While women make up 70 percent of the world’s poor, men continue to dominate the world’s major global financial institutions. A study by the Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO) found that women made up only 2.2 percent of the Board of Governors at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and 5.5 percent at the World Bank. Women comprised only 8.3 percent of World Bank Board of Directors Ð sadly, far better than women’s representation at the IMF where no women are on the Board of Directors. Importantly, many of the policies that these financial institutions put forward including “trade liberalization, the opening-up of markets and the deregulation of industry” have a largely negative impact on women’s livelihoods, health and well being, particularly poor women,” according to WEDO. Women’s absence from the leadership roles in the global economic arena may therefore compromise efforts to shape policies that have women’s economic security at their center.
Five years after the adoption of the Beijing Platform of Action in 1995, world governments agreed to include a gender perspective in all economic policies and development programs. Globally, however, women lack leadership roles in economy-related positions. According to WEDO, there are only 28 female ministers of Finance, Economics, Trade, Development, Industry, or Agriculture worldwide.