Focus Area

Employment and Gender Equality

Economies across the world need the equal participation of women and men to achieve their full potential and meet the challenges of the 21st century. Yet, the economic participation of women remains stubbornly low in many countries, holding back the private sector and countries alike.

Women face persistent barriers in labor markets mainly because of discrimination and culturally entrenched ideas about gender roles. Globally, over 2.7 billion women are legally restricted from having the same choice of jobs as men, according to World Bank Group’s Women, Business and the Law research.

If women participated in the global economy at the same rate as men, economic output could rise by as much as a third. Companies that invest in women’s employment gain an important competitive advantage because they reach a wider talent pool, realize enhanced productivity, and improve staff retention. Better jobs for women lead to higher income levels and more decision-making influence. That has broader societal effects, increasing household spending on children’s nutrition, health, and education.

Ms Garg had an experience of 4-5 years in real estate/ construction and the rest of the experience in practicing. I resigned and wanted to start something of my own. But was a task for me to combine the experience. Normally, Architects design buildings but there is little planning on how to use the various services/ save electricity in a hospital.  She had experience of over 15 years in hospital management. She started her venture SB Hospital and Healthcare private limited.
Ms Garg is a qualified MBBS. In the initial 5-7 years, she was involved in practice. she started her career in 1991 and worked at Apollo for 5 years. 
“In December 2014, we got the project for Delhi. We needed an initial investment (Rs 3 cr),” she said.  
This is the biggest project and Yes Bank’s funding has given a big boost. The hospital is a 150 bed hospital funded by Sant Parmanand Trust and will be completed by October 2016. The operations and management will be done by Sant Parmanand. Ms Garg tried to take loans from a number of banks initially but they were of the view that single lady taking a loan is quite risky.
“I think women should live their dream. You should have the self-confidence to prove yourself and people will come to you. Also, I feel that women are equal to men and we do not need any sympathy or special rights/ privileges. People should come forward to support women entrepreneurs,” she said. 
I feel good and bad things are both necessary in life. You should not be arrogant in success and not depressed when you are done

IFC works with the private sector to expand employment opportunities. 

We work with client firms to identify opportunities and strategies to improve the workplace so both women and men can perform well in their jobs. We partner with the clients to conduct firm-level assessments to identify gender gaps in the workforce and develop action plans to institute new or strengthen existing policies and practices to recruit, retain, and promote more women.

Focus areas for IFC include boosting the number of women in leadership, expanding family-friendly policies such as childcare, and addressing gender-based violence. IFC also helps its clients measure and communicate the business case for investing in women’s employment.

Tackling Childcare Initiative

IFC’s Global Tackling Childcare Advisory Program works with client companies, the World Bank, governments, and related entities to implement good childcare and family-friendly practices through research, advisory, investments, and private sector peer learning.

Care2Equal Program

IFC’s Care2Equal Program builds on IFC’s Tackling Childcare Program and regional projects and research, to mobilize private sector action, innovation, and investment to tackle the global care crisis, including elderly care, mental health and well-being.

Respectful Workplaces Advisory

The Respectful Workplaces Program supports the private sector in emerging markets to create safe and resilient workplaces through demonstrating the business case for action, providing businesses with advisory services, resources, and tools to help them address gender-based violence, harrassment, and abuse connected to the workplace.

Women’s Employment Program

The program provides IFC clients in Manufacturing, Agribusiness and Services sectors with an internal gender assessment that examines talent management and company operations from a gender perspective, while highlighting the business case for gender equality in employment. 

Other IFC Initiatives

From 2014 to 2016, IFC led SheWorks, a World Bank Group global peer-learning partnership of leading companies that made commitments to support women’s employment and ultimately enhanced job opportunities and working conditions for more than 300,000 women. The partnership builds on IFC's earlier WINvest initiative and subsequently inspired similar IFC partnerships in Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Sri Lanka.

The  IFC-ILO Better Work program is focused on improving working conditions in the garment industry—a key employer for women in developing countries. Bringing together local enterprises, retail buyers, governments, and workers’ and employers’ organizations, Better Work strives to improve labor standards, reduce the incidence of sexual harassment, and thereby, promote competitiveness.

In partnership with Share Hope Foundation, a non-profit organization working to bring social programs to benefit workers in the Haitian garment sector, IFC launched the publication Understanding Gender-Based Violence Through the Lens of Haitian Garment Workers (2019). The study explores workers’ experiences with various types of gender-based violence and assesses the impact on the workplace.

IFC's Women on Boards program is building capacity, raising awareness, and expanding the discussion about gender diversity on boards in emerging markets and developing countries.


Evangelia Tsiftsi
Communications Specialist, Gender and Economic Inclusion
+1 202-473-4159