing countries. We know about the positive correlation between economic growth, income equality and female labour force participation, as well as the negative relationship between economic growth and the gender wage gap. There is no shortage of evidence on the causes of these economic inequalities, including gender credit gaps, the relationship between economic empowerment and gender-based violence as well as to sexual and reproductive health rights, gender dimensions of tax policies, the disproportionate gendered impacts of austerity and the growing recognition of the significance of unpaid care and housework to economic growth.
This evidence has ‘trickled-up’ into the rhetoric of even the most powerful institutions involved in shaping macro policy. The IMF has produced recent work arguing there is “ample evidence” that unlocking women’s full labour market potential can entail significant macro-economic gains, citing GDP per capita losses attributable to gender gaps in the labour market as high as 27 per cent in certain regions. However, little evidence suggests that the IMF and other institutions have allowed the acknowledgement of gender as a ‘macro-critical’ issue to change their policies affecting outcomes for women and girls in developing countries.
Through this project, we will will seek to build pressure for macro policy change by raising the visibility of this issue, supporting civil society advocates, holding the IFIs to public account and actively engaging with the institutions, especially insider champions capable of moving their institutions forward. The project confronts the role played by IFIs as key shapers and implementers of orthodox macro policies which have damaged the economic prospects of women and girls for decades. By challenging and engaging senior IFI officials with the evidence and momentum gained by the project, we aim to ensure macro policies promoted by the IFIs contribute to rather than undermine the achievement of gender equality and women’s economic empowerment.