Since 1994, the World Bank has recognized the important role that gender equality plays in reducing poverty levels. Studies have demonstrated that improving women’s health, education, and empowerment in the family improves a country’s economic and social development. Integrating social themes such as gender in development projects has also shown to improve project success. As a result, in 1994 the Bank began instituting policies to address gender issues in its projects.
In 2016, the Bank Group has begun implementing its new Gender Equality Strategy 2016-2023, following consultations with more than 1,000 stakeholders in 22 countries. The new strategy charts an ambitious course by focusing on tangible interventions that reach real-world results, by identifying and implementing operations that narrow opportunity and outcome gaps between males and females. It aims further to address constraints cited in many economies as impediments to closing these gaps: occupational sex segregation, with women and girls often streamed into lower-paying, less secure fields of study and work; lack of safe, affordable transportation; and inadequate investment in and prioritization of care services across the life cycle, from early childhood to old age.