Further memorandum submitted by One World
1. One World Action wishes to concentrate
this submission on the impact of the Department for International
Development's work on promoting gender equality and equity and
respect for women's human rights. The British Government is committed
to the elimination of poverty (White Papers 1997 and 2000). Over
70 per cent of the world's poor are women. To be effective in
eliminating poverty, every development co-operation activity needs
to start from an awareness of the causes and nature of women's
poverty and tackle the inequality women experience on the grounds
of gender. Sustainable and equitable development, and poverty
eradication will remain elusive unless discrimination against
women is eliminated and gender-based inequality and inequity removed.
2. DFID has made achieved gains in promoting
gender equality and equity through its policies and practice.
Target Strategy Papers have been published which elaborate DFID's
commitment to gender equality, and some Country Strategy Papers
also mainstream gender. The UK Government has signed a number
of international agreements, such as the Beijing Platform for
Action, which contain strong statements about gender equality
and equity. In its projects, programmes, and co-operation with
developing countries, DFID has also succeeded in putting gender
on the agenda. The UK Government has played a lead role in achieving
progressive policies on gender, within the European Union, the
OECD Development Assistance Committee, the United Nations, and
the Bretton Woods institutions.
3. However, policy commitments in both the
national and international arena have not achieved their potential
because they have not been implemented fully or comprehensively.
Much more must be done for DFID to achieve its goals of promoting
gender equality, eradicating poverty, and realising human rights
4. One World Action believes that a gap
between policy and practice hampers the success of UK Government
initiatives to promote gender equality in development co-operation.
DFID's strong policies and commitments on gender mainstreaming
fail to be put into practice in ways which make a real difference
to the lives of the poorest women and men. One World Action believes
there are three main areas that hamper effective policy implementation:
lack of effective gender mainstreaming
presence of competing and contradictory
policy agendas; and
insufficient commitment in political
will, resources, and awareness raising and training for gender
5. As Sir John Vereker explained during
the 1998 Inquiry, DFID has adopted an organisational strategy
that mainstreams gender throughout the department's work, while
continuing to focus some activities particularly on the issues
and needs of women. This twin-track approach to gender mainstreaming
has been advocated in other donor agencies and non-governmental
organisations as the most effective strategy to integrate gender
throughout an organisation. DFID's policy states that, "The
purpose of DFID's strategy is to ensure that women's empowerment
and gender equality are actively pursued in mainstream of all
development activities" ("Target Strategy Paper: Poverty
elimination and the empowerment of women," p. 28).
6. Making gender a cross-cutting theme carries
the risk that gender concerns will become invisible, rather than
integrated. In One World Action's evidence to the 1998 Inquiry,
we argued that women's rights and gender equality were not high
priority outside of the Social Development Department within DFID.
Today, the evidence of effective gender mainstreaming in policy
and practice outside of strict Social Development concerns is
disappointing. DFID has strengthened the "gender-specific"
part of its gender mainstreaming strategy, but has not made enough
progress in mainstreaming gender throughout the organisation.
DFID POLICY STATEMENTS
Looking at a few DFID policies reveals a lack
of gender mainstreaming in areas and policies that are not traditional
7. The White Paper on International Development,
"Eliminating World Poverty: Making Globalisation Work for
the Poor," makes only a cursory attempt at integrating gender
and an analysis of inequality. A growing body of academic evidence
and experience from NGOs indicates that the benefits of globalisation
are not distributed equally between women and men. Trade liberalisation
and macro-economic policies designed to secure the gains of globalisation
do not benefit women and men equally because gender inequality
is a cornerstone of these policies.
8. Women in some countries may indeed have
greater access to jobs in factories due to foreign investment,
and these jobs may create opportunities for women's empowerment
in their families and communities. However, these jobs are often
insecure, unskilled, badly paid, and unsafe. It is precisely because
women are seen as second-class workers only good for these kinds
of jobs that they have these opportunities. The White Paper presents
globalisation as a process which empowers women, without recognising
the foundations of gender inequality upon which it is based or
the often ambiguous effects of globalisation on the lives of women.
9. Despite the statement in TSP: "Poverty
eradication the empowerment of women" that over 70 per cent
of the world's poor are women, the TSP: "Halving world poverty"
makes little effort to integrate a gender perspective. The paper
states that gender has been dealt with in the TSP on women's empowerment.
This strategy creates precisely the conceptual problem that a
twin-track gender mainstreaming approach seeks to avoidof
seeing gender as an isolated issue rather than a cross-cutting
10. The paper states that, "It is only
by understanding the characteristics of poor people, and the patterns
of growth within the economy, that that an effective poverty reduction
strategy can be developed" (p. 10). Yet throughout the paper,
the poor are treated largely as an undifferentiated group. The
paper mentions that race, caste, and social exclusion are determinants
in poverty, but there is no real awareness that gender discrimination,
discrimination on the basis of race or caste, and poverty go hand
11. The paper acknowledges that there may
be some "adjustment costs" as governments implement
programmes aimed at macro-economic stability. There is no analysis
of the gender impact of such programmes, and no recognition that
adjustment costs due to economic growth policies are often borne
disproportionately by women.
12. Poor people often face constraints to
participating in a growing economy, and the paper suggests that
"Public policy should prepare poor people, and provide physical
infrastructure, to enable them to meet new challenges and seize
new opportunities" (p. 21). These recommendations do not
recognise that for many women, gender inequality and discrimination
prevent them from formal economic participation, rather than a
lack of preparation or infrastructure. A meaningful gender perspective
was not integrated into the Target Strategy Paper on "Halving
world poverty by 2015." This is disturbing, given the proportion
of women among the world's poor and DFID's commitment to mainstream
a gender perspective in all its work.
13. The policy statements on "Making
Globalisation Work of the poor" and "Halving world poverty"
are key to DFID's work, but neither makes a real attempt to mainstream
a gender analysis. The result is the marginalisation of gender
issues. Policies that do not mainstream a gender perspective do
not see the whole picture and, consequently, face huge challenges
for successful implementation.
DFID POLICIES IN
14. DFID's policy commitments on gender
equality show their real value in the extent to which they are
put into practice. There has been no comprehensive review of DFID's
progress in carrying forward the recommendations of the 1998 Inquiry
on Women and Development. DFID is achieving progress in its programmes
on gender equality, but these successes are often in isolated,
women-specific projects, rather than in mainstream development
activities. Projects focused on Social Development priorities,
such as health and education, tend to mainstream gender effectively,
whereas as other DFID departments, such as Infrastructure, Rural
Livelihoods, Economics, and Engineering show less progress in
mainstreaming gender. The challenge for DFID is to scale-up from
isolated successes in gender mainstreaming to achieving greater
awareness of gender in its large-scale development co-operation
activities. From conversations with some DFID staff in some delegations,
this awareness-raising work may need to start with informing staff
of DFID's policy statements on gender equality.
Competing and contradictory policy agendas
DFID's ability to implement its own policies
on gender is hampered by competing and contradictory policy agendas,
both within the UK government and internationally.
15. Despite statements that DFID is improving
co-operation with other ministries, there is little evidence that
government policy and practice in such areas as trade, finance,
foreign policy, agriculture and environment are actively supporting
the objectives of development co-operation. Other Departments'
agendas usually take precedence over the goals of eliminating
poverty and promoting gender equality and human rights.
16. The World Conference against Racism
(WCAR), held in Durban in 2001, provides one example of competing
agendas. The WCAR could have been a significant opportunity for
governments to take a strong stand against racism and related
intolerance. The UK government, through the Foreign and Commonwealth
Office, argued strongly at the UN Commission on the Status of
Women in March 2001 that it was essential to recognise the connections
between gender inequality and racism, and that an analysis of
multiple forms of discrimination was key. Despite this apparent
political commitment to a strong statement from the WCAR, the
UK obstructed language on the connections between slavery, colonialism,
and racism and did not mount significant pressure to prevent the
USA from leaving the Conference. The FCO's position at WCAR undermines
the commitment of the UK government to human rights and equality.
17. Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs)
have become the focus of donor and developing country attention
over the last year. From a gender perspective, the PRSP agenda
presents two key opportunitiesone, that the policies of
structural adjustment may change, for example, in ways that put
increased emphasis on investing in basic services and sustainable
economic development, and, two, that poor people would have the
opportunity to voice their views on policies that affect their
18. Although the PRSP process is quite new,
the evidence so far suggests that neither of these opportunities
has materialised. The macro-economic policies proposed by the
national governments tend to look quite similar to the World Bank's
macro-economic policy recommendations, and few civil society organisations
have effectively participated in the policy-making process.
19. The unrealised potential of the PRSP
agenda particularly affects women. Given the structural adjustment
programmes have been strongly demonstrated to negatively affect
women, it is worrying that "new" national policies seem
to be very similar. Secondly, the consultation process usually
excludes the poorest communities, and, almost always excludes
poor women because they lack training to participate in economic
discussions, they lack time to go to meetings on national economic
policy, they may lack confidence to engage with the debate, and
their voices may drowned out by more dominant views. So far, PRSPs
do not appear to be promoting gender equality and equity.
20. PRSPs marginalise women's needs and
interests, yet DFID has been asked to integrated its work into
the PRSP framework. So, despite DFID's policy statements on gender,
it is being asked to work in a framework that does not promote
gender equality and women's human rights. Thus, the international
arena creates contradictions for DFID in terms of its own policy
commitments on gender equality and human rights.
21. Accountability and political will:
High-level commitment and responsibility
is essential to an effective gender mainstreaming strategy, as
stated in the OECD-DAC Guidelines: "Management and staff
must be held accountable for policy implementation. When gender
equality and women's empowerment is taken seriously at the management
level significant progress can be made" (DAC Guidelines for
Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment in Development Co-operation,
DFID should consider the use of incentives
to encourage staff to mainstream gender in their work, for example,
by including gender-sensitivity in recruitment and recognising
achievement in mainstreaming gender in staff appraisal procedures.
22. Financial resources:
A clear timetable for achieving 0.7
per cent GPD for development co-operation is essential.
It is vital to increase spending
in gender-sensitive mainstream development activities, particularly
in the areas of basic social services, sustainable economic development,
and strengthening local and national democracy, alongside the
smaller innovative women-specific projects.
An annual gender budgeting exercise
of DFID's development co-operation spending would provide useful
information and encourage policy-making that promotes gender equality
23. Human resources:
It is vital that each delegation
has sufficient staffing with gender expertise.
24. Capacity building:
There is evidence that DFID staff
require practical advice and training on what mainstreaming gender
means in practice. Such training should include gender awareness
training (about attitudes and sensitivities regarding gender relations)
and gender planning training (the more technical gender analysis
of programme design and implementation). Training should be compulsory,
periodic, and aimed at staff at all levels, especially management
and senior officials. It should be appropriate to the responsibilities
of the individuals being trained.
25. International Development Committeefollow-up
A follow-up Inquiry by the International
Development Committee on Women and Development to assess progress
on the Recommendations of its 1998 Inquiry would be timely and
One World Action