Gender Action continues to expand the list of countries where
— with local partners — we analyze IFI investments
and advocate for women’s rights and gender equality.
In this work, we support and mentor citizen groups in developing
and transition countries in building their capacity to deconstruct
IFI documents and pressure their governments to target resources
Here is a snapshot of some of our key country collaborations:
At the time of Haiti’s devastating January 2010 earthquake, Gender Action co-founded the Haiti Advocacy Working Group (HAWG: ( haitiadvocacy.org) to hold donor aid accountable for assisting needy Haitians rather than foreign corporations such as US “Beltway Bandits”. Gender Action and other HAWG members successfully advocated for cancelation of Haiti’s IFI debt and obtained Inter-American Development Bank and World Bank commitments to make grants but not loans to impoverished Haiti. HAWG has successfully campaigned for accountability by the UN whose peacekeepers raped young girls and women made homeless by the earthquake and imported cholera into Haiti, killing thousands. HAWG has brought many Haitian activists to testify before the US Congress about injustices plaguing their country.
Click here to see Gender Action’s numerous reports on Haiti
Gender Action spotlights China, the most populous World Bank
client and one of its largest borrowers in dollar terms. We
regularly conduct gender analyses of World Bank loans to China.
Our analysis has found that the Bank’s heavily infrastructure
and environment-weighted China portfolio has hardly recognized
women’s roles or considered gender-differentiated project
One of our remarkable findings is that Bank rural poverty
projects in China have not acknowledged the well-documented
feminization of poverty and agriculture, nor its record of
having the world’s highest female suicide rate and one
of the most rapidly proliferating patterns of trafficking
in women and girls.
Click here to view relevant publications on
Gender Scorecard of World Bank-managed Post-Tsunami Reconstruction
In the wake of the tsunami, there was an enormous outpouring
of international aid. Indonesia, which was particularly hard-hit,
received a large influx of funds from many donors. To coordinate
aid, the Government of Indonesia requested the World Bank
to administer a Multi-Donor Fund. The MDF promised to rigorously
address gender issues in post-tsunami disaster reconstruction.
This report demonstrates the failure of the World Bank-administered
Multi Donor Trust Fund (MDF) for Indonesia’s tsunami
and earthquake reconstruction to systematically address gender
concerns in the design of its projects. We conclude that the
World Bank must live up to its commitment to promote gender
equality and ensure that its projects—including those
funded through the MDF—contain effective strategies
to integrate gender issues.
Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey
In 2006 Gender Action partnered with Central and Eastern
European Bankwatch Network (CEE Bankwatch) to expose the tragic
gendered impacts of European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
(EBRD) and International Finance Corporation (IFC)-financed
Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan and IFC-funded Sakhalin II pipeline projects.
The report, titled "Boom-time
Blues: Big Oil's Gender Impacts in Azerbaijan, Georgia, and
Sakhalin", challenges EBRD and IFC claims that they
promote gender equality and combat HIV/AIDS. Instead of bringing
prosperity, the pipelines are increasing poverty and human
trafficking, reducing access to natural resources, increasing
the occurrence of still births, pushing more women into sex
work, and raising rates of HIV/AIDS and other diseases.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
In 2005 Gender Action worked with Bosnians to address the
gender impacts of PRSP macroeconomic reforms at a workshop
for PRSP macroeconomics and gender team members and other
PRSP stakeholders. Elaine Zuckerman facilitated the discussion
on how macroeconomics often ignore women’s work in the
unpaid care economy; gender differences in paid employment
and in policies affecting consumption, savings and investment;
macrostability and social needs; revenue sources including
taxation; PRSPs and related structural adjustment measures;
and the gender impacts of trade. Elaine also conducted a training
Budget Initiatives to help the former socialist transition
country engender and maintain social safety nets in the face
of IFI-imposed economic reforms. For example, local organizations
in Bosnia and Herzegovina oppose the IFI-mandated value added
tax, which places a relatively higher burden on poorer women
Malawi, Mali, Niger, and Rwanda
The World Bank and women's unpaid care work in select sub-Saharan African countries
With the aim of reducing women's greater unpaid care work than men's and increasing women's paid employment, this paper examines the extent to which World Bank investments address unpaid care work. The paper conducts an in-depth gender analysis of 36 World Bank employment-related projects in Malawi, Mali, Niger, and Rwanda. It concludes that the vast majority (92 per cent) of reviewed projects fail to account for unpaid care work.
Exceptionally, Malawi's Shire River Basin Management Program and Niger's Community Action Program target women's needs as caretakers. But most reviewed projects do not address unpaid care work. Doing so would improve economic and human development and gender justice.
World Bank Project Evictee Becomes Women’s Rights Activist - Bimbo Oshobe
What happens to slum residents who happen to live in World Bank-financed urban renewal projects? Read about their homelessness, violence against women, and a Nigerian woman survivor’s struggle in this blog.
Gender Action and CEE-Hope Nigeria profile Bank project evictee Bimbo Oshobe, a mother of four whose life was upturned when a Bank-financed project bulldozed her slum several years ago. Residents were evicted without consultation, warning or compensation, and left homeless in crowded, dangerous Lagos. Years later the “urban renewal” project has not delivered its promise to upgrade the slum. Bimbo has slept outdoors or in makeshift shelters since the project flattened her home and soda-drink business, her source of livelihood. Other evictees became utterly destitute: A few died from malnutrition. Some women and girls have been raped and others turned to sex work to survive. Bimbo’s homelessness transformed her into an activist. Read her story here: World Bank Project Evictee Becomes Women’s Rights Activist - Bimbo Oshobe.
Broken Promises: Gender Impacts of the World Bank-Financed West-African and Chad-Cameroon Pipelines
Nigeria is Africa’s largest oil producer and among the continent’s largest natural gas producers.
Based on fieldwork conducted by Gender Action and Friends of the Earth member groups in Nigeria, Cameroon, Togo and Ghana, we reported in Broken Promises that the Chad-Cameroon and West African pipelines, financed by the World Bank, increased women's poverty and dependence on men; caused ecological degradation that destroyed women's livelihoods; discriminated against women in employment and compensation; excluded women in consultation processes; and led to increased prostitution and gender-based violence (GBV). Finally in 2016 the World Bank established a Task Force that aims to prevent GBV in Bank investments.
Women Stand their Ground against BIG Coal: the AfDB Sendou plant impacts on women in a time of climate crisis
Women Stand their Ground against BIG Coal is Gender Action’s newest field-based case study, which we co-sponsored with two African partners – Senegal-based Lumière Synergie pour le Développement (LSD) and the WoMin African Alliance. Women Stand their Ground highlights the deleterious impacts of the public African Development Bank (AfDB)-financed Sendou coal plant on people, particularly women, and ecosystems, amidst the world’s intensifying climate emergency. Women fishers in Bargny, Senegal, are leading a fight against the coal plant also co-funded by the public West African Development Bank (BOAD) and Netherlands Development Bank (FMO) and private Compagnie Bancaire de l'Afrique de l'Ouest (CBAO). The has destroyed women fishers’ livelihoods and undermined the health of community members. Although the AfDB announced in late 2019 it would exit new coal projects, Sendou, which began operating in 2018, will generate coal-fired power and pollutants harmful to people’s health for decades. Women Stand their Ground employs a groundbreaking ecofeminist impact assessment framework which underlines how the climate crisis particularly impacts African women who carry primary responsibility, based on the current gender division of labour, for putting food on tables and caring for people and ecosystems.
Serbia and Montenegro
Gender Action launched its gendered impacts of structural
adjustment program (SAP) with its first case in Serbia and
Montenegro. Gender Action’s analysis of Serbia and Montenegro's
World Bank US$250 million "structural adjustment lending
program" describes differing impacts on poor women and
men. At the time of our analysis in 2004, SAPs composed at
least four fifths of Bank loans to these republics. Our analysis
found a distinct pattern of neglect of gendered impacts.
Serbia and Montenegro's structural adjustment objectives
consist of: public expenditure cutbacks and civil service
reforms including in the social sectors – in health,
education, labor and social protection programs; State Owned
Enterprise (SOE) closing, restructuring and/or privatizing;
and bank commercialization and downsizing.
Local citizen's groups are using this analysis to conduct
advocacy to mitigate negative effects and achieve social reforms
including to (1) pressure their government and the World Bank
to create employment, retraining and other compensatory programs
for single female parents and other vulnerable women who lose
employment through SAL programs; (2) obtain a US$7 million
public sector allocation to assist vulnerable women in the
national poverty reduction strategy; (3) achieve an increase
in women’s pensions; and (4) pressure the World Bank
Belgrade office to undertake a Country Gender Assessment to
identify gender gaps that future investments should try to
See our publication presenting this analysis by Aleksandra
Vladisavljevic of the Association for Women's Initiatives
in Belgrade, and Elaine Zuckerman, Gender Action President,
Adjustment's Gendered Impacts: the Case of Serbia and Montenegro".
To learn more about Gender Action’s trainings with
civil society groups to engender Poverty Reduction Strategy
Papers in seven countries, please see our Brief
Review of PRSP Collaborations by Country. To learn more
about why Gender Action no longer engages in PRSP processes,
see our Engendering Country Strategies