Progress of the World’s Women: 2008/2009
This volume of Progress of the World’s Women asks the question “Who answers to women?” at a pivotal moment. The Millennium Development Goalss (MDGs) agreed to in 2000 contain a commitment to achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment, including indicators and concrete targets related to girls’ education and to maternal mortality. The MDGs also monitor progress on women’s ability to engage in economic activity and public decision-making on an equal basis with men. Halfway to 2015, the year when the MDGs should be met by all countries, progress has been mixed. This volume of Progress of the World’s Women demonstrates that the MDGs and other international commitments to women will only be met if gender-responsive accountability systems are put in place both nationally and internationally.
In too many countries, even where the constitution or laws prohibit it, women may be denied equal pay; they may be sexually harassed at work, or dismissed if they become pregnant. Women who assert a claim to land may find that claim disputed by village elders or their own husbands. Women seeking care during childbirth may be pressed to pay bribes for a mid-wife’s attention. Women who have been victims of sexual violence might encounter judges more sympathetic to the perpetrators, and receive no redress for their suffering. When guarantees to protect women’s rights go unfulfilled, where can these women turn for redress? Who answers to women?
Women’s struggles to expose gender-based injustice and demand redress have changed how we think about accountability. The chapters in this volume examine how gender-responsive changes to accountability systems are enhancing women’s influence in politics and their access to public services, to economic opportunities, to justice, and finally to international assistance for development and security. Acknowledging that different groups of women encounter distinct challenges in gaining access to their rights, Progress 2008/2009 examines how women, including the most excluded women, are strengthening their capacity to identify accountability gaps and call for redress. Access the full report.