Oxfam International Blogs - equality http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/tags/equality en International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia: Time to Say Enough to all forms of violence and discrimination http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/19-05-17-international-day-against-homophobia-transphobia-biphobia-say-enough <div class="field field-name-body"><p><em><strong>Today, 17 May, is the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOBIT), a moment to stand in solidarity with the LGBTQAI+ community to Say Enough to all forms of violence and discrimination.&nbsp;Franc Cortada, Oxfam International Global Program Director, shares a profound and pressing reflection.</strong></em></p><p>As I write these lines, someone, somewhere, is been harassed, discriminated, beaten or is fleeing death because of their Sexual Orientation or their Gender Identity.</p><p>I'm open and upfront about my sexual orientation, unapologetically. But it took me time and support from those around me.</p><p><strong>The void, the threats and insults can break you.</strong></p><p>And yet I’m white, I’m male, I had the opportunity to complete my studies and I hold a position of power within the organization I work for.&nbsp;<span>So, I had it and still have it much easier that many other LGBTIAQ+ colleagues around the world. </span></p><p><strong><span>It takes courage to overcome all these barriers, to just be yourself.</span></strong></p><p>You might be left handed, red-haired or have big feet.</p><p>Now, I want you to close your eyes and imagine for a moment that, because of that particular trait of who you are, you were defined as “non-conformist” and that conditioned your whole life.</p><p><strong>Being lesbian, queer, trans, intersex, asexual or gay</strong> is no different from being born left handed or red-haired: it's just who you are.</p><p>Imagine that “being left handed” limited and determined all aspects of your life: your access to basic rights, your safety and security; your ability to access to a job or education; your ability to fully enjoy love, caring and friendship, to openly express your feelings.</p><p>Imagine that, because of being left handed or red-haired, you had to constantly watch on your back; you had to regularly swallow judgements and insults; making you feel you’re not self-worth; just for being yourself.</p><p>Imagine because of this, you felt ashamed, alienated, you felt unsafe, not welcomed, nor valued, that you had to hide your “self.” Imagine that people described you as defective, abnormal deviate or against nature.</p><p>Imagine you were exposed to bullying, abuse and discrimination at school or workplace, or rejected by your family or community. Imagine being subjected to laws, policies, and practices that labeled you as different—as “less than”.</p><p><strong>Imagine having to fight - over and over again - for the basic rights that your peers enjoy.</strong></p><p>And imagine being systemically oppressed, criminalized, tortured and even being killed…just for being who you are.</p><p>Stigma, stress, hate, depression, fear. Just for being yourself.</p><p><strong>This is a humble plea to each and all of you</strong>: call out and push back on any form of discrimination wherever you see it.</p><p>Be mindful of your own words and acts: comments, jokes, assumptions and prejudgments you make, can cause real harm and distress. And do respect and value people who are different from you: you might be surprised how much joy, learning and friendship you can get from it!!!</p><p>Things are getting better <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-48305708#" rel="nofollow">in many parts of the world</a>, but still <a href="https://twitter.com/oxfam_es/status/1129028867694497793" rel="nofollow">70 countries criminalize</a> consensual same-sex sexual acts between adults, and the list gets longer when we talk about social barriers, same rights and the genuine and full respect to LGBTIAQ+ people.</p><p><strong>Everyone deserves to be who they are, without fear and shame.</strong></p><p><a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23SayEnough&amp;src=typd&amp;lang=en" rel="nofollow">#SayEnough</a> to all forms of violence and discrimination.</p><p><img alt="Love is love animated gif" title="Love is love animated gif" height="480" width="480" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="1" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/giphy1.gif" /></p><p><em>This entry posted 17 May 2019, by Franc Cortada, Oxfam International Global Program Director.</em></p><p><em>Photo: Oxfam Canada staff join the Toronto PRIDE March. Credit: Oxfam</em></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia: Time to Say Enough to all forms of violence and discrimination</h2></div> Fri, 17 May 2019 14:18:32 +0000 Guest Blogger 81969 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/19-05-17-international-day-against-homophobia-transphobia-biphobia-say-enough#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 #TimesUp: No more silence. No more waiting. No more abuse. http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/18-01-19-timesup-no-more-silence-no-more-waiting-no-more-abuse <div class="field field-name-body"><p>In late 2017, women around the world shared their stories of violence. Deeply personal and <a href="https://www.facebook.com/Oxfam/videos/516214442089708/" rel="nofollow">painful storie</a>s were shared under the banner of <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=metoo&amp;src=typd" rel="nofollow">#MeToo</a>. Our collective consciousness was re-ignited – violence is perpetrated against us because we are women, because of gender inequality, because of misogyny. We stood together and exposed the pattern of abuse. At that moment, the scale of violence against women was impossible to ignore.</p><p>However, what was missing from #MeToo was the perpetrators of abuse. We cannot forget that for every story shared, there is a perpetrator. In films, television and newspapers, perpetrators of violence are often presented as imaginary monsters – not the white boy across the road who does well at school and helps his parents. Not the working man who is respected in his community with a wife and kids. Yet some of these men and boys do perpetrate violence – and all too often enjoy impunity.</p><h3>What is #TimesUp</h3><p>The opportunity to hold perpetrators accountable has come with the <a href="https://www.timesupnow.com/" rel="nofollow">#TimesUp movement</a>. Launched at the 75th annual Golden Globes, #TimesUp was created by 300 women actors, agents, writers, directors and executives to fight sexual harassment and violence. <a href="http://www.harpersbazaar.com/culture/film-tv/a14551183/oprah-winfrey-golden-globes-speech-transcript/" rel="nofollow">Oprah Winfrey’s stirring speech</a> at the Golden Globes explained the initiative: "For too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dare speak the truth to the power of those men. But their time is up. Their time is up. Their time is up."</p><h3>Life-saving initiatives, not witch-hunts</h3><p>As the spotlight shines on the perpetrators, they can no longer hide behind the privilege that has for too long been afforded to them by governments and communities and we will inevitably (and have already) hear cries of a witch-hunt.</p><p>Ironically, those crying witch-hunt, in the same breath describe sexual harassment. For example, a <a href="https://www.elle.com.au/celebrity/catherine-deneuve-times-up-witch-hunt-15515" rel="nofollow">letter signed by 100 actors</a>, academics and writers states #MeToo and #TimesUp promote the ‘hatred of men’ also goes onto describe how men are ‘forced out of a job’ for trying to ‘steal a kiss’.</p><p>Trying to steal a kiss in the workplace is sexual harassment.&nbsp; If you have any doubt, then watch this <a href="https://oxfam.facebook.com/thatsharassment/videos/1653469821334026/?hc_ref=ARTJD3459zNwEIJ2MmwShlufRMpulp3I52XZhs1_qHgc_fq7hpkMbq5nPprcbg0IRS4&amp;pnref=story" rel="nofollow">incisive short video</a> from That’s Harassment. I struggle to watch it – the video perfectly captures the power dynamics of sexual violence and that is what makes it such incredibly uncomfortable viewing.</p><p>In addition, cries of witch-hunt often hinge on the behavior being seen as normal and acceptable for men. It is this normalization that we need to challenge and the entitlement that men have over women’s bodies. <a href="https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/337603/What-know-what-knowledge-gaps-D.pdf" rel="nofollow">Multi-country studies</a> have found the most commonly reported motivation for rape perpetration, as reported by men themselves, was related to feeling entitled to have sex, regardless of consent (sexual entitlement).</p><h3>The intersections of gender, race, sexual orientation and poverty</h3><p>#MeToo, #TimesUp and any other movement that demands justice for women and girls who have experienced violence are life-saving initiatives in societies that have for too long protected perpetrators.</p><p>We need only to look at the <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/recy-taylor-dead-black-woman-gang-rape-civil-rights-alabama-white-men-african-american-dies-died-a8132816.html" rel="nofollow">case of Recy Taylor</a>, who was highlighted in Oprah’s speech, to see a devastating example of how male perpetrators have escaped justice.</p><p>In 1944, Recy was raped by six armed white men as she walked home from church. They threatened to kill her if she told anyone, but her story was reported to the NAACP and Rosa Parks became the lead investigator on her case. Oprah poignantly said of Recy’s case ‘But justice wasn't an option in the era of Jim Crow.</p><p>The men who tried to destroy her were never persecuted. Recy Taylor died ten days ago, just shy of her 98th birthday. She lived as we all have lived, too many years in a culture broken by brutally powerful men.’</p><p>Recy’s case demonstrates how race intersects with gender, both in the violence women experience and the justice they will receive. Lesbian and trans women, women living in poverty and women with disabilities also face increased risk of experiencing violence and additional barriers to justice.</p><h3>Oxfam’s work to end violence: #SayEnough</h3><p>In Oxfam, we too are saying times up. Around the world, we are running our campaign <a href="http://www.sayenoughtoviolence.org/" rel="nofollow">Enough: Together We Can End Violence Against Women and Girls</a>. Over 30 countries will eventually launch the campaign, which focuses on challenging the normalisation and acceptability of violence. Like #TimesUp, we support people to stand up and reject violence – wherever it occurs. We also recognize that as in all organizations sexual abuse happens within Oxfam and this urgently needs to change. We are increasing resources and creating more robust policies to tackle sexual violence.</p><p><iframe width="640" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ova_C9v7F90?rel=0" allowfullscreen="" height="360" frameborder="0"></iframe></p><h3>What next?</h3><p>Pulling again from the inspirational speeches at the Global Globes, actor Elisabeth Moss drew a slightly adapted <a href="https://slate.com/arts/2018/01/elisabeth-moss-quotes-margaret-atwood-in-golden-globes-speech.html" rel="nofollow">quote from the Handmaid’s Tale</a>: ‘We no longer live in the blank white spaces at the edge of print. We no longer live in the gaps between the stories. We are the story in print, and we are writing the story ourselves.’</p><p>Let’s remind ourselves why we no longer have to live in the blank spaces, at the edge of print: because of the work of women’s rights activists, who have never given up advocating for an end to violence against women and girls.</p><h3>Speak up, speak out</h3><p>Follow on social media <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=Timesup&amp;src=typd" rel="nofollow">#TimesUp</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=MeToo&amp;src=typd" rel="nofollow">#MeToo</a> and&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=sayenough&amp;src=typd" rel="nofollow">#SayEnough</a> (Oxfam’s worldwide campaign) and get involved – share content and add your voice to conversations to end violence. In addition, find your local women’s rights organization or activist group – donate and get involved!</p><p>If we do this, then just maybe the next generation of women and girls will never have to say #MeToo.</p><p><em>The entry posted by Bethan Cansfield, Oxfam's Head of Enough/BASTA! Campaign to End Violence Against Women and Girls, on 19 January 2018.</em></p><p><em>Photo: Richard Potts<br></em></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>#TimesUp: No more silence. No more waiting. No more abuse.</h2></div> Fri, 19 Jan 2018 15:13:03 +0000 Bethan Cansfield 81360 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/18-01-19-timesup-no-more-silence-no-more-waiting-no-more-abuse#comments The women challenging gender discrimination and violence in rural China http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/16-12-07-women-challenging-gender-discrimination-and-violence-rural-china <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong>‘I used to see my husband as superior to me, but now I know we are equals</strong>,’ Jing Xiufang, the leader of a local grassroots women’s organization, said, “and women have the right to pursue their own goals and work.”</p> <h3>Discrimination and violence</h3> <p>Although women’s rights and gender equality are written in the constitutions and laws in China, discrimination against women is still prevalent in rural villages. For example, unlike men, married women are deprived of their entitlements; their land is often withdrawn or occupied by others after marriage.</p> <p>Many rural women also experience domestic violence, but divorce is not an option because their families are unable to support them if they leave their husbands.</p> <p>Weddings, funerals, and various other ceremonies and customs in villages all reinforce the idea that men have ‘more value’ than women. Therefore, giving birth to a baby boy is highly expected in rural families, pressuring women, and meaning daughters are often neglected. Challenging these beliefs is tremendously difficult due to vested interests and long-practised customs – but local grassroots women’s organizations are taking on this challenge!</p> <h3>Women challenging the status quo</h3> <p>As the leader of the rural women’s grassroots organization, Xiufang helps rural women call for change to traditional village rules and regulations; Zhoushan Village was the first village in the country to successfully enhance the gender sensitivity of village regulations. Clauses safeguarding the entitlement to village welfare for divorced or widowed women were also incorporated into the regulations.</p> <p>Since the success of Zhoushan Village, a wave of change has swept across villages and provinces in China, bringing about more gender sensitive regulations; this has also transformed national policies.</p> <h3>Spreading change</h3> <p>Now, Xiufang and members of the rural women’s grassroots organization share their experience of changing village rules and regulations with other villages. They also showcase their talent and have initiated innovative activities, including local dramas, holding weddings and funerals that respect both women and men, and showcasing murals and embroidery to educate the public about the implementation of gender sensitive rules and regulations.</p> <p><em>This entry posted by the Gender Justice team at Oxfam Hong Kong, on 7 December 2016.</em></p> <p><em>Photos:</em></p> <ul><li><em>Members of the rural women’s grassroots organization share their experiences.</em></li> <li><em>Jing Xiufang, the leader of a local grassroots women’s organization.</em></li> </ul><h3>What you can do now</h3> <ul><li>Organize and speak out in your communities.</li> <li>Watch and share our #SayEnough campaign video:</li> </ul><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ova_C9v7F90?rel=0" width="640" height="360" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> </div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>The women challenging gender discrimination and violence in rural China</h2></div> Wed, 07 Dec 2016 13:57:33 +0000 Guest Blogger 72600 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/16-12-07-women-challenging-gender-discrimination-and-violence-rural-china#comments Stories of underdevelopment http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/14-10-29-stories-underdevelopment <div class="field field-name-body"><p><img alt="Juan Tadeo" height="168" width="200" style="border-width: 0px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: right;" class="media-element file-default" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/juan.jpg" /><em>This post, <strong><a href="http://juantadeo.wordpress.com/2014/10/16/blogactionday-desigualdad/" rel="nofollow">written by Juan Tadeo</a></strong>, is one of three winners of the <strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/action/lets-talk-about-inequality-join-blog-action-day-2014" rel="nofollow">Blog Action Day 2014</a></strong> competition, a movement supported by Oxfam and <strong><a href="http://globalvoicesonline.org/" rel="nofollow">Global Voices</a></strong>, among other organizations. Juan Tadeo is an independent blogger based in Mexico. He blogs about justice, politics, transparency and sometimes music and football to make it all bearable. He joined Global Voices in 2011, but <strong><a href="http://juantadeo.wordpress.com/" rel="nofollow">has his own blog</a></strong>. </em></p> <p>Mexico, a country where the local police illegally take away the freedom of young protesters and hand them over to organized crime (Ayotzinapa); where the army takes away civilians' lives in brutal circumstances (Tlatlaya) without any senior public servant giving an explanation for the events. A country which, in 2015, will see the president take delivery of a new Boeing 787 <em>Dreamliner</em> with a commercial value (with no special equipment) of approximately US $257.1 million, while <strong><a href="http://www.coneval.gob.mx/Medicion/PublishingImages/Pobreza%202012/CUADRO%201_POBREZA_2012_CON_COMBUSTIBLE.jpg" rel="nofollow">half the population lives in poverty</a></strong>, according to official figures.</p> <h3>Francisco and Abelarda</h3> <p>Mexico is the setting for these stories. The country that sees the coexistence of an individual like Carlos Slim, who has several times been named the <strong><a href="http://juantadeo.wordpress.com/2012/03/08/carlos-slim-is-the-richest-man-on-earth-forbes-mexicans-live-in-poverty/" title="Carlos Slim is the richest man on Earth (Forbes)" rel="nofollow">richest man on the planet</a></strong>, and another such as <strong>Francisco</strong>, who has no home to live in or even roof to sleep under, which is why he sleeps on a bench in broad daylight, at one of the many public transport stations in the Mexican capital.</p> <p>Other people, such as <strong>Abelarda</strong>, are living in poverty like Francisco. Many of them suffer from ancestral poverty, which afflicts millions of Mexicans, and are particularly vulnerable due to alcoholism or other addictions. They have virtually no possibility of receiving treatment from the public health services (which are allegedly universal, according to the federal government's claims) or of being helped to overcome their current situation.</p> <p>Abelarda does not sleep while Francisco sleeps; she eats some food that she was able to retrieve from the bin, seated on a bridge that leads to a Metro station. Afterwards, she asks people to help her with a few coins to buy a “little atole” to drink.</p> <h3>Guadalupe</h3> <p><strong>Guadalupe</strong> is a woman of around 50 years of age who arrived in Mexico City from Guerrero several decades ago. She does not live in poverty; she has other problems. Of her four daughters, three are single mothers and the other is married to a man who works for a cleaning services company and <strong><a href="http://juantadeo.wordpress.com/2014/08/04/salario-minimo-en-mexico-2014/" title="What use is the minimum wage in Mexico?" rel="nofollow">receives the minimum wage</a></strong>. Guadalupe already has nine grandchildren, one of whom is disabled and requires special care. In order to take him to the private charity center (public health services are not an option for him) Guadalupe has to take two buses, the Metro and a trolley bus, three times a week.</p> <p>After getting on the trolley bus (which did not approach the pavement or allow passengers to board in the designated area) with her daughter and grandson, Guadalupe notices a look of contempt given to her grandson by some of the passengers. Nobody offered them a seat so that they could travel to their destination more comfortably.</p> <h3>Íñigo and Romina</h3> <p><strong>Íñigo and Romina</strong> are also Mexican, but their situation is different from that of Guadalupe, Abelarda and Francisco. They each have a place to live and never use public transport. Though they enjoy good health, the public services are not an option for them either, since when they need medical attention they are treated at Grupo Ángeles hospitals. Íñigo's father is a public servant within the legislature, where he has been paid a salary for three terms, representing two different political parties. Romina is the daughter of a single mother who has achieved a reasonable amount of success in the world of finance.</p> <p>Although they have not been in a relationship for very long, they have decided that they will never have children. Íñigo hopes to secure a study grant to do an <em>MBA</em> in England, while Romina has not decided what career path to follow. She is in no hurry.</p> <p>For them, the rain and bad weather are only a concern on days like 11 and 12 October 2014, when they went to the <strong><a href="http://juantadeo.wordpress.com/2014/10/09/corona-capital-2014-music-festival/" rel="nofollow">Capital festival</a></strong> after paying 1,878 pesos (US $139) each, equivalent to 27 days of the minimum wage, not including delivery costs, 100 pesos for parking and around 700 pesos spent on beer and food. They decided not to buy <em>VIP</em> tickets, saying “they are overpriced”. As he was leaving the event on Sunday 12, a taxi driver nearly ran Íñigo over, shouting “stuck-up bastard!” before continuing on his way at excessive speed.</p> <h3>Pizarrón and Pizarrín</h3> <p>In the midst of inequality, there are some people with a sense of humour. <strong>Pizarrón and Pizarrín</strong> are young men who live in Xochimilco, in southern Mexico City. They have left school because they each have to support their family financially. Pizarrín wanted to be an architect, but for now the only things he is involved in designing are the jokes that he and his companion tell on board the minibuses that travel to the city centre, in exchange for a few pesos from passengers.</p> <p>When they take off their make-up and baggy clothes, these two young men are discriminated against because of their sexual preferences, and whenever they show their affection in public they get disapproving looks from people, at best; on one occasion they were beaten up by a group of (allegedly drunk) university students on a Metro station platform. When the police arrived, one of the officers said to his colleague: “Be careful with the blood, partner, because they probably have AIDS”.</p> <p>Poverty in Mexico is no laughing matter. It is an economic problem with profound social consequences, such as discrimination and violence, which only lead to crime and impunity. In this blog, <strong>we are fighting for the creation of public policies to tackle poverty as a priority</strong> based on a high-quality, fully inclusive educational model, seeking to <strong>combat inequality and classism</strong> among Mexicans. These policies must, of course, be coherent with an effective system of accountability to which all public servants are bound.</p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Stories of underdevelopment</h2></div><ul class="links inline"><li class="translation_es first"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/blogs/14-10-29-cr%C3%B3nicas-del-subdesarrollo" title="Crónicas del subdesarrollo" class="translation-link" xml:lang="es">Español</a></li> <li class="translation_fr last"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/blogs/14-10-29-chroniques-du-sous-d%C3%A9veloppement" title="Chroniques du sous-développement" class="translation-link" xml:lang="fr">Français</a></li> </ul> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 00:00:00 +0000 Karina Brisby 23244 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/14-10-29-stories-underdevelopment#comments Beyond the Headcount: Transformative Leadership for Women’s Rights http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/14-05-23-beyond-headcount-transformative-leadership-womens-rights <div class="field field-name-body"><p><em><strong>“Women’s leadership is a fundamental part of Oxfam’s work</strong>, and our commitment to putting women’s rights at the heart of all we do. As an organization, we use our influence and leadership to change unjust power relations. This new guide on <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/policy/transformative-leadership-womens-rights-oxfam-guide" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>Transformative Leadership for Women’s Rights</strong></a> articulates and clarifies Oxfam’s position on how to advance gender justice by cultivating leadership that creates lasting, sustainable transformation for increased women’s rights. This guide will underpin Oxfam’s work, and provide a tool for reflection so that we ‘walk the talk’ on leadership and gender justice within our own organizational culture.”</em> - Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director, Oxfam International </p> <p>Women’s inclusion in <strong><a href="http://www.intrac.org/blog.php/54/itacirceurotrades-almost-all-about-leadership?utm_source=It%27s+%28almost%29+all+about+leadership+-+New+blog+post&amp;utm_campaign=Blog_update_leadership&amp;utm_medium=email" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">leadership</a></strong> is a popular issue. Governments debate how many parliamentary seats to allocate to women; <a href="http://www.mars.com/global/press-center/press-list/news-releases.aspx?SiteId=94&amp;Id=5392" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>companies invest in women</strong></a> so that they can expand their consumer market or improve growth; and articles abound on how <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/07/why-women-still-cant-have-it-all/309020/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>women can rise to leadership positions</strong></a> in the context of pervasive sexism and care responsibilities in their homes.</p> <h3><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/policy/transformative-leadership-womens-rights-oxfam-guide" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"></a>Rights and equality</h3> <p>There are many motivations for encouraging women’s inclusion in leadership. Some believe that women have a right to participate in the political, social and economic decisions that shape their lives. Others believe that women leaders will be more likely to create certain kinds of change, though <a href="http://www.thecrimson.com/column/material-girl/article/2014/4/15/Harvard-serious-woman/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>this has been debated</strong></a>. For many NGOs, Oxfam included, leadership (whether practiced by men, women, boys or girls) must promote equality and justice by transforming unequal power relations – such as the power inequality caused when women have fewer rights.</p> <p>Especially in the world of development specialists, it is critical to understand how certain kinds of leadership can bring about change. A marginalized person who is put into a position of power might well <a href="http://pdxscholar.library.pdx.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1015&amp;context=comm_fac" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>continue to face marginalization</strong></a>, or might not use that power to fight on behalf of others who have faced similar challenges. Of course, not all women stand for women’s rights. Not all leaders fight for equality, and when they do, they aren’t necessarily heard.</p> <h3>Transformation and change</h3> <p>That’s why Oxfam is investing in an approach called ‘<a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/policy/transformative-leadership-womens-rights-oxfam-guide" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>Transformative Leadership for Women’s Rights</strong></a>’ (TLWR). This is based on the idea that when men and women are leaders in a way that embodies human rights, gender equality, participation, consultation, and respect for dignity, they are able to create transformative, lasting, sustainable change.</p> <p>We have developed a guide that outlines, for our staff and partners, what TLWR means, and how it links to the promotion of women’s rights and gender justice. In order to transform gender inequality, we must go beyond addressing the number of women in the room, or the headcount of women in positions of power.</p> <h3>Leadership and power</h3> <p>Transformation will only happen with a significant change within us, within our work, and our organizational culture; and the way we think collectively and individually about leadership, and organizational structure, and inclusion. TLWR challenges and transforms power relations and structures (in all its different manifestations) to create an enabling environment for the leadership potential of individuals. The guide gives examples and case studies to explain how to apply these concepts in practical terms.</p> <p>Adopting TLWR within our programs and policies is complex, but possible. It requires an analysis of the ways that various dimensions of identity (including gender) and marginalization affect access to and expressions of leadership. It’s time to recognize that the ‘<a href="http://strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pubs/parameters/articles/2011spring/dharmapuri.pdf" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>add women and stir</strong></a>’ approach to, the inclusion of women in leadership (whether in development, government, private sector, security, etc.) is not going to achieve gender justice and women’s rights. We must change the way we think about leadership and power, and apply those lessons to our lives and to our work. Only then will we be the transformation we want to see in the world.</p> <h3>You may also like</h3> <p><strong>More on <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/about/issues/gender" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Oxfam's work on gender justice</a></strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/about/issues/gender" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"></a></p> <p><strong>Briefing for Business: <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/policy/gender-equality-your-business" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Gender Equality: It’s Your Business</a></strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/policy/gender-equality-your-business" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"></a></p> <p><strong>Check out our <a href="http://pinterest.com/oxfaminternatl/women-and-gender-equality/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Women and gender equality Pinterest board</a></strong></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Beyond the Headcount: Transformative Leadership for Women’s Rights</h2></div> Fri, 23 May 2014 11:19:09 +0000 Chloe Safier 10679 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/14-05-23-beyond-headcount-transformative-leadership-womens-rights#comments Women's participation in politics in Haiti: many reasons for the struggle http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/14-01-16-womens-participation-politics-haiti-many-reasons-struggle <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong>“Why… Why fight such a painful battle if at the end of the day I can bring no real change to the lives of my fellow citizens?”</strong></p> <p>This was the thorny question posed to me by Michelle, a female community leader during a workshop on power relations in the city of Ouanaminthe in northeastern Haiti. There were more than fifty female community leaders present. In this region of the country ‘politics runs in people’s blood' and those taking part had resolved not to participate on the fringes, but to stand as candidates in their own right. In 2010, dozens of women stood for election to political office at various levels.</p> <h3>A long list of challenges</h3> <p>Before delving into my response to Michelle’s question, it’s important to understand how Michelle describes herself and her role in her community. For Michelle, this was about conceiving the source of her power as a woman in a <strong>patriarchal and male chauvinist society</strong>; as a rural woman of modest income in a <strong>political system where power is strongly centralized</strong>; as a citizen in a <strong>corrupt and dense political environment</strong> where political power is obtained by means of purchasing votes; as a Haitian in a country where political and economic decisions seem to be <strong>dictated from the outside</strong>; the list of challenges would go on.</p> <p>Michelle campaigns in a grassroots organization in the area of Carice, in the northeastern region of the country. This is an organization that works with political and community leaders to implement their development plan for their area and enhance local resources, all while taking into account the needs of women and youth. Michelle was elected in 2006 as a member of the city council in her hometown. She still holds this political position in addition to her economic and family responsibilities.</p> <h3>Women in politics – a waste of time?</h3> <p>About fifty passionate hearts were awaiting my response to Michelle’s question. For a second or so, I panicked. What if participation in politics was indeed a waste of time for the women in Haiti? As a group leader, I could provide an analysis of the political environment, help prioritize what to do and determine ways to participate in spite of these challenges. But the answer to this fundamental question <strong>“why in spite of all?”</strong> was beyond my reach and these women knew that. My hesitation worked in my favor as in the minutes that followed I came to understand that the answer is and must be from them.</p> <p><strong>“That is what they wanted to hear from us,”</strong> said a young female participant. “That we have more noble and constructive things to do as women, that our children need our time, that our aging parents need our loving care, that the sick need our presence and comfort. But what will happen if at the end of the day, we, women and young people realize that we are not carrying out our responsibilities as citizens?”</p> <h3>A battle worth waging because…</h3> <ul><li><strong>“Because we exist and have the right to work for a better future</strong> for others and for ourselves,” another woman chimed in.</li> <li><strong>“Because we are citizens</strong> like everyone else and the result of our absence is up to now unsatisfactory. Those who are in power are not better than us.”</li> <li><strong>“Because we must prove that we exist.”</strong></li> <li><strong>“Because we are the alternative.”</strong></li> <li><strong>“Because we have potential</strong> like the others, and our community needs us.”</li> <li><strong>“We are already women in power</strong> because, to be here, to advocate in organizations we have fought and overcome numerous obstacles. We play our part, in spite of everything…”</li> </ul><p>While I was listening to their comments, I realized once again that <strong>the commonly held belief that women do not want to take part in politics is a myth.</strong> All they want is the proper space to exercise their leadership, an environment that allows them to keep their self-confidence, and the possibility to be certain they can and will create profound change for their community.</p> <h3>Leadership and solidarity in the earthquake's aftermath</h3> <p>This exchange between the women about their power reminded me of what I witnessed in the aftermath of the January 12, 2010 catastrophe. While the situation seemed chaotic and the outcome somewhat dark, <strong>the women and men of Haiti demonstrated great leadership</strong> in organizing the first emergency response, the first acts of solidarity.</p> <p>This momentum of getting involved at the beginning led to more civic engagement. In fact, hundreds of groups of men and women were convinced they could contribute to a real and equitable reconstruction in Haiti.</p> <h3>A responsible and active citizenry</h3> <p>In early 2013, as external assistance dwindled, the most tangible aspects of Oxfam’s support remained:</p> <ul><li>The empowered grassroots teams which continued to claim the <strong>right to decent housing</strong>;</li> <li>The women who organized to stand up for their <strong>right to participate</strong>;</li> <li>Those who take part in the efforts to <strong>prepare their community for other possible natural disasters</strong>;</li> <li>The young men and women committed to <strong>fighting violence against women</strong> and for a safe environment for women and girls.</li> </ul><p>These young men and women have managed to keep fighting for the sustainable change desired by all in Haiti.</p> <p><strong>To encourage a responsible and active citizenry in Haiti</strong> means to invest in an inclusive and transparent system of governance, based upon the fundamental belief that all men and women have the right to shape their future.</p> <h3>You may also like</h3> <p><strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/haiti-earthquake" rel="nofollow">Haiti earthquake: 4 years later</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/about/issues/gender" rel="nofollow">Why we include Gender Justice in all aspects of our work</a></strong></p> <p><strong>Read our #16Days wrap-up where we ask: <a href="http://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/13-12-20-what-will-it-take-end-violence-against-women-and-girls">What will it take to end violence against women and girls?</a></strong></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Women&#039;s participation in politics in Haiti: many reasons for the struggle</h2></div><ul class="links inline"><li class="translation_fr first last"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/blogs/14-01-13-participation-femmes-politique-haiti-multiples-raisons-combat" title="Participation des femmes en politique en Haïti : les multiples raisons d&#039;un combat" class="translation-link" xml:lang="fr">Français</a></li> </ul> Thu, 16 Jan 2014 19:06:26 +0000 Marie Soudnie 10572 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/14-01-16-womens-participation-politics-haiti-many-reasons-struggle#comments Day 6: Gender Equality: It’s smart and it’s right http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/12-12-17-day-6-gender-equality-smart-and-right <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong><em>While farming is increasingly reliant on women’s labour, women’s lack of secure land tenure severely limits their influence over farming decisions. Closing the gender gap in land rights would increase productivity and total output. And it would help women exercise their rights as citizens.</em></strong></p> <p><em>By Madiodio Niasse, Secretariat Director, <a href="http://www.landcoalition.org/" rel="nofollow"><strong>International Land Coalition</strong></a> (ILC) </em></p> <p>Women provide a significant share of agricultural labour in developing countries: <strong><a href="http://www.fao.org/docrep/013/i2050e/i2050e.pdf" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">FAO</a></strong> says 43 per cent, <strong><a href="http://www.unwomen.org.au/LiteratureRetrieve.aspx?ID=81467" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">UNIFEM</a></strong> says 60–80 per cent. These figures, although sometimes debated, are a plausible illustration of reality and are part of a trend towards the increasing feminisation of farm labour. </p> <p>This trend is likely to continue and even accelerate as a result of a higher proportion of male outmigration, coupled with the high incidence of diseases such as HIV/AIDS. An increasing number of widows and female orphans will become heads of farm households and the main providers of family farm labour. </p> <p>Women’s increasingly central role in agricultural production is at odds with their still limited access to secure tenure rights over the land they farm. FAO and UNIFEM estimate that fewer than five per cent of women in the developing world have access to secure land rights, with significant differences from country to country. Where women enjoy secure tenure rights, farm sizes tend to be much smaller than is the case for farmland controlled by men. </p> <h3><em>“Women’s increasingly central role in agricultural production is at odds with their still limited access to secure tenure rights over the land they farm.”</em></h3> <p>In Burkina Faso and Benin, a <strong><a href="http://econ.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/EXTDEC/EXTRESEARCH/EXTWDRS/EXTWDR2012/0,,contentMDK:22999750~menuPK:8154981~pagePK:64167689~piPK:64167673~theSitePK:7778063,00.html" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">World Bank study</a></strong> found that the average sizes of women’s land holdings were just 12.5 per cent and 50 per cent, respectively, of men’s holdings.</p> <p>If tenure security is achieved when community or individual rights over land are publicly recognised and rights holders are protected against arbitrary deprivation and enjoy the economic benefits attached to their land rights, then tenure security is a social construct whose meaning varies depending on socio-cultural contexts. </p> <p>Therefore, the effectiveness of means (legal and otherwise) for guaranteeing tenure security depends on the context. Land ownership can be a means of achieving tenure security, but it is rarely a sufficient condition or the only way of securing land rights.</p> <p>While the agriculture sector is increasingly reliant on women’s labour, women’s influence over farming decisions is limited due to their lack of land tenure security. This is why closing the gender gap in access to secure land rights makes good sense from an economic standpoint, as well as from the perspectives of social justice and human rights.</p> <p>Increased productivity and total output of the agricultural sector would be one of the more direct and tangible results of closing this gender gap, as equitable access to land is strongly associated with improved efficiency in the farming sector. Security of tenure contributes significantly to creating the incentives needed for increased agricultural investments, which leads in turn to higher productivity.  </p> <p>The 2011 Foresight report gives an example from Burkina Faso, where the productivity of female-managed plots was 30 per cent lower than that of male-managed plots, primarily because labour and fertiliser were more intensively applied on men’s plots. </p> <p>Women’s lack of control over land is compounded by the obstacles they face in the various segments of the agricultural value chain – access to input services, extension services, processing, markets, etc. </p> <p>FAO argues that closing the gender gap in agriculture would increase average crop yields some 20–30 per cent on women’s lands, equivalent to a 2.5-4 per cent increase in domestic food production, and a 10–20 per cent decrease in the number of undernourished people worldwide (100–150 million out of 950 million people). </p> <p>Evidence from around the world shows that when women have more influence over economic decisions (as is the case when they have secure land rights), their families allocate more of their incomes to food, health, education, children’s clothing, and children’s nutrition.</p> <h3><em>“Achieving gender equality in land ownership would empower women and give them greater influence over the way that land is used.”</em></h3> <p>Addressing the gender disparities in land access would also help improve rural women’s social inclusion and identity. Having a land title often means having a physical address and thus access to birth certificates, identity cards, and voting documents, all of which are indispensable if women are to exercise their citizens’ rights and take part in debates on issues of common interest. </p> <p>Achieving gender equality in land ownership would empower women and give them greater influence over the way that land is used (what, when, and how to produce) and how farm products are used or disposed of. </p> <p>The current inequities in land access also raise a human rights issue. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognises the right to property for all. This includes the right to land, which is the most important physical asset in poor agrarian economies. The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) calls for equal rights of both spouses in terms of the ownership, acquisition, management, administration, enjoyment, and disposition of household property (Article 16).</p> <p>In addition to international norms calling for fairer gender allocation of resources–examples include the already cited CEDAW but also the recently adopted Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests–many governments have adopted land-related laws which often have progressive provisions for addressing gender inequities. According to the <strong><a href="http://progress.unwomen.org" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">World Bank</a></strong>, 115 out of 124 countries studied specifically recognise women’s and men’s property rights on equal terms.</p> <h3><em>“Many governments have adopted land-related laws which often have progressive provisions for addressing gender inequities.”</em></h3> <p>Why then are we not seeing broad-based rapid progress? Part of the answer lies in the fact that the cultural, religious, and social norms and beliefs that confine women to secondary decision-making roles are among what <strong><a href="http://www.ifo.de/portal/pls/portal/docs/1/1193608.PDF" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Roland</a></strong> calls “slow-moving institutions” that contain and delay social change. Gender disparities in other key areas such as education and reproductive health also prevent women from fully benefiting from the opportunities created by progressive land policies, where these are adopted. </p> <p>Even in contexts where there are well-intentioned policy-makers, the number of practical, low-cost, and culturally acceptable means of addressing gender inequities in the allocation of key productive assets such as land is limited. </p> <p>A number of promising innovations for improving women’s access to land are being tested. For example, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Colombia, Peru, and Nicaragua have introduced joint land titling for spouses. In Nepal, a tax emption (of 10 per cent in 2008, subsequently increased to 25–40 per cent) helped raise the number of households reporting women’s access to land ownership from 11 per cent in 2001 to 35 per cent in 2009. </p> <p>These measures are, however, more relevant in contexts of state-led redistributive land reform processes than in contexts of market-led reforms. Where an open land market exists, the risk of widening gender inequalities in land access can be reduced by establishing land funds or land banks (as in Colombia or Nicaragua), which provide financial support to women to purchase land or to pay land title registration fees. </p> <h3><em>“Addressing gender inequalities is also an obligation in pursuing the fulfilment of fundamental civil and political rights”</em></h3> <p>These measures are seldom envisaged without strong pressure for change, starting with efforts to raise the awareness of decision-makers and the general public on the rationale for, and benefits of, achieving gender justice in land access. Targeted land literacy (focusing on the land-related laws and institutions) can help women better understand their land rights. </p> <p>Support for women’s land claims, strengthened women’s roles in land rights movements, and keeping land issues high on the agenda of the most influential global women’s organisations are all areas where organisations like mine, the International Land Coalition, have a key role to play in the future.</p> <p>Addressing gender inequalities in access to secure land rights is justified from an economic point of view–the 2012 World Development Report refers to this need as “smart economics”. It is also an obligation in pursuing the fulfilment of fundamental civil and political rights, as well as social and economic rights. </p> <p>A better understanding of intra-household resource allocation and governance, as well as documentation of good practices, could help serve as the basis for more relevant, better targeted, and more easily implementable policies and laws. Academic institutions, development agencies, and civil society advocacy organisations all have a key role to play.</p> Download: <strong><a href="http://blogs.oxfam.org/sites/blogs.oxfam.org/files/gender-equality-smart-right-niasse-dec2012.pdf" target="_blank">Gender Equality: It’s smart and it’s right</a></strong></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Day 6: Gender Equality: It’s smart and it’s right</h2></div><ul class="links inline"><li class="translation_es first"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/blogs/12-12-17-dia-6-la-igualdad-acertada-y-justa" title="Día 6: La igualdad de género: acertada y justa" class="translation-link" xml:lang="es">Español</a></li> <li class="translation_fr last"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/blogs/12-12-17-jour-6-egalite-entre-hommes-femmes-intelligente-et-juste" title="Jour 6 : C’est judicieux et c’est juste" class="translation-link" xml:lang="fr">Français</a></li> </ul> Sun, 16 Dec 2012 23:02:00 +0000 Dr. Madiodio Niasse 10155 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/12-12-17-day-6-gender-equality-smart-and-right#comments Globalisation of Resistance: Taking to the Streets - ‘Jin, Jiyan, Azadi’ ('Women, Life, Freedom') http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blog/12-04-25-globalisation-resistance-taking-streets-jin-jiyan-azadi-women-life-freedom <div class="field field-name-body"><p><em>Jameen wraps up our 2012 <strong><a href="http://awid.org/" rel="nofollow">AWID International Forum on Women’s Rights in Development</a></strong> coverage with this inspiring entry!</em></p> <p><strong>The word "courage" comes from the Latin word ‘cuer’ meaning heart. Courage translates to possessing the confidence "to lay bare your vulnerability and speak from the heart."</strong></p> <p>Over 2,200 bodies are first hand witnesses to courage, being present at the <strong><a href="http://www.forum.awid.org/forum12/" rel="nofollow">AWID forum</a></strong>. At times, when listening to the realities and experiences of women and girls from their diverse lands/homes, our hearts have been left sore and our insides aching as we heard the scale and magnitude of the vicious impact of hardship: of militarization, violence - in all of its many and inseparable forms – land grabs, the financial crisis, the gambling of women's livelihoods, the holding hostage of <a href="http://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blog/12-04-11-hunger-real-economic-crisis"><strong>food security</strong></a> for a billion people (the majority of whom, as we know, are women and children), the further deepening and exacerbating of poverty.</p> <p></p> <p>Other times we have marvelled at the ingenuity and the innovation - how women and girls are working to mobilise their communities and each other, to overcome the historic inequalities and discrimination they face on a daily basis. For example, the street art (pictured left) used to stand in solidarity with Samira Ibrahim, a 25 year old woman who took the Egyptian government to court after she was forced to have a ‘virginity’ test conducted by government forces, when she was arrested for her peaceful campaigning during the Arab Spring.</p> <p>Slogans commending Samira’s strength destigmatised the taboo and shame - weapons which often hold women and their communities captive, and consequent in perpetrators of the violence/abuse escaping accountability – appeared not just in Cairo but across walls and public spaces throughout Egypt. </p> <p>"We will go back to our own lives, but stronger," says Female Food Hero Mandiwe. "Stronger knowing that there are many other dadas ['sisters' in Swahili] like us working for justice in villages, towns, cities across the world. The change must start with women ourselves", adds Female Food Hero Ester. We must first appreciate what we do and value ourselves for our contribution."</p> <p>The need for women to feel entitled to take time for self care was raised at the forum several times. Women, especially, are giving each and every second of the day. In many cases there is simply no time for their own needs. "Women are often the first to wake up in households, the last to eat (if there is food left over) and the last to sleep when night finally arrives," explained Lucia, a professionally trained counsellor on trauma.</p> <h3>Poverty, violence and conflict</h3> <p>Poverty, violence, and conflict have horrific short and long term consequences in the lives of women, which they often bear in silence, unsupported, alone. "We need practical government policies and programmes that deal with abuse and violence against women," demands Ester. "In the case of domestic violence, governments acknowledging it exists is not enough, we need real action against the men who inflict this violence."</p> <p>The closing session attempted to encapsulate the complexity and the diversity of the many issues that are interrelated, and influence women’s right to Economic Justice at the family, community, national and global level. It was agreed that the notion of ‘self care’ had to become a political strategy which would feed and nurture women’s abilities to resist and be resilient. Women and girls’ <a href="http://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blog/12-04-23-power-access-resources"><strong>access to resources</strong></a> – land, food and education must be democratised. Women must be heard and be able to exercise the right to use their voice. Female Food Hero Anna speaks for Masai women: "Masai women are often invisible - even to themselves. The majority of Masai women do not even know they have rights." Her comments from our first day’s discussions echo within me.</p> "We are not here to accompany, we are here to claim." <p>Francisca Rodriguez, feminist, politician and founder of the National Association for Rural and Indigenous Women in Chile (<strong><a href="http://www.anamuri.cl/" rel="nofollow">ANAMURI</a></strong>), says that women 'face double exploitation'. "Not only are we exploited but we are also oppressed by the dominant culture. The struggle for land rights is dominated by men. Spaces in the struggle for land resistance, even within Viva Campesina were not open to us.</p> <p>"The leadership in this struggle was headed by men, which believed that we women were merely there to ‘accompany’ the struggle, not lead. We changed this. We conquered spaces that were previously closed to us, we called for our equal rights, we refused to support the discussions that had no women’s participation. The struggle for land rights must have women at the forefront; in leadership. Women’s rights must be included if land rights are to be a reality for all of us. Only rights can stop wrongs."</p> Returning back into the ‘real world’ and next steps <p>Professor Radhika Balakrishnan stated that we must 'create a globalisation of resistance'. "We need to connect with other movements to transform economic power. The financial crisis of 2008 exposed the fragility of the world; it exploded the consequences for everyone, not just the economic crisis, but the crisis of ideas. We have to fill the vacuum of the crisis of ideas that the ‘big boys’ have created.</p> <p></p> <p>"We need to transform the system, transform ourselves. We need to take our movement to the streets, beyond the boundaries of discussion papers, reports and written articles, to challenge the hegemonic world that divides north and south from each other. We are facing an economic battle. It is important that when we speak of the victories of the Arab Spring, we must not forget the ongoing struggle our Palestinian sisters and brothers face." </p> <p>After these words were spoken, a sea of women and girls rose up and the Halic Centre was electric with the air of all that was possible. Banners and placards were gathered and buses awaited to take our voices to the streets. The raw honesty, celebration and solidarity of the women and girls stopped trams, buses and cars. Many onlookers from shops, apartment balconies came down to join the singing, dancing and chanting of the movement crying 'Jin, Jiyan, Azadi' - 'Women, Life, Freedom' - transcending and transforming beyond–the heart of Istanbul.</p> <h3>Read more</h3> <p><strong>Blog: <a href="http://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blog/12-04-05-transforming-economic-power-advance-women-rights-justice">Belief is everything: 'I have always believed I could be a leader.'</a></strong></p> <p><strong>Blog: <a href="http://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blog/12-04-23-power-access-resources">Oxfam and partners at AWID: 'Power is access to resources.'</a></strong></p> <p><em>You can support women like Mandiwe by joining <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/grow/signup" rel="nofollow"><strong>Oxfam's GROW campaign</strong></a> to fix the global food system.</em></p> <p><em>To dive deeper into international gender and development issues, check out latest <a href="http://www.genderanddevelopment.org/index.asp?" rel="nofollow"><strong>Gender &amp; Development Journal</strong></a>.</em></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Globalisation of Resistance: Taking to the Streets - ‘Jin, Jiyan, Azadi’ (&#039;Women, Life, Freedom&#039;)</h2></div><ul class="links inline"><li class="translation_es first"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/blog/12-04-27-globalizar-la-lucha-jin-jiyan-azadi-mujeres-vida-libertad" title="Globalizar la lucha: &quot;Jin, Jiyan, Azadi&quot; (Mujeres. Vida. Libertad)" class="translation-link" xml:lang="es">Español</a></li> <li class="translation_fr last"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/blog/12-05-01-forum-awid-mondialiser-resistance-message-droits-femmes-vie-liberte" title="Mondialiser la résistance et porter le message dans la rue : « femmes, vie, liberté » !" class="translation-link" xml:lang="fr">Français</a></li> </ul> Wed, 25 Apr 2012 13:17:50 +0000 Jameen Kaur 9828 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blog/12-04-25-globalisation-resistance-taking-streets-jin-jiyan-azadi-women-life-freedom#comments Belief is everything: ‘I have always believed I could be a leader.’ http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blog/12-04-22-belief-is-everything-i-have-always-believed-i-could-be-leader <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong>"Before I entered the <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/grow/video/2012/female-food-heroes-tanzania" rel="nofollow">Female Food Hero competition</a> I had never been outside Tanzania, however I have always believed I could be a leader.</strong> I believe I have leadership qualities," explains Mandiwe in an interview conducted by a journalist writing for the Hurriyet newspaper, one of Turkey’s leading national newspapers.</p> <p>Mandiwe continues, "My family and village people had to spend our money on kerosene, if we wanted to have lighting. That was before I won the solar panels in the female food hero competition. Now we can save that money and buy food, and other resources.</p> <h3>Respect changes lives</h3> <p>"Being a competition winner has awarded me a lot of respect from the men folk in my village. They now want me to train their wives, they ask for my advice on village matters. I have even been elected to be a member on the vulnerable children and village environment committee. It makes me very proud and happy that I can contribute to the improvement of my family and that of my village people and district."</p> <p>Ester, also a Female Food Hero winner, agrees that she is now granted greater visibility for the farming work that she was previously doing with no recognition. "When I won the tractor for the Female Food Competition, everyone was so proud of me. My husband now respects me more – in Tanzania men are not respectful of their wives. But things have changed for me. My life in my home and village has improved, I now mobilize women and give many talks at the district level and at national events. My five children are also very happy that I do these things. They tell their friends." However, she laughingly says, "The tractor is difficult to drive, I am still practicing, it is so big that I need a lot of strength in my arms to control it, when I am ploughing the fields."</p> <h3>Access to land is critical</h3> <p>Ester’s face looks shocked when she comes out of the session on women’s <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/grow/issues/land-grabs" rel="nofollow"><strong>access to land</strong></a>: "I never knew that there were so many widows in Sri Lanka because of the Tsunami and the fighting -  I learnt that there are over 45,000 widows in just the northern and eastern parts of the country. The widows have no access to the land. No access to their land, means no access to food for their children. I find this very sad."</p> <p>Mandiwe reveals, "Dada (sisters) here – their stories are so similar to ours. They work all day in the field then have to come home and continuing working within the home. Rural women have no time for themselves. Always working, working - when the speakers speak about ‘time poverty.’ Dadas do the outside work and the inside work, ‘care work’ and they receive no money for it. This is happening in so many countries, in Tanzania too. If men want to stimulate development then they must give us women better access to land and resources."</p> <h3>Maternal health</h3> <p>The multiple identities and roles that women bear is highlighted by Anna. She has just learnt that she has become a bibi (grandmother) to a granddaughter. Anna’s daughter gave birth in her village home, but lost a lot of blood during the delivery: "‘Baby born. Daughter sick. No blood. Now in hospital."</p> <p>Anna’s eyes look sad, as she places her hand in mine, she knows only too well the critical danger her daughter is in; Tanzania has one of the highest levels of women dying during or after childbirth in the world. We try our best to alleviate her fears by looking at baby clothes and handicrafts made by women’s co-operatives which are being displayed at some of the exhibition stands.</p> Ester dancing at AWID's 30th birthday party. Photo: Jameen Kaur <h3>AWID turns 30</h3> <p>There is another reason to celebrate. <a href="http://awid.org/" rel="nofollow"><strong>AWID</strong></a> celebrates its 30th birthday. An organization which now has over 3000 members in 150 countries and a third of its members are young feminists. "It is good to see many young girls here. They are our future," says Ester. The party is held in the underground cisterns in Sultan Ahmet, and the ceiling is lit with purple strobe lights. Large pillars give it a magnificent roman court feel. There are performers – acrobatics, dancers and fire jugglers. On stage one of the founding members of AWID: Joanna Kerr says: "Soon you will go back on the frontlines. To defend your rights, to defend justice. But tonight you, we, us must all celebrate our lives, our work, our solidarity, our movement and our victories by dancing, by having fun."</p> <p>And so the music pumps and the sisters celebrate life by dancing well into the night.</p> <h3>Read more</h3> <p><strong>Blog: <a href="http://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blog/12-04-05-transforming-economic-power-advance-women-rights-justice">Transforming economic power to advance women’s rights and justice</a></strong></p> <p><strong>Blog: <a href="http://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blog/12-04-19-oxfam-partners-awid-quest-for-change">Oxfam and partners at AWID: a quest and hunger for change</a></strong></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Belief is everything: ‘I have always believed I could be a leader.’ </h2></div> Sun, 22 Apr 2012 08:11:16 +0000 Jameen Kaur 9834 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blog/12-04-22-belief-is-everything-i-have-always-believed-i-could-be-leader#comments