Mieko Nishimizu, World Bank vice president for South Asia, said July 3 that she wants to eliminate discrimination against women in developing countries in the region.

“We want to integrate (a fight against) women’s problems into economic development programs and help contribute to gender equality,” Nishimizu told reporters in Tokyo. Nishimizu was appointed in January as one of 19 vice presidents of the Washington-based bank. She is the first Japanese woman to hold the post.

In rural villages in Pakistan and Bangladesh, many women never leave home for their entire lives because of religious reasons, she said. That tradition prevents women from going to school and leaves them largely illiterate, which in turn hampers the education of their children, according to Nishimizu. The World Bank is cooperating with local nongovernmental organizations to promote “home-based school” by training female teachers who are allowed to visit such women at home.

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