ADB Adopts a New Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment Operational Plan, 2013-2020

On 29 April 2013, ADB approved a new Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Operational Plan, 2013-2020: Moving the Agenda Forward that sets out the strategic directions and the guiding framework for delivering better gender equality outcomes in Asia and the Pacific region. ADB recognizes that without capturing and unleashing the talents, human capital, and economic potential of half the region’s population—women and girls—the goal of a region free of poverty will not be realized. Gender equality is critical in its own right and essential for better development outcomes in terms of inclusive growth, faster poverty reduction, and achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

Despite the steady progress in narrowing gender gaps in Asia and the Pacific, gender disparities and inequalities remain, especially in girls’ secondary education enrolment and completion, maternal and infant mortality, female under-nutrition, women’s access to reproductive health, paid employment outside agriculture, wage parity, women’s participation in decision-making, violence against women and reverse sex ratios at birth—even in some of the best-performing economies in the region.

Under the new gender operational plan, ADB will intensify its efforts to ensure that gender equality remains at the front and center of its development efforts, and to accelerate progress on closing remaining gender gaps. The operational plan will serve as the roadmap for translating Strategy 2020’s gender equity as driver of change into concrete and measurable operations to support gender equality outcomes. The outcome of the operational plan is improved gender equality results from ADB operations by 2020, and reflects the directions set in ADB's revised Corporate Results Framework of enhancing the focus on improving implementation to deliver better outcomes

Moving forward, ADB will improve the design, implementation and monitoring of its investments for the delivery of better gender equality results and outcomes; rebalance towards more gender equity theme operations that support gender equality objectives, and; pilot innovations with potential for scaling up. Opportunities for more direct investments in women and girls to narrow gender disparities will be explored in areas such as (i) girls secondary education and completion (ii) access to productive assets, labor saving technology, jobs, and income earning opportunities; (iii) skills training and school-to-work transition programs for female youth; (iv) financial services and business development services for women entrepreneurs; (v) policy and legal reforms to tackle issues of gender-based violence and anti-trafficking, and; (vi) giving women voice in decision-making in formal and informal institutions.

Previous experiences, tested approaches, successes and lessons from gender mainstreaming will be consolidated, replicated, and expanded across ADB operations. This will be complemented by a shift in focus towards better implementation and monitoring to ensure the delivery of the intended gender equality outcomes.