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.
First, there is proof. One of the most compelling research findings on political violence is that societies with more equality between men and women tend to be more peaceful. Research on violence against women in 70 countries also reveals that the most important and consistent factor driving policy change is feminist activism. Furthermore, when women are included in peace processes, the probability of an agreement lasting at least 15 years increases 35% (Global Study 2015).
Au Sénégal, les Petites et Moyennes Entreprises (PME) ou structures de production et transformation des produits agricoles se trouvent essentiellement dans la banlieue de la capitale (Guédiawaye à 15 km de Dakar) et dans les zones rurales autour de Kaolack, Ziguinchor, Kédougou, Thiès et Saint-Louis. Elles disposent de peu de moyens techniques et financiers pour se développer et commercialiser leurs produits. Leurs produits manquent notoirement de visibilité et de présence sur le marché local, dans les boutiques et les grandes surfaces.
La stratégie de pénétration du marché par ces structures s’effectue, en général, à travers la participation aux foires internationales. Ce sont malheureusement les seules occasions de vente à très grande échelle. Ce déficit des produits locaux sur le marché a plusieurs causes: peu de moyens mis en œuvre pour développer le secteur, des PME insuffisamment sensibilisées aux enjeux du packaging, et un manque de d’incitation au niveau politique pour favoriser la consommation de produits locaux.
For young people, successful entry into the world of work – that is, successful transition from education to employment – means more than simply finding a job. Successful transition occurs only when young people find decent work. What is actually meant by this has been the subject of much debate for a number of years; but its essence is encapsulated in the ILO’s notion of freely chosen and productive employment.
While it can be hard to define precisely what ‘decent work’ looks like, it is fairly clear what it is not. It is not informal employment. It is not work that provides insufficient income to meet basic needs. It does not involve excessive working time or any form of compulsion. Typically, it does involve some degree of job security, protection from arbitrary dismissal, access to social protection, such as health insurance and pension schemes, and freedom of association. Continue reading “What youth need: A greater focus on job quality”
Las formas de participación política juvenil son múltiples, dinámicas e interconectadas y demandan una comprensión de lo político amplia y flexible para no subestimar el compromiso de las personas jóvenes con la transformación. Por ejemplo, uno de los puntos destacados en los análisis sobre el tema es el bajo involucramiento de la población joven en los procesos electorales. En este sentido, el Informe Mundial sobre Juventud de la ONU (2016) señala que en los 33 países consultados sólo el 44% de la población joven “siempre vota”, frente al 60% de adultos.
En Iberoamérica, donde las juventudes representan más del 25% de la población, la situación no es diferente. Por citar algunos casos, en México, que tendrá elecciones presidenciales en 2018 y donde las y los jóvenes representan el 30% del padrón electoral, el registro histórico muestra que, aunque la participación de quienes votan por primera vez es del 69%, ésta disminuye al 53% entre los 20 a 29 años (INE, 2016). A su vez, en Chile, que experimentó el mismo proceso en 2017, la tendencia muestra que las juventudes tienen la participación electoral más baja de la población, aportando cerca del 34% del total de la abstención (PNUD, 2017). Continue reading “Política 2.0. Combinando la protesta con la propuesta”
The pervasive issue of unpaid care and domestic work in the global fight against gender inequality presents itself in many different contexts and guises. Yet, the one constant thread is the impact of unpaid care and domestic work on time availability. The disproportionate workload borne by women –that hinders their full engagement as economic actors in paid employment, their participation in education and training, and their overall quality of life – is widely recognised. Solutions are diverse. They include technological ones to improve water supplies and save time and labour. They embrace policies and practical ways of providing childcare facilities and paternal leave. And they call for addressing cultural norms underlying the unequal gender division of labour for unpaid work.
By Sarah Douglas, Deputy Chief, Peace and Security, UN Women, and Tatyana Jiteneva, Policy Specialist, Peace and Security, UN Women
From social media platforms to the streets of major cities worldwide, women organising for equality and justice has increasingly been grabbing attention and headlines. In the field of peace and security, women’s participation has long been recognised as a critical factor for stability and recovery. It is key at a time the world is grappling with a multitude of crises that threaten decades of development, undermine people’s confidence in multilateralism and worsen risks associated with disasters.
Time and again, women’s peacemaking and peacebuilding efforts have proven to be sustainable and effective. The 2015 Global Study on Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) compiled overwhelming evidence showing improved outcomes in all areas of peace and security when women are present.1 The newly released United Nations/World Bank Pathways for Peace: Inclusive Approaches to Preventing Violent Conflict underscores the cost-effectiveness and resilience of women organising for peace, particularly in the context of State actors with low capacity and where resources for recovery and development are scarce.2
In 1968, Chairman Mao might have proclaimed that women hold up half the sky, but it remains a sad fact that the majority of top African and Chinese politicians are still men. This is also the case for CEOs of state-owned and other large Chinese and African businesses. No woman has been president of any African country since Ellen Johnson Sirleaf stepped down last year, and in a recent study by the World Economic Forum (WEF), China was ranked 77th out of 144 countries in terms of female political representation, and 86th for economic participation and opportunity. Only eight sub-Saharan African countries featured overall in the top 50 of the same index. When I attended the Forum on China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in 2015, which has been running since 2000 and tends to be a very government-led affair, only two women were prominent – the head of the African Union Commission at the time Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, and Kenya’s then Foreign Minister Amina Mohamed.
But I am now noticing an interesting new phenomenon: Women from all over the world seem to be aiming to shape China-Africa relations.
Despite some progress, gender equality remains unfinished business worldwide, including in West Africa and particularly in the Sahel1. Such West African countries as Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania, Senegal and Sierra Leone have closed the gender gap in primary school enrolment. However, youth (aged 15-24) illiteracy rate in Chad is still twice as high for women than for men. In Liberia, only one-third of girls were enrolled in secondary school in 2015. Women are increasingly represented in the Senegalese parliament, and the proportion of female MPs almost doubled in the last five years, from 23% in 2012 to 42% in 2017. Nevertheless, women’s equal political participation remains a major challenge throughout the region. Women in parliaments increased only marginally from 13% in 2007 to almost 16% in 2017, with wide disparities across countries ranging from 6% in Nigeria to 42% in Senegal.
The informal economy consists of economic activities and units that are not registered with the state and workers who do not receive social protection through their work, both wage-employed and self-employed. The reality of the informal economy in Africa cannot be denied. In fact, informal employment accounts for two-thirds (66%) of non-agricultural employment in Sub-Saharan Africa. But, variation within the region is significant. Informal employment accounts for a smaller share of non-agricultural employment in southern Africa (33% in South Africa and 44% in Namibia) relative to countries in other sub-regions (82% in Mali and 76% in Tanzania) (Vanek et al 2014). Informal employment is a greater source of non-agricultural employment for women (74%) than for men (61%) in the region overall. In seven cities in West Africa with data, informal employment comprises between 76% (Niamey) and 83% (Lomé) of employment. In all seven cities, proportionally more women than men are in informal employment (Herrera et al 2012). Continue reading “The Informal Economy in African Cities: Key to Inclusive and Sustainable Urban Development”
A universal definition of small – and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) does not exist. What is generally undisputed, however, is the fact that the overwhelming majority of private-sector businesses in the world are SMEs and that SMEs account for a very large share of world economic activity in both developed and developing countries.
Look at the data. In the OECD countries where SME definitions are comparable, the contribution of SMEs to national employment ranges between 53% in the United Kingdom to 86% in Greece. The contribution of SMEs to national value-added 1 is between 38% in Mexico and 75% in Estonia. The SME share of economic activity is typically larger in OECD economies than in emerging-market economies, reflecting a mix of stronger SME productivity levels in the former and higher rates of economic informality in the latter. In emerging-market economies, SMEs are responsible for up to 45% of jobs and up to 33% of national GDP. These numbers are significantly higher when informal businesses, which are often more than half of the total enterprise population, are included in the count. Some estimates suggest that when the informal sector is included, SMEs in emerging-market economies account for 90% of total employment. Continue reading “Unlocking the potential of SMEs for the SDGs”