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By Penny Griffin

Gendering the area financial institution presents an strange, wide-ranging and obtainable account of the structure and results of discourses of neoliberal governance. Paying specific recognition to how gender issues in and to modern worldwide governance, the writer focuses specifically at the improvement discourse of the area financial institution.

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Social concerns that might impact on market efficiency are certainly today worth the consideration of development institutions, which operate social departments much larger and broader in scope than 20 years ago. Social concerns, however, are mainstreamed into policy only as long as they can be quantified as tools for promoting market efficiency. Herein, ‘gender equity’ relates entirely to women’s empowerment as measured according to their level of market access to ‘assets’ and ‘opportunities’, a restrictive categorisation that excludes all nonwomen but also the ‘informal’ labour that women contribute to keep the ‘formal’ economy sustainable.

Introduction 13 The (official) relationship between development and globalisation Developing countries, the primary recipients of Western policy-making, tend to feature in the neoliberal globalisation thesis as ‘cultures of shortage or scarcity’, ripe for transformation into ‘markets of overabundance’ (Wichterich 2000: vii–viii). Defining the relationship between ‘globalisation’ and development as progressive and essentially of benefit to developing countries, Western development institutions cite the ‘impressive technological progress’ that has ‘spurred productivity gains around the world’ as resulting in an increasing number of countries ‘contributing today to world growth’, which ‘makes for a much more deeply integrated and vibrant world’ (IMF Director of European Offices, Saleh Nsouli 2007).

Processes, practices and structures in the global political economy function only because of the human labour, bodies and energy that go into them. My work thus refuses the all too frequent equation of gender with women alone, and argues that the repeated trivialisation of gender in economic analysis/es results from a failure to see the power that gender brings to our everyday understandings, and especially to our understandings of economic common sense. My understanding of sex, gender and the reproduction of heterosexuality as they relate to neoliberalism, particularly as embodied in the Introduction 17 World Bank, is that neoliberalism, as a discourse not overtly or explicitly ‘sexual’, depends on and reproduces ‘an extremely narrow context for living’ (Berlant and Warner 1998: 556); a context in which the processes of centring in neoliberal discourse that orient, balance and give grounding to the overall structure occur in reference to certain articulations of (heterosexual) gender identity(ies).

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