World Economic Forum and Inter-American Development Bank Join Forces to Close the Workforce Gender Gap in Latin America

17 Jun 2016

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  • The World Economic Forum and Inter-American Development Bank announce partnership to advance gender parity in the workplace in Latin America, starting in Chile
  • Partnership will employ a model developed over three years through Gender Parity Taskforces in Mexico, Turkey, Japan and the Republic of Korea, catalysed by the Forum
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Medellín, Colombia, 17 June 2016 – A three-year experiment in harnessing public-private collaboration to address the workforce gender gap has paved the way for a new partnership between the World Economic Forum and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) aimed at advancing greater workplace gender equality in Latin America.

The partnership between the Forum and IDB will first focus on Chile, where only about 60% of the country’s economic gender gap has been closed. Consequently, the potential for making economic and social gains from further improvements in workplace gender equality is considerable. In order to realize this goal, both partners will pool their respective gender and country expertise to share best practices with committed leaders from business and government, introduce new policies and initiatives, and track the impact of each action.

“With relatively high rates of female education, many Latin American countries stand to make significant economic gains from integrating more women into the workforce. The new partnership between the World Economic Forum and the Inter-American Development Bank will support public-private partnerships in the region, starting with a Gender Parity Taskforce in Chile,” said Richard Samans, Head of the Centre for the Global Agenda, World Economic Forum.

Luis Alberto Moreno, President, IDB, said: ““The IDB and the World Economic Forum are looking forward to working with the Government of Chile and the private sector to achieve tangible transformations in closing the economic gender gap in that country"

Luis Felipe Céspedes, Minister of Economy of Chile: “Productivity, economic growth, competitiveness and inclusive development in or country, demand that we incorporate women further into the entire decision-making and production belt. We are committed to and are working towards making that hope a reality. Within this context, we are pleased with the initiative taken by the World Economic Forum, which in collaboration with the IDB, is fostering Gender Parity Taskforces to strengthen public-private collaboration. This will enable us to advance in reducing gender-based gaps and placing the role of women in the economy under equal conditions.”

Lessons learned in closing the gender gap

The partnership between the Forum and IDB will employ a model for public-private cooperation developed over three years by Forum-led Gender Parity Taskforces in Mexico, Turkey, Japan and the Republic of Korea. Key learnings from these pilot projects are set out in a new report, Closing the Economic Gender Gap: Learning from the Gender Parity Taskforces, published today.

In each of the four pilots, partnerships were set up to reduce the gender gap in each country by 10%, relative to its starting point three years ago, by encouraging individual actions by businesses and policy-makers as well as fostering public-private dialogue and collaboration, supplementing the other efforts underway in the four countries. Turkey, Japan and Mexico launched their taskforces in 2012 and have seen their gaps reduced by 10.8%, 6.2% and 1.3% respectively relative to their starting point. The Republic of Korea, which launched its taskforce in 2014, has already closed 9% of its gender gap.

The pilot taskforces demonstrate six critical elements for future successful public-private collaborations:

1. The collaboration should be based on a strong economic case for gender parity.

2. The taskforce objectives should be defined and shared publicly to create a shared sense of mission.

3. The objectives should be measurable and progress should be systematically tracked.

4. The taskforce should be structured to withstand political and business cycles, with both leadership- and expert-level commitment.

5. The collaboration should aim to build a broad base of support and involve civil society, academic and media stakeholders in addition to business and government leaders.

6. Companies involved can benefit from both broader cross-organizational learning as well as sector-specific collaboration to overcome similar barriers.

More than 550 participants are taking part in the 11th World Economic Forum on Latin America in Medellín, Colombia, from 16 to 17 June 2016. The theme of the meeting is, Reigniting Latin America’s Inclusive Growth.

The Co-Chairs of the World Economic on Latin America are: Carlos Julio Ardila, Chief Executive Officer, Organización Ardila Lülle, Colombia; Ilene S. Gordon, President and Chief Executive Officer, Ingredion Incorporated, USA; Francesco Starace, Chief Executive Officer and General Manager, Enel SpA, Italy; Brian Gallagher, President and Chief Executive Officer, United Way Worldwide, USA; and Carlos Salazar Lomelin, Chief Executive Officer, FEMSA, Mexico.

Notes to Editors

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