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Monday, 15 April 2013

EU must stand up for gender rights in development policy

"Public awareness of the potential to drive development by advancing gender equality is gaining momentum […]The biggest battle for the future of international development is the ideological one: deciding whether to make women and men, and their sexual and reproductive health and rights, equal”, writes Neil Datta, secretary of the European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development.
In the report on “Women’s rights and the right to food” of Olivier De Schutter, UN’s special rapporteur clear causal links between improving gender equality and improving food security are found.
Since 2000 the international community has agreed that gender equality is one of the biggest challenges that must be achieved in order to reduce global poverty. So important, in fact, that it deserves its own Millennium Development Goal. But the danger of it being dealt with in exclusion is that the complexity, and its interwoven connections with other areas of development, will be neglected, as the battle for gender equality is categorised alongside the battle for the poor to become rich or the sick to become healthy.
Unlike most other development challenges, gender equality requires ideological social change to take place. Social change that has often taken decades, generations or even centuries to come about in places where it has already started to occur. The argument to provide money, medicine, education, clean water, housing, bed nets, infrastructure or working toilets is a simple one that requires little ideological debate to agree with. And these are ideas for which quantifiable indicators can be found to placate cash-strapped donors in search of value for money.

Source: Euractiv