Our Perspective

      • Violence against women is neither inevitable nor acceptable | Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed

        08 Mar 2013

        image

        As we commemorate International Women’s Day, we look back at a year with shocking crimes of violence against women and girls worldwide. We all remember the story of the Pakistani girl Malala Yousafzai who was shot on 9 October last year, while returning home on a school bus. In Yemen, some girls are forced to marry when they are still children, sometimes as young as eight years old. Violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread violations of human rights. In Yemen, women and girls are victims of different forms of violence. Through a recent survey carried out by UNFPA it appears that harassment on the streets, mainly of women living in the cities, are among the daily aggressions they face. Other forms of violence are more hidden, often not well documented and many cases, especially of domestic violence, are often never reported. Gender-based violence is a global problem and gender-based inequality, exclusion and discrimination are at the heart of gender-based violence. In India, Dalit women experience high rates of sexual violence committed by men of higher castes. Indigenous women in Canada are five times more likely than other women of the same age to die as aRead More

      • The Internet Gender Gap | Magdy Martinez Soliman

        10 Jan 2013

        image
        Special computer training course designed for deaf people in Damascus, Syria. Photo: UNDP in Syria

        The role of ICTs as development enablers is more widely understood today as access to new technologies, particularly mobile phones, has grown exponentially. Mobile phone subscriptions exceeded six billion by the end of 2012, three-quarters of which were in the developing world.  However, women are at a disadvantage: they are 21% less likely to own a mobile phone than men, according to the latest Broadband Commission Report (PDF, 2.4Mb). Development presents an opportunity to effectively address this and other gender gaps.  I am speaking here  about sustainable human development, about the ability to make choices and lead a healthy, long and educated life with all that we value. Let us bear in mind that ICTs are not neutral. Existing gender inequalities, pervasive in many countries,  can be exacerbated by ICTs, when unequal access to education for example turns into digital ignorance. Not having female teachers and lack of local security are powerful triggers of girls’ dropout. Women will not be able to access ICT community centers if safety issues are not properly addressed. We are determined advocates of democratic governance and for us women's access to ICTs is a governance issue. Public policies and the private sector need to address theRead More

      • Arab world needs broad governance reform | Mohammad Pournik

        03 Jan 2013

        image
        Libyan students at Tripoli University attend the first ever United Nations human rights workshop. UN Photo/Iason Foounten

        High unemployment and inequality fuelled Arab Spring uprisings that began in 2010, but the Arab world needs broad governance reform to achieve sustainable, equitable growth. Ousting dictators alone isn’t enough. People want bread, but they also want social justice and freedom. Experts at the UNDP Regional Center in Cairo reached that conclusion after lengthy study, culminating in the Arab Development Challenges Report that has now been launched in capitals around the world.  Having spent nearly three decades in the field, I believe this is indeed the case—governance and rule of law are essential to the sustainable, inclusive development the Arab world so acutely needs. In Egypt, the problem wasn’t simply political exclusion--it was political and economic exclusion. Reform will succeed only when it addresses both. Unemployment remains a critical challenge, but reliably measuring joblessness is difficult in countries without unemployment insurance and a system of registering for it. Enormous challenges such as food security, water scarcity, and management of natural resource also remain. Arab states must invest better in managing water resources and improving irrigation and agricultural productivity and devise incentives for investment in renewable energy. Governance failures helped create this situation: Here we see institutions that perpetuate themselves, corrosiveRead More