Gender equity starts at the dinner table

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Adolescent girls are the most at risk of not being able to access a nutritious diet. Ensuring they do is key to economic development, peace and stability


By David Beasley, Executive Director, World Food Programme


This blog is part of a special series marking the launch of the updated
2019 Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI)


girls-eatingImagine a family sitting down for a meal – a father, a mother who’s nursing a little baby, a school-aged boy and an adolescent girl. Who has the most on their dinner plate? Maybe Dad, since he’s the biggest and has a physically demanding job. Then the boy – I had two of them and sometimes it was amazing how much they could eat. Then after that, the two slimmest: Mom and daughter, right?

But this so-called cultural norm is exactly the opposite of what ought to happen, and that’s why a new focus on the nutrition needs of adolescent girls could make a big impact on the future of so many developing nations around the world.

Adolescent girls, even more than boys, require the most nutritious diet possible, loaded with fresh fruits and vegetables, along with meat, fish and dairy to give them the key vitamins and minerals that help them to grow. Unfortunately, in far too many areas, the needs of adolescent girls are rarely prioritised. Continue reading

It’s (literally) about time: men as part of the solution to closing the care gap

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By Ruti Levtov, PhD, Director of Research, Evaluation, and Learning at Promundo-US


This blog is part of a special series marking the launch of the updated
2019 Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI)


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Photo: Sarine Arslanian / Shutterstock.com

Two hundred and ten years: That’s how long it will take to close the gender gap in time spent on care if we continue on our current trajectory, according to recent analysis by the International Labour Organization (ILO). In no country in the world do men and women spend an equal amount of time on care responsibilities, an inequality that restricts women’s participation and growth in the labour force, in political leadership and in other public spheres. It also limits the space for men to express their full humanity as nurturers, caregivers and equal partners at home. To achieve global development goals, to fulfill human rights and to enable all of us to live full lives, we need to urgently address this inequality.

It won’t be an easy road – the barriers are many to recognising, reducing and – as is the focus of this blog – redistributing care. While redistributing unpaid care responsibilities between individuals and the state is essential, we know that gender stereotypes held by individuals, communities, workplaces and governments continue to presume that women’s most important contributions are at home, and men’s are in the workplace. At Promundo, we are focusing on how we can deconstruct these stereotypes. Continue reading

Can we leave no one behind in a world so unequal?

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By Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director, Oxfam International


To read more about this topic, check out the upcoming release
of the
Development Co-operation Report 2018: Joining Forces to Leave No One Behind on 11 December 2018


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The author, Winnie Byanyima, embraces a member of a women’s group within the POC (Protection of Civilian site) in Malakal, South Sudan. Photo: Bruno Bierrenbach Feder / Oxfam

To say that the world’s poorest people are simply being left behind can sound like an unbearably polite understatement at times, designed not to offend the rich and the powerful.

I think of the girls I grew up with in Uganda who have worked hard all their life, paid their taxes and supported their communities, only to see themselves and their children remain poor, without essential services. I think of women in poverty like Dolores, who works in a chicken factory in the United States. She and her co-workers wear diapers because their employer denies them toilet breaks (Oxfam, 20161).

These women aren’t just left behind but trapped and exploited at the bottom of a global economy.
Continue reading

Measuring beyond outcomes: Understanding gender inequality

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By Papa A. Seck (@PABSeck), Chief Statistician, UN Women


This blog is part of a special series marking the launch of the updated
2019 Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI)


burkina-faso-sigi-papa-e1544171190150.jpgOver her lifetime, a girl born today in Germany is expected to earn just about half the income of a boy born on the same day. In France and Sweden, she fares slightly better at about 70%. In Turkey, she can expect to earn no more than a quarter.1 Globally, it is estimated that 35% of women have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or sexual violence by a non-partner at some point in their lives. This is the most egregious violation of women’s rights and it is pervasive in all countries around the world, developed and developing alike. Such violence has often tragic consequences. A recent study by UNODC found that a shocking six women are killed every hour by a family member.2 An estimated 650 million women and girls in the world today were married before age 18, and at least 200 million women and girls alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in the 30 countries with representative data on its prevalence. Women around the world do 2.6 times the unpaid care and domestic work that men do, simply because that task is delegated to them by our societies. Continue reading

What it will take to unleash real feminism

Sigi-banner-for-blogBy Bathylle Missika, Head – Networks, Partnerships and Gender Division, OECD Development Centre


This blog is part of a special series marking the launch of the updated
2019 Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI)


SIGI-feminism.jpgGender equality frequently makes headlines. Even before the #metoo movements, political leaders started to place gender equality at the top of their agendas. Beyond OECD countries, the G20, the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals as well as the African Union’s 2063 Agenda made achieving gender equality a priority.

Yet, translating these political commitments into durable changes for women and girls is far more difficult. Progress has been limited. When it comes to universal access to reproductive health, for example, which has been on the global policy radar since the Millennium Development Goals, 12% of women who do not want children still do not have access to contraception; that rate doubles to 24% in Sub-Saharan Africa. Similarly, eliminating girl child marriage is at centre of various regional and international conventions, such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa; yet each year, 12 million girls are married before the age of 18. That is 23 girls every minute.

So if political will is real and genuine, why are we still falling short? Continue reading

Paving the Way Towards Progress that Counts

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By Katja Iversen, President/CEO, Women Deliver


This blog is part of a special series marking the launch of the updated
2019 Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI)


Sigi-1How can we power development that leaves no one behind?

As we edge towards 2030 – with long ways to go to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – there may be no more pressing question.

As a champion for gender equality, I have long known that girls and women are powerful agents of change and drivers of development. I see it every day, where even in the most impoverished communities and circumstances women get up, get dressed, and go out to fight for better lives for themselves, their children and their families. And because of that, Women Deliver focuses, relentlessly, on pushing decision makers to place girls and women at the centre of development agendas and approaches.

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Why understanding the relationship between migration and inequality may be the key to Africa’s development

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By Professor Heaven Crawley, Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations (CTPSR), Coventry University, UK


Learn more about this timely topic at the upcoming
18th International Economic Forum on Africa


Africa-MigrationPick up any newspaper or switch on any TV in Europe over the past five years and you might think that the entire population of Africa is on the move – and heading across the Mediterranean. Images of young men travelling in boats in search of protection and a better life for themselves and their families have become a staple part of the media diet, with the so-called ‘migration crisis’ dominating political debates within the European Union and beyond. The use of development assistance to leverage co-operation and compliance from African countries in limiting migration flows has, in turn, become an increasingly important focus of policy efforts.

But these representations and the policies with which they have come to be associated reflect long-standing biases in how we think about migration in the African context.

Continue reading