The Gender Dimensions of Post-Conflict Reconstruction: The World Bank Track Record


Zuckerman, Elaine, Suzanna Dennis, and Marcia E. Greenberg. 2007. The Gender Dimensions of Post-Conflict Reconstruction: The World Bank Track Record. Washington, D.C.: Gender Action. 

Authors: Elaine Zuckerman, Suzanna Dennis, Marcia E. Greenberg


This paper is the latest in a Gender Action series underlining the continuing disconnect between World Bank rhetoric on the need for gender equality to reduce poverty, and scarce gender considerations in large Bank investments. Through evaluating World Bank investments in Post-Conflict Reconstruction (PCR) situations including a sample of its large PCR development loans and its small Post-Conflict Fund (PCF) grants, we demonstrate the limited extent to which the world’s largest public development institution meets its own promised objective to “mainstream gender” into all its investments.

This paper belongs to Gender Action’s tradition of holding the World Bank accountable on its unmet gender equality and broader social commitments. Gender Action’s analysis of gender issues in World Bank PCR programs reinforces the findings of our other work demonstrating that Bank loans exacerbate gender discrimination through poverty reduction strategies, policy reforms also known as Structural Adjustment Programs, environment and infrastructure investments. If this pattern does not end, not only will poverty expand but it will continue to feminize in a world where many claim that women already constitute over 70 percent of the poor.

Our paper is structured as follows: Section 2 outlines a conceptual framework to analyze and evaluate the gender dimensions of post conflict work. It suggests three interrelated dimensions for addressing gender within post-conflict reconstruction: (1) women-focused activities; (2) gender aware programming; and (3) social transformation through the promotion of gender equality. Section 3 is the centerpiece of this paper through which we apply the conceptual framework to the Bank’s investments and interventions. It first explains our methodology, and then raises examples. Section 4 reviews the extent to which the World Bank has integrated women-focused activities, gender aware programming and social transformation into important elements of post-conflict reconstruction. Throughout the paper, we recommend genderfocused approaches for building peaceful and equitable post-conflict societies based on examples of World Bank and other donor projects. In Section 5 we conclude with practical recommendations for World Bank PCR to improve its track record on gender both for women and for the families, communities and nations of which they are such an integral part.

Topics: Development, Economies, Poverty, Gender Mainstreaming, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, International Organizations, Livelihoods, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction Regions: Africa, MENA, Central Africa, East Africa, Southern Africa, Americas, South America, Asia, Middle East, South Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Angola, Cambodia, Colombia, Iraq, Rwanda, Sri Lanka

Year: 2007

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