Celebrating International Women’s Day with the urgency to accelerate equality

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Five things to know about gender equality and the World Bank Group


The evidence is clear: removing barriers for women unlocks economic productivity, reduces poverty and is fundamental to creating a world free of poverty on a livable planet.  On this International Women’s Day join us at the World Bank Group by raising your voice to #accelerateequality and learn more about our commitment to remove gender barriers, empower women and girls and create a world free of poverty on a livable planet.

Here are 5 things to know about gender equality and the World Bank Group.

  1. Progress on gender equality globally is off track. Labor force participation has been stagnant since 1990, at around 53 percent for women and 80 percent for men, with the largest gaps in lower middle-income countries. Women are not equally represented in decision-making and leadership positions. The pay gap persists: a woman earns just 77 cents for every dollar a man earns and is only half as likely as a man to have a full-time wage job. On March 5th, the Bank released its latest Women, Business and the Law report – a sobering look at progress toward legal gender equality. Today, women enjoy less than two-thirds of the legal rights available to men – not three-quarters as previously estimated.
  2. The World Bank has placed gender equality at the forefront of its mission to create a world free of poverty on a livable planet. It is more than a matter of justice – it is a catalyst for broader economic and social impact. Our updated Gender Strategy, born from an extensive consultation process, will be launched this Spring with a focus on innovation, financing, and collective action. It sets forth three ambitious goals for 2024-2030: 1) end gender-based violence and elevate human capital; 2) expand and enable economic opportunities for women; and 3) engage more women as leaders.
  3. The World Bank's efforts have translated into tangible actions and significant milestones. We've seen a dramatic increase in the amount of World Bank’s operations that include positive gender impacts, soaring from 50% in fiscal year (FY) 17 to an impressive 95% in FY23. Lending operations incorporating activities to prevent and/or respond to gender-based violence have increased more than 10-fold, from 38 in 2012 to 390 in 2022. In FY22 alone, the IFC committed $3.8 billion to gender-lens investments in developing countries, a substantial portion of which supported female entrepreneurs through financial institutions. In FY23, MIGA reached a milestone with over $1.2 billion in client lending commitments to women and women-owned businesses.
  4. We are walking the talk, inside the World Bank Group. As an institution, we have made significant, externally recognized strides toward gender equality. In 2022, we earned Equity, Diversity, and Gender Equality (EDGE) Move certification. Also in 2022, we were recognized as a Platinum Top Global Supplier Diversity and Inclusion (SD&I) Champion by WEConnect International, recognizing our “commitment to global inclusive procurement." And in 2023, the World Bank Group exceeded an ambitious target to double its annual corporate procurement with women-owned businesses from 3.1 percent in 2018 to 7.4 percent.
  5. We can all take action to advance equality. Everyone is instrumental in this endeavor. All our actions each day can contribute to a larger wave of change. Advancing gender equality requires collective action – and your involvement can help create a world where gender equality is not an aspiration but a reality, for everyone. 

Learn more about the World Bank Group’s activities for International Women’s Day here!


Erick Rabemananoro contributed to this blog.


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Hana Brixi

Global Director, Gender

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