Edited by Juanita Elias and Adrienne Roberts
Chapter 22: The World Bank and the challenge of ‘the Business Case’ for feminist IPE
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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