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ERIC Number: EJ813702
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 23
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 32
ISSN: ISSN-0010-8146
Rhetoric and Reality: World Bank and CIDA Gender Policies
Hales, Jennifer
Convergence, v40 n1-2 p147-169 2007
The picture the World Bank paints of the world is an optimistic one: living standards are higher than ever before, humanity is progressing, and situations for women are improving. If this is really the case, why then does "the impoverishment of hundreds of millions of people" throughout the world continue? (Chossudovsky 1997, 33). Why do "the disparities between rich and poor, within and between countries, continue to grow?" (Wilson and Whitmore 2000: 15). And why, in the face of increased awareness about the status and rights of women from feminists and women's rights groups globally, are "women...overwhelmingly and everywhere the poorest of the poor?" (Pettman 1996, 15). Why does this contradiction exist? Do the development and gender policies of international development agencies simply amount to rhetoric, serving to mask the realities of poverty while simultaneously promoting another agenda? This article discusses how a neoliberal economic agenda of powerful international development institutions, such as multilateral organisations like the World Bank, can limit and even impede the advancement of their proclaimed goals of achieving gender equality and promoting women's rights. The first section analyses the World Bank's approach to gender equality (1994, 1995a, 1995b, 1998, 2001) and its underlying neoliberal economic agenda. In so doing, it questions whether gender policies framed within neoliberal, free-market ideology can actually achieve their claimed goals. Understanding the neoliberal tendencies of the World Bank's policies will allow a more effective critique of policies of other organisations, such as the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), a bilateral aid agency, or non-governmental organisations (NGOs) which provide aid to developing countries. The second section analyses CIDA's gender document, "CIDA's Policy on Gender Equality" (CIDA 1999). While CIDA's gender policy is comprehensive, it does not contain elements which could indicatee presence of an alignment with World Bank ideology, thus raising questions about the effectiveness of CIDA's policy in practice. The third section relates to the gender policies of smaller, non-governmental and grassroots international development organisations and the role they can play in reinforcing, implicitly or explicitly, a neoliberal approach. This section comprises a list of questions to which these organisations can refer when analysing, critiquing and revising their own stance on and approach to gender equality. (Contains 3 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A