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BP 4.20 - Gender and Development

These policies were prepared for use by World Bank staff and are not necessarily a complete treatment of the subject.
BP 4.20
March, 2003

This Operational Policy statement was revised in March 2012 to take into account the provisions of OP/BP 9.00, issued in February 2012.

Note: OP and BP 4.20 draw on Integrating Gender into the World Bank's Work: A Strategy for Action, January 2002.  They replace the section of OMS 2.20, Project Appraisal, relating to gender as part of the sociological aspects of appraisal (especially paragraph 62), dated January 1988; OP 4.20, The Gender Dimension of Development, dated October 1999; and the Operational Memorandum Clarification of Current Bank Policy on Gender and Development, December 11, 2001. Questions may be addressed to the Director, Gender and Development (PRMGE).

Revised March 2012

1.  The country director oversees the preparation of the gender assessment for the country. The gender assessment is based on analytic work and consultations conducted by the Bank or by other organizations (for example, governmental, international, or academic institutions). 1 It typically includes:

(a)  a description of

(i)  the different socioeconomic roles of females and males, including their participation in both the market and household economies;

(ii)  male-female disparities in access to, control over, and use of assets and productive resources;

(iii)  male-female disparities in human development indicators;

(iv)  the relative participation of females and males in development decisionmaking; and

(v)  laws, institutional frameworks, norms, and other societal practices that lead (implicitly or explicitly) to gender discrimination and/or gender inequality;

(b)  a review of the country context, including the country's policies, priorities, legal and regulatory framework, and institutional arrangements for implementing its gender and development goals; and

(c)  based on (a) and (b) above, suggested gender-responsive policies and interventions that are relevant for reducing poverty and enhancing economic growth, human well-being and development effectiveness.

2.  The country director ensures that the results of the gender assessment are incorporated in the country dialogue and reflected in the Country Assistance Strategy (CAS). The CAS reports on the status of the gender assessment, and identifies any gender-responsive actions that are proposed as part of the Bank's assistance strategy for the country.

3.  In sectors and thematic areas where the CAS has identified the need for priority gender-responsive actions, the relevant sector managers ensure that Bank-financed projects2 and other Bank activities are gender-responsive. The task teams concerned determine how these actions will be optimally integrated into Bank-financed projects. In particular, task teams appraise the following aspects and, as appropriate, ensure that the project design addresses them:

(a)  the local circumstances that may affect the different participation of females and males in the project;

(b)  the contribution that females and males each could make to achieving the project's objectives;

(c)  the ways in which the project might be disadvantageous to one gender relative to the other; and

(d)  the project's proposed mechanisms for monitoring the different impacts of the project on females and males.

4.  The Regional vice president reports annually to the managing director concerned on the implementation of this policy.

5.  The Gender and Development Board collaborates with relevant units within the Bank to facilitate the integration of gender issues in the Bank's work. This Board develops guidance to staff on the preparation of gender assessments, establishes a framework for Regional monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of this policy, and consolidates Regional monitoring or evaluation reports into annual Bankwide summaries.


  1. The gender assessment may be a stand-alone assessment or it may be carried out as part of other Bank economic and sector work, such as poverty assessments (see OP 1.00, Poverty Reduction), country economic memoranda, public expenditure reviews, development policy reviews, poverty and social impact assessments, or institutional analyses. Alternatively, it may be an assessment that has been carried out by the country or an organization other than the Bank, if the Bank finds the assessment to be satisfactory.
  2. 'Project' includes any project or program financed under a Bank loan, IDA credit or IDA grant, but does not include programs financed under development policy lending.


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