Oxfam International Blogs - women's rights http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/tags/womens-rights en Gender Equality: Because It’s 2015! http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/15-12-10-gender-equality-because-its-2015 <div class="field field-name-body"><p><em>On the final day of this year's 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, Nisha Agrawal, Oxfam India’s CEO explains how an inclusive struggle to challenge and change social norms is our hope for gender equality. The entry was posted on 10 December 2015.</em></p> <p>The most hopeful and optimistic moment of 2015 for me was when Justin Trudeau, the newly elected Prime Minister of Canada was asked why he had 15 men and 15 women in his Cabinet and his response was “Because it’s 2015”. Short and simple and stunning! And a response that resonated right around the world and brought hope, optimism and applause with it.</p> <p>Unfortunately, the reality is that it is indeed 2015 but <strong>we are still fighting the same old battles that we have been fighting for centuries</strong>—how to get a more equal world in which women and girls are as valued as men and boys.  And have as much of a chance of leading a life free of violence.  </p> <p>As <a href="http://www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/ending-violence-against-women/take-action/16-days-of-activism" rel="nofollow"><strong>16 Days of Activism Campaign</strong></a> makes a global call for zero tolerance on violence against women and girls, I strongly believe that the need of the hour is to engage on challenging social norms that reinforce violence. It is the invisible power of our attitudes, beliefs and practices that we need to challenge and change to shift the power equations.</p> <p>The reality is very stark.  A study by UNFPA-ICRW in India found that approximately <strong>65 per cent men and women justified domestic violence</strong>; the same study indicated how <strong>93 per cent men defined a man as the one who is ‘tough’.</strong>  The study infers that it is rigid notions of masculinity that contribute to men engaging in intimate partner violence.  The writing on the wall is clear: we need to challenge these very notions of masculinity, break them down and find positive alternatives for the current norm.</p> <p>While we see more women challenging and changing the norm, be it within their families or workspaces, it is not enough that only women challenge the norm. It’s time this became an inclusive struggle where men question it too and demonstrate the alternative. We need to create supportive spaces for men to express their emotions and take on roles of nurturers and caretakers.  </p> <p>Abhijit Das and Satish Singh who founded MASVAW (Men’s Action for Stopping Violence Against  Women) have captured their 12 years of experience of working with men in a paper titled <a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1759-5436.12070/abstract&quot;" rel="nofollow"><strong>‘Changing Men : Challenging Stereotypes. Reflections on Working with Men on Gender Issues in India’</strong></a>.  They mention that men who have accepted positive attitudes and practices around gender roles have benefitted immensely, as they tend to have healthier relationships with their families. After an initial period of ridicule, some have gained social prestige in their communities as well. </p> <p>Such positive examples are not just limited within the development sector but we see a growing acceptance for such efforts also at the policy level. For instance, <strong><a href="http://www.firstpost.com/india/delhi-rape-what-we-can-learn-from-the-colombia-experience-574799.html?sz=l&amp;rfh=1" rel="nofollow">I read an article</a></strong> a while ago about how Bogota in Columbia, which was considered an unsafe city for women, transformed to be a more inclusive city. The local government started mass campaigns of public awareness, including hiring street mimes to embarrass people indulging in sexist behaviour and handing out football style yellow and red cards. This was accompanied by allocation of spaces for pedestrians, hawkers and paid parking – a ploy to encourage legal compliance and to make public spaces more women friendly.  Studies have highlighted that the presence of hawkers in the street have helped in making public spaces safer for women. </p> <p>The question then is whether such change possible in India where the incidence of violence against women is increasingly visible? The small steps to change and hope begin by engaging with the young, when gender roles and norms have not yet hardened – a time when the young are still exploring their identities. Oxfam India in its <strong><a href="https://www.oxfamindia.org/why-the-farq" rel="nofollow">16 Days of Activism Campaign</a> </strong>this year is engaging with the young to challenge social norms around gender inequality in their own lives. </p> <p>It is the young who often remind us that we need to transcend barriers, outgrow traditions and see each other through the prism of humanism and equality. Some of the most incredible campaigns in India like <strong><a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pink_Chaddi_Campaign" rel="nofollow">Pink Chaddi</a></strong> and the recent Pinjra Tod that are challenging norms around women’s mobility have come from the youth. It is the young who have the power to be changemakers. </p> <p>The journey will be incomplete without building bridges and alliances with the women’s rights organisations, private sector, media, powerful voices of influencers and celebrities and many other actors.  We value our partnerships with women’s rights organisations through campaigns like <strong><a href="https://www.facebook.com/OneBillionRisingDelhi" rel="nofollow">One Billion Rising</a></strong> who have paved the way for change.  Additionally we welcome the waves of change from the unexpected actors. For instance in the advertising world, advertisements like the recent one from <strong><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rz5rAFAvqCs" rel="nofollow">Myntra</a></strong> are challenging gender biased norms around working pregnant women. We also see more celebrities in India and across the globe advocating for gender equality including male celebrities like Farhan Akhtar who has started a social media campaign <strong><a href="https://www.facebook.com/TheRealMard" rel="nofollow">MARD</a></strong>. </p> <p>We hope to join hands with such diverse changemakers across different walks of life who are raising their voices to break the silence, challenge the taboo and saying a resounding <strong>“No to Violence”</strong>.  We are surrounded by such changemakers and perhaps you are one too! We invite you to share your stories of change and join us in challenging and <strong>changing unequal social norms for a more equal world in 2015 and ahead</strong>.</p> <p><img alt="EVAW campaign from Oxfam India - Poster" title="EVAW campaign from Oxfam India - Poster" height="510" width="680" typeof="Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/evaw-post10-680.jpg" /></p> </p> <p><strong>Join Oxfam India's <a href="https://www.oxfamindia.org/why-the-farq" rel="nofollow">16 Days of Activism Campaign</a> </strong></p> <p><strong><strong>Read now: <a rel="nofollow" href="https://www.oxfam.org/sites/www.oxfam.org/files/ending-violence-against-women-oxfam-guide-nov2012.pdf">Ending Violence Against Women: An Oxfam Guide</a></strong></strong></p> <p><strong> </strong></p> </div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Gender Equality: Because It’s 2015!</h2></div> Thu, 10 Dec 2015 11:48:09 +0000 Guest Blogger 31242 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/15-12-10-gender-equality-because-its-2015#comments Happy International Women's Day - Oxfam Celebrating Women All Across the World http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/19-03-08-happy-international-womens-day-oxfam-celebrating-across-world <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong>Today we are celebrating women. Women marching in the streets. Women challenging stereotypes and bias. Women setting trailblazing paths for others to follow. </strong>The ones who are leading civil society and women’s rights movements in the fight for rights, equality and to end violence against women and girls. And all the women and girls who are breaking barriers and creating a better world for all of us.<br /><br /><a href="https://www.internationalwomensday.com/">International Women’s Day</a> is a key moment in year when to stop to reflect on how far we’ve come, to honor our wins and strengthen our resolve to keep pushing forward.<br /><br />Oxfam staff around the world are marking the day by celebrating the women in our communities who are driving change. From <strong><a href="https://twitter.com/oxfam_sol/status/1103935635516203008">Belgium </a></strong>to the <strong>DRC</strong>, and <strong><a href="https://www.facebook.com/OxfamPakistan/photos/a.263395253739752/2136758229736769/?type=3&amp;theater">Pakistan </a></strong>to the <strong><a href="https://www.oxfamamerica.org/take-action/events/international-womens-day/">US</a></strong>, from <strong>Russia</strong> to <strong>Colombia</strong>, to <strong>Myanmar</strong> and the <strong>Philippines</strong>, we are sharing their stories, celebrating their achievements and raising awareness on gender equality and the fight to end violence against women and girls.</p> <iframe width="640" height="360&quot;" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/MSzY-uY42Rw" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p><strong>The Changemakers</strong></p> <p>We are sharing the stories of <a href="https://twitter.com/OxfamIreland/status/1103966087501279232">Mariam, a plumber in Jordan</a> who is breaking traditional gender barriers, Rose a young women from Nyal in <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/south-sudan-international-womens-day-radio-station-iwd-a8812436.html"><strong>South Sudan</strong></a> who dreams of being a pilot and is working hard at school to be a role model for others in her community, and <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TvNkLB5GtXQ">17-year-old Hadiqa Bashir</a> who is fighting to end early and forced marriage in <strong>Pakistan</strong>.</p> <p>In <strong>Bangladesh</strong>, <strong>Ethiopia</strong>, and <strong>Pakistan</strong> we are using the momentum of #IWD to highlight the unfair burden of carework on women and push for a <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23BalanceforBetter&amp;src=tyah">#BalanceForBetter</a>.</p> <p>Our #iLabaYu campaign in the <strong>Philippines</strong> paints a heart-warming picture of the value of teamwork and shared responsibilities by couples doing care work - and <a href="https://www.facebook.com/OxfamsaPilipinas/videos/841324016217036/?__xts__[0]=68.ARDhzOfgDkTFirjL-OzyGkAPDx5XWIbIS7pDCnysvyla79gBBTI2J_lLTp3gVTOKoSn2bbs7V1bqDyrLLGWpLoL2hVQP5bZkMdmCKCGEgOnKgAWJeZsXREkXRuIRPBo1Uuho_2Rkxr49EstcyCJphsUgcVG5aW9YDN-17hcOO2uppt33t_CsaDisxbHa4kbRt_iJ5Kd_ZqHw5--ovYoyV4fzgurFeGbmYqlWq-XrAq_x4P3qzJ43pMY2ZVC5y8cZY1LYHtkcihSEOQOkZ5hh7xmQb2dXsr3zbORSkUYSwDcGaeg3SvTb_Mvg6D-BQkjwTb-P7_2UM8rN8GfU2W6TGgHv2keWQpQi0l9L5r0YmP7qrBVwlo_LFCgZgFT4r_pGPpf7Fb4e9amBujEPmUqvJmpQmkR-yp9q2iWV6uolz3vHCPF0_K3d5kCumiukFHMW55QhF5GZ0P5HZ0TEG6V1QJvu78-U330EnOIeZKHQ4fiyvP1m-QZL3S_bavEDCMUB_p2C70x3HWzOEOrzH0drYZgK4mO3LsCKvPEHOVas5QeQ4o6_uLxOi1r9-cYU0yOUcEtsuK3W-thxOiLoyjcFbE78MeasVdPb8P9uMXAdMY9exAUxPGYTYtehJ_4gtJ0rzx0nutqb-0hXJ-_HNHseESU8SCbBL3VFniFntUIAUnPS_72NNppFXdAe-Y5OybKwIMpKeZki7_Wr2O4pnQa8U1p25qglZiRbTb6l5BOsEfI7e7bT9okghMwmrJttWkVMAjo9U6D4nLOqemkPae7aXLPNA4eEHy8J9JkhmOl_CEXqLCw6-x9nZGPgk4RBnhUa_ZueKCQqADjGNvGg0YzkyaJHMz3bSnOYYtHg-LfmTS7Ml0r4n-QHkOB-Cyyjh2vxfvaFOa4tEaHQ1l8d_ZmiVX72DXyrMUpdb0htKSBMbsJG8KcfNsjSxbjJmrCYioiJqzgmUXwvyzyw3QU-Zg3GukgIPveNqnefYMSGaNdJUqknCRmaC-TnIARcvHbXZtegwLvNkgyxfRawCPy4b3Hw2glDOxblvMxAJwabP4iN1BlwWIHpYpHK_SIOQB3eFopCarIbHAG8aJ5cJLk1yT0KmivNcUeJv2jZW2ctoFC6fbxkuB9YCom3fNpGkJ2qhNAtCzjzKEeDRbbCQCQw9ZT9r38qsWuyCpjFWZjZZkNLckTYwq3ZdkBtbRdyNt9tZH3P3K-nzm49ByYNhXS-KONFh0mEpl7sRfzwKQtmt8zKmcncV6hhH5d6qXxO9Q5_zxlXarISR2ltdeA4WWvEy2LaoGvOxmaml8-_s2kt37pt84U1GjzFkgKiwORxeWdfWPGGJe9EVpwEBjjLXGYN-8QU5Ae9lHU&amp;__tn__=-R">has gone viral there</a>!<br /><br /><strong>Creating a World Free from Fear</strong><br /><br />Feminist illustrator Shehzil Malik has worked with us in Pakistan to reimagine <a href="https://twitter.com/OxfaminPakistan/status/1103257443088453633">what a world #FreeFromFear looks like</a>, where women and girls can take a carefree <a href="https://www.facebook.com/OxfamPakistan/photos/a.263395253739752/2136758229736769/?type=3&amp;theater">walk down any street</a>.</p> <p>This brave new world, brought to life with bright colors and images of strong women is one where a woman’s place is everywhere.<br /><br /><strong>Young Feminists Take the Mic</strong><br /><br />Young feminists are at the forefront of the movement to end violence against women and girls, and we are listening to them and learning from them.</p> <p>Young women like <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ry8tzEEFqbI">Anju, a Dalit feminist from India</a>, are demanding that we recognize the voices and leadership of youth from traditionally marginalized communities.</p> <p>Young feminists are also paving the self-care path with their <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7k1y_sb2eM">honest reflections</a>, recognizing that self-care for women and girls is not self-indulgence but part of building resilience and self- preservation. <br /><br />Today on International Women’s Day, we stand in solidarity with the women’s movement, we pause and reflect on how to be better feminists, we immerse ourselves in the <a href="https://www.oxfamireland.org/blog/meet-inspirational-women-oxfam">stories of incredible women and girls</a>, and we reignite the passion and resolve to keep fighting for a more a more equal world.</p> <p><strong>Read more</strong></p> <p><a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/research/oxfams-guide-feminist-influencing"><strong>Oxfam's Guide to Feminist Influencing</strong></a> is designed to help Oxfam staff apply feminist principles and practices - “putting women’s rights at the heart of all we do” - to all our campaigning, policy, advocacy and influencing work.</p> <p><em>This entry posted on 8 March 2019, by Michelle D'cruz, Oxfam Gender Media Officer.</em></p> </div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2> Happy International Women&#039;s Day - Oxfam Celebrating Women All Across the World</h2></div> Fri, 08 Mar 2019 09:51:14 +0000 Guest Blogger 81889 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/19-03-08-happy-international-womens-day-oxfam-celebrating-across-world#comments Forest as commons and women’s land rights: Reflections from India http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/19-02-13-forest-commons-and-womens-land-rights-reflections-india <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong>In the last five years, land rights have increasingly taken centre stage in strategies and debates on women’s empowerment and economic independence.</strong></p> <p>Rural women across Africa have mobilised for change, national campaigns have called out discriminatory inheritance laws and in Nepal women and other marginalised groups, have worked to ensure equal access to rights and entitlements to land and housing in the post-earthquake recovery.</p> <p>Worldwide, 2.5 billion people rely on Indigenous and community lands – yet so far, much of the energy on women’s land, forest and water rights has focused on individual title to household or agricultural land. This raises the question: How can we safeguard women’s land, water and forest rights across all tenure systems?</p> <p>Addressing this will help to increase attention on some of the world’s most marginalised women and girls. It will also build the resilience of the women’s land rights agenda – by challenging misconceptions, or outright criticisms, that women’s rights demand the privatisation of common lands or the eradication of local (customary) governance.</p> </p> <h3>Collective rights for women</h3> <p>In India, Oxfam has found that collective rights under the Forest Rights Act, 2006 are an important tool for women. Collective decision-making can create a more level playing field, and does not immediately threaten household harmony by pitting men against women.</p> <p>India’s forests provide food, firewood and livelihoods for <a href="http://www.indiaenvironmentportal.org.in/files/SFR2009-ExecSummary-FINAL.pdf" rel="nofollow">over 200 million people</a> and women from tribal (Adivasi) communities are often at the forefront of grassroots struggles for community control and decision-making over forests.</p> <p>Women’s responsibilities for feeding their family and caring for vulnerable members give them intimate knowledge of local eco-systems and the impacts of their loss. For example, in the state of Odisha, forest loss in just 5 years <a href="https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=1&amp;ved=2ahUKEwiJhtTrnZDgAhWVinAKHd8GAvMQFjAAegQIBxAC&amp;url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.vasundharaodisha.org%2Fpdf%2Fpublication%2FGFC%2520Booklet_25%5B1%5D.2.08.doc&amp;usg=AOvVaw0bqtyoRBTxHUhrnbY1y6pa" rel="nofollow">almost doubled</a> the distance people (typically women or girls) had to travel to collect a shoulder load of firewood – from 4km in 1995 to 7.3km in 2000.</p> <p>However, women’s expertise in forest management is largely ignored and this gender bias at community level is echoed in male-dominated organisations and agencies.</p> </p> <h3>Correcting historical injustice</h3> <p><a href="http://www.ielrc.org/content/e0618.pdf" rel="nofollow">The Forest Rights Act, 2006</a> - marked a historic step for forest-dwelling communities, including women. The Act attempts to correct historical injustices, offering livelihood security for forest communities, recognising their rights to use and access the forest.</p> <p>The legislation outlines women’s rights to the commons as well as individual rights, such as joint titles held with their husbands. While individual forest rights are limited to 4 hectares, rights to the commons can cover 200 -300 hectares or more. It is this large-scale transfer of governance rights that is most strongly resisted.</p> <p>More than 10 years after the Forest Rights Act took effect, many organisations are working on its implementation on the ground - yet few focus on women. Similarly, the women’s land rights movement has yet to grasp the legislation’s revolutionary potential.</p> <p><img alt=" Oxfam India" title=" Oxfam India" height="545" width="737" data-delta="1" typeof="Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/women-collecting-forest-produce-india.jpg" /></p> <p><em>Women in Chhattisgarh collect food from their village forest. Photo: Oxfam India</em></p> </p> <h3>Addressing the gender imbalance</h3> </p> <p>To date, women’s movements have actively advocated for recognition of women as farmers and successfully expanded women’s property rights through The Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005. While <a href="https://donate.oxfamindia.org/sites/default/files/PB-Women%E2%80%99s-Right-to-Agricultural-Land-Removing-Legal-Barriers-for-Achieving-Gender-Equality-08072016-en.pdf" rel="nofollow">75% of rural women workers</a> are engaged in agriculture, 87% of rural land is controlled by men and less than 13% by women.</p> <p>This is an important imbalance to address, but progress in amending The Hindu Succession Act is limited to Hindu women, and the states of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya, Punjab and Haryana each use a loophole to deny women equal rights to agricultural land. In contrast, legal space under the Forest Rights Act offers rights to women from some of the most vulnerable and economically marginalised communities in the country.</p> <p>Linking forest rights with gender justice campaigns could help further women’s leadership and confront gender-based violence and the power inequalities that contribute to it. Given the vital role women play in protecting forests, this would also promise better outcomes for not only women but also men.</p> </p> <h3>Living under threat</h3> <p>For decades, neoliberal policies in India and across the world have seen common natural resources – forests, waters and lands – shrinking. Communities are losing access, as rights are transferred to large companies or used for infrastructure projects. Today, tens of thousands of marginalised people who live a simple, but rich, life in India’s forests face the threat of eviction, with dire consequences.</p> <p>Experiences from the ground in India points to the fact that, men are more likely to seek monetary compensation. However, women’s intimate connection with the forest give them a deeper understanding of how its destruction will impact on community livelihoods, culture, and knowledge, and they face the brunt of the violence in defending it.</p> <p>While women with individual property rights are left to negotiate alone with their husbands, collective rights offer women the potential to stand together and speak with one voice.</p> </p> <h3>Fighting for land rights</h3> <p>The experience of India is not unique.</p> <p>Across the world, marginalised women are harnessing the power of collective rights to strengthen, safeguard and enrich their lives and the land, forests and waters they protect.</p> <p>It is vital that Oxfam’s global women’s land rights movement learn their stories and call for women land rights across all tenure systems.</p> <p><em>This entry posted on 13 February 2019, by Sreetama Bhaya, Oxfam India Program Coordinator - Natural Resource Management; and Shona Hawkes, Oxfam Land Rights Policy Lead.</em></p> <p><em>Photo: Women’s group from an Odisha village protecting their forest. Credit: Oxfam India</em></p> <p><strong>Find out more about <a href="https://indepth.oxfam.org.uk/land-rights/" rel="nofollow">Oxfam's land work</a></strong></p> </div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Forest as commons and women’s land rights: Reflections from India</h2></div> Wed, 13 Feb 2019 16:11:40 +0000 Guest Blogger 81868 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/19-02-13-forest-commons-and-womens-land-rights-reflections-india#comments Dreaming of Peace: The Women Inside South Sudan's Protection of Civilians Camp http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/18-09-20-dreaming-peace-women-inside-south-sudans-protection-civilians-camp <div class="field field-name-body"><p><em><strong>“The world has forgotten about us.”</strong></em></p><p><strong></strong>For 48-year-old Rebecca Nyawal, this is what it means to be forgotten: to live with just two small beds to fit her family of seven, a small stove, a soft ground under their feet that turns into mud during the rainy season, and to boil under an iron-sheet that heats her home like an oven.</p><p><strong>They used to have a better home</strong> at the Malakal town in South Sudan, with a garden where the kids could play, better ventilation, and better access to everything they needed: markets, school, and the chance to make a living. But when war decimated her hometown in 2014, they had to leave everything behind and seek refuge inside the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (<a href="https://twitter.com/unmissmedia" rel="nofollow">UNMISS</a>) Protection of Civilians (PoC) camp.</p><p><strong>“Women here die of heartbreak,”</strong> Rebecca tells us one afternoon, inside the PoC. “Women would stay in their house – they think about the loved ones they have lost in this war, their husbands, their sons, their daughters. And then one day, the women would just be found dead in their homes. They die of heartbreak.”</p><p><strong>Rebecca is joined</strong> by around 25,000 others, also living their lives in waiting, cramped inside the camp, with an average living space of only 17 square meters per person. The&nbsp;Protection of Civilians camp was <a href="https://odihpn.org/magazine/protection-of-civilians-sites-a-new-type-of-displacement-settlement/" rel="nofollow">supposed to offer temporary haven</a> where civilians could be protected from the worst of the conflict. But four years after the first bullets flew in the former Upper Nile state, Rebecca is still living in the cramped conditions inside the PoC.</p><p><strong>Rape, killings, and other form of attacks</strong> on people who ventured out of the camp, even just to collect wood or go fishing, were common for years - and people still don’t feel safe to leave after dark.</p><p><img alt="Women’s bread-making group inside the Protection of Civilians (PoC) camp, South Sudan. Photo: Rhea Catada/Oxfam" title="Women’s bread-making group inside the Protection of Civilians (PoC) camp, South Sudan. Photo: Rhea Catada/Oxfam" height="723" width="1240" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="1" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/02-rebecca-and-friends-1240.jpg" /></p><p><em>Women’s bread-making group inside the Protection of Civilians (PoC) camp, South Sudan. Photo: Rhea Catada/Oxfam</em></p><h3>Every night, a different heartbreak</h3><p><strong>“The world doesn’t think about what we are going through. The world has forgotten us,” </strong>says Rebecca.</p><p>What would she want the world to know about her life?</p><p>Every night, she said she thinks about the pile of dead bodies outside the PoC gate the day conflict broke out.</p><p>Every night, she thinks about the women and men inside the camp who had suffered long enough from depression and trauma, and have decided to end their lives.</p><p>Every night, a different heartbreak. “I think about all of them, every single day,” she says.</p><p><strong>Rebecca is not alone with her thoughts.</strong> She is surrounded by women who share her dreams, and come together to support each other. As the leader of a women’s bread-making group working inside the PoC, she has become the de facto “Mama” of the group – a title commonly used for elderly, respected women.</p><p>The women’s bread-making group is one of the projects under the Humanitarian and Resilience in South Sudan (HARISS) program, implemented by Oxfam and local partner organization<a href="http://unydasouthsudan.org/" rel="nofollow"> Upper Nile Youth Development Association</a> (UNYDA) in the Malakal PoC and the town itself. The program is geared towards helping people get back on their feet by helping them make a living.</p><p>As the “Mama” of a bread-making group, she is seen by the women as someone they can come to with their problems. Some of the women in the groups were widowed by the war, while the conflict has caused some of them to be separated from their families.</p><p><img alt="Rebecca Nyawal, South Sudan. Photo: Rhea Catada/Oxfam " title="Rebecca Nyawal, South Sudan. Photo: Rhea Catada/Oxfam " height="680" width="1240" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="3" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/01-rebecca-1240.jpg" /></p><p><em>Rebecca Nyawal, baking bread. Photo: Rhea Catada/Oxfam,&nbsp;<em>South Sudan.</em></em></p><h3>Friendship, strength - and longing for peace</h3><p>For Rebecca and the members of the group, getting together at Oxfam’s livelihood center in the Malakal Protection of Civilian site, is no longer just about making that soft, chewy bread that people have come to love. It has also become about friendship, about being each other’s strength.</p><p>"I think the bread-making business is the best thing to happen to us inside the PoC," she says. "Not only do we keep ourselves busy and earn money, we also fostered solidarity among us. We share our hopes and dreams, we share our experiences, our sadness and our happiness. Being together is helping us cope with the stress of living inside the camp."</p><p>Rebecca told us that while the women are grateful for this program, what they all long for is peace. “What we ultimately need is to have normal lives, go back to our homes, and not live in fear anymore.”</p><p><strong>“Every night we pray: let peace come to South Sudan.</strong> Keli salam ja fee Junub Sudan,” she says.</p><p>As news of fighting rumbles on after each ceasefire is signed, Rebecca says she suspects that her country’s leaders may never listen to her call, but she repeats those words again and again, hoping they will have weight.</p><p>“Keli salam ja fee Junub Sudan,” she says “Keli salam ja fee Junub Sudan.”</p><p><img alt="Marsa Adyang, member of the women&#039;s bead-making group, Malakal PoC camp, South Sudan. Photo: Rhea Catada" title="Marsa Adyang, member of the women&#039;s bead-making group, Malakal PoC camp, South Sudan. Photo: Rhea Catada" height="680" width="1240" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="4" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/04-marsa-portrait-1240.jpg" /></p><p><em>Marsa Adyang, together with other women inside the Malakal camp, is being supported by Oxfam’s HARISS program so they can make a living out of making and selling bead accessories. Marsa says: “As a group, we really bonded well. We have tea together, we talk about our lives, our experiences, our problems, our joys. If it’s only one of us who sold beads for an entire day, that person wouldn’t pocket it: she will share it to the others in the group, redistribute it. She collects the money and divide it among ourselves."</em></p><p><em><em>This entry posted on 20 September 2018 by Rhea Catada, Oxfam Media and Communications Lead, South Sudan. </em></em></p><p><em><em>Top photo: Rebecca Nyawal, South Sudan. </em>All photos credit: Rhea Catada/Oxfam.</em></p><p><em>Oxfam and our partners are working across South Sudan <a href="https://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/18-05-11-making-difference-south-sudan-ensuring-those-need-are-not-forgotten">to save lives</a> and help people build for the future.&nbsp;Since the conflict's start in 2015, we've reached over 500,000 people with emergency and longer-term support. The work described in this blog is carried out with the support of <a href="https://www.ukaiddirect.org/" rel="nofollow">UK Aid</a>.</em></p><h3>Read more</h3><ul><li><a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/hunger-crisis-south-sudan" rel="nofollow"><strong>Support Oxfam's work in South Sudan</strong></a></li><li><strong>Blog: <a href="https://views-voices.oxfam.org.uk/gender/2018/05/resilience-in-south-sudan-surviving-today-hope-for-tomorrow" rel="nofollow">Resilience in South Sudan: surviving today, hope for tomorrow</a></strong></li></ul><p><strong>&nbsp;</strong></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Dreaming of Peace: The Women Inside South Sudan&#039;s Protection of Civilians Camp </h2></div> Thu, 20 Sep 2018 21:20:34 +0000 Guest Blogger 81713 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/18-09-20-dreaming-peace-women-inside-south-sudans-protection-civilians-camp#comments From Zero to Heroine: 4 ways supermarkets can better support women http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/18-08-15-zero-heroine-4-ways-supermarkets-can-better-support-women <div class="field field-name-body"><p>In my <a href="https://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/18-07-30-life-toil-women-seafood-industry">previous blog</a>, I highlighted some of the key issues faced by women workers in the seafood sector in Southeast Asia. Gender inequality can be hidden deep inside many of the world’s leading supply chains. Women are being paid poverty-level wages and enduring unsafe and degrading working conditions while struggling to put food on the table for their families.</p><p><a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/behindtheprice" rel="nofollow"><strong>Oxfam’s global campaign</strong></a> asks the world’s most powerful supermarkets to do more to end human suffering in the food we buy. Oxfam’s supermarkets scorecard reveals that <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/behindtheprice/scorecard" rel="nofollow">twelve out of the sixteen assessed supermarkets scored ‘zero’</a> for their gender policy. Even supermarkets that consumers trust for their ethical sourcing, like Whole Foods, are amongst those who failed to score on Oxfam’s gender indicators.</p><h3>Raise gender issues</h3><p>A <a href="https://wsi-asso.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/WSI-Survey-2018.pdf" rel="nofollow">recent global survey</a> published in July 2018 by the International Organization for Women in the Seafood Industry (WSI) validated several key issues faced by women workers in the industry. The survey documented gender-based discrimination for women in the sector – ranging from unfavorable working conditions, to discrimination and unequal opportunities for women. Globally, the survey found that 58% of respondents said that gender issues are not talked about in their organization.</p><p><strong>This lack of gender awareness</strong> means that senior executives, who are typically men, often neglect to think about additional challenges faced by women when making strategic decisions. This highlights the need to start a discussion and to build awareness to change the ‘Tone at the Top’ on important gender issues.</p><p>Moreover, we need to distinguish between progressive companies, who follow through with their commitments, and those who are merely paying lip service.</p><p><img alt="Activists demonstrate outside a Whole Foods in Boston as part of the launch of Oxfam&#039;s Behind the Barcodes campaign. Credit: Elizabeth Stevens/Oxfam" title="Activists demonstrate outside a Whole Foods in Boston as part of the launch of Oxfam&#039;s Behind the Barcodes campaign. Credit: Elizabeth Stevens/Oxfam" height="680" width="1240" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="2" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/whole-food-1-1240x680.jpg" /></p><p><em>Oxfam staff members stand up for the rights of seafood workers outside a Whole Foods in Boston on June 21, 2018. Credit: Elizabeth Stevens/Oxfam</em></p><p><strong>So, how can supermarkets be gender-just?</strong></p><h3>1. Respect human rights</h3><p>First, supermarkets need to make commitments to respect human rights and enable women’s economic empowerment in their global supply chains. There are several effective ways to do this:</p><ul><li>Sign up to the <a href="http://www.weprinciples.org/Site/PrincipleOverview/" rel="nofollow">UN Women’s Economic Empowerment Principles</a> which set out a framework for women’s empowerment in the workplace, community and society. The principles promote and commit companies to putting gender equality as a strategic priority of business. Signatories commit to fair treatment of men and women at work and commit to respecting human rights. The Principles also commit companies to periodically report their progress on advancing gender equality.</li><li>Supermarkets’ senior executives need to publicly state their commitments to gender equality beyond their corporate office and expand these commitments throughout their global sourcing. Recently, <a href="https://hbr.org/2018/01/the-new-ceo-activists" rel="nofollow">CEOs are being more vocal</a> about public policy issues, and they should prioritize gender inequality as it is the root cause of countless social injustices in our society today.</li></ul><h3>2. Improve gender data and reporting</h3><p>Second, supermarkets need to improve their data collection, monitoring and reporting on gender issues that go beyond social audits. Companies should ensure supply chain mapping and social audits collect gender information – one important data is gender-aggregated wage information between male/female workers in their supply chains. This will allow the&nbsp; company to demonstrate that they are serious about closing the gender wage gap and have credible evidence to monitor progress.</p><h3>3. Promote women's organizing</h3><p>Third, supermarkets should actively commit to and promote women’s ability to organize themselves. In many countries, joining unions and worker organizing is still illegal and discouraged. An <a href="https://www.ethicaltrade.org/sites/default/files/shared_resources/guide_to_buying_responsibly.pdf" rel="nofollow">ETI/ILO survey</a> has shown that where supply chain workers organize in trade unions, they can dramatically boost their wages and cut working hours.</p><p>Women workers should be encouraged to participate and engage in leadership positions in unions. If the country’s labor laws are not conducive to worker organizing, supermarkets should actively leverage their influence to engage with national governments to improve regulations that will systematically benefit workers in their global supply chains.</p><h3>4. Collaborate</h3><p><strong>Finally, collaboration is a critical success factor</strong>. Supermarkets alone cannot eliminate gender injustice but should work with others to make further progress. Several levels of collaboration are needed:</p><ul><li>Collaborate with <strong>workers’ organizations</strong> in order to learn more about workers’ experiences;</li><li>Collaborate with <strong>women’s organizations</strong> to sharpen the focus on women’s issues;</li><li>Collaborate with <strong>national governments</strong>, at different levels, to influence public policy changes;</li><li>Collaborate with <strong>gender-just organizations</strong>, companies, NGOs and credible Multi-Stakeholder Initiatives which champion women’s empowerment and work towards the same goal.</li></ul><p><img alt="Oxfam staff members stand up for the rights of seafood workers outside a Whole Foods in Boston on June 21, 2018. Photo: Elizabeth Stevens/Oxfam" title="Oxfam staff members stand up for the rights of seafood workers outside a Whole Foods in Boston on June 21, 2018. Photo: Elizabeth Stevens/Oxfam" height="680" width="1240" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="1" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/whole-food-3-1240.jpg" /></p><p><em>Oxfam staff members stand up for the rights of seafood workers outside Whole Foods, in Boston, USA. Photo: Elizabeth Stevens/Oxfam</em></p><h3>A vision of equality</h3><p>Gender equality should be prioritized in supermarkets’ corporate vision and strategy, instead of being an afterthought. Gender injustice affects families, communities and both women and men.</p><p>Companies need to urgently step up their commitment to become more gender-just. There are certainly a number of small wins which could have a big impact, and there are long-term strategic benefits for all involved in our food systems.</p><p>There is a strong and compelling case for supermarkets to become gender-just and better support women. Now is the time to step up and make it happen.</p><p><strong>Human suffering should never be an ingredient in the food we buy. You can help. <a href="http://www.behindtheprice.org/" rel="nofollow">Sign the pledge.</a></strong></p><p><em>The entry posted by Art Prapha, Senior Advisor, Oxfam America, on 14 August 2018.</em></p><p><em>Top photo: The Lamongan auction site, the biggest shrimp auction in East Java, Indonesia. Credit: Adrian Mulya/Sustainable Seafood Alliance Indonesia</em></p><p></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>From Zero to Heroine: 4 ways supermarkets can better support women</h2></div> Wed, 15 Aug 2018 14:13:54 +0000 Guest Blogger 81679 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/18-08-15-zero-heroine-4-ways-supermarkets-can-better-support-women#comments Behind Indonesia's seafood sector: Domin's fight for the rights of women workers http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/18-06-27-behind-indonesias-seafood-sector-domins-fight-rights-women-workers <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong>Millions of farmers and workers who produce the food we all eat are forced to work long hours in inhumane conditions. The burden of this injustice falls more heavily on women, who face discrimination, get paid less than men and are denied the same basic human and legal rights. Read this inspiring story of one woman's intense commitment to fight for the rights of women workers in Indonesia's seafood sector - meet Domin Dhamayanti.</strong></p><p>The bright and colorful space with tiny yellow chairs, books and singing children is not quite what you expect when visiting a committed human rights group.</p><p>The Surabaya Institute of Labor Solidarity’s one room office is located at the back of a daycare center, where women workers bring their kids before their shift at one of the huge seafood factories in the city.</p><h3>This is where the relationship of trust with the workers begins.</h3><p>Barefoot and sipping on a coffee, Domin Dhamayanti might appear a marked contrast to the seafood companies she and her organization have taken on multiple times in the past few years.</p><p>“The big seafood companies here are very powerful. But we have the women’s trust, and they have no one else. There’s no way we will give up.”</p><p>She speaks softly, but with a passion and commitment that is unquestionable.</p><p>After spending more than 14 years working to improve the rights of workers in Indonesia, Domin explains, with no sense of irony in her voice, that her favorite food is vegetables and seafood. "Especially shrimp! I really mean it!"</p><h3>Her commitment to the labor movement is in her blood.</h3><p>Growing up in a family of workers in service sectors, she saw firsthand the conditions they face – and as she states, this isn't uncommon. "Almost everyone in Indonesia is a worker or is connected to them."</p><p>Domin lists examples where workers have succeeded in standing up for their rights. Campaigns for workers’ rights to take collective action at famous brands like Puma, Nike and Adidas show that things can change to improve workers' lives in supply chains.</p><p>"There is nothing wrong with being a worker - <strong>what is wrong is when workers' rights are taken</strong>. When rights are taken away, so is the ability to lead a dignified life.”</p><p>She speaks as the leader of the Surabaya Institute of Labor Solidarity (ISBS) which supports workers to understand and campaign for their rights. Her drive comes from her life experience – at a young age, she felt compelled to get involved and started living in a boarding-house with workers to see the conditions they face on a daily basis.</p><p><img alt="Budi, a female worker in the shrimp industry, Indonesia. Credit: Adrian Mulya" title="Budi, a female worker in the shrimp industry, Indonesia. Credit: Adrian Mulya" height="827" width="1240" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="1" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/16257lpr-budi-1240.jpg" /></p><p><em>Budi, 28, a female worker in Indonesia's shrimp industry. To earn the minimum wage, Budi often skips lunches and toilet breaks and works an hour of unpaid overtime every day, so she can try and meet her target for peeling shrimps.&nbsp;Credit: Adrian Mulya</em></p><h3>Women workers are most vulnerable.</h3><p>Domin explains some of the biggest challenges many female workers face.</p><p>"Women workers in Indonesia are in the most vulnerable position," she says. "Women workers tend to earn lower wages and are excluded from the government’s health and labor insurance programs."</p><p>In terms of welfare, women working in the seafood sector are overwhelming concentrated in the worst conditions, with very little job security and inadequate health, physical and psychological protection. Often, they have no maternity leave, which means they have to return to work soon after giving birth and have to stop breastfeeding. Sometimes they are not able to change sanitary napkins (if they can afford them at all), during their shifts. They don’t always have proper protective equipment when handling dangerous chemicals. Active participation of women workers in trade unions is also low.</p><p>This is why her organization is part of the <a href="https://www.dibalikbarcode.org/" rel="nofollow">Indonesian Sustainable Seafood Alliance</a>, organizations who have come together with workers in the seafood industry to campaign for their rights.</p><h3>Domin and her team have dedicated their lives to achieving change.</h3><p>"One of the basic principles of organizing is listening.” It is amazing to see what can happen when workers build a community and try to make changes together.</p><p>“We call this community ‘Buruh Perempuan Inspiratif’ (which translates to inspired women workers’). We create the space for workers to tell you as much as possible, because workers, especially women, have a lot on their minds and they need to share and work through it all. This can happen in many ways - with casual conversation, singing, drawing, dancing. We see that by the end of it they become much more confident, and realize that they have a community. Then we start to talk about work, and together we work through the problems and how we can change them."</p><h3>Sometimes, a conversation is all it takes for change to start.</h3><p>Domin goes on to explain how ISBS ensures everything it does is for the benefit of the workers.&nbsp; "In our organization the most important values are those of solidarity and that all humans should live in dignity.” She is clear that looking after workers should be the priority for businesses. “We also help workers understand that their lives are more important than money – which means everything done in the business world should consider the human rights."</p><p><strong>And she's not going to give up without a fight.</strong></p><p>“Despite the risks of speaking out, I have come to know real solidarity from those I have worked alongside, and there's no question in my mind about continuing this fight."</p><p><em>This entry posted by Cassie Eades, Oxfam Global Campaigner - Food and Climate Change, on 27 June 2018.</em></p><p><em>Top photo: Women's rights activist Domin Dhamayanti, at Surabaya Institute of Labor Solidarity’s office, Indonesia. Credit: Adrian Mulya/Sustainable Seafood Alliance Indonesia</em></p><p><em>&nbsp;</em></p><p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/wHncwjRQHN4" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="" width="640" height="360" frameborder="0"></iframe></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Behind Indonesia&#039;s seafood sector: Domin&#039;s fight for the rights of women workers</h2></div> Wed, 27 Jun 2018 15:30:48 +0000 Cassie Eades 81618 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/18-06-27-behind-indonesias-seafood-sector-domins-fight-rights-women-workers#comments Supermarkets: Time to end the human suffering in your supply chains http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/18-06-25-supermarkets-time-end-human-suffering-your-supply-chains <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong>Oxfam calls on supermarkets around the world to fight the human suffering in their supply chains.</strong></p><p><strong></strong>An estimated 22 million people around the world work for food manufacturing companies alone. But that number is just the tip of the iceberg. Millions more work in formal or informal roles, such as seasonal labor on plantations or on fishing vessels at sea.</p><p>And while supermarkets earn big profits, many of these workers, year-round or seasonal, face harsh and dangerous working conditions, earn low wages and live in poverty, struggle to feed their own families. From forced labor aboard fishing boats in Southeast Asia, to poverty wages on Indian tea plantations, and hunger among fruit and vegetable pickers in Southern Italy, human rights abuses are widespread among the women and men who produce the food that we buy from supermarkets around the world.</p><p>The global food industry generates billions in revenue every year, but the rewards are increasingly skewed toward the powerful. The eight largest publicly-owned supermarket chains in the world generate trillions in sales and billions in profits, and are keeping a growing share of the money we spend in the checkout line – while the small-scale farmers and workers producing the food get less and less.</p><h3>The human suffering behind your food</h3><p>Human suffering should never be an ingredient in the food we eat. That’s why Oxfam launched <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/campaigns/behind-price/about-campaign" rel="nofollow">a new campaign</a> this week seeking to expose the economic exploitation of millions of small-scale farmers and workers face in food supply chains and to mobilize the power of the people around the world to help end it.</p><p>In our research, we found that:</p><ul><li><strong>The average earnings of small-scale farmers and workers in the supply chains</strong> of 12 common products—from South African grapes, to Peruvian avocados, to Indian tea—is not enough for a decent standard of living, and where women make up most of the workforce, the gap is greater.</li></ul><ul><li><strong>Supermarkets have kept an increasing share of the money</strong> their consumers spend, while the share that reaches workers and food producers has fallen, sometimes to less than 5 percent.</li></ul><ul><li><strong>The eight largest publicly-owned supermarket chains generated nearly a trillion dollars in sales</strong>, $22 billion in profit, and returned $15 billion to shareholders in 2016. Food insecurity is common, according to surveys of hundreds of small-scale farmers and workers across five different countries working in the supply chains of supermarkets.</li></ul><p>As part of the campaign, Oxfam looked at the policies and practices of some of the biggest and fastest growing supermarkets in the US and Europe, focusing on four themes: women equality, worker’s rights, small-scale producers, and transparency.</p><h3>US supermarkets scored low on human rights</h3><p>In the US, Oxfam assessed and ranked six of the biggest retailers, including Walmart, Kroger, Albertsons, Costco, Whole Foods and Ahold Delhaize, the parent company to retailers such as Food Lion, Giant, and Stop &amp; Shop.</p><p>In general, <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/behindtheprice/scorecard" rel="nofollow">US supermarkets scored very low</a> across all four themes assessed, demonstrating that they have little awareness on these issues and have not yet chosen to prioritize human rights, due diligence, supply chain traceability, living wages, and gender inequality issues.</p><p><img alt="Melati, 18, works in an Indonesian shrimp factory, where conditions are unsafe, and shrimp-peeling targets are impossible to meet. Credit: Adrian Mulya" title="Melati, 18, works in an Indonesian shrimp factory, where conditions are unsafe, and shrimp-peeling targets are impossible to meet. Credit: Adrian Mulya" height="482" width="400" style="float: right; margin: 0px 0px 10px 20px;" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="1" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/16341lpr-melati-shrimp-cocktail-400.jpg" />Oxfam and the <a href="https://www.dibalikbarcode.org/" rel="nofollow">Sustainable Seafood Alliance Indonesia</a> looked specifically at working conditions in seafood processing in Southeast Asia, interviewing workers from some of the biggest shrimp processors and exporters in Thailand and Indonesia that supply to supermarkets like Whole Foods, Ahold Delhaize, Kroger, Costco, Albertsons and Walmart.</p><h3>Factory conditions are unsafe, unfair</h3><p>Through the interviews, we found that wages are so low that 60 percent of women workers surveyed in Thailand were severely food insecure, workers in both countries struggled with controlled access to drinking water and toilet breaks, and were forced to put up with routine verbal abuse by supervisors.</p><p>One woman, Melati (pictured, holding shrimp cocktail), told us that she was trained to peel 600 shrimps per hour but was never able to attain that goal. The conditions she was working in at the processing plant in Indonesia were dangerous and she struggled to breathe and burned her hands because she didn’t have proper protective equipment when handling cleaning chemicals like chlorine.</p><p>Melati and women like her toil in processing plants in Indonesia and Thailand for little pay. In fact, we calculated that <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BkVnUHtF-g8/?hl=en&amp;taken-by=oxfaminternational" rel="nofollow">it would take women like Melati 4,000 years</a> to earn what the chief executive at a top US supermarket earns in a year.</p><h3>Supermarkets have the power</h3><p>Our analysis found that US supermarkets can do much more to support the millions of workers, small-holder farmers, and fisherfolk who grow and produce our food every day. And it isn’t just about paying a higher price, though that would help.</p><p>As supermarkets have gotten bigger so too has their power. This allows them to set the terms for how they will source their food, from quality and timing to price and risk.</p><p>Throughout supply chains, more and more risk is being placed on farmers and suppliers and the pressure to produce quality products under extreme time pressures is being borne by workers as well. As our US Supermarket Scorecard shows, the industry has more to do to take the human suffering out of our food.</p><h3>Supermarkets will listen to you</h3><p>You and I spend enough at the grocery store to ensure women like Melati have decent working conditions and earn a living wage. Supermarkets depend on us, their customers, so they have to listen.</p><p><a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/behindtheprice" rel="nofollow">Call on supermarkets</a> to help end the human suffering behind the barcodes by taking action and joining the Behind the Barcode campaign today!</p><p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/wHncwjRQHN4" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="" width="640" height="360" frameborder="0"></iframe></p><p><em>This entry posted by Becky Davis, Press Officer for Policy and Campaigns at Oxfam America, on 25 June 2018. Originally published by <a href="https://politicsofpoverty.oxfamamerica.org/2018/06/looking-behind-the-barcodes/" rel="nofollow">Oxfam America</a>.</em></p><p><em>Top photo: Activists demonstrate outside a Whole Foods in Boston as part of the launch of Oxfam's Behind the Barcodes campaign. Credit: Elizabeth Stevens/Oxfam</em></p><p></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Supermarkets: Time to end the human suffering in your supply chains</h2></div> Mon, 25 Jun 2018 15:19:57 +0000 Guest Blogger 81621 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/18-06-25-supermarkets-time-end-human-suffering-your-supply-chains#comments How one community in Jordan is raising women's voices - and ensuring clean water is not wasted http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/18-03-29-how-one-community-jordan-raising-womens-voices-and-ensuring-clean-water-not-wasted <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong>With the support of Global Affairs Canada, Oxfam is working with community members, partners, and the Government of Jordan to improve water governance. And now the voices of the community's women are being heard.</strong></p><p>In Jordan, it is not common for government and citizens to talk face to face on issues of common concern. There is also <a href="https://reader.chathamhouse.org/new-social-enterprises-jordan-redefining-meaning-civil-society" rel="nofollow">skepticism on the role</a> of civil society.</p><p>Together with the Water Authority of Jordan, a group of people in Salt governorate, Jordan are working to change that.</p><p>Abir Suleiman Mrooj, Buthaina Al-Zubi, and Majde Algharagher are three of the twelve men and women who comprise a water community group in the town of Allan, Salt. Now, people of Salt can collaborate freely with government officials, air their grievances, and work together to improve water access and governance in their community.</p><p><img alt="Majde Algharagher and Buthaina Al-Zubi, working together to save water in Allan, Salt governorate, Jordan. Photo: Alixandra Buck" title="Majde Algharagher and Buthaina Al-Zubi, working together to save water in Allan, Salt governorate, Jordan. Photo: Alixandra Buck" height="827" width="1240" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="2" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/majde-and-buthaina-credit-alixandra-buck-1240.jpg" /></p><p><em>Majde Algharagher and Buthaina Al-Zubi, working together to save water in Allan, Salt governorate, Jordan. Photo: Alixandra Buck</em></p><p>Rapid population growth, a mountainous landscape and neglect have frequently left people in Allan with insufficient access to water. Community members, including Mrooj and Al-Zubi, highlighted the issues to Algharagher, the Water Authority’s Director of Salt District. In turn he was able to convince the Water Authority to respond with extensive improvements to the local water network, valued at over 150,000 JOD (approximately $210,000 USD). Now, leakages in Allan have been reduced significantly - and further improvements are expected to cut back losses even more.</p><p>This is of particular importance in Jordan, one of the most water-scarce countries in the world. Water use far exceeds the replacement rate, and leaks, breakages and interrupted water supply are all too common - pointing to the need for systemic changes to water infrastructure, water governance and water use patterns.</p><p>Majde Algharagher was quick to recognize the issues: “There has been a huge increase in population in Jordan, so there is less water available per person,” he told Oxfam. “We are also seeing illegal pumping, which is making water even scarcer.”</p><p><img alt="Majde Algharagher, the Director of Salt District for the Water Authority of Jordan, speaks with community members. Photo: Alixandra Buck/Oxfam" title="Majde Algharagher, the Director of Salt District for the Water Authority of Jordan, speaks with community members. Photo: Alixandra Buck/Oxfam" height="827" width="1240" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="3" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/majde-credit-alixandra-buck-1240.jpg" /></p><p><em>Majde Algharagher, the Director of Salt District for the Water Authority of Jordan, speaks with community members. Photo: Alixandra Buck/Oxfam</em></p><p><strong>Over 40% of water in Jordan’s network</strong> is <a href="https://www.usaid.gov/jordan/water-and-wastewater-infrastructure" rel="nofollow">lost through leakages</a> and other losses.</p><p>Abir Suleiman Mrooj, of Allan, told Oxfam, “The sight of wasted water all over the streets used to hurt us, as we were working so hard to save water in our homes... So at first, we were like a beehive around Mr. Algharagher – always pushing until we got a solution to each issue.”</p><p><strong>Collaborating with the community</strong> has made it easier for the Water Authority to find and stop water losses. According to Algharagher, “Now that I am in the water group, people can contact me directly by phone. Before they had to come to the office or call the ministry and it would be a long process to speak to me. We also have a Whatsapp group, so they can send me a picture of a broken pipe or any problem, and I can respond. I can immediately send maintenance staff, and they can fix it. The response is easier and faster than before.”</p><p><img alt="Abir Suleiman Mrooj, a water Ambassador from Salt, Jordan, is a leader in her community. Photo Alixandra Buck/Oxfam" title="Abir Suleiman Mrooj, a water Ambassador from Salt, Jordan, is a leader in her community. Photo Alixandra Buck/Oxfam" height="827" width="1240" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="1" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/abir-credit-alixandra-buck-1240.jpg" /></p><p><em>Abir Suleiman Mrooj, a water Ambassador from Salt, Jordan, is a leader in her community. Photo Alixandra Buck/Oxfam</em></p><p><strong>Mrooj told Oxfam, “We housewives were able to achieve something</strong> for our community. The Water Authority heard my voice, and through me, the voices of many people in Jordan. We feel so proud that we could impact our community and the government.”</p><p>But things are still not perfect: “Now, my water is good. But honestly, other places still struggle.”</p><p>With the support of <a href="http://www.international.gc.ca/international/index.aspx?lang=eng" rel="nofollow">Global Affairs Canada</a>, Oxfam is working with community members, partners, and the Government of Jordan to improve water governance. We want to ensure that more people in the country can meet their basic water needs and participate in decision-making at the community and national level.</p><p><em>This entry posted by Alixandra Buck, Communications Advisor, Oxfam in Jordan, on 29 March 2018.</em></p><p><em>Top photo: A water community group meeting in Allan, Salt governorate, Jordan. Credit: Alixandra Buck/Oxfam<br></em></p><p><strong>Read <a href="https://blogs.oxfam.org/en/search/node/jordan">more blogs about Jordan</a><br>Read <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/jordan" rel="nofollow">more about Oxfam's work in Jordan</a></strong></p><p></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>How one community in Jordan is raising women&#039;s voices - and ensuring clean water is not wasted</h2></div> Thu, 29 Mar 2018 15:17:11 +0000 Guest Blogger 81461 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/18-03-29-how-one-community-jordan-raising-womens-voices-and-ensuring-clean-water-not-wasted#comments What’s Wrong with Wealth? Inequality. http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/18-01-22-whats-wrong-with-wealth <div class="field field-name-body"><p>Oxfam’s new <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/research/reward-work-not-wealth" rel="nofollow">inequality report</a> is bound to ruffle feathers at the <a href="https://www.weforum.org/events/world-economic-forum-annual-meeting-2018" rel="nofollow">World Economic Forum</a> – the annual get together of the rich and powerful in Davos, Switzerland.&nbsp; Some will accuse us of being ‘anti-rich’, and of focusing on billionaires because we’re jealous of their success. They will say we should be focusing on the hundreds of millions of people who are still trapped in poverty, rather than on those at the top who are doing so very well for themselves.</p><h3>Two sides of the same coin</h3><p>Don’t be fooled. We are absolutely <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/explore/how-oxfam-fights-poverty" rel="nofollow">focused on people living in poverty</a>. What has become increasingly clear over the years however, is that there’s no way we’re going to end poverty unless we tackle extreme wealth too. They are two sides of the same coin.</p><p>The reality is that all too often the fortunes of the super-rich have been amassed at the <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/pressroom/pressreleases/2018-01-19/richest-1-percent-bagged-82-percent-wealth-created-last-year" rel="nofollow">expense of the rest of us</a> – and especially the <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MaMtylF9I24" rel="nofollow">workers and producers</a> who are at the bottom of every global supply chain.</p><h3><a rel="nofollow" href="https://actions.oxfam.org/international/fight-inequality-2018/petition/"><strong>Join the movement to fight inequality and beat poverty</strong></a></h3><h3>An economy for the rich</h3><p>The insatiable pursuit of profit by giant corporations and their rich shareholders is fuelling an epidemic of tax dodging that is depriving developing countries of at least $170 billion every year – money that should be going to schools and hospitals. It is driving down wages and working conditions across the globe, leaving hundreds of millions of people in dangerous and difficult jobs, struggling to earn enough to get by.</p><p>It is no coincidence that <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/even-it/why-majority-worlds-poor-are-women" rel="nofollow">most of these people are women</a>.</p><h3>The effects of inequality</h3><p>Women like Lan, who is a garment worker in Vietnam, working in a factory far from her home. Lan’s pay is so low, and she has to work so much overtime, that she goes months at a time without seeing her young children.</p><p>She will earn in her lifetime what a CEO of a top garment company earns in just ten days. Or <a href="https://www.oxfamamerica.org/livesontheline/" rel="nofollow">Dolores, who works in a US poultry factory</a>, and has to wear diapers to work because she isn’t allowed to take toilet breaks. And that’s in the richest country on earth!</p><p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/MaMtylF9I24?rel=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" width="640" height="360"></iframe></p><h3>A broken system</h3><p>So yes, if people are getting rich at the expense of others, <strong>we have a problem with that</strong>.</p><p>If companies are paying out huge dividends to their rich shareholders and bumper pay packets to their top executives, while workers in their supply chains aren’t earning enough to feed their families, then yes, we have a problem with that.</p><p>If billionaire fortunes are the result of monopolies, of crony capitalism, of vast inherited wealth – the gilded results of a broken economic system that rewards wealth rather than work – yes, we have a problem with that.</p><p>Of course, it is true that some billionaires contribute a lot to our societies.&nbsp; Many are pioneers in their fields, innovators and risk-takers who have created things we can all enjoy and benefit from. Many of them are very <a href="https://givingpledge.org/" rel="nofollow">generous philanthropists</a>, giving away vast sums of money to help those less fortunate than them.</p><p>But this doesn’t change the fact that they are the beneficiaries of a broken economic system that is enriching them first and foremost at the huge expense of millions of others who remain trapped in poverty.</p><h3>Toward a fairer, more human economy</h3><p><strong>We need a different kind of economy now.</strong> One that shares value more fairly. One that treats women as well as it treats men. One that increases prosperity and well-being for all, without trashing the planet in the process. An economy that rewards work, not wealth.</p><p><strong>We need to see governments acting</strong> in the interest of ordinary workers – implementing and enforcing living wages, limiting excessive rewards for investors and top executives, regulating new technologies to ensure they benefit the majority, cracking down on tax dodging, investing in healthcare and education for all.</p><p>A<strong>nd we need businesses that are ready to act</strong> in the interests of their workers and wider society, and not just rich shareholders. That means more responsible tax behaviour, it means ensuring better working conditions, it means no longer paying out big dividends until they can be sure that everyone in their supply chain is being paid enough to live a decent life.</p><h3>Say goodbye to poverty</h3><p>These are necessary, practical steps that can help us consign both extreme wealth and extreme poverty to the history books.</p><p>You can help <a href="http://evenitup.org/" rel="nofollow">spread the word</a> and join the growing global demand for governments and big businesses to do things differently.</p><h3><a rel="nofollow" href="https://actions.oxfam.org/international/fight-inequality-2018/petition/"><strong>Join the movement to fight inequality and beat poverty</strong></a></h3><p><em>This entry posted by Nick Bryer, Oxfam Global Inequality Lead (Davos), on 22 January 2018.</em></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>What’s Wrong with Wealth? Inequality.</h2></div> Mon, 22 Jan 2018 04:24:56 +0000 Nick Bryer 81363 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/18-01-22-whats-wrong-with-wealth#comments Colombia's challenge: addressing land inequality and consolidating peace http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/17-07-06-colombias-challenge-addressing-land-inequality-consolidating-peace <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong>Colombia has the most unequal distribution of land in Latin America, yet equitable access to land is a decisive factor for consolidating peace in Colombia.</strong><br><br>Last week brought good news for the peace process, as <a href="https://colombia.unmissions.org/en/statement-jean-arnault-special-representative-secretary-general-srsg-and-head-un-mission-colombia" rel="nofollow">FARC guerilla soldiers handed over the last of their weapons</a> to the UN mission in Colombia, marking the symbolic end to over 50 years of armed conflict. But progress on other key aspects of the peace agreement is behind schedule, and there is a risk that the process of implementation fails to address the structural causes that gave rise to the conflict, particularly with regard to access to land.</p><h3>Government land reforms</h3><p>To move forward implementation of the peace agreement, the Colombian government is undertaking two legislative initiatives related to agrarian issues. First, in May, the government issued draft legislation on territorial planning, which was revised after receiving <a href="http://www.coljuristas.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Reacciones-Borrador-PL-ordenamiento-social-de-la-propiedad-y-tierras-rurales.pdf" rel="nofollow">strong criticism</a> from civil society organizations, academics, human rights defenders and some government entities, who revealed key gaps in its compliance with the first chapter of the peace agreement on Comprehensive Rural Reform.</p><p>Secondly, the government announced that on July 20 it will present a new Land Law to Congress. Many groups have been insisting that this measure must contribute to solve the structural causes of conflict in the country rather than serve to deepen rural inequality.</p><h3>Shocking inequality in land ownership</h3><p>In order to highlight the challenges that Colombia faces with regard to access to land, Oxfam released a new report, “<a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/research/snapshot-inequality" rel="nofollow">Snapshot of Inequality: what the latest agricultural census reveals about land distribution in Colombia</a>” (en español). This new analysis of microdata from the 2014 census, the first agricultural census carried out in Colombia in 45 years, confirms that Colombia has the highest concentration of landholdings in Latin America. The data analysis shows that the largest one percent of landholdings concentrate 81 percent of land, leaving only 19 percent of land distributed among the remaining 99 percent of farms.</p><p>This inequality has become more extreme over time. In 1970, the largest landholdings (over 500 hectares) occupied a total of 5 million hectares but grew to cover 47 million hectares in 2014, and their average size grew from 1,000 to 5,000 hectares. At the same time, the number of holdings of less than 10 hectares increased, while the area they occupy was reduced.</p><p>The latest census data show that 0.1 percent of farms are now over 2,000 hectares in size and control 60 percent of land, while 81 percent of farms have an average of only 2 hectares and occupy less than 5 percent of land. If the total land area covered by the census, 111.5 million hectares, is divided in half, the largest 704 landholdings cover one half while 2,046,536 occupy the other half. In fact, nearly one million small farms have less land that that available on average to each cow raised on the country’s large cattle ranches.</p><p><img alt="Colombian woman farming. Credit: Oxfam" title="Colombian woman farming. Credit: Oxfam" height="1194" width="1240" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="1" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/mujer_trabajando-1240.jpg" /></p><h3>Women own the least</h3><p>Moreover, women’s essential contribution to agriculture is not matched by their more limited access to land. Only 26 percent of landholdings are run by women, and these tend to be smaller – most are less than 5 hectares -- and have less access to machinery, credit and technical assistance.</p><p>These data are shocking. But it can be difficult for many of us to understand what these numbers mean in reality for rural women and communities. Put simply by Edilia Mendoza, leader of the Colombian Rural Women’s Platform for Policy Advocacy, “<a href="https://politicsofpoverty.oxfamamerica.org/2017/05/the-peace-process-in-colombia-needs-strong-us-support/" rel="nofollow">If we do not have land, we do not have peace</a>.” Therefore, in the context of implementation of the peace agreement, this national platform of organized women in Colombia has put forward proposals to ensure women have greater access to land and to rural development.</p><h3>Redistribution of land is key</h3><p>Carrying through with the commitments on comprehensive rural reform under the peace agreement between the Colombian government and the FARC is essential to address the structural causes of the conflict. It is also necessary to ensure that the existing concentration of land in large, unproductive holdings is not simply replaced by accumulation in large holdings for what are considered to be more productive uses, to generate more foreign exchange revenue. Restitution and redistribution of land must be at the core of agrarian and rural development policy in Colombia.</p><p>With this new analysis on land inequality, Oxfam hopes to contribute to the important debate on the urgent transformations needed in rural areas in Colombia, particularly with regard to land tenure and land use, which are essential for the effective implementation of the peace agreement and for construction of lasting and sustainable peace</p><p><em>This entry posted by <strong>Laura Gómez</strong>, Right to Equality Program Manager, Oxfam in Colombia, and <strong>Stephanie Burgos</strong>, Government Affairs Associate Director for Latin America, Land Rights and Trade, Oxfam America, on 6 July 2017.</em></p><p></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Colombia&#039;s challenge: addressing land inequality and consolidating peace</h2></div> Thu, 06 Jul 2017 15:47:13 +0000 Stephanie Burgos 81131 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/17-07-06-colombias-challenge-addressing-land-inequality-consolidating-peace#comments