Gender equality

A report prepared for the Economic Literacy Project, IDS.
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Last month, a young woman stepped out of a Harare club for air, and was arrested by a plainclothes policeman on a charge of loitering and soliciting. She spent the night in a cell at the police station. A week later, writer, Tsitsi Dangarembga, was interrogated by police while waiting for friends at a restaurant. In Zimbabwe, women across the spectrum are apprehended nightly by the police under the auspices of the Criminal Law Act (2004), a far reaching tool of government repression covering everything from national security to ‘public morals’. “It’s about policing women’s bodies,” says Winnet Shamuyarira, an activist organizer.
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The challenge to platforms for gender equality comes not just from actors with fundamentalist agendas, but from a conjuncture where women’s rights have been opportunistically instrumentalized to serve geopolitical goals, and neo-liberal policies have severed social justice from gender equality concerns
The JASS Cross Regional Dialogue (CRD) opened its doors to three days of critical thinking and mobilizing on charting a collective roadmap for attaining women’s rights and justice. Drawing 48 feminist activists from Southern Africa, Southeast Asia and Mesoamerica together for a rich and radical exchange of ideas and feminist strategies—all of this set against the backdrop of a world held firmly in the grip of patriarchy, increasing human rights violations, political crises and serious economic meltdowns.
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Access to healthcare - HIV+ women are dependent on the failing infrastructure for information, treatment including ARVs, and care.
It’s easy to assume that global economics are value-neutral and simply reflect the “natural” order of things. In reality, our economic world order is shaped by distinct ideologies and beliefs about who should have access to and control over what resources, such as education, property, credit, and even time. The predominant paradigm is based on neoliberal and capitalist principles that promote free markets, unregulated trade, consumer-driven growth, and privatization of essential services, for example. But genuine alternatives exist and have always existed.
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Neoliberalism has spawned a swath of oppositional movements.The more clearly oppositional movements recognize that their central objective must be to confront the class power that has been so effectively restored under neoliberalization, the more they will likely themselves cohere.
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As social, political and economic instability dominates headlines worldwide, members of JASS’ international community are providing their own take on what this means for women’s rights, equality, and wellbeing. Check out JASS’ up-to-the-minute frontline analyses on patriarchy, feminist movement building and security from our annual Crossregional Dialogue in April.
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This article uses Hilkka Pietilä’s reconceptualization of the economy as three spheres of production (free, protected and fettered) to illuminate the new ways in which neo-liberal globalization is intensifying exploitative capitalist processes. The study focuses on the particular vulnerabilities of women, the value of their unpaid work, and the transformative significance of their resistance.
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