Asian Development Bank
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is an international development finance institution whose mission is to help its developing member countries reduce poverty and improve the quality of life of their people. Headquartered in the Philippines , and established in 1966, ADB is owned and financed by its 67 members, of which 48 are from the region and 19 are from other parts of the globe. ADB’s main partners are governments, the private sector, nongovernment organizations, development agencies, community-based organizations, and foundations. Under Strategy 2020, a long-term strategic framework adopted in 2008, ADB will follow three complementary strategic agendas: inclusive growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration.In pursuing its vision, ADB’s main instruments comprise loans, technical assistance, grants, advice, and knowledge.
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The Asian Development Bank and Gender Equality
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) adopted its policy on gender and development (GAD) in 1998 to replace the 1986 policy on the role of women in development. The GAD policy signalled a shift from targeted interventions mainly in the social sectors, to a gender mainstreaming approach recognizing gender as a cross-cutting issue influencing all social and economic processes.
Under the 1998 GAD policy, ADB adopted a gender mainstreaming approach with an emphasis on several areas:
- (i) undertaking upstream work, including economic and sector studies, country partnership strategies (CPSs), and policy dialogue;
- (ii) increasing the number of loans directly addressing gender disparities;
- (iii) mainstreaming gender concerns more generally in across all sectors of ADB’s loan portfolio; and
- (iv) building gender capacity of the DMCs for more gender-responsive policy making.
The key elements of ADB’s policy and focus of activities were to:
- provide assistance to its developing member countries (DMCs) in the areas of policy support, capacity building, GAD awareness, and formulation and implementation of policies and programs directed at improving the status of women;
- facilitate gender analysis of proposed projects, including program and sector loans, and ensure that gender issues are considered at all the appropriate stages of the project cycle, including identification, preparation, appraisal, implementation, and evaluation;
- promote increased GAD awareness within ADB through training workshops and seminars, development of suitable approaches, and staff guidelines to implement the GAD policy;
- assist the DMCs in implementing commitments made at the Beijing World Conference on Women; and
- explore opportunities to directly address some of the new and emerging issues for women in the region.
In 2008, the GAD Policy gained added momentum through the inclusion of “gender equity” as one of the five drivers of change in Strategy 2020 – ADB’s long term strategic framework. Under Strategy 2020, ADB commits to promoting gender equity by designing more gender-inclusive projects that deliver better gender equality outcomes in education and health, clean water supply, better sanitation, and essential basic infrastructure while paying careful attention to gender equality issues across the full range of its operations. ADB’s revised corporate results framework (2012) includes gender mainstreaming targets to be met “at entry”- 45% of all ADB and 55% of Asian Development Fund (ADF) operations to be gender mainstreamed, and “at exit” to measure the proportion of completed operations delivering intended gender equality results
The Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Operational Plan (2013-2020)
In 2013 ADB adopted a new Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Operational Plan 2013-2020 that sets out the strategic directions and guiding framework for moving the gender equity agenda forward, and for better aligning gender operations with Strategy 2020. The gender equality operational plan was developed based on ADB’s previous experience, tested approaches, and achievements in gender mainstreaming. Moving forward, ADB will intensify its efforts to ensure that gender equality remains at the front and center of its development efforts, and to accelerate progress on closing remaining gender gaps in the Asia and Pacific region. The operational plan will serve as the roadmap for translating the gender equity as driver of change in Strategy 2020 into concrete and measurable operations to support gender equality outcomes.
The outcome of the gender equality operational plan is improved gender equality results of ADB operations by 2020. While gender mainstreaming will remain the primary and priority approach, on its own it may not be sufficient to narrow persisting gender gaps and inequalities. Targeted public policies and priority investments in women and girls are required to accelerate closing remaining gender gaps and achieving better gender equality outcomes.
Opportunities for direct investment in women and girls to narrow gender disparities will be explored in areas such as:
- (i) girls secondary education and completion;
- (ii) access to productive assets, labor saving technology, jobs, and income earning opportunities;
(iii) school-to-work transition programs and skills training for employment, especially for young women;
- (iv) business development services for women entrepreneurs; (v) financial services and access to credit;
- (vi) policy and legal reforms to tackle issues of gender-based violence and anti-trafficking, and;
- (vii) giving women voice in decision-making in both formal and informal institutions.
These complimentary and more targeted initiatives are more likely to deliver gender equality outcomes faster and to equip women to better capture and benefit from the opportunities provided through gender mainstreaming.
- Visit ADB’s gender website: http://www.adb.org/themes/gender/main