The World Bank derogates women's rights: outcomes from Beijing

The World Bank claims to have become the defender of women's rights, urging national governments to 'invest more in women in order to reduce gender inequality and boost economic development'. Through its Women in Development Programme (WID), adopted throughout the developing world, the Bank defines the ground rules on gender policy. A market oriented approach is prescribed, with a monetary value attached to gender equality: women's programmes are to be framed in relation to the opportunity cost and efficiency of women's rights. The Bank determines the concepts, methodological categories, and database for analysing gender issues. The paper critically analyses the World Bank's approach to women and gender issues, and concludes that the neo-liberal gender perspective (under the trusteeship of international donors, such as the World Bank and IMF) is largely intent upon creating divisions within national societies, and demobilising the struggle of women and men against the macroeconomic model. Abstract supplied by kind permission of CABI.