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Mother Pelican
A Journal of Solidarity and Sustainability

Vol. 9, No. 1, January 2013
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 and recent news:

Violence Against Women: An Integrated, Ecological Framework
Lori L. Heise, Center for Health and Gender Equity, October 2012

"This article encourages the widespread adoption of an integrated, ecological framework for understanding the origins of gender-based violence. An ecological approach to abuse conceptualizes violence as a multifaceted phenomenon grounded in an interplay among personal, situational, and sociocultural factors. Although drawing on the conceptual advances of earlier theorists, this article goes beyond their work in three significant ways. First, it uses the ecological framework as a heuristic tool to organize the existing research base into an intelligible whole. Whereas other theorists present the framework as a way to think about violence, few have attempted to establish what factors emerge as predictive of abuse at each level of the social ecology. Second, this article integrates results from international and cross-cultural research together with findings from North American social science. And finally, the framework draws from findings related to all types of physical and sexual abuse of women to encourage a more integrated approach to theory building regarding gender-based abuse."


2. Men and Women in Marriage and the Family

International Day of the Girl 2012:
Fulfill girls' potential; end child marriage

This Thursday 11 October marks the first-ever International Day of the Girl.

In a world where the adolescent girl is so often ignored, this is a day to highlight the unique challenges that girls face, raise awareness of girls’ rights and celebrate girls’ potential to change their communities for the better.

Spotlight on child marriage

Child marriage has been chosen as the official theme for the inaugural Day of the Girl: a sign of increasing awareness that girls’ empowerment will be impossible unless we address the fact that every single day, 25,000 girls around the world are married off before they turn 18.

As Desmond Tutu and Graça Machel recently wrote: “Choices define us and allow us to realise our potential. Child marriage robs girls of this chance.”

The issue of child marriage is often set aside as a sensitive ‘cultural’ issue; something that is taboo and difficult to address. Over the last two years, The Elders have worked to challenge this assumption and put child marriage at the top of the global development agenda. In 2010 they began to forge a global coalition of organisations tackling early marriage around the world. Read more about Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage.

Take action to help end child marriage

This International Day of the Girl is an opportunity to highlight some of the inspiring work already being done to tackle child marriage, as well as a chance to join together and call on the international community to support programmes and laws aimed at ending this harmful practice.

With the Millennium Development Goals expiring in 2015, it is also an important moment to encourage world leaders to make the needs of the adolescent girl a focus in any post-MDG development framework.

Join The Elders and Girls Not Brides in marking the day:

  1. Watch and share our new video: International Day of the Girl: fulfill girls' potential; end child marriage

  2. Join Mary Robinson, Christy Turlington, experts and activists who will be discussing child marriage and answering your questions in a live Google+ Hangout on 11 October. We’ll be streaming the Hangout from The Elders’ website and anyone can take part by sending in questions and watching the live discussion. (You don’t need to be signed up to Google+!)

  3. Spread the word on social media: tweet using the hashtags #endchildmarriage and #DayoftheGirl; retweet @GirlsNotBrides and show your support by adding this Twibbon to your profile.

  4. Join one of the hundreds of organisations and individuals worldwide – including more than 50 members of the Girls Not Brides partnership in 30 different countries – celebrating the International Day of the Girl with activities and events designed to raise awareness about girls’ rights. Find an event near you.

    Source: The Elders, 4 October 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. An excellent exposition of the need for a good dosage of "ecofeminism" to overcome patriarchy is provided by Patrick Curry in Chapter 9 of his book, Ecological Ethics. Following are some excerpts:

"Insofar as patriarchy identifies women with nature and dominates both, they are internally linked, so the struggle to resist or overturn either must address both."

"Ecofeminism is a meeting of two strands. One is feminism itself: the awareness of the pathological effects of dominant patriarchal or (to use a more recent term) masculinist structures, both 'inner' and 'outer' -- particularly, of course, on women but also, ultimately, on their oppressors -- and the attempt to replace them with ones that also value the feminine."

"The other element is a recognition of, and deep concern about, the equally masculinist domination and exploitation of nature through the very same habitual structures of though, feeling and action that devalue and harm women."

Curry goes on to analyze the master mentality, both dualist and hierarchical: "humanity versus nature; male versus female; and reason versus emotion... the domination and exploitation of nature and women proceed by the same logic, the same processes and, by and large, the same people... only ecofeminism brings a critical awareness of the extent and ways in which the subordination of women and ecological destruction are integrally linked."

The chapter unfolds with a review of work by ecofeminist leaders such as Vandana Shiva (India) and Wangari Maathai (Kenya), and proceeds to deconstruct the androcentric (male-centered) mentality while, at the same time, making it crystal clear that ecofeminism is definitely not a matter of demonizing men. In fact, men are victims of patriarchal practices as much as women; in one way or another, domination that goes around comes around. Only an ethics of care, as in a mother holding her child, can break the vicious circle of patriarchal command and control whereby humans abuse the human habitat at their own peril. Indeed, as Lynn White proposed years ago, St. Francis of Assisi should be recognized as the patron saint of ecologists.

ON THE HISTORY OF PATRIARCHY

The Creation of Patriarchy, Gerda Lerner, Oxford University Press, 1987

The Patriarchal Family in History, Christopher Dawson, in The Dynamics of World History, ISI Books, 2003

What is Patriarchy and Why is it the Most Powerful Force in the World Today?, Mary L. Wentworth, GSN, August 2005

Patriarchy, International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, 2008

Moving Beyond the Pathology of History: Why We Need a Shift in Human Consciousness, Jean Houston, Huffington Post, 21 September 2010

4. Gender Equality for Solidarity and Sustainability

GLOBAL EDUCATION FOR GENDER EQUALITY AND SUSTAINABLE HUMAN DEVELOPMENT:
MAKING THE CONNECTIONS

Aurora Javate de Dios
Janti Sudjati: Knowledge Lover's Blog, Indonesia, 16 August 2012

I. SUMMARY

The paper examines and explores why gender equality must be seen as a final goal in and of itself and as a prerequisite for attaining sustainable human development goals and building global citizenship. Discriminatory practices in all areas including education, as well as traditional and harmful gender norms like violence against women limit, inhibit and eventually impede the full development and empowerment of women which is critical to the realization of these two goals.

The escalation of economic globalization has driven a demand for instrumental education which can be clearly tied to the goals of production, productivity and employment. As a consequence, programs for the development of critical thinking, humanities and the social sciences that foster a deeper understanding of global issues social justice, sustainable development and human rights have been diminished.

Given this situation the question for educators then is, how do we meaningfully utilize the enormous impact of globalization to develop and foster not only education to prepare students for jobs and employment but education that develops a deep understanding and solidarity for transcendent core values like justice, peace, equality and sustainable development.

Another purpose of internationalizing education is to expand and broaden student’s understanding and appreciation of socio-economic political realities of other countries and cultures as they relate to their own national and local realities in the hopes that such exposure can bring about tolerance of difference and solidarity for the common good. Global learning is also defined as education “that puts learning in a global context that fosters critical and creative learning; self-awareness and open mindedness towards difference; understanding of global issues and power relationships and optimism and action for a better world”.

Gender equality in educational access, participation and outcome is central to the promotion of democracy. A vibrant civic life in which citizens are engage in all aspects of society is critical to the flourishing of democratic institutions, and an important precondition for promoting social justice and human right. As Educational For All Global Monitoring Report 2011 : A Gender Review assert, education is a human right of everyone, including girls and women. Much more needs to be done in terms of educational reforms such as redefining quality of education to include : (1) transformative, gender-responsive educational processes and outcomes, (2) ensuring safety and protection of girls particularly in conflict areas, (3) higher investment in early childhood care and education is crucial for promoting sustained girl’s education, and (4) engendering school thru textbook revisions and teacher training, and providing space and support systems to encourage girl and young women to take on non-traditional subjects such as math and science.

The Human Development Report of 1995 asserted that there are four elements in the concept of human development which includes productivity, equity, sustainable, and empowerment. The human development paradigm must be engendered and based on three principle : (1) equality of rights between women and men as a fundamental principle, (2) recognition that women are agent s and beneficiaries of change, and (3) the engendered development model, though aiming to widen choices for both women and men, should not predetermine how different cultures and different societies exercise these choices. For illustration, the specific example of Miriam College in the Philippines, is used to discuss both the possibilities, and challenges of gendered global learning strategies.

II. REACTION PAPER

I agree that the women have to struggle for gender equality by demanding rights and access to education which is a key step in their political participation and empowerment. Eventhough the role of women as equal as a man, the woman should responsible to her duty as wives, woman career, and mother. The reason above is the basic for developing the next generation in the future.

In conclusion that global education must embrace the principle of social inclusion, gender quality, peace, human right, environment and diversity as ways to develop global citizenship. Global citizenship principles, values and behavior can be proactively promoted now. In promoting education to integrated a gender perspective that requires national curricula to:

a. Unpack the historical and sociological meaning of national curricular norms;

b. Recognize (if not deconstruct) the various male and female forms of knowledge and their representations in the curricula;

c. Understand the different types of gendered performance within different school subject;

d. Be sensitive to the changing gender relations brought about by globalization and its significance in terms of male and female relationship to knowledge.

Quality and equality in education are inextricably linked (UNESCO 2004). Poor or marginalized children, who are more likely to have illiterate parents and less access to reading materials in the home, are more dependent on their teachers for their learning than are better-off children. As a result, poor instruction perpetuates inequities because it is more often the most marginalized children who become school leavers, either through failure or voluntary termination. Research has shown that girls seem to be more sensitive to school quality than boys and that the quality of teachers has a greater impact on the demand for girls’ education than for boys’ (Kane 2004).

There are four main dimensions of gender equality outlined in the framework : (a) equality of access, means that girls and boys are offered equitable opportunities to gain admission to formal, non formal, or alternative approaches to basic education. Actual attendance, rather than enrollment, is a better indicator of whether access has been achieved (b) equality in the learning process, means that girls and boys receive equitable treatment and attention and have equal opportunities to learn. This means that girls and boys are exposed to the same curricula, although the coursework may be taught differently to accommodate the different learning styles of girls and boys. Equality in the learning process also means that all learners should be exposed to teaching methods and materials that are free of stereotypes and gender bias. In addition, it means that boys and girls should have the freedom to learn, explore, and develop skills in all academic and extracurricular offerings. (c) equality of educational outcomes means that girls and boys enjoy equal opportunities to achieve and outcomes are based on their individual talents and efforts. To ensure fair chances for achievement, the length of school careers, academic qualifications, and diplomas should not differ based on a person’s sex, and (d) equality of external results, occurs when the status of men and women, their access to goods and resources, and their ability to contribute to, participate in, and benefit from economic, social, cultural, and political activities are equal. This implies that career opportunities, the time needed to secure employment after leaving full-time education, and the earnings of men and women with similar qualifications and experience are equal. (Subrahmanian n.d.).

References USAID, Education From A Gender Equality Perspective. This report was developed for USAID’s Office of Women in Development by the EQUATE Project, Management Systems International (Prime Contractor). Website: http://www.undp.or.id


GLOBAL GENDER GAP 2012 (World Economic Forum, November 2012)



"The Global Gender Gap Report 2012 emphasizes persisting gender gap divides across and within regions. Based on the seven years of data available for the 111 countries that have been part of the report since its inception, it finds that the majority of countries covered have made slow progress on closing gender gaps... The index continues to track the strong correlation between a country’s gender gap and its national competitiveness. Because women account for one-half of a country’s potential talent base, a nation’s competitiveness in the long term depends significantly on whether and how it educates and utilizes its women."

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD FULL REPORT

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

JoyceBandaMalawi.jpg
Source: Kaleidoscope
Joyce Banda - President of Malawi

"Joyce Hilda Banda née Mtila (born 12 April 1950) is a Malawian politician who has been the President of Malawi since 7 April 2012. An educator and grassroots women's rights activist, she was Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2006 to 2009 and Vice-President of Malawi from May 2009 to April 2012. Banda took office as President following the sudden death of President Bingu wa Mutharika. She is Malawi's fourth president and its first female president. Prior to becoming president, she served as the country's first female VP.

"She was also Member of Parliament and Minister for Gender, Children's Affairs and Community Services. Prior to an active career in politics she was the founder of the Joyce Banda Foundation, founder of the National Association of Business Women (NABW), Young Women Leaders Network and the Hunger Project. She was listed in Forbes Magazine 2011 as the third most powerful woman in Africa.

"She is the founder and leader of the People's Party created in 2011, and prior to Bingu wa Mutharika's death was considered likely to contest the Presidency of Malawi in the 2014 general election." Source: Wikipedia

References:

7. Men and the Changing Face of Masculinity

NewIntJuly2011-160x213.jpg
New Internationalist
RESOURCES

Coming in February 2013
Future Masculinity
with Dr. Joseph Gelfer

Do you genuinely want to make the world a better place? Do you want to experience greater wellbeing, and to increase the wellbeing of others? Well, here’s your chance.

Masculinity, as shaped by both men and women, has a profound impact upon the world in which we live. Yet few people stop to question the forms of masculinity that have been passed to them, let alone construct a more conscious alternative.

Future Masculinity is a course delivered by Dr. Joseph Gelfer via live web-based teleconferencing. Future Masculinity will help both men and women understand how masculinity functions in contemporary society, and how it can be re-imagined for a sustainable 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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