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Women's organizations in El Salvador: history, accomplishments, and international support. [Organizaciones femeninas en El Salvador: historia, logros y apoyo internacional]
In: Women and civil war. Impact, organizations, and action, edited by Krishna Kumar. Boulder, Colorado, Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2001. 183-203.Women's organizations in El Salvador have undergone a unique evolution, first in relation to the conditions of war that permeated El Salvador from 1980 to 1992 and then in response to economic restructuring and the challenges of democratization following the war. The conditions of El Salvador's civil war, along with the fact that many women's organizations became stronger during the war, have resulted in a unique set of organizations that are marked by their autonomy at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Early-conflict women's organizations (1980 to 1985) were characterized by their attachment to a wide range of popular grass-roots organizations and attempts to incorporate women into these groups. Many of these organizations mobilized women around economic issues, survival in the war, and human rights. A few formed in this period began to work with battered women and to question women's legal, political, and domestic subordination. Few, however, were willing to embrace the concept of feminism. Late-conflict and post-conflict women's organizations (1986 to 2001) are characterized by women challenging gender hierarchies within mixed grass-roots organizations and putting forth a gendered discourse on specific women's rights, ranging from violence against women to inequities in the labor force. Feminism also became more prevalent during this time. In this chapter we look at the particular changes found in women's organizations and link them to specific historical, social, and economic circumstances. We then evaluate what the impact of women's organizations has been in terms of empowering Salvadoran women and make recommendations for international donor organizations so that they can better serve Salvadoran women's organizations. (excerpt)
In: Progress of the world's women 2000: UNIFEM biennial report, [compiled by] United Nations Development Fund for Women [UNIFEM]. New York, New York, UNIFEM, 2000. 15-36.This document, which is the first chapter of a UN publication entitled “Progress of the World’s Women 2000,” examines the economic dimension of women’s ability to realize themselves as full human beings. In that context, it argues for the expansion of the current definition of human development, which is defined as a process of enlarging people’s choices, to include women’s empowerment, or specifically, giving women the courage to choose. Overall, the document aims to contribute to the global dialog that is sparked by commitments made to women in human rights treaties, UN conferences and grounded in women's organizations' own efforts to humanize the world. To that end, it is noted that women have to defend their right to paid work in the private, public and nongovernmental sectors in the face of familial and community opposition, and, increasingly, in the face of pressures from globalization. In addition, they have to defend their right to more equal ways of sharing and supporting unpaid care work in the home. However, the document also acknowledges that women face constraints not of their own making or choosing, and that many countries can be weakened by social choices, collectively made, and not through individual choices alone.
Development. 1999 Mar; 42(1):33-7.This article on the European response to the challenge of implementing the goals of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) opens by acknowledging that the European Commission (EC) is placing gender and reproductive health on its agenda but that progress has been slow. Next, the article introduces the advocacy groups that seek to promote an enhanced understanding of the population, development, reproductive health paradigm in the EC. The third section considers whether the "new" alliance called for by the ICPD between governments at all levels and nongovernmental organizations is working. One positive example given is the dialogue established between NGOs and the UK All Parliamentary Group on Population, Development, and Reproductive Health. It is noted, however, that more national-level agenda-setting and mobilization are needed to implement the ICPD goals. Next, the article reviews the "old" population/development tension and concerns about the continued existence of demographically-driven, coercive family planning programs and a dearth of development NGOs working with population NGOs. The article explores this problem in the next section and asserts that the population/development tension was not magically dissolved by the ICPD and that neither population nor development NGOs have all the answers but should share resources and engage in more dialogue. The article concludes that continued progress in implementing the ICPD goals will require a careful look at successful partnerships; finding ways to support an exchange of knowledge, views, and experiences; and fostering a working climate of openness.
Panel session: the future agenda of the women's movement in relation to national and international structures.
In: Women's rights and development: vision and strategy for the twenty-first century. A seminar organised by One World Action, Oxfam UK/I, the Gender Institute of the London School of Economics, and Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford, held at Wolfson College, Oxford, May 24, 1995. Report, compiled by Mandy Macdonald. Oxford, England, Oxfam, 1995. 35-9. (Oxfam Working Paper)This paper reports on a panel discussion that considered the future agenda of the international women's and "gender and development" movements as part of a 1995 seminar on women's rights and development. First, a member of the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) at the University of Sussex pointed out male biases operating at IDS and provided examples of the narrow, compartmentalized vision that dominates considerations of development and gender. The next speaker, a member of Development Alternative with Women for a New Era, 1) proposed a political agenda for the international women's movement; 2) called for the reversal of South-North hierarchies and for a new slogan, "think locally, act globally"; and 3) related the women's movement to national and international structures. The third speaker, from the Development Studies Institute of the London School of Economics, pointed to the 1) need to develop new interventions to help women during wars and conflicts, 2) move beyond international conferences, and 3) consider the impact of North-South relations on the women's movement. The director of CHANGE, the fourth speaker, identified current challenges for the women's movement while applauding the broadening of women's human rights issues. Finally, a representative of Oxfam UK/Ireland pointed to women's human rights as the future agenda for the women's movement and offered various strategies that could be used by the women's movement and development agencies to affect change.
Development. 1994; (1):10-3.Women involved in the population debate and in preparations for the 1994 UN Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) are forming a dangerous liaison with environmentalists and population planners. Current models of development growth fail in having the power and resource distribution potential to change sources of poverty and unsustainable environmental practices. Good government may be a solution, but environmentalists must be aware of gender issues outside the local domain. The population establishment hurts women's groups by marketing the language of empowerment of women as an object of population target setting, which has been linked with coercion and violence and not with improvement in the quality of life of women. The various political perspectives use the same language of empowerment, rights, justice, poverty alleviation but the meanings are not the same. A positive consequence of the joint discussion is the worldwide focus on understanding social differences and man's relationship to man and man's relationship to the natural world. An important objective is to be involved in the development of a complex expression of the issues. The rightness or wrongness of postures is out of place. Arturo Escobar has coined the strategy "cultural hybridization" or development of alternative strategies from the ongoing economic and technological changes occurring during the 1990s. The mainstream discourse of ICPD focuses on women's rights, overpopulation and unsustainable development. UNFPA in roundtable discussions endorsed the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. The US position is gender sensitive. The second preparatory committee recommends family planning which encompasses sexual and reproductive health and links education with women's status as a means of achieving socioeconomic development. The mainstream has been asked about the contradictory practices of international development programs. Balancing individual rights and social responsibilities has both opportunities and potential dangers, if decisions are made for quantification by technical experts, for control of wombs by the medical establishment, or for stringent control of economic programs by governments under threats by multinationals.
Development. 1994; (1):63-6.Agenda 21 was adopted in June 1992 by the world community. The chapter on global action for women toward equitable and sustainable development discusses the integration of women into the development process. In this discussion some background history is presented on how women have been conceptualized and integrated into development issues. Women in development (WID) groups have not addressed the problems of traditional development approaches for women, the environment, or sustainability. The exception has been DAWN (Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era, a Southern nongovernmental coalition of women researchers). Programmatic impact of WID has been attained, but policy impact is still limited. Women have been recognized as the "first ecologists," but records of women's traditional practices which harmonize with environmental protection are not well researched. New knowledge and skills for women must be combined with the survival knowledge gleaned from long term interaction with the environment. Agenda 21 recognized the women, environment, and development (WED) links but without a full recognition of the issues. New research has only begun to reveal the harmful effects on women during pregnancy from toxic contaminants and burning of biomass fuels. Both gender bias and gender blindness prevent the examination of women's issues. Women suffer from lack of access to education and training, lack of access to property and credit, lack of access to decision making, and biases in resource allocation. These biases prevent a gender neutral setting for development. The inclusion of women's issues in planning would address, for example, women's traditional family roles in production and reproduction, women's roles in the community for assuring safe food water and security, women's daily interaction with the environment, women's responsibility for food security, women knowledge of ecology and biodiversity, and women's emerging roles as head of households. WID and WED are different approaches to the nature of development. Development objectives of industrialization, urbanization, and consumer societies are no longer primary goals and directly or indirect contribute to the world's misery. Justice and equity have been sacrificed in the past, and future approaches must be integrative and interdisciplinary.
POPULI. 1994 Jul-Aug; 21(7):4-6.An agenda for significant change is proposed for the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). Current progress toward the agenda is viewed as insufficient unless there are resource reallocations, political will, vision, and the adoption of the agenda at the ICPD. The ICPD goals also should be accepted by the World Summit for Social Development and by the Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995 in order to achieve human security and development. Population agencies must 1) increase investments in health, education, water, sanitation, housing, and social services; 2) enact and enforce legislation empowering women in sexual, social, and political ways; 3) provide credit, training, and income development so women can have decent lives; 4) involve women's advocates at all levels of decision making; and 5) eliminate the gender gap in education, prevent violence against girls, and eliminate sex role stereotypes. The literature in the population field has neglected sexuality, gender roles, and relations and has concentrated on unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and contraceptive efficacy. Many family planning (FP) programs reinforce gender roles. Improvement in the quality of services must be a top priority for FP programs. Quality of care is conceptualized differently by FP providers and women's health advocates. Basic program management and logistics systems could be changed with modest investments in staff motivation and revised allocations of human and financial resources. Clients must be treated with dignity and respect. Programs should not concentrate on married, fertile women to the neglect of adolescents and other sexually active women. Preventive health should include those sexually active beyond the reproductive age. Men's responsibility in FP is viewed as fashionable but problematic in terms of actual program change.
PEOPLE AND DEVELOPMENT CHALLENGES. 1995 May; 2(3):10.The All China Women's Federation (ACWF) is preparing for the UN's Fourth World Conference on Women, to be held in Beijing in September 1995. Activists in China see the Conference and its accompanying NGO (nongovernmental organizations) Forum as a great opportunity to improve the status of women. The ACWF has submitted 42 issues, involving such issues as women's political involvement, women's education, violence against women, employment opportunities for women, and health care, to the Chinese government for consideration at the NGO Forum. In addition, the impact of the free market system on Chinese women is an area of concern. Women have been subject to discrimination in the work place in their susceptibility to losing their jobs if an industry closes and in joint ventures where employers fail to observe the principle of equal pay for equal work.
In: Changing perceptions: writings on gender and development, edited by Tina Wallace with Candida March. Oxford, England, Oxfam, 1991. 141-8.In this essay in a book of writings on gender and development, the author relates her experience as the first Woman Project Officer hired by the Oxfam West India office in 1984. The previously all-male staff decided to hire a woman with development experience to tackle gender issues and to attempt to involve women in development programs, especially in decision-making processes. The strategy used was to create structures which would enable women to form groups and, eventually, to define their own development activity priorities and needs. This strategy failed, largely because it was not relevant to the position of the women in their society. It became apparent, however, that women's development must be integrated in all aspects of Oxfam's work at the organizational, office, and program levels. In 1985, therefore, a group of women project officers formed a group called Action for Gender Relations Asia (AGRA) to work toward this goal. AGRA first concentrated on the organization of Oxfam and its staff but found its abilities limited by the fact that it was comprised solely of Oxfam staff. Studies of the impacts of various projects on women have been undertaken to develop awareness of appropriate strategies. The shift in strategy required that, instead of forming separate women's groups, women be incorporated in development efforts. These attempts were blocked by patriarchal male leaders. Thus, women were appointed as organizers of women's development. Since many of these women were inexperienced, the patriarchal set-up was reinforced. Also, whereas most of the development programs had economic goals, the work with the women emphasized conscientization and organization, which was difficult for some group leaders and staff members to accept. These attempts are part of a process of change that is constantly evolving. It is hoped that what was learned from them will contribute to an understanding of gender issues.
Washington, D.C., CEDPA, . , 16,  p.The Centre for Development and Population Activities (CEDPA), an international organization, was founded in 1975 to empower women at all levels of society to be full partners in development. CEDPA's 1993 Annual Report describes the contribution of CEDPA network partners to the preparations for the 1994 UN International Conference on Population and Development. CEDPA efforts on behalf of women are focused on 1) the provision of family planning and related reproductive health care services, 2) education for girls, and 3) training women leaders and managers in population and development. In each area, CEDPA works to expand women's access, choice, and participation in population and development policy, implementation, and decision making. This report includes the 1993 balance sheets for the organization and lists of supporters, sponsors, members of the board of directors, and staff. CEDPA's 1993 activities in the areas of family planning, AIDS prevention, maternal and child health, adolescent fertility, health education, family life education, skills training/income generation, literacy training, management training, institution building, the environment, and policy advocacy are indicated on a table which shows the country (Egypt, Ghana, Guatemala, India, Kenya, Mali, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Romania, Turkey, and Uganda) and name of specific projects.
VIVRE AUTREMENT. 1994 Oct; (Spec No):3.In November 1994 in Senegal, Dakar will host the regional conference on women. Its purpose is to develop a common action plan that Africa will present in Beijing. Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and governments have already been preparing for this meeting. This conference had been organized by a series of meetings continent-wide, where governments and NGOs clarified their positions on the 3 themes: equality, development, and peace. The Ministry of Women and the Family has the task of preparing the Senegalese viewpoint of the operation. Senegalese authorities want to make the meeting in Dakar a success. They have decided to have expositions, cultural displays, a women's business forum, a village restaurant where representatives from each country will get to know the culinary wealth of other countries, and a gala event. Everyone is ready to discuss equality, women's access to decision making structures (especially in the education sector), and better distribution of income between the sexes. NGOs do not intend to sit back and do nothing at the conference, but intend to influence the editing of the action plan. Many women's and health-based NGOs are rising up against the gaps of the action plan which only consider women's biological and physical aspects but not their mental and psychological aspects. Participants should consider the disastrous effects of sexual abuse and early marriages. Are governments ready to reform their laws which tend to discriminate against women and institutionalize their low status? Do they have the political will to check the conservative forces, such as those that spoke out against women in the final report of the forum in Tunisia? The number of women in powerful posts in Africa is growing. They can certainly advance things more rapidly than in the recent past. Women at Dakar should work together to address conflicts in Africa. Women should insist that women participate in all peace negotiations.