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Women’s rights manifesto to reduce global poverty


7:00 am - March 8th 2010

by Don Paskini    


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Thanks to our friends at the F Word for news of the UK Gender and Development Network’s women’s rights manifesto. It has been endorsed by organizations including the Women’s Resource Centre, the Fawcett Society, the Women’s Environmental Network (WEN), Amnesty International and ActionAid.

Realising the potential of women and girls is critical to reducing global poverty and achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Promoting equality between women and men is also a matter of justice.

The UK Gender and Development Network (GADN) calls on the next UK Government to put gender equality and women’s empowerment at the heart of its international development agenda, and ensure the UK’s existing commitments on gender equality become a reality for women and girls across the world.

In particular, we ask that all political parties and candidates commit to:

1. End violence against women and girls worldwide by making it a foreign and development policy priority and appointing a Minister on violence against women and girls whose brief covers FCO, DfID and MoD.

2. Increase women’s political participation and leadership by making this a key component of FCO, DfID and MoD governance policies and programmes, supported by robust funding, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation
mechanisms.

3. Champion gender-sensitive responses to climate change by mainstreaming gender across all climate change policies, programmes and budgets, and calling for the participation of women in decisions related to climate change locally, nationally and internationally.

4. Empower women and girls to take full control of their sexual and reproductive lives by scaling up FCO and DfID investment in affordable services and comprehensive sexuality education and information, and reducing barriers that
prevent women and girls from accessing these.

5. Implement the UK’s international commitments on gender equality by continuing to invest in DfID’s capacity to deliver – building on the current Gender Equality Action Plan – focusing on strong leadership, systems of accountability and
monitoring, and staff knowledge and skills.

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About the author
Don Paskini is deputy-editor of LC. He also blogs at donpaskini. He is on twitter as @donpaskini
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Reader comments


1. George W Potter

Just looking at point number 1, why not campaign to end violence (domestic and otherwise) against all genders instead of just women. I know that the problem of violence to women is larger than the problem of violence to men, however, it is precisely because so many campaigns against violence ignore male victims all together that the problem of violence against men is so often ignored or forgotten about.

In general this is admirable, but a couple of points rather weaken this manifesto. Firstly, the role of the Ministry of Defence is to fight wars, not promote gender equality, so not sure why they are included here. The Ministry of Defence do not come up with the political solution.

Also, Climate-change? If there is climate change, is this not an equal-opportunities disaster (yes, I know there is findings that women may suffer more, but that is because of existing social structures not because of their gender per se).

However, does this really go far enough. Should not equality of all sorts be tied to UK development funding?

Rather a sad list really.

Gender equality tends to come as a result of development. So concentrate on doing the development, not the gender equality. The second will come naturally as a result of the first.

Chicken/egg situation Tim, you need both to be occuring at the same time. Example; development tends to occur in democratic countries more than dictatorships. Therefore as extending the vote to women improves the democratic creditionals of a nation, it also improves the prospects for development.

Planeshift,

Other than possibly Saudi Arabia is there any country where women do not have the vote when men do?

I tend to agree with your key point mind you, in that (non-corrupt) democracy is better for development. Bascially capitalism works best without corruption (which by definition involves keeping information from consumers), and therefore a system where vested elements (religion, patriarchical power structures, labour union bosses, monopolists etc) cannot wield unfair power is far more likely to lead to development and more chances for women. But a key point here is that the systems that support all these ‘old men with beards’ is often male head of family working, woman at home, and by empowering women you bring in new dynamics which challenge existing corrupting interests and increase the chance of democracy. Hence the importance of microbanks and the like in promoting equality, economic development and democracy. But the statement itself ignores such things in favour of talk of defence and climate change – too much focus on big issues (where the big men in situ can take their cut) and not enough on forcing real change through perhaps?


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