- Q: How can women's empowerment promote economic stability?
- A: Putting resources into poor women’s hands while promoting gender equality in the household and in society results in large development payoffs. Expanding women’s opportunities in public works, agriculture, finance, and other sectors accelerates economic growth, helping to mitigate the effects of current and future financial crises.
World Bank: Gender Equality Is Key to Achieving the MDGs
Countries that invest in promoting the social and economic status of women tend to have lower poverty rates. For example, an extra year of secondary schooling for girls can increase their future wages by 10 to 20 %. By 2006, 51% of all assistance to the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s fund for the poorest countries, included gender in project operations. In 2007 the World Bank launched the Gender Action Plan (GAP) to focus on gender in the land, labor, agriculture, finance, and infrastructure sectors.
- We can achieve gender equality by:
- educating girls
- increasing literacy rates among women
- increasing early childhood development interventions
- increasing women’s labor force participation and strengthening labor policies affecting women
- improving women’s access to credit, land and other resources
- promoting women’s political rights and participation
- expanding reproductive health programs and family support policies
Making Strides in Gender Equality
Sixty-three percent of GAP initiatives are carried out in IDA countries, amounting to $29.9 million. By June 2010, GAP was funding activities in 44 IDA countries.
Our Gender Equality Strategy
- Strengthen nutrition, disease prevention, and maternal health programs
- Improve women’s and girls’ education and life skills
- Expand women’s access to credit and economic opportunity
Some of Our MDG 3 Results
IDA is helping to achieve MDG 3 by investing in girls’ education, resulting in a 9% increase in girls’ primary school completion from 1999 to 2008.
- Bangladesh: Gender parity in primary and secondary education has been achieved, along with a sharp increase in the secondary certificate pass rate for girls, from 39% in 2001 to 63% in 2008.
- Madagascar: Women’s membership in microfinance networks increased from 15% in 1999 to 45% in 2006.
- Senegal: Sustainable forestry earns about $12.5 million/year, with women driving one-third of this performance.
How’s the World Doing?
- 31 million more girls enrolled in primary school since 1999.
- 15-20 year increase in average life expectancy for women since 1970.
- 4% fewer women in the labor force, from 1980 to 2005.
- 1% of global agriculture credit goes to African women.