Fifteen years ago I was working for a nongovernment organization (NGO) in Bangladesh documenting stories of training and economic empowerment of communities. A common recurring theme in virtually all the communities was the gender stereotyping in skills training programs.
Indonesia has made impressive gains in poverty reduction in recent years, but some unfavorable childhood nutrition figures bode ill for the economy and the country’s achievement of a key Millennium Development Goal (MDG).
Nana lives in a remote village. She is married with three children. Both she and her husband are farmers. Nana went to school up to grade 3. Every now and then, the households in her community are asked to attend a meeting. One day, the village leader requested her to attend a meeting the next day.
Access to household toilets is often seen as just a water and sanitation issue or a public health concern. But the recent murders of two young Indian girls have highlighted another aspect—women’s safety and security.
I see dead people. No, I don’t mean ghosts like the ones a young Haley Joel Osment could see in the 1999 hit film The Sixth Sense. I mean actual dead bodies. I see them all the time, victims of the seemingly lawless and definitely dangerous free-for-all that is driving on Cambodia’s national roads.
The conventional view of wage gaps between men and women is that they have been steadily narrowing over recent decades and this trend will inevitably continue as women achieve higher education levels and enter areas of the workforce which have been dominated by males in the past. Unfortunately recent evidence from Indonesia suggests that pay parity between the sexes remains some way off.
As the world marks International Day of Action for Women's Health, maternal deaths are an uncomfortable reminder that much work still needs to be done. Indonesia is a case in point. While it is one of the fast growing economic powerhouses in Asia it is also experiencing a worrying rise in maternal deaths.
Why are there so few women in senior management or “at the top” of the pyramid when Asia has had more female state leaders than even Europe? Is it a lack of education? Is it age old culture and tradition? Are the boys’ networks keeping women out? And why does this continue when there is clear evidence that more women in leadership is good for the bottom line?
How many of your childhood friends do you remember who climbed trees, drew imaginative pictures showing how things worked, built cities of Lego, rode bikes, constructed forts from blankets and furniture and invented elaborate games involving hiding, seeking, capturing … and getting really filthy?
Increasing women’s leadership in the water sector may appear straightforward given affirmative measures such as project gender action plans and gender targets designed to boost female involvement. However, in practice, very few women have emerged as leaders in the sector as a direct outcome of these measures.