Gender, and particularly the role of women, is widely recognized as vitally important to international development issues. This often means a focus on gender-equality, ensuring participation, but includes an understanding of the different roles and expectation of the genders within the community.[verification needed]
As well as directly addressing inequality, attention to gender issues is regarded as important to the success of development programs, for all participants.
Participation and differences between cultures[edit | edit source]
In many cultures it can be difficult for women to express themselves when men are present, including in public meetings.
In some cultures women may appear outspoken and "liberated" to an outsider. It is important not to make assumptions based only on such impressions, as behavior (of both genders but especially women) may still be very constrained.
It is also important not to assume that in every case and in every way the women are repressed by the men. Where generalizations are unavoidable (which may be the case in microfinance, if women are statistically better clients) it should not be forgotten that these are generalizations, and steps might be taken to minimize the negative impacts of these generalizations.
There are wide differences between cultures, e.g. the matriarchal Minang of Sumatra.
Strategies that empower women[edit | edit source]
Microfinance[edit | edit source]
In microfinance it is common to target women, as besides the fact that women tend to be the over-represented in the poorest segments of the population, they are also regarded as more reliable at repaying the loans. Also, it is claimed that women are more likely to use the money for the benefit of their families.[verification needed]
Sanitation programs[edit | edit source]
Development consultant Kamal Kar has described the particular difficulties of women in poor Bangladeshi villages where open defecation is practised; women are expected to not practise open defecation during daylight hours and suffer discomfort and health problems[verification needed] as a result. Access to safe, private toilets helps resolve this problem.
Sanitary pads[edit | edit source]
It is also reported that in some countries, girls often do not have access to sanitary pads,W and cannot attend school while menstruating. The papyrus sanitary padW is a way of helping these girls attend school.
Suitable latrines in schools[edit | edit source]
What do latrines have to do with education? Two of the Millennium Development Goals, one for universal primary education, and the other for gender equality, combine to generate the link to latrines. A web search for "girls education latrines" turns up numerous discussions that one of the barriers to girls attending primary school is a lack of safe and private latrines. For example:
The upshot is that school construction projects should include gender specific latrine facilities.
See also[edit | edit source]
- Wikipedia:Gender#Gender and development
- Wikipedia:Papyrus sanitary pad. Part of the value of this innovation is that it overcomes cultural barriers (in Uganda) to girls attending school while they have their period.
[edit | edit source]
- Five Innovations that are Working to Empower Women, Worldwatch Institute. 27 Dec 2011.
- The World Bank Participation Sourcebook. Refers to gender issues, esp in Gender Issues in Participation. (Do this search to find more references to gender in the Participation Sourcebook).
- Bridge - Mainstreaming Gender Equality - it can give good results using the search box, if you know what you're looking for. But some of the articles are very dry, wordy, institutional documents on extremely specific topics.
- Gender, Poverty and Development
- Gender, Development and the HIV Epidemic, at the UNDP site.