Friday, March 2, 2012

Financing for gender equality and the empowerment of women 3

The interactive dialogue about the review theme was expected to lead to strong recommendations for accelerating progress in implementation of the Agreed Conclusions 52, taking into account not only the challenges but also the opportunities stemming from the current global context. The multiple crises facing the world however threatens real progress. As the secretariat had stated in the issues paper: “To achieve equitable and sustainable development results, a stronger response tot the issue of financing for gender equality is needed."

Generally spoken the interactive dialogue was not very exciting or revealing. A moderator’s summary will highlight the key findings and recommendations of the event. We present some of the more interesting views below.

Lydia Alpizar (AWID) observed some trends in funding women’s rights: “What we see is kind of a paradox. On the one hand, in the last 3-5 years, there has been an increase by mainstream actors in interest in women and girls as agents of change. You can see the examples at the WorldBank, NIKE Foundation, and GoldmanSachs. Clearly women have the increased attention of various sectors of society. On the other hand, Official Development Aid (ODA) funding is influenced by the multiple crises. As a result, governments invest less means in development work. Especially amongst the more conservative governments in the North, there is less interest to support international solidarity through ODA. As a result, funding for women’s rights has decreased. Also, some of the processes to access grants are highly technical and complicated. This makes them difficult to access for smaller organizations. “

Jeni Klugman (WorldBank): “What is new in the WorldBank when it comes to gender issues, is the recognition of the rights agenda. It is not not just about economic development. Improving gender equality is also related to voice and agency. And about the recognition that economic growth will not be enough. We therefore call for public policies and programmes.”

Barbara Byers (ITUC/Global Unions) asked the panelists views about the funding for decent work for women programmes, and about support for the ILO Gender Audit programmes.

Lydia Alpizar was the only panelist taking up these economic and social rights issues: We should not limit our understanding of women’s economic empowerment to encourage women to take up entrepreneurship. We need decent work and labour rights. The empowerment agenda must also be about decent ways for women to get livelihoods. Women will not only get out of poverty with entrepreneurship, the agenda is broader.

Leontine Bijleveld (Dutch NGO’s) posed a question about trends in funcding for Lesbian Bisexual & Transgender organizations. Lydia Alpizar: “Clearly LBT-organizations are amongst the groups most marginalized because of the level poverty, or being ethnic minority groups, dealing with sexual orientation and gender identity issues, etc. AWID’s research shows that they are the groups with lowest budgets, and they can often not secure funding through the year. Also their level of access to funds is restricted. They report having to close down organizations. And they are under a high level of violence. It becomes a matter of human survival to get funded. It is very important that resource allocation includes resources for specific organizations of highly marginalized and suppressed groups.”

Joni van de Sand WO=MEN

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