Gender mainstreaming, employment and youth - ADB
Gender equity is one of the five drivers of change in the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Strategy 2020. ADB recognizes that without harnessing the talents, human capital, and economic potential of half the region's population—women and girls—the goal of a region free of poverty will not be realized. Gender equality is critical in its own right and essential for better development outcomes in terms of inclusive growth and faster poverty reduction.
The new operational plan for gender equality and women's empowerment sets out the strategic directions and the guiding framework for advancing the gender equality agenda and delivering better gender equality outcomes in Asia and the Pacific region by 2020. Under the new gender operational plan, ADB continues to intensify its efforts to ensure that gender equality remains at the front and center of its development efforts, and to accelerate progress on closing remaining gender gaps. The Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Operational Plan 2013–2020 recognizes that while gender mainstreaming will remain the primary and priority approach, on its own it may not be sufficient to narrow persisting gender gaps and inequalities. The pursuit of gender equality is complex, requiring simultaneous interventions across multiple sectors while carefully negotiating entrenched cultural and traditional values and attitudes.
ADB’s approach of gender mainstreaming in all sectors have delivered good results. Since 2008, ADB’s gender-mainstreaming performance has significantly improved. Corporate gender-mainstreaming targets set for 2012 were achieved and surpassed with gender-inclusive projects represented in more sectors and regions. In 2012, ADB’s at-entry gender mainstreaming performance reached 56% of all projects and 58% of the ADF operations. These will be complemented by a shift in focus from design at entry to better implementation and monitoring to ensure the delivery of the intended gender equality outcomes. Gender mainstreaming in nonsovereign operations will also be encouraged.
As an example, the goal of a project in Bhutan called the Micro, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise Sector Development Program (MSMESDP) was to stimulate growth of the MSME sector and overall private sector development. This consisted of allocating a specific percentage share of credit lines to women (i.e. earmarking a minimum of 10% of credit extended to rural female entrepreneurs) in rural areas to mitigate rural poverty and curb rural-urban migration, as well as Identify niche markets for Bhutanese MSMEs that could benefit women who produce low-volume, high-value goods already identified by the project (e.g., medicinal plants, organic herbal plants, and essential oils). This has resulted in an increase in women as micro-loan borrowers. Further, nearly all of them borrowed for the purpose of financing micro-enterprises, and approximately two-thirds of such borrowers residing in rural areas.
Similarly, in Bangladesh, the Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise Development Project supported the development and expansion of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from 2009 to 2013. In specific pilot districts, the number of women-owned SMEs increased by over 10%. The training of women SME owners in business development, accounting, loan application rules and processes, and in the regulations governing businesses facilitated their improved access to institutional finance. The formation of advocacy groups and membership in different associations enhanced the confidence of women SME owners and their ability to lobby for policy changes.