ADB Commits to Gender Equity on 100th International Women's Day

News Release | 8 March 2011

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) today renewed its commitment to gender equity on the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day (IWD).

In a message, ADB President Haruhiko Kuroda reiterated his commitment to promoting gender equity in ADB's operations, and improving inclusiveness and the gender balance among ADB staff.

ADB is on track to meet its target of ensuring that at least 40% of all sovereign investment projects have notable gender mainstreaming elements by 2012. "Our 2010 results indicate we are on track to meet this target, with overall mainstreaming having reached 42% in 2010," said Mr. Kuroda. He also reported that ADB has made progress in recruiting more women, appointing more women to senior positions, and improving the work environment for women.

In an ADB forum, Nafis Sadik, Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General for HIV/AIDS in Asia and the Pacific, commented on the lack of progress made in the Millennium Development Goals concerning gender equality and maternal health, and urged countries to renew their commitment to achieving them. Dr. Sadik, former head of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), pointed out that across the world maternal mortality is still high, access to sexual and reproductive health services is inadequate, and women face social exclusion, thereby promoting the cycle of poverty.

Padmaja Alaganandan, practice leader from Mercer Human Capital Consulting (India), discussed findings from Mercer's global survey on women's leadership. The study showed that most employers in Asia and the Pacific lack a strategy for developing women leaders. The survey was conducted in December 2010 among more than 200 human resource, talent management, and diversity leaders covering a broad cross section of industries in the region. The discussion also focused on strategies and interventions for increasing the number of women leaders.

Ursula Schaefer-Preuss, ADB's Vice-President for Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development, urged young women to face the challenges ahead and to continue the struggle to enhance gender equality.