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[Unpublished] 2003 Jul 9. 15 p.How can information and communication technologies (ICT) be used to promote gender equality in developing nations and to empower women? This essay seeks to deal with that issue, and with the gender effects of the “information revolution.” While obvious linkages will be mentioned, the essay seeks to go beyond the obvious to deal with some of the indirect causal paths of the information revolution on the power of women and equality between the sexes. This is the third1 in a series of essays dealing with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). As such, it deals specifically with Goal 3: to promote gender equality and to empower women. It is published to coincide with the International Conference on Gender and Science and Technology. The essay will also deal with the specific targets and indicators for Goal 3. (excerpt)
Family Planning Perspectives. 1995 Nov-Dec; 27(6):254-8.This article is a reflection on the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in September 1995, including its preparatory meetings. Delegates from 187 nations negotiated and decided on the disputed passages of the draft Platform of Action, which comprised 40% of the 150 page document. The atmosphere prior and during the conference was not peaceful. The UN and China disputed over the location of the nongovernmental organizations' (NGO) forum that took place at the same time of the conference. The US and Chinese governments squabbled about China's detention of a Chinese-American human rights activist. The US First Lady attended the conference and the NGO forum, promoting human rights. Most delegates had decided that this conference would not be a retreat from the Cairo conference. In comparison to Cairo, the Vatican delegation had toned down its opposition. US based antiabortion groups and conservative women's groups arrived in greater numbers in Beijing than in Cairo, in hopes to reverse actions taken in Cairo. They had few victories. A contentious issue was parental rights and responsibilities, specifically adolescents' access to confidential health services. Compromise wording was worked out in two paragraphs. All other references to parental rights were deleted or there was a reference to the compromise wording. The Beijing platform was the first universal document recognizing the right of a woman to say no to sexual intercourse. The references in the Beijing document recognizing sexual rights as human rights were a major accomplishment. Debates over the issue of abortion took place: the proposed conscience clause and a call for the review of laws containing punitive measures against women who have had an illegal abortion. The vocal delegates from developing countries are silencing the accusation that radical Western women are thrusting women's rights on the rest of the world.
ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL WEEKLY. 1994 Aug 20; 29(34):2,201-4.The aim of US-promoted population policies is maintaining and securing the economic and political dominance of capitalist states. Governments of developed countries blame overpopulation in developing countries for destroying the planet and those of developing countries blame overconsumption, waste, and industrial pollution in the capitalist countries to be responsible. Developed countries and the UN profess that population control is in the interests of development and for the sake of women's rights. Many women's groups protest planned and already existing population policies and bear witness to the suffering women from developing countries experience, raising the question of choice of these policies. Sexism served as the smokescreen behind which US strategies of population control were implemented. The concept of sustainable development is also used to advance population policies in developing countries. Developed countries use this concept to maintain the status quo, agricultural countries as such, cash crop economies, dependency on food, foreign aid, and loans and to continue their exploitation in developing countries. USAID, UNFPA, and the World Bank are the major moneylenders for population control. The US targets Africa for population control because it produces 90-100% of four minerals vital to US industry. The new phase of capitalist development has shifted the state's role from its function as a nation state to facilitator of global capital. Population control policy, national security laws, and anti-trade union laws are used to create a docile and immobile pool of labor. The World Bank, the IMF, and the WTO, through their structural adjustment policies, provide the infrastructure to implement population policies and targets. Population policies focusing on targets take control away from women. People in developing countries will not accept these population policies until they have control of their lives. They need assurance of child survival and to be in a position to plan their future. The population control lobby now uses deception to thwart resistance.
POPULI. 1993 Feb; 20(2):12-3.The Delhi Declaration and Vision 2000 is IPPF's strategic plan for directing efforts through the end of the 20th century. This brave and angry plan points out the need for IPPF to interact more closely with women's groups and nongovernmental organizations to address the needs of marginalized people. Women's status is lower than that of men in most societies. During the 1980s, family planning (FP) programs in some developing countries (e.g., Bangladesh, Brazil, India, and Mexico) directly or structurally pressured women to become sterilized or take part in clinical trials of injectable contraceptives and subdermal implants. IPPF calls for more funds from donor governments for research and development because pharmaceutical companies do the research, but lawsuits, adverse publicity, and consumer campaigns have resulted in reduced pharmaceutical company supported research. Adverse publicity has also been waged against international FP and population control groups, mainly because they do not include women in decision-making roles in all aspects of contraception research. The Declaration calls for a wider women's role in making decisions affecting FP, sexual health, and reproductive rights. Developed and developing countries should share power and freedom. Contraception has brought about positive changes in women's lives, e.g., better health for mother and child. About 51% of couples in developing countries use FP methods, but 300 - 500 million married women who want to use contraceptive still do not have access to it. Since religion, tradition, and peer pressure influence family size, public education is needed. The media needs to become more objective when they report on FP successes rather than on 1 problematic sterilization. AIDS, more unsafe abortions, and unwanted pregnancies make this brave and angry plan even more relevant to addressing today's needs.