MANILA: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) celebrated International Women’s Day at ADB headquarters. The celebration was led by ADB Vice-President for Administration and Corporate Management Ms. Deborah Stokes and United Nations (UN) Secretary-General’s High-Level Advisory Board on Mediation member Ms Noeleen Heyzer.

“Under ADB’s Strategy 2030, gender equality is one of seven operational priorities. By 2030, 75% of committed projects and programs will promote gender equality. For the first time, these targets will also include our nonsovereign operations. In this way, ADB is helping governments and the private sector mainstream gender equality,” said Ms. Stokes in remarks delivered on behalf of ADB President Mr. Takehiko Nakao.

“Empowering women to participate fully in economic and social life is essential to build strong economies, establish stable and just societies, and improve the quality of life for men, women, and our communities,” said Ms. Heyzer, who has served in several important UN positions, including 13 years as the Executive Director of the UN Development Fund for Women.

In 2018, 56% of ADB’s sovereign and nonsovereign projects incorporated gender equality components. ADB’s support to Indonesia after the devastating earthquake and tsunami in 2018 includes the construction of 34 health centers providing maternal health services as well as 100 schools with gender-responsive designs. In the Pacific, ADB is supporting a comprehensive human papillomavirus vaccination program in Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu for adolescent girls.

ADB also received a $12.6 million grant from the Women’s Entrepreneurship Finance Initiative to strengthen women-led small and medium-sized enterprises in Sri Lanka. In Myanmar, ADB is investing for the first time in a private equity fund that has developed a gender equality scorecard to guide selection of the fund’s investments. ADB contiunues to provide technical assistance for legal and judicial reforms in support of gender equality, as well as women’s leadership within government and communities.

ADB is committed to increasing female representation in its workforce, with women expected to comprise at least 40% of international staff by 2022. ADB also recently became the first international financial institution to attain EDGE Move, the second level of certification, awarded by the Economic Dividends for Gender Equality, the leading global standard in workplace gender equality.

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. In 2018, it made commitments of new loans and grants amounting to $21.6 billion. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members—48 from the region.