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Mother Pelican
A Journal of Solidarity and Sustainability

Vol. 8, No. 4, April 2012
Luis T. Gutiérrez, Editor
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Fostering Gender Equality in Society


SUMMARY & OUTLINE

This supplement is a digest of recent events and significant contributions to fostering gender equality - and human development - in various secular cultures and institutions. It is acknowledged that the distinction between the secular and religious dimensions is an artificial one, often blurred in real life situations. In those cases, if the material is predominantly secular it is included here; else it is included in Supplement 6. The selected items are the editor's choice. Suggestions by readers are welcomed. Reporting on good role models is a high priority. The following sections are included this month:

1. Men, Women, and Cross-Gender Solidarity
2. Men and Women in Marriage and the Family
3. The Patriarchal Culture of Command and Control
4. Gender Equality for Solidarity and Sustainability
5. Gender Equality for Adaptation to Climate Change
6. Women in Roles of Leadership and Governance
7. Men and the Changing Face of Masculinity
8. Men, Women, and the Human Habitat
9. Men and Women in Sustainable Human Development

The promotion of gender equality in society is a slow and painful process, and it is barely beginning to unfold worldwide. But it is a dynamic process, one in which progress begets progress. It is important to stay tuned to relevant news coming from all world regions and all world cultures. The Google News box displayed to the right may be helpful. Readers can enhance their web sites with their own version of this box - which is continuously refreshed as significant events are reported - by going to Google News, clicking on "Add a section," and follow simple instructions under "Create a custom section." This is a free service, but you must register in order to use the customization tool.

If you know about recent developments that should be mentioned in this page, please write to the Editor.

U.N. Aims at Major Global Conference on Women in 2015"
Thalif Deen, IPS News, 8 March 2012

"How do we build a more equitable world?
If you want a formula from me,
I would say first: ensure there is gender equality"

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, The Elders, 25 January 2012

1. Men, Women, and Cross-Gender Solidarity


Source: AFWW and YouTube
No More War: The Human Potential for Peace

Futurist, behaviorist, and evolutionary biologist Dr. Judith Hand presents a compelling argument in her film “No More War” that if we chose to do it, we can achieve what no people before us could: a future without war. She introduces cutting edge hypotheses on the origins of cooperation, altruism and morality, indicating how they relate to the human potential for peace. The origins of war are explored, including a consideration of why men and women, in general, differ when it comes to using physical aggression to resolve conflicts. A proposal is offered that the time is right for us to mount a global, social transformation movement to abolish war and reasons are given for why we can, at this time, embrace the goal of ending war with confidence. Why participation of women as full partners with men in decision-making positions is a necessary condition, not an option, is stressed. Two complementary elements of a nonviolence campaign to end war are introduced: Constructive Program and Obstructive Program. Suggestions are offered for ways viewers can be involved in this great cause. Learn more.

A Future Without War is Judith Hand's website, where most of her writings can be readily accessed. The following are some links to material that should be of interest to readers of this journal:

Violence (war in particular) is the greatest obstacle to sustainable human development. Judith Hand is making a significant contribution to peace by pointing the way to a culture of global solidarity and nonviolence. The reader is cordially invited to visit A Future Without War for more information on this important piece of work. For some key excerpts from several authors on the general theme of "men, women, and cross-gender solidarity," click here.


Some additional supporting references:

2. Men and Women in Marriage and the Family

The following article is a good introduction to this topic:

Gender in Families: Women and Men in Marriage, Work, and Parenthood
Linda Thmpson and Alexis Walker
Journal of Marriage and Family, Vol. 51, No. 4, November 1989, pp. 845-871

ABSTRACT: "We review the research on gender by focusing on three domains of family life—marriage, work (both wage and family work), and parenthood. Regarding marriage, we consider intimacy, communication and conflict, and wife-battering. Regarding wage work, we consider women and men as providers and resistance to wives as coproviders. Regarding family work, we consider the nature of family work and resistance to sharing housework and child care. Regarding parenthood, we consider the images of motherhood and fatherhood, activities and experiences of mothering and fathering, and the gender differentiation that accompanies parenting. We offer recommendations for further research and encourage family scholars to conceptualize gender as relational or interactional rather than as an individual property or role."

QUESTION: Why does systemic violence persist against women?

IN MEMORIAN
Ellen Pence (15 April 1948 – 6 January 2012)

"Ellen Pence was a scholar and a social activist. She co-founded the Duluth Domestic Abuse Intervention Project, an inter-agency collaboration model used in all 50 states in the U.S. and over 17 countries. A leader in both the battered women's movement and the emerging field of institutional ethnography, she was the recipient of numerous awards including the Society for the Study of Social Problems Dorothy E. Smith Scholar Activist Award (2008) for significant contributions in a career of activist research." Wikipedia

"During the past three decades, she published numerous papers and book chapters on institutional responses to the issue of violence against women, and co-authored two books – Education Groups for Men Who Batter: The Duluth Model (with Michael Paymar) in 1993 and Co-ordinating Community Response to Domestic Violence: Lessons from Duluth and Beyond (with Melanie Shepard) in 1999. Until late 2011, Pence was the executive director of the organisation Praxis International, which she founded in 1998 and is dedicated to the elimination of violence against women." Ellen Pence: Pioneer of innovative strategies to deal with domestic abuse, Julie Bindel, The Guardian, 19 January 2012.

3. The Patriarchal Culture of Command and Control

The following is quoted from Wikipedia:

"Patriarchy is a social system in which the male gender role as the primary authority figure is central to social organization, and where fathers hold authority over women, children, and property. It implies the institutions of male rule and privilege, and entails female subordination. Many patriarchal societies are also patrilineal, meaning that property and title are inherited by the male lineage.

"Historically, patriarchy has manifested itself in the social, legal, political, and economic organization of a range of different cultures. Patriarchy also has a strong influence on modern civilization, although many cultures have moved towards a more egalitarian social system over the past century.

"Patriarchy literally means "rule of fathers" (Greek patriarkhes), "father" or "chief of a race, patriarch". Historically, the term patriarchy was used to refer to autocratic rule by the male head of a family. However, in modern times, it more generally refers to social systems in which power is primarily held by adult men.

"Anthropological and historical evidence indicates that most prehistoric hunter-gatherer societies were generally relatively egalitarian, and that patriarchal social structures did not develop until many years after the end of the Pleistocene era, following social and technological innovations such as agriculture and domestication. However, according to Robert M. Strozier, historical research has not yet found a specific "initiating event" of the origin of patriarchy. Some scholars point to about six thousand years ago (4000 BCE), when the concept of fatherhood took root, as the beginning of the spread of patriarchy."

For more on patriarchy, click here.

The patriarchal mindset of rivalry and domination is pervasive and induces a culture of "command and control" and transcends family relations and contaminates all human relations as well as the human attitude toward the natural habitat. For a modern critique of the patriarchal concept of "fatherhood," click here.

4. Gender Equality for Solidarity and Sustainability

World Development Report 2012: Gender Equality and Development,
The World Bank, 28 September 2011

It is hard to imagine that we can make further progress towards human solidarity as long as machismo remains an obstacle to cross-gender solidarity. Gender discrimination between men and women (in fact, along the entire gender spectrum) is the most fundamental form of exclusivism and springs from the macho attitudes prevalent in patriarchal cultures. "Human nature is gendered to the core." (Leonard Sax, Ph.D., M.D., Why Gender Matters, 2005) Racial discrimination, which is bad enough, is "skin deep" in comparison to gender discrimination. All forms of exclusivism and discrimination are detrimental to human relations, but gender discrimination is by far the worst.

It follows that gender discrimination is also an obstacle to sustainable development and the transition from consumerism to sustainability. "Human development, if not engendered, is endangered." (UN Human Development Report, 1995) Specifically, gender-related exclusionay practices in many jobs and professions are a continuing tragedy for human civilization worldwide. Whereas the transition to sustainability is contingent on a culture of nonviolence, such practices actually perpetuate the macho propensity to violence with nefarious consequences for human relations and the integrity of the human habitat.

In this regard, the work of the United Nations in fostering gender equality is noteworthy:

  • Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), adopted in 1979 by the UN General Assembly. See also CEDAW at 30.
  • UN Women, United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. See the UN Women Brochure.
  • Gender equality is an integral part of several UN initiatives such as the Millennium Development Goals, the program of Education for Sustainable Development, the program of Gender Equality in Education, the Human Development Reports, and the Human Development Index.
  • 5. Gender Equality for Adaptation to Climate Change

    This section is excerpted from
    Women are powerful agents of change
    CARE Climate Change

    "As a rights-based organisation, CARE's climate change strategy is geared towards the empowerment of poor and marginalised people. CARE is deeply concerned about constraints that the inequitable distribution of rights, resources and power – as well as repressive cultural rules and norms – place on people's ability to take action on climate change. We believe that a wide range of development goals are achievable only if decision makers at all levels recognise the unique risks faced by poor and marginalised people and their essential roles in planning, implementing and evaluating action on climate change.

    "The majority of the world's poorest people today are women and girls. Climate change is making it even more difficult for them to realise their basic rights, and it is exacerbating inequalities since they are more vulnerable to its impacts than men.

    "Moreover, many women are denied access to new information about climate change and participation in important decision-making processes despite having unique skills and knowledge – about low risk farming, sustainable water management, family health and community mobilisation, for example – vital to effective adaptation.

    "For all these reasons, and because women are central to the food and livelihood security of their families, we place a special emphasis on gender equality and women's empowerment."

    For more, including links to other CARE resources, click here.

    KEY LINKS TO ADAPTATION & GENDER

    COLLABORATION BETWEEN INDIA AND SIERRA LEONE

    One specific case worthy of study in Women Bringing Solar Power to Sierra Leone, The Guardian, 15 September 2011. The following summary is excerpted from YaleGlobal, 16 September 2011.

    "Developing renewables to meet the growing demand for energy is a top priority in the 21st century. So is enhancing collaboration among developing countries. By training semi-literate women from rural Sierra Leone in solar-energy techniques, Barefoot College in western India works towards achieving both these goals. Twelve women attended and then returned to villages in Sierra Leone to assemble 1,500 household solar units at a new branch of Barefoot College in Konta Line, where the training will continue, reports a blog for the Guardian. The governments of both countries have played their part; Sierra Leone invested $820,000 in the project, and India provided equipment. The vast majority of households in Sierra Leone go without power. Following its decades-long civil war, electricity is Sierra Leone's "most daunting infrastructural challenge," notes a World Bank report. Lighting extends education and socializing into the evening hours, and the women are planning on manufacturing solar units to spread the new power."

    6. Women in Roles of Leadership and Governance

    women_montage.jpg

    Left to right from top: Sappho  • Venus  • Joan of Arc  • Eva Perón  • Marie Curie  • Indira Gandhi  • Venus of Willendorf  • Wangari Maathai  • Mother Teresa  • Grace Hopper  • Mamechiho, a Geisha  • a Tibetian farmer  • Marilyn Monroe  • Oprah Winfrey  • Aung San Suu Kyi  • Mata Hari  • Isis  • the Queen of Sheba  • Elizabeth I  • Florence Owens Thompson. Sources: Gateway Women and Wikipedia.

    SOME ADDITIONAL LINKS:

  • 50 Positively Famous Female Role Models, Lauren Kaminski, Chicago Now, 11 August 2010.
  • Gender Gap and Sustainable Human Development in Nigeria: Issues and Strategic Choices, Onyenekenwa Cyprian Eneh and Anayo Dominic Nkamnebe, Asian Journal of Rural Development, Volume 1, Issue 1, 2011, pp. 41-53.
  • Progress of the World's Women: In Pursuit of Justice, UN Women, 7 July 2011.
  • Gateway Woman Role Model: Diane Osgood, Jody Day, Gateway Women, 7 August 2011.
  • Manifesto for Integrated Action on the Gender Dimension in Research and Innovation, European Gender Summit, Brussels, 8-9 November 2011.
  • Women's coalition congratulates Simpson Miller on recent election victory, Jamaica Observer, 2 January 2012.
  • Mexico female presidential candidate Vazquez Mota embraces role, Tracy Wilkinson, Los Angeles Times, 19 February 2012.
  • Rural Women and Sustainable Development, Speech delivered by UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet at a joint US–China side event titled “Rural Women and Sustainable Development” during the 56th session of the Commission on the Status of Women, United Nations, 27 February 2012.
  • International Women's Day 2012: Resources from Carnegie Council, Madeleine Lynn, Policy Innovations, 8 March 2012.
  • Senator Snowe a good role model for women in politics, Joseph Vandehey, The Daily Illini, 11 March 2012.
  • Melissa Mowbray-D'Arbela: Female Hi-Tech Role Model, Karin Kamp, Huffington Post, 22 March 2012.
  • Margaret Morton: A Political Pioneer And Role Model For Women, Blacks, Anne M. Hamilton, Hartforf Courant, 24 March 2012.

  • 7. Men and the Changing Face of Masculinity

    NewIntJuly2011-160x213.jpg
    New Internationalist
    RESOURCES

    FORTHCOMING

    Special issue on Masculinities in a Global Era in Springer’s International and Cultural Psychology series (in preparation, scheduled for Fall 2012).

    "Masculinities research has evolved considerably over the past 25 years. Feminist analysis demonstrated how patriarchy functioned by oppressing women. Masculinity studies demonstrated that men could not be viewed as a homogenous group, revealing instead a diversity of masculinities, in the plural. Further still, the proposal of hegemonic masculinity demonstrated how men regulate one another, as well as women. More recently, what might be described as a “global turn” has emerged in which masculinities are no longer considered solely from a North American and European perspective, rather from every part of the world. Previously viewed largely via a sociological lens, Masculinities in a Global Era extends this conversation by analyzing global masculinities from a psychological perspective. Canvassing a broad array of psychological aspects such as the construction of identity, the negotiation of power, coping with trauma, and sexuality, the collection shows how masculinities are experienced, performed and embodied in geographically dispersed communities. Importantly, Masculinities in a Global Era explores a much-needed but elusive possibility within the study of masculinities: a forum in which the often polarized approaches of pro-feminists and men’s rights advocates can begin to move beyond their entrenched historical positions towards a more fruitful and nuanced future."

    8. Men, Women, and the Human Habitat

    VandanaShiva172x130.jpg
    Vandana Shiva - India
    Photo by VOCES

    ROLE MODEL

    Vandana Shiva: Teachers for a Living World
    Madhu Suri Prakash, Yes! Magazine, 27 January 2012
    See also the Interview Video
    Reprinted with Permission

    While Ivy League schools marvel at India’s economic growth, Vandana Shiva’s University of the Seed looks to the earth—and Gandhi—for guidance.

    Gandhi once burned British cloth imported from the mills of Manchester to reveal the power of the indigenous spinning wheel; and led the famous Salt March to underscore the capacities of all Indians (in fact, all human beings) to live autonomously, depending on the support of themselves and each other while throwing off the shackles of global empire.

    Renowned food and anti-globalization activist Vandana Shiva’s Bija Vidyapeeth (University of the Seed), co-founded with Satish Kumar in 2001, is grounded on the four Gandhian principles of non-violence: swaraj (self-rule), swadeshi (home-spun), satyagraha (truth force), and savodaya (the uplifting of all).

    Inspired by these principles, this university grown on a farm preserves a wild diversity of indigenous seeds in cooperation with thousands of farmers across India and the world, committed to the organic principles of working with Mother Earth—rather than waging war on her with chemicals.

    “Gandhi and Globalization” is a course co-taught annually at Bija Vidyapeeth for ten short, intense days in November and December. Vandana Shiva, Satish Kumar (founder of Schumacher College in England), and Samdhong Rimpoche (the first Prime Minister of Independent Tibet) designed this course for students coming from all continents, speaking in multiple tongues, and joined by a shared passion for both Gandhi and the end of the era of globalization or neo-colonialism.

    During the last three years, I have had the privilege of joining these three great teachers in the fabulous intellectual and moral adventure of co-teaching this course with them. “Gandhi and Globalization” is one among a range of courses offered by Bija Vidyapeeth to demonstrate that Gandhi’s relevance grows even as globalization strangulates indigenous traditions of teaching, learning, living, and celebrating life and death.


    Madhu Suri Prakash interviewed Vandana Shiva for YES! Magazine, a national nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas with practical actions. Madhu is a contributing editor to YES! Magazine.

    9. Men and Women in Sustainable Human Development

    Dimensions of Inclusive Development: Growth, Gender, Poverty and Environment
    Leisa Perch and Gabriel Labbate, Guest Editors, Poverty in Focus,
    International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth, UNDP,
    Number 23, December 2011

    Growth, Equity and Sustainability: A Declaration of Interdependence, by Olav Kjorven,
    Assistant Administrator and Director, Bureau for Policy Development, UNDP

    Over one billion of us live without many of the basics that the other six billion take as given. Although 28 countries have moved from low-income status to middle-income status, with Ghana and Zambia among the newest Middle Income Countries, an estimated 800 million people still live in low-income countries. Of these, half live in just five countries, three of which are in sub-Saharan Africa. In these least-developed countries (LDCs), conflict, disaster and broader human insecurity impose structural limits on efforts to move from crisis to risk reduction and from growth to sustained development. So although many millions have been lifted out of poverty in the last ten years, it is also true that more people live in chronic hunger than ever before. Significant and sustained progress will require faster and better efforts. The message of this Poverty in Focus is that, “For Growth to be inclusive, it must be sustained and sustainable and that, for it to be sustained and sustainable, it must also be equitable.”

    As a contribution to the dialogue around Rio+20 and to the ongoing discussions around a post-2015 MDG Agenda, this Poverty in Focus links future development to sustainability and particularly to social sustainability. Looking beyond the critical issues of ‘carbon footprints’, ‘low-carbon development’,’ green economy’ and the economics behind saving the planet, it draws attention back to the continuing challenge of ensuring that growth and development deliver for the poor and vulnerable. In its many forms—energy poverty, lack of access to water and sanitation, malnutrition or insecure access to food, and lack of access to education and health—the scale and scope of global deprivation call current development policy and practice into question.

    Growth, gender, poverty and the environment can no longer be treated as loosely connected components of development. Recognizing their interdependence is at the core of improved and sustained development for all.

    For one thing, the continuing decline of the quantity and quality of natural resources and of ecosystem functions is likely to exacerbate the likelihood of conflict over resources, particularly water. According to UNDP’s Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery, 35 countries had entered what could be designated a ‘post-conflict phase’ by 2008. The cost of conflict has been enormous, matching or surpassing, according to some estimates, the value of ODA received in the last 20 to 30 years in the same countries.

    Addressing topics such as the evolving debate on environmental and social justice and improved accounting frameworks to ‘include’ environmental assets and services in considerations of growth, the enclosed articles can help us go beyond lip-service to the notion of sustainability. They focus on the ‘software’ components of development, highlighting the need for equal attention to process and to results. Suggesting that inclusive and sustainable development will need to leverage ‘social technologies’ such as political innovations, true engagement and honest evaluation, they make a clear case for a strong, representative state and the complementary roles of civil society and the private sector in defining and achieving sustained and sustainable development. They underscore the role of formal and informal mechanisms in the negotiation and reconciliation of conflicting and competing interests.

    In view of the high expectations placed on the next year’s Rio+20 meeting, let us remind ourselves that ‘social sustainability’ will be built on the foundations of productive and social inclusion. Too often, the focus has fallen largely on productive inclusion, with limited effort to address the structural factors that cause and sustain exclusion and marginalization, be they related to gender, political processes, property rights for the poor, and so on. Moreover, a focus on ‘sustained’ development as well as sustainable development acknowledges that, for many countries, existing development gains are fragile and easily reversed. The acute challenges faced by countries in the Horn of Africa due to persistent drought, displacement, conflict and poverty are a case in point. A socially sustainable approach, say these authors, is one in which policy efforts do not shy away from the many interdependent multiple dynamics, processes and situations that affect vulnerability and predispose the poor and the vulnerable to harm from shocks and change.

    Growth, equity and sustainability are mutually compatible, if efforts have enough time and resources, are responsive to underlying structural causes and encourage the vigorous participation of the poor, allowing them to define their futures. What follows illuminates the complexity of inclusiveness as a development outcome and highlights bold action in and by the South. We hope that these articles serve as a source of further innovation and inspire more cooperation and the spread of knowledge within the South. Ours is an age of political convulsions, global economic shifts, inexorable climatic change and stubborn poverty. Informed and catalytic strategies are needed now more than ever before.


    Poverty in Focus is a regular publication of the International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth (IPC-IG), Brasilia, Brazil. Its purpose is to present the results of research on poverty and inequality in the developing world. For the complete issue of this publication, click here.


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