Women's Economic Empowerment, Women and Development, Gender Equality
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Women's Economic Empowerment, Women and Development, Gender Equality
(1) a. Research has demonstrated that when Women are Economically Empowered, entire communities benefit. Yet until now, there has been a crucial knowledge gap regarding the most effective interventions to advance women’s economic opportunities. To address this gap, the UN Foundation and the ExxonMobil Foundation joined forces to develop A Roadmap for Promoting Women’s Economic Empowerment. b. The Women's Empowerment Principles offer guidance to companies on how to empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community. They are the result of a collaboration between the the United Nations Global Compact and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) and are adapted from the Calvert Women's Principles ®. The development of the Women's Empowerment Principles included an international multi-stakeholder consultation process, which began in March 2009 and culminated in a launch on International Women’s Day in March 2010. c. In accordance with its multi-year programme of work for 2010-2014, the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) consider ‘The empowerment of rural women and their role in poverty and hunger eradication, development and current challenges' as its priority theme during its fifty-sixth session in 2012. In order to contribute to a fuller understanding of the issue and to assist the Commission in its deliberations, UN Women in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP) will convene an Expert Group Meeting (EGM) on ‘Enabling rural women's economic empowerment: institutions, opportunities and participation' from 20-23 September 2011 in Accra, Ghana. (2) The World Survey on the Role of Women in Development is a UN Secretary-General report mandated by the Second Committee of the General Assembly and comes out every five years. The 2014 report focuses on gender equality and sustainable development, with chapters on the green economy and care work, food security, population dynamics, and investments for gender-responsive sustainable development. (3) UNDP Global Initiative on Gender Equality in Public Administration (GEPA) was produced during GEPA Phase I. It reflects extensive research based on available national data, and provides analysis of the obstacles in the way of women’s equal participation and decision-making in public administration. Public administration is the bedrock of government and the central instrument through which national policies and programmes are implemented. In an ideal world, public administration is guided by principles of fairness, accountability, justice, equality and non-discrimination, and the civil service should serve as a model where women and men equally participate and lead, including in decision-making. Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality is a new UN Women initiative urging governments to make national commitments to ensure women and girls can reach their full potential by 2030. Gender was in the spotlight at the 24th Session of the African Union Heads of States’ Summit held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 30-31 January, which focused on the “Year of Women's Empowerment and Development towards Africa’s Agenda 2063”. Participating Heads of States adopted the African Union’s Agenda 2063 (a new roadmap for Africa’s long-term development that includes the need to place gender equality and equity at the centre of the continent’s social and economic development), as well as the “Addis Ababa Declaration on accelerating the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action towards a transformational change for women and girls in Africa” (the outcome document of the Beijing+20 regional review in November 2014) and a Communiqué on gender equality (drafted during a pre-summit stakeholders consultation). “Women must be at the centre and front of all our lives,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his opening speech. “I applaud your proposal at this summit: Women’s Empowerment and Development towards Africa’s Agenda 2063. Africa is home to Parliaments and Cabinets with the world’s highest percentage of women members.” However, he called for even quicker action, urging African States to make a deep and lasting difference to the lives of women and girls by 2020.
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The Campaign : Gender is My Agenda

The Campaign : Gender is My Agenda | Women's Economic Empowerment, Women and Development, Gender Equality | Scoop.it

 

 French / EnglishHOME  |   DECLARATION   |   FRAMEWORK  |   DOCUMENTATION   |   MULTIMEDIAOSIWA

 

 ABOUT THE CAMPAIGNStarting Point : the SDGEASDGEA in briefVisionMissionStrategiesFAS' roleBackground MEMBERSThematical Focal PointsMember organizationsPartnersOSIWA : Strategic Partnership Regional Focal PointsBecome a member ACTIVITIESWomen's Pre-Summits CIVIL SOCIETYGuidelinesReporting COUNTRY / REPORTSCountry reportsPartners reports
The 26th GIMAC Pre-Summit Consultative Meeting on Gender Mainstreaming in the AU is taking place in South Africa on 8-9 June 2015

 

 

"The next Gender is my Agenda Campaign (GIMAC) Pre-Summit Consultative Meeting will take place on 8-9 June 2015 in South Africa and will focus on the “Year of Women’s Empowerment and Development towards Africa’s Agenda 2063: The Way Forward”. It will be the occasion to take stock of our achievements since last GIMAC in January and to discuss the way forward. It will also be a key platform for African CSOs, the Diaspora and policy makers to debate on solution-oriented measures towards women empowerment and gender equality."

Read the recommendations of the last GIMAC in EN | FR.

2015 International Women's Day

 

2015 is the year of women's empowerment. Celebrate International Women's Day with Femmes Africa Solidarité and the Gender is My agenda Campaign (GIMAC). Spread the word and join the movement! View the pictures.

25th African Union Pre-Summit Consultative Meeting: What African Women Demand for the Year of Women’s Empowerment and Development

 

Addis Ababa, January 26th, 2015 - This week in Addis Ababa marked the end of the four day Gender is my Agenda Campaign (GIMAC) Pre-Summit Consultative Meeting on Mainstreaming Gender in the African Union (AU) and Member States. This 25th session of the GIMAC was special on many accounts. The year 2015 has been designated by the AU as the Year of Women’s Empowerment and Development Towards Africa’s Agenda 2063. The year also marks the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (Beijing+20) and the 15th anniversary of United Nations Security Council resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325). We are also into the 5th year of the African Women’s Decade (2010-2020) and the finalization of a new post-2015 development framework. The meeting marked the bi-annual consultation between GIMAC members on the one hand, and with the African Union Commission Chairperson, AU ministers of Gender and Women Affairs, gender focal points of Regional Economic Communities and United Nations partners on the other. This follows a key decision adopted during the 24th GIMAC Pre-Summit Meeting, which took place in June 2014 in Malabo for civil society representatives and policy makers to deliberate together before the African Union Summit of Heads of State and Government. Read more >>

Read the GIMAC’s outcome document EN | FR.
Read the Stakeholder’s Consultation Joint Communiqué EN | FR.
Read the outcomes of the 24th African Union Summit of Heads of State and Government EN | FR.
Read the media Advisory for the GIMAC Consultation EN.
Read the Press Release for the press conference held at the African Union: EN | FR.

For more information:
GIMAC Agenda EN.
Concept Note EN | FR.
Short Concept Note EN | FR.
AU Work Programme EN | FR.
GIMAC’s photo gallery here.
Popular version of the Agenda 2063 here.
Report of the Commission on the African Union Agenda 2063 here.
Listen to what African women have to say for the Africa We Want in 2063 here.

Ms Grace Kabayo, the PAWO Secretary for Eastern Africa, pays special tribute to Margaret Vogt

 

Dear Sisters, Colleagues and Comrades,
The passing of our dear sister, mentor and senior comrade leaves such a big GAP in our lives, the African Women efforts, representation and campaign.
Lucky were those of us who had opportunities of being mentored by her, tapping from her achive of knowledge, wisdom and experience, working with us as she guided and paved ways for us in our struggles for gender parity and women recognition in Africa. We shall deeply miss her.
Margret's presence, her character plus her height at the AU deffinately intimidated some, but also efficiently saw work done. She was a fierce fighter, but also a genuine peace initiator and maker. Her full support for the women struggles as she commitedly served, contributed to achievements like the formation of the Gender,Peace and Security directorates , PAP, ECOSOCC, Cido and general positive transformation at the AU Commission under the great leadership of her then boss, H.E Alpha Konare.

To the family of Margret Vogt, be of carriage and know that as you mourn your Mother, Sister and relative,you are not alone. We mourn, share and feel the loss with you. But we also celebrate her compact life of achievements for her mother AFRICA. Like Benita said, " a trailblazer " we mourn but with a consolation of knowing that she remains in us,with us and for us in her great records of achievements. May her soul, rest in eternal Peace.

Fare thee well my sister , Fare thee well friend and Comrade.
Allutah... Continua !!!

 

GIMAC Recommendations Are Reflected in Decisions Taken at 23rd African Union Summit

Femmes Africa Solidarité (FAS) is pleased to share important outcomes of the advocacy undertaken by the Gender is my Agenda Campaign (GIMAC) during the African Union (AU) Summit of Heads and Government held in June 2014 in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea. A network of more than 55 organizations from African civil society, the GIMAC meets twice a year ahead of AU Summits to advocate for gender equality and women’s empowerment in Africa, and to hold African Union member states accountable to their commitments on these issues. Read More >>

The 24th GIMAC Pre-Summit Consultative Meeting on Gender Mainstreaming in the AU, Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, 19-20 June 2014

 

 

The 24th Gender is My Agenda Campaign (GIMAC) consultative meeting took place from the 19-20 June 2014 in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, ahead of the bi-annual African Union (AU) Summit on agriculture and food security.
Coordinated by Femmes Africa Solidarité (FAS), with the support of Women in Law and Development in Africa (WiLDAF), the event gathered more than 70 African women from diverse backgrounds, representing the GIMAC network’s 55 member organizations.
H.E. Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), Ms. Bineta Diop, the AUC Chairperson’s Special Envoy for Women, Peace and Security, African Ministers of Gender, and Gender focal points from continental and regional organizations (NEPAD, Regional Economic Communities, African Development Bank, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, among others), participated in the discussions.
Women shared stories, good practices and challenges on issues ranging from agriculture and food security, to violence against women in current emerging conflicts, the post-2015 agenda, Agenda 2063, and the implementation of UN Security Council resolution 1325. Participants adopted a set of recommendations to be shared with AU Heads of States and governments to urge them to take action on prevailing and emerging issues affecting women and girls in Africa.
Read the recommendations English, French, Spanish
Read the press release in English, French
The Inquirer (Monrovia), 23 June 2014 Liberia: 24th GIMAC Consultative Meeting Ends in Malabo here >>

The 23rd GIMAC Pre-Summit Consultative Meeting on Gender Mainstreaming in the AU, UN ECA, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 23-24 January 2014

 

The 23rd GIMAC Pre-summit Consultative Meeting on Gender Mainstreaming in the African Union (AU) was held from 23rd to 24th January 2014, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The 23rd GIMAC focused on “Women in Agriculture and Food Security” and addressed other crucial issues including Climate Change and Justice, Reproductive health, Emerging Conflicts on the Continent, including South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Central African Republic (CAR). A press conference was organized, providing the opportunity for several GIMAC members to sensitize the media on what African Women want from the African Union Head of States Summit and to invite them to amplify women voices to the AU summit, on the continent and internationally.
23rd GIMAC Recommendations, English >> / French >>
South Sudanese Women Statement, English >> / French >>
Conference Report, Here >>

The 22nd GIMAC Pre-Summit Consultative Meeting on Gender Mainstreaming in the AU, UN ECA, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 20-21 May 2013

The 22nd Gender is my Agenda Campaign (GIMAC) consultative meeting was held from 20-21st May 2013 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia prior to the 21st Ordinary Session of the Heads of State and Government. The 22nd consultative meeting coincided with the Organisation of African Unity/African Union 50th anniversary, as well as the GIMAC 10th anniversary. Prior to this meeting, GIMAC members contributed to the African Union Commission (AUC) Consultative Conference of Women Stakeholders on Pan Africanism, Renaissance and Agenda 2063 that was held from 11-12th May 2063. " No community agenda, national agenda, no global agenda can move forward without the involvement of women; therefore women must help to craft the direction of Africa's Agenda 2063 instead of waiting to be presented with a draft document to comment on", said Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma during her opening remarks. "The African Agenda 2063 cannot be defined by governments alone, it must involve all of us in every sector of society", she further said.

 

The 22nd GIMAC was convened in partnership with United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the African Union (AU), UN Women, Femmes Africa Solidarité (FAS), Ipas Africa Alliance, Urgent Action Fund, African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF), Isis-Women’s International Cross-Cultural Exchange (Isis-WICCE), Institute for Social Transformation, World YWCA, Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE), Pan-African Women’s Organisation (PAWO) and Oxfam International. One of the key achievements of the 22nd GIMAC is that it attracted more technical and financial support from UN Women. Moreover, the UNECA African Centre for Gender renewed its commitment for stronger partnership and support for the GIMAC activities.
The activities carried out during the 22nd GIMAC included an intergenerational dialogue to share experiences and best practices across the generations with a view of contributing to Africa’s Agenda 2063. The opening remarks were given by Ms Grace Kabayo, the PAWO Secretary for Eastern Africa. She emphasised that the 50th anniversary celebratory year was declared the Year of Pan-Africanism and the African Renaissance. “As we assess our past, our present and our future, it is important that we celebrate Africa’s women who hold the continent up and Africa’s youth who will inherit the future of our continent” said Ms Kabayo Read more >>
22nd GIMAC Press release, English >> / French >>
22nd GIMAC Recommendations, English >> / French >>
AUC Conference of Women Stakeholders - May 2013 Declaration, English >> / French >>

The 21st GIMAC Pre-Summit Consultative Meeting on Gender Mainstreaming in the AU, UN ECA, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 22-23 January 2013Pan Africanism and the African Renaissance.

 

The curtain fell on the 21st Session of the GIMAC Wednesday, January 23, 2013. More than 200 participants from fifty Organizations took part in the debates. Opened January 22, 2013 by His Excellency Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, the session ended with a press conference at the African Union. Hon. Mary Robinson, Former President of Ireland, Ms. Zainab Bangura, the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict and Mrs. Bineta Diop, President of Femmes Africa Solidarité, responded for about an hour to questions from journalists. We'll go into more detail on key decisions and highlights of the 21st GIMAC.

 

GIMAC FINAL Recommendations, English / French
Press release, Read more>>
View the video's interview of Ms Bineta DIOP, here >>
View the GIMAC's video on Africable, here >>
Please view the documentary film on GIMAC by Ibrahim Ceesay for African Youth Initiative on Climate Change here >>

Femmes Africa Solidarité (FAS) and Gender is my Agenda Campaign (GIMAC) members welcome Dr. Dlamini-Zuma's election as Chairperson of the African Union 

Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, South Africa's Home Affairs Minister, and a member of Femmes Africa Solidarité’s (FAS) Advisory Board, was elected as the next chairperson of the African Union Commission on 15th July 2012 during the 19th Assembly of the African Union Heads of State and Government. Dr. Dlamini-Zuma won with 37 votes of the 51 participating countries to become the commission’s first woman chairperson. She will serve as the Chairperson of the African Union (AU) for the next four years. Read more
Please read the french version here

 

The 20th African Women’s Pre-Summit Cconsultation on Gender Mainstreaming in the African Unuion took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from July 10-11 2012, convened by Femmes Africa Solidarité (FAS) in partnership with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the African Union Commission (AUC) especially the Women, Gender and Development Directorate with the support of African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF), Mo Ibrahim Foundation, UN Women, Urgent Action Fund (UAF), Ipas Africa Alliance, Sirleaf Market Women’s Fund, Isis-Women's International Cross Cultural Exchange (Isis-WICCE) and the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Finland, Norway and Sweden;

Summary and Recommendations (English): » 
Summary and Recommendations (French): » 
Mali Statement (English): » 
Mali Statement (French): »

 

 

 The 19th African Women’s Pre-Summit on Gender Mainstreaming in the African Union (AU) took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 25-26 January 2012, convened by Femmes Africa Solidarité (FAS) in partnership with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the African Union Commission (AUC), the Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC) gender cluster, Mary Robinson Foundation-Climate Justice (MRFCJ) with the support of Ipas Africa Alliance and the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Finland, Norway and Sweden

Summary and Recommendations (English): » 
Summary and Recommendations (French): » 

 

 

The 18th African Women’s Pre-Summit Consultation on Gender Mainstreaming in the African Union (AU) took place in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea from June 27-28 2011, convened by Femmes Africa Solidarité (FAS) in partnership with the Economic, Social, and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC) Gender Cluster, Citizens and Diaspora Directorate (CIDO), and with the support of the African Union Commission (AUC), United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and other UN agencies, Open Society Initiative (OSI), the African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF), Ipas, Isis Women’s International Cross Cultural Exchange (Isis-WICCE), Women in Law and Development in Africa (WiLDAF), the Global Fund for Women, the International Labour Organization (ILO), Mary Robinson Foundation - Climate Justice (MRFCJ), and with the governments of Equatorial Guinea, Finland, Norway, Spain and Sweden

Summary and Recommendations: »

 

The 17th African Women’s Pre-Summit on Gender Mainstreaming in the AU took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from January 24-26 2011, convened by Femmes Africa Solidarité (FAS) in partnership with United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), African Union Commission (AUC), International Labour Organization (ILO) and IPAS with the support of the African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF), Urgent Action Fund, Open Society Initiative (OSI), Nobel Women’s Initiative, Agencia Espanola De Cooperacion Internacional, and the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Finland, Norway and Sweden

Summary and Recommendations (English): » 
Summary and Recommendations (French): » 

 

 

The 16th AU Pre-Summit African Women’s Consultation took place in Kampala, Uganda from July 21st to 23rd July 2010, convened by Femmes Africa Solidarité (FAS) in partnership with ISIS –WICCE, International Labor Organization ( ILO), IPAS, African Union Commission (AUC), United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) with the support of African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF), Urgent Action Fund, the Open Society Initiative (OSI), the Department For International Development (DFID), and the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Finland and Norway

Summary and Recommendations: »

 The 15th AU Pre- Summit African Women’s Consultation took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from January 21st and 22nd 2010, convened by Femmes Africa Solidarité (FAS) with the support of the African Union Commission (AUC), United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Open Society Initiative (OSI), Department for International Development (DFID), African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF) and the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Finland and Norway;

Recommendations: »

 The 14th Pre-Summit Consultative Meeting on Gender Mainstreaming in the African Union took place in Tripoli, from 27-28 June 2009 on the margins of the Summit Meeting of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU).

The meeting is organized by the GIMAC network and coordinated by Femmes Africa Solidarité (FAS), who works in partnership with the African Union (AU), AU Gender Directorate (AUGD), United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), Department For International Development (DFID), African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland.

The AU meeting will comprise the Ordinary Session of the Permanent Representatives Committee (PRC), 24-26 June 2009; the Ordinary Session of the Executive Council, the 28–30 June 2009, and the Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government, the 1-3 July 2009. 

Concept Note: »
Agenda: »
Administrative Note: »
Articles: "Boosting Africa’s Food Security and Economic Growth- Investing in African Women" by Mary Wandia »

The 13th Pre-Summit Consultative Meeting took place from the 27th-28th January 2009 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
It was organized by Femmes Africa Solidarité (FAS), the GIMAC network, the AU Women Gender & Development Directorate (WGDD) and the UNECA African Centre for Gender and Social Development and supported by ILO, AWDF, OSIWA, DFID, and the African Development Bank. 

The meeting hold on the margins of the Summit Meeting of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Full Text »

 


The 12th African Union (AU) Pre-Summit Consultative Meeting on Gender Mainstreaming in the African Union took place in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt from June the 21st to the 22nd June, 2008 and brought together the members of the “Gender Is My Agenda Campaign”.

The participants discussed new challenges and strategies of advocacy for effective gender parity policies and practice, assessed progress and shortcomings in the implementation of the Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa (SDGEA) during these last years and make recommendations to the President of the AU Commission and the commissioners; fostered the partnership between different stakeholders and strengthened the commitment to move forward the effective implementation of the SDGEA. Full Text »

 

 

The 11th Pre-Summit was held from 22-23 January 2008 at the UN Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on the margins of the Summit of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU). 

The theme of the 11th Pre-Summit was The Industrialisation of the African Continent: "The gender perspective".
Experts from across Africa and the world came to share their views on the subject.
Several prominent women and experts attended the event.
Gisèle Mandaila, Secretary of State for Families and Persons with Disabilities of Belgium and Fatou Bensouda, Deputy Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court, were among the special guests invited to address the conference.
Full Text »

 

As noted in a major report issued by the UN Secretary-General, all forms of violence against women represent an unacceptable violations of human rights and together.
They form a major impediment to gender equality.

This campaign has been launched following the adoption of the Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa (SDGEA), signed by representatives of the member states of the African Union during the third common session of the Conference, which was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 6th to 8th July 2004.

 

The "Gender is my Agenda" Campaign aims to bring greater attention to violence against women, a pervasive and deeply entrenched human rights violation.

 

   THANKS FOR YOUR INPUT

We welcome all your input and comments.

Kindly send us your opinion regarding the campaign »

CONTACT    |    FAS WebsiteThis page
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Q&A: Women’s economic empowerment in Africa

Q&A: Women’s economic empowerment in Africa | Women's Economic Empowerment, Women and Development, Gender Equality | Scoop.it

Ahead of the World Economic Forum on Africa 2015 (3-5 June), which will bring together regional and global leaders from business, government and civil society to take stock of progress over the last 25 years, we hosted the Twitter chat #AskPhumzile with UN Women and their Executive Director, Phumzile Mlambo on the topic: women’s economic empowerment in Africa.

Here is a selection of questions from Twitter, and Phumzile’s responses.


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The value of mentorship, according to 5 women leaders - YouTube

Mentorship has been identified as a key foundation for the success of women entrepreneurs and women leaders. Devex spoke to five women leaders from the nonpr...
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Gender equality gets a fresh boost with new fund | Devex

Gender equality gets a fresh boost with new fund | Devex | Women's Economic Empowerment, Women and Development, Gender Equality | Scoop.it
By Lisa Cornish@lisa_cornish15 May 2015
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Women celebrate International Women’s Day in Honiara, Solomon Islands. For the 2015-16 financial year, 50 million Australian dollars ($US40.6 million) will be allocated to programs under the Gender Equality Fund. Photo by: Jeremy Miler / Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade / CC BY

Australia’s federal budget, announced Tuesday night, was a largely disappointing result for foreign aid. But there was one surprise in the mix — the announcement of a Gender Equality Fund as part of Australia’s country and regional programs.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has been a strong advocate for gender equality since taking office, and this fund seems to be a continuation of her efforts to empower women in developing countries.

The appointment of former Sen. Natasha Stott Despoja to the role of Australia’s ambassador for women and girls provided a well-known figure in Australian politics that could draw greater attention to the cause. And in the new aid policy announced last June, Bishop called for 80 percent of Australian aid investments to address gender issues as part of performance benchmarks.

See more stories on Australia’s 2015-16 aid budget

● Australia’s top aid recipients: A (re)pivot to the Pacific
● In Canberra, confusion over Australia’s aid program
● Few left unscathed as impact of cuts to Australia’s aid budget unveiled

For the 2015-16 financial year, 50 million Australian dollars ($US40.6 million) will be allocated to programs under the Gender Equality Fund. By separating out gender-related activities across the Australian aid program, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade estimates AU$42.5 million will be spent on gender programs for the current financial year. This makes gender one of Australian foreign aid’s few budget winners with an 18 percent increase in spending.

Funding for Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development, an existing program, will continue under the initiative and a new program, the Investing in Women Initiative, will be established to target women’s participation in Southeast Asian economies.

The response from nongovernmental organizations has been positive and welcoming.

“It’s funding that we always knew about, but it has been brought together in a new way within a new program,” Julia Newton-Howes, CEO of CARE Australia, told Devex. “It is positive to see the foreign minister make good on her commitment to reducing gender inequality through the Gender Equality Fund.”

Nigel Spence, CEO of ChildFund Australia, also spoke in support of the fund, noting how “the minister has championed strongly for it.”
‘Competitive’ fund — but for whom?

But there is still a need for more information about the initiative to better understand how it will fit into the overall aid program.

In her budget announcement, Bishop called the Gender Equality Fund “competitive” although no clear definition was provided as to what this means — does it refer to countries receiving funding or program providers? Spence hopes it means it is open for NGOs to seek funding.

“We feel strongly that NGOs should be considered for work,” Spence told Devex. “NGOs are strong performers in gender programs with a great deal of expertise and experience in this area.”

While welcoming the fund, Ann Brassil, CEO of Family Planning Australia, said it was important for the government to clarify the scope of work which will be covered by the Gender Equality Fund. Initial information suggests a strong focus toward economic empowerment of women.

“There is not yet a great level of detail provided by the government on where specific aid funding will be directed or on the gender equality fund,” she told Devex.

“Evidence shows that investment in reproductive and sexual health services enables greater gender equality, economic stability and the alleviation of poverty. We would welcome greater commitment from the government to fund reproductive and sexual health services as part to the commitment to gender equality and greater transparency from the government on how the aid budget supports gender equality programs.”

Spence hopes clarity of the scope will see improvement in the lives of girls in developing nations, not just women. He cautioned however that the initiative “should not be a substitute for other critical programs including maternal health.”
Partnerships key to fund’s success

But some are questioning how effective Australia’s gender fund will be.

At the 2015 aid budget breakfast, hosted by the Development Policy Center, while gender was touted as a winner, some wondered whether it could really win in light of the major cuts made to country, regional and global programs.

“Everything’s been a loser in this budget because the cuts and the breadth and depth are … going to be incredibly damaging to existing investments as well as cutting out future investments,” Newton-Howes said.

What is clear is that DFAT will be relying on NGOs and the private sector to make the Gender Equality Fund a success.

“It will fund, jointly with country and regional programs, investments aimed at advancing gender equality and foster innovative work by private sector and nongovernmental organizations, particularly women’s organizations,” DFAT said in a release.

DFAT has additionally suggested country programs will still be at liberty to fund gender-specific investments where a need is identified outside of the Gender Equality Fund.

In the coming weeks, DFAT will be meeting with NGOs to provide more detail on the aid program for the coming year. NGOs are hopeful this will also provide more insight into their new Gender Equality Fund and the focus of gender programs within Australian foreign aid.

Check out more funding trends analyses online, and subscribe to Money Matters to receive the latest contract award and shortlist announcements, and procurement and fundraising news.
About the author
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Lisa Cornish
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Lisa Cornish is a freelance data journalist based in Canberra, Australia. Lisa formerly worked with News Corp Australia as a data journalist for the national network and was published throughout Australia in major metropolitan and regional newspapers, including the Daily Telegraph in Melbourne, Herald Sun in Melbourne, Courier-Mail in Brisbane and online through news.com.au. Lisa has recently been awarded the 2014 Journalist of the Year by the New South Wales Institute of Surveyors.
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Trailer: Deepa Narayan on 7 May 2015 at #KAPTalks - YouTube

Poverty economics expert Deepa Narayan to deliver her Kapuscinski Development Lecture at the Central European University in Budapest on 7th May 2015 on gende...
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Is EU gender practice minding the GAP? | Devex

Is EU gender practice minding the GAP? | Devex | Women's Economic Empowerment, Women and Development, Gender Equality | Scoop.it
By Manola De Vos30 March 2015
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Trainee leather workers at the Apex Factory in Bangladesh, where the EU-funded Technical and Vocational Education and Training Reform project helps reduce poverty by providing training to women and other beneficiaries. Will the EU become a global champion of gender equality? Photo by: International Labor Organization / CC BY-NC-ND

It’s one of the most commonly accepted facts within the global development community: Equality between women and men, and girls and boys, is crucial to achieving sustainable development and meeting internationally agreed goals.

Upon its adoption, the Gender Action Plan 2010-2015, or GAP, was hailed as a major milestone in the European Union’s commitment to gender equality and women’s empowerment. But five years in, ambition has yet to translate into tangible progress.

In 2012, only 28 percent of new EU project proposals had gender as a primary or significant objective — far below the target of 80 percent for 2015. Meanwhile, observers note that implementation has been slow and patchy, an assessment also shared by EU ministers of foreign affairs and development.

As discussions begin on the GAP’s successor — a draft of which is expected in September — consensus is growing around the need to demonstrate more sturdy leadership to ensure that gender equality and women’s empowerment stay visible and high on the agenda.
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Development Channel » Hillary Clinton: Glass Ceilings, Sticky Floors, and Broken Ladders to Equal Opportunity

Development Channel » Hillary Clinton:  Glass Ceilings, Sticky Floors, and Broken Ladders to Equal Opportunity | Women's Economic Empowerment, Women and Development, Gender Equality | Scoop.it
On International Women’s Day this past Monday, I attended the release of the Clinton Foundation’s No Ceilings: The Full Participation Report, which Hillary Clinton launched alongside Melinda Gates and Chelsea Clinton. Building off the momentum generated at the UN Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995, the No Ceilings report uses data collected over the last twenty years to note both the gains and gaps in women and girls’ participation globally.

This September marks the twentieth anniversary of the Beijing Conference, a landmark moment where world leaders, in effect, embraced then-First Lady Hillary Clinton’s statement at the Conference that “women’s rights are human rights.” Clinton and her family’s foundation have continued to push for women’s rights and empowerment. Full disclosure: having attended the Beijing Conference and been moved by Clinton’s speech there, I later had an opportunity to work on the Secretary of State’s Policy Planning Staff under her leadership and Policy Planning’s first woman director, Anne-Marie Slaughter.

The No Ceilings report highlights the progress women and girls have made, for example, in increased access to primary education, an overall drop in maternal mortality, and the growing recognition of the importance of women to peace and security. At the same time, it underscores the gaps that persist for women and girls, including the life expectancy of women in poor and marginalized areas, low rate of attainment in secondary education, the continuing epidemic of violence against women, overall stagnation in women’s workforce participation, and women’s exclusion from peace and security processes.

The report’s emphasis on data—and, indeed, Secretary Clinton’s focus on gender data as a way to address these issues—measures the progress of women and girls internationally and invites policymakers, academics, and activists to take stock of the women’s rights movement. Where is the movement now, and where should it head next?

Since the Beijing Conference, there has been a major push for the inclusion of women in international matters, including peace and security discussions, and this drive has elicited a promising response. Though there is still work to be done—as Ambassador Melanne Verveer noted at Monday’s event, only 4 percent of peacekeeping forces are female—policy developments such as UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security (and various countries’ national action plans implementing Resolution 1325) show the broad acceptance of the idea that women and women’s rights are critical to the peace and security dialogue. Yet the question remains: has the security paradigm actually changed, or are women simply inserting themselves in a male-dominated regime and culture? To what extent are women transforming the paradigm to pave the way for stemming conflicts, countering violent extremism, and establishing more sustainable peace?

And if a major goal of the women’s rights movement, at least since the Beijing Conference, has been to open up opportunities for women’s leadership—not only in peace and security matters, but in other sectors as well—what is the movement’s main objective now? Much has been said about breaking a final glass ceiling: electing a woman president. As Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said at the No Ceilings event, “That glass ceiling is broken—by me.” However, what about the sticky floors and broken ladders to opportunity that women and girls around the globe still face? Will placing more women into positions of power help them?
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Development Channel » From the Board Room to the Factory Floor, Employing Women Is Smart Business

Development Channel » From the Board Room to the Factory Floor, Employing Women Is Smart Business | Women's Economic Empowerment, Women and Development, Gender Equality | Scoop.it
Emerging Voices features contributions from scholars and practitioners highlighting new research, thinking, and approaches to development challenges. This article is by Henriette Kolb, head of the Gender Secretariat at the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and Nasim Novin, consultant at the IFC Gender Secretariat.

As Hillary Clinton said during the 2014 Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting in New York City earlier this week, “We cannot grow the global economy if we do not open the doors to women to participate in the economy.”

Research from the past decade clearly demonstrates the economic case for women’s full participation in the labor force. Strategy& (formerly Booz & Co) estimates that increasing women’s presence in the workforce to the same level as men’s could boost GDP by 5 percent in the United States, 12 percent in the United Arab Emirates, and 34 percent in Egypt. And according to McKinsey & Company, companies with more women on boards and in top management perform the best.

Yet across the world, women face persistent barriers in the job market, often the result of discrimination and culturally entrenched ideas about gender roles. In fact, the World Bank’s Gender at Work report finds that women’s participation in the labor force has stagnated over the last two decades, declining from 57 to 55 percent worldwide. Of the women who are empowered to participate in the global workforce, more than half are engaged in the informal economy, rather than in salaried or wage jobs.

With the world economy struggling to revive in the aftermath of the global recession, now is the time to remove the obstacles to women’s paid employment and reap the economic and societal benefits of women’s full economic participation. The private sector is increasingly taking on this task, as more and more companies become convinced that including women at all levels of their organizations is a business imperative—and not just a corporate social responsibility or public relations issue.

Demonstrating their commitment to promoting women’s private sector employment, ten companies recently joined the She Works partnership initiative announced by World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim at the CGI Annual Meeting. Kim urged other companies to follow their lead, emphasizing that empowering women in the workplace is essential to achieving the World Bank’s goals of reducing absolute poverty and boosting shared prosperity.

The unique partnership with CGI brings together leading multinational companies that have already made significant progress toward gender inclusion in their workplaces—Care.com, Coca-Cola Company, Ernst & Young, Gap Inc., and Intel Corporation—with leading firms based in emerging markets—Belcorp, Kuwait Energy, Odebrecht Group, Ooredoo Group, and Zulekha Hospitals. Each company has pledged to implement measures that are proven to enhance women’s employment opportunities, such as mentorship programs, flexible working arrangements, company-wide gender assessments, and leadership training to increase diversity in management.

The partnership also provides a platform for companies to meet, share best practices, and learn from one another. It presents a unique opportunity to exchange and adapt lessons between the developed world and emerging markets. Working with critical partners, such as the EDGE Certified Foundation, the International Labour Organization, and the UN Global Compact, the World Bank Group will facilitate knowledge-sharing events and develop practical approaches that companies can implement to improve gender equity in the workplace.

Partnerships to enhance women’s employment are vital to scale up those programs that are already proven to be effective. She Works is expected to improve employment opportunities for more than three hundred thousand women across the world over the next two years. Considering approximately 865 million women worldwide have the potential to contribute more fully to their national economies, this is just a drop in the bucket. More energy and attention from both governments and the private sector is needed to chip away at that daunting number.

Nevertheless, this initiative is an important starting point. By drawing on the thought leadership and convening power of the World Bank Group, combined with the practical experience of companies, this type of partnership can have catalytic power. The World Bank Group calls on other companies to use the example set by the She Works partnership to actively promote gender equality in the workplace, thus creating the momentum needed to grow the global economy, end absolute poverty, and increase shared prosperity.
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Development Channel » The Status of Women and Girls in Iraq and Afghanistan

Development Channel » The Status of Women and Girls in Iraq and Afghanistan | Women's Economic Empowerment, Women and Development, Gender Equality | Scoop.it
This post is by Catherine Powell, fellow for CFR’s Women and Foreign Policy Program; and Amelia Wolf, research associate for CFR’s Center for Preventive Action and International Institutions and Global Governance Program.

The recent increase in attacks by the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS)—known until recently as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)—and the group’s claims to territory in northern Iraq have spurred observers to draw comparisons between the current crisis in Iraq and the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan. In Iraq, the IS has begun to impose Sharia law in areas under its control, forcing boys and girls to be separated at school, requiring women to wear the niqab in public, and banning music. There have been reports that the IS has forced women to marry or have sex with militants, ordered families to hand over their daughters, and distributed leaflets promoting the rape of women. In addition, a Saudi-based cleric recently issued a fatwa allowing militants to rape women in towns claimed by the group. All this has caused fear and concern that the drawdown of U.S. troops in Afghanistan by the end of 2016 will result in a similar unraveling and a revival of extremism in the country—which would undermine the primary intent of a decade of U.S. intervention.

Whether or not the crisis in Iraq compares directly to Afghanistan—given the historical, cultural, geographic, ethnic, and political differences between the two countries—it certainly provides a cautionary tale for U.S. policy toward Afghanistan. In particular, just as gender equality is threatened by the rise of IS in Iraq, the gains made by Afghan women and girls over the course of the U.S. presence in the country would be greatly imperiled by a resurgence of the Taliban if the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) are not strong enough to step in as U.S. troops withdraw.

Prior to the overthrow of the Taliban, women and girls were banned from schools; segregated in many aspects of public life, including the workplace; and prevented from leaving their homes without a male guardian. In 2001, virtually no girls were enrolled in school, and women rarely participated in the formal economy and or held leadership positions. Now, more than ten years later, women have made great strides in education, health, political participation, economic empowerment, and social engagement. Approximately 40 percent of children enrolled in schools are girls and maternal mortality has fallen from 1,600 to 327 deaths per 100,000 births. Additionally, women hold three out of twenty-five cabinet seats and 120 judicial positions. Backsliding on this progress would undermine security, stability, and development, as gender equality and stability are correlated.

Even if U.S. troops stay in Afghanistan beyond President Barack Obama’s December 2016 deadline for complete withdrawal, U.S. public opinion and funding for an ongoing U.S. military presence much beyond that date is unlikely to change, given the other potential demands on the U.S. military and constraints on resources. Obama’s recent announcement that U.S. military involvement will come to an end before he leaves office reflects this political reality as well as his desire for a legacy of pulling the United States out of two wars and refocusing U.S. counterterrorism efforts on new fronts in the Middle East and North Africa. While policymakers and media have focused on the continued presence of U.S. troops, severe cuts to U.S. funding of the ANSF are in the works and pose a great threat to the rights of women and girls going forward. U.S. policymakers should utilize the leverage they currently have in Afghanistan to strengthen the ANSF’s own ability to prevent the country from a fate similar to that of Iraq.

The 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq was a fool’s errand from the beginning–particularly since a focus on Afghanistan instead would have better served U.S. interests in the region. However, once the United States toppled Saddam Hussein, it had a responsibility to assist the country with an orderly transition to a society in which human rights and security are guaranteed. Part of the current problem in Iraq is the fact that the United States withdrew before adequately training Iraqi forces. To avoid a similar erosion of security and backtracking on gender equality in Afghanistan, Washington should follow the recommendations outlined in a recent CFR report, Women and Girls in the Afghanistan Transition:

Support the ANSF’s ability to maintain security and enhance the environment for the participation of women and girls in public life.
Double funding to support women’s integration into the ANSF.
Invest in women’s rights and leadership–including in rural areas–as this will support sustainable development for the country as a whole.
Maintain and expand girls’ education in Afghanistan.

In comparing the Afghanistan and Iraq, it is important to remember the crucial differences between the two countries. For example, gains made by women and girls since 2001 have been widely supported by a majority of Afghans, including men. This has not been the case is Iraq. In addition, sectarian divisions that lie at the heart of the resurging violence in Iraq do not exist to the same extent in Afghanistan. Lastly, while Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki refused to an agreement for a U.S. residual force in Iraq, the runoff candidates in Afghanistan—Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai—have both agreed to sign the bilateral security agreement to ensure a U.S. presence in the country. A security agreement is essential to ongoing cooperation between the two countries to achieve shared policy goals, including promoting the participation of women and girls in public life.
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▶ PYXERA Global Webcast: Closing the Gap on Gender Equality - YouTube

Gender inequality is arguably the most pervasive form of inequality around the world and a pressing human rights concern. Progress on gender equality is fund...
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▶ Luke Ablett Q&A #3 – Will we ever see true gender equality? - YouTube

Luke Ablett responds to a question on whether we’ll ever see true gender equality in Australia.
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UNDP, UN Women, Argentina Hold Global Conference for Women and Social Inclusion

UNDP, UN Women, Argentina Hold Global Conference for Women and Social Inclusion | Women's Economic Empowerment, Women and Development, Gender Equality | Scoop.it
The UN Development Programme (UNDP), with UN Women and the Government of Argentina, hosted a global conference titled 'Women and Social Inclusion: From Beijing to Post-2015.' The conference was part of a series of events to celebrate 20 years since...
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Petition asking for debate and a plan for better gender balance in the House of Commons

Petition asking for debate and a plan for better gender balance in the House of Commons | Women's Economic Empowerment, Women and Development, Gender Equality | Scoop.it
Men outnumber women 2:1 in the House of Commons. Of the 650 seats, men sit in 459 (71%) and women only 191 (29%). During the election 102 constituencies had no women standing.
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How can we increase the number of women in Africa’s boardrooms?

How can we increase the number of women in Africa’s boardrooms? | Women's Economic Empowerment, Women and Development, Gender Equality | Scoop.it
Africa must have more women serving on company boards to sharpen the continent’s competitive edge and to make inclusive growth a reality – all the way to the top.

The African Development Bank has taken up the issue of boosting women’s leadership and high-level participation as a part of its gender strategy, and I have been enlisted me as a Special Envoy on Gender to carry it out.

As a part of that strategy, we wanted to get a snapshot of where Africa stands on female board membership, so we commissioned a study of 307 listed companies using 2013 data, spanning a dozen of the continent’s most powerful economies.

The results from this study Where are the women: Inclusive boardrooms in Africa’s top-listed companies, were surprising in a number of ways, good and bad.

First of all, Africa is top-ranked among emerging regions when it comes to female board membership in large-cap companies by a fairly wide margin: 14.4% compared with 9.8% for Asia-Pacific, 5.6% for Latin America, and 1% for the Middle East. Africa comes right after the developed regions of Europe and the US in this regard.

What is more, several companies were exemplary: East African Breweries has a board that is 45.5% female, and several firms had boards with over a third of the seats taken by women.

The study bears out, once again, that the African continent is very diverse, this time in its corporate boardroom practices. While the southern and eastern regions each averaged about 17% female board membership, the country-by-country picture showed a wide range of female board participation, with Kenya reporting the highest percentage of women board directors at nearly 20%, and Cote d’Ivoire coming in at the bottom, with just over 5%.

What is truly alarming is that close to a third of African companies in the study have boards without a single woman on them, and two-thirds of companies have a miniscule presence of women at the table (one or none).

At the same time, the poorest showing for female board membership was registered by small- and mid-cap companies, the market segments that accounts for a large share of the growth and vitality of many of Africa’s nascent stock markets.

So what is holding back African firms from appointing more women to their boards? The study identified several factors that need to be tackled urgently in a concerted push by government, stock exchanges, the private sector, and civil society.

First, most board appointments are made through deeply rooted, old boy networks, which often shut out diversity. Also, executive women lack visibility in their organisations. Incidentally, the benefits and the need for board diversity are not well understood on the African continent.

Second, corporate governance in Africa is still in a nascent stage, and nominations are not always done in an open and transparent manner. And last, further complicating the picture, corporate reporting is inconsistent and incomplete, largely because of weak enforcement of regulations.

But the report details solutions that already exist to turn around this situation, given enough political will and the grit to see them through, notably :

Sex-aggregated data on women directors can be published in annual reports
Mandates for women directors should be considered for the paucity of women in Africa’s largest companies
Stronger language on gender diversity can be included in corporate governance codes and compel companies to have female representatives on boards
Capital Markets Authorities and Securities and Exchange Commissions, and other regulatory bodies should tighten oversight of governance guidelines and regulation, and create penalties and sanctions for failure to follow them

African countries have already taken corrective steps that take aim at the glass ceiling underneath the boardroom. Kenya and South Africa have put in place mandates for women’s representation on the boards of state-owned companies. The private sector has integrate gender diversity into its principles of good governance in Kenya, Morocco, Malawi, Nigeria, and South Africa.

Above all, we must bring women onto corporate boards with programmes to fast track them through middle and senior management in the private sector. AfDB remains committed to fostering greater female board membership and is compiling a database of qualified female candidates that we are readying for 2016.

We need to think differently and invest markedly in women’s leadership as a way to change the political and economic landscape to deliver on Africa’s Inclusive Growth Agenda. Equality for women is progress for all.

Author: Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, Special Envoy on Gender, African Development Bank

Imagen: The feet of brokers are seen during metal price trading on the floor of the London Metal Exchange in London REUTERS/Russell Boyce
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The value of mentorship, according to 5 women leaders | Devex

The value of mentorship, according to 5 women leaders | Devex | Women's Economic Empowerment, Women and Development, Gender Equality | Scoop.it
Women leaders in both the private and nonprofit sectors explain the value of mentorship.

Mentorship has been identified as a key foundation for the success of women entrepreneurs and women leaders. Devex spoke to five women leaders from the nonprofit and private sectors about the most successful forms of mentorship — and how they themselves have benefitted.

“I thought mentorship was about finding some older, gray-haired person who would be my soulmate in my career path and walk me through all of the different hurdles,” Linda Rottenberg, CEO and co-founder of Endeavor, told Devex.

But as she got older, Rottenberg adjusted her view of mentorship and now believes it’s a combination not only comprised of people younger and older, but also of peers and competitors — who often have the best advice.

“It takes the pressure off of one relationship,” she explained.

You also need people who are willing to put your name forward or to take a risk on what you can accomplish, Dina Dublon, member of the board of directors of Microsoft, Pepsi and Accenture, told Devex.

“Without someone giving you the opportunity, there is no way you can show your ability to perform…” Dublon said.

How has mentorship helped you further your career — and what advice would you give development professionals seeking a mentor?

Whether you’re a seasoned expert or budding development professional — check out more news, analysis and advice online to guide your career and professional development, and subscribe to Doing Good to receive top international development career and recruitment news every week.
About the author
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In her role as associate editor, Kelli Rogers helps to shape Devex content around leadership, professional growth and careers for professionals in international development, humanitarian aid and global health. As the manager of Doing Good, one of Devex's highest-circulation publications, she is constantly on the lookout for the latest staffing changes, hiring trends and tricks for recruiting skilled local and international staff for aid projects that make a difference. Kelli has studied or worked in Spain, Costa Rica and Kenya.
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4 ways to successfully implement gender programs | Devex

4 ways to successfully implement gender programs | Devex | Women's Economic Empowerment, Women and Development, Gender Equality | Scoop.it
A young woman from a village that is known for high levels of women trafficking to other major cities in India. How can development organizations deal with the challenges of running gender programs? Photo by: Anindit Roy-Chowdhury / U.N. Women / CC BY-NC-ND

Does mainstreaming gender into development programs work?

That’s a tricky question that often comes up when organizations for instance need to include provisions for gender equality in their project proposals, especially since more and more donors are now insisting that gender be integrated in all of the programs they fund. These include leading donor agencies such as the U.K. Department for International Development and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

For gender expert Maxine Molyneux, the answer is yes, provided gender mainstreaming is done right. Indeed it is now better understood that societies in general are held back by gender inequality.

A professor at the University College London, Molyneux believes this is an effective strategy as it reminds aid practitioners that gender inequality affects development outcomes — a basic point that several development partners sometimes forget.
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Why is no country gender equal? | Devex

Why is no country gender equal? | Devex | Women's Economic Empowerment, Women and Development, Gender Equality | Scoop.it
By Deepa Narayan06 May 2015
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Preview of Deepa Narayan’s May 7 Kapuscinski development lecture on gender inequality.

Gender inequity poisons the entire planet, each and every one of us, women and men.

Consider the United States, a superpower. Women there earn 77 cents to a man’s dollar. At this slow rate of catching up it will take a century for women to earn the same as men for the same job. This is despite the Equal Pay Act passed in 1963.

How long then will it take India, an aspiring superpower, to achieve gender equity? India, with over 500 million girls and women, has labor force participation rates of 29 percent, less than the USA in 1947, the year of India’s independence.

Yet the India of today is not the same as 1947 America. Today 1.2 billion Indians own close to 1 billion cellphones. Digital TV ownership rates are higher in India than in the U.S. Images of half-naked women are downloadable in an instant to men behind bullock carts or to the rich in cities.

There is progress but it is terribly slow. We need to change our thinking. We are still using ineffective 20th century methods in the globalized world of the 21st century. These methods work at bullock cart rates.

We perpetuate gender inequity, because of the belief often held unconsciously by both men and women, that women are just not as valuable as men. This cultural inequity is then reflected in our rules and regulations and the decisions made by hundreds of fathers, mothers, students, teachers, bosses, colleagues, politicians, judges, companies, film and TV commercial-makers — the icon-makers.

This is true in every culture. Most crudely it is reflected in skewed sex ratios, a demographic reality. In India, for example, millions of girls and women are killed off or aborted, resulting in a sex ratio that is worse now than in 1901. It is the worst in rich, urban, educated communities. We can’t seem to educate away gender inequity.

It is also reflected in the fact that in the U.S. despite 67 percent of women working for pay, only 4 percent of CEOs of Fortune 500 companies are women — and these companies perform exceedingly well. It is reflected in the fact that highly educated and accomplished women lose their voice, they don’t speak up in meetings and boardrooms when men are in the majority, which is most of the time. The elite Harvard Business School has had to teach women students to raise their hands confidently, and keep them raised, and had to make professors aware of their possible gender bias in judging students participation rates and in assessing grades.

We have to stop treating gender inequity as a technical issue. Research shows that the economic assumption of rational choice is flawed — 90 percent of the decisions we make are not rational, not deliberate. We work on automatic. These habits of the mind work on association, metaphors, learned early and reinforced over time. But they are habits, and can change.

It is also time to change where we locate gender inequity. We think of gender inequity as a private issue until it manifests in the public domain. But gender equity is not a private good. It is a public good that affects everyone. Gender inequity, embedded in community norms, overrides private norms. Moreover, gender inequity transcends borders in a globalized world through the Internet, TV, and real movement of people, companies and products.

Gender equity is a global public good. Just like you can’t change the ocean by working on one square inch at a time, you can’t change gender inequity by working only at the country level. Just like climate change, it travels across countries. It has global economic and social impact.

Therefore, just like climate change, it needs a global compact. It needs global action and champions to change the cultural story that holds women as derivatives, of men, and as afterthoughts. Just as our stories about climate change and how our actions impact global climate had to change, so also our stories about women and men need to change to impact the global climate of gender inequity.

To do this requires coalitions of leaders, activists, and innovators across borders. The seeds of change could sprout anywhere.

Deepa Narayan will deliver her Kapuscinski development lecture, “Blind Spots of Development: Rethinking Gender Inequality,” at 5:30 p.m. Central European Time on May 7. Watch the live webcast on kapuscinskilectures.eu and join the #KAPTalks debate on gender inequality.

Join the Devex community and access more in-depth analysis, breaking news and business advice — and a host of other services — on international development, humanitarian aid and global health.
About the author
2015 04 27%252011.23.50
Deepa Narayan

Deepa Narayan serves on the Global Advisory Councils of the World Economic Forum. From 2002 to 2008 she served as senior adviser to the vice president in the poverty reduction and economic management network of the World Bank. She was named as one of 100 most influential global thinkers by the U.S. Foreign Policy magazine, one of 35 great minds by India Today magazine in 2011 and one of 100 disruptive heroes to bring about changes in large organizations by Hackers Work in 2013. She has published over 15 books and is author of the forthcoming book, Womanhood: Made in India.
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The state of gender equality: Where’s the data? | Devex

The state of gender equality: Where’s the data? | Devex | Women's Economic Empowerment, Women and Development, Gender Equality | Scoop.it
By Asma Lateef04 June 2015
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This image represents how much data on women and gender issues is missing worldwide. If regular data were available, the full photos of these women would be visible. Photo by: Bread for the World

We may assume that we will know gender equality when we see it, but how? A few countries have reached milestones on individual measures, such as political representation or pay equity, but the world has few, if any, real-life examples of societies with full gender equality.

Moreover, our beliefs about whether we’re making progress overall are only as reliable as the data used to track specific improvements. But the best available statistics, broken down by country, are actually missing a staggering amount of information.

Bread for the World Institute recently launched an interactive data tool that makes such unavailable information “visible.” You can see at a glance the missing data on gender. In trying to get a complete picture of gender equality, we can see with this tool that women are, in many ways, missing from the picture.

The data tool uses photos of women and pixels to represent pieces of data. It shows pixels in color only where data are available, while replacing missing data with opaque black dots. So if all the data were available, the complete picture would be visible. The tool will generate images to compare regions or countries based on how much data they have collected.

Read more related news on gender equality:

● Why is no country gender equal?
● Gender equality gets a fresh boost with new fund
● 4 ways to successfully implement gender programs

Of course, the pixels need to reflect the right data in order for the resulting image to be useful. Gender inequality is so all-encompassing and complex that a fairly large number of indicators is much more likely to reflect reality than any one or two measures in isolation.

The institute’s data tool uses 52 indicators identified in 2012 by the U.N. Economic and Social Council as essential to showing the state of gender equality. The indicators range from the most obvious — such as the incidence of gender-based violence — to those that might seem less relevant at first glance. For example, the number of female police officers or judges in a country might seem to be important only to women in or entering that profession, but it also says a great deal about whether women feel they have the support of law enforcement or the courts when they report gender-based violence or discrimination.

At first, the institute intended to use the indicators in a conventional way — to see how countries and regions are doing on gender equality. So why does the data tool instead show the data that’s missing? Because the amount of data that is missing is shocking. As a group, low-income countries are missing 78.5 percent of all data between 1990 and 2013 on the 52 indicators.

Data can be used to tell powerful stories. Here, the lack of data is the story. The data tool reveals an entire generation’s worth of progress, lack of progress, uneven progress, or setbacks that we cannot fully understand or assess because we don’t know very much about what happened. Local communities, governments and international partners lack many of the specifics that would help make their ongoing efforts more effective. For example, which countries or communities made progress on gender-based violence, and what can women and governments elsewhere learn from their experiences?

In the past few decades, there have been major changes in how many women live their lives. This is clear with or without enough data to tell us exactly what happened and how. But there’s growing agreement that the world needs to make more far-reaching and sustained progress on gender equality. We are simply not there yet.

Data is the yardstick by which we measure progress. Identifying the many missing marks on the yardstick means that individual countries and the global community will know what they don’t know. Then they can effectively begin to gather this information — starting this year, as the world adopts the sustainable development goals that can lead us to the end of hunger and extreme poverty within 15 years.

What apps should aid workers have on their phones? Let us know through the comment section below, tweeting @devex and joining the conversation on LinkedIn.

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About the author
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Asma Lateef

Asma Lateef is director of the Bread for the World Institute, the research and policy analysis education wing that underpins the advocacy work of U.S.-based anti-hunger advocacy organization Bread for the World. Formerly, Asma was senior international policy analyst at Bread for the World and director of policy and programs for Citizens for Global Solutions. Asma holds a bachelor’s degree in geography from McGill University, a master’s in economics from Maryland University, and a post-graduate diploma in economics from the London School of Economics.
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This article discusses the lack of gender inequality data worldwide.
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Development Channel » Gender Equality and Smart U.S. Foreign Assistance

Development Channel » Gender Equality and Smart U.S. Foreign Assistance | Women's Economic Empowerment, Women and Development, Gender Equality | Scoop.it
It has become axiomatic in international development that increasing economic opportunities for women contributes to economic growth. Organizations from the World Bank to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) have concluded that women’s participation in the economy is linked to poverty reduction and gross domestic product (GDP) growth. Today, the question is not whether women’s economic participation matters—rather, it is how to promote this goal most effectively.

The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), a U.S. foreign aid organization, has been at the forefront of answering this question. Last week, Dana Hyde, the chief executive officer of MCC, spoke at the Council on Foreign Relations about MCC’s innovative approach to reducing poverty and promoting growth around the world—including through the advancement of gender equality.

MCC is a young agency, celebrating its tenth anniversary just this year, and it governs a relatively small share of the U.S. government’s foreign assistance budget. Nevertheless, MCC has had an outsized impact, and has been heralded internationally for its commitment to results-based, data-driven foreign assistance.

MCC employs a competitive selection process, partnering only with countries that meet a set of rigorous policy indicators conducive to promoting economic growth. Once countries are selected, the organization works with in-country actors to identify priorities and facilitate local management, thereby fostering both country ownership and sustainability. It also insists upon comprehensive and transparent monitoring and evaluation as programs are implemented.

Critical to MCC’s economic growth strategy is its commitment to advancing gender equality. In 2006, MCC enacted a robust Gender Policy that requires consideration of gender inequalities in development, implementation, and evaluation of programs. Five years later, MCC expanded its guidance by introducing Gender Integration Guidelines, which provide specific operational instructions on how to integrate gender into development work, including through the recruitment of gender specialists in partner countries and the creation of country-specific gender integration plans.

To build on this progress, in 2012, MCC revised its country selection criteria to assess the degree to which potential country partners provide women the same legal capacity to work as men. This indicator assesses whether married and unmarried women can engage in ten different economic activities, including holding a job, registering a business, signing a contract, opening a bank account, and serving as a head of household. By adopting this indictor, MCC has not only changed its own practice—it has also sent a powerful message that ensuring an equal playing field for women and men in the economy is both a precondition of economic growth and a factor in whether a country will be entitled to partner with the U.S. government.

The addition of a gender equality indicator as a condition of MCC partnership is already paying dividends. The government of Cote d’Ivoire, for example, approached MCC to find a way to improve its laws on gender equality in order to bolster its competitiveness for U.S. assistance. Soon after, the country enacted a new law to give women the same rights as men to determine where they live, work, and travel. Such policy changes are sorely needed: according to the World Bank’s Women, Business and the Law report, 128 out of 143 countries today have at least one legal difference between men and women that restricts women’s economic opportunities. In 54 countries, women face five or more limitations.

Though MCC’s focus on legal reform to promote women’s economic participation is promising, there are a range of other gender inequalities that undermine growth and could be considered as well. One example is gender-based violence, which inhibits women’s economic participation and exacts significant costs: a World Bank report estimated the cost of this violence to range between 1.2 to 3.7 percent of GDP, depending on the country. Or consider the issue of child marriage, which is negatively correlated with girls’ education and economic potential: surely this factor should be considered as MCC develops a compact with Niger, which has the highest overall child marriage prevalence rate in the world.

MCC’s emphasis on fair and equal legal capacity as a condition of economic growth is significant both as a matter of policy and practice. To leverage funding even more effectively, MCC should consider incorporating other indicators of gender equality, in addition to legal equality in the economic sector, when evaluating whether potential partner countries have created environments conducive to poverty reduction and economic growth.
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Development Channel » White House Summit Embraces Women’s Rights to Counter Violent Extremism

Development Channel » White House Summit Embraces Women’s Rights to Counter Violent Extremism | Women's Economic Empowerment, Women and Development, Gender Equality | Scoop.it
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Last week, the White House sponsored an international summit on strategies to counter violent extremism (CVE), focusing on groups such as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and al-Qaeda. Among the strategies suggested to mitigate radicalization, President Obama listed an increased emphasis on human rights and democracy: “That means free elections where people can choose their own future, and independent judiciaries that uphold the rule of law, and police and security forces that respect human rights, and free speech and freedom for civil society groups.”

Repression by an authoritarian regime, political disenfranchisement, and human rights abuses are considered to be among the factors that lead individuals to terrorism, rather than choosing peaceful means to protest. As the president said last Thursday, “When governments oppress their people, deny human rights, stifle dissent, or marginalize ethnic and religious groups, or favor certain religious groups over others, it sows the seeds of extremism and violence… Terrorist groups claim that change can only come through violence. And if peaceful change is impossible, that plays into extremist propaganda.”

At the CVE summit, President Obama also specifically emphasized women’s rights, calling on participating countries to commit to “expanding education, including for girls. Expanding opportunity, including for women. Nations will not truly succeed without the contributions of their women.” A critical component of investing in human rights is investing in women’s rights. UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and lead author of the UN secretary-general’s Global Study on Women, Peace, and Security Radhika Coomaraswamy wrote recently in Foreign Policy that “empowered women are the foundation of resilient and stable communities—communities that can stand firm against radicalization.” The UN Security Council echoed this sentiment in resolution 2178 in September 2014, when for the first time the Council referenced the need to empower women in order to halt the spread of violent extremism.

The United States can support women and girls’ rights—and therefore mitigate the factors that often lead to radicalization—by improving girls’ educational opportunities abroad, along with supporting the rights of women and girls more broadly. Ensuring that girls have access to quality education not only improves their ability to flourish and improve their employment opportunities for their own future, but also increases the chances that their children down the road will grow up in healthy, stable homes and receive education themselves. In turn, this will generate economic growth and decrease poverty, and thus limit the potential for extremism to thrive in their communities.

Furthermore, research suggests that improving the status of women and involving them in peace negotiations, peacekeeping, and postconflict reconstruction creates greater stability, more sustainable peace agreements, fewer relapses into conflict, and therefore more lasting peace. By reducing conflict and creating greater prosperity, involving women in core peace and security matters—and in the mainstream economy—has the potential to reduce conflict, undercutting the insecurity, poverty, and desperate circumstances in which extremism flourishes.

Increasing the emphasis on human rights—including women’s rights—in U.S. foreign policy is critical for national security. However, as Deputy National Security Advisor Benjamin J. Rhodes indicated in a recent New York Times article, the White House sometimes faces a disconnect between promoting human rights and partnering with human rights violators in the struggle to combat violent extremism. In the same article, Marc Lynch, director of the Institute for Middle East Studies at George Washington University, noted, “There is a very profound conceptual disagreement about whether the best way to counter violent extremism is through human rights and civil society or through an iron fist.” President of the advocacy group Human Rights First, Elisa Massimino, pointed out that the very composition of the White House summit underscored the inconsistency between the rhetoric and reality: “We’re sitting in that room with representatives of governments that are part of the problem.”

Another challenge is that the United States runs the risk of being accused of exporting “Western feminism” in overtly linking women’s rights to the fight against violent extremism. However, it cannot hope to defeat ISIS and al-Qaeda without supporting women’s rights. By supporting local women’s rights efforts that have both legitimacy and on-the-ground knowledge, the United States can advance the rights of women and girls from the bottom up, which will not only help combat extremism, but also support more democratic, just societies.
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Development Channel » Unlocking the Potential of Women Entrepreneurs

Development Channel » Unlocking the Potential of Women Entrepreneurs | Women's Economic Empowerment, Women and Development, Gender Equality | Scoop.it
This post is from Isobel Coleman, Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) senior fellow and director of the Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy initiative, and Dina Habib Powell, global head of corporate engagement at Goldman Sachs and president of the Goldman Sachs Foundation.

A staggering six hundred million new jobs are needed globally over the next fifteen years to keep employment rates at their current level. This is especially daunting given slowing global growth rates. One bright spot in this enormous challenge is a powerful, and often overlooked, source of job creation: women entrepreneurs. In the United States, women-owned businesses account for approximately 16 percent of all jobs in the economy, and with women graduating from university at higher rates than men, that percentage is expected to grow in coming years.

Governments around the world are beginning to wake up to the economic benefits of women’s empowerment. Kathy Matsui of Goldman Sachs first wrote about “womenomics” in 1999 when she advocated that Japan could increase GDP by as much as 15 percent by tapping the potential of women. Fifteen years later, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has made greater female workforce participation the cornerstone of his strategy to accelerate the Japanese economy and has proposed new policies that will address childcare, tax distortions, and female representation in government.

In most economies, significant barriers inhibiting women from reaching their full potential remain. A recent International Monetary Fund paper shows a GDP per capita loss as high as 27 percent in some regions as a result of not fully engaging women in the labor force. In certain countries, the loss is even bigger. The IMF paper estimates that in Egypt, for example, raising women’s workforce participation rate to that of men would lift the country’s GDP by more than a third.

Globally, gains in women’s participation in the labor force have stalled; women continue to work in lower paying and less productive sectors than men; and there are still laws in many countries that restrict women’s movements and choices. A World Bank study shows that almost 90 percent of the 143 economies researched still have at least one legal restriction on women’s economic opportunities, including seventy-nine economies that restrict the types of jobs women can perform. There is also a lack of role models to inspire more women to join the workforce and change societal attitudes. In addition, women are less likely than men to know other entrepreneurs and more likely to have weaker professional networks. Finally, access to capital remains a significant constraint to engaging women productively in the world economy. The International Finance Corporation (IFC) estimates that 70 percent of women-owned SMEs in the formal sector in developing countries lack access to capital, resulting in a global financing gap of $285 billion.

In 2008, Goldman Sachs launched the 10,000 Women initiative to address the constraints facing women entrepreneurs in emerging markets by providing them with business training, mentoring, and networking opportunities. A new evaluation of the program conducted by Babson College, and released at the Council on Foreign Relations today, demonstrates that targeted interventions can indeed help women grow their businesses and create jobs. The study found that nearly 60 percent of graduates created new jobs, on average more than doubling the size of their workforce. Eighteen months after graduation, nearly 70 percent of the women had increased revenues, and the average growth across all participants was 480 percent.

The potential to replicate these results on a broader scale by providing more women with greater access to business training, mentoring, networking, and capital is enormous. Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women is expanding its efforts and has recently launched a new partnership with IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, to create the first ever global finance facility dedicated to women entrepreneurs. The facility will enable approximately one hundred thousand women entrepreneurs around the world to access capital and grow their businesses. With 126 million women starting or running businesses in sixty-seven economies around the world, improving their growth prospects will reverberate throughout the global economy and ultimately lead to healthier, safer, and more prosperous communities—for everyone.
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Development Channel » The Status of Women and Girls in Iraq and Afghanistan

Development Channel » The Status of Women and Girls in Iraq and Afghanistan | Women's Economic Empowerment, Women and Development, Gender Equality | Scoop.it
This post is by Catherine Powell, fellow for CFR’s Women and Foreign Policy Program; and Amelia Wolf, research associate for CFR’s Center for Preventive Action and International Institutions and Global Governance Program.

The recent increase in attacks by the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS)—known until recently as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)—and the group’s claims to territory in northern Iraq have spurred observers to draw comparisons between the current crisis in Iraq and the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan. In Iraq, the IS has begun to impose Sharia law in areas under its control, forcing boys and girls to be separated at school, requiring women to wear the niqab in public, and banning music. There have been reports that the IS has forced women to marry or have sex with militants, ordered families to hand over their daughters, and distributed leaflets promoting the rape of women. In addition, a Saudi-based cleric recently issued a fatwa allowing militants to rape women in towns claimed by the group. All this has caused fear and concern that the drawdown of U.S. troops in Afghanistan by the end of 2016 will result in a similar unraveling and a revival of extremism in the country—which would undermine the primary intent of a decade of U.S. intervention.

Whether or not the crisis in Iraq compares directly to Afghanistan—given the historical, cultural, geographic, ethnic, and political differences between the two countries—it certainly provides a cautionary tale for U.S. policy toward Afghanistan. In particular, just as gender equality is threatened by the rise of IS in Iraq, the gains made by Afghan women and girls over the course of the U.S. presence in the country would be greatly imperiled by a resurgence of the Taliban if the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) are not strong enough to step in as U.S. troops withdraw.

Prior to the overthrow of the Taliban, women and girls were banned from schools; segregated in many aspects of public life, including the workplace; and prevented from leaving their homes without a male guardian. In 2001, virtually no girls were enrolled in school, and women rarely participated in the formal economy and or held leadership positions. Now, more than ten years later, women have made great strides in education, health, political participation, economic empowerment, and social engagement. Approximately 40 percent of children enrolled in schools are girls and maternal mortality has fallen from 1,600 to 327 deaths per 100,000 births. Additionally, women hold three out of twenty-five cabinet seats and 120 judicial positions. Backsliding on this progress would undermine security, stability, and development, as gender equality and stability are correlated.

Even if U.S. troops stay in Afghanistan beyond President Barack Obama’s December 2016 deadline for complete withdrawal, U.S. public opinion and funding for an ongoing U.S. military presence much beyond that date is unlikely to change, given the other potential demands on the U.S. military and constraints on resources. Obama’s recent announcement that U.S. military involvement will come to an end before he leaves office reflects this political reality as well as his desire for a legacy of pulling the United States out of two wars and refocusing U.S. counterterrorism efforts on new fronts in the Middle East and North Africa. While policymakers and media have focused on the continued presence of U.S. troops, severe cuts to U.S. funding of the ANSF are in the works and pose a great threat to the rights of women and girls going forward. U.S. policymakers should utilize the leverage they currently have in Afghanistan to strengthen the ANSF’s own ability to prevent the country from a fate similar to that of Iraq.

The 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq was a fool’s errand from the beginning–particularly since a focus on Afghanistan instead would have better served U.S. interests in the region. However, once the United States toppled Saddam Hussein, it had a responsibility to assist the country with an orderly transition to a society in which human rights and security are guaranteed. Part of the current problem in Iraq is the fact that the United States withdrew before adequately training Iraqi forces. To avoid a similar erosion of security and backtracking on gender equality in Afghanistan, Washington should follow the recommendations outlined in a recent CFR report, Women and Girls in the Afghanistan Transition:

Support the ANSF’s ability to maintain security and enhance the environment for the participation of women and girls in public life.
Double funding to support women’s integration into the ANSF.
Invest in women’s rights and leadership–including in rural areas–as this will support sustainable development for the country as a whole.
Maintain and expand girls’ education in Afghanistan.

In comparing the Afghanistan and Iraq, it is important to remember the crucial differences between the two countries. For example, gains made by women and girls since 2001 have been widely supported by a majority of Afghans, including men. This has not been the case is Iraq. In addition, sectarian divisions that lie at the heart of the resurging violence in Iraq do not exist to the same extent in Afghanistan. Lastly, while Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki refused to an agreement for a U.S. residual force in Iraq, the runoff candidates in Afghanistan—Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai—have both agreed to sign the bilateral security agreement to ensure a U.S. presence in the country. A security agreement is essential to ongoing cooperation between the two countries to achieve shared policy goals, including promoting the participation of women and girls in public life.
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▶ Luke Ablett Q&A #6 – Inspiration to become a gender equality advocate - YouTube

Luke Ablett talks about his inspiration to become a gender equality advocate.
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Women in IT leadership and CIO roles lower than 2013 figures

Women in IT leadership and CIO roles lower than 2013 figures | Women's Economic Empowerment, Women and Development, Gender Equality | Scoop.it
The number of women working in IT roles has decreased since 2013 and female representation is particularly low at the most senior levels.
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Why a push for gender equality makes sound economic sense - OECD

Why a push for gender equality makes sound economic sense - OECD | Women's Economic Empowerment, Women and Development, Gender Equality | Scoop.it
This year’s OECD Forum coincides with the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration, which was an important milestone to promote gender equality worldwide.
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