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General Analysis on Gender and Inequality



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UN Commission Calls for Increased Efforts to Promote Gender Equality (March 25, 2014)

Last Saturday, March 22, 2014, the 58th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women ended with a strong call to prioritize gender equality and the human rights of women in order to achieve sustainable development. In an article, Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN) analyzes the outcomes of the meeting and applaudes the governments who stood up for the rights of all individuals to live free of violence, discrimination, and barriers to accessing sexual and reproductive health services, particularly for girls. However, advocates expressed disappointment that a small minority of conservative governments spurred on by the Holy See—which holds special observer status at the UN—held up negotiations by objecting to concepts as fundamental as gender and the human rights of women throughout the two weeks of negotiations. (DAWN)

LBT Activists Call on Governments not to Use Rights as Bargaining Chips (March 23, 2014)

Governments at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) ignored evidence of and regional support for key elements of sustainable development in its declaration adopted March 21, 2014, says a coalition of lesbian, bisexual women, trans* (LBT) and allied activists and organizations in a statement. The human rights of people targeted because of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression have long been recognized by UN entities and expert bodies as part of general human rights protections. However, some governments continue to create conditions that limit the ability for all people to enjoy these rights. (DAWN)

Feminist Economists Respond To The Recent IMF Discussion Note Women, Work, And The Economy (February 10, 2014)

In this second of a two part series on the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Discussion Note on 'Macroeconomic Gains From Gender Equity' feminist economists Prof. Stephanie Seguino with Associate Prof. Elissa Braunstein and Dr. Anit N. Mukherjee take a look at the some of the shortfalls in the report related to gender wage gap, how macroeconomic policies perpetuate gender inequality, female labour force participation rate and unpaid care work. (AWID)


In September a high-level meeting on ending violence and discrimination against LGBT People took place after a 2011 study by United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights had found that 76 countries still continually criminalize adult same-sex consensual relationships. With this meeting the UN hopes to join forces to present a large front against the unjust discrimination of LGBT People and to create a more equitable society.

Homophobia, Transphobia And Hate Crimes In Europe (September 30, 2013)

Although the situation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex people has improved in recent years in some European countries, prejudice, discrimination and hate-motivated violence persist, even in countries where same-sex relationships are relatively accepted. A new briefing by Amnesty International identifies areas authorities need to improve in order to effectively tackle hate crimes on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. The report contains illustrative case studies and also provides information on homophobic and transphobic hate crimes in these countries. (amnesty international)

Global Financial Crisis Affecting Especially Women (August 1, 2013)

The global financial crisis has had an especially heavy toll on the lives and livelihoods of women, reports ‘A bottom up approach to righting financial regulation’ initiative in its sixth primer. Social Watch, an international network of citizens’ organization is involved in the initiative and has published the piece on its website. The author, Avanti Mukherjee, writes that it is widely women who carry the responsibility for social reproduction. Especially during economic hardship their human and labor rights are affected by this role as care-givers and Mukherjee argues that regulation and recovery need to address this issue with more gender just approaches. (Avanti Mukherjee/Social Watch)

Mars, Mondelez, Nestle Are Leaving Women Farmers Behind (March 8, 2013)

Oxfam criticizes Mars, Mondelez and Nestle for their unequal treatment of women. Research into the ethical standards of their supply chain has revealed that female cocoa farmers in the global south often face discrimination.  Even though women are crucial in the production system, they often receive unequal pay and are frequently denied access to land, credit, trainings and tools. On International Women’s Day, Oxfam campaigned to encourage the companies to address these issues and urged them to take steps to make their products more sustainable. (Oxfam Press Release)

UN Special Rapporteur, Dr Olivier de Schuttier, presented a new report to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva entitled “Gender and the Right to Food”. The report argues that discrimination against women is prevalent in societies, despite anti-discriminatory international laws. It shows that women are burdened with an unequal distribution of family responsibilities and have less of a voice in decision-making in households and communities than men. Agriculture has witnessed a gradual feminization since the responsibility of providing food for their families is often assigned to women. However, access to education and farming resources is frequently restricted, inhibiting food production and distribution. De Schuttier calls for policy initiatives to empower women and announced to the Council that “sharing power with women is a shortcut to reducing hunger and malnutrition, and is the single most effective step to realizing the right to food.” (srfood)

Making Cities Safe for Women and Girls (February 19, 2013)

The 8th World Forum of the World Alliance of Cities Against Poverty in Dublin explores unique approaches to improving safety for women and girls in cities around the world. The Safe Cities Global initiative is a collaborative effort between civil society, local governments and other stakeholders to develop practical responses improving safety in over 20 cities globally.  Initiatives include improving design and lighting of roads and buildings, conducting police training and increasing female presence within the political and law enforcement systems. Key lessons emerging from this exercise is the need for context-specific programs and the importance of women within the political system to drive change. Although practical approaches help improve safety, efforts to address the underlying causes of violence and strengthening legal mechanisms must continue. (IPS)


African Women Won't Wield Political Influence Without Cultural Change (September 4, 2012)

This article explores how elections in the African region present an opportunity for women’s participation in political decision making. However, it also acknowledges that many barriers work against them, such as economic dependency, limited access to education, intimidation and violence. In this regard, candidate quotas are effective, as seen in countries like Senegal but insufficient. Female representation in parliament is crucial for adding vital perspectives to the democratic process and promotes women’s rights. But female politicians often suffer from a “gender backlash” after they assume their duties. For the future, female political representation can only work if it is accompanied by cultural change. (Guardian)

Women Spend 40 Billion Hours Collecting Water (August 31, 2012)

According to the UN’s 2012 report on MDGs, over 70% of the burden of collecting water for households in Sub-Saharan Africa falls on women and girls. Education is crucial to promoting health and hygiene, but the fact that girls are sent to fetch water instead of attending school is proving to be damaging for the future. While women do most of the farm work, their role in decisions related to water, agriculture and food management is very limited. Women have held a restricted number of positions in government ministries dealing with agriculture and natural resources. Most African states are parties to international conventions protecting rights of women, and even have national laws that prevent gender based discrimination; however there is a clearly perceived gap between policy and implementation. (IPS)

Samantha Brennan on Microinequalities (February 2, 2012)

Throughout the West, formal obstacles to discrimination against women were largely abolished decades ago. Gender inequality became a topic to be discussed in and for other regions of the world, in “underdeveloped” countries in which legal discrimination against women and other minorities is still in place. However, the end of legal inequality does not directly translate into actual equality in terms of socio-economic well being and access to opportunities. Inequality continues to be a fact of life for women throughout their economic, social and political lives – also in the West. In this Public Ethics Radio Interview, Samantha Brennan elucidates how inequalities between women and men persist, and what can be done against this. (Carnegie Council)


Make it Right: Ending the Crisis in Girls' Education (July 2011)

The report “Make It Right: Ending the Crisis in Girls’ Education”, by the Global Campaign for Education (GCE) and RESULTS, calls on the World Bank and International Monetary Fund to implement consistent policies to assist countries’ efforts to achieve gender equality in education.  The report notes that the 2005 Education for All goals of gender equality in enrollment have been missed, and that poverty, marriage, and sexual violence contribute to lower rates of enrollment for females. The authors stress the role that international financing institutions can play in addressing gender inequality. They urge the World Bank must make education operations gender-sensitive and the IMF to reduce its constraints on public spending, allowing countries to invest in girls’ education. Executing these changes will create further progress towards the 2015 Millennium Development Goal of gender equality in education.
(Global Campaign for Education and RESULTS Educational Fund)

Women Parliamentarians Outnumber Men, But Gender Budgeting Still Needed (July 26, 2011)

Rwanda is the first country where women outnumber men in parliament. Since 2009, it has been part of UN Women’s Gender Equitable Local Development (GELD) program, which tries to create gender responsive planning and budgeting in African countries. However, while women’s leadership is apparent, national resources and access are still allocated unfairly due to cultural norms. Women are commonly denied their legal rights to inherit and are still expected to fulfill domestic roles. Rwanda’s current national policy, which emphasizes microfinance schemes for women, does not give social and economic power to rural women. Microfinance grants tend to leave women out of financial management and planning, and should be re-addressed. (InterPress Service)

Progressive Women From 20 Countries Vow to Fight Imperialist Attacks Against Women (July 11, 2011)

The International Women’s Alliance (IWA), which represents more than 40 women’s groups worldwide, emphasized the need to advance the “global anti-imperialist women’s movement” at their first general assembly  Attendees spoke about the negative effects of imperialism on women, and stressed that global financial instability coupled with the increased vulnerability of women in economic downturns have made women’s activism especially important. As a recent UN report stated, more than half of working women lack legal protections at their jobs, making them less economically secure in a recession. Poor rural women are becoming increasingly marginalized and are at risk for exploitation, while women in developed countries face increased joblessness and austerity cuts. When transitioning economies out of the global economic crisis, lawmakers should recognize the enhanced vulnerability of women in economic crises, and act to strengthen their economic, political, and social rights. (Bulatlat)

Progress of the World's Women: In Pursuit of Justice (July 7, 2011)

On July 7th, UN Women released its first report, titled Progress of the World’s Women: In Pursuit of Justice. The report argues that although women have gained legal rights in recent years, they still lack basic protections and even the resources to utilize these protections properly. For example, while 139 constitutions worldwide guarantee gender equality, 603 million women still live in countries where domestic violence is not considered a crime and more than half of working women lack legal protections at their jobs. The report recommends that states increase female legislators through quotas, and implement creative, incentivized policies such as paid “daddy leave” to create greater tangible improvements in equality. (UN Women)

Opportunity in Crisis: Preventing HIV From Early Adolescence to Young Adulthood (June 2011)

This UNICEF report, which contains the first comprehensive data on HIV infections in young people, finds that while HIV prevalence has declined slightly among youth, 2500 young people are still infected daily. Furthermore, young women are at a disproportionate risk of contracting HIV, due to biological vulnerability, social inequality, and exclusion. The report urges communities and governments to revitalize prevention efforts for young people. (UNICEF)

Women in Agriculture: Closing the Gender Gap for Development (March 9, 2011)

Women contribute significantly to rural agriculture in developing countries. Whilst the role of women differs, they all lack access to land, livestock, education, financial services, technology and rural employment opportunities, when compared with men. The UN Food and Agriculture Organizations' report on the State of Food and Agriculture says that closing the gender gap in agricultural could lift up to 150 million people out of hunger. Agricultural development and global food security rely on the empowerment of women and achieving gender equality.

UN Report: Women Lag in Ag Job Benefits
(January 21, 2010)

Women working in agricultural jobs in rural areas continue to earn less than their male counterparts according to a recent report released by three UN agencies. Global crises in food and financial markets were cited as causes for persistent inequity. Governments should institute structural reforms to bridge the gender gap, which include strengthening legal frameworks that promote gender equality, as well as more inclusive social safety nets and expanded access to educational opportunities. (United Press International)


GPF Exclusive Video Interview: Achieving the MDGs - A Gender Perspective (July 23, 2010)

With the MDG summit set to take place in September, questions are being raised as to whether the Millennium Development Goals will in fact be met by 2015. The global financial crisis is threatening international efforts to meet the 2015 MDG deadline, especially the goal to halve poverty. Moreover, the key indicators for women and girls are lagging. It is also clear that progress towards the MDGs will not be sustainable without the equal involvement of half the world's population. In order to refocus the UN's efforts on women, the General Assembly recently created a new structure for women's rights and empowerment called the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women). GPF speaks to Barbara Adams, Senior Fellow at GPF and Former Chief of Strategic Partnerships at UNIFEM, about the challenges the new agency has to overcome and the role it can play in the achievement of the MDGs. (GPF)

Broadcasting Women's Voices in Haiti's Reconstruction (May 3, 2010)

This article highlights the importance of radio in promoting women's participation in the social, political, and economic dialogues of Haiti. The Women's Community Radio Network (REFRAKA) trains women as journalists, hosts programs about local issues and supports activism. REFRAKA's program director remarks how popular communication plays a big part in the women's movement, which plays a vital role in planning "a national development plan for another Haiti." (Truthout)

Fifteen Years After Beijing (February 23, 2010)

The 54th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women is taking place March 1-12, 2010 at UN headquarters in New York. This session is a follow up to the Platform-for-Action and Declaration established in Beijing fifteen years ago. In the spirit of this Beijing +15 Review, Kudzai Macombi, breaks down the issue of gender equality and empowerment and she analyzes global progress in 12 critical areas. (IPS)

Poverty Still Has a Woman's Face (February 18, 2010)

The Asia-Pacific region has drastically reduced measures of extreme poverty but women remain among the most vulnerable, says a report on the status of the Millennium Development Goals. Women constitute the majority of Asia's low-skilled, low-salaried, and temporary workers. While the report acknowledges that there have been notable gains toward the achievement of MDGs in recent years, the economic crisis undermined much of the momentum. (Terraviva Asia)

Gender Dimensions of Agriculture and Rural Employment: Differentiated Pathways Out of Poverty (2010)

The UN Food and Agricultural Organization, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the International Labour Office have produced a report that examines gender inequalities that limit women's access to decent work. Women make substantial contributions to feeding their families and their countries. However women lag behind men in access to land, credit, technology, information, advisory services and training. The report considers the most recent thinking on the gender dimensions of rural poverty since almost half the world's poor live in rural areas.

Global Education Digest: Special Focus on Gender (2010)

Despite progress towards gender equality over the last decade, girls are still denied their right to education. Limits on girls' and women's learning opportunities hinder improvement in all areas, such as child and maternal health and overall poverty reduction. The UNESCO Institute of Statistics 2010 Global Education Digest focuses policies and indicators to benchmark progress on the elimination on gender disparities in primary and secondary education.


Gender Empowerment at UN Still Cloudy (December 22, 2009)

The UN has more women in the post of Under Secretary General than at any time in its history. Ban Ki-moon has appointed women to senior positions and women in the top three UN ranks have grown by 40%. NGOs advocate for more funding and enforcement of gender equality standards. (Terraviva Europe)

Poor Women "Bear Climate Burden" (November 18, 2009)

UNFPA's recent report has warned that climate change will affect women more than men in developing countries. Women do most of the agricultural work in developing countries. As managers and caregivers of households, women have limited chance of moving around when floods or drought hit their region. Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, the executive director of UNFPA, calls for a new climate treaty to take into account women's struggle with the environment. (BBC)

Put Women at Core of Climate Change Debate, Say Activists (October 13, 2009)

Debates over climate change do not pay enough attention to women who produce up to 80 percent of Africa's food. Left behind by their men who migrate to find a job, women have to struggle with day-to-day problems of climate change, such as lack of productivity due to drought. Ban Ki-Moon's statement about neglect of women in global discussions on climate change has spurred NGOs to advocate more on the issue. (IRIN)

Financing for Development and Women's Rights: A Critical Review (2009)

This article critiques the current international development framework. It describes the national, international, and systemic challenges of financing for development, and specifically development to reduce gender inequality. Author Carmen de la Cruz points out the changing attitudes toward development aid since the 1990s and the growing gap between rhetoric and action in today's globalized world. (WIDE: Globalising Gender Inequality and Social Justice)


Gender Equity Index 2008 (February 28, 2008)

Social Watch published the Gender Equity Index 2008to contribute to the 52nd Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women. The index ranks 157 countries on a scale where a score of 100 implies total equality between women and men in education, economic activity and participation in decision-making processes. The highest score totals 89 (Sweden) and the world average is a mere 61. The top-five countries are Sweden, Finland (85), Norway (84), Germany (80) and Rwanda (80) – one of the poorest countries in the world. This shows that high per capita income does not guarantee gender equity. Social Watch concludes that "progress towards gender equity is difficult and vulnerable to regressions."

Bridging the Gap: Financing Gender Inequality (2008)

Gender equality is central to development results. The 52nd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women, held in February-March 2008, focused on financing for gender equality.  This report of the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and UN Non-Governmental Liaison Service (NGLS) is the result of these discussions. It focuses on financing and addresses the link between gender equality and macroeconomic policies. (2008)


Men on the Daddy Track Find A Place of Their Own at Home (November 8, 2007)

This Wall Street Journalarticle finds that men continue to view stay-at-home fathers with skepticism and cynicism. Only 4.8 percent of US families have a father who stays at home, while more than 30 percent of mothers leave their jobs to care for children. Commentators suggest that as with women, men who return to work after staying at home find that their careers are set back by years and managers and co-workers undervalue their skills.

Aid for Sexual Health Declining (October 10, 2007)

NGOs and EU politicians are worried about the decline in development aid directed at sexual health and family planning. They insist that providing sexual health services is both a moral imperative and an important factor in reducing poverty. Every year more than 500,000 women die from complications during pregnancy and child birth. In addition to the immediate loss of lives, problems of poverty arise due to insufficient health care and excessive population growth. Increased funding could allow women to choose how many children they want to have and they could then find themselves in more favorable economic conditions. (Inter Press Service)

Financing Gender Equality Is Financing Development (October 2007)

This UNIFEMworking paper calls on governments to consider how their development financing policies affect gender inequality. The authors suggest a range of public policy tools – gender responsive budgets, results-based public expenditure management – to improve the incomes, productivity and job security of women in developing countries.

Empowering Women to Combat Climate Change (September 28, 2007)

This article explains how gender inequality grows when disasters occur. Climate change will have particularly strong effects in poor areas of the world, and the majority of the poor are usually women. A range of women's organizations suggest that if women were better informed of possible changes in weather patterns and forthcoming disasters, local communities would stand a larger chance of survival. They also argue that as women possess significant "generational knowledge" on local agriculture and safety, it would be extremely beneficial to include women in community decision making. (MediaGlobal)

Why Women Remain Trapped in Informal Trade (September 28, 2007)

The Federation of National Associations of Business Women in COMESA (FEMCOM) highlights illiteracy and insufficient access to credit as two of the main reasons why African women are unable to participate effectively in regional and international trade. In order to better integrate women into the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) trade system, FEMCOM has initiated training for local business women to increase gender sensitization, and to improve quality management, packaging, market information and business management. Increased information on the functioning of markets will greatly improve the productivity of the women and integrate them in formal rather than informal sector trade activities. (Inter Press Service)

The Woman Question (September 26, 2007)

The author of this Guardianarticle contests the idea that gender equality is a purely Western value. The author gives examples of medieval female Hindu poets teaching Indian women how to oppose inequality and injustice. Further, the author also reminds us that it was Muslim women who encouraged Western feminists to view gender inequality in light of social divisions such as race and class. The author argues that developed countries such as Britain and the US need to address their own gender inequality issues before using female suppression to "justify cultural condescension and colonial occupation" as rich countries have had a history of doing.

Turkey: Upcoming Parliamentary Vote Highlights Gender Inequality in Politics (July 13, 2007)

Nursuna Memecan, a businesswoman from Istanbul announced that she will run in Turkey's July 22 parliamentary elections for the Justice and Development Party (AKP), a moderate conservative party. Turkey has the "lowest percentage of women in parliament in all of Europe" averaging a mere 4.4 percent. By contrast, in Sweden 47 percent of all parliamentarians are women while in Bulgaria's parliament they amount to 22 percent. Many Turkish women are now asking for "legal changes" that would introduce a "quota system in parliament and other political bodies to insure gender equality." (Eurasianet)

Budgeting with Women in Mind (June, 2007)

In this article from Finance and Development, Janet G. Stotsky of the IMF makes a strong case for "gender budgeting." Experience in developing countries show that increased opportunities for women has contributed to countries' economic growth. Women spend more money on necessities and thus improve the opportunities for their children, they save more of their income and female leaders often focus more on redistributing income and social security schemes than male counterparts. The author argues that governments must consider these facts in their budgets and in financial planning.

State of the World's Mothers 2007 (May, 2007)

Save the Children's eighth annual State of the World's Mothers report focuses "on the 28,000 children under age 5 who die every day from easily preventable or treatable causes." Along with an analysis on the living conditions of children worldwide, the report provides key recommendations to governments on improving children's lives, such as ensuring the well-being of mothers, expanding health care, and increasing funding for basic medicines. The study concludes with a "Mothers' Index," which ranks 140 countries to show "where mothers and children fare best and where they face the greatest hardship" – Sweden and Niger, respectively.

The Global Gender Gap Index 2007

A 2007 index places Nordic countries at the top of the list as the world's most gender equal countries. The report shows improvements in gender equality worldwide, but the advances are small and mainly take place in rich countries. A number of wealthy countries are decreasing on the ranking, among them the US and Switzerland, while Middle Eastern countries are advancing. (World Economic Forum)


The Global Gender Gap Report 2006 (November 21, 2006)

The World Economic Forum2006 Gender Gap Report analyzes gender inequality in 115 countries and ranks them based on economic, educational, political, and health criteria. Although no country has eliminated the gender gap, the study reports that the Nordic countries, led by Sweden, "have succeeded best in narrowing" it. Researchers rank Saudi Arabia and Yemen as having the least gender equality in the world.

A Ghastly Disease Feeds Off a Ghastlier Oppression (August 25, 2006)

Stephen Lewis, the UN special envoy for AIDS in Africa, explains the "paramount" need for an expanded UN agency to address global women's rights. This Inter Press Servicearticle describes women and girls as victims of gender-violence, genital mutilation, rape and illiteracy. Lewis suggests that to represent over half of the world population, an agency dedicated to the needs of women and girls deserves to have at least one billion dollars a year, which is less than 1% of annual global foreign aid.

Gender Equality Architecture and UN Reforms (July 2, 2006)

In spite of their promises at the fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995, governments have failed to support the UN agencies and programs that promote gender equality and the empowerment of women. UNIFEM, for example, suffers from insufficient funding and limited access to decision making. Gender at Workproposes a new entity that can strengthen the UN's work on gender equality. This entity must be autonomous, well-resourced and have sufficient authority to enforce women's rights.

Quick Impact Initiatives For Gender Equality: A Menu of Options (July 2006)

This Levy Economics Instituteworking paper suggests that Quick Impact Initiatives (QIIs) can effectively and efficiently jump-start the third Millennium Development Goal of achieving gender equality and women's empowerment in low and middle income countries. Through immediate and low-cost initiatives such as free school meals, nutrition programs and campaigns to reduce violence against women, the author suggests that governments and donors can effect tangible results. Although QIIs do not solve long-term problems, they may build confidence in government and donor efforts, from both the aid recipients and those who donate.

Stephen Lewis's Speech on the Creation of a UN agency for Women (February 26, 2006)

Stephen Lewis, UN Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa, strongly urges the High Level Panel on System-Wide Coherence to create a separate women's agency, replacing the current approach of mainstreaming gender throughout development, environment and humanitarian assistance. Lewis describes this practice as "near criminal" and a "pathetic illusion of transformation." A new UN women's agency deserves financing, staff and a broad mandate to place it on equal footing with other UN agencies. Lewis argues that the staggering vulnerability of women to AIDS could have been diminished if such a multilateral agency had existed. (Harvard Law School)

Give the UN's Rein to a Woman (March 15, 2006)

Secretary General Kofi Annan has stated that the UN is ready for a female leader, but the author argues that Annan has not demonstrated this during his term. Only 16% of Under Secretary Generals at the UN are women and Annan replaced the first ever female Deputy Secretary General with a male. This article states that there are many qualified candidates from the Asian region that member states should consider, but the secrecy that shrouds possible successors keeps these qualified women from being properly considered. (Washington Post)

Women Denied Representation, Making War on Poverty Hard to Win (March 8, 2006)

Secretary General Kofi Annan refers to the empowerment of women as the "single most effective tool for development." However, a UN report says that while female representation in governments has increased, it remains very low on higher levels of politics and the private sector. (Independent)

It's Time for a Woman UN Secretary General (February 2, 2006)

Equality Now has launched "It's Time for a Woman" - a campaign to elect a female UN Secretary General. The UN's failure to appoint a female SG in the last 61 years raises questions about the UN's commitment to gender equality and hinders progress towards the UN's goals. The article reports that patriarchy has influenced UN culture, where women remain underrepresented in professional and under-Secretary General roles. (Gender Links)

Press Conference Launching Report "The World's Women 2005: Progress In Statistics" (January 18, 2006)

Although the UN has collected data on gender inequality for more than 50 years, its report on World's Women 2005: Progress in Statistics reveals an enormous lack of sophisticated statistical systems within many countries, above all in poor countries. This article discusses the UN report and gives an overview of the most significant grievances within gender statistics. (UN News)

UN Under Growing Pressure to Appoint a Woman Leader (January 4, 2006)

When United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan finishes his term at the end of 2006, a woman could fill the position for the first time in history. Despite continuous resolutions promoting gender parity within the UN, women still represent a vast minority among the higher positions within the UN Secretariat. This article gives an overview of the most promising female candidates for the world's top diplomatic job. (Times, London)

Gender and Trade: Overview Report (2006)

This report demonstrates how trade generally benefits men more than women. The report lists gender-biased consequences of trade such as increased unemployment and greater human rights abuses. To lessen the detrimental effects of trade on women, governments, trade alliances, the UN, NGOs, and development agencies could engage in gender analysis and build measures of accountability for themselves. (Bridge: Development-Gender)

Enhanced Participation of Women in Development: Draft Agreed Conclusions (February 21, 2006)

In its 50th session, the UN Commission on the Status of Women looks at the problems and opportunities women worldwide face in their search for equal conditions in education, health and employment. The draft urges regional, national and international authorities and organizations to implement legal frameworks that improve women's equality in areas such as post-primary education, sexual and reproductive health and representation in political bodies. (United Nations)


World AIDS Day 2005: Pambazuka News Interview with Stephen Lewis (December 1, 2005)

In this interview, the UN Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa urges western leaders to "keep the promise" they made at the G8 Summit in Gleneagles, Scotland in July 2005. So far, governments have given only half of the money necessary to address this issue for 2006 and 2007. Furthermore, gender inequality is causing a growing "feminization" of the AIDS pandemic. (Pambazuka)

All Types of Inequality Are Not Created Equal: Divergent Impacts of Inequality on Economic Growth (December 2005)

This report examines the complexities of defining inequality within and between countries. Using ethnic and gender disparities as case examples, the author argues that inequality can lead to short and medium term economic growth and development, but may come at a long run detriment to the marginalized group. The author calls on countries and development agencies to take into account the diversity of economic needs among different sectors of society and to make "growth and equity compatible." (Levy Economics Institute of Bard College)

On the Road to Hong Kong: Gender-Fair Trade? (November 6, 2005)

The WTO Director General Pascal Lamy classified free trade and open markets as a "fundamentally important" tool for achieving the Millennium Development Goals and tackling poverty. However, this article points out that such neoliberal policies have not only failed to free people from poverty, but also contributed to a "feminization" of poverty. This article urges the WTO members to focus the next meeting in Hong Kong on fair trade rules and social and economic rights, with particular attention to gender equity. (World Economy and Development in brief)

Muslim Women Launch "Gender Jihad" (October 31, 2005)

Women from hundreds of countries gathered in Barcelona to protest against fourteen centuries of sexist discrimination in the Muslim world. They propose a more balanced reading of sacred texts stressing that "many fundamental concepts of equality embraced by feminism can be found in the Qur'an." The meeting aims to develop a global movement to free women from the discrimination they face in many Muslim countries. (Guardian)

Women and Trade (October 27, 2005)

In Africa, women make up more than a half of the workforce and play a key role in the economy. Nonetheless, the World Trade Organization is leaving them behind by liberalizing trade and agriculture, generating a "feminization" of poverty. This article urges decision makers to apply policies that prevent gender discrimination and meet basic human rights. (Pambazuka)

The Promise of Equality: Gender Equity, Reproductive Health and the Millennium Development Goals (October 12, 2005)

Even though the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) did not include universal access to reproductive health, this United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) press summary points out that women's emancipation is indispensable to economic development. The UNFPApublication analyzes governments' commitment to achieve the MDGs, looking at gender disparities in education, access to reproductive health, economic rights, conflict and violence against women.

A Step Backwards for Women, Say Activists (September 5, 2005)

According to women's rights activists, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) fail to recognize that poverty, gender and reproductive health are interlinked. Rather than limiting their efforts to global campaign targets like the MDGs, Latin American countries should develop their own agendas focused on local and national priorities. Since international institutions do not automatically solve real, on-the-ground problems, "It is essential to eliminate the bureaucracy and train and empower local agents." (Inter Press Service)

Women's Paid Labor Keeps Door Open to Poverty (September 5, 2005)

A report by the United Nations Development Fund for Women says that in 10 years the female labor force increased by 200 million worldwide. Nonetheless, this does not translate into an automatic alleviation of poverty. Since most of the women are employed in the informal sector, they have low income, no benefits and usually work in an unsafe environment. Furthermore, the income gap between the genders continues to widen. (Women's e-News)

Removing "Unfreedoms": Women and Debt Cancellation (June 30, 2005)

Women have suffered the most as a result of the diversion of funds from social services to debt repayments. In solving the debt crisis and making sure that it never happens again, women must participate fully in political and economic decisions. That's why the international community must ratify the Protocol on the Rights of Women, says this Pambazukaarticle.

Unkept Promises: What the Numbers Say about Poverty and Gender (June 2005)

This report examines an extensive array of statistics to measure the current and projected status of world poverty, and how gender inequality should fit into development strategies. Focusing on various aspects of gender equity - women's empowerment, gender and education, gender gap in economic activity and earned income - this document reports a grave global situation. The world has made only half the progress needed to meet the Millennium Development Goals and the gap between rich and poor is growing larger each year. The world must take action now in order to alleviate gender inequity and poverty in the next ten years. (Social Watch)

Gains for Girls, But Many Still Shut Out (May 10, 2005)

Investing in girls' education has been a major factor behind the Asian economic "miracle." During the past two decades, other poor countries have also succeeded in improving girls' education by building new schools in the countryside, eliminating primary school fees for girls and improving conditions in schools. To help states still lagging behind, NGOs such as Save the Children call for increases in development assistance and debt relief for poor countries. (Christian Science Monitor)

No More Excuses, No More Delays, Women Tell UN (February 25, 2005)

Ten years have passed since delegates at the Fourth World Summit in Beijing made specific pledges to revoke all laws that discriminate against women and adopt policies advancing gender equality in public life. While women's educational opportunities have increased and legal rights have improved somewhat, women still lack economic opportunities and equal representation in decision-making. In addition, over 40 countries refuse to change laws that institutionalize discrimination against women. (Inter Press Service)

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