Gender Action Calls for International Financial Institutions to Stop Contributing to Violence Against Women
Tuesday, March 6, 2007 1:18 PM

In recognition of International Women’s Day 2007, Gender Action calls for the elimination of discrimination against women and girls in development loans and investments.  The organization notes that International Financial Institution (IFI) investments often aggravate existing discrimination and intensify poverty, trafficking, prostitution, sexual assault, and other forms of violence against women. 

Gender Action contends that the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development-funded Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Pipeline, although intended to promote economic development, has in fact driven many women and girls into prostitution and increased violence against women.  The organization further asserts that several IMF-imposed policies have in fact exacerbated the problems of poverty and unemployment in the developing world. Governments often respond to worsening economies by cutting public health spending, which may force women and girls to forego education to assist their families.  This lack of education can result in long-term health consequences and limited opportunities to leave poverty.

In 2003, leaders of IFIs declared their intention to promote gender equality, but Gender Action asserts that the promises were left unfulfilled and attempts were negated by negative consequences of risky investments. Gender Action calls for a transparent audit of past loans, the elimination of harmful policy prescriptions from current loans, and the strengthening of safeguards to protect women. 

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