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LAC Regional Gender Action Plan

The Gender Team is part of the Poverty and Gender Group (LCSPP) in the Latin America and Caribbean Region's (LCR) Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Unit (PREM) of the World Bank.

The mission of the LCR Gender Team is to contribute to the quality and effectiveness of development interventions and outcomes by including a gender perspective into the World Bank's work in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Following the World Development Report (WDR) 2012, gender equality is important for two main reasons:

“First, gender equality matters intrinsically, because the ability to live the life of one’s own choosing and be spared from absolute deprivation is a basic human right and should be equal for everyone, independent of whether one is male or female. Second, gender equality matters instrumentally, because greater gender equality contributes to economic efficiency and the achievement of other key development outcomes.”

Taking into account gender roles is essential to the design and delivery of better programs and services. To this end, development projects must consider whether demands, preferences, and access to services for men and women are different, and if so, ensure that development projects adequately address these different needs accordingly.

The Regional Gender Action Plan for Latin America and the Caribbean (RGAP) outlines a strategy for the LCR region to work more effectively with clients to address gender challenges in the region during FY2012-2014. The plan builds on the World Bank’s World Development Report (WDR) 2012: Gender Equality and Development, the 2012 LCR Regional gender study, “Work and Family: Latin American Women in Search of a New Balance”, and the Central American Regional Study, “A Gender (R)evolution in the Making? Gender, Income Generation and Poverty Reduction in Central America: A Decade Review”.

These studies shed new insights into understanding gender equity in LCR as an outcome of the complex interaction of formal and informal institutions and markets, mediated through the household. The reports stresses that addressing persistent gender inequities requires more than conducive policies, but also demands a greater understanding of the household bargaining process and the role of preferences and social norms.

The multi-dimensional domains of gender equity are also highlighted, cutting across endowments, economic opportunities, and individual agency. The implementation of the RGAP will be tailored to different contexts, reflective of country-specific characteristics of norms and preferences, markets, institutions, and policies.

The general objective of the LCR RGAP is to enhance client and Bank knowledge and capacity to understand and address gender issues that are constraining development and gender equity in the region.

To achieve this objective, the Plan is anchored in three pillars:
  1. Mainstreaming gender into Country Assistance Strategies (CASs) and relevant financial and knowledge programs with a particular focus on those sectors with corporate commitments.
  1. Address persistent and priority areas of inequality as identified through a review of existing analytical work and consultations. The RGAP seeks to promote catalytic change in priority areas where gender inequities are pervasive and persistent. The priority areas are organized in alignment with the WDR 2012 framework:
  • Endowments: Improving boys academic enrollment and achievement
  • Economic Opportunity: Facilitating labor market entry for vulnerable groups and supporting female entrepreneurs to expand and grow their businesses
  • Agency: GBV and teenage pregnancy
  1. Gathering and sharing evidence to build and disseminate evidence on what works for gender interventions and mainstreaming. Activities include:
  • LCR Impact Evaluation Initiative of what works for gender interventions and mainstreaming;
  • GAP Lessons Learned Booklet synthesizing policy lessons learned from projects funded by the original Gender Action Plan;
  • Improved access to and dissemination of gender-disaggregated data; and
  • Dissemination events, both high-profile (especially for WDR 2012 and the regional study), and also brown bag lunches on internal and external best practices.

To promote gender equality in the region, the Bank provides analysis, technical assistance, and project financing to boost opportunities and equal rights for men and women.

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