Sunday, June 22, 2014

Focus on poverty: Take the gender factor seriously

Roger Williamson in As climate change takes effect, the time taken to collect food and water will increase, and women and girls will bear the brunt of this, argues Janna Tenzing in a recent article on gender equality through a climate change lens.

All aspects of poverty eradication have a gender dimension — climate change is no exception.

To account for this, there have to be specific gender-related development goals at international level. Gender analysis must be part of all the post-2015 targets that follow the Millennium Development Goals — but there also need to be stand alone targets on gender, as there are in the latest draft. This is because gender-based violence will not be as clearly targeted under a general human rights or violence-reduction goal. One new research report on Sudan — launched just before this week’s global summit to end sexual violence in conflict — shows how terrifying and prevalent gender-based violence is, comparing it with a “bush fire” which can suddenly engulf you.

There are two convincing types of reason why everyone — therefore also men — has to take gender equality and inclusion seriously. One is economic: not recognising the work of women (including caring for children and family members) and preventing women from reaching their full potential damages productivity and well-being, and so undermines poverty-reduction efforts. The other set of arguments is about justice and human rights: gender-based violence is wrong and would be wrong even if there were no economic arguments against it....

A 1913 image of Waziri women carrying water

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