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Empowering Women by Balancing the Law


"Gender equality is not an abstract concept that demands innovative rethinking—it is and must be a fundamental right by which societies are built and economies are made to thrive."
Sandie Okoro
Former World Bank Senior Vice President and Group General Counsel (2019)

The Challenge

Billions of women and girls worldwide face systemic societal barriers due to the global abundance and persistence of outdated and discriminatory laws. Development outcomes in global economies depend crucially on accelerated action to enact and promote the enforcement of gender equality legislation. 

The Offer

Empowering Women by Balancing the Law (EWBL) supports interested countries in assessing legal landscapes and in turn design and implementing reforms to discriminatory laws and improving enforcement of existing legislation. Through a gender-inclusive lens and a bolstered vision for equality, EWBL and interested countries partner to build resilient economies and greater fulfillment of international commitments. 

The Process

Through a 3-step support approach, EWBL can help countries accelerate meaningful change.

  1. Analysis & Consultation
  2. Capacity Building & Outreach
  3. Evaluation & Lessons Learned


EWBL History

EWBL was launched by the Legal Vice Presidency of the World Bank under the supervision of former World Bank Senior Vice President and Group General Counsel, Sandie Okoro. The importance of this project was highlighted and revitalized throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, which exacerbated existing gender-based inequalities and brought about a worrisome reversal of decades worth of gains in the economy, jobs, and voice and agency. EWBL is managed by a task force from the World Bank’s Legal Vice Presidency. It draws on the expertise and experience of our attorneys worldwide to cater to countries’ needs for real solutions that put an end to imbalanced laws that limit women and girls’ opportunities.


Video message from Sandie Okoro, former World Bank Senior Vice President and Group General Counsel.

Our Partners

EWBL’s unique platform invites partners to contribute to the World Bank’s global aid agenda. By leveraging the reach and capabilities of international partners in the public and private sectors, as well as connected initiatives within the World Bank, EWBL offers reliable support for partner countries’ efforts to promote legal equality. External partners include law firms, NGOs, think-tanks, corporations, foundations, international organizations, and other entities that have synergy with EWBL's goals. Relationships can take the form of pro bono work on EWBL matters, collaboration sessions connected with EWBL projects, forums for EWBL's goals and work to gain publicity, and financial support.

Get Involved

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