Gender equality benefits EVERYONE

A recent study by scientists at the University of British Columbia found that “Gender equality was the most significant and robust predictor of a country’s Olympic success after gross domestic product.” To ensure the significance of the impact of gender equality, researchers isolated it from other factors such as income equality, gross domestic product, population and latitude.

The study, Win-win: Female and male athletes from more gender equal nations perform better in international sports competitions,  will be published in the January edition of Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. Lead author is Jennifer Berdahl, a Sauder School of Business professor.

UN urges concrete support for increasing women’s participation in peace-building

Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, said there are three actions that would help bring women into all stages of post-conflict reconciliation and recovery processes.

One – Allocate reconstruction and reconciliation funds to women at the grassroots level. Evidence shows that women are more likely than men to devote a proportion of their income to family, and their management of additional funds would likely provide greater support to the wider community.

Two – Guarantee political space for women at every negotiating meeting.

Three – The international community should be prepared to increase protection for women who speak up for their communities.  This is something that UN Women is preparing to accelerate.

UN Women on why gender disaster data matters

A gender and protection advisor with the UN Women’s office in Fiji, Philippa Ross writes in The Guardian about why gathering and using gender data is essential to effective humanitarian responses to natural disasters.  She points out the different skill sets and knowledge often held by men and women and says that by ignoring one gender’s set of skills, a country’s recovery from a disaster is necessarily hindered and slowed.

She uses women’s traditional knowledge of crops, food and diet as an example. If women aren’t consulted as part of the rationing of foodstuffs, vital information won’t be shared and transmitted to those who need to know, resulting in potential wastes of resources and time.

Additionally, Ross points out that when food is scarce, women are often expected to serve men and boys first, resulting in “particular post-disaster nutritional risks for women.”

Violence against women and girls is another particular vulnerability that is exacerbated in situations of humanitarian crisis, especially as the displacement and stress of a disaster tends to “intensify pre-existing risk factors for domestic abuse.”

State of the world’s mothers

“Each day, an estimated 800 mothers and 18,000 young children die from largely preventable causes.”

The Save the Children’s 15th annual report examines “the impact of humanitarian crises on maternal, newborn and child survival in countries consistently ranked as the most difficult places to be a mother.”

“The conclusion is obvious. Besides addressing the need for every country to be better prepared to assist mothers and children in emergencies, we also must begin the difficult but urgent task of working to provide stability in the most fragile regions of the world, and identifying ways of building better access to health care in these contexts. Ending preventable deaths of mothers and children will not be possible until such countries become more stable and health care more accessible.”

Read the full executive summary.

At present we know only that the imagination, like certain wild animals, will not breed in captivity. George Orwell