Gender and institutional strengthening: The World Bank's policy record in Latin America

Kate Bedford*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


This article examines the gendered nature of institutional strengthening policies at the World Bank, as part of an attempt to analyse what role gender plays in the institutionalist turn within development policy. It focuses on three snapshots of Bank action wherein debates about gender and institutional strengthening are particularly pertinent: Washington, DC policy texts and Presidential speeches; gender policy enacted in the Latin American and Caribbean region; and an Argentine project loan on social capital promotion and family strengthening. Two themes emerge from these sites: (1) that couplehood between men and women has been identified as a key informal institution necessary for development; and (2) that gender reform has been positioned as an institutional change issue requiring attention to issues such as social marketing. New norms about gender interaction thus emerge as an explicit part of the Bank's reform agenda, and are shaping project experiences across Latin America.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-214
Number of pages18
JournalContemporary Politics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2009


  • development
  • gender
  • institutions
  • Latin America

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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