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3. Gender in the investment portfolio.

This chapter analyzes the features of projects with gender-related action approved in FY94, FY95, and FY96, for three purposes. The chapter seeks first to find out if the factors found to be associated with successful achievement of gender objectives are now more systematically present in the design of recently approved projects, and second, to further explore the possible link, noted in the 1994 study, between gender concerns and participatory approaches. The chapter then combines this new evidence with the data compiled for the 1994 study, to show how the prevalence and distribution of projects with gender-related action have evolved since FY87 across sectors and regions.

Design quality in projects approved in FY94 and FY95

Features associated with successful achievement of the gender objectives (Chapter 2) have become significantly more frequent in projects approved in FY94 and FY95, and project design is generally of better quality than for projects approved in the late 1980s.

Gender analysis

Among the 120 projects with gender-related action approved in FY94 and FY95, only 14 (12 percent) showed no evidence of efforts to identify gender roles. This is a great improvement over the completed projects reviewed in Chapter 2, 67 percent of which included no gender analysis. Thirty-three of the recent projects included high-quality gender analysis that documented the productive, reproductive, and community roles of women and men in the project area and used this evidence to identify needs and appropriate strategies. Another 47 included substantial (though not thorough) gender analysis. (1) In the remaining 26 projects the gender analysis was superficial. Figures 3.1 and 3.2 show the increased prevalence and quality of gender analysis in recent projects compared with completed projects.

The incidence of projects with high- or substantial-quality gender analysis is greatest by far in the human resources sector and in the Africa (AFR) and the South Asia (SAS) regional offices. Figure 3.3 shows the breakdown of such projects across regions for the agriculture and human resources sectors.

When gender analysis was included, the findings were most often used to identify appropriate actions for strengthening women's productive roles (79 projects), community roles (51 projects), and reproductive roles (42 projects), with some projects focusing on more than one role. In all sectors, gender analysis was used most frequently to identify appropriate productive activities.

The 1994 Operations Evaluation Department study showed a sharp
increase in the prevalence of projects with gender-related actions
started in FY87, which peaked in FY91. Projects with gender-related
action were found mostly in the agriculture and the human resources
sectors, and they increased most rapidly in the Africa region.

The argument used most frequently (in 72 out of 120 projects) to justify gender-related activities was equity--that is, ensuring that women as well as men benefited from project activities. Poverty arguments were used in 53 projects and welfare arguments in 40, but economic efficiency was explicitly used in only 30 cases. Some projects addressed more than one rationale. These findings contrast with the 58 completed projects reviewed in the previous chapter, which used only two arguments to justify gender objectives: productive efficiency and improving the welfare of women. The Bank's 19c>4 internal policy paper based its arguments for strengthening the role of WID on economic efficiency and equity. The fact that task managers are now more likely to use an equity argument to justify including some gender-related action in their projects s thus in line with Bank policy. This development parallels changes in other development agencies and the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OI CD) (see Chapter 5).

Gender objectives and their integration into project objectives

OED's 1994 study noted that gender objectives were becoming better integrated into project objectives. This trend is confirmed in the FY94-95 projects, as 85 of the !20 projects showed such integration. This evolution is significant, given the t projects are more likely to meet their gender objectives when these objectives are well articulated and integrated into project objectives (Chapter 2).

All 33 of the FY94-95 projects with high-quality gender analysis integrated their gender objectives into their overall project objectives. Only 4 of the 14 projects with no gender analysis can make this claim. For example, the Guinea Equity and School Improvement Project (Cr. 2719) had as one of its goals increasing girls' enrollment in primary schools. During project preparation, gender analysis showed that parents gave much weight to proximity to home, safety, and adequate sanitation facilities when deciding whether to send their girls to school. The project components were designed to respond to these findings: smaller, multigrade classrooms would be built close to individual communities, adequate sanitary facilities would be included in all schools, and parents would be involved in the upkeep and maintenance of the schools. By integrating the special needs of girls in project design, the schools have adapted to parents' concerns and so are likely to serve the community better.

The strategy used most frequently (in 102 projects) to reach gender objectives involved targeting, services to women users or clients. Targets ranged from all women farmers in a project area to more restricted categories of clients. Quantified goals were rarely specified. Thirty-five projects also planned to hire women to provide services tailored to women and girls. But quotas specifying the percentage of clients who must be women were used infrequently (seven cases). Such narrow targeting requires more detailed knowledge of the characteristics, needs, and preferences of potential users. Experience may show that narrow targeting is more likely when a high-quality gender analysis has been done.

The Sri Lanka Poverty Alleviation Project (Cr. 2231, approved in
FY91) seeks to increase income-generating opportunities among the
poor and to improve the nutritional status of children under three
and of pregnant and lactating mothers. The midterm supervision
report tracks levels of women's participation in credit and
microenterprise activities, nutrition interventions and community
works, and activities related to the mobilization of the poor.
Although hampered by the lack of projectwide gender-disaggregated
data, the review team was able to identify desirable changes in
strategy, demonstrating its commitment to gender concerns in the


Overall, the projects approved in FY94-95 have a higher quality of gender analysis and are more likely to integrate gender objectives into overall project objectives than the projects approved in earlier years. Since these factors have been linked to successful implementation in completed projects, this evolution is encouraging. By themselves, however, gender analysis and gender-related objectives do not guarantee that implementation and outcomes will be successful or even that gender will receive enough attention during implementation, supervision, and evaluation. Box 3.2 describes a promising use of supervision findings.

Links between gender issues and other Bank concerns

In recent years, the Bank has promoted the use of participatory approaches at all phases of the project cycle and in ESW. (2) The 120 projects with gender-related action approved in FY94 and FY95 were rated for the level of participation during design or the level planned for implementation, using the typology now favored throughout the Bank of no participation, information, consultation, and collaboration with stakeholders. Only 4 of the 120 projects did not mention promoting participation at any level, but 37 planned to seek full collaboration with some key stakeholders and combined a participatory approach with gender-related action. Of course, no conclusion on causality can be drawn from this data, but any link between gender and participatory approaches provides the Bank and borrowers with opportunities for mutually reinforcing efforts in these two areas of concern. (See Box 3.3 for some examples of projects with participatory design and gender-related objectives.)

The 37 projects seeking collaboration were found mostly in AFR (which has a larger number of projects overall) and the Latin America and the Caribbean regional office (LAC) (Figure 3.4). The agriculture sector had 21 such projects, followed by 10 in human resources (Figure 3.5).

Thirteen of the 120 projects combine a high level of gender analysis with a collaborative approach to participation that truly gives beneficiaries a voice in decisions affecting their lives. Eight of these projects are in the human resources sector; one is a social investment fund project listed in the social sector, and the remaining four are in the agriculture sector. The diversity of projects in this innovative category is striking: they include health projects in Croatia (Ln. 3843), Peru (Ln. 3701), and Panama (Ln. 3841); population and human resources in Comoros (Cr. 2553); general education in Mauritania (Cr. 2706); irrigation in Morocc a (Ln. 3688); food security in Benin (Cr. 2601); micro- and small-enterprise training in Kenya (Cr. 2596); forest management and conservation in Lao (Cr. 2586); a social investment fund in Ecuador (Ln. 3707); a social recover) project in Zambia (Cr. 2755); a poverty reduction project in China (Southwest, Cr. 2744); and an equity and school improvement project in Guinea (Cr. 2719).

The Pakistan Social Action Program (Cr. 2593) involves parents in
its efforts to increase the enrollment of girls in primary and
secondary schools. Parents have been participating in school and
rural water supply programs, and parents' committees now oversee
government schools in Balochistan. Many communities without schools
have been encouraged to build their own schools and to hire female
teachers, who will be paid by the government.

A subproject component in the Ecuador Third Social Development
Project: Social Investment Fund (Ln. 3707) finances actions in
primary health and education, basic infrastructure, and small-scale
productive community investments under an emergency social
investment fund. Because women and households headed by women will
be the primary beneficiaries, they are actively involved in the
design, implementation, and maintenance of these activities.

Regional offices recently chose 19 of their "flagship" participatory ESW reports or projects for periodic reporting to the President. Many of these projects are just being prepared (one was approved in FY93), so they are not part of the 120 new projects reviewed in this chapter. Given the possible link between attention to gender issues and participatory approaches, OED reviewed the files of the 19 flagship projects. Several give clear evidence of excellent integration of gender issues, for example, the Armenia Social Investment Fund (Cr. 2784) and the Balochistan Primary Education Project in Pakistan (Cr. 2482). But others show no evidence of attention to gender, even though gender issues are relevant to the project objectives.

Evolution of the portfolio with gender-related action, FY87-96

The previous two sections compared the design features of projects recently approved with those approved from FY87-93. A significant improvement in quality and an increasing link between gender concerns and participatory approaches has been established. This success can now be assessed against the first three principles of the Bank s 1994 strategy, that is, focus on education, health, labor, agriculture, and financial services; concentration in countries where the need is greatest; and more general mainstreaming of gender into Bank work (described in Box 1.1). This section first compares the sectoral and regional distributions of projects with gender-related action with those of the total investment portfolio approved from FY87-96, and then combines all portfolio data to show how the prevalence of projects with gender-related action has evolved.



Sectoral distribution

The 1994 gender policy, like the WID work program of the previous six years, calls for concentrating the Bank's efforts on girls' education, women's health, agriculture, labor markets, and financial services. Figure 3.6 shows that, in line with Bank priorities, the human resources (3) and agriculture (4) sectors together account for 79 percent of all investment projects that include gender-related action approved between FY94 and FY96. But actions that promote integration of gender issues in relation with labor markets and financial services were often found in projects classified in the MIS as human resources or agriculture sectors, so there is more diversity across all of the 1994 policy priorities than shown in this data. Nevertheless, the draft regional action plans, while emphasizing the five areas cited in the gender policy, also identify the need for gender-related actions in areas such as transport (Africa), social security and services (Europe and Central Asia regional office, or ECA), and public sector modernization (LAC). Recent Bank studies, such as a case study on the role of women (Malmberg-Calvo 1994), Confronting Crisis (Moser 1996), and a tool kit on women and water and sanitation projects (Fong, Wakeman, and Bhushan 1996), show how gender concerns are increasingly found in a diversity of sectors.

Distribution across countries

As noted in the 1994 study, the investment portfolios for low-income countries (5) continue to include a greater proportion of projects with gender-related action than the portfolios for low-, middle-, and high-income countries. From FY94-96, about 40 percent of projects approved in low-income countries included some gender-related action. In low- to middle-income countries, however, only 13 percent of projects in FY94 and 23 percent of projects in FY95 and FY96 incorporated such actions. Overall, about two-thirds of all projects with gender-related action approved each year (501 out of the 802 approved between FY67 and FY96) are in low-income countries.

The relative proportion of projects with gender-related action in each region's portfolio is therefore influenced in part by the number of low-income countries in the area. A significant jump (more than double) in the number of projects with gender-related action occurs after FY88 for AFR and the East Asia and Pacific regional office (EAP) and after FY89 for LAC and SAS (Figure 3.7). Despite some yearly variations, the levels of the late 1980s are being maintained, but they are not rising.

The 1994 internal policy paper mandates that Bank lending for gender-related activities be focused on countries and areas where underinvestment in women has been acute. For this update, OED identified countries where the gender gap is greatest, as measured by four health and education indicators: life expectancy, maternal mortality, literacy, and access to education. (6) The 12 countries that rank lowest on at least three of these four indicators are, by Bank regional office: Comoros, Guinea, Malawi, Senegal, Sudan, and Uganda (AFR); Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Pakistan (SAS); Yemen (Middle East and North Africa Regional Office [MNA]); and Papua New Guinea (EAP).



For all 12 countries, 85 of the 1,124 investment projects (8 percent) approved between FY67 and FY86 included some gender-related actions, a proportion similar to that found for the investment portfolio worldwide. For projects approved between FY87 and FY93, the proportion jumped to 32 percent (129 projects with gender-related action out of 409 investment projects), slightly above the overall portfolio. Between FY94 and FY96, the proportion increased again to 41 percent (58 projects out of 141 approved), well above the 26-31 percent range for the entire portfolio. These 12 countries show a higher level of attention to gender issues than the entire investment portfolio, an indication that the mandate to concentrate on countries with the greatest gender gap is being implemented.

Distribution by approval year

The annual proportion of projects with gender-related action among investment projects varied around 30 percent in the past three years (Figure 3.8). This is below the peak years of FY91-93, but well above the 10 to 20 percent of the late 1980s. The higher design quality of gender actions in recent projects means that overall, the gender quality of the portfolio has improved, and gender is addressed through projects with broader objectives rather than through WID-only projects, (7) in line with Bank policy. But can gender be considered mainstreamed in the investment portfolio? (8) This is a difficult question to answer, since gender concerns are not present equally across sectors and countries, and since the Bank has set no quantitative targets.

The great variation found across sectors (see section on sectoral distribution) can help establish some rough estimates of realistic goals for mainstreaming. Gender concerns are pervasive in health, population, and nutrition and social sectors, and they are likely to be relevant in most educational and many agricultural projects. Recent Bank work has also recognized the importance of gender in such areas as labor regulations, pensions, and other social policy issues (especially in Eastern Europe), and transport. Hypothetical targets of 80-90 percent in the health, population, and nutrition and social sectors, 70-80 percent in education, 60-70 percent in agriculture, and 20-30 percent in finances, urban, and water would result in an overall ceiling of 40-45 percent if the sectoral composition of the portfolio was as found in FY96. The composition of the portfolio may change in ways that would raise that ceiling. First, those sectors where gender is most relevant, such as human resources and agriculture, are expected to increase their share of the portfolio in the next few years. Second, as some of the high- to middle-income countries "graduate," the Bank will be able to concentrate on poorer countries and those with the greatest gender gaps.

Although design quality of gender-related actions has improved in recent years, the proportion of projects with such actions and effective gender analysis remains low. Even in the human resources sector, the 24 projects with high-quality gender analysis represent only 28 percent of the 86 projects approved in FY95 and FY96. No single reason explains the scattered incidence of good design--the best cases are spread over all regions and many sectors. But high-quality gender analysis is clearly associated with the use of participatory approaches during project preparation.


(1.) The rating used for completed projects was also applied to the new projects to determine the presence and level of gender analysis in project staff appraisal reports, from "0" (no attempt to understand gender roles) to "3" (full gender analysis leading to definition of objectives or strategy).

(2.) Events that could have influenced task managers during the review period included workshops on participation in February 1992 and May 1994, a Board presentation of a report on the World Bank and participation in September 1994, followed by implementation of participation action plans in each region and central vice presidency, meetings with the Interagency Group on Participation in September 1995 and March 1996, and the involvement of many task managers in the preparation of the World Bank Participation Sourcebook (World Bank 1995g).

(3.) Projects in the population, health, and nutrition sector and, to a lesser degree, education projects are by their nature likely to include some activities directly targeted at women or girls. The importance of girls' education is mentioned and leads to specific action in over half (53 percent) of education projects. Among subsectors, population and nutrition are the only ones in which all projects approved in the past five years have included some gender-related actions.

(4.) The high concentration of projects with gender-related actions in the agriculture and rural development sector is due in part to the weight of the Africa regional office (AFR), which accounts for 69 percent of all such projects. Women are very much involved in agricultural work throughout most of the countries in AFR and are therefore difficult to ignore. Nevertheless, even in AFR, only 66 percent of agricultural projects approved in FY94 and FY95 included some gender-related action, usually in the form of measures to ensure access to information and services.

(5.) Countries with per capita incomes of $695 or less (World Bank 1995f).

(6.) Based on United Nations 1995. The four indicators (1990-95) used as evidence of the gap between men and women are: an advantage for women in life expectancy of only two years or less, a female mortality ratio of more than 300 per 100,00 live births, a difference in male and female illiteracy rates for those age 15-24 of more than 16 percent, and a secondary school enrollment ratio for women of 60 per 100 men or below.

(7.) The Gambia Women in Development (WID) Project (Cr. 2141) is still under implementation. The Cote d'lvoire WID Pilot Project (Ln. 3251) was recently completed. There were no other WID-only projects during the period under review. (A WID project in Mexico was canceled.)

(8.) Chapter 4 discusses the mainstreaming of gender in economic and sector work and country assistance strategies.

High 2
None 67
Some 17
Substantial 14

Source: OED.

Note: Table made from pie chart.


None 12
Some 22
Substantial 38
High 28

Source: OED.

Note: Table made from pie chart.


(agricultural and human resources sectors) (a)

 Agricultural Human resources
 sector sectors

AFR 7 17
EAP 8 6
ECA 0 1
LAC 2 7
MNA 6 1
SAS 4 8

(a). Numbers for other sectors are too small to permit meaningful
regional percentages.

Source: OED

Note: Table made from bar graph.



Human resource 47
Agriculture 32
Others (b) 4
WSS (a) 4
Urban 5
Social 9
Agriculture 32

Note: The Bank management information system created a new category
of "social sector" projects in FY94. Most projects in this category
would have been classified as human resources under the previous
system. None of the projects formally classified in the financial
sector included gender-related actions.

(a). WSS = Water supply and sanitation.

(b). "Others" includes transportation, energy, industry,
environment, and nonspecific sectors.

Sources: World Bank management information system; OED.

Note: Table made from pie chart.
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Title Annotation:Mainstreaming Gender in World Bank Lending: An Update
Author:Murphy, Josette
Publication:Mainstreaming Gender in World Bank Lending
Date:Jun 1, 1997
Previous Article:2. Outcomes and implementation experience for completed projects.
Next Article:4. Gender in nonlending services.

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