The World Bank Group has been promoting gender equality in development since 1977. Yet today, in many parts of the world, women continue to lack voice and decision-making ability; and their economic opportunities remain very constrained.
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New York City, September 22, 2014—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today announced the launch of a private sector partnership that will improve employment opportunities for more than 300,000 wom... Show More +en over the next two years. The initiative was announced by World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City.The She Works partnership brings together 10 leading companies that have pledged to implement measures proven to enhance women’s employment opportunities—such as mentorship programs, flexible working arrangements, and leadership training to increase diversity in management. Participating companies include Belcorp, Care.com, The Coca-Cola Company, EY, Gap Inc., Intel Corporation, Kuwait Energy, Odebrecht Group, Ooredoo Group, and Zulekha Hospitals.“Investing in women’s employment is not only the right thing to do—it’s also essential for business,” said Kim. “Companies that learn to effectively develop and retain women employees will gain a huge competitive advantage.”Working with key partners, including the EDGE Certified Foundation, International Labour Organization, and the UN Global Compact, IFC will identify best practices and develop practical approaches that companies can implement to improve gender equality in the workplace. Better jobs for women leads to better development outcomes, because women spend more on children’s health, education, and nutrition.Despite evidence that women’s employment is vital to driving economic growth and development, women face persistent barriers in labor markets and are more concentrated in the informal economy—rather than in salaried or wage work.The private sector, which accounts for nine out of 10 jobs in developing countries, plays a critical role in creating better employment opportunities for women. She Works is part of IFC’s broader effort to help companies address gender gaps in employment, and thereby drive gains in productivity, competitiveness, and innovation.About IFCIFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. Working with private enterprises in about 100 countries, we use our capital, expertise, and influence to help eliminate extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. In FY14, we provided more than $22 billion in financing to improve lives in developing countries and tackle the most urgent challenges of development. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.About the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI)Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI)—an initiative of the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation—convenes global leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. CGI Annual Meetings have brought together more than 180 heads of state, 20 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations and NGOs, major philanthropists, and members of the media. To date, members of the CGI community have made more than 2,800 commitments, which are already improving the lives of more than 430 million people in over 180 countries. When fully funded and implemented, these commitments will be valued at $103 billion.CGI also convenes CGI America, a meeting focused on collaborative solutions to economic recovery in the United States, and CGI University (CGI U), which brings together undergraduate and graduate students to address pressing challenges in their community or around the world. For more information, visit clintonglobalinitiative.org and follow us on Twitter @ClintonGlobal and Facebook at facebook.com/clintonglobalinitiative. Show Less -
WASHINGTON, Sept. 23—Land ownership has a number of crucial benefits for women and their families, both economic and social. Increased security allows women to access credit to buy key agricultural in... Show More +puts, or make other investments to increase food production. Access to land can also lift a woman's status and enhance her bargaining power in families and communities, boosting well-being at the household level. Some research even shows that women who own land are less likely to suffer from domestic violence.Although women’s land rights are enshrined in national law and a growing number of international agreements, women's land ownership often involves a complex web of statutory, customary, and religious laws—along with social norms that prioritize men and boys.Thirty-seven of 143 countries surveyed in the World Bank Group's Women, Business, and the Law 2014, still have discriminatory land laws in place, while even in countries with gender-equal laws on the books, powerful norms and customs can dictate that men alone hold title to land and other assets.Data analyzed by the World Bank (WB) and UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), under a new initiative funded by the World Bank Group’s Umbrella Facility for Gender Equality (UFGE), suggests that men in many regions fail to register their wives on property deeds. This means widows can lose rights to the land they farm after a husband dies, and sons often take priority in inheriting the land.In the Western Balkans, Senior Land Administration Specialist Kathrine Kelm found that data on women’s land ownership was a key step to ensure that government’s fully understood the size of the problem.A 2013 initiative offered technical assistance to mine existing databases to measure women’s land ownership in the region and establish benchmarks. The initiative gathered existing relevant data from Albania, the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republika Srpska, Kosovo, FYR Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia—at the national, provincial, and local levels."We began collecting and analyzing it by studying property titles,” Kelm said. “When we presented the data, the government was surprised to find that female property ownership can be as low as 3 percent in the region, particularly in rural areas.” This helped galvanize follow-up work with government partners to improve women’s property rights.WB and FAO teams worked with national partners to devise 11-month pilot work plans for their countries to boost female land ownership—alongside senior officials, land agency staff, and notaries.In Kosovo, with national levels of female ownership at around 15 percent, efforts have targeted associations of notaries, to request that they always inform clients who register land and property about the importance of co-registering wives or female heirs.In one town, Shtime, registering property in one name cost 20 Euros, while registering property jointly cost 40 Euros. In early 2014, the mayor temporarily waived the registration fee as an incentive for couples to register jointly, prompting a 20 percent jump in property registrations for women. The town now has a flat registration fee.The Kosovo team hopes to continue its work on the gender action plan, and deploy mobile gender units during their next round of property registration, and use a randomized control trial to demonstrate the cost benefits of such teams.In FYR Macedonia, where female land ownership was found to hover around 16 percent, one community, Aerodrom, launched outreach efforts highlighting the positive impact of property ownership and connecting residents with notaries.Ongoing negotiations on targets to succeed the anti-poverty Millennium Development Goals after 2015 have identified as a priority the need for women and girls to have equal access to financial services, as well as equal rights to own land and other assets. Most people living in extreme poverty worldwide are female.About the UFGEThe UFGE is a multi-donor trust fund dedicated to strengthening awareness, knowledge, and capacity for policy-making that advance gender equality.It invests in priority areas critical to closing gaps between what we know and what we do to advance gender equality. The UFGE currently supports over 70 activities in 54 countries.Since its launch in 2012, the UFGE has received contributions from Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and the United States. Show Less -
NEW YORK, September 22, 2014—World Bank Group (WBG) President Jim Yong Kim today announced a new private sector partnership aimed at boosting job opportunities for more than 300,000 women over the nex... Show More +t two years through IFC, a Bank Group member focused on private sector development. “Investing in women’s employment is not only the right thing to do—it’s also essential for business,” Kim said in announcing the She Works initiative at Clinton Global Initiative annual meetings here. “Companies that develop and retain women employees will gain a huge competitive advantage. Increasing women’s economic participation and productivity can also be a game-changer in tackling poverty and boosting shared prosperity—our two corporate goals.”Under the She Works partnership, 10 leading companies have pledged to implement measures to enhance women’s job opportunities—such as mentoring, flexible work arrangements, and leadership training to increase diversity in management. Participating companies are Belcorp, Care.com, The Coca-Cola Co., EY, Gap Inc., Intel Corp., Kuwait Energy, Odebrecht Group, Ooredoo Group, and Zulekha Hospitals.Working with key partners, including the EDGE Certified Foundation, International Labour Organization (ILO), and the UN Global Compact, IFC will identify best practices and develop practical approaches companies can implement to improve gender equality in the workplace.Despite evidence that women’s employment is vital to driving economic growth and development, women face persistent barriers in labor markets and are more concentrated in the informal economy—rather than in salaried or wage work. They farm smaller plots, work in less secure and lower-paying jobs, and in many countries face legal discrimination that prevents them from opening bank accounts, owning property, or working outside the home without a husband’s permission.Nearly half of women’s productive potential globally is under-utilized or unutilized, compared with just over 22 percent for men, while some 865 million women worldwide are “not prepared” and/or “not enabled” to participate in the global economy—including 812 million in emerging and developing countries.The IMF meanwhile estimates that having as many women in the labor force as men could boost economic growth by 5 percent in the United States, 9 percent in Japan, and 34 percent in Egypt. A Goldman Sachs study finds that narrowing the gender gap in employment could push per capita income in emerging markets up to 14 percent higher by 2020.The private sector, which accounts for nine out of 10 jobs in developing countries, plays a critical role in creating better employment opportunities for women. Companies that invest in women’s employment gain a proven important competitive advantage by tapping a wider talent pool, enhancing productivity, and improving staff retention. She Works is part of IFC’s broader effort to help companies address gender gaps in employment, and thereby drive gains in productivity, competitiveness, and innovation.IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. Working with private enterprises in about 100 countries, we use our capital, expertise, and influence to help eliminate extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. In FY14, IFC provided more than US$22 billion in financing to improve lives in developing countries and tackle the most urgent challenges of development.The Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), an initiative of the Clinton Foundation, convenes leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world's most pressing challenges. Those companies will develop and implement measures that will produce tangible improvements in women’s formal employment. Partners:Belcorp, a Peruvian door-to-door sales cosmetics company, has a unique business model focused on empowering women as employees and entrepreneurs. Care.com is a global company that helps families make informed decisions in finding and managing quality care for their loved ones.The Coca-Cola Company has set aggressive goals to help accelerate the recruitment, development, advancement, and retention of women leaders.A leading professionals services organizations, EY recognizes the positive business effects of promoting gender diversity and is committed to advancing women throughout its workforce and into leadership.EDGE Certified Foundation offers the first global gender equality assessment and certification system that allows organizations to strategically create better workplaces, sustain their talent competitive advantage, and deliver a positive impact to the bottom line. Gap Inc., one of the most recognized apparel brands in the world, is committed to creating opportunities for women to advance and lead, both within their company and in the communities touched by Gap’s business. Intel Corporation, a multinational semiconductor chip maker corporation, is committed to fully embracing and maximizing the diverse backgrounds and expertise of every employee, with a heightened focus on attracting, hiring, and advancing women.The International Labour Organization (ILO), a UN agency addressing labor issues, works to promote the rights of all women and men at work and achieve equality between them. Kuwait Energy, an independent oil and gas exploration and production company, prides itself on its equal opportunity programs and its work polices that cater to employees’ needs.Odebrecht Group, a global organization of Brazilian origin, has significantly increased the number of women in its engineering and construction business in recent years and is committed to expanding opportunities for women throughout its diversified businesses in the petrochemical, ethanol, and oil and gas sectors. Ooredoo Group, a leading international communications company headquartered in Kuwait, has a strong focus on empowering women through mobile technology and advancing gender equality in the workplace.In partnership with UN Women, the UN Global Compact developed the Women’s Empowerment Principles—a framework for business on how to empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community. Zulekha Hospitals is a private healthcare network in the UAE. As a women-owned business, Zulekha is committed to promoting a gender inclusive workplace. Show Less -
KATHMANDU, September 19, 2014—Governments, donors, civil society, and the private sector in South Asia should seize the opportunity of increased awareness and action about violence against women and g... Show More +irls to end this suffering through better coordinated and funded efforts, a World Bank report said.“Violence Against Women and Girls: Lessons from South Asia” is the first report that systematically collects and analyzes data across the region for all the types of violence women face in their lives, from child marriage to domestic violence, honor killings to trafficking. Drawing on the work of local researchers and activists, it aims to help those already working on this challenge to learn more about the work of others while also providing a guide for policymakers to set priorities and funding for effective programs.“This report shows that much is already being done across South Asia by dedicated women and men to end this burden,” said Philippe Le Houérou, Vice President for the South Asia Region at the World Bank. “The World Bank wants to support their efforts to improve the opportunities, rights and lives of girls and women.”The report shows that South Asia has its own special challenges in overcoming violence against women and girls. Excess female child mortality, or the greater rate at which girls die compared to boys, is higher in the region than anywhere else in the world. South Asia is also number one for child marriage. Violence against women from intimate partners is also unacceptably high, particularly for married adolescents.This violence comes at a big cost to South Asia (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka). The human, social and financial costs mean that the countries in the region will fail to meet six of the eight poverty reduction targets for 2015 set in the Millennium Development Goals.“This violence helps to keep women poor and stops developing economies from becoming more prosperous,” said Jennifer Solotaroff, a report author and Senior Social Development Specialist at the World Bank. “This violence keeps women from being equal citizens.”The report identified over 700 organizations across South Asia working to end violence against women and girls. It found it encouraging that many of these actions involved boys and men. But the report found that many of these initiatives were not evaluated, and efforts across programs and forms of violence were not coordinated. Programs also did not address several well-established risk factors for violence, at the individual, household, community, institutional, and structural levels of society.“This report identifies measures that can be taken, partners who can influence things for the better, and where increased funding and evaluations are critical,” said report author Rohini Prabha Pande “Well-coordinated actions by a range of partners can make a huge difference.”Releasing the report in Kathmandu today at an event organized in collaboration with the National Women’s Commission, the authors lauded the efforts of Nepal’s organizations in preventing violence against women and girls and providing services to the victims. On the prevention side, programs to keep girls in schools; awareness-raising at the community levels; engaging survivors; and working with men and boys were cited as initiatives that have had far-reaching effects. On the response side, the authors said the government-initiated ‘One-stop Crisis Management Centre’; legal aid for survivors; psychosocial counselling; vocational training; and working with families and communities to accept victims as part of their reintegration were particularly noteworthy. On the way forward, the authors invited the involvement of additional partners and suggested that practitioners come together to use resources more efficiently. Underscoring the importance of engaging men and boys in both prevention and response interventions, the authors noted that efforts to engage children and youth could be augmented to address perceptions of gender roles from an early stage.Calling for the implementation and strengthening of laws along with a commitment of adequate funding to programs addressing specific forms of violence, the authors also highlighted a key recommendation in the report which urges governments across South Asia not to assign responsibility for ending violence against women and girls to a particular ministry but rather to pursue coordinated efforts across ministries.The genesis of this report dates back to June 2013 when the World Bank and Oxfam co-organized a regional conference in Kathmandu and brought together a broad range of actors to discuss the complexity, interconnectivity, scale and gravity of the issue of violence against women and girls in South Asia and to discuss how best to intensify efforts to address this pervasive regional problem. Since then the World Bank has launched a multi-faceted program to address gender based violence in its operations, analytics and collaborative work. Show Less -