“It’s important to be aware of what’s going on in the world and to think about how you can start to make a difference, even when you’re a kid.”
Contested Terrain: Reflections with Afghan Women Leaders by Sally L. Kitch (University of Illinois Press, 2014)
Sally L. Kitch explores the crisis in contemporary Afghan women's lives by focusing on two remarkable Afghan professional women working on behalf of their Afghan sisters. Kitch's compelling narrative follows the stories of Judge Marzia Basel and Jamila Afghani from 2005 through 2013, providing an oft-ignored perspective on the personal and professional lives of Afghanistan's women. Contending with the complex dynamics of a society both undergoing and resisting change, Basel and Afghani speak candidly--and critically--of matters like international intervention and patriarchal Afghan culture, capturing the ways in which immense possibility alternates and vies with utter hopelessness. Strongly rooted in feminist theory and interdisciplinary historical and geopolitical analysis, Contested Terrain sheds new light on the struggle against the powerful forces that affect Afghan women's education, health, political participation, livelihoods, and quality of life. The book also suggests how a new dialogue might be started in which women from across geopolitical boundaries might find common cause for change and rewrite their collective stories.
Go to: http://www.go.illinois.edu/F14KITCH for more information.
This paper from Reaching Critical Will and Article 36 addresses concerns that the sex of individuals is being used as a signifier to designate people as militants in drone strike targeting decisions and post-strike analysis of casualties.
The immense social, economic and environmental consequences of climate change and loss of essential ecosystems are becoming clear. Their effects are already being felt in floods, droughts, and devastated landscapes and livelihoods. Among those most affected are the women and girls, given the precariousness of their livelihoods, the burden of securing shelter, food, water and fuel that largely falls on them, and the constraints on their access to land and natural resources. As the global community grapples with the challenges of sustainable development and the definition of the Sustainable Development Goals, the 2014 World Survey on the Role of Women in Development asserts the central role of gender equality. It charts the rationale and the actions necessary to achieve sustainable development.
Linking gender equality with sustainable development is important for several reasons. It is a moral and ethical imperative. Efforts to achieve a just and sustainable future cannot ignore the rights, dignity and capabilities of half the world's population. To be effective, policy actions for sustainability must redress the disproportionate impact on women and girls of economic, social and environmental shocks and stresses. Finally, women's knowledge, agency and collective action has huge potential to improve resource productivity, enhance ecosystem conservation and sustainable use of natural resources, and to create more sustainable, low-carbon food, energy, water and health systems. Failure to capitalize on this would be a missed opportunity. Women should not be viewed as victims, but as central actors in moving towards sustainability.
The World Survey does not attempt to cover the exceedingly wide range of aspects of sustainable development. It identifies a select range of issues that are fundamental to women's lives and are strategic for achieving gender equality and sustainability. It analyses patterns of growth, employment generation and the role of public goods; food production, distribution and consumption; population dynamics and women's bodily integrity; and water, sanitation and energy.
Three criteria are employed to assess the likelihood of policy actions achieving gender equality. Do they support women's capabilities and their enjoyment of rights? Do they reduce, rather than increase, women's unpaid care work? And do they embrace women's equal and meaningful participation as actors, leaders and decision-makers?
The World Survey 2014 is a serious and thoughtful contribution to our understanding of how gender equality relates to sustainable development. This is a resource that strengthens the hands of policy actors in different parts of the world – whether in government, civil society, international agencies, or the private sector. It is my firm hope that it will lead to policies and actions that enhance gender equality and the full enjoyment by women and girls of their human rights.
The World Survey will be presented to the General Assembly in October 2014.
This report is based on interviews with more than 46 witnesses and victims of Boko Haram abductions in Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa states, including with girls who escaped the April 2014 abduction of 276 girls from Chibok secondary school. Their statements suggest that the Nigerian government has failed to adequately protect women and girls from a myriad of abuses, provide them with effective support and mental health and medical care after captivity, ensure access to safe schools, or investigate and prosecute those responsible for the abuses.