Global Resources

Gender Guide to World Bank and IMF Policy-Based Lending

Author: S. Dennis, E. Zuckerman
Publisher: Gender Action
Publication Date: Dec 2006
Why do World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) policy-based loans, and associated reforms (or 'loan conditionalities') generally bypass local democratic processes and contribute to the feminisation of poverty? This guide highlights four reforms often tied to World Bank and IMF policy-based loans that intensify gender inequality and undermine the ability of women and girls to break out of poverty. They are: privatisation; decreased government spending; trade and labour market reforms, and financial sector reforms. It argues that policy-based loans often help creditors more than women and men in developing countries and loan conditionalities tend to benefit foreign companies by opening up markets at the expense of local industries and male and female workers. To help redress gender inequalities in their policies the World Bank and IMF should conduct an open, independent, transparent audit of their programmes. Debtor countries should also repudiate odious and illegitimate debts. The guide provides a number of resources including a gender glossary, a list of related websites and a checklist to 'engender country strategies and economic frameworks'.