Women can and do play a vital role in driving the robust, shared growth needed to end extreme poverty and build resilient societies, but in many parts of the world, their potential, participation, and productive capacity are undervalued and untapped.
While they are living longer, healthier lives on average than even a decade ago, too many women and girls still lack basic rights, freedoms, and opportunities, and they face huge inequalities in the world of work. They typically have far fewer assets, farm smaller plots, work in less profitable sectors, and face discriminatory laws and norms that constrain their time and choices. Women and girls overwhelmingly perform the unpaid work of caregiving, for which they are often penalized with poverty in old age. They also typically suffer first and worst during times of crisis, conflict, disaster, or financial shock. In the private sector, women offer a powerful source of economic growth and opportunity but often lack access to needed assets, credit, and knowledge. They face formal and informal obstacles that add up not only to their detriment but also to a costly missed opportunity for businesses and economies.
The evidence is clear: The discrimination and deprivations that prevent women and girls from achieving their potential have enormous consequences not only for them, but for their families and communities as well. The World Bank Group takes as its starting point that no country, community, or economy can achieve its potential or meet the global challenges of the 21st century without the full and equal participation of women and men, boys and girls, everywhere. Investing in women and girls and getting them to equal is vital to achieving our twin corporate goals of tackling poverty and boosting prosperity that benefits all.
Leadership, innovation, and scaled-up efforts are needed, and this agenda is urgent. The World Bank Group is committed to improving data collection in key areas, such as women's earnings, property ownership, and political voice. Our focus areas include advancing equality under the law and at work, supporting women’s economic empowerment, and tackling gender-based violence.
Last Updated: Oct 07, 2014