New Ways or Old Tricks? The World Bank’s Gender Strategy and Its Implications for Health


Power, Luke. 2020. “New Ways or Old Tricks? The World Bank’s Gender Strategy and Its Implications for Health.” International Journal of Health Services 50 (1): 21–31.

Author: Luke Power


This paper provides a critical examination of the World Bank’s document, “World Bank Group Gender Strategy: Gender Equality, Poverty Reduction, and Inclusive Growth.” While the World Bank suggests that this paper is a distinction from past practices, others maintain that it is a continuation of previous neoliberal strategies. Thus, the aim of this analysis is to elucidate the implications of the proposed strategies on both gender equality and health equity. The analytical framework derives from both feminist political economy and the political economy of health literature. Within the document there is a direct emphasis on privatization and deregulation. Moreover, there is a clear re-articulation of both the state and female-citizenship: the former is presented as an “enabling agent,” and the latter depoliticized. Accordingly, it is argued that the promotion of macroeconomic strategies leads to the exaggeration of gender inequalities due to the perpetuation and crystallization of social inequalities. This consequently leads to the entrenchment of health inequities. These health inequities are compounded by the promotion of a “reduced state” that focuses on constructing a “workfare” state and a citizen who is resigned to community politics. Thus, instead of promoting gender equality, this report reflects a tendency toward its perpetuation.

Topics: Feminisms, Feminist Political Economy, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Health, International Financial Institutions

Year: 2020

© 2023 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at