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Third World Quarterly. 2007 Jun; 28(4):751-773.The achievement of women's equality is an elusive goal, especially in developing economies, where states have been unable or unwilling to protect and promote women's human rights and gender equality. Many argue that globalisation has heightened gender inequality. One response to this crisis is the United Nations corporate citizenship initiative: the Global Compact. This paper argues that the Global Compact has a strong gender equality mandate, which has not been fulfilled. The paper advances a number of reasons why this may be the case, including the lack of women's participation at many levels, the pervasive nature of women's inequality and the fact it may not be in the interests of Global Compact signatories to address this inequality. Despite the limitations of this voluntary initiative, it does have some potential to effect positive change. However, unless the pervasive and continued violation of women's human rights is addressed by the Global Compact, the claim that it is a viable new form ofglobal governance for addressing major social and economic problems is severely weakened. (author's)
Development and Change. 2007 Mar; 38(2):169-199.This article situates the politics of gender in Afghanistan in the nexus of global and local influences that shape the policy agenda of post-Taliban reconstruction. Three sets of factors that define the parameters of current efforts at securing gender justice are analysed: a troubled history of state-society relations; the profound social transformations brought about by years of prolonged conflict; and the process of institution-building under way since the Bonn Agreement in 2001. This evolving institutional framework opens up a new field of contestation between the agenda of international donor agencies, an aid-dependent government and diverse political factions, some with conservative Islamist platforms. At the grassroots, the dynamics of gendered disadvantage, the erosion of local livelihoods, the criminalization of the economy and insecurity at the hands of armed groups combine seamlessly to produce extreme forms of female vulnerability. The ways in which these contradictory influences play out in the context of a fluid process of political settlement will be decisive in determining prospects for the future. (author's)
UN Chronicle. 1987 Feb; 24: p..The General Assembly on 4 December called on Member States to approve, as a matter of priority, effective measures to implement the Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women, adopted in July 1985 at the Nairobi Conference on the United Nations Decade for Women (1976-1985). The measures, it stated, should include establishment or strengthening of appropriate mechanisms for the advancement of women and for implementation of the Strategies, in order to ensure the full integration of women in the political, economic, social and cultural life of their countries. The Assembly acted by adopting resolution 41/110 on the role of women in society without a vote. Governments and intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations were asked to pay due attention to the role of women in society "in all its interrelated aspects - as mothers, as participants in the economic development process and as participants in public life". (excerpt)
Innovations: Innovative Approaches to Population Programme Management. 2001; 9:1-18.The phenomenon of violence against women (VAW) and even girls has permeated all layers of society for centuries, and, sadly, it still echoes true in the current century. The most commonly used definition from Article 1 of the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1993, describes violence against women as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivations of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life.” Both males and females experience violence in one form or another, but females constitute a higher percentage of victims of violence through the lifespan, from pre-birth up to old age. They are denied the chance to be born, to survive after birth and to live a healthy life free from the various kinds of violence. (excerpt)
International Social Science Journal. 2000 Sep; 165:255-268.This article gives an overview of related UNESCO activities over the past 50 years. Numerous UNESCO publications, results of various conferences, symposia and experts meetings serve to remind us of the important role that international migration has played in the process of social transformations throughout the world. (excerpt)
Women and Environments International. 2003 Spring; (58-59):15-18.This article presents two interviews: One with Carolyn Reicher of Canadian Women for Women In Afghanistan; the other with Sahar Saba of the Revolutionary Afghani Women's Association [RAWA].
Women and Environments International. 2003 Spring; (58-59):18-20.The idea is not for us to stop our work within the UN's proceedings, but rather to better focus our contributions. More importantly, it is to question new trends, new concepts which superimpose the rights of some upon others, a diplomatic maneuvering which too often allows a right to be forgotten. What was clear yesterday has today become obscure. It isn't a set of laws we deal with, but rather a labyrinth we venture into, in total darkness. Beyond the construction of this labyrinth, very little interest is given to the responsibility of states, corporations, and big busnesses in the militarization of our societies. (excerpt)
Women's needs and perspectives in reproductive health. Report of an African regional workshop, Nairobi, 24-26 November 1993.
[Geneva, Switzerland], WHO, Division of Family Health, 1994. , 18 p. (WHO/FHE/HRP/94.1)In preparation for the Medical Women International Association's First Regional Congress for Africa and the Near East, an African regional workshop on reproductive health was held in Nairobi, Kenya, in November 1993. The workshop was organized around three themes: 1) methodologies for identifying women's needs, perspectives, and perceptions; 2) mechanisms for linking sociological and clinical research; and 3) use of research findings to empower women and change policies and practices. There was consensus that research on women's health should be action oriented, conducted with women's participation, and sensitive to the power imbalance inherent in women's experiences with the health care system. Focus group discussions and in-depth interviews were identified as useful methodologies for obtaining information on sensitive topics. Among the topics recommended for further research were barriers to quality health care for women, determinants of sexual behavior across the life cycle, the impact of men's attitudes and practice, the effect of female socialization on reproductive health, and the reproductive health of special groups such as refugees and street children.
Plan of action for the eradication of harmful traditional practices affecting the health of women and children in Africa.
[Unpublished] 1987. 14 p.The traditional and harmful practices such as early marriage and pregnancy, female circumcision, nutritional taboos, inadequate child spacing, and unprotected delivery continue to be the reality for women in many African nations. These harmful traditional practices frequently result in permanent physical, psychological, and emotional changes for women, at times even death, yet little progress has been realized in abolishing these practices. At the Regional Seminar of the Inter-African Committee on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children in Africa, held in Ethiopia during April 1987, guidelines were drawn by which national governments and local bodies along with international and regional organizations might take action to protect women from these unnecessary hazardous traditional practices. These guidelines constitute this "Plan of Action for the Eradication of Harmful Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children in Africa." The plan should be implemented within a decade. These guidelines include both shortterm and longterm strategies. Actions to be taken in terms of the organizational machinery are outlined, covering both the national and regional levels and including special support and the use of the mass media. Guidelines are included for action to be taken in regard to childhood marriage and early pregnancy. These cover the areas of education -- both formal and nonformal -- measures to improve socioeconomic status and health, and enacting laws against childhood marriage and rape. In the area of female circumcision, the short term goal is to create awareness of the adverse medical, psychological, social and economic implications of female circumcision. The time frame for this goal is 24 months. The longterm goal is to eradicate female circumcision by 2000 and to restore dignity and respect to women and to raise their status in society. Also outlined are actions to be taken in terms of food prohibitions which affect mostly women and children, child spacing and delivery practices, and legislative and administrative measures. Women in the African region have a critical role to play both in the development of their countries and in the solution of problems arising from the practice of harmful traditions.
New York, New York, UNIFEM, .  p.This article discusses the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) program in Latin America and the Caribbean, which is undergoing major political, legal, and economic transformation. The role of UNIFEM in the region has been to help develop women's capacities to take control of their own lives by building their strengths so that they can voice their own concerns and be their own advocates. The work revolves primarily around three programs. 1) Poverty alleviation and environmental preservation -- The work of UNIFEM was focused on the areas of credit, technical and managerial training for women, appropriate agricultural practices, and women's role in food production and other income-generating activities. Environmental issues, being of special concern, are integrated throughout. 2) Citizenship and democratization -- UNIFEM aims to promote the strength and visibility of women as leaders and decision-makers at both the national and the grassroots level by becoming participants in the political process. 3) Eliminating violence against women -- Some of the most dynamic work of UNIFEM in Latin America and the Caribbean has been to broaden the concept of human rights to include women's rights and to put a stop to violence against women. This program supports direct advocacy work in shelters and women's centers, and broad-based public education programs.
UN CHRONICLE. 1999; 36(1):31.This article reports on the 1998 UN population award that was given to Uganda's Sabiny Elders Association (SEA) for its work in combatting female circumcision (FC) among the Sabiny people in Eastern Uganda's Kapchorwa district. The elders aimed at documenting local history and preserving the rich cultural heritage of Sabiny society while promoting changes in various cultural traditions that were inconsistent with modern ways of living. They also aimed to promote education especially among girls, to protect the region's environment and wildlife, and to develop its traditional medicine. Helping the victims of HIV/AIDS was a part of their goals. The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) launched its REACH program in Kapchorwa to assist the Sabiny community in bringing about its own social change and to join with them in eliminating FC, in 1996. A more appropriate ritual for ushering a girl into womanhood is being contemplated.
In: Making her rights a reality. Women's human rights and development, edited by Gillian Moon. Fitzroy, Australia, Community Aid Abroad, 1996. 74-83.It is more effective to conduct advocacy based on an understanding that the poor are people whose rights have been denied than simply to provide services or welfare. The UN has provided the human rights framework upon which such advocacy efforts can be based and has, through its international meetings, set the standards for the rights of women. While the development rhetoric of UN agencies acknowledges gender issues, practical implementation of gender-sensitive projects at the local level is hard to achieve. In this regard, the UN Development Program's gender development index and gender empowerment measure are useful, and the UN places important peer pressure on nations. However, the UN lacks political will and its administration is a bureaucratic disaster. Thus, preventable tragedies continue to happen because of unclear and weak mandates, and most of the post-Cold War peace-keeping interventions have failed because of the actions of important member countries. The UN has also failed to address massive structural equity gaps among nations and has allowed the World Bank (WB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) to implement devastating structural adjustment programs. The policies of the WB, IMF, and World Trade Organization (WTO) must be changed so that these agencies cease undermining efforts to improve human rights at the policy level, and the UN must be reformed. The WB responds to public pressure, and similar pressure must be applied to the IMF and WTO. The UN needs a multinational, rapid deployment, highly-trained peacekeeping force, and we need an international judicial process to deter war crimes. Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) face the challenge of presenting arguments for policy change in an authoritative manner. NGOs must also develop a constituency that will push within developed countries for such changes.
In: Beyond the numbers. A reader on population, consumption, and the environment, edited by Laurie Ann Mazur. Washington, D.C., Island Press, 1994. 267-72.Women's health advocates from Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, the United States, and Western Europe in conjunction with the International Women's Health Coalition drafted a declaration on population policies in preparation for the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development. Population policies were viewed as part of development policies that were based on principles of social justice and the promotion of well being. Conditions that affected both men's and women's health were identified as unequal distribution of wealth, changing patterns of sexual and family relationships, political and economic policies that restricted female access to health services and methods of fertility regulation, and laws, beliefs, and practices that denied women's basic human rights. The government is in a powerful position to affect conditions. Current economic conditions globally jeopardize governments willingness and ability to establish appropriate support. The design, structure, and implementation of population policies needs to be changed. The empowerment of women should be the goal of population policies and a goal in its own right. Fundamental ethical principles must provide the foundation of population policies and assure the following: women's ability to make responsible decisions, women's right to determine the nature of their sexuality, women's right and social responsibility to determine how, how many, and when to have children, men's personal and social responsibility for their own sexual behavior and fertility, the need for nonviolence, equity, noncoercion, and mutual respect between men and women, women's right to be involved in policy making and implementation, and women's right to not be subordinated to the interests of partners, family members, ethnic groups, religious institutions, health providers, researchers, policymakers, the state, or anyone else. There were six basic program requirements. It is necessary that women make decision maker, have financial resources, have a women's health movement, and accountability mechanisms are available.
In: Cairo and Beijing: defining the women and AIDS agenda, [compiled by] Family Health International [FHI]. AIDS Control and Prevention Project [AIDSCAP]. Arlington, Virginia, AIDSCAP, 1995. 27-39.The documents issued by the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development reflect replacement of a mechanistic, narrowly focused approach to population control with a more dynamic model grounded in the concepts of women's reproductive health, human rights, and empowerment. The analytical framework conceptualizing the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) epidemic must undergo a similar evolution. Needed, rather than a simplistic emphasis on risk factor identification and condom use promotion, is a model that addresses the realities of human sexuality, the dynamics of risk taking, and the psychosocial and economic contexts in which sexual decision making occurs. The inclusion of women on the list of groups vulnerable to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) lacks meaning unless accompanied by consideration of issues such as the lack of male responsibility for sexuality and the daily conditions of women's lives that place them at risk. Efforts should be directed toward supporting protective sex strategies couples are already using to minimize harm. From this perspective, the role of HIV prevention programs is to create conditions that strengthen people's ability to make their own informed decisions about their sexual life. Finally, a people-centered (as opposed to an epidemic-centered) model would emphasize attention, support, and services for those already HIV-infected coupled with social change created through the process of compassionate community dialogue and empowerment.
Report of the Meeting on Research Priorities Relating to Women and HIV / AIDS, Geneva, 19-20 November 1990.
[Unpublished] 1991. 13 p. (GPA/DIR/91.2)A meeting of international experts was held to identify gaps in knowledge essential to design and implement AIDS prevention and control programs as they relate to women. Fundamental to successful research efforts are the need for increased access of women to training and participation in research, new consideration of the neglect of gender specificity in existing research, and the need for such research to contribute to the empowerment of women. Specific research needs in epidemiology, behavioral research, and social and economic aspects of HIV/AIDS were identified, ranked according to their potential for contributing to the prevention and control of AIDS, relevance for developing countries, and feasibility. 12 specific research questions are posed in the report, and cover issues such as the determinants of HIV transmission, contraceptive method impact, diagnosis and treatment of STDs in women, social and economic support, women's empowerment, and the risks of female health care provider HIV infection. Additionally, HIV infection natural history differences between men and women are compared, followed by consideration of psychosocial stress, monitoring, HIV and pregnancy, and research protocol development. Background, key issues, reports of the working groups, and recommendations are included in the report.
INTER-AMERICAN PARLIAMENTARY GROUP ON POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT. BULLETIN. 1991 Jan; 8(1):1-3.Calling for renewed activity to ensure equality between men and women in Latin America, the author designates the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women as the legal standard for equality. Although all Latin American constitutions include provisions of equal rights for men and women, these countries still adhere to a patriarchal society. Cultural forces leave women in a subordinate position within the family, the workplace, education, and politics. Not only does the current economic crisis make it difficult to fund programs to improve the social conditions of women, many politicians have no sincere commitment to doing so. Nonetheless, all Latin American Countries have ratified the Convention (adopted in 1979), which recognizes the fundamental rights of women and provides a basis for international law. This principle calls for absolute equality between men and women, and requires that the signatories work towards achieving that goal. The signatories must incorporate the principle of equality in all government sectors and in all development plans. The Convention also requires governments to create a special office or ministry of women's affairs. This office is in charge of monitoring and promoting change to achieve the following: equal representation in government offices, equal participation in the workforce (including executive positions), an end to social and cultural stereotypes, and a guarantee of reproductive rights. Although many obstacles remain in the way of achieving equality, the Convention can serve as a tool for achieving that goal.
ECONOMIE FAMILIALE / HOME ECONOMICS / HAUSWIRTSCHAFT. 1987 Sep-Dec; 59(3-4):29.An international symposium to study the results of 2 projects in Thailand and Senegal on applying methods for the integration of women's issues in development planning took place at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, October 5 - 9, 1987. Experts from Algeria, Barbados, Canada, Korea, France, India, Morocco, Norway, Poland, Senegal, Thailand, and Venezuela, and 25 representatives of national and international agencies proposed recommendations to UNESCO and to different UN organizations. 3 areas were covered: Planning Techniques, Training and Communication, and Research. Recommendations include better dialogue between planners, researchers, NGO's, and women's groups. A plan to better link women with national economics was discussed, such as including them in development plans. Other goals include: Better access for women to all education and training sectors, without discrimination; Elimination of stereotypes on the role of women and men in school books and the mass media; Support and encouragement of research aimed at improving women's roles in development plans, and support for studies aimed at improving knowledge on the social and cultural dynamics of the role of women throughout the world.
In: The situation of women in Bangladesh, edited by Mahmuda Islam, Parveen Ahmed, Ellen Sattar, Niaz Zaman, Farida S. Enayet and Renee Gerard for the Women for Women Research and Study Group. Dacca, Bangladesh, Women for Women Research and Study Group and UNICEF, Women's Development Program, 1979. 379-402.This paper discussed the following critical issues of the 1980s for women and children in Bangladesh: 1) Excessive disparity between men and women in access to nutrition, health care and medical services, and in education, literacy and vocational training; 2) The lack of opportunities for female income-earning and non-recognition of female labor force in the agricultural economy; 3) The weakness of social and legal rights and the overall low status of women in society; 4) The limitations of government programs and the constraints of orthodox thinking; 5) The large number of windows; 6) The neglect of children in development planning. The role of international organizations, such as UNICEF, in formulating and coordinating realistic policies is discussed, along with the role of voluntary organizations. A framework of suggestions for action is presented. The following areas are identified as critical: population control and health, access to education, improved economic conditions, socio-cultural attitudinal changes, and improved quality of life for children. Development planners are urged to recognize that in order for overall economic progress to take effect, women and children must be integrated into development schemes. Men, women and children support each other in a large number of productive and economic activities -- their roles are interdependent in the existing structure. Consequently, action needs to be taken wherever possible to provide opportunities to the deprived women and children of Bangladesh.
It's our move now: a community action guide to the UN Nairobi forward-looking strategies for the advancement of women.
New York, New York, International Women's Tribune Centre, 1987 Sep. vi, 112 p.The document Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women (also referred to as the FLS document) reflects a commitment on the part of governments to work to improve women's status through legislative, social, and economic reforms. The document stresses the full participation of women in all areas of society. It further emphasizes the close relationship between the 3 goals of the United Nations Decade for Women--equality, peace, and development. It is essential, however, that women's organizations take responsibility for monitoring government compliance with the principles of the FLS. This community action guide was prepared to increase awareness of the existence of the FLS document and to help women develop campaigns for pressuring their governments to enforce the recommendations they agreed to at the Nairobi World Conference. Although the FLS document covers 100s of issues important to women's lives, this action guide focuses on 13 issue: decision making, education and training, employment, energy and the environment, exploitation of women, food and water, health, housing and transport, legal rights, media and communications, migrants and refugees, peace, and young and old women. For each issue, activities are suggested that can encourage fundamental social change.
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.
In: Aspects of population change and development in some African and Asian countries. Cairo, Egypt, Cairo Demographic Centre, 1984. 43-56. (CDC Research Monograph Series no. 9)This paper examines the relationship between economic development and demographic change in the 13 states of the Economic Commission for West Asia (ECWA) region. Demographic variables considered include per capita income, proportion urban, proportion in urban areas with over 100,000 inhabitants, literacy among those over 15 years, and literacy among women. Unweighted rankings on these variables were added to produce a development ranking or general development index. Then this index was used to investigate the relationship between development and individual scores and rankings for various demographic indices. The development index exhibited a rough fit with the mortality indices, especially life expectancy at birth. Mortality decline appears to be most closely related to rise in income. At the same income level, countries that have experienced substantial social change tend to exhibit the lowest mortality, presumably because of a loosening in family role patterns. In contrast, the relationship between development and fertility measures seemed to be almost random. A far closer correlation was noted between the former and the general development index. It is concluded that economic development alone will not reduce fertility. Needed are 2 changes: 1) profound social change in the family and in women's status, achievable through increases in female education, and 2) government family planning programs to ensure access to contraception.
The changing roles of women and men in the family and fertility regulation: some labour policy aspects
In: Family and population. Proceedings of the "Scientific Conference on Family and Population," Espoo, Finland, May 25-27, 1984, edited by Hellevi Hatunen. Helsinki, Finland, Vaestoliitto, 1984. 62-83.There is growing evidence that labor policies, such as those advocated by the International Labor Organization (ILO), promote changes in familial roles and that these changes in turn have an impact on fertility. A conceptual model describing these linkages is offered and the degree to which the linkages hypothesized in the model are supported by research findings is indicated. The conceptual model specifies that: 1) as reliance on child labor declines, through the enactment of minimum age labor laws, the economic value of children declines, and parents adopt smaller family size ideals; 2) as security increases for the elderly, through the provision of social security and pension plans, the elderly become less dependent on their children, and the perceived need to produce enough children to ensure security in old age is diminished; and 3) as sexual equality in job training and employment and the availability of flexible work schedules increase, sexual equality in the domestic setting increases, and women begin to exert more control over their own fertility. ILO studies and many other studies provide considerable evidence in support of these hypothesized linkages; however, the direction or causal nature of some of the associations has not been established. Development levels, rural or urban residence, and a number of other factors also appear to influence many of these relationships. Overall, the growing body of evidence accords well with ILO programs and instruments which promote: 1) the enactment of minimum age work laws to reduce reliance on child labor, 2) the establishment of social security systems and pension plans to promote the economic independence of the elderly, 3) the promotion of sexual equality in training programs and employment; 4) the promotion of the idea of sexual equality in the domestic setting; and 5) the establishment of employment policies which do not unfairly discriminate against workers with family responsibilities.
Development: Seeds of Change. 1984; (4):76-9.The International Women's Year (IWY) Conference in 1975 was the first opportunity for dialogue between 2 important emerging movements: the feminist movement and the movement to integrate women and development. The women and development movement began at about the same time as the feminist movement. By 1970 the full integration of women in the total development effort was adopted as an objective of the International Development Strategy for the Second Development Decade. In 1974 the women and development movement achieved a minor but significant recognition in US policy. The US foreign Assistance Act was amended to require "inter alia" US representatives in international agencies to encourage and promote the integration of women into national economies. The dialogue of the 2 movements at the IWY Conference, and its associated nongovernmental Tribune was electric. Feminists began to appreciate that their movement was only 1 part of a global women's movement, and they started to consider their list of basic demands as geopolitically specific and to realize and accept that elsewhere the list might include access to land, food prices, and many other issues. Feminism offered those concerned with women and development a holistic approach to changing women's lives, aimed at changing all facets of oppression and not just, for example, to increase access to education or to create greater economic independences. The conference provided a turning point for both movements by legitimizing them and by providing the impetus and the networks for a worldwide movement. The dialogue also produced a conference document, the Declaration of Mexico, 1975. Apart from the adoption of this Declaration and a World Plan of Action for the implementation of the objectives of the International Women's Year, several important decisions were made at the Mexico City Conference. It was decided to establish 1975-85 as the UN Decade for Women. This decision directed some of the energy generated by the Conference towards ensuring continuing international debate and action. A 2nd important initiative arising from the IWY Conference was the creation of the Voluntary Fund for the Decade for Women (VFDW) to provide financial and technical assistance to women. A Mid-Decade Conference was held in July 1980 in Copenhagen and adopted a Program of Action for the Second Half of the UN Decade for Women: Equality, Development and Peace. The task in preparation for the 1985 Review and Appraisal Conference for the end of the Decade for Women is to find a better instrument for assisting national governments and others to understand how to go about determining what problems women face in their countries and appropriate and effective means of overcoming them.
Who Chronicle. 1984; 38(5):217-24.As part of its regional strategy for attaining health for all, the World Health Organization (WHO) European Region seeks to reduce sex differentials in mortality. In developing countries, the health consequences of social, economic, and cultural discrimination against females have produced a higher mortality rate among females than males. In contrast, there is a trend toward increasing excess male mortality in the developed countries. The sex differential in mortality arises from 2 broad groups of causes: genetic-biological and enivronmental. In high mortality countries, environmental factors may reduce or cancel out the biological advantages that women enjoy over men. As mortality is reduced through improved nutrition, public health measures, and better health care and education, women's environmental disadvantage is reduced and genetic-biological factors may increase the female life span faster than that of males. In the 3rd phase of this process, life style factors (e.g. alcohol abuse, cigarette smoking) may become increasingly detrimental to male health and survival, leading female mortality to decline at a faster pace than that of males. Although males appear to have adapted less well than women to the stresses of modernization, there has been a trend toward high risk behavior patterns among women too as a result of the changing female role. Prospects for the future trend of sex differentials in developed societies depend largely on developments in 2 areas: the effective treatment of degenerative and chronic diseases, which dominate the cause-of-death structure in these societies; and prevention through health education and encouragement of changes in personal behavior and life style. The challenge for women is to resist pressures to adopt a hazardous life style (e.g. smoking) that might offset the benefits of their improved social status.
Washington, D.C., World Bank, 1983 Jan. 140 p. (World Bank Staff Working Papers No. 526)The relationship between women's economic participation and their input into household decision making was investigated in 7 village studies in Nepal. 2 distinct cultural traditions were represented in the sample: Indo-Aryan/Hindu and Tibeto-Burman/Buddhist-Animist. The village economy is conceptualized in 4 concentric spheres: 1) household domestic work, 2) household agricultural production activity, 3) work in the local market economy, and 4) employment in the wider economy beyond the village. Aggregate data revealed that women are responsible for 86%, 57%, 38%, and 25% of the input into these 4 spheres, respectively. It was hypothesized that women's participation in the market economy increases their status (defined in terms of household decision making), while confinement to nonmarket subsistence production and domestic work reduces women's status. This hypothesis was confirmed. Women in the more orthodox Hindu communities, who are largely confined to domestic and subsistence production, were found to play a less significant role in major household economic decisions than women in Tibeto-Burman communities where women participate more actively in the market sector. Money earned in the market sector allows women to make a measurable contribution to household income, and thus appears to enhance the perception of women as equal partners. In addition, women's decision making input was found to be inversely related to the income status of the household. These results indicate that integrating women into the market economy is not only an efficient use of local resources, but also improves women's status and economic security. The time allocation and decision making data reveal that women play the major role in agricultural production, both as laborers and managers. This suggests the need to train female agricultural extension agents and to make male workers aware of the need to reach female farmers. The results further indicate that involvement of women in the development process leads to lowered fertility and more positive attitudes toward educating female children. Tibeto-Burman women have lower birthrates than Hindu women, perhaps due to their greater economic security and availability of alternate female role models. An extensive methodological annex, including survey instruments, is included.