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Opinion: Bachelet faces uphill battle at U.N. Women


Former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet is a smart, highly-educated politician, and a skillful negotiator, but I wonder whether she did the right thing in agreeing to head the United Nations’ new agency for women’s rights, scheduled to start operating Jan. 1. She will face formidable obstacles to get things done.

Her $500 million annual budget agency, known as U.N. Women, will bring together four existing U.N. women’s rights organizations that are known to barely talk to one another. And the new agency will be overseen by a 41-country board that includes some of the world’s worst women’s rights offenders, including Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Congo.

In an interview for a soon-to-be aired TV show, I asked Bachelet how she expects to advance the cause of women’s rights with board members such as Saudi Arabia, where women can’t vote and are even prohibited from driving.

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Opinion: Bringing women out of the shadows By MICHELLE BACHELET

Since democracy was restored two decades ago, Chile has worked hard to progress in areas as essential as the reestablishement of the rule of law, the protection of human rights and the consolidation of freedom, stability and governance as well as economic growth, social progress and freedom of the press. Chile has grown faster than other nations and has substantially reduced poverty while, at the same time, consolidating democracy with pragmatic and effective governance.

As president of Chile, I worked hard to defend the country’s stability and governance. At the same time, I worked to further the country along the road to economic growth and social equality. One of our objectives was to make progress in the area of gender equality. A law to ensure that men and women who did the same jobs received equal salaries was one such initiative.Read More…

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Opinion: A less visible solution to hunger

DAVID KAUCK is senior gender and agriculture specialist at the International Center for Research on Women in Washington

“As they gather this month for the World Food Prize Symposium, government leaders, multilateral institutions, civil society and private corporations will again discuss international hunger. Their usual response to this issue is to beef up agricultural production by focusing almost exclusively on expanding markets and developing new technologies, such as improved seed varieties. This is necessary, but insufficient. It would be wise – especially now – for world leaders to consider a novel approach. This is our best opportunity in decades to get it right.

To make a significant dent in chronic hunger and jump-start economic growth, global food security strategies must tackle something less tangible than seeds, less visible than tractors: It’s time for an approach that addresses the underlying social inequities between women and men that contribute directly to low productivity farming. Members of the G20 and President Barack Obama already recognize the value in this. Obama’s Feed the Future Initiative suggests that if women farmers had the same assets as men, economic output would increase and fewer children would go hungry. The message here? Gender inequality is a drag on productivity, and until we do something about it, we’ll keep taking two steps back with each step forward”

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Opinion: “Three Early Moves for Michelle Bachelet’s UN “Start-Up” for Women”

Interesting commentary from Nandini OOmman on the CGD website, see the link below:


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Opinion: Where domestic smoke and gender are killers–The biggest cause of death in low-income countries affects mostly women and is solvable. So why are we ignoring it?

by: claire melamed guardian.co.uk
Looking through the World Health Organisation’s figures on causes of death the other day (it’s a cheerful life, being a development researcher), I was reminded of an astonishing – and shaming – fact. The biggest cause of death in low-income countries is not HIV, TB or malaria, not maternal mortality or any of the things that there are big high-profile funds or campaigns on. In fact, it’s the more common-or-garden business of respiratory disease. What the WHO terms “lower respiratory disease” kills nearly 3 million people in low-income countries every year. This is only slightly less than the deaths caused by HIV/Aids, tuberculosis and malaria combined. Continue reading

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Opinion: Empowering the mothers of Africa, by Grace Mukasa

“In his blog last month about the experiences of Katine women who are participating in village savings schemes, Richard M Kavuma was right to conclude that there is still much to do to change attitudes towards women’s empowerment. And it is not only the attitudes of men that need to change, but also of women and girls.

Richard is also right to raise the important question of whether rural projects should have separate components to promote gender dialogue. True, gender issues should be integrated into all development interventions. However, given the highly dominant power relationships between men and women, boys and girls, separate components that specifically address women’s and girls’ unique needs and their state of powerlessness need to be individually developed and implemented.”

Read the full post on the Katrine Chronicles