Regional: Advancing the Transformative Gender Equality Agenda in a Post-COVID-19 Asia and the Pacific
The TA is aligned with the development priorities of DMCs; Strategy 2030 operational priorities 1 (addressing remaining poverty and reducing inequalities), 2 (accelerating progress in gender equality and women's empowerment), and 6 (strengthening governance and institutional capacity); SDG 5; and SDG 9.3 (increase the access of small-scale industrial and other enterprises). The TA is included in the 2021 Management-approved results-based work plan of the Sustainable Development and Climate Change Department (SDCC). It is also included in the 2021-2022 work plan of the Gender Equality Thematic Group approved by Management and supports the implementation of the Strategy 2030 Operational Plan for Priority 2: Accelerating Progress in Gender Equality, 2019-2024.
Sustainable Development and Climate Change Department
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|Project Name||Advancing the Transformative Gender Equality Agenda in a Post-COVID-19 Asia and the Pacific|
|Country / Economy||Regional
|Project Type / Modality of Assistance||Technical Assistance
|Source of Funding / Amount||
|Strategic Agendas||Inclusive economic growth
|Drivers of Change||Gender Equity and Mainstreaming
Governance and capacity development
|Sector / Subsector||
Education / Education sector development
Industry and trade / Small and medium enterprise development
Public sector management / Social protection initiatives
|Gender Equity and Mainstreaming||Gender equity|
|Description||The TA is aligned with the development priorities of DMCs; Strategy 2030 operational priorities 1 (addressing remaining poverty and reducing inequalities), 2 (accelerating progress in gender equality and women's empowerment), and 6 (strengthening governance and institutional capacity); SDG 5; and SDG 9.3 (increase the access of small-scale industrial and other enterprises). The TA is included in the 2021 Management-approved results-based work plan of the Sustainable Development and Climate Change Department (SDCC). It is also included in the 2021-2022 work plan of the Gender Equality Thematic Group approved by Management and supports the implementation of the Strategy 2030 Operational Plan for Priority 2: Accelerating Progress in Gender Equality, 2019-2024.|
|Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy||
The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has had significant negative impacts for women and girls in Asia and the Pacific, with implications for progress on gender equality and the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. The knowledge and support technical assistance (TA) will support the development of knowledge solutions, foster technical capacity in developing member countries (DMCs), and strengthen the evidence base to ensure that the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and DMCs can prioritize gender equality and the transformative gender agenda in COVID-19 recovery.
Despite COVID-19's higher morbidity risk for men, the pandemic's socio-economic impacts have been disproportionately negative for women and girls in Asia and the Pacific, exacerbating pre-pandemic gender inequalities and threatening gender gains. Before the pandemic, Asia and the Pacific was the only global region with declining female labor force participation; the pandemic has worsened this trend. Women experienced relatively higher job losses because of their concentration in vulnerable occupations in hard-hit sectors. Women-owned businesses were also negatively affected: over three-quarters of surveyed women-owned businesses in Mongolia and Viet Nam reported significant decline in revenue and concern for business survival. Unpaid care work has increased because lockdown measures, with the burden falling more heavily on women; pre-pandemic, women were already performing four times more than men in the region. Rates of intimate-partner violence have also increased. Across the region, domestic violence hotline call volume increased from 33% pre-pandemic to 50%.
Growing evidence highlights that COVID-19 recovery strategies should pursue gender transformative approaches to directly address these wide-ranging adverse impacts and to ensure that women are integral to 'build back better' strategies. The transformative gender agenda refers to approaches that directly tackle the discriminatory social norms that underpin and drive gender inequalities in development outcomes; SDG 5 targets address these social norm issues which include, among other things, unpaid care work, gender-based violence, women's participation in decision-making and leadership, and access to productive resources (including land and assets). However, because of low awareness of the potential development gains and limited institutional experience, DMCs have deprioritized the transformative gender agenda in favor of short-term, gender-neutral solutions which risk worsening gender gaps. For example, COVID-19 policy responses have largely neglected unpaid care work, despite evidence correlating levels of women's unpaid care work with female labor force participation.
Limited budgets, resources, and technical capacity within DMCs are additional challenges to advancing the transformative gender equality agenda in COVID-19 recovery. Domestic resources dedicated to gender equality remain inadequate to meet the growing critical need, and few countries in the region implement gender-responsive budgeting to enhance their accountability on gender commitments. There is also a need to broaden the institutional capacity to design and implement gender-transformative policies and programs beyond gender ministries through dedicated skills and leadership training, to promote stronger intersectoral interest in furthering the transformative gender agenda across different sector ministries.
ADB has identified the transformative gender agenda as an effective strategy to accelerate progress in gender equality, but recognized its own limited experience in implementing solutions to address social norms. The new challenges to gender equality triggered by COVID-19 increase the relevance of ADB investing further in building operational experience on the transformative gender approach in conjunction with traditional gender mainstreaming in its support to DMC recovery efforts.
|Impact||Gender responsive COVID-19 recovery in DMCs fostered|
|Description of Outcome||ADB projects integrating the gender transformative agenda in its COVID-19 response increased|
|Progress Toward Outcome|
|Description of Project Outputs||
Evidence and tools on the transformative gender agenda for COVID-19 pandemic response in operations developed
New knowledge and capacity of DMCs on gender-responsive pandemic recovery fostered
|Status of Implementation Progress (Outputs, Activities, and Issues)|
|Summary of Environmental and Social Aspects|
|Stakeholder Communication, Participation, and Consultation|
|During Project Design|
|During Project Implementation|
|Consulting Services||ADB will engage the consultants and carry out procurement following the ADB Procurement Policy (2017, as amended from time to time) and its associated project administration instructions and/or staff instructions|
|Responsible ADB Officer||Nowacka, Keiko|
|Responsible ADB Department||Sustainable Development and Climate Change Department|
|Responsible ADB Division||SDTC-GEN|
Asian Development Bank
6 ADB Avenue,
Mandaluyong City 1550, Philippines
|Concept Clearance||10 May 2021|
|Fact Finding||15 Mar 2021 to 19 Mar 2021|
|Approval||23 Jun 2021|
|Last Review Mission||-|
|Last PDS Update||23 Jun 2021|
|Approval||Signing Date||Effectivity Date||Closing|
|23 Jun 2021||-||23 Jun 2021||30 Jun 2023||-||-|
|Financing Plan/TA Utilization||Cumulative Disbursements|
|1,000,000.00||0.00||0.00||0.00||0.00||0.00||1,000,000.00||01 Apr 2022||0.00|
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|Title||Document Type||Document Date|
|Advancing the Transformative Gender Equality Agenda in a Post-COVID-19 Asia and the Pacific: Technical Assistance Report||Technical Assistance Reports||Jun 2021|
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