Elaine Zuckerman "President and Founder of Gender Action, worked inside the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank for two decades. While working inside these International Financial Institutions (IFIs), she became impassioned to eliminate the disconnect between strong IFI rhetoric and studies demonstrating the need for greater gender equality to reduce poverty and enhance economic growth and their neglect to promote gender equality in most large investments. She believes just as external pressure was pivotal in changing Bank behavior toward the environment, it also will be critical in changing Bank behavior toward gender.
"Elaine has a past history of reforming the IFIs from inside. During the 1980s, Elaine created the first World Bank advocacy program to prevent the harmful impacts of structural adjustment loans on the poor, especially women. In 1988, she presented on the negative impacts of structural adjustment programs on African women at a Ford Foundation conference in Nairobi. While serving on the AWID Board of Directors during the 1980s, she designed and chaired the first Association for Women's Rights in Development (AWID) Forum workshop in 1989 that examined the impact of adjustment on women. She invited speakers from Africa, Asia and Latin America to tell their stories firsthand. In the 1990s, she created the first Inter-American Development Bank strategy for the Amazon. It prohibited further investments in roads, ranching and migration — which had damaged indigenous societies and the environment — and encouraged investments in health, water, sanitation, education and renewable resources.
"During her work for the IFIs and consulting for bilateral aid agencies and civil society organizations such as the International Center for Research on Women and Oxfam, she worked on China, Latin America, Africa and Eastern Europe on gender, poverty, poverty reduction strategies, the social impact of macroeconomic policies and structural adjustment reforms, social investment funds, education and health financing, and rural development and environment projects.
"Elaine studied in China for over three years during the Cultural Revolution on Canadian and Chinese government scholarships. During this time, she experienced Chinese life by living with Chinese and working on communes and in factories. She completed her studies in political economy at McGill University, the University of Toronto and Beijing University and in business administration at Georgetown University. She speaks and reads Chinese, French and Spanish."