Browse by Theme: Women's Voice

CARE’s focus on women’s economic empowerment is based on our belief in women’s rights and the key role that economic empowerment plays in the achievement of those rights, some of them inherent in economic empowerment itself and others to which economic empowerment provides a bridge. But we know that as we engage with government, donors and the private sector, it always helps to have a strong economic argument on our side, and once again the IMF have provided one.

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By Gianluca Nardi and Katherine Carr (CARE International UK, Programme Officer - Africa)

When we arrive in Kariyata, a rural community in the Upper Eastern region of Ghana, close to Garu, most of the women in the community are waiting for us within a circle of shea trees that they normally use for meetings, and some men are also there, although in a separate group. The community is partly Christian and partly Muslim and partly followers of traditional religions and all of them are there for one reason: to talk about gender.

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I am sitting in the closing plenary of the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul next to women first responders - civil society partners - from Syria, Somalia and Pakistan. It's been two intensive days, at times despairing, at times inspiring, in a sprawling, labyrinthine venue apparently built as a metaphor for the process. We often didn't quite know where we were going on more than one level.

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On Friday 20 May 2016, on the eve of the first ever World Humanitarian Summit, CARE International with the support of Hogan Lovells convened a business/UN/government roundtable to discuss the potential for business to empower women in emergencies. Business has played an active role in the WHS process, and a set of ‘core commitments’ on gender equality in humanitarian action has been tabled for the Summit outcomes. But these two agendas are yet to be linked. The roundtable looked at how this might happen both as part of the WHS process and beyond.

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Back in 2013, a senior UN policy-maker told CARE: “Gender isn’t summit-worthy.” Since then, concerted advocacy by hundreds of women and men has turned this around. CARE has played a leading role by co-convening the first global consultation with over 40 women from every region with the WHS Secretariat, and following up at the national level in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Jordan and elsewhere. So what can we expect from the Summit, and what are the next steps?

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The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has just held its Annual Meeting in London, and I was lucky enough to participate in a panel discussion on their recently published Strategy for the Promotion of Gender Equality 2016-2020. A key focus of the discussion was how EBRD can best work with civil society organisations towards achievement of the strategy. There are many points to welcome in the strategy – but also many challenges to be faced...

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People have a certain image of what constitutes an emergency. To someone you ask in the street they would probably imagine panic, chaos and people desperately trying to save their families. And that is true but not always the case, as emergencies get more drawn out due to long-standing conflict, like in Syria, or are slow-burning crises such as Ethiopia’s drought brought on by the climate impacts of El Nino. In these situations, emergency is embedded in everyday life – thinking about the safest route to go to the market or children dropping out of school becomes a part of daily life. And this is when it is not so easy to differentiate humanitarian and development approaches as short-term creeps into long-term.

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