ADB projects have to promote gender equality

Rosario Francisco (right) with colleagues Precinia Lizarondo and Normita Tricia Marquez attend the Opening Session of the Board of Governors at the Asian Development bank’s 52nd Annual Meeting at Denarau Nadi. Picture: REINAL CHAND

ABOUT 75 per cent of all Asian Development Bank (ADB) projects have to promote gender equality, says chief thematic officer Chiara Bronchi.

She said with lending volumes standing at about $21 billion per year, 75 per cent of this had to be conscious and mindful of promoting gender equality.

“We cannot do everything copy and paste and we’re working very closely with partners to really help us make a better impact and promote gender equality and women economic empowerment,” she said.

Ms Bronchi was one of the panelists in a discussion on opportunities and challenges for young women’s economic empowerment in the Pacific during ADB’s annual general meeting on Denarau this week.

Another panelist Temalesi Lutu from the Australia Pacific Training Coalition (APTC) said their focus was to upskill and train women to gain confidence when they entered the workforce, particularly in male-dominated fields.

“During the six months of training, we have the work skills facilitator who will teach the students on what to expect and more about business plans et cetera,” she said.

“They will also talk with our students and teach them interview skills and those are the tools they learn. So we empower them. When it comes to fields like construction and mechanical training, it’s not about just having to see the paper (qualifications) but they (employers) want to see whether people can do the job.”

Gender adviser Tara Chetty said it was vital to create a space for women and girls where they could be empowered to perform to the best of their abilities in the workforce.

“Many times when we are thinking about working with girls, the immediate go to is building their confidence and skills,” she said.

“That includes working with them at the individual agency level, which is wonderful and great but they almost become sacrificial lambs to our development projects when we send them back to their households and communities without also working at that relational level and structural level to create an enabling environment for that change.”

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