Neoliberalism with a Feminist Face: Crafting a New Hegemony at the World Bank


Prügl, Elisabeth. “Neoliberalism with a Feminist Face: Crafting a New Hegemony at the World Bank”. Feminist Economics 23.1 (2016): , 23, 1, 30-53. Web. Copy at

Date Published:

13 Jul 2016



Neoliberalism has been discredited as a result of proliferating crises (financial, ecological, care) and mounting inequality. This paper examines the growing research on gender at the World Bank as a site for the construction of a new hegemonic consensus around neoliberalism. Drawing on a computer-assisted inductive analysis of thirty-four Bank publications on gender since 2001, the paper documents Bank efforts to establish a positive relationship between gender equality and growth; shows the expansion of the Bank’s definition of equality as equal opportunity; illustrates how the focus on institutions has enabled engagement with core feminist concerns, such as equality in the family; and traces how incorporating notions of women’s empowerment and agency has made possible a focus on domestic violence. The paper concludes by emphasizing the ambiguous effects of the Bank’s new neoliberalism, which continues to use the market as the arbiter of social values while providing openings for feminist agendas.


Publisher's Version

Last updated on 12/12/2016