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

Citation:

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

Abstract:

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

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