3 Mar 2007

New World Bank project offers cash for Pacific women's business projects

11:17 am on 3 March 2007

Pacific governments can lobby for new World Bank funding for projects that expand opportunities for women in the world of paid work.

The initiative, Gender Equality as Smart Economics: A World Bank Group Gender Action Plan, has been presented at the 51st Commission on the Status of Women in the United Nations in New York.

It pledges 24.5 million US dollars for projects that promote women's access to quality jobs, high-value agriculture, business opportunities, land, credit, and business basics such as transport, water and energy.

The Washington-based bank's director of gender and development, Mayra Buvinic, the move will put the economic empowerment of women firmly on the agenda.

She describes eligible projects as those which would assist women to set up business enterprises, back commercial loans to women, and broaden access to job training.

The initiatives, says the bank, need to be nimble and aimed at increasing women's earning opportunity in a relatively short time-frame and at low cost.