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Gender, Women and development

Gender, Women and development

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Published by kasakatimulenga
gender and development
gender and development

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Published by: kasakatimulenga on Sep 03, 2009
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05/11/2014

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What is To Be Done? What is Being Done?
The implications of the above discussion on the conceptualization of 
poverty
and
gender
are thefollowing:
Poverty
elimination can not be based on a narrow approach that relies solely on “risingincomes” or macroeconomic growth. Although achieving a positive and a sustainable growth rate isimportant for
poverty
alleviation, it is not sufficient since the benefits of growth do not trickle downautomatically to all households or to all household members. Households must not be treated asharmonious units.
Gender
differences in the experience and incidence of 
poverty
must be addressed in acontextualized way. If it isfound that FHHs or women as individuals are poorer in income terms and how and why they are poorer,such information should be used for designing policy.
Gender
-awarebenchmarks and
gender
-aware monitoring must accompany gendered analyses of 
poverty
. This requires
gender
-disaggregated statistics and capacity building in
gender
analysis.2.
Poverty
must be understood in a multidimensional sense, i.e., it must bconceptualized not only throughthe lens of consumption/income
poverty
, but also that of human
poverty
, i.e., deprivation in basiccapabilities. Given that
poverty
elimination strategies must be informed by the concept of human
poverty
, they must be multidimensional and cognizant of the trade-offs that poor people may facebetweendifferent dimensions of 
poverty
. Eradicating illiteracy, closing
gender
gaps in education, public provisionof health services, water, etc. all contribute to overall
poverty
eradication, but they are particularly criticalfor eradicating women’s
poverty
by enhancing women’s capabilities. They also help alleviate women’stime
poverty
since the absence of health services, clean water and energy sources usually translate intoadded burdens for women.3. However, eliminating women’s drudgery must require other interventions scubas increasing theproductivity of their labour in both paid and unpaid activities through access to better technologies andknowledge. Efforts toward redistributing the burden of reproductive labour toward men within householdsor socializing the cost of child care orother types of caring labour are necessary for both reducing women’s time
poverty
and helping themparticipate in labour markets more fully.4.
Gender
discrimination in labour and a variety of other markets are a cross-cultural phenomenon.Women’s empowerment as labourers can be realized throughcollective action. Since women are oftencasual and informal labourers, they are also less
 
organized than men. New and innovative approaches to women’s organizing such asSEWA (Self Employed Women’s Association) should be emulated. This meansgovernments must create an enablingenvironment for such organizations and for tradeunions in general by recognizing and enforcing workers’rights.5. Asset distribution strategies, such as land reform, or privatization policies (thatredistribute assets)must be made
gender
aware and
gender
fair. Similarly, strategies thatincrease poor people’s access to productive resources such as credit as well as employment schemes mustbe made
gender
aware. The effects of all such policies must bemonitored from a
gender
perspective as well as from a
poverty
perspective.6. Anti-
poverty
strategiesmust also include the goal of democratic governance as a
poverty
issue. If 
poverty
is to be eradicated, itcannot be done without the empowerment of the poor. This is particularly important for women becauseof the worldwide
gender
inequalities in political and economic empowerment. Self-help groups (and particularly
14
women’s self-help groups) and the creation political space for NGOs and CBOs are important not onlyfor political but also economic empowerment of poor women, whose voices must be heard.7. All policies, including macroeconomic policies must be examined from a
gender
and
poverty
perspective. For example, social expenditure reviews without
gender
audits are not sufficient untiluniversal literacy and universal access to health services or clean water are achieved. Fiscal policies mustbe audited from a
gender
perspective. Women’sBudget Initiatives are useful for making fiscal policies
gender
aware. Public awareness of the predicament of poor women must be enhanced. National machineries must be set up to further thecause of 
gender
equality in general and the cause of poor women in particular.
In the long run, elimination of poverty, as opposed to alleviation of poverty,requires transformatory approaches that go beyond coping with poverty.Similarly, eliminating gender inequalities require transformatory approaches,which are about addressing the strategic needs of the poor or women, whilecoping approaches are about addressing their practical needs. The latter isnecessary for alleviating poverty and gender inequality while the former isnecessary for the eradication of poverty and gender inequalities. Finally, itmust be recognized that all this depends on political will, patience and anunderstanding that mental landscapes change slowly and need to be
 
challenged constantly by the production of new and better knowledge for theempowerment of the disadvantaged.
Women’s responsibilities for reproductive labour limit the range of paid economicactivities they can undertake. Women are less mobile than men because of theirreproductive/caring labour activities and because of social norms that restrict theirmobility in public. In the paid sphere, they tend to be concentrated in informallabour activities (such as home working), since such activities allow them tocombine paid work with unpaid reproductive labour. However, these are alsoinsecure forms of work. It ishard for such workers to get organized for collectiveaction. The gender-based division of labour between unpaid (and oftenreproductivelabour) and paid labour renders women economically and socially moreinsecure and vulnerable to not only chronic poverty but also to transient povertythat can result from familial, personal or social and economic crises, including thosethat arise from macroeconomic policies, political and ethnic conflict situations orhealth-related crises such as the HIV/AIDS epidemics. Yet, in such crises, as in thecase of structural adjustment policies and macroeconomic crises, women workharder compared to men and increase their paid and unpaid labour activities tomaintain their households.
The relationship between gender and poverty is a complex and controversial topic that is now being debated more than ever before. Although much policymaking has beeninformed by the idea of feminization of poverty, the precise nature of the nexus between gender and poverty needs to be better understood and operationalized in policymaking.The difficulty originates from the different shapes and forms gender inequalities and poverty takedepending on the economic, social and ideological context. Yet another difficulty involves thescarcity of gender disaggregated data for a number of countries.For the last three decades, many women’s advocates have been arguing that women are poorer than men. The most common empirical expression of this idea is the concept of “feminization of  poverty.”This idea has become popular both in shaping analyses of poverty and poverty alleviationstrategies. Thus, targeting women has become one vehicle for gender-sensitive povertyalleviation. Poor women have become the explicit
 
focus of policymaking, for example, in theareas of microcredit programmes and income generation activitiesHowever, the universal validity of the “feminization of poverty” is being empirically challenged.Although the idea that there are gender differences in experiences of poverty is not abandoned, a

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