The World Bank Group draws strength from our diversity, and we are committed to addressing racial discrimination and prejudice in our workplace and in our work around the globe. Our shared values include justice and equity for all and always treating others with dignity and respect, areas we continue to improve upon. At the core of our development mandate is a commitment to protecting those who are most vulnerable so that everyone, regardless of their gender/gender identity, race, religion, ethnicity, nationality, age, sexual orientation, or disability, can reap the benefits of development. We focus on increasing access to decent jobs, better services, and more secure livelihoods that help people from traditionally excluded groups to participate fully in society and live with dignity.
Working Toward a More Diverse, Equitable, and Inclusive Workplace
Like many large organizations, we know we can and must do better as an institution to increase our diversity and inclusion. This is part of our commitment to tackle discrimination, racism, injustice, exclusion, and inequality, within the World Bank Group and in the countries we serve. Over the course of our history—as an institution with a mission to improve the lives of the poorest and most vulnerable—we have not always made the right decision in such matters. But we are committed to improving diversity and inclusion, and we continually strive to make our workforce representative of the people in the countries we serve. Racial discrimination and social injustice have no place in any of our workplaces or societies, nor in global development.
- We are a highly diverse global workforce, including more than 170 different nationalities.
- Almost two-thirds of us, and 42 percent of managers, come from low- and middle-income countries. Almost half of our top managers are women.
- We track our diversity by nationality—as mandated in our Articles of Agreement—not by race. We are also working to capture data at a more granular level, to reflect differing experiences within nationalities.
- Increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion is a top priority in our recruitment policies. For instance, the majority of recent appointments to senior positions have been women and/or from developing countries, a trend we are committed to continue.
- The World Bank Group Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion has set up interactive training sessions for staff to raise awareness of unconscious bias.
Anti-Racism Task Force
Amid worldwide protests after the killing of George Floyd in May 2020, World Bank Group President Malpass made a commitment to address racism and racial discrimination across the organization and in its programs and communities. He asked Sandie Okoro, Senior Vice President and Bank Group General Counsel, to establish and chair a Task Force, with a mandate to deliver recommendations that address racism and racial discrimination.
To inform its work, in July 2020 the Anti-Racism Task Force launched the first-ever Bank Group staff survey specifically focusing on race. About 70 percent of staff participated, generating over 6,000 comments on perceptions, personal experiences, and institutional actions.
With inputs from around the organization, the Task Force delivered 80 recommendations in Phase 1, which focused on issues in the workplace. Themes include conflict resolution, culture, training, managerial accountability, career management, and recruitment. Recommendations seek to raise awareness, strengthen knowledge, and mitigate instances of racism and racial discrimination, while providing spaces for staff to flag issues, help level the playing field for career opportunities, and foster an inclusive workplace composition and culture.
Several foundational recommendations have been implemented, including the launch of the new World Bank Group Anti-Racism Charter and the creation of three key staff positions to tackle racism and racial discrimination and support staff as needed.
Phase 2 has an external focus, looking at the Bank Group’s development work and community engagement. With broad input from staff, the Task Force will submit further recommendations to the president and senior leadership.
Contributing to Our Local Communities
The World Bank Group is also expanding and growing our support of the communities where we operate. At our headquarters and 50 largest offices, the workplace giving program, Community Connections, facilitates staff and institutional funding of local NGOs that are strengthening their communities. A growing number of these organizations focus on ending racism and expanding economic opportunity for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.
In addition, the World Bank Group is placing a strategic emphasis on supplier diversity and inclusion in corporate procurement. To boost the participation of underrepresented business enterprises in our procurement process, initiatives are focusing on local women-owned and businesses minority-owned businesses.
At the World Bank Group, we are working toward creating an environment where everyone is valued, where differences are celebrated, and where equitable treatment is afforded to all.
“What happened to George Floyd is beyond reprehensible. The scourge of racism is deep and pernicious and must be confronted and ended. Racial discrimination and social injustice have no place in our institution, our programs, or any of the communities we work in around the world.” – World Bank Group President Malpass