Gender and Citizenship

Topics: Millennium Development Goals, United Nations, Human rights Pages: 9 (3264 words) Published: September 3, 2013

Good governance is recognised as being essential to poverty reduction efforts and respect for human rights, conflict prevention, growth and environmental protection. From a restricted point of view, governance should be focused on sound economic management while a more expansive view embraces political liberalization, addressing problems of social inequality. Governance refers to decision-making by a range of interested people including those in formal positions of power and ordinary citizens. These decisions have a huge impact on the ways men and women lead their lives. It also shapes how public resources are allocated and whether services take account of both men’s and women’s needs and interests. The inequalities between men and women is often determined by two key elements, their levels of participation in politics and decision making and their contributions to the economy (paid and unpaid). Electoral reforms have helped to increase the number of women in government over the years but other aspects of political culture should be changed to ensure their full participation in the decision making process, for instance women often have less money than men and thus cannot draw on social networks easily, also, they usually have less time due to activities in the private realm including reproductive and child care activities. A mere increase in the number of women in politics while crucial for development is not simply enough. Once in power women need to become effective political actors so that they can transform political spaces and be held accountable alongside men for gender equity and social justice. In view of this, many development workers have argued that gendered citizenship is a powerful tool for working in development programmes that seek to bring about gender equality through focusing on people and how they interact with institutions. Gender refers to the specific set of characteristics that identifies the social behaviour of women and men and the relationship between them. Gender alludes not simply to women or men but to the relationship between them and its social construction. Women are generally seen in the private realm of society providing services to children and the aged. They also engage in economic activities to support in the running of the home by providing food, clothing and sometimes even shelter. These activities undertaken by women though important is often not valued because it is in the private sphere and has no monetary value attached, while their counterparts the men are mostly involved in activities that are in the public realm which is mostly give recognition. The private public divide that exists in society in itself tends to promote discrimination of those whose activities are in the private while giving power to those in the public needs to be challenged to allow women to gain recognition for their roles in the private which is very vital for stability and development in general. This will mean that matters such as sexuality, reproduction and the family should be brought to the public front. Governments should put in measures to address “private wrongs” such as domestic violence and also include issues such as child welfare and support for children in citizenship rights. The existence of these differences creates an imbalance in the ways men and women interact with the state which has a tendency to impede development. Governments of most counties in an attempt to eliminate explicit, implicit, actual and potential gender biases have embarked on gender and development (GAD) programmes. Gender and development approach to governance is a way of determining how best to structure development projects and programmes based on analysis of gender relationships. It focuses on development for all since no nation can fully attain development without the full participation of all its citizens but gender discrimination inhibits the full...

References: Macdonald,M.,2003”Gender Equaliy and Mainstreaming in International Development” a briefing from the UK Gender and Development (GAD) Network, London: GAD Network
Shabbir Cheema, G., 2000, Preface, Women’s Political Participation and Good Governace:21st Century Challenges’, New York: UNDP
Sen, G. Grown C. 1985. Development Crisis and Alternative Visions: Third World Women’s Perspectives, New York: Monthly Review Press
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), 2000, ‘Women’s Political Participation and Good Governance: 21st Century Challenges’, repot, new York: UNDP
World Bank Gender and Development Group, 2003,’ Gender Equality and the Millenium Development Goals’, repot Washington: World Bank.
Oxfam GB (2003) “Global Citizenship” www.oxfam.
Marshaall T.H. (1950) citizenship and Social Class, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Lister, R.,2003a, ‘Justice Equality and Dependency: a critical social policy perspective’, paper presented at Symposium on Nancy Fraser’s work, Warwick, 22 March.
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