- International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD)
- International Development Association (IDA)
- International Finance Corporation (IFC)
- Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA)
- International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID)
The term "World Bank" generally refers to the IBRD and IDA, whereas the World Bank Group is used to refer to the institutions collectively.
The World Bank was formally established on December 27, 1945, following the ratification of the Bretton Woods agreement. The concept was originally conceived in July 1944 at the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference. Two years later, the Bank issued its first loan: $250 million to France for post-war reconstruction, the main focus of the Bank's work in the early post-World War II years. Over time, the "development" side of the Bank's work has assumed a larger share of its lending, although it is still involved in post-conflict reconstruction, together with reconstruction after natural disasters, response to humanitarian emergencies and post-conflict rehabilitation needs affecting developing and transition economies.
The World Bank and Gender Equality
The World Bank promotes gender equality by ensuring that the Bank’s work is responsive to the differing needs, constraints and interests of males and females in client countries. To support this approach, a Bank-wide team consisting of designated staff in the regions, country offices, and network anchors take special responsibility for promoting gender mainstreaming and assisting colleagues with strategy implementation. World Bank attention to gender equality issues began in the 1970s, but the Bank’s emphasis on this issue has increased markedly since the Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing in 1995. Gender equality is now a core element of the Bank’s strategy to reduce poverty. There is a clear understanding that women and men need to have equal capacities, opportunities and voice in order to achieve the ambitious poverty-reduction agenda set out in the Millennium Declaration.
The World Bank tries to mainstream high quality gender analysis in the products that the Bank offers: e.g. lending, analytical work and advisory services. The Bank has mainstreamed gender issues in the social sectors of health and education, and has intensified its integration of gender in the non-social sectors that support shared growth and lead to increased economic opportunities for women, such as the energy, finance, transport and agriculture sectors, among others.
In this context, the Gender and Development Group has commenced a substantive work program to increase the analytical work on the linkages between increased gender equality and greater economic growth. Current priority research in this area involves looking at the gender dimensions of migration flows, labor markets and firm productivity, and demographics and poverty reduction. In 2007, the World Bank released a Gender Action Plan.
Gender Equality as Smart Economics - the four year Gender Action Plan (GAP)
|Gender Equality as Smart Economics|
| Vietnam (land titles to access to credits)
Mexico (labor, access to housing)
Uganda (credit, lawns, business)
Gender Equality as Smart Economics - the four-year Gender Action Plan (GAP) launched in 2007 aims to increase women's access to land, labor force, agriculture, infrastructure, and finance.