Gender Matters!

 

The SID World Congress will be an important opportunity to look at ways to address gender inequalities, particularly gender inequalities, in the context of the current intertwined economic, financial and climate crises.

by Wendy Harcourt 

The Congress is looking at gender as one of the key themes. First of all there will be an expert Pre-Conference meeting on Responses to the Care Crisis which will review of the 1990s agreements on women's rights, population and development and social development. The meeting will look at how to give full due to care work and how to support resilience of local economies and environments aware of the coping strategies that women are adopting on the ground. Participants will discuss how to position care work as a key component of sustainable development policy that ensures community livelihoods, environmental management, and peoples' health and well-being.

During the conference, in addition to plenary speakers addressing gender equality as a key concern for future development policy, there will be three breakout sessions on gender. The first will look at gender equality in a changing world. The session will examine the macro picture in relation to trade agreements and globalization processes, poverty, trade, informal economies, and the need for gender responsive budgets. The session will review the current global institutions and how they are addressing economic inequality, particularly in view of the possibilities that the newly-established agency UN Women offers and the potential impact of the upcoming World Bank Report on Gender in 2012.

A second session will look at gender asymmetries and the role of women entrepreneurs. It is now almost cliché to say that investing in women makes good business sense. Women are presented as skilful entrepreneurs, reliable micro-credit holders who make a little go a long way. However this approach often fails to address gender related barriers, from cultural to social, that prevent many women from succeeding beyond the level of micro-enterprise. These include prejudices that often undermine young women as they start out in life, in subtle and hard to address ways, as well as the very different picture of what is critical for women (as opposed to men) to succeed as entrepreneurs. The session will look at new ways to address gender asymmetries through engaging women in business practices.

The last gender session will look at 'women, peace and security' and prospects for a sustainable future. Women have long been associated with peace, and peacefulness is considered a strong feminine quality in many societies. These qualities have to be understood and harnessed more in a world that looks forward to a sustainable future. The session will look at women's contributions to peace building processes in the context of the need for peace and the concept of human security. Speakers will address women's role in resolving conflicts and peace agreements, the experience of campaigns concerning gender based violence in war, and the work of international agencies together with grassroots women to promote peace. The session will touch on complex issues around militarism, including women in the military, and the key role women have played in putting in place the United Nationís Security Council Resolutions, including resolutions 1325, 1820, and 1888, as strategies for a meaningful and sustainable peace.

The results of the gender track will feed into future SID events as part of the Society's overall commitment to gender equality at all levels of its organisation and programming.

El Gènero Importa! This article is available also in Spanish on the SID Baires Chapter website.

Read the follow-up article by Fatma Alloo, Does investing in women really make good business?

 

Photo: rahuldlucca/flickr