International Organizations and Gender: New Paradigms and Old Habits


Bessis, Sophie. 2004. "International Organizations and Gender: New Paradigms and Old Habits." Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 29 (2): 633-647.

Author: Sophie Bessis


“The principal arguments that the bank presents to justify its 1987 conversion to a gender approach are of a purely economic and strategic nature. Women should be assisted not because their rights are scandalously abused but because the abuse of their rights is an obstacle to the reproduction of dominant economic models in the countries of the South. The fact that women, even in the most difficult circumstances, are able to capture the dynamism of the market sphere is, in the eyes of World Bank experts, a significant step toward the much-desired generalization of market forces. The question of women’s rights is thus secondary for an institution that sees women first and foremost as a new type of economic actor, a possible guarantor of social stability in an era when that stability is increasingly difficult to achieve. The World Bank has thus instrumentalized women in the sense that their promotion is not an end in itself but rather a means of implementing the bank’s policies for economic growth and eradication of poverty” (Bessis 2004, 641).

Topics: Gender Mainstreaming, International Financial Institutions, Rights, Women's Rights

Year: 2004

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