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Why #OneSouthAsia?

Women and Inclusiveness

Empowering women is central to our work to advance regional cooperation in South Asia,. The fast-growing region has some of the world's largest gender gaps -- including the lowest level of female labor-force participation. 

Our work aims to close knowledge gaps on gender aspects in transport, climate change, health, education, social protection, and fragility, conflict, and violence. The approach crosses many sectors, including some once considered to be “gender blind” such as infrastructure, transport, and trade facilitation. Our work also targets specific areas where gaps between men and women and between and boys and girls can be identified and addressed, using evidence-based approaches.


The World Bank works with a number of partners, including the South Asia Regional Trade Facilitation Program, to provide analyses and technical assistance identifying ways to support women's entrepreneurship and participation in the labor force. Our gender-related reports and activities include:


Trade and Supply Chains


Power Sector and STEM


Employment and Economic Empowerment



Blog series: Women in South Asia


What's New


The Road to Jobs and Dignity for Women in Bangladesh

Oct 2023: Over 795 women are employed under the first phase of Bangladesh Western Economic Corridor & Regional Enhancement program that helps provide efficient, safe, and resilient connectivity along with training and employing vulnerable women in these projects.
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Women at the Forefront of Revitalizing Bhutan's Villages

March 2023: Read how women in Bhutan are revitalizing traditional villages in Bhutan and at the same time creating income-generating opportunities at their doorsteps.
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Toppling Barriers for Women in Trade

July 2023: Research by the World Bank and the World Trade Organization (WTO) has shown that trade is a powerful driver of gender equality in developing countries. How do we involve more women in trade?
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Women Entrepreneurs in Nepal Serve Coffee and Hope

Jan. 11, 2022 - Amma Cafe in Lumbini, Nepal was launched by women entrepreneurs as part of a project to create local jobs near Buddhist sites visited by religious pilgrims and tourists.
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How Can Women in Apparel-exporting Nations Move from Jobs to Careers?

Dec. 1, 2021 - A World Bank report analyzes women’s jobs in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and other apparel-exporting nations to identify barriers that hinder women from careers and long-term participation in the labor force.
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World Bank project supports regional higher education and easier access for women

June 24, 2021 - A new World Bank project will strengthen higher education across South Asia by supporting collaboration, credit transfers, and university twinning arrangements in the region. It will also help more women access quality higher education.
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World Bank report on apparel exports creating jobs to bring more women into the labor force of developing nations

From Jobs to Careers: Apparel Exports and Career Paths for Women in Developing Countries

Dec. 1, 2021 - Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka can use the apparel exporting industry to bring more women into the labor forcet but policy makers must also eliminate barriers that prevent women pursuing better-paid occupations.
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Business Her Own Way: Creating Livelihoods Through Informal Online Commerce

Oct. 1, 2021 - Women in Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Pakistan are turning to What's App and Facebook to sell clothing, food, and other items. Such informal online commerce empowers women and offers a way to earn income while managing their household responsibilities.
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Women's Employment and Safety Perceptions: Evidence from Bangladesh

August 12, 2021 - Bangladeshi women are more likely to join the labor force if they feel safe going to work. Adding street lights, security cameras, and panic buttons can help, along with gender sensitivity training for police, according to a new policy brief.
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Vulnerabilities to Human Trafficking from Enhanced Regional Connectivity in Nepal

June 30, 2021 - Better roads create opportunities but can also make it easier for human trafficking. This study examines trafficking in Nepal and its links to regional connectivity, and recommends ways to integrate anti-human trafficking into World Bank work.

What do we Know about Interventions to Increase Women's Economic Participation and Empowerment in South Asia?

July 2, 2021 - Only 24% of South Asian women participate in the labor force, far below the 47% global average. This Gender Innovation Lab brief examines the success of skill-building policies and programs for women in the region.
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Inclusive Resilience: Inclusion Matters for Resilience in South Asia

March 31, 2021 - The World Bank's South Asia disaster risk and climate change activities aim to build resilience for all people. That means designing measures for the elderly, disabled, and other marginalized groups with special needs.
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Women in Trade: A Spotlight on Eastern South Asia

Jan 24, 2021 - Trade is a powerful tool for BBIN economic growth but women need to benefit to the same extent as men. This report highlights work barriers that women face and sectors with greatest potential for them to find jobs.
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Women's Participation, Constraints, and Opportunities for Trade in Bangladesh

Jan 24, 2021 - Women entrepreneurs in Bangladesh are a potent source of future jobs. But to overcome barriers, women need help accessing bank loans, digital skills, export markets, and other tools. This report recommends ways to support an inclusive economy.
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Women and Trade: The Role of Trade in Promoting Gender Equality

July 30, 2020 - Trade creates good paying jobs for women and cuts costs for consumers. But gains come only if trade barriers are lifted. Women exporters in Pakistan said they face Customs officers’ arbitrary decisions, reckless handling of goods, and bribe demands.
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VIDEO Oct 14, 2020

Disaster Resilience for All

South Asia is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and natural disasters. The World Bank's inclusive resilience work aims to build awareness and share knowledge on how disaster risk management can better advance social inclusion.

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