Even though it was windy and dark outside, Vivien Suerte-Cortez was smiling and full of energy on the stage. Suerte-Cortez is an accountability and transparency expert from the Philippines. Dressed in her gray jacket, she started to talk about Citizen Participatory Audit (CPA), a project in the Philippines that encourages citizens to participate in the audit process for government projects and explores how to ensure efficient use of public resources by the government.
With an estimated 1.2 billion young people between the ages of 15 and 24, the vast majority of them living in developing countries, youth are both a policy and political priority for many countries around the world.
An increasing number of governments are turning to youth financial services. Access to financial services—savings, payments, credit and insurance—can help young people to build assets, protect themselves against risk, and it can unlock economic potential. Yet, the World Bank’s Global Financial Inclusion Database (Findex shows that youth are 33 percent less likely to own a bank account than an adult.
Last week we asked you for questions to put to policy makers gathered at a CGAP event in Paris to discuss what can be done to improve opportunities for youth through financial services. This video shows policy makers’ responding to the question: “Why youth financial services?”
I don’t quite see what took them so long to take this seriously. But it’s only now that the president of the Philippines signed the Magna Carta for Women. Thank heavens this little piece of paper will not just be some other piece of paper that’s debated upon over and over again in congress.
During the first few years of the Women’s Liberation Movement decades back, it wasn’t uncommon for men to be portrayed as the victimizers and the oppressors of women. In many patriarchal communities, men have often been singled out as the perpetrators of domestic violence and as the roadblocks to the path of women empowerment.
Two thousand fifteen is just half a decade away. That means we only have five more years to make a tangible and visible change in the lives of millions of people especially those in the developing world. That means we have five New Years and Christmases more before we can completely fulfill our promise to the world’s poorest people.
It was a funny experience, really, but a point worth pondering. When we asked a group of children to describe a farmer, all of them immediately said that a farmer was a man who planted and harvested crops in a field or a farm. Naturally, the definition, although simplistic, did make sense. But the point of the matter is that none of the children ever pictured the farmer as a woman.
Today’s global financial crisis is very much reminiscent of the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis. With the exports and labor-intensive industries being hit harder than Banda Aceh was with the tsunami that swept through its coasts, women were the most adversely affected. This was because of the strong gender composition of many of the most vulnerable industries today.
The other day I dropped by our school’s Gender Studies and Development Center and had a brief chat with a good friend of mine, who also happens to chair the center. We had exactly the same observation on the progress of empowering women at the grassroots level here in the Philippines, and in Dumaguete City in particular—it’s moving at a snail’s pace.