Environment and Gender Index Data Reveal Women’s Rights Make a Difference

Mar 10, 15 Environment and Gender Index Data Reveal Women’s Rights Make a Difference

Posted by in Featured, General, Untold Stories

Every year on March 8, International Women’s Day (IWD), the global community comes together to champion the rights of women, marking an opportunity to not just commemorate women, women’s achievements and progress toward equality, but to also take stock — to carefully study the gains made and to dig deeper into the challenges. Women continue to play an integral role in addressing the complex challenges our world faces on a daily basis — but data shows our contributions as women are still undervalued. First celebrated in the early 1900s, this year’s IWD also recognizes the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action (BPfA) — a key global framework agreed to advance women’s rights and make comprehensive commitments under 12 critical areas of concern, one of them being the environment. Two decades later, BPfA remains an inspirational roadmap, illuminating the path toward a more just world, a path on which many significant steps have been taken. But how far have we come? The theme for this year’s IWD is “Make It Happen,” but how can we make it happen without tangible data to measure results? Reliable, well-founded data is essential for smart, evidence-based policy and for implementing commitments to gender equality and women’s empowerment, not least in relation to the environment. However, there is a lack of accountability and monitoring mechanisms. The IUCN Global Gender Office (GGO) has endeavored to address some of these gaps by developing a monitoring mechanism that holds institutions, countries, and conventions accountable with our Environment and Gender Index (EGI). A composite index, the EGI is the first-ever tool to track progress toward gender equality in the context of global environmental governance. Its pilot phase ranked 73 countries worldwide, along 27 dimensions, divided into six categories (Livelihood, Ecosystem, Gender-based Rights and Participation, Governance, Gender-based Education and Assets, and Country-Reported Activities) and revealed interesting strengths, weaknesses and relationships amongst ranked countries and variables, such as: – Poland ranked the highest worldwide in the ecosystem category, but lowest in the livelihood category...

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What it really means to act “like a girl”

Feb 17, 15 What it really means to act “like a girl”

Posted by in Featured, General, Untold Stories

Super Bowl XLIX drew a historic 114.5 million viewers this February, which means that millions and millions of men, women, boys, and girls saw Always’ powerful “Like a Girl” commercial. For those who missed it, the “Like a Girl” ad, and associated #LikeAGirl campaign, highlighted how vulnerable girls become as they enter adolescence and the challenges they face moving forward in maintaining self-confidence and equality with men, particularly in the athletic arena. When I saw this advertisement, I couldn’t help but think about Ana Guevara, the Mexican track and field athlete who specialised in the 400 meters and became a role model for women and girls throughout Latin America and around the world in the late 90s. During the 2004 summer Olympics in Greece, Mexico City was plastered with signs of Ana. In one of them, a young man smiled next to Ana and read, “Tell me I run like a girl. Thanks Ana.” Another poster depicted a chubby boy looking suspiciously at the camera and the text said: “Are all the girls so fast? Thanks Ana.” An additional poster in the series portrayed an adult male with the caption: “I remember when women were slow. Thank you Ana.” Ana is an awe-inspiring role model and illustration of female athletic prowess, yet there are many other positive, influential examples of what it means to do things “like a girl” that are crucial to the success of families, communities, and nations—particularly in developing countries. Women have specific roles and responsibilities that provide them learned behaviors and knowledge of their local resources and environment. Women make up 43% of the agricultural labor force in developing countries and account for an estimated two-thirds of the world’s 600 million poor livestock keepers. Women and girls collect water for their families and homesteads, globally spending 140 million hours each day to secure clean water used for essential cooking and drinking. Women’s knowledge of non-timber forest products, particularly medicinal plants and alternative food sources, means that a higher percentage of...

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SNAPSHOTS FROM CONGO: A PRIEST, THE WOMEN, AND AN ORPHAN

Jun 21, 14 SNAPSHOTS FROM CONGO: A PRIEST, THE WOMEN, AND AN ORPHAN

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I write this blog while I am still in Congo, before my memory loses the smallest of the details.Focuz These are not only words; I wish you could be able to smell and feel what I have experienced and witnessed.  But these lines, I am afraid, are all I can share with you as a reader. Read them slowly, since they tell the stories of real people. These are their lives.  Treasure them, as they portray the voices of those that struggle every day to just survive. Congo, I write this for those I have met, and for those who will be in my mind for the rest of my life. I promise not to forget. These are a few of the snapshots: While I finish this blog I can hear the voice of a woman who told me:  Where are the schools? The hospitals? Why does a woman have to see her children die of starvation? Is life only about work and...

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Climate change: when “expect the unexpected” becomes the norm

Jun 10, 14 Climate change: when “expect the unexpected” becomes the norm

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In the past days, three different events/situations have kept me wondering about how climate change is impacting our lives in ways we cannot even imagine.Как штукатурить углы The first positive surprise came about during a meeting we had just convened from the 13-15 May 2014, in Washington, DC, where USAID joined with the Global Gender Office of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to organize a technical workshop on gender and REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation). A learning exchange for fifty-two participants from more than twenty countries, the workshop discussions addressed the impact that REDD+ processes are triggering at the national level in relation to land and forest tenure reforms, among other crucial topics. As you might well know, women’s ownership of land worldwide is only up to 5%, despite the fact that they produce, in some parts, of the world up to 70% of the staple food. Therefore, land tenure has become indeed one of the areas in which many women and gender organisations have been working.  The reality is that trying to impact and reform policies related to land tenure is extremely complicated, and seldom are efforts realised by changes at the national level. In our recent Environment and Gender Index (EGI; http://environmentgenderindex.org), one of the indicators we use is the access to land by women in the agricultural sector. Coming out of the workshop, I compared the REDD+ countries against the list of countries were women have no/few legal rights to access or own land or access is severely restricted by discriminatory practices. To my surprise, of the seven lowest ranked countries  (Sri Lanka, Ghana, Benin, Gambia, Uganda, Cameroon and Burundi), four are “REDD+” countries – and, in three of them, Ghana, Uganda and Cameroon, we have developed gender-responsive REDD+ road maps, which are having influence in the land and forest  tenure policies.  As one of the workshop participants pointed out, we now see in REDD+ a means to introduce reforms in a much-needed area in...

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Besides the trees growing, so too do women and men as champions of gender equality in the Amazon

Mar 11, 14 Besides the trees growing, so too do women and men as champions of gender equality in the Amazon

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We are in the Andean Amazon (Peru, Ecuador and Colombia,) working in the framework of the Initiative for Conservation in the Andean Amazon (ICAA) funded by USAID. This initiative is implementing a visionary process – supporting almost a full year of capacity building on gender in 31 institutions that are implementing the ICAA.Техническая информация о теплоизоляционных материалах производства компании L’Isolante K-Flex. A select group of men and women are designing strategies to ensure that their work is more inclusive. These include gender indicators in the context of adaptation, community mediators, development of gender-responsive regional climate change strategies, instruments to mainstream gender in the management of protected areas, development of gender policies at the level of environmental institutions, among others. At the end of this year, the Andean region will have a group of people who will ensure that “besides the trees growing, women and men will grow, as well, in the Amazon.” An amazing experience, and we’ll tell you more of our stories on this path throughout the...

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How much do you charge for life?

Feb 06, 14 How much do you charge for life?

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There is a small peasant community in Cuba call La Jocuma, in the Province Pinar del Rio.This community cherishes a very well kept secret: the invaluable and unique treasure of biodiversity.покраска металлических поверхностей Three incredible women: Bestina Mederos, Placida and Basilia Aldaz Cruz, have developed one of the biggest and richest community seed banks in the world. They have more than 286 varieties of beans, 54 of cassava, no less than 100 seeds of rice, and 15 different kinds of tomatoes, amongst many others. When they talk about their bank, you can only stand in awe of their transformative powers – these women are true agents of change. We know each seed as if they were our own children; we know their strengths and weakness, their tastes, their gifts.  Like walking out into another world, you grow along with the seed bank, every new species brings – literally – a new life.  We are ready to face climate change the best way we can, and this legacy is our gift to the current and future generations. We women are the guardians of biodiversity. But keeping a bank is usually more hard work than it is romanticism.  Every year, these women have to plant each one of the seeds, harvest them and conserve them. And their farm is 4km away from their homes. If you were to wonder how much they charge to people who want to have access to their rich biodiversity, their answer might take you by surprise: Nothing, we give them for free. How can you put value to life?  This is what our seeds are; they offer life to people through their gifts.  Especially when people have lost all their crops due to unpredictable weather patterns.  This exceptional seed bank has been supported thanks to the gender-responsive efforts of the project “Programa de Innovación agropecuaria Local (PIAL)” and great visionary women such as Dagmara Plana and Graciela Morales.  This initiative has been possible thanks to the financial support from the Swiss...

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