Handbook on the International Political Economy of Gender
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Handbook on the International Political Economy of Gender

Edited by Juanita Elias and Adrienne Roberts

This Handbook brings together leading interdisciplinary scholarship on the gendered nature of the international political economy. Spanning a wide range of theoretical traditions and empirical foci, it explores the multifaceted ways in which gender relations constitute and are shaped by global politico-economic processes. It further interrogates the gendered ideologies and discourses that underpin everyday practices from the local to the global. The chapters in this collection identify, analyse, critique and challenge gender-based inequalities, whilst also highlighting the intersectional nature of gendered oppressions in the contemporary world order.
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Chapter 22: The World Bank and the challenge of ‘the Business Case’ for feminist IPE

Sydney Calkin


The World Bank is the most powerful global development institution in the world, both in terms of the resources it commands and its position as a ‘Knowledge Bank’ for shaping the field of development. This chapter explores the evolution of gender work within the Bank, from the early days of Women in Development to the current Smart Economics agenda. It situates the World Bank – and gender policy within the Bank – in the broader context of feminist debates about how best to shape development policy. Can feminists work within the institution to transform it, or do they risk being co-opted in the process? Feminist political economy scholarship on the World Bank shows us that the institution’s rhetorical embrace of gender equality largely serves to provide support for a pre-existing neoliberal policy agenda.

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