Institutionalizing Gender Equality at ADB: The Experience of the Bangladesh Resident Mission
Bangladesh had the highest proportion of gender-sensitive projects in the whole portfolio of loans and grants approved by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) from 1998 to 2007.
Several crucial factors have helped propel gender mainstreaming in Bangladesh. In a study conducted by ADB in 2009, the sweeping social changes within the country provided the impetus that pushed gender concerns forward. This was complemented by line agencies’ increasing commitment to gender issues. Based on the experience of the Bangladesh Resident Mission (BRM), increased opportunities for women’s involvement in projects and local government support to the inclusion of women in project activities led to the higher than average proportion of gender-sensitive projects in the country. The integration of gender action plans in project designs and their flexible implementation have also opened more doors for women’s participation in Bangladesh.
Management support in the South Asia Regional Department and the BRM also contributed to the institutionalization of gender equality in ADB-funded projects in the country. By posting a gender specialist, the BRM was able to efficiently and effectively provide technical assistance in projects being assisted by ADB in Bangladesh.
The experience of the BRM illustrates that through openness to gender concerns and strategic technical and financial assistance, gender mainstreaming may be accelerated and even institutionalized.