Empowering Rural Women

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SUMMARY REPORT PRESENTED AT CSW.




Be heard at the 56th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) on 1 March at a panel discussion with the OECD Development Centre, the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Government of Kenya via Wikigender’s online discussion on: Equal rights to resources: the key to empowering rural women. But what's stopping it?

The online discussion is now closed. You can access the full transcript of the online discuss here. Summary Report

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Online Discussion on Rural Women

There is increasing evidence that ensuring rural women’s economic empowerment in developing countries could deliver multiple dividends including poverty reduction, increased food production and decreased child malnutrition. Yet, rural women and girls face several constraints that limit their social and economic opportunities and consequently hinder poverty reduction and development. Discriminatory social institutions, defined as formal and informal laws, social norms and practices that restrict, limit or exclude women, play a critical role in defining and mediating gender relations, and consequently influence rural women’s economic and social opportunities. Understanding how these discriminatory social institutions affect rural women and agricultural production is critical for enhancing aid effectiveness and the design of targeted policies to address food insecurity.

Wikigender invited its powerful community in participating in the online discussion on rural women’s empowerment and presented the main outcomes of the discussion at the CSW side event organised by the OECD Development Centre. The side event entitled “Empowering women by transforming social institutions” at the 56th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) was the opportunity to present the Social Institutions and Gender Index and findings linking land rights, food security and agricultural production.

The inputs from the Wikigender community were presented via a summary report presented by community manager Estelle Loiseau at the event. Your inputs clearly enriched the discussion at the side event in New York on 1 March and increased the centrality of rural women’s role in key areas such as poverty reduction. See below the guiding questions and the discussion.

Guiding questions

  • How does discrimination in access to, and control over, resources such as land and property influence rural women and girls’ social and economic outcomes? How does discrimination against rural women and girls relate to broader policy challenges such as food insecurity, climate change and poverty?
  • What are examples of successful approaches for ensuring women and girls’ rights to resources (land, credit, other), both in the law and practice on the ground?
  • What actions should governments, donors, UN bodies and civil society take to address discrimination against rural women and girls?

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CSW side event: Empowering women through the transformation of discriminatory social institutions

This panel event explored how discriminatory social institutions influence outcomes for women and girls, with a particular focus on rural women. The OECD Development Centre presented the innovative Social Institutions and Gender Index, a cross-country assessment of discriminatory laws, social norms and practices that restrict women and girls’ social and economic opportunities. The presentation included new findings on the links between women’s land rights and food security and the outcomes of an online discussion on rural women’s empowerment from the innovative Wikigender platform. The panel discussion then showcased effective policy interventions for transforming discriminatory social institutions with a particular focus on rural women.

More information on the event can be viewed here.

'At Issue' paper: Do discriminatory social institutions matter for food security?

In view of the 2012 United Nations Commission on the Status of Women’s thematic focus on rural women’s empowerment, the gender team at the Development Centre has launched an issues paper, “Do discriminatory social institutions matter for food security?”. We find that discrimination against women in accessing resources bears a significant relationship with agricultural production and food security. Understanding how these discriminatory social institutions affect rural women and agricultural production is critical for enhancing aid effectiveness and the design of targeted policies to address rural women’s inequality, poverty and food insecurity. This ‘At Issue’ follows our 2010 paper “Gender Inequality and the MDGs: What are the Missing Dimensions?”.

See Also


Article Information
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