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This Thursday, March 8, people will be celebrating International Women’s Day all around the world. Vietnam is no exception—there will be numerous events arranged by the Government, donors, mass organizations, NGOs, colleagues, and husbands. But what are we celebrating—and how will we celebrate the event?
Last year I went to a celebration of women’s day here in Vietnam where the women’s male colleagues had written little poems about how beautiful and sexy the women looked and how the men appreciated their beauty and femininity. This was such a new and intriguing way of celebrating Women’s day to me.
“Anything men can do, we can too.”
Shernette Chin of Jamaica could not imagine how her life would be without her job, which provides food on the table for her kids. To Shernette, men and women are equal. “A woman can do the same thing as a man can do. If men do carpentry, women can do it.”
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Thứ Năm tuần này, ngày 8/3/2012, toàn thế giới sẽ cùng kỷ niệm ngày Quốc tế Phụ nữ. Việt Nam cũng không phải ngoại lệ - Chính phủ, nhà tài trợ, các tổ chức đoàn thể, tổ chức phi chính phủ, đồng nghiệp và các ông chồng sẽ tổ chức hàng loạt sự kiện nhân ngày này. Nhưng chúng ta ăn mừng điều gì – và chúng ta sẽ kỷ niệm sự kiện này như thế nào?
Dịp này năm ngoái, tôi được tham dự một buổi lễ kỷ niệm Ngày Quốc tế Phụ nữ tại Việt Nam, tại đó, các đồng nghiệp nam đã viết các vần thơ ca ngợi sự xinh đẹp và quyến rũ của phụ nữ và đàn ông trân trọng vẻ đẹp cũng như sự nữ tính của họ thế nào. Đối với tôi, đây quả thực là một cách mừng ngày phụ nữ rất mới và thú vị.
Imagine things are looking up for you. You are running your own business transporting and selling charcoal to retailers in the area, your husband has a steady job, and together you own real estate which you rent out. Then, your husband dies – your in-laws and your husband’s kinsmen take all of the assets and are entitled to do so under law. You are left with nothing to rebuild your life and provide for your child. This is what happened to Anna in Kenya. Her story is not uncommon. Women’s rights groups in Kenya have been pushing for change and finally, with the institution of a new Constitution in August of 2010, their rights will be protected. This Constitution, the main purpose of which was to limit the powers of the executive, has risen from the ashes of ethnic violence following elections in 2007 in which over 1,100 people are believed to have been killed.
In terms of broad legal principles relating to women’s rights, Kenya’s new Constitution has two reforms. The first, is that customary law, still recognized in Kenya alongside codified law and common law, is no longer exempt from constitutional provisions prohibiting discrimination based on gender. As a result, discriminatory inheritance practices such as those that disinherited Anna will come under increased legal scrutiny. The second, is that in addition to gender being a prohibited ground for discrimination, protections were strengthened with a clause mandating equality based on gender, and a clause providing that parties to a marriage are entitled to equal rights at the time of marriage, during marriage and at the dissolution of marriage. In addition, Kenya has instituted specific provisions, so that Kenyan women can now pass citizenship to their spouses and children on equal footing with Kenyan men. The latter, a huge achievement as it empowers the other half of the population with the same right, is something many countries still continue to prohibit wives and mothers to do.
I’ve just concluded a discussion on addressing youth unemployment around the world with experts at the Global Youth Conference currently happening and wanted to hear your thought as well as share some of my own on South Asia. Indeed, South Asia has grown rapidly and has created more and mostly better jobs. The region created 800,000 new jobs per month in the last ten years boosting economic growth and reducing poverty. Arrive in any South Asian metropolis and you’re often hit by the richness of activity throughout its busy streets.
The region’s coming demographic transition of more young people entering the work force is expected to contribute nearly 40 percent of the growth in the world’s working age (15—64) population over the next several decades. However, youth in South Asia still face many challenges during their transition to adulthood including malnutrition, gender inequality and lack of access to quality education. More working age people with less children and elderly dependants to support will either become an asset for the region to continue growing or a curse depending on the enabling environment for the creation of productive jobs.
- Sri Lanka
- South Asia
- Public Sector and Governance
- Private Sector Development
- Macroeconomics and Economic Growth
- Information and Communication Technologies
- Financial Sector
- Agriculture and Rural Development
- Kalpana Kochhar
- chief economist
As we mark International Women’s Day this week, let’s not be complacent. Over the past century, we have come a long way in increasing women’s voice, participation, and agency in societies around the world.
In honor of International Women’s Day, March 8, I wanted to mention an interesting film, which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival last year, called Miss Representation. This documentary challenges the media’s limited and often disparaging portrayal of women and girls, and it focuses on the US media. I found it sobering because it says that, “In a society where media is the most persuasive force shaping cultural norms, the collective message that young women and men overwhelmingly receive is that a woman’s value and power lie in her youth, beauty, and sexuality, and not in her capacity as a leader.” And unfortunately, the statistics it shows are powerful. Yes, in 2012, it looks like we still have a long way to go.
This past Monday, I had the pleasure of hearing Sima Samar speak at the World Bank. Dr. Samar is the Chairperson of Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission and Former Minister of Women’s Affairs for Afghanistan, and she shared a somber view. She said, “Women’s rights are human rights, yet they are often trampled...”
There is much demand from practitioners for “shoestring methods” of impact evaluation—sometimes called “quick and dirty methods.” These methods try to bypass some costly element in the typical impact evaluation. Probably the thing that practitioners would most like to avoid is the need for baseline data collected prior to the intervention. Imagine how much more we could learn about development impact if we did not need baseline data!