Browse by Theme: Women's Voice

The inability of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) to agree conclusions at their last meeting in 2012 represented a significant set-back in the long fight for women’s rights. This briefing note sets out what needed to happen to ensure this years session focussing on violence against women was a success.

It suggests developing and adopting a strong set of conclusions that clearly illustrate how states and civil society can make significant progress towards eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls. The Commission are urged to seize the opportunity of the 57th session to accelerate implementation of existing commitments through evidence-based, holistic and integrated approaches spanning the continuum of prevention and multi-sectoral services and responses.

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Along with a delegation from CARE International UK, I recently visited colleagues at CARE Peru (or Cah-Rey Peru as its pronounced in Spanish!) to witness how they are reaping real results in tackling the challenges of poverty and inequality in a ‘Middle Income Country’ (MIC).

A MIC is defined by the World Bank as any country with a Gross National Income per capita above $1000. The EU, UK and other donors are busy cutting aid to these countries,  arguing that in times of austerity development aid should be only be spent in Low Income Countries.

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Value Chains, Business Plans and International Markets. What do these terms mean for some of the poorest people living in the isolated farming region of Sopachuy in Bolivia?

Quite a lot, it turns out: “Access to bigger markets means increased income and stable employment which will help to pull hundreds of farming families out of poverty in this region” explains Isabel, CARE Bolivia’s Monitoring and Evaluation Advisor on the drive through the beautiful undulating hills of the Chuquisaca region, home to some of these very poor people.

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The conference on Afghanistan in Bonn yesterday resulted in a statement which says all the right things, but lacks any specific commitments or actions to make them happen in reality.

CARE helped organise and host a series of meetings between leading women's rights activists in Afghanistan from the Afghan Women's Network (AWN) and diplomats before and during the conference. AWN launched a declaration based on consultations with over 500 women activists across Afghanistan, who collectively represent or work with over 500,000 Afghan women. This meeting, attended by journalists and members of European and Afghan civil society, happened on the morning of the official summit, immediately after President Karzai had given his opening speech.

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As Usain Bolt pounded to the 200m finish line, displaying formidable human strength, my mind wandered to the Olympics and Paralympics aftermath. The Olympics this year closed to a new opening – one that is hoped to herald in new commitments to reducing malnutrition rates across the developing world.

Looking at Bolt’s muscles flexing across the screen, it seemed apt that the UK’s Hunger Summit on Sunday, which hopes to capitalise on the energy of the Olympics, was promoted by some of the UK’s leading athletes. Sportsmen such as David Beckham and Mo Farah must understand more than most the importance of nutrition.

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For successful climate change adaptation and mitigation actions, Parties at COP17 need to explicitly address gender equality and women’s empowerment, building on, and ensuring the implementation of, existing gender considerations in UNFCCC decisions agreed over the past 3 years.

Without appropriate efforts to reduce gender inequalities at all levels, strategies to address climate change will not be effective and sustainable. Gender-blind strategies may perpetuate or may even exacerbate these inequalities, undermining human rights and reversing achievements on vulnerability reduction and poverty eradication.

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"Adapting to climate change is about reducing vulnerability to current and projected climate risks. Vulnerability to climate change is determined in large part by people’s adaptive capacity. A particular climate hazard, such as a drought, does not affect all people within a community - or even the same household - equally because some people have greater capacity than others to manage the crisis. The inequitable distribution of rights, resources and power – as well as repressive cultural rules and norms – constrain many people’s ability to take action on climate change.

This is especially true for women. Therefore, gender is a critical factor in understanding vulnerability to climate change. CARE’s approach to adaptation begins with comprehensive analysis, including an examination of differential vulnerability due to social, political and economic inequalities."

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