In spring 2021 a dozen civil society groups urged the Fund to better address today’s existential challenges of the global climate crisis, increasing inequalities, and the devastating Covid-19 pandemic in A Proposed Framework for IMF Engagement in Country-level Surveillance on Macrostructural Issues; Inequality, Gender and Climate Change. We urged the Fund to address these ‘macrostructural issues’ intersectionally and systematically integrate them into its “surveillance work” and mandatory “advice” to countries.
International Monetary Fund (Fund)
Earth Day 2022!
6 steps the IMF and its shareholders should take to stop enabling fossil fuel expansion around the world and support countries’ green transitions
Since the IMF admitted that climate change, gender and other inequalities are macro-critical, its policy advice and loan conditions -- for example pushing countries to finance fossil fuel-boosting subsidies, squeezing other public spending, and increasing regressive taxes -- have undermined achievements in each of these spheres. This Earth Day 2022 briefing advises the Fund how to do better.
Joint Civil Society Position on IMF Gender Strategy
Feminist civil society groups issued this statement criticizing the IMF’s concept note outlining its first-ever gender strategy. We are holding our breath to see how many of our recommendations the Fund takes into account in its actual gender strategy.
In this Bretton Woods Project brief Elaine Zuckerman assesses the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Staff Discussion Note, “Women, Work, and the Economy: Macroeconomic Gains from Gender Equity” (WWE). This best IMF gender-focused report to date shows that the IMF has a long way to go to realize gender justice. WWE promotes an ‘instrumentalist’ strategy that upholds women’s employment as an instrument to boost economic growth. It needs to complementarily promote women’s and men’s equal rights -- a key women’s movement demand to end patriarchal patterns and feminization of poverty propelled by IMF structural adjustment loans. Maria Karamessinini’s box demonstrates how Greece’s IMF austerity program negatively impacts women. See the IMF & Gender’s recommendations!
In this 2007 Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars Asia Program Special Report Elaine Zuckerman discussed IFIs neoliberal policies which had been constraining national sovereign development approaches for over a quarter century.
Aleksandra Vladisavljevic and Elaine Zuckerman, 2004
This Guide describes the impact on people's lives, especially on women, of World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) policy-based loans: loans to developing countries that require governments to reform economic, financial and trade policies.
This 2000 analysis provides rare insights into the gender impacts of World Bank macroeconomic policies.
Gender Action continuously monitors the gender impacts of
IFI policy-based loans and carries out advocacy with local
partners to mitigate their harmful effects on poor men and
women in the global South. We work actively to eliminate poor
countries’ illegitimate IFI debt and onerous reform
conditions attached to IFI debt relief. Gender Action collaborates
in coalitions promoting alternative responsible finance, for
low-income countries, without strings attached to IFI-conditioned
Barricades to Gender Equity in the International Financial Architecture
Bhumika Muchhala, Third World Network
"Barricades to Gender Equity in the International Financial Architecture" by Bhumika Muchhala of the Third World Network examines the link between macroeconomic policies and rising gender inequality in the most recent economic recession. The article highlights how application of IMF macroeconomic policies on low-income countries, including trade liberalization, privatization, and cuts to social spending, has disproportionately harmed women. For example, women's concentration in part-time, public sector, or temporary employment means that they are often the first to be laid off during economic recessions. Additionally, when social services are cut, women often work longer hours both inside and outside the home to buffer their families against lost resources. Increased burdens on unpaid care work, restrictions to public spending, and emphasis on private sector development exacerbate gender inequality.
"Barricades to Gender Equity" outlines three damaging gender biases that are intensified by traditional macroeconomic policies. They are deflationary bias, male breadwinner bias and privatization bias. Combined, these harmful biases undermine women's employment opportunities and restrict their access to quality education, health care, and other essential services. The article recommends incorporating unpaid care work into economic measurements; placing gender equality, human development, and social justice at the heart of economic development; and adopting more diverse economic policies that make social spending and debt restructuring complementary to growth. As Machhala argues, we must move toward new financial policies that advance, not hinder, gender equity and women's rights.