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4. Gender in nonlending services.

The 1994 internal gender policy mandates that gender be integrated into economic and sector work and country assistance strategies whenever appropriate. But reports prepared by Bank management in response to the OED ledger of recommendations, and more recently to brief CODE, recognize that while many country assistance strategies identify some gender issues, most do not discuss possible strategies. This chapter assesses recent evidence that the earlier WID assessments contributed to subsequent lending and nonlending work, and that gender is becoming more systematically integrated in ESW and CASs, at least in the 12 countries where the need is greatest.

The legacy of WID assessments in the late 1980s

Some WID assessments were superficial and did not influence subsequent work. Others (for example, India, Pakistan, and Turkey) played a key role in promoting active, ongoing dialogues with the borrowers. Good sector work provides a solid basis for project design and helps clarify with borrowers the issues that can best be addressed with Bank assistance. For example, a 1989 WID assessment for the Philippines noted the country's relatively high fertility and mortality rates and brought women's health issues to the attention of Bank staff. A sector report was prepared to assess the country's population program. This report was instrumental in the government's decision to adopt a health rationale for family planning and to give priority to a women's health and safe motherhood project. Similarly, the origins of the China Southwest Poverty Reduction Project (Cr. 2744), which contains extensive measures to increase women's labor mobility, can be traced to the preparation and public release of a 1992 Bank study that made poverty reduction a more explicit focus of Bank lending in China.

Early economic and sector work, especially the WID assessments, often identified bottlenecks in legal and regulatory frameworks and policies that hampered women's access to resources and services. As a result, several projects approved in FY94--95 attempted policy, administrative, or legal reforms that would affect women. For example, the Pakistan Social Action Program Project (Cr. 2593) proposes policy reforms to address systemic problems in primary education, including allowing girls to attend boys' schools and vice versa; relaxing age and qualification requirements to increase the number of female teachers in rural areas; in Balochistan, amending rules so that both men and women can apply for positions previously restricted to men and retired teachers; and in the Northwest Frontier Province, revising service rules to allow the hiring of local girls to be trained as teachers by mobile units. In the Mauritania General Education Project (Cr. 2706), policy and administrative measures are planned to promote female education. These measures would include allowing communities and schools greater authority to set the school calendar to accommodate children's work requirements; increasing to 50 percent the share of female secondary scholarship recipients; and increasing the number of women in management positions in the Ministry of Education. In the Uganda Institutional Capacity Building Project (Cr. 2736), laws relating to domestic relations are being amended under the Law Reform Exercise. These laws affect the rights of women, their position within society, and their ability to engage independently in commercial and economic activity.

The Operations Evaluation Department study showed that the
systematic preparation of country-level WID assessments, which were
required from all regional offices in the late 1980s, strengthened
gender work in several ways. At the country level it helped the
Bank identify relevant issues, and incorporate them into the
dialogue between the Bank and borrowers. The process also
highlighted generic issues found in many countries, such as the
importance of legal and regulatory factors in determining women's
access to services and labor opportunities.


Common issues across countries. "Rural Women in the Sahel and their
Access to Agricultural Extension" (World Bank 1995c) documents
women's pivotal role in the economy of rural areas with high levels
of poverty and fragile agroclimatic environments. It discusses how
extension services can better meet women's needs, and some of the
measures it proposes are already being implemented. In the same
vein, Girls and Schools in Sub-Saharan Africa: From Analysis to
Action (Odaga and Heneveld 1995) documents the issues and possible
actions in a priority topic.

Women's situation in one country. A recent survey in Indonesia
showed that labor regulations are not all fully applied to women
workers in the manufacturing sector and that women were not all
aware of their rights. With Bank support, a local nongovernmental
organization (NGO) is now informing women of these regulations. A
broader review of the legal framework and the constraints that
women may encounter has also been conducted.

Women in one sector in one country. "Financial Services for the
Rural Poor and Women in India: Access and Sustainability" (Mahajan
and Ramola 1996) analyzes how well financial institutions reach the
rural poor, especially women. Based on this and a review of
experience in other countries (Bennett and Goldberg 1996), a survey
of six hundred households below the poverty line was conducted to
map the demand for and supply of financial services among poor men
and women in two districts in North India. The study identified a
hierarchy of constraints and developed a package of reforms for the
rural financial sector.

Country strategy. An internal study highlights the contribution
women make to Moroccan society and identifies the constraints that
limit their productivity, income, and social welfare. The study
proposes a program to address poverty and gender concerns at the
country level.

Gender issues across sectors. "El Salvador--Moving to a Gender
Approach: Issues and Recommendations" (World Bank 1995b) identifies
gender issues in health, education, labor, land tenure, credit,
rural water, and energy. This report documents differences in the
roles of men and women and examines gender differentials in access
to resources and services. It distinguishes behavioral
differences--such as tastes and preferences--from, inequities
caused by gender discrimination. The report proposes goals, sets
out an action program, and identifies local NGOs qualified to help
implement the plan.

Gender in recent economic and sector work

In 1994, OED recommended various steps to better integrate gender into country and sector work as well as the portfolio, such as bringing in gender expertise during ESW and formally including gender in discussions with the borrowers. In recent years, a diversity of ways to incorporate gender issues in sector work has emerged, mostly through a systematic documentation and analysis of women's roles and potentials (Box 4.2).

The 1994 study also recommended that proposals seeking to increase attention to gender be considered for financing through FIAHS, a matching grant fund established in 1994 to improve the quality of Bank operations in areas that have yet to be mainstreamed into the Bank's operational work. During FY95, a $2 million replenishment supported several initiatives related to gender issues (Box 4.3). Many of these activities served to provide a more thorough and location-specific understanding of how gender issues relate to development choices.

Gender in country assistance strategies

The 1994 OED study recommended that country departments determine what steps, if any, are needed to ensure that the required CAS statement on gender reflects a good understanding of the situation and contributes to the policy discussion with member countries. Management agreed to do so. Management reports that 52 of the 100 assistance strategies prepared during FY94 and FY95 specifically discussed gender issues, with the CASs for India, Indonesia, Madagascar, Malawi, Panama, and Zambia given as good examples. A review of these strategy papers and the evidence from the 12 countries with the greatest gender gap (identified in the section on distribution across countries) shows that progress in integrating gender aspects in CAS work (throughout the CAS preparation as well as in the document itself) has been slow.

Country assistance strategies have been issued since 1993 for all 12 countries with the greatest gap except Sudan, and poverty assessments have been completed for 9 of them. The CASs were reviewed to identify relevant gender issues, discussions of priorities and possible strategies, breakdowns of key indicators for men and women, and utilization of gender findings from the poverty assessment (if available). The section also draws from the proposed action plans that the regions are finalizing. (1)

The 1994 OED study identified Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan as countries that had high-quality WID assessments and had made good progress in integrating gender in their lending portfolio. These three countries were also the first to have local staff at the Bank mission assigned to work specifically on gender issues, and in each case, staff with strong personal commitment and field experience have been involved in sector and lending work since the early 1990s. This update confirms that gender issues are addressed effectively in each country, although with differing emphases.

Studies for economic and sector work. One of the five studies
carried out as part of the sector report on improving education in
Pakistan analyzes the possible influence of community participation
on girls' education. The study used the fund to cover the
collection of data, both qualitative and quantitative, that would
identify whether and how community participation made a difference
in the schools.

Fieldwork during project preparation. In Pakistan, FIAHS funds were
used in the Balochistan Primary Education Project and sector work.
Together with matched supervision funds from the project and the
education sector work budget, they supported social assessment to
improve understanding of community organization and capacity
building in Balochistan. The study, which will influence Bank
strategy in Pakistan, helped strengthen local evaluative capacity.
FIAHS funds will be used for the forthcoming midterm review.

Poverty monitoring. FIAHS funds supported a participatory workshop
on poverty monitoring and analysis held in South Africa.
Participants were from nongovernmental organizations, government
departments, universities, businesses, and labor. The workshop
clearly brought out that women--in the words of one
participant'--work in the "survival sector." The workshop also
stressed the importance of building a partnership among
organizations and poor people to work on policy and program design,
implementation, and monitoring.

The 1996 CASs for Bangladesh and Pakistan stand out for their thorough attention to gender in all variables, including their utilization of findings from the poverty assessments. The two countries are already implementing projects with innovative strategies for reaching girls and women, and especially for ensuring that parents keep their girls as well as their boys in school. The pattern established in earlier years is being sustained, and a review of the country general files confirms that, for Bangladesh, gender is well integrated into Bank work (Box 4.3).

The 1994 study also noted the high-quality WID assessment prepared for India in 1991. The (AS currently under implementation refers to gender issues but does not discuss them in terms of priorities or strategies (it does provide gender-disaggregated data). However, quality work on gender issues was done in sector work and studies, especially for the health, education, and financial services sectors. The action plan for SAS reflects excellent ongoing gender work m the poverty assessment for India and in the preparation of a rural finance project (an innovative, free-standing project for rural women) and the next CAS

The CASs for the other countries in the Asia regions with the greatest gender gap (Bhutan, Comoros, and Papua New Guinea) include only a limited treatment of gender. (2) The two CASs for Bhutan and Comoros (both issued in 1993, before the gender policy was issued) are included in a project memorandum to the president (MOP)--for the Third Forestry Development Project and a population and human resources project, respectively. The CASs refer to the needs of women but do not discuss strategies, even in the context of the project they are linked with. The CAS for Bhutan identifies the need to improve women's access to educational, health, and agricultural services, and the MOP states that the forestry project will enhance women's role in decisions involving environmental issues. The CAS for Comoros (prepared before a poverty assessment was completed) mentions the needs of girls and women in relation to education and health access but does not discuss priorities or gender strategies.

In MNA, the 1994 study noted that Yemen stood out for its strong discussion of WID issues in its latest country economic memorandum, which drew from a series of WID-action projects in education and agriculture and a WID strategy paper. The FY96 CAS clearly links gender concerns with the development priority areas of population, education, and maternal and child health, a link which was well documented in the poverty assessment. The need to involve women in other sectors, while not highlighted in the CAS, is integrated in subsequent lending (TAIZ Water Supply Pilot Project).

In Africa, the four countries with low gender indicators have all improved their handling of gender issues since the 1994 study. Drawing from the poverty assessments, the country assistance strategies for Malawi (FY96) and Uganda (FY95) prioritize and effectively discuss gender issues. The CAS for Senegal (FY95) also identifies (but does not prioritize) gender issues. The Guinea CAS (FY94) is more superficial in its treatment of gender issues, perhaps because it is presented within a health and nutrition sector project (Box 4.4).

Incorporating gender in the country dialogue. A review of the
Bank's general files for Bangladesh in the year preceding
publication of the country assistance strategy (CAS) showed that
managers and staff at the resident mission and in Washington
referred to gender aspects frequently and routinely in both formal
exchanges with the borrower and informal exchanges between the
mission and the headquarters.

Utilization of poverty assessment findings in the CAS. The task
manager for the Uganda poverty assessment used participatory
methods that allowed the poor, including children and women, to
share their understanding of poverty and wealth. This early example
of a participatory poverty assessment included a thorough
discussion of differences in men's and women's access to goods and
services and discussed the gender consequences of civil strife. The
CAS (issued in May 1995) used these findings to identify gender
issues and devise appropriate priorities and strategies. The CAS's
gender focus contrasts with the limited attention given to gender
in projects recently completed in Uganda (Chapter 3),

Sectoral bias. The Guinea country assistance strategy was written
in conjunction with a health and nutrition sector project and
limits its discussion of gender to girls' education. The CAS's
paragraph on areas of special emphasis notes that women constitute
a large majority of Guinea's rural labor force but are excluded
from rights to property and credit. The CAS further notes that the
long-term implications of their limited access to health care and
education are enormous. But the CAS discusses general issues in
employment, agriculture, land tenure, and legislation without
mentioning gender concerns. Despite the superficial treatment of
gender in the CAS, the current portfolio includes excellent plans
to improve educational opportunities for girls.

The CASs for these 12 countries differ in their approach to gender issues. Generally, more recent strategies treat gender issues more thoroughly than earlier ones. But there is no clear pattern within individual countries to show the evolution from early economic and sector work to CASs and then to lending. In countries where the issues are particularly relevant, this diversity shows that attention to gender is not yet systematically integrated into the preparation of CASs. India's experience shows that CASs cannot be used in isolation to assess whether gender is mainstreamed in Bank work and in the dialogue with the borrower. Rather, it is the package of gender efforts in ESW, studies that focus specifically on gender, the CAS, and individual project documents that truly reflect progress toward mainstreaming.

These findings coincide with those presented to management by the Task Group on Social Development. Both sets of findings underscored the lack of attention to social factors in country and sector work. The task group has recommended that each region select two or three CASs and systematically integrate social concerns, including gender issues, into them. Current efforts toward participatory approaches to CAS preparation, project preparation, and project implementation should help identify and prioritize gender issues.

As a rule, the regional draft action plans advocate the systematic integration of gender issues into ESW and the CAS preparation, with country-level assessments of gender priorities a key objective. The action plans make a clear distinction between this desirable goal and a perfunctory statement on gender that is not based on a thorough assessment of needs.


(1.) Action plans for the East Asia and Pacific and South Asia regional offices were presented at a gender symposium, November 12-14,1996. The action plans for the other regions were still in draft at the time of writing.

(2.) In Papua New Guinea, serious macroeconomic and structural problems have tended to dwarf other concerns. The East Asia and Pacific action plan now proposes a gender specialist who will work with Bank and borrower staff in Papua New Guinea.
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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:3. Gender in the investment portfolio.
Next Article:5. Gender in a changing Bank.

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