Research demonstrates that the COVID-19 pandemic has had differential effects by gender, with women experiencing higher job and income loss, increased rates of domestic violence, and mounting care burdens globally. While governments and civil society organizations were pivotal to mitigating the impacts of the pandemic, international institutions, and multilateral development banks (MDBs) in particular, also played a role in financing and informing the design and implementation of COVID-19 response programs. MDBs are institutions with significant financial resources and policy leverage, but relatively little is known about their impact on narrowing gender gaps in their partner countries, especially during the COVID-19 crisis.
This paper examines the extent to which MDB COVID response projects incorporated gender elements. Using project data from the World Bank, African Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, and Inter-American Development Bank, this paper presents descriptive statistics on the presence of gender-related indicators and gender-dedicated projects across MDBs in projects focused on health, social protection, and other areas of COVID response and recovery. We analyze data across institutions, geographies, and project sectors—and highlight the main gaps in MDB response efforts.