March 11 marks one year since COVID-19 was officially declared a pandemic. While the past year has been tremendously challenging, there have been remarkable stories of human resilience, ingenuity, and creativity. On this grim anniversary, we wanted to bring you stories from around the world that inspire. The following six stories are not billion-dollar projects, but the tales of everyday entrepreneurship and innovation happening on a small scale with a big impact. The World Bank Group is continuing to support the poorest countries as they look to a build a sustainable, resilient, and inclusive recovery.
From education to entrepreneurship, global recovery efforts need to pay particular attention to the needs of women and girls.
When the 2008 recession hit, few asked how stimulus measures would affect women compared with men.
Evidence from outbreaks similar to COVID-19 indicates that women and girls can be affected in particular ways, and in some areas, face more negative impacts than men. In fact, there is a risk that gender gaps could widen during and after the pandemic and that gains in women’s and girls’ accumulation of human capital, economic empowerment and voice and agency, built over the past decades, could be reversed. The World Bank Group is working to ensure that projects responding to COVID-19 consider the pandemic’s different impacts on men and women.
Returns to schooling for women are high – so says Bono and the research. A couple of years ago, in an essay in Time magazine Bono wrote: “Give girls just one additional year of schooling and their wages go up almost 12 percent.” He said the same thing a year before that at the Munich Security Conference. The source of that quote was a 2014 World Bank paper and a recent update confirms this is still the case. At the same time, girls are staying in school longer and learning more. However, these gains are at risk as COVID-19 is presenting a crisis within a crisis for girls’ education.
The digital economy can create new job opportunities for young women and help address the persistent gender disparity in the labor market.
Jobs involving remote, online, flexible work can help young women overcome mobility constraints, challenge restrictive gender norms, and reduce longstanding occupational segregation in traditionally male-dominated industries. However,, and also move up to higher skilled and higher paying digital jobs over time.
New trends in global trade—especially the rise in services, global value chains, and the digital economy—are opening up important economic opportunities for women. A new report marks the first major effort to quantify how women are affected by trade through the use of a new gender-disaggregated labor dataset.
On construction sites, it is more common to see men working than women. With the aim of improving the gender balance in construction, the World Bank is implementing gender strategies in urban transport projects in Colombia. These have led to the increased participation of women in infrastructure projects.
Gender discrimination not only has a negative impact on women’s income; it also impedes companies and society from making use of the special skills that women contribute to the economy. The implementation of a gender equality strategy in the Bucaramanga Integrated Mass Transport System– Metrolínea – revealed the advantages of including women in this type of project and provided lessons that could be shared with other systems, sectors and projects.
Meeting the shortfall in masks, sanitizers and protective equipment
Now, more than ever, these women – many of whom escaped poverty through the SHG route and know what it is like to be destitute and poor – are living up to their motto of self-help and solidarity.
Groups across the country are working furiously to make up the shortfall of masks and personal protective equipment (PPE). In Odisha, for instance, poor rural women who were once engaged in stitching school uniforms are sewing masks instead. Over the past couple of weeks, these women have produced more than 1 million cotton masks, helping equip police personnel and health workers, while earning something for themselves.
All told, more than 19 million masks have been produced by some 20,000 SHGs across 27 Indian states, in addition to over 100,000 liters of sanitizer and nearly 50,000 liters of hand wash. Since production is decentralized, these items have reached widely-dispersed populations without the need for complex logistics and transportation.
Deadline: 07-May-2020 at 11:59:59 PM (Eastern Time – Washington D.C.)
The Amazon Sustainable Landscapes (ASL) Program is commissioning a study that will design a strategy to improve gender sensitive conservation and sustainable development interventions in the Amazon. This study will be based on an analysis of existing gender gaps in the region, focusing on successful cases to be identified in the Amazon regions in Brazil, Colombia and Peru, where women have improved gender balance in: participation and decision making, access and control over natural resources, and/or access to socioeconomic benefits from natural resources. The study will highlight key barriers faced by women, explain the gender gaps, and identify the strategies to overcome them. In addition to individual interviews and focus groups with the women involved in the case studies and relevant institutions, the process will include workshops to discuss themes of common interest. The study will conclude with recommendations to improve gender sensitive conservation and sustainable development.
Deadline: 15-Apr-2020 at 11:59:59 PM (Eastern Time – Washington D.C.)
The ultimate objective of this project is to enhance the impact of WIM organizations and other types of associative professional interest groups which are championing gender diversity within the mining industry. By providing analysis of the structures and focuses of WIM associations, as well as challenges and opportunities facing WIM associations, this research project could help guide future engagement with WIM associations by governments and intergovernmental organizations, multilateral institutions, businesses, not-for-profit organizations and other groups and individuals interested in taking impactful action to promote womens participation in mining around the world. The research output will be utilized to implement and monitor specific actions to increase the voice and agency of women professionals in the mining industry. In the meantime, WIM associations can also benefit from this research, as to what has worked well for other groups, whether to make changes to their leadership and membership structures, which focus areas to invest their human and financial resources in, etc.