Study paints sad picture of women in poor countries

BY LONAH KIBET

Women perform more than half of all economic activities in developing countries but only a third of their work is captured by statisticians, a new report says.

This means women are likely to miss out on business, industrial and social development opportunities arising from globalisation.

The report titled Rapid Gender Assessment notes that Kenya does not fully capture the role of women in national development.

“Women constitute more than 50 per cent of society yet they generally have lower literacy rates than men, are victims of all types of violence, are the majority of those living in poverty and have experienced the least improvement in their quality of life,” reads the report.

PS Ministry of Planning Edward Sambili launched the report o Monday in Nairobi. Also launched was gender mainstreaming guidelines. Sambili said the launch of the two documents represent an important shift and an internationally accepted approach to the achievement of gender equality, economic development and poverty reduction.

“Other core flagship projects in relation to gender include collection of and analysis of gender disaggregated data in all sectors and the Women Entrepreneurship Fund to ensure effective national planning and budgeting from equitable development,” Sambili said.

The PS said gender mainstreaming would be used in the country as the platform to provide equal opportunities for both women and men in the political, economic and societal spheres.

The guidelines portray gender mainstreaming is not only an issue of social justice, but also necessary for ensuring equitable and human development by the most effective and efficient means.

“A gender mainstreaming approach does not only look at women in isolation but also men as actors in the development process and as its beneficiaries,” read the guidelines.

“Gender equality pursuit is a useful means to achieve wider development goals ranging from poverty reduction, increased wealth creation, reduced mortality, inclusive decision making and enhanced bargaining power and ultimately economic growth,” he said.

The GDG will be used to ensure gender analysis and mainstreaming is embedded within national economic policies, the Budget Strategy Paper and requisite budget documents, planning components of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework and poverty eradication programmes.

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