Guidance Note: Gender and Law - Temporary Special Measures to Promote Gender Equality

Institutional Document | June 2012

Nearly all developing member countries (DMCs) of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have adopted laws and policies to promote gender equality. However, there is often a reluctance to operationalize these, and/or a lack of knowledge of the appropriate mechanisms. This publication presents a case for the use of temporary special measures as a mechanism to correct gender imbalances and accelerate progress toward gender equality goals. Temporary special measures are a set of proactive measures that include gender-inclusive design features, quotas, and targets in ADB projects. This note is designed to increase understanding of the legal obligations of DMCs to achieve gender equality, and what this means for designing and implementing ADB projects.


  • Introduction
  • Is gender equality a legal obligation?
  • Why is CEDAW important?
  • How does CEDAW define TSM?
  • Why is substantive gender equality relevant to CEDAW and TSM?
  • What is the difference between not discriminating on the grounds of sex or gender, and actively promoting gender equality?
  • What is the legal basis for TSM?
  • How temporary are TSM?
  • What is the consequence of not complying with CEDAW or TSM or domestic gender equality laws for DMCs?
  • Who is responsible for promoting gender equality in ADB-financed projects?
  • Who is responsible for promoting gender equality in ADB-financed projects?
  • Is it necessary to put TSM in all ADB-financed projects?
  • Does ADB need to address gender equality when there is no overt discrimination against women?
  • Is ADB's GAD policy subject to review by ADB's Accountability Mechanism?
  • What is the legal basis for ADB-DMC dialogue on positive gender design measures or TSM?