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Presentation to CPA Parliamentary Conference on the Millennium Development Goals (December 1 st ) Professor Naila Kabeer, School of Oriental and African.

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Presentation on theme: "Presentation to CPA Parliamentary Conference on the Millennium Development Goals (December 1 st ) Professor Naila Kabeer, School of Oriental and African."— Presentation transcript:

1 Presentation to CPA Parliamentary Conference on the Millennium Development Goals (December 1 st ) Professor Naila Kabeer, School of Oriental and African Studies, London University, UK Gender equality, women’s empowerment and the Millennium Development Goals

2 The Millennium Declaration: the intrinsic rationale for gender equality Men and women have the right to live their lives and raise their children in dignity, free from hunger and from the fear of violence, oppression or injustice. Democratic and participatory governance based on the will of people best assures these rights. We will spare no effort to free our fellow men, women and children from the abject and dehumanizing conditions of extreme poverty, to which more than a billion of them are currently subjected. We are committed to making the right to development a reality for everyone and to freeing the entire human race from want… We resolve….to combat all forms of violence against women and to implement the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women’

3 And the instrumental rationale We also resolve …to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women as effective ways to combat poverty, hunger and disease and to stimulate development that is truly sustainable.

4 Gender inequalities are... PERVASIVE IN DEVELOPMENT: They cut across countries – rich as well as poor – but not always in the same way. They cut across different groups within countries – rich as well as poor – but not uniformly so. FOUNDATIONAL TO DEVELOPMENT: They structure the division of roles, responsibilities and relationships in production and reproduction in a society

5 They therefore give rise to potential for trade-offs and synergies.. A gender perspective means recognising that women stand at the crossroads between production and reproduction, between economic activity and the care of human beings, and therefore between economic growth and human development. They are workers in both spheres – those most responsible and therefore with most at stake, those who suffer most when the two spheres meet at cross-purposes, and those most sensitive to the need for better integration between the two (Gita Sen, 1995, p. 21) …….

6 Framework for gender analysis: Gender and structures of constraint - gender-specific constraints (derive from inherently gendered relations which characterise family, kinship and community) Imposed gender constraints: reflect unconscious as well as active discrimination of actors in the public domain as well as institutionalisation of past biases - give rise to gender inequalities which intensify disadvantages associated with poverty, caste, race and so on.

7 MDG 1/3: Productive employment and decent work Steady increase over time but challenges remain... Disproportionately concentrated in informal economy and in worst paid, most casual forms of activity. Impediments to progress: Primary responsibility of unpaid care work and household responsibilities Gender inequalities in material assets and human capabilities Access to markets (physical, financial, cultural)

8 Suggested responses Addressing women’s work loads (fairer distribution of paid and unpaid work, reliable and affordable support for care responsibilities, provision of services/labour-saving technologies) Gender-equitable property rights Gender equitable market regulations Beyond microfinance: inclusive financial systems Gender-aware social protection Organisation, voice and collective action

9 MDG 2/3: Education Major progress in closing gender gap in enrolment rates at primary and secondary level Remaining challenges: completion rates, quality of education, adult learning Impediments to progress: Cultural norms about gender roles (male breadwinner/female dependent or housewife) Quality of service including teacher attitudes, educational curriculum, recognition of gender-specific needs Male bias in extension services, VET

10 Suggested responses Physical access and infrastructure Addressing financial barriers Promoting quality of education (methods, teachers, curriculum, relevance, aspirational) Second chance opportunities: upgrading skills and training

11 MDG 3: Political representation Women accounted for 11% of MPs in 1975 worldwide. In 2009, they held 30% or more in single/lower chambers in 24 countries and 30 Impediments to progress: Lack of opportunities for political apprenticeship/political networks/mentors Frequent antagonism towards women in politics Managing dual roles Male dominated political parties Nature of electoral systems (first past the post or PR)

12 Suggested responses Quotas and beyond Reform of electoral system Capacity building to support women in public office Financing political participation of women Democratization of political parties Building a constituency: women’s organisations and movements

13 MDG 5: survival and health Child and maternal mortality among the hardest to reach: The largest declines in MMR (30% between 1990 and 2005) in East Asia, Northern Africa and South East Asia. 20% decline between 1990 and 2005 in South Asia but rates remain extremely high. Highest in SSA and no signs of improvement. Impediments to progress: Gender norms and values leading to discrimination from early child hood/curtailing access to health care Gender based violence leads to pregnancy-related deaths, STI infections and resort to unsafe abortions High rates of illiteracy and low rates of education General and gender-related deficits in health system

14 Suggested responses Increase availability and take up of contraception (reduces risk of dying in childbirth and resort to unsafe abortion) Access to safe abortion services Involving men in pregnancy and delivery decisions Addressing gender based violence Mobilising women’s groups

15 Maximizing synergy, minimizing trade- offs: key cross cutting responses - Addressing the unequal distribution of paid and unpaid work Life long learning to promote better workers, better parents and better citizens Organisation and voice: solidarity and collective action generate their own externalities

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