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Gender Action Plan: Gender Equality as Smart Economics

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Gender Action Plan: Gender Equality as Smart Economics

In 2007, the World Bank Group launched an action plan to improve women's economic opportunity. The four-year plan, Gender Equality as Smart Economics, invested in the improvement of women's access to jobs, land rights, financial services, agricultural inputs and infrastructure.

Why is women’s economic empowerment important for Development?
In the past decades, the health and education levels of women and girls in developing countries have improved a great deal--in many cases they are catching up to men and boys but no such progress has been seen in economic opportunity. Learn More (PDF)
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GAP In Action

GAP in Action Archive

About the Gender Action Plan

To advance women’s and girl’s economic empowerment to promote shared growth and MDG3—gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Expanding women’s and girl’s economic opportunities is smart economics. While women’s and girls’ education and health levels have improved in most poor countries, progress is lagging on improving their economic opportunities. This is inefficient, since increased women’s labor force participation and earnings are associated with reduced poverty and faster growth. This is also why the GAP concentrates on facilitating girls’ transition from school to work. Women will benefit from their economic empowerment, and so will men, children and society as a whole.

"In only a few decades, health and education levels of girls and women have improved significantly, but economic opportunity has not. Women consistently trail men in labor force participation, access to credit, entrepreneurship, inheritance and ownership rights and in the income they generate, and this is neither fair nor smart economics. Studies show that investment in girls and women yield very large economic and social returns."
Robert B. Zoellick, World Bank President

Duration and Budget
Gender Equality as Smart Economics was a $63 million action plan to increase World Bank Group work to empower women economically. The four-year plan was launched in 2007 with budget support from both the World Bank Group and external partners, including the governments of Australia, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Iceland, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Italy, the United Kingdom as well as the Nike Foundation.

Focus Areas
Gender Equality as Smart Economics targeted women’s empowerment in the economic sectors, most importantly, infrastructure: energy, transport, and water and sanitation; agriculture; private sector development; and finance.

The Roadmap
Gender Equality as Smart Economics has helped to 1) intensify gender mainstreaming in Bank and IFC operations and in regional economic and sector work. 2) Mobilize resources to implement innovative projects that empower women economically. 3) Facilitate the transition from school to work for girls through the Adolescent Girls Initiative.4) Improve knowledge and statistics on women’s economic participation and the relationship between gender equality, growth, and poverty reduction. 5) Create global partnerships for women’s economic empowerment with governments, multilateral organizations, the private sector and civil society.

Guide: The rationale, guiding principles, and strategy for Gender Equality as Smart Economics in English, Arabic, French, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish (PDF).

Brochure: A succinct pamphlet, giving a broad overview of Gender Equality as Smart Economics (PDF)

Last updated: 2011-09-10

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