Browse by Theme: Gender Equality

The private sector is a main actor involved in women’s economic empowerment in rural value chains: large traders, retailers or manufacturers often hold the keys to improving women’s access to extension services, financial services, input provision, market information and technology. They also have the negotiating power to help put gender equality on the agenda of producers’ associations and cooperatives.

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The World Bank Group has been consulting on its plan to update its Gender Strategy. We decided to focus our response to the consultation largely on women’s economic empowerment as a critical component of women’s empowerment and gender equality, and within women’s economic empowerment, at financial inclusion.

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The Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa last week (13-16 July) got rather tepid and mixed reviews. Surprisingly, for a conference on financing, the outcome document contains very few numbers, and many NGOs are unhappy about the lack of funding commitments (including CARE), lack of a commitment to a new intergovernmental tax body, and a concern about the prominence of private financing (Oxfam, CAFOD, Christian Aid).

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How can we make sure that in a developing country that is economically and socially dependent on a single commodity, this becomes a development driver rather than a curse?

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The global food system has failed. Almost two billion people are malnourished. In 2014, 161 million children were stunted because they did not get proper nutrition. At the same time, enormous amounts of food are lost post-harvest, or go to waste in the richer world.

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This year, world leaders are set to renegotiate global commitments on poverty, climate change and development financing. At the same time, the United Nations has commissioned major reviews of UN efforts on humanitarian coordination, peacebuilding and peacekeeping operations. It is therefore timely, but unfortunate and symptomatic, that the 15th anniversary review of UN commitments to protect and empower women in times of conflict is also happening in 2015, but in a silo from those wider reforms.

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When I arrived in Yasubi, a small and industrious village in the Okapa district of the Papua New Guinea highlands, I could see that most of the services we normally take for granted – like electricity, running water, accessible roads – were absent. Most of the hard-working, coffee-producing families live in traditional round huts, with smoke from a wood fire rising through the grass roof so that, from outside, the structure looks like some huge vegetable just pulled out of a pot of hot water.

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