Achieving gender equality is critical to achieving each and every one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Though few disagree that gender equality is a facilitator and a catalyst for meeting these ambitious targets, too few emphasise the non-capital inputs required to achieve them. A push for capital remains front-and-center in the conversation, but several other factors must be pursued with equal zeal. Good data, disrupting norms and greater innovation are chief amongst them. Such efforts contribute not only to SDG 5 to “achieve gender equality and empower women and girls,” but also pave the way further for achieving the greater 2030 Agenda.
Gathering alongside gender-lens investors, impact investors and shareholder activists at the December 2018 Financial Times Investing for Good USA event highlighted the challenges and opportunities for accelerating progress toward greater gender equality. Unfortunately, the need remains to put in place effective systems and processes to collect data and measure impact in this critical area. Less than one-quarter of the key gender indicators have adequate tracking information, and only 13% of countries worldwide dedicate a regular budget to collecting and analysing gender statistics. The scarcity of data is a disservice to existing efforts, defying effective planning for the future. To address this gap in data and reporting, KPMG, for example, is a founding partner in Equal Measures 2030, an initiative dedicated to linking data and evidence with planning and actions toward gender equality.
Imagine 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 “Gender equity starts at the dinner table”
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 “It’s (literally) about time: men as part of the solution to closing the care gap”
By Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director, Oxfam International
To read more about this topic, check out the upcoming release
of theDevelopment Co-operation Report 2018: Joining Forces to Leave No One Behind on 11 December 2018
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).
Over 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 “Measuring beyond outcomes: Understanding gender inequality”
Gender 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.
How 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.
Pick 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.
The launch this week in Addis Ababa of the new flagship joint report Africa’s Development Dynamics 2018 alongside the African Union Commission reflects a fundamental commitment to an ongoing conversation on Africa, with Africa and for Africa. Thus, we did more than unveil a report on paper about the challenges of growth, jobs and inequalities. What we are also doing is strengthening an inclusive platform for policy dialogue on how best to turn Africa’s own vision and strategy for its development as captured in the African Union’s ambitious Agenda 2063 into reality and practice. And it is a platform in which we envision engaging with and involving more and more diverse actors to tap their expertise and add their perspectives to drafting future editions of our joint analysis.
The OECD policy paper Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Fragile and Conflict-affected Situations (October 2017) demands a “fundamental shift in perspective on gender.” It challenges the donor community to understand gender and conflict more holistically, more deeply and more politically with a strong focus on women as agents of change. It is a must-read for all policy makers and donors alike. However, an important aspect missed in this paper is the importance of feminist movements and how to leverage local feminist movements for change. Women are working at the frontlines of peace, development, humanitarian aid and human rights. Here are three reasons why feminist movements are central to fostering more peaceful and secure societies.