Gender equality

Last week, in the typical last-minute dash to finalize an excruciatingly detailed, mammoth end-of-grant report for the last 3.5 years, my task was to “churn” a response to this zinger of a donor question: "What are the main (remaining) gaps for achieving gender equality in your working area?" You’ve got to be kidding, right? And while I’m at it, I’ll explain why poverty hasn’t been solved.
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The word on the street (and in the New York Times) is, or at least was, that after all that effort and gardening, the Ambanis don’t live in Antilla. No one knows for sure. People still whisper about ghosts and bad luck, Vastu and Feng Shui. Maybe it’s all Karl Marx’s fault. (All that cussing.) Capitalism, he said, “has conjured up such gigantic means of production and of exchange, that it is like the sorcerer who is no longer able to control the powers of the nether world whom he has called up by his spells.”
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Underneath questions of injustice and inequality is the question of power. Because people often see power negatively, it is a subject that can be uncomfortable and thus, many of us are reluctant to probe. However, our task in advocacy is to identify the negative uses and dynamics of power and transform them to constructive ends. For that reason, this section begins with some conceptual information that can help to clarify and deepen understanding of how power works.
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It was raining this morning when I read the news: my country’s Supreme Court of Justice (SCJ) reinstated the 2009 ban on the sale of emergency contraceptive (EC) pills, arguing that EC is “incompatible with the right to life as set forth in the Constitution.” Even though the plants in the garden seemed thankful for the rain, I know the sky was weeping—for yet another penetrating attack on women’s bodies that I could feel in my bones.
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Worldwide, soaring food prices, mounting unemployment, Wall Street scandals, and countries on the brink of financial default have given rise to protests that have brought down entire governments. Citizens everywhere are mobilizing to demand accountability for the global financial crisis. As media and opinion leaders race to make sense of these burgeoning political movements, they are hardly a new phenomenon.
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For many people around the world, economic policy is shrouded in the mystique of “expertise” that tends to obscure the politics behind the economics and prevents citizens from participating fully and openly in economic policy making.There is therefore an urgent need to shift decision making power to the larger public especially women.
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As many Southeast Asian countries gear up for elections in 2012, governments and development organizations have turned to quotas to expand women’s political participation and representation. Though important, more women in legislatures doesn’t necessarily translate into improvements in women’s rights and livelihoods, particularly those of marginalized women.
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Women involved in JASS’ movement-building everywhere are connecting with and buzzing about the US-driven Occupy Movements. Inspired by and learning lessons from the tactics and strategies the organizers are using, JASS nevertheless looks for the voices and inequality agendas of women in all their diversity.
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When opposing political interests are using the same terms and tactics in diametrically opposed agendas, Lisa Veneklasen asks how we can transform the power of citizen action into sustained change for justice and equality.
When opposing political interests are using the same terms and tactics in diametrically opposed agendas, Lisa Veneklasen asks how we can transform the power of citizen action into sustained change for justice and equality. Article featured by OpenDemocracy. 
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