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Gender

Progress and persistence in gender equality: Reflections on the WDR 2012

Daniel Nikolits's picture

Today marks the fifth International Women’s Day since the publication of the World Development Report 2012 on “Gender Equality and Development.” That WDR showed us that gender equality is both an important development objective in its own right, as well as smart economics. On the occasion of International Women’s Day, I sat down with the co-Directors of the WDR 2012, Ana Revenga and Sudhir Shetty. They shared some of their reflections on the origins of the report, its successes and impact, the challenges that remain, and why a focus on gender in development work still remains important today.  

Family Health Days – An Inspiration for International Women’s Day

Quentin Wodon's picture



On March 8, in celebration of International Women’s Day, Marion Bunch, Chief Executive Officer, Rotarians for Family Health & AIDS Prevention and founder of family health days, will participate in a World Bank event about inspiring women who made a difference in the world through innovative programs in the areas of education and health.

The two faces of the sea

Caroline Ayoub's picture
“The Mirror”, Artwork by Syrian Filmmaker & Visual Artist Ammar Al-Beik, 140x110cm, "Lost Images Series", 2013.

For the past five years, the sea – a small three letter word– has delivered more than its share of pain to Syrians. But two Syrian women, ‘Om Mohammed’ and ‘Om Issa,’ had not planned for this fateful encounter with the water. Om Mohammad was fleeing the inferno of barrel bombs that were dropped on Darayya, a suburb of Damascus. Meanwhile Om Issa was fleeing her homeland to protect her son after government security services began tracking him in order to force him to serve in the regime’s military.
 
There is no place left in the country for mothers or their sons.

A greener future starts with women

Mafalda Duarte's picture
Also available in: Spanish




When I started my career in the world of global development some twenty odd years ago, a number of female leaders inspired me. Rachel Carson had left an epic legacy with her book ‘Silent SpringWangari Maathai, the founder of the Green Belt Movement, had won a Nobel Peace Prize and Jane Goodall was reminding us all of nature conservation causes. And that’s just to name a few of those who were most visible.

One of my first experiences in the developing world was in Mozambique. While there, I saw the devastating impacts of floods not just at the national and community level, but especially on women and girls.

Young Women and Work: International Women's Day

Nicole Goldin's picture
 
A young women at work in Sri Lanka. Women are more likely to work in vulnerable employment, with as many as 85% percent of young women working in vulnerable employment across Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and the Middle East and North Africa. Photo: Lakshman Nadaraja / World Bank


Can paternity leave benefit working women in developing countries?

Asif Islam's picture
In recent years, a spate of articles came out proclaiming the benefits of paternity leave. One article by the New York Times cited a study in Sweden that stated that mother’s future earnings increased on an average of 7 percent for every month of leave the father took. The same article cited another study in the U.S.

On International Women’s Day, 5 facts about gender and the law in the Pacific Islands

Katrin Schulz.'s picture




There is a lot that development practitioners don’t know about the Pacific Islands. When it comes to the laws of these small island nations scattered throughout the ocean separating Asia and the Americas, most people outside the region know even less. Add the dimension of gender to the mix and you might be met with blank stares.

The tyranny of the kitchen spoon for Sri Lanka’s women

Dileni Gunewardena's picture
Sri Lankan woman washing lentils ahead of preparing a meal
Sri Lankan woman washing lentils ahead of preparing a meal. Credit: Simone D. McCourtie/World Bank

A common Sri Lankan proverb states that a woman’s wisdom only extends to the length of the kitchen spoon’s handle. With near universal female lower secondary school completion, and more girls than boys receiving tertiary education, the knowledge of Sri Lankan females has clearly moved beyond the length of the kitchen spoon’s handle. However, the evidence suggests that ties to the kitchen spoon may still be keeping Sri Lankan women out of the workforce.

Sri Lanka’s population has more women than men; there are 106 women for every 100 men. But when it comes to the labour force, there are only 54 women per 100 men, and 52 women employed for every 100 employed men. In the last 10 years, the female labour force participation rate has declined slightly from 39.5 percent to 34.7 percent, and the female unemployment rate has been consistently twice that of males during this period or longer[1] So why aren’t Sri Lankan women – who are on average more educated than Sri Lankan men – engaged in the labor force in similar proportions? This question has been raised and discussed in policy circles, gaining momentum in recent times.
 
 

Taking On gender norms to empower women

Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez's picture
All societies are guided by a certain number of rules - formal or not, written or unwritten, that define how members of the community are expected to behave, how they should interact with each other, what is acceptable or not. These so-called “social norms” permeate many aspects of our lives. They are often so deeply-entrenched that individuals may have a hard time distinguishing norms imposed upon them by society from their own individual preferences.
 
Gender relations are one aspect of our lives where the role and impact of social norms are particularly obvious. Even today, gender roles and stereotypes continue to exert significant influence over the way men and women behave, and how they interact with each other.
 
That is why it is critical for us to acknowledge, understand, and, if necessary, challenge existing social norms when designing and implementing projects that are meant to improve the lives of women. From reducing fertility rates in Bangladesh to combating gender-based violence in Haiti, Senior Social Development Specialist Maria Beatriz Orlando gives us examples of World Bank projects that effectively empowered women by addressing the reality of gender norms on the ground.

Is Armenia missing out on a key element of its economic potential?

Laura Bailey's picture
As we celebrate International Women’s Day around the world on March 8th, I’m worried that Armenia is missing out on a key building block for economic growth. Women are 54 percent of the working age population – the ages of 15 to 64 – but only 40 percent of those employed or looking for work. In fact, just a bit more than half (58 percent) of women in that age group participate in the labor market – 18 percentage points lower than for men in Armenia.

Young women, Armenia

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