Gender Equality and Development

ADB is working across Asia and the Pacific to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment, reduce poverty, and contribute to green, equitable, and inclusive development.

ADB's Work in Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment

While there have been significant advances in accelerating gender equality, gaps persist in education completion, health outcomes, employment, and participation and leadership in decision making. Progress to women’s full participation in society is still hampered by discrimination and, gender norms. For example, women can face discrimination in hiring and compensation, and face additional barriers entering into certain sectors which are male dominated.

Prevalence rates for gender-based violence in parts of the region are above the global average, particularly in South Asia and the Pacific. Influenced by gendered socio-cultural norms, gender discrimination and restrictions on mobility and heavy household responsibilities continue to limit many women’s economic and social activities outside of the home, reducing their opportunities for economic security, independent decision making, and personal growth.

The World Economic Forum 2021 Global Gender Gap report showed a 68% decline in overall gender parity compared to the previous year. Further, at current rates, the report notes that it will take over 100 years to close the gender gaps in economic, education, and political participation in less developed regions, including Asia and the Pacific.

It is critical for the region to eliminate these gender disparities and ensure that women are included in decision-making at private and public levels and have equal rights and access to resources.

ADB’s gender operational plan is fully aligned with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which ADB and its DMCs have committed to. This is reflected not only in stand-alone Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5 - to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls — but also in the mainstreaming of gender-related targets and indicators across the other SDGs.

ADB mainstreams gender and development in all stages of the project cycle (project identification, implementation, monitoring and evaluation) and continuously develops and updates indicators, measures, and standards for gender and development.


Addressing Remaining Poverty and Reducing Inequality

Women face many challenges which prevent their full integration in the global economy. These include: limited access to education and skills training; gender wage gaps; and unequal distribution of domestic work. Even when women participate in the labor force, this does not automatically lead to a reduction in gender-based inequality. In developing Asia, only 49% of women of working age participate in the labor force compared with 80% of men. Further, a woman in developing Asia is paid only 77% that of her male counterpart, on average, and their labor force participation has been declining event before the pandemic.

Yet, women’s economic empowerment encourages productivity, increases economic diversification, and income equality. ADB supports projects across the region that prioritize science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education for girls, women’s entrepreneurship, action to reduce women’s unpaid care work, and maximizing women’s future potential in high-values economies.

Photo: Asian Development Bank
Weaving is a traditional handicraft in Viet Nam’s Thua Thien Hue province. Photo: Tran Viet Tuan/ADB

Climate Action and Gender

Climate action can be a force for gender transformation. Evidence shows that in countries with high levels of gender inequality, there is also higher vulnerability to the negative impacts of climate change. Climate extremes degrade ecosystems and place heavy burdens on women and girls, whose livelihoods are highly dependent on natural resources. Effective climate change adaptation takes place when the social drivers of vulnerability are addressed.

ADB supports innovative approaches to gender responsive climate finance, developing gender responsive nationally determined contributions (NDCs), and supporting women’s participation in the renewable energy transition to achieve a just transition. With growing levels of investment in renewable energy there is great potential to bring women and female entrepreneurs into the sector. This can only happen by building women’s skills, addressing gender norms, providing women with finance, and changing policies that prevent women participating in the energy sector.

Photo: Asian Development Bank
Working at a solar farm in Lombok island, Indonesia. Photo: Achmad Ibrahim / ADB

Making Cities More Livable

Urban development initiatives need to ensure equal gender access to infrastructure services. Women need to be involved in decision making on urban issues affecting their lives and environment. Infrastructure which neglects to consider the needs of women and girls impedes their equal access to critical resources such as clean water, health, sanitation, and digital communications. Further constraints on women and girls are placed by their unequal access to transport in cities, threats to their personal safety and security, and lack of representation in urban governance. ADB supports the redesigning of cities to include women, improving women’s access and use of transport, and digital technology for women.

Photo: Asian Development Bank
Testing equipment at the School of Art and Science of Mongolia’s National University. Photo: Eric Sales / ADB

Rural Development and Food Security

While Asia's economic growth puts pressure on the region’s limited natural resources, many places continue to struggle with high levels of poverty, food insecurity and poor nutrition. Strategies for agriculture and rural development do not always directly benefit women, and without targeted actions to support female farmers, existing disparities may be amplified. Unless gender inequality in agriculture is addressed comprehensively, the region will struggle to achieve food security.

ADB is initiating rural infrastructure and technology projects that include women in food security and safety decision making. The projects also expand women’s job opportunities in agricultural value chains and help women farmers gain access to finance. The bank supports building women’s capacity through training and skills development in climate-smart agriculture technologies, practices, and crop varieties.

Photo: Asian Development Bank
A female farmer in Nepal. Photo: Samir Jung Thapa / ADB

Strengthening Governance and Institutional Capacity

National plans, policies, institutions, and budgets need to comprehensively assess gender gaps and identify action to close these gaps. Changes to promote gender equality need to be backed by adequate resources, and be systematically monitored for progress in reducing gender discrimination.

To date, women occupy only 6% of seats on corporate boards and only 18% of seats in legislatures across the region. ADB supports initiatives to empower women by equipping them with the necessary knowledge, skills, and attitude to participate in decision-making processes and the development agenda.

Photo: Asian Development Bank
Loans have enabled small businesses to ramp up operations and offer women job opportunities in Azerbaijan. Photo: Daro Sulakauri / ADB

ADB’s Policy on Gender and Development (GAD) is the guiding framework for gender and development activities. The Policy adopts gender mainstreaming as the key strategy for promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment across the full range of ADB operations—from country partnership strategies to the design and implementation of gender-inclusive projects and programs.

Gender equality needs to be pursued in its own right and because it is critical for sustained economic growth, faster poverty reduction, and inclusive development. Under investments in women are missed opportunities to correct gender disparities and to capture and unleash the economic and human capital potential of women.

ADB’s Strategy 2030 includes “accelerating progress in gender equality” as one of its seven operational priorities. This operational priority recognizes that gender equality is critical in its own right as well as for helping realize socioeconomic development. It is imperative that ADB contributes to the efforts of accelerating gender equality outcomes in the region in five areas: (i) economic empowerment, (ii) human development, (iii) decision-making and leadership, (iv) time poverty reduction, and (v) resilience to external shocks. ADB is committed to support gender equality through gender-inclusive project designs in at least 75% of its sovereign and nonsovereign operations by 2030.

Potential of women and girls

Photo: Asian Development Bank

Since the adoption of its Gender Policy in 1998, ADB has been committed to supporting gender equality in the region, along with constructing a different future for women and girls. In September 2019, ADB approved Strategy 2030 Operational Plan for Priority 2: Accelerating Progress in Gender Equality. This operational priority recognizes that gender equality is critical in its own right, as well as for fostering socio-economic development. ADB is helping to advance gender equality in Asia and the Pacific by committing to gender-inclusive projects in at least 75% of its sovereign and nonsovereign operations by 2030.

Operational Priorities

Book cover: Strategy 2030 - Achieving a Prosperous, Inclusive, Resilient, and Sustainable Asia and the Pacific

Strategy 2030 sets seven operational priorities, each having its own operational plan. The operational plans contribute to ADB’s vision to achieve prosperity, inclusion, resilience, and sustainability, and are closely aligned with Strategy 2030 principles and approaches.


Profile Photo: Samantha Hung
Samantha Hung

Director, Gender Equality

Profile Photo: Keiko Nowacka
Keiko Nowacka

Senior Social Development Specialist (Gender and Development)

Profile Photo: Zonibel Woods
Zonibel Woods

Senior Social Development Specialist (Gender and Development)

Profile Photo: Prabhjot Khan
Prabhjot Khan

Social Development Specialist (Gender and Development)

Profile Photo: Maralmaa Munkh-Achit
Maralmaa Munkh-Achit

Social Development Specialist (Gender and Development)

Profile Photo: Claire Charamnac
Claire Charamnac

Social Development Specialist (Gender and Development)

Profile Photo: James Lang
James Lang

Senior Gender Specialist (Gender-Based Violence)

Profile Photo: Kanika Chakraborty
Kanika Chakrabort

Gender Specialist (Gender-based violence)

Profile Photo: Kim Jinha
Kim Jinha

Gender Specialist (Climate Change)


For inquiries, send an email to:


You may contact gender focal points by selecting a department from the dropdown

For queries related to Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan

Mary Alice Rosero (Ms)
Senior Social Development Specialist (Gender and Development)

For queries related to Mongolia and People's Republic of China

Tsolmon Begzsuren (Ms)
Social Development Specialist (Gender and Development)

For queries related to Cook Islands, Republic of Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu

Malika Shagazatova (Ms)
Senior Social Development Specialist (Gender and Development)

Amanda Satterly (Ms)
Principal Social Development Specialist (Gender and Development)

Anne Valko Celestino (Ms)
Senior Social Development Specialist (Gender and Development)

For queries related to Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka

Zonibel Woods (Ms)
Senior Social Development Specialist (Gender and Development)

For queries related to Cambodia, Indonesia, the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Viet Nam

Veronica Mendizabal Joffre (Ms)
Senior Gender and Social Development Specialist

ADB Country Office

You may contact gender focal points by selecting a country from the dropdown

Nasheeba Selim (Ms)
Senior Social Development Officer (Gender)

Bangladesh Resident Mission (BRM) 
Plot E-31, Sher-e-Bangla Nagar, Dhaka 1207, Bangladesh

Tel +880 2 55667000
Fax +880 2 8156018 to 19

Nidup Tshering (Mr)
Senior Social Development Officer (Gender)

Bhutan Resident Mission (BHRM) 
Lower Norzin Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan

Chandy Chea (Ms)
Senior Social Development Officer (Gender)

Cambodia Resident Mission (CARM) 
PNo. 29 Suramarit Blvd. (268/19) Sangkat Chaktomuk, Khan Daun Penh, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Tamar Bortsvadze (Ms)
Senior Social Development Officer (Gender)

Georgia Resident Mission (GRM) 
1, G. Tabidze Street, Freedom Square, 0114 Tbilisi, Georgia

Tel +995 322 250619
Fax +995 322 250622

Deepa Ahluwalia (Ms)
Senior Social Development Officer (Gender)

Govind Desai
Senior Social Development Officer (Gender)

India Resident Mission (INRM) 
4 San Martin Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi 110021 India

Tel +91 11 24107200
Fax +91 11 26870945

Riana Puspasari (Ms)
Social Development Officer (Gender)

Indonesia Resident Mission (IRM) 
The Plaza Office Tower, 11th floor, Jl. MH Thamrin 28-30, Central Jakarta, Indonesia 10350

Tel +62 21 29927388
Fax +62 21 29927399

Altynai Abdyldaeva (Ms)
Gender Officer

Kyrgyz Republic Resident Mission (BRM) 
Orion Business Center, 21 Erkindik Prospect, 6th Floor, 720040 Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic

Tel +996 312 626611
Fax +996 312 626612

Theonakhet Saphakdy (Ms)
Senior Social Development Officer (Gender)

Lao PDR Resident Mission (LRM) 
Corner of Lanexang Av. and Samsenthai Rd., P.O. Box 9724 Vientiane, Lao PDR

Tel +856 21 250444
Fax +856 21 250333

Saranzaya Gerelt-Od (Ms)
Gender Officer

Mongolia Resident Mission (MRM) 
International Commerce Center (ICC) Tower, 17th Floor, Jamyan Gunii Street-9, Ulaanbaatar 14210, Mongolia

Shuvechha Khadka
Senior Social Development Officer (Gender)

Nepal Resident Mission (NRM) 
Metro Park Building, Lazimpat, Ward No. 2, P.O. Box 5017, Kathmandu, Nepal

Tel +977 1 4005120
Fax +977 1 4005137

Ingrid Fitzgerald
Senior Gender and Social Development Officer

Pacific Liaison and Coordination Office (PLCO)
Level 20, 45 Clarence Street Sydney, NSW Australia 2000

Tel +61 2 82709444
Fax +61 2 82709445

Uzma Altaf (Ms)
Gender Specialist

Pacific Subregional Office (SPSO)
5th Floor, Ra Marama Building, 91 Gordon Street, Suva, Fiji

Tel +679 3318101
Fax +679 3318074

Samina Sabir (Ms)
Gender Officer

Pakistan Resident Mission (PRM) 
Level 8, North Wing, Serena Business Complex, Khayaban-e-Suhrawardy, G-5, Islamabad, Pakistan

Tel +92 51 2600351
Tel +92 51 2600369
Tel +92 51 2087300
Fax +92 51 2600365 to 66 / 2087397 to 98

Bolkin Sil
Gender Officer

Papua New Guinea Resident Mission (PNRM) 
Level 2 – Burns Philp Haus, Corner of Musgrave Street & Champion Parade PO Box 1992, Port Moresby, National Capital District, Papua New Guinea

  Tel +675 3210400
Fax +675 3210407

Zhuoga Ciwang (Ms)
Senior Social Development Officer (Gender)

People's Republic of China Resident Mission (PRCM) 
17th Floor, China World Tower (Guomao III), 1 Jian Guo Men Wai Avenue, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100004, People’s Republic of China

  Tel +86 10 85730909
Fax +86 10 85730808

Pamela Susara (Ms)
Social Development Officer (Gender)

Philippines Country Office (PhCO)
6 ADB Avenue, Mandaluyong City, 1550 Metro Manila, Philippines

Tel +63 2 6831000
  Fax +63 2 6831030

H.D.Sudarshana A. Jayasundara (Mr)
Senior Social Development Officer (Gender)

Sri Lanka Resident Mission (SLRM) 
23, Independence Avenue, Colombo 7, Sri Lanka

  Tel +94 11 4455455
  Tel +94 11 2674499
Fax +94 11 4455499 / 2674488

Gulnora Kholova (Ms)
Senior Social Development Officer (Gender)

Tajikistan Resident Mission (TJRM) 
45 Sovetskaya Street, Dushanbe 734001, Tajikistan

Elsty Davidz-Morato (Ms)
Senior Social Development Officer (Gender)

Timor-Leste Resident Mission (TLRM) 
ADB Building, Rua Alferes Duarte Arbiro, Farol, Dili, Timor-Leste

Tel +670 3324801
Fax +670 3324132

Farida Djumabaeva (Ms)
Senior Social Development Officer (Gender)

Uzbekistan Resident Mission (URM) 
1 Qoratosh Street, Tashkent 100027, Uzbekistan

Giang Thanh Nguyen (Ms)
Senior Social Development Officer (Gender)

Viet Nam Resident Mission (VRM) 
3rd Floor, Cornerstone Building, 16 Phan Chu Trinh Street, Hoan Kiem District, Ha Noi, Viet Nam

Tel +84 4 39331374
Fax +84 4 39331373

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ADB Projects on Gender