News Releases

Apr 7, 2011

IDB celebrates the launch of new gender policy and action plan with Michelle Bachelet of UN Women

Renewing the Bank’s commitment to gender equality and women’s empowerment in Latin America and the Caribbean

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) today launched its new Operational Policy on Gender Equality in Development and its Gender Action Plan for 2011–2012 in an event hosted by IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director for UN Women Michelle Bachelet, and First Lady and Minister of Social Inclusion of El Salvador Vanda Pignato.

Also participating in the event were José Miguel Insulza, Executive Secretary of the Organization of the American States (OAS), and representatives of diplomatic, development and women’s organizations. The event was attended by approximately 300 external and internal guests and was streamed live to all of our 48 member countries.

“We meet on this occasion to reaffirm the commitment of the IDB to gender equality and the empowerment of women,” President Moreno said in his opening remarks. “The Bank’s new policy will enable us to be more effective in our efforts to promote these ideals.”

The policy calls for vigorous efforts to mainstream gender issues in the IDB’s projects and analytical work, as well as for direct investment in projects that promote gender equality and women’s empowerment. The policy incorporates “gender safeguards” that will help identify potential adverse impacts and risks of gender-based exclusion in Bank projects—making the IDB the first multilateral development bank to implement such a measure. In addition, the policy establishes monitoring indicators to track institutional progress in its implementation. 

“This is the commitment of the IDB and its members to the women of the region, and our new Gender Policy is the ideal instrument to fulfill it,” said President Moreno. “I am sure that we can all continue to work together to solidify women’s rights in the region.”

Bachelet said “I want to assure you that UN Women is renewing its commitment to support the Inter-American Development Bank in its programs to invest directly in equality for women and men in the countries of the region, as well as to mainstream gender in all its development activities. We can do much more together.”

At the meeting, Pignato described Ciudad Mujer, a series of multiservice centers focused on women that she is spearheading in El Salvador. “These are integrated service centers that recognize women as deserving full rights in the social, economic, political, civil and cultural spheres,” said Pignato. The first Ciudad Mujer Center, located in El Salvador’s Lourdes-Colón department, was inaugurated on March 28.

The second half of the event consisted of a panel discussion on the Gender Action Plan where IDB management presented specific initiatives to mainstream gender in the Bank’s work, as well as proposals for direct investment in projects that promote gender equality and the empowerment of women.

As an example of gender mainstreaming, Ana María Rodriguez, Manager of the IDB’s Institutional Capacity and Finance Sector highlighted projects such as the Bank’s Citizen Security Program in Costa Rica, which includes rehabilitation programs in the penitentiary system with a gender component of providing access to facilities and health programs for women with children.

The Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), the largest provider of grants for the private sector development in the region, is developing a gender integration strategy with the International Center for Research on Women. The MIF has supported female entrepreneurship projects, including its flagship project with Mibanco in Peru, where the IDB is lending $10 million to expand access to financial services for women microentrepreneurs.

Andy Morrison, Chief of the Gender and Diversity Unit and moderator of the session said “The Action Plan was prepared in a highly participatory way, with the active participation of all of the Bank’s operational units. I take this opportunity to thank my colleagues for their cooperation and commitment to advancing gender equality.”

The gender policy will officially go into effect on May 1st.

More Information

Andrew Morrison
IDB Gender and Diversity Unit Chief

Gabriela Vega
IDB Gender and Diversity Unit Lead Specialist

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