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The Role Of Women In Global Development And Sustainability

For the World Bank, the role of women is key in global development

Three businesswomen in an office

Photo: Freepik

LatinAmerican Post | Vanesa López Romero

Published 10 years ago The World Bank Group World Development Report was dedicated to gender equality and development. A decade after its publication, the World Bank held a panel moderated by Mamta Murthi, Vice President of Human Development at the World Bank, to review the achievements that have been reached to date and the lessons left by these four years.

What have been the achievements?

This report, published in 2012, established gender equality as a priority for political and economic development following the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations (UN). In the last 10 years, the struggles for gender equality have yielded results. For example, maternal mortality has decreased by 10%, now three quarters of girls around the world have the opportunity to study secondary school, women have more political participation than ever before, and economic rights have improved for women.

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This has had to do largely with the pressure put on countries to create policies that give women a greater role.

Why do women have such a key role?

Sustainable development, as proposed by the UN with its SDGs, is divided into three areas: the economy, the environment, and society. In other words, these objectives go against the way in which we have developed economically throughout Western history. With sustainable development, we seek economic development that respects the environment and also focuses on social development.

Women are leaders of communities throughout the world and they have laid the foundations for hundreds of social struggles that have started from their most immediate spaces. This is very important because when working on development policies, their voices must be heard so that the policies adapt to them and not them to the policies, and thus actions can be taken based on the needs they present. Women must have equal voice and vote.

What are the challenges that still need to be overcome?

Although much progress has been made, there is still a long way to go. Participation in the labor market continues to be exponentially lower compared to that of men, as well as the remuneration they receive for doing the same work as a man. In addition, in most cases, women Women are responsible for caring for children and the elderly in their homes.

COVID-19 meant the worst scenario for thousands of women around the world, who had to live through strict quarantines with their aggressors. During this period the rates of abuse rose, as well as femicides.

On the other hand, given the imminence of climate change, women from impoverished communities or who live in developing countries will be the first to suffer its consequences. 

The World Bank concluded that there is still the need to continue creating policies that allow women to have a broader place in decision-making spaces and that there should be guarantees of equity in these environments so that they not only participate but also can exercise their rights of participation and decision.