INTRODUCTION : -
In September 2000, world leaders agreed upon the Millennium Declaration, which distills the key goals and targets agreed to at International Conferences and world summits during the 1 990s. Drawing on the Declaration, the UN System, World Bank and OECD drew up a set of eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) with associated targets and indicators. By the year 2015, all 191 United Nations Member states have pledged to meet the MDGs.
The Millennium Development Goals:
- Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger.
- Achieve universal primary education.
- Promote gender equality and empower women.
- Reduce child mortality.
- Improve maternal health.
- Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.
- Ensure environmental sustainability
- Develop a global partnership for development.
Out of these eight goals, here I am going to discuss about the third goal “Promote gender equality and empower women”. How can I contribute to this goal for a better Millennium?
No progress without gender equality:“Women are nation’s eyes, Education makes them wise”.
MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS:
The goal 3 reaffirms an international commitment to gender equality, the targets and indicators linked this goal are nan-owly defined, but gender equality applies to all the goals.
Women disproportionately suffer the burden of poverty, are the pnmary agents of child welfare, are the victims of wide spread and persistent discrimination in all areas of life and put their lives at risk every time they become pregnant. They are increasingly susceptible to HIV/AIDS and other major diseases. Woman play an indispensable role in the management of natural resources and have the right to gain as n1\1ch as men, from the benefits brought by globalization.
DEFENSE OF A GENDER PERSPECTIVE:-
Gender equality is not only a goal in its own right but an essential ingredient for achieving all the MDGs, be they poverty eradication, protecting the environment, or access to health care. Attempting to meet the MDGs without incorporating gender equality will both increase the costs and minimize success. Because the MDGs are mutually reinforcing, success in meeting the goals will have positive impacts on gender equality.
It is now generally recognized that the majority of the world's poor are women. Because many aspects of gender inequality in the design of strategies and actions to meet their goal is critical. Gender equality has a direct impact on economic grov.1:h and the reduction of income poverty by raising productivity improving efficiency, increasing economic opportunities and empowering women.
BROAD ACTIONS, SPECIFIC GAINS:-
Broad - based and concerted actions aimed at bringing women's interests directly into policy formation and public spending decisions, creating more economic opportunities, reforming public services with women in mind, bringing about legal and other refonns to support their empowerment, and increasing their security and social protection, can all bring developmental benefits valuable in their own right. But these are also directly relevant and indispensable, to the achievement of the MDGs themselves. A win for women is truly a win for all.
SELECTED ACTIONS PROMOTING GENDER EQUALITY:-
Legal and social programmes, including for sexual and reproduction health and rights, give women and girls greater protection from violence and sexual harassment. Promotion of social change suppoliing greater autonomy for women and more equitable sharing of burdens in the domestic economy. Needs and rights of girls and women enabled to gain greater access to technical training and information and communication technologies.
Girls still wait for equal pnmary school access in some reglOns. Women slowly gain ground in political decision - making, but progress is erratic and marked by regional differences. Targeted action is needed to help girls from poor, rural areas stay in school. Job opportunities open up, but women often remain trapped in insecure, low paid positions.
GENDER PARITY IN PRIMARY SCHOOL BODES WELL FOR GIRLS! CONTINUED EDUCATIONAL PROGRESS:-
School doors have swung open for girls in nearly all regions as many countries have successfully promoted girls' education as pari of their efforts to boost overall enrolment. Girls' primary enrolment increased more than boys' in all developing regions between 2000 and 2006. As a result, two out of three countries have achieved gender parity at the primary level. Despite impressive gains, girls account for 55percent of the out - of - school population.
As pati of its success in raising the total primary enrolment rate. Southern Asia has made the most progress in gender parity since 2000. Subsaharan Africa, Western Asia and Northern Africa have also made strides. In gender parity in primary school enrolment. Oceania, Saharan Africa and western Asia have the largest gender gaps in primary enrolment. In Western and Central Africa, where high repetition and low retention rates are common, girls in particular fail to enroll in and stay in school. Drought, food, shOliage, armed conflict, poverty, lack of birth registration, child labour and HIV and AIDS contribute to low school enrolment and high dropout rates for both boys and girls in those subregions, but prove to be especially devastating for girls. The gender gap widens in secondary and tertiary education.
\VOMEN SLOWLY GAIN GROUND IN POLITICAL DECISION - MAKING, BUT PROGRESS IS ERRATIC AND MARKED BY REGIONAL DIFFERENCES:-
Despite greater parliamentary participation, women are largely absent from the highest levels of governance. In January 2008, women accounted for 7 of the I SO elected heads of state and 8 of the 192 heads of governments of limited Nations member states. Overall, only 16 percent of the world's ministerial posi tions were held by women. Within this total, 13 countries had no women at all in cabinet positions, although women held at least 30 percent of the ministerial posts in 22 countries mostly in Europe and Africa.
Women's representation in other areas is also important. Women account, on average, for half of those in refugee camps, but their participation in camp decision making processes remains low, Data for more than 80 camps show that equal participation has been achieved in only about two of five camps. More recent data, camps IS mcreasmg.
TARGETED ACTION IS NEEDED TO HELP GIRLS FROM POOR, RURAL AREAS STAY 111 SCHOOL:-
Primary school net attendance ratio of boys and girls, in the developing regions, by place of residence and households wealth, 2000/2006 (Percentage).
In developing countries, primary school attendance of girls and boys is nearly equal in the richest households and in urban areas. However, girls in rural areas from the poorest household require targeted interventions to encourage them to enrol in and stay in school. Satellite schools in remote areas, eliminating school fees, providing school meals, constructing separate sanitation facilities, ensure a safe school environment and promoting later marriage have boosted girls' attendance in school.
JOB OPPUTUNITIES OPEN UP, BUT WOMEN OFTEN REMAIN TRAPPED IN 111SECURE, LOW-PAID POSTIONS:-
Women have more income-earning opportunities than ever before. Overall, women occupy almost 40 percent of all paid jobs outside agriculture, compared to 35 percent in 1990. But almost two thirds of women in the developing world work in vulnerable jobs as own - account and unpaid family workers. In southern Asia and sub Saharan Africa, this type of work accounts for more than 80 percent of all jobs for Women are also disproportionately represented in part - time, seasonal and short term informal jobs and therefore are deprived of job security and benefits. Occupations continue to be gender - specific. And female dominated positions tend to be characterized by interiqr starts, lower pay and poorer working conditions. Although well educated women have advanced and the share of women managers is increasing, most women remam In low-status, less valued jobs and face greater difficulty translating their labour into paid work and paid work into higher, more secure incomes. Even in the government sector, where women often enjoy equal job security and benefits, they are more likely to work in local rather than central.
HOW CAN I CONTRIBUTE:-
The Development impacts which could be observed to contribute to this goal
of gender equality and women empowerment are
.:. Women's interests and rights better reflected in public policy and investment .:. Women's economic empowerment leads to increased incomes for the poor.
.:. Child nutrition improved
- :. More schooling opportunities for girls and boys .
- :. Improved literacy rates among women .
- :. Risk factors for infant and child mortality reduced .
- :. Risk factors for maternal mortality reduced .
- :. Girls and Women empowered to protect themselves from HIV/AIDS and other
infectious diseases .
- :. Women have greater control over management of natural and other resources .
- :. Women have more skills and opportunities to benefit from globalization. Some of these' have been achieved by means of targeted interventions and
programmes. The gender parity index in primary education is 95 percent or higher in six of the 10 regions, including age most populous ones.
"The millennium Development Goals can be achieved if immediate steps are taken to implement existing commitments. Reaching our goals for development around the world is not only vital to building better, healthier and decent lives for millions of people, it is also essential to building enduring global peace and security. Ours is the generation that can achieve the development goals and free our fellow men, women and children from the abject and determanizing conditions of extreme poverty."