Failing women , sustaining poverty : Report for the UK Gender and Development Network

  • Whitehead A
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Abstract

Why have so few Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) taken women's poverty seriously? To answer the question, this paper draws on PRSP processes from Tanzania, Bolivia, Malawi and Yemen. As elsewhere, the PRSPs fail to address gender in a coherent and consistent way. If addressed, gender issues feature only under sections on health and education rather than being mainstreamed. The analyses of poverty are limited, failing to question why certain groups of people, including women, are poor. Capacity for a gendered poverty analysis which also embraces macroeconomic issues, needs to be built within government including national women's machineries. Consultation with civil society organisations was generally weak, and women's voices were hardly sought out and never listened to. Gender-sensitive participatory consultations are recommended, as are efforts to follow these through to ensure women influence policy priorities and spending. The report ends with the warning that the current resistance to gender advocacy may be due not only to lack of capacity but also to a lack of political will.

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  • a Whitehead

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