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Development. 1989; (4):49-51.In 1970, the United Nations adopted a long-term women's advancement program and other initiatives to raise consciousness on women's issues and to identify appropriate actions to take in promoting gender equality and women's integration in development. Setting its objective as equality between the sexes by the year 2000, the Nairobi Forward Looking Strategies is also a UN system-wide medium-term plan with specific activities to implement over the period 1990-95. These UN actions have, therefore, prepared the way for women's advancement in the 1990s and beyond. Efforts do, however, need to be made to build upon and expand these initiatives to facilitate the total integration, participation, and recognition of women in the social, economic, and political lives of countries throughout the world. Present UN strategy suffers from multiple focal points, a diffused mandate, limited financial resources, and inadequate interaction with national governments. The development of an UN Special Agency for Women's Development is suggested as a way of solidly propelling women ahead toward globally-recognized equality and greater overall opportunity. This agency would be the umbrella over existing and future related programs and activities, armed with a clear and specific mandate, an independent executive board, an independent fundraising ability, institutional arrangements to undertake in-country projects, and field offices.
World Education Reports. 1985 Nov; (24):15-7.In the last decade we have come to radically redefine our understanding of how women fit into the socioeconomic fabric of developing countries. At least 2 factors have contributed to this realignment in our thinking. 1st, events around the UN Decade for Women dramatized women's invisibility in development planning, and mobilized human and financial resources around the issue. 2nd, the process of modernization underway in all developing countries has dramatically changed how women live and what they do. In the last decade, more and more women have become the sole providers and caretakers of the household, and have been forced to find ways to earn income to feed and clothe their families. Like many other organizations, USAID, in its current policy, emphasizes the need to integrate women as contributors to and beneficiaries of all projects, rather than to design projects specifically geared to women. Integrating women into income generation projects requires building into every step of a project--its design, implementation and evaluation--mechanisms to assure that women are not left out. The integration of women into all income generating projects is still difficult to implement. 4 reasons are suggested here: 1) resistance on the part of planners and practitioners who are still not convinced that women contribute substantially to a family's income; 2) few professionals have the expertise necessary to address the gender issue; 3) reaching women may require a larger initial investment of project funds; and 4) reaching women may require experimenting with approaches that will fit into their village or urban reality.
Women and health for all. Address at the World Conference to Review and Appraise the Achievements of the United Nations Decade for Women, Nairobi, 16 July 1985.
[Unpublished] 1985. 3 p.Health for all by the year 2000 is an ideal embraced by the World Health Assembly. In his address, Dr. Mahler clarifies the objectives of that ideal while focusing on the plight of the underprivileged and women. He calls for education to bring about an understanding of the basic causes of illness including political, economic, social, cultural, environmental, and biological factors. He suggests the subject of women and health become more focused on women as women rather than in their roles of mothers or potential mothers. He supports the premise that through understanding comes the most effective action. The underprivileged are highlighted as a group most in need of medical attention but he warns against making them into excessive consumers of health services. Women in developing countries are considered the most at-risk health group because they are not treated equally economically, politically, or even nutritionally. It is well known that the female population of many developing countries eat considerably less than do their male counterparts, even to the point of malnutrition. Also, poor nutrition presents special health risks to the pregnant woman and her children. There are 2 ways in which health care planners may view the plight of these populations. A "he" approach points to socioeconomic development as the answer while a "she" strategy promotes a more nurturing attitude toward issues of health planning.