Our Perspective

      • Unlocking women’s economic power as the key to development

        04 May 2011

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        Women sell mango and sweet potato jam produced in a UNDP supported project in Senegal. Photo: UN Photo/Evan Schneider

        Recognizing that the status of women is closely bound to other development issues, Head of UNDP Helen Clark has described investment in women as key to striving for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).   Sexual and reproductive health services, girls’ education and women’s legal rights all require investment if women are to lift themselves and their children out of poverty. Efforts to promote women’s economic power must begin by addressing the many barriers women face.  First, there must be a focus on removing the legal hurdles that stand in the way of women accessing financial services.  In Africa, where women make up a majority of the agricultural labour force, it has been estimated that they receive less than 10 percent of all credit going to small farmers and only one per cent of the total credit for the agricultural sector. Second, there must be a drive to strengthen women’s legal rights to own land and property and to inherit, which are often limited by social customs, as well as by law. At the moment, women not only lose out on the opportunity to produce and earn income, but they continue to be denied equal status in their families and communities. Third, Read More

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