WID/Gender Units and the experience of Gender Mainstreaming in Multilateral Organisations

"Knights on White Horses"?*

March 1999

Gisela Geisler (team leader),
Bonnie Keller and Anne-Lene Norman

With contributions by Torill Iversen and Karin Kapadia and assistance from Maggie Mabweijano and Maureen Mbaalu-Mukasa (Uganda), Mary Shawa (Malawi) and Sadeka Halim (Bangladesh)

* A commentator in one of the organisations surveyed here likened the WID/gender advisers to knights on white horses, who like their medieval counterparts defend their vision of an ideal society sometimes persuasively, sometimes agressively, but always with bravery and conviction.

A Report Submitted to the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
by Chr. Michelsen Institute.

The Ministry does not accept any responsibility for the information in this
report nor the views expressed, which are solely those of Chr. Michelsen Institute  in assosiation with Nordic Consulting Group


Executive Summary

Purpose of the study

This report documents the history of the institutionalisation of WID/gender concerns from 1985 onward in three multilateral organisations, namely UNDP, FAO and the World Bank. It considers WID/gender concerns within the organisational context of the organisations’ "headquarters" in New York, Rome and Washington respectively, focusing on policy developments, organisational forms, strategies and activities over time, paying particular attention to gender mainstreaming. It then looks at gender mainstreaming aspects at country level, using Uganda, Malawi and Bangladesh as examples. The study’s ultimate aim is to document and evaluate the efficacy of Norwegian funding aimed at strengthening WID/gender concerns in the multilateral organisations, giving recommendations for future areas of support.

WID, GAD and gender mainstreaming

The UN has been recognising the need to promote women’s rights as part of its human rights agenda from its very beginning. Under the guidance of the Commission on the Status of Women 1975 was declared International Women’s Year followed by the UN Decade of Women (1976-1985) with its World Women Conferences, notably the Nairobi Conference in 1985. The Beijing Conference ten years later changed the paradigm from a WID to a gender mainstreaming perspective. UN agencies have embraced this concept, which aims to make gender an aspect of all development projects and programmes, to varying degrees and with varying success.

Norwegian assistance to WID/gender concerns in the multilateral system

Norway has raised WID issues since 1971, urging since 1984 for the active integration of women into development. Norway’s strategy for Assistance to Women in Development in 1985 espoused a new agenda, setting mainstreaming goals. From 1985 on-wards Norway actively supported the institutionalisation of WID/gender concerns not only within NORAD but also in the UN system. Norwegian foreign policy has had a two-pronged approach to influence UN organisations. Norway has consistently raised WID/ gender concerns in the governing bodies of relevant UN organisations, already at a time when WID/gender issues were not commonly addressed. Concurrently Norwegian trust funds or "seed money" was instrumental in establishing WID units and to ensure their ability to function. Earmarked funds have boosted WID/gender divisions with personnel, and funding for pilot projects, seminars and policy papers. By carrying initially up to half of WID units’ budget, Norway substantially helped those units to establish gender as a legitimate concern in development, attracting regular budget funds. Once the units were established and an institutional policy was in place, Norwegian trust funds have increasingly helped with the operationalisation of gender mainstreaming, spreading gender earmarked funds further into the organisation’s mainstream.

Comparing gender mainstreaming in UNDP, FAO and the World Bank

A comparison of the organisational experience of UNDP, FAO and World Bank with gender mainstreaming reveals that even though the organisations have achieved differing stages of operationalising gender mainstreaming goals and thus different levels of creating mandates, with UNDP being most and the World Bank least developed, all three organisations lack institutionalised measures of ensuring a high degree of internal accountability. Even if organisations place the responsibility of gender mainstreaming with senior management, as UNDP and also, to a lesser degree FAO, have done, compliance with corporate gender policy is still a matter of personal choice.

Another related constraint in all three organisations has been identified as lying with the low status accorded to WID/gender structures. Within UNDP and FAO gender units are placed at too low an organisational level to be able to carry sufficient authority to influence an entire organisation. In the World Bank the Gender Sector Board in the new "strategic compact" has considerable status and hopefully this will prove to facilitate the unit’s operations and networking. In all three organisations gender focal points have been constrained by the low status accorded to their position. Often defined an add-on job, gender focal points lack the time, budgets and managerial skills to comply with their task. This and the lack of professional career benefits, make the position undesirable and pushed onto junior staff. The lack of status and commitment is also carried into institution wide advisory bodies, such as in FAO’s COWID.

One aspect of the lack of commitment are the attitudes of staff, particularly in the specialised UN organisations, where social scientists are in the minority and the resistance to the gender concept is much deeper. Thus both in FAO and in the World Bank WID/gender units have had to operate in a professionally unaccommodating and at times hostile environment. In UNDP and World Bank WID advocates have displayed a careful non-confrontationist agenda, which in the World Bank is still embedded in efficiency arguments. The more confrontational politics of early WID advocacy in FAO has been taken over by more diplomacy but has had a lasting effect of imbuing FAO discourse with more radical content. UNDP has had the most success with changing male dominated organisational cultures and improving the internal gender balance. However, none of the three organisations has seriously reformed its employment policies to be more gender responsive. As another aspect of attitudinal change, gender mainstreaming "tools" and training have been employed in all three organisations with varying seriousness and success. FAO has established a good record of mandatory training and of following up training with a range of "tools". In all three organisations "tools" and training are required to be more sector specific and target group oriented.

Gender mainstreaming at country level has been particularly weak, with operationalisation being in need of upgrading in all three organisations. FAO encounters the greatest problems with country level gender mainstreaming, partly due to the weakness of gender focal point system from the regional level downwards. Lack of regular country programmes, small country offices and communication problems between the normative headquarter and the practical field further aggravate the situation. In World Bank country offices, gender concerns suffer from the lack of commitment of staff and the weak mandate the gender mainstreaming carries in the Bank. UNDP has a better record, particular with the co-ordinating of UNDAF gender initiatives, but in UNDP country offices, too, personal commitment is still the touchstone of gender mainstreaming.

The evaluation concluded that gender mainstreaming in all three organisations is hampered by a serious lack of internal accountability mechanisms, namely in monitoring and evaluating gender mainstreaming. Particularly glaring is the absence of results oriented indicators and indicators that also allow for qualitative measuring. In addition, organisations often lack specific goals, targets and timeframes to measure gender mainstreaming against. UNDP has possibly gone furthest with this, and the World Bank has done the least – one aspect of the serious lack of operationalisation of gender policies. Other methods of increasing internal accountability to gender mainstreaming, such as staff assessments, mandatory project document screening have not been established for gender. Experiences form bilateral donors suggests that they are problematic measures that need further refinement to fulfil their aim.

Recommendations for Norwegian assistance

Norwegian assistance to gender concerns in multilateral organisations moved from a policy orientation to one that put more emphasis on practically applying policy goals. In view of the fact that the operationalisation of gender mainstreaming is still rather weak and that gender concerns are still focused on gender units, the evaluation team considers the current strategy of the Foreign Ministry a valid one. The strategy for promoting gender mainstreaming should continue encompassing advocacy in the governing bodies of the organisations and the UN, and trust funds directed towards specific gender mainstreamed projects and programmes throughout the organisations, as well as towards activities that further gender mainstreaming organisation wide. More specific recommendations include:

• One of the major task in this area will be to effect an increase in internal accountability to gender mainstreaming. A major aspect of internal accountability is to engender commitment in senior management. This issue should be pursued in the governing bodies. In addition funding of a number of activities could assist in furthering the aim.

• Assessments of the level of commitment of senior management at the country level (where it has been found to be particularly weak) could open the way to identify constraints and opportunities to improve the situation.

• Assessments of the gender focal point systems would serve a similar purpose. What are the major constraints of focal points, and how can they be improved? Possible solutions could be sought in a review of the Terms of Referance to account for the fact that a focal point is an additional work load, improvements to the institutional status of the positions, the career benefits attached to them, etc. Funding for additional gender focal points, such as at sub-regional level in the FAO, might also improve communication of the gender message to the country-level.

• Advocacy should focus also on effecting gender units to move to a higher organisational rank, such as to an advisory level to top management in order to create the necessary authority for the gender unit to capture the entire organisation.

• The monitoring and evaluation of gender mainstreaming must be reviewed urgently. The improvement of indicators to measure both quantitative and qualitative results of gender mainstreaming, particularly in the target population, is the most urgent need. In tandem with this effort it will be necessary to define concrete measures, targets and timeframes to measure gender mainstreaming against.

• The above need ties in with the establishment of gender focused project screening and staff appraisals. These can only work if targets, goals, and timeframes exist. Moreover, project screening might only be effective if it is combined with project supervision, i.e. the focus includes results rather than just inputs.

Analytical research on the successes and failures of a number of mainstreaming approaches and methods, also in organisational set-up beyond the UN system might provide solutions to problems and help choose effective strategies. Research should also establish the existing gender mainstreaming efforts not under the auspices of the respective gender units. Such effort would clarify the extent of gender mainstreaming and open information for possible funding in units particularly resistant to and important for mainstreaming.

• There must be a much greater emphasis placed on learning from experiences. In order to inspire initiatives and conserve resources, inter-agency co-operation needs to increase. It would be befitting for Norway to revive the meetings organised in the late 80s for WID advisers in the UN system in a modified way.

• A different way of learning is the learning from field level staff and the target group. This might help shorten the organisational distance between headquarters and field level, and it might engender new and possibly agenda setting approaches to not only gender mainstreaming but also development policy. FAO has tried this approach successfully.

The specific case of UNDP

UNDP is the UN organisation mandated to co-ordinate and administer UN development resources for the world’s poorest countries. Today UNDP’s mandate focuses on sustainable human development with gender equality a theme.

Gender mainstreaming the centre

The agency is (together with UNIFEM) at the forefront of gender mainstreaming in the UN system today. The development towards this position began with the establishment of a WID division, which initially was heavily supported by Norwegian trust funds and staff. The unit proved to be very successful, getting WID/gender included as one of UNDP’s priority goals in 1990. It was then drawn into UNDP’s corporate policy umbrella of Sustainable Human Development, which resulted in 1994 in a mission statement which enlisted the empowerment of women as a main goal. Gender equality thus became an integral part of the agency’s fundamental mandate.

UNDP has been at the forefront of defining and operationalising gender mainstreaming over and above the agreed conclusion on gender mainstreaming by ECOSOC in 1997. Its own brand of gender mainstreaming focuses on decision making processes. UNDP also successfully instituted an internal gender balance policy, which has tried to reach targets set by the organisation in line with overall UN policy.

UNDP’s gender unit, since 1992 called Gender in Development Programme (GIDP), is relatively small and has over the years been downgraded from a division to a programme. The programme is supported by a UNDP-wide gender focal point system and the Gender Advisory Committee. The gender focal point system has been beset by capacity and status problems, which capacity building is intended to overcome. The gender advisory committee has members from across the organisation and is charged with overseeing the operationalisation of gender mainstreaming. In addition, units other than GIDP have started to appoint Gender Specialists. At country level gender mainstreaming rests with resident representatives, a responsibility that is not always adhered to.

The UNDP WID/gender unit initially relied very much on advocacy when colleagues had to be persuaded to a WID approach. Until 1996 much of the projects followed a WID approach which occurred in women specific and WID integrated projects. From then on UNDP relied on a gender mainstreaming approach as corporate policy. Even though UNDP has made great strides towards achieving mainstreaming, constraints have been experienced. These mostly relate to weakness of corporate enforcement of gender mainstreaming, and the lack of appropriate tools and training. But even though UNDP is short of funds for gender mainstreaming financial targets of between 20 and 28 percent of programme budgets have been set.

The UNDP WID/gender unit has over time engaged in various bureaucratic efforts to influence country programming, training of staff, development of specific tools, and global and regional programmes which are linked to the gender mainstreaming efforts at the country level. Gender training was conducted in UNDP from 1987 to 1990 using a project based approach. It became obsolete with the shift to a programme approach in 1990, after which gender training was made part of other approaches until it was discontinued in 1994. Today GIDP directs efforts at building the professional and functional capacity of gender focal points to enable them to have more impact on decision making. Senior management and resident representatives who are made responsible for gender mainstreaming receive little or no gender training.

Parallel to the uneven record with training, UNDP has not shown much initiative in developing gender mainstreaming "tools". With a few exceptions these have stayed too simplistic and not specific enough for technical areas to be of much use. By contrast UNDP has been much more successful in integrating gender concerns into global and regional programmes. The activities include analytical work, capacity building, networking, and constituency building. Regional programmes, which are not dependent on the country agreement adapt their activities to regional requirements, such as political participation of women in Africa and economic empowerment of women in Asia.

UNDP has also gone further than other UN agencies in trying to work towards establishing targets for gender mainstreaming and indicators of gender equality and women’s empowerment. Indicators to measure these qualitative results have been successfully used in the Human Development Report. They need to be refined further to serve for regular monitoring exercises and to strengthen internal accountability to gender mainstreaming goals.

Gender mainstreaming at country level

The gender mainstreaming mandate is much weaker at country level. There is a general consensus in UNDP that making mainstreaming meaningful is UNDP’s greatest challenge. At present resident representatives are not always committed to gender mainstreaming. Gender focal points only have limited influence when support from above is missing. Moreover, GIDP no longer has authority over programming decisions (as the WID unit had). It is in practice up to the Resident Representative if and to what degree gender concerns are part of the country programme. This is why, at country office level, gender mainstreaming still seems to be dependent on personal commitment, explaining the vastly differing situations the evaluation found in UNDP country offices in Uganda, Malawi and Bangladesh. The Uganda country office showed a very bad record of gender mainstreaming, even though Uganda is well inclined towards gender equality issues, the offices in Bangladesh and Malawi by contrast were at the forefront of gender mainstreaming efforts amongst the donor communities.

In the Uganda country office UNDP corporate policies in gender mainstreaming were not implemented, nor did the country office support the Ugandan government in its own gender mainstreaming efforts. In Malawi by contrast, UNDP has been instrumental in co-ordinating UNDAF which came up with a joint UN gender policy statement for Malawi. The UNDAF initiative links in strongly with Government efforts at gender mainstreaming and UNDP has helped the government in its gender focus. The Bangladeshi country office too was a show-case of UNDP gender mainstreaming commitment at country level.

Norwegian support to gender mainstreaming in UNDP

UNDP represents a classic case of Norwegian assistance to gender concerns in the UN system. Norway has been very active in the Executive Board lobbying for the importance of WID/gender concerns, and engaging in dialogue about gender equality issues. This changed over time from more substantive policy issues to details of operationalising gender mainstreaming, particularly at country level. Norwegian trust funds provided up until 1990 three times the amount of the regular budget of the WID unit. Funding was to ensure the integration of WID issues into UNDP programmes and projects. Funded activities included operational support, production of country WID/gender baselines, innovation WID/gender approaches, preparation of policy papers and monographs. More recently support has been directed towards gender mainstream activities in units other than GIDP, including a technical adviser in gendered statistics, support to sector specific "tools", and support to the Poverty Strategies Trust fund and the UNDP Trust Fund for Support to Governance in Africa, both of which have specific references to gender equality issues.

Specific lessons from FAO

Unlike UNDP, FAO is a specialised UN agency mandated to supply expertise to member governments as requested. Not being a funding agency it has no regular country programmes. Its overall mission is to assist member governments to achieve food security.

Gender mainstreaming at headquarter level

FAO is unique in the UN system in that WID/gender issues have been part of FAO operations since 1949, when a women’s unit with regular core funds and a large staff contingent was established. Originally more home-economics oriented, FAO’s WID efforts developed a commitment for gender equity already in 1979, with FAO Conferences endorsing the integration of WID concerns. Gender mainstreaming entered into normal operations from 1983 onward, much ahead of mainstream thinking at the time. Exceptional too has been the fact that the FAO Conferences endorsed WID action plans in 1989 and 1995 respectively, the latter a document which commits the entire organisation to specified gender mainstreaming activities.

The speed of policy development has, however, not resulted in gender mainstreaming being accepted by the majority of FAO’s staff, mainly natural scientists, many of whom feel uncomfortable with the gender concept. Despite this fundamental constraint considerable progress has been made, particularly with regard to the development of "tools" to assist both the integration and acceptance of gender concerns in technical departments.

FAO’s WID unit has gone through a number of changes, including minor changes in organisational positioning, but the moves have been horizontally, not changing its status as a service within a division. Even though there were name changes, and the Service has been espousing a gender approach since the early 1990s it is stilled called a WID service, pointing to some of the contradictions of gender mainstreaming in FAO. Since 1976 the WID unit has been supported by an organisation-wide co-ordinating mechanism linking the WID unit with technical departments and their focal points. Reforms which meant to upgrade membership to senior management level, to increase internal accountability to gender mainstreaming failed. Gender focal points in FAO are mostly junior staff members who receive neither time nor budgetary allowances for their add-on positions. Regional gender focal points are not supported by sub-regional or country WID structures.

Consecutive WID units have used a number of approaches, ranging from welfare oriented projects until 1980, radical advocacy combined with women-targeted projects in the 1980s and early 90s and a clear gender mainstreaming approach since 1995. The 1995 Plan of Action for Women in Development subscribes, despite its name, to a serious gender approach. Moreover, unlike any of the other organisations this second action plan tried to practice gender mainstreaming rather then just preach it. The plan is an institution-wide action plan, elaborated through a participatory process involving all technical divisions at headquarters. It holds FAO’s technical divisions accountable to certain specified mainstreaming activities, formulated in the plan. Even though this is a serious attempt to increase internal accountability, set targets and determine measures of gender mainstreaming, the effect has not been overwhelming. Part of the problem has been the lack of capacity to monitor implementation of the plan coupled with a lack of commitment in senior management.

FAO has been making more efforts than other agencies trying to break through resistance in staff. FAO was one of the few organisations which made gender training mandatory the early 90s, and which was conducted with needs assessments and follow-ups. A new needs assessment was being done in 1998. FAO has also been very active to follow up gender training with "tools" to assist the application of gender concepts. The Socioeconomic Gender Analysis (SEAGA) initiative which integrates gender into broader social aspects, has been a major initiative. It tries to offer guidelines and a training basis for all levels of the development process, for use within FAO and member governments. Still in its experimental stage SEAGA has had mixed reactions and impacts. More unequivocally successful has been a sector specific guide on irrigation, which follows the SEAGA concept. The model of the sector specific guide, based on participatory approaches, seems to fill the "tool" void existing in FAO and other agencies. Strengthening FAO’s lead role in "tool" design are the "tools" developed by technical divisions independently of SEAGA.

Activities of the WID unit beyond SEAGA comprise a range of pilot projects in member countries, such as helping to establish gender sensitive and participatory planning, integrating gender concerns into bio-diversity issues, and other activities designed to help mainstreaming goals in member countries. As already mentioned capacity to monitor gender mainstreaming is grossly inadequate, making the gender action plan a well meant but unrealised gesture to gender mainstreaming. In addition FAO’s plan of action has remained too input oriented to be of much use in monitoring gender mainstreaming progress.

Gender mainstreaming at country level

FAO’s success in instituting and operationalising gender at headquarters has had little effect on the ground. Our case studies of FAO country office operations clearly and uniformly showed for all three countries that gender mainstreaming mandates are not followed-up. A number of factors might be involved. FAO does not have a gender focal point system with full time staff that reaches beyond the regional level, and not all country offices appoint a person responsible for gender. This might be related to the fact that FAO country offices are very small operations, and country operations rely heavily on local expertise and international consultants, who might or might not be aware of gender concerns. Country representatives are briefed on gender as part of their training, yet those who were interviewed by the evaluation team alleged that they had received neither documentation nor training, even though such information is apparently regularly dispatched from headquarters.

The communication breakdown is obviously also an effect of the fact that regional gender focal points are re-active rather than proactive, given the area they have to cover; that no consultation over the gender action plan happened with field level staff, and that field level staff are only very indirectly represented on COWID, the gender co-ordination network in Rome. In fact, a workshop on gender mainstreaming, organised by the WID unit which brought together field and government staff with Rome based staff, revealed that many gender mainstreaming initiatives actually happen on the ground, which are not immediately visible from the project outline. FAO obviously will have to make gender mainstreaming at country level a very urgent priority.

Norwegian assistance to gender concerns in FAO

Norwegian assistance to FAO’s gender concerns has followed a different pattern to both UNDP and World Bank, because historical circumstances were rather unique. FAO already had a well established WID unit with core funds and staff in 1987 when the establishment in other UN agencies was facilitated with Norwegian trust funds. Moreover, the unit was through the 1980s and early 1990s headed by social anthropologists embracing a radical feminist approach to development. What the unit needed most urgently at the time, was support in lobbying for the importance of WID in the FAO mandate.

Norway did support these endeavours consistently in the FAO Conference, demanding that policy goals were operationalised in FAO mainstream. Norway strongly supported gender training, the importance of women in food security issues and in pushing for the support of senior management. When the plan of action was in place Norwegian contributions to the FAO Conference strongly called for monitoring and accountability measures with regard to its implementation and continued to complain about the lack of responsibility delegated to senior management. Norwegian trust funds towards the operations of the WID unit were directed mainly to gender focused agricultural projects until 1995. Funding has since broadened to include gender sensitive planning, gender focused bio-diversity and food security issues.

Specific lessons from the World Bank

The World Bank is a development bank which has espoused a human development perspective. It defines poverty reduction and the initiation of economic growth in its member countries as its mission.

Gender mainstreaming at the centre

WID/gender issues were marginal to World Bank operations until 1987 when a WID division was established with strong financial backing of Norway. Like in FAO, the WID unit has had to deal with strong resistance in Bank staff to the gender concept and to establishing gender as an important aspect of development. However, arguments and examples on the economic efficiency of investing in women (most strongly and successfully made in relationship to girls’ education) and lobbying in and outside the Bank led to the adoption of a policy paper in 1994, much later than in other UN organisations. The policy paper committed the Bank loosely to gender mainstreaming but failed to concretise such commitment by actual measures, goals, or timeframes. Even though gender has become more visible in public Bank discourse, the operationalisation of the Bank’s gender policy has remained underdeveloped. As a corollary gender mainstreaming carries a weak institutional mandate which is not backed by sufficient internal accountability.

However, the central WID/gender unit moved over time into better organisational positions and acquiring more staff. Thus the unit could expand from being a one person operation in 1977 to being, in the new "strategic compact", accorded the status of a Sector Board headed by a director and located in a Network (PREM) considered strategically important in Bank operations. Moreover, being part of PREM means that gender is now well connected though the network. The Gender Board is made up of representatives of other networks and is supported by the Gender Anchor, mandated to act as a secretariat. The situation of regional WID/gender units and gender focal points has, on the contrary, been erratic and variable. This is to a large degree due to the fact that internal accountability to gender mainstreaming is weak and the Bank’s Regions enjoy a the high degree of independence. Gender mainstreaming and the appointment of gender focal points in regional and country offices have been matters of personal choice of responsible senior management.

Advocacy played an important role in the early years of the WID unit. Much effort was spent on making WID issues more acceptable to economists using efficiency arguments. The WID/gender unit has also always stressed research and academic excellence as a way of persuading resisting staff members. The main approach used in World Bank operations is still a traditional WID approach. However, there are also more gender oriented interventions emerging.

Despite its restricted area of influence the WID Division was successful in making the case for girls’ education, safe motherhood and, initiated by the South Asia Region, micro-credit for women. These issues have subsequently been taken up and included in lending programmes in many countries. Influential too, were country gender studies which facilitated the inclusion of gender into the broader policy documents and in getting gender issues onto national agendas. Moreover, the World Bank’s WID/gender units has produced excellent analytic work, which unfortunately seems to have had more influence outside the Bank than amongst its own rank and file. The relative isolation of previous WID/gender unit configurations might improve with the more integrated Gender Sector Board.

Despite these achievements, the gender concept is not widely used in the World Bank. At country level poverty assessments open the way for gender mainstreaming, but they are very variable with regard to the quality of gender analyses. Moreover, even though poverty assessments find their way into Country Assistance Strategies (CAS) in one way or another, gender might not.

Given the Bank’s experience with resistance to gender concepts comparatively little efforts have been spent on training and the production of guidelines and tools. Gender training has been erratic, and not covered many staff members, particularly senior management. Efforts have been and still are made in the design of sector specific "tools", but even though they have been made available on the internet, their usefulness beyond quantitative distribution figures never seems to have been assessed. A promising participatory "tool" for the Sahel seems to have not been followed up.

Like the other agencies the World Bank has neglected the measuring of gender mainstreaming. Without targets, measures and goals little focused monitoring is possible. What monitoring does take place is input and effort rather than results oriented. There is a serious lack of follow-up of project implementation on the ground.

Gender mainstreaming at country level

As expected gender mainstreaming appears to be weaker at country level. As already mentioned this is partly due to relative regional autonomy. Thus some Regions have a strong gender focal point structure others have not. Moreover, not all country offices care to appoint gender focal points, nor are all Country Directors in favour of gender training or including gender as a topic in country dialogue. This also applies to task managers, who if they are not committed to gender might choose to allocate their resources for expertise on teams to subjects other then gender. Thus performance of the World Bank at country level is variable with regard to gender.

In Uganda the CAS was known to be relatively gender inclusive, yet gender mainstreaming initiatives are still centralised and not known to all field office staff. Since a gender analysis is not obligatory most projects in Uganda are not significantly gender mainstreamed. The situation was similar in Malawi, where the CD had actively rejected offers of the UNDAF initiative to supply gender training to his staff, and where gender mainstreaming was clearly not an issue, neither in country office operations nor in project implementation. The situation in Bangladesh is, however, better. Even though the Dhaka office had very little gender mainstreamed projects, and the gender focal point was overworked, awareness about the constraints and needs of gender mainstreaming opens for better performance in the future.

Norwegian support to gender mainstreaming in the World Bank

Norwegian support to the WID/unit followed a similar pattern to that in UNDP in that it has used a two-pronged approach taking gender issues, together with a more general concern about attention to human dimensions in Bank operations, into the governing body and by financing targeted operations of the WID unit, and more recently gender concerns in units other than the WID/gender unit. Initially , between 1987 and 1989 the Norwegian Women’s Grant covered up to 60 percent the operational costs of the WID unit, leaving funding and reporting mechanisms very flexible. This enabled the WID unit to adjust their activities and strategies to the reactions in the Bank properly. Funding in the early years was focused mainly towards the mammoth task of establishing the credibility of gender for Bank operations. Funding was used for country profiles, best practice studies, and to larger project approaches that finally helped establish the credibility of the WID unit, such as the Safe Motherhood initiative (with a seconded Norwegian national working on the initiative). Most importantly too, Norway funded the research leading into the Bank’s policy paper on gender over a number of years. Concurrently the research found it’s way into the Bank’s contribution to the Beijing conference. Other funds, from 1990 onwards were channelled into the regional gender structures. Africa received a large share, as did consecutively Asia and Latin America. In addition special funds were made available to encourage and facilitate gender into CAS. There have also been marked successes to support gender via more over-aching programmes, such as Special Programme of Assistance for Africa, and African Poverty Monitoring Analysis, which have a strong gender focus.