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Closing the gender gap



Closing the gender gap

Copyright Š 2016 Adam Smith International The material in this publication does not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of Adam Smith International. Maps represent approximate border lines for which there may not yet be full agreement. All reasonable precautions have been taken by Adam Smith International to verify the information contained in this publication. However, the published material is being distributed without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied. Results expressed in this publication are from Adam Smith International implemented programmes in 2014/5


gend gen der /d 3ndÉ™/ noun


der the physical and/or social condition of being male or female




Adam Smith International has spent the last 20 years dedicated to reducing aid dependency in some of the world’s most complex environments. We are wholly committed to sustainable development that addresses the underlying causes of poverty, but this will not be possible without addressing gender inequality. Equality benefits everyone, not just women. If girls’ attendance in secondary education increases by just 1%, a country’s entire GDP can increase by 0.3%; if women farmers have the same access to land and fertilisers as men, then agricultural output could increase by 4%. This is why we are working to fix systemic challenges that cause gender disparity. A child’s access to education is a human right, yet 62 million girls are out of school. Pakistan is still a key country of concern, but we have already made significant progress towards increasing female enrolment in primary and secondary school. Recognising that some cultural norms require women to be educated separately from boys, we partnered with the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to establish 1,000 community schools for girls. We also launched a voucher scheme in six districts, enabling girls who cannot access government schools to attend low cost private schools. As a result of these initiatives 42,000 more girls are now in primary school. A further 406,712 girls have received stipends to support their secondary schooling. We also worked with the Government to monitor 28,000 public schools for the first time, resulting in a 26% increase in student attendance. In Punjab, we worked with the Government to provide free schooling for children in communities more than 1km away from an existing school, and at the same time, to mobilise communities to demand better education for all children, especially girls. When we invest in women and compensate for historical and social disadvantages, countries prosper and poverty is reduced. All too often, women’s economic contributions go unquantified, their work is undervalued and their potential left unrealised. Our broad range of private sector development programmes are supporting adolescent girls and women obtain high quality skills and transition into formal employment and ensuring women are not excluded from economic markets. Our work in Nigeria alone has increased the incomes of over 393,000 women by an overall total of more than US $25million . Violence against girls and women has a profoundly negative impact on the individual, family, community – and national development. Women who experience physical or sexual violence – over 1 in 3 globally – are less likely to complete their education, find it harder to earn a living, and are more vulnerable to maternal death. We are working to strengthen women’s representation, and professional capacity in key security and justice institutions in Afghanistan, Malawi and Somaliland. We are proud of our achievements so far, but recognise there is more to do. Key areas of development, such as climate change, extractives and governance have historically been viewed as gender neutral, or even gender blind. We aim to go beyond what is expected of us as a development partner to ensure women play a central role in all our work. We have collected the thoughts and experiences of international experts and shared our lessons and case studies from across the world to contribute to the gender debate and, hopefully, show the possibility of equality, for the benefit of all.



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© Richard Broom




© R A Sanchez – istock

49% of the world’s working women are in vulnerable employment. Less than 20% of landholders are women. Women spend at least 16 million hours a day collecting drinking water. Men spend just 6 million hours.



Making markets work for women The global labour market is failing women. Only 50% of women are engaged in work worldwide. Women remain more vulnerable to exploitation and violence and are often unable to access lucrative industries. It doesn’t stop there: globally, women earn about 23% less than men. Yet, women are a powerful economic resource. Increasing the participation of women in the labour market can stimulate growth and increase household incomes worldwide, and as managers of household finances, boost the amount of money available for children’s education. Undoubtedly – everyone is better off when women earn. In agriculture, women make up 43% of the labour force in developing countries, but statistics often underestimate the amount of work women actually do. Despite many women being excluded from formal, big corporate markets, there is a huge opportunity for women to strengthen the economy of developing countries. To ensure change is sustainable, women must be included in economic markets. Making Markets Work for the Poor (M4P) – an approach which changes market systems to benefit the poor – aims to ensure the inclusion of women by breaking down barriers of market access such as unaffordability and lack of information.


This changed when she visited a local seed wholesale company. With 500sq metres of land, Chinumaya was advised to start testing off-season tomato cultivation and started planting higher quality seeds. “Now we get so much more income from this land because we know the right seeds to plant and when to plant them. Next season, we are planning to expand tomato cultivation,” says Chinumaya.

© narvikk – istock

Chinumaya Darai, 28, grows tomatoes, but only for domestic consumption. She, like many in Dumsichaur – a small rural village in Nepal – is dependent on her husband’s income from overseas employment to provide for the rest of her family.

By helping a small, local business understand the needs of potential customers, local economies are stimulated to serve the poorest and enhance household economies. The SAMARTH-NMDP programme has increased the incomes of over 300,000 smallholder farmers and small-scale entrepreneurs to reduce poverty and empower women.


© Peeter Viisimaa – istock


WOMEN DOING BUSINESS Nigeria has one of the lowest rates of female employment amongst countries with a similar gross national income – It is time for change. Nigeria is the economic powerhouse of West Africa. Though rich in natural resources – petroleum accounts for 85% of government revenues – it also boasts fast-growing telecoms and financial services industries. But not everyone is benefiting; women least of all. Around 6 million young Nigerian men and women enter the job market annually, but only 10% secure a role in the formal economy, and just one third of these are women. We speak to three businesswomen from across Nigeria to find out what needs to change.


How did you become an entrepreneur? Laraba Tanko: I am 35. I was born into a peasant family in a remote village called RafiRoro. I only went to primary school, but now I have a market stall. I established my business 20 years ago, selling grains. I need to be an independent woman so I can set a good example to my three children. Hajia Saratu Umar: I grew up in Kano, in the north. I started selling food 40 years ago because, like Laraba, I wanted independence. It is not good if you have to ask your husband for every little thing. Today I am not feeling very well, but I am still at my stall because I need the money: it is better to experience pain in the body than pain in the mind. Olakitan Wellington: My first job was with a plastic manufacturing company. I was there for two years and I learnt a lot about running a business. Now I run a financial literacy training business. I wanted to have control over my schedule so I would have enough time for my four children.


Was it easy?

What are the challenges?

Laraba: It was very difficult for me, being from a poor family. Since I was a child, I’ve had to work hard. The conditions at the market are really bad too. But recently our local government started providing basic facilities, including toilets and drinking water.

Laraba: Gender inequality is a major challenge for us. We have more difficulty getting capital and our culture doesn’t allow us to do certain things. For example, we are not allowed to run our business late at night. We are also forced into doing menial jobs, such as cleaning and we don’t get paid as much as men.

Olakitan: A lot of women go into business without any plan or knowledge. I made the same mistake and had a terrible experience: tax men would come and threaten me with ridiculous bills; even bigger than my income! I had to pay and nearly lost all my money.

What would encourage more women to get into business? Laraba: I would like to grow my business, but I don’t have the capital. Where do I get a loan? Banks won’t lend to us. Women are held back because we have no finance and it takes years for us to save. Olakitan: I would add that bureaucracy in banking procedures and high interest rates makes it difficult for us to get funding. We need to understand how to register our business and how to apply for a bank account; all of this is very complicated if you don’t have any education. I also want to know how best to reinvest my earnings so I can make more money.

Olakitan: In Nigeria, a woman is expected to put her family first and she often can’t give her business the time and attention it needs. A man can go on a business trip without a second thought, but the woman has to think of her children and the home. Husbands also don’t like women working because they think it might cause infidelity or expose their wife to sexual harassment.

Has the status of women changed? Laraba: It is taxing to be a woman here, especially without education. I am always being reminded that it is a man’s world. Only with education and skills can we change the status of women. I think it is slowly improving. Hajia: I agree with Laraba; but life for women is better than before. Women are now employed; even old women like me are getting trained in things like midwifery. We can make three in one day. If we have a skill, we won’t be penniless and dependant on our husbands.

Nigeria is struggling to attract foreign investment due to security concerns and poor infrastructure. To combat growing poverty, Nigeria must find a way to improve its value chain and create wealth – for both women and men. One solution is to invest in small, local businesses. Establishing a small enterprise can be difficult in any country, but it is especially challenging in Nigeria where entrepreneurs have to contend with limited access to finance, high costs and excessive red tape in business registration procedures, and complex tax regulations. To help the Nigerian Government improve the business investment climate, the UK government and Adam Smith International are upgrading and streamlining legislation and administrative procedures to encourage the establishment and growth of small businesses. New payment systems, including direct-tobank payments, and simplified tax forms have been introduced. Tax-for-service agreements between trade associations and local government have been created, defining how government revenues should be reinvested in the economy. Publicity campaigns have been launched to ensure business owners are aware of their rights and responsibilities. In just six months, 517,000 women have seen an increase in their income. There is much more to be done, but change is happening.


5,500,000 Trips have been taken by women


through NIAF facilitated transport Networks in Nigeria

The Nigeria Infrastructure Advisory Facility (NIAF) works across infrastructure sectors to remove bottlenecks to infrastructure delivery. It does this through mobilising expert teams to provide technical advice on policy and strategy, planning, project implementation and private sector investment.


Nigerian Infrastructure Advisory Facility

Find out more:






Women’s net incomes have been increased IN DRC, Nepal, Nigeria, Malawi, SIERRA LEONE & KENYA



inding work in Mombasa, my home city, is difficult. There aren’t many jobs and most people left school at a young age, like me.

Amina Badi is a selfemployed Kenyan businesswoman. Based in Mombasa she now runs her own business thanks to training from the Kuza skills development programme.


I’ve had few choices in life. I married young, but it didn’t work out. I argued with my husband all the time so I left with our small child. As a single parent, I desperately needed income. Cooking was something I could do, so I started selling food I made from home; many women do it. Almost all business people here sell on the street. It is now four years since I ventured into business, but anyone will tell you it is only courage that keeps you going. This kind of business can be very demoralising. At the end of the day, if your food doesn’t sell you have to throw it away.

Unemployment is a challenge that needs serious attention. In Kenya’s second largest city 86% of young people do not have a formal job. We hear Amina Badi’s story

IT IS ONLY COURAGE that keeps you going Another problem is being a woman. In Mombasa, we face more hurdles in business. We get harassed on the street which is frustrating and difficult to deal with. We get told to move and have to pay taxes which don’t exist; corruption here is very bad. There are also some cases where husbands are jealous of their wife’s success. They fear their wife could cheat if she is financially independent. Luckily, we have a strong community which runs a welfare group for women. This is where I learned about the Kuza business training programme. I thought I would not qualify because I was uneducated, but it turns out the training was actually for people like me. The Kuza scheme helped me determine profit and loss and taught me how best to manage my savings. Before I used to just sell homemade pastries, but now I have diversified my produce.

By learning how to run a business, people like me have more chance of building a proper business: raising finance, getting insured, making contacts with bigger businesses, being protected from illegal taxes and being able to negotiate better with wholesalers.

I don’t want to just survive, I want security & success.


Making Girls & Women The challenge of measuring gendered impact in private sector development Put simply, gender is no longer a “nice-to-have” - it’s a must-have. Recognising that women bear a disproportionate poverty burden relative to men, practitioners and donors have sought to integrate gender considerations into private sector development. But this is not so simple. In addition to economic factors, the rigidity of socially ascribed gender roles and women’s limited access to power, education, training and productive resources mean that it is often more difficult to reach, and positively impact women. This is particularly true when applying an approach such as Making Markets Work for the Poor (M4P). This approach – which changes economic market systems to benefit the poor – does not engage women directly, instead it seeks to facilitate gender-responsive systemic change by incentivising people to adopt inclusive business practices. Measuring the impact of private sector development programmes on poor women is equally complex. Whilst in most development sectors defining female beneficiaries is relatively simple, in private sector development, the generation, retention, and control of income makes this more complicated. Imagine then, as part of a M4P programme, low-income farmers are connected to commercial farms to increase the income of the smallholder farmer.

Unpacking the “Black Box”

Whilst a woman cultivates her own land and sells the increased or higher-quality yield herself is likely to count as a beneficiary, what about a husband and wife team? Do both count as beneficiaries? Does it depend on the division of labour or the nature of their contribution? Or is it automatically accrued by the husband regardless of the wife’s contribution, in accordance with traditional norms? Does it matter who collects the revenue? Or how the money is distributed and used? Understanding the gendered impact of private sector development is challenging because households and (micro) enterprises often coalesce within poor communities. This means it is common for multiple individuals – often of different genders – to contribute to commercially productive activity. Some or all of these individuals may benefit from interventions, though the ways in which they benefit can vary: from improved access to agricultural products, land, or credit; to increased incomes; to a reduction in unpaid care work; to strengthened agency at a family or community level. They may experience no benefit at all, or the intervention could cause harm. Whilst there is no agreed approach to beneficiary reporting in private sector development, the most common practice is to count only the head of the family unit or enterprise unit, which is often the same individual. Problematically, this masks others’ contribution to productive activity, including women, men, children, and labourers. This method almost always determines a male as the beneficiary.

Who to Count?

This approach is limiting and can distort the reality because impact on female members of male-headed family units are not captured in a programme’s monitoring and evaluation. Women are often counted as a beneficiary only if they are divorced, widowed, or because of male migration. And although impacts are much easier to attribute in female-headed households, a true understanding requires a more acute exploration of mixed-sex, male-headed family and enterprise units to disentangle who benefits from (or is harmed by) the market system intervention, and how. Other programmes count all those in the family or enterprise unit, including paid or unpaid labourers. This approach assumes – often incorrectly – that any increase in unit income has positive and equal benefits for all those contained within it and simplifies the real gendered impact of the programme.


Count Whilst alternative approaches do exist, for example, gendering time contribution to productive activities or household disaggregated income and expenditure surveys, these are restrictively expensive, burdensome to deliver at scale, and often do not address other gendered data collection issues, such as concerns around the gender objectivity of survey respondents.

A New Approach

In response to these challenges, Adam Smith International has developed a set of pioneering guidelines to improve the ability of practitioners to understand and measure the gendered impact of private sector development programmes. They comprise a three-step process that supports existing programmes to: • choose one approach to counting beneficiaries, apply this consistently across all interventions, and recognise the gendered implications of their given approach; • adapt existing standard measurement tools (including surveys, key informant interviews, and focus group discussion methodologies) to collect data designed to unpack intra-household gender dynamics as they relate to income increase; • design and deliver qualitative analysis to add greater nuance to the sex-disaggregated beneficiary data reported at impact level. In using these guidelines, SAMARTH, a Department for International Development funded marketdevelopment programme in Nepal, observed that in cases where households consider themselves to be male-headed, women are actually the primary contributors to vegetable farming, and have greater decision-making authority on how the income is spent. In this case, conventional measurement approaches would tend to count the male head of the household as the beneficiary, whereas the approaches outlined in Adam Smith International’s guidelines more accurately attributed the benefits to women engaged in the household. This is because the measurement tools used enabled SAMARTH to capture more nuanced information about the relative contribution of men and women to the increased income and the benefit derived from it. This has enabled SAMARTH to tell a much richer story of their impact on women and working-aged girls, particularly those in mixed-sex, maleheaded households. Ultimately these guidelines will serve both to prove impact through monitoring and evaluation systems and to improve impact through intelligent, adaptive programme design across our private sector development portfolio.


Income Increase

The Guidelines for Measuring Gendered Impact in Private Sector Development will be launched at the Donor Committee for Enterprise Development’s Global Seminar 2016.

Put simply, gender equality is no longer a nice-to-have it’s a must-have

Access 29

© zodebala – istock


Men often benefit from mining, whilst the social disruption falls heavily on women. There is a vast knowledge gap: the effect of mining on women is rarely known. Women are seldom consulted by mining companies before lands are leased: they often lose their land and access to cash income from artisanal mining. Displaced and disposed, many women are stranded with no form of resettlement, rehabilitation or government assistance.


Mining, men & migration Mining specialist Nellie Mutemeri talks about the adversities women face in a heavily male dominated industry

How do human rights issues feed into the mining industry? What challenges have you faced in the mining industry? I’ve been in the mining sector all my professional life, so the issue of gender has always been present. Along the way, by nature of being a woman, you get drawn into these discussions. I began my career in the UK in the 1980’s as one of two girls in a class of 24, then as a post-graduate student and later as a professional. I would go underground and you could see that people were shocked I was in a mine and not a miner! A few years ago, I was subjected to abuse on a trip to a mining site, but generally discrimination is based on attitude. Often you are made to feel like what you are doing is trivial and people make fun of gender initiatives. I sat in an interview and was once asked “Would you choose a team of women or a team of men?” A question I refused to answer. Women are not always taken seriously, particularly in mining companies.


One could argue that women are excluded from accessing license opportunities to set up privatelyowned and regulated mines because of low levels of education. Without simple literary skills, women are unable to fill in the licensing form, and are subsequently held back from putting a case forward to access finances and own property. They start one step behind. In areas where this is the main source of work, women have to find another way to sustain their income. Women are left with so little choice that sex work often becomes the only option. With the growth of informal mining sector, the law has a large role to play to protect women’s livelihood opportunities. Women are literally on the periphery – sitting outside of the mines selling food, or worse, they are selling their bodies.

You mention gender initiatives; could you elaborate? To shift attitudes there needs to be a greater effort to have gender equality in the workplace. Women in mining is an issue that has little awareness because it is never talked about and the fault lies in consultation – women are not consulted despite being stakeholders. Women are not given a voice and are excluded from policies and strategies. I see my role as an advocate for sector-wide change. As a respected practitioner, I think people are seeing the value in bringing women into the conversation.

Women are left with so little choice that sex work often becomes the only option they have.

Informal mining neglects safety standards and puts health at significant risk - are women aware of these dangers? When women enter poorly regulated mines there is the potential for a mother who is responsible for feeding her family to die. In South Africa I saw a disused mine being illegally extracted by workers with no shoes, no helmet and using candles in an underground coal mine – a hazard, since an explosion could happen at any time. People were so desperate, men and women kept digging to get coal to sell despite the site being closed and unsafe. In Mali, women are working in mining sites with artisanal miners and extracting gold by rubbing mercury with their bare hands. I saw a woman sat with her baby breastfeeding with one hand and rubbing mercury concentration in the other – directly exposing her child to poison. She had no idea of the consequences.

You’ve worked extensively across Africa; do you see the issue of increasing female representation as continentwide, or are some countries making progress? There is a higher level of awareness in some countries. Tanzania is a model for other African countries; the Government is really getting involved and supporting the mainstreaming of gender through platforms such as the Tanzania Women Miners Association. In a lot of other African countries there is so little awareness that it is not even talked about, let alone on the agenda. If mining companies have a gender equality charter to abide by they could have targeted support for women, particularly on the technical side. This might stem the tide of women drifting from the technical fields to what is often referred to as softer skills, like community affairs. On the ground, women working in mines are exposed to severely dangerous environments, which raises human rights issues and abuses.

Finally, migration is having a large impact on employment worldwide. What impact is this having on women in mining? Migration means communities are changing and people from different cultures and values are coming together. Cultural beliefs and stigma can heavily affect women, particularly in informal mining communities, so women become more vulnerable to abuse.

Dr Nellie Mutemeri is a senior specialist at AngloGold Ashanti and an Associate Professor at the Centre for Sustainability in Mining and Industry at the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa.

Women working in mines are exposed to severely dangerous environments, which raises human rights issues and abuses.



© Olli Stewart –



An extra year of secondary school can increase a girl’s potential income by 15 to 25%. Every 3 seconds, a girl is forced or coerced to marry. If all girls had secondary education in subSaharan Africa and South and West Asia child marriage would fall by 64%.



An increase of 1% in girls’ secondary education attendance adds 0.3% to a country’s GDP.



constitution commits the country to the provision of quality education for all children. Despite efforts to improve access, this commitment is far from being realised. A lack of reliable data makes it difficult to assess the number of out of school children, but estimates indicate an alarming 25%. Analysis of education indicators shows that access to schooling across the country is marked by deep disparities based on gender, geographic location and wealth. Gender inequality is evident in school enrolment: nearly 40% of primary school age girls are not attending school, compared to 30% of primary school age boys. There are a range of barriers to school attendance. One of the most important is finance. Children from poorer households in rural areas and urban slums have the highest probability of being out of school. Children belonging to low-income families are nearly six times more likely to be out of school compared to children growing up in richer households. Boys are affected, but girls are more: where families can afford to educate only one child, girls are often left behind. Financial barriers range from the inability to afford school fees (despite the provision of low fee private schools), to the inability to afford uniforms and school books, which have implications for children not only accessing schools but staying in school for longer. Another financial barrier is the opportunity cost of education: children who are not in school are able to support their families through labour wages or domestic work. In the more conservative parts of Pakistan, girls may have limited access to schooling because mobility is both a geographic and a cultural challenge. In a context where females are seldom seen outside their homes, there may be cultural barriers that prevent girls travelling to school. Added to this limitation, is the distance between schools and homes, with girls discouraged from walking long distances to access schools because of safety concerns. The challenge is the need to raise awareness and change mindsets, but also to ensure that schools are located near the community, and that transport options are available. Some progress has been achieved. In Punjab, according to Nielsen Household Surveys, the participation rate for girls has increased from 83% in November 2011 to 89% in June 2015. One successful approach, adopted in Punjab and in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, has involved partnering with the private sector. Under the DFID-funded Punjab Education Sector Programme 2, civil society organisations and the Punjab Education Foundation provide free schooling for children across low performing districts of Punjab, in areas where there are no schools within 1 km of the community. The project also includes community mobilisation, to build awareness of the benefits of education for all children, especially girls.



Health of child


Special Education


Reasons for a child not going to school in Punjab %




The DFID-funded Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Education Sector Programme supports similar work. KP’s Elementary Education Foundation has established over 1,000 girls community schools to provide quality education to 48,767 out of school children (of which 69% are girls) from families who are not willing or able to send their daughters to an unfamiliar and distant location to study, which is often the case with government schools. After five years of schooling, girls receive a certificate, which is valid for continuing education in government schools. Within the same programme, a voucher scheme was launched which allowed out of school children living in areas without government schools, to obtain an education in nearby low cost, private schools free of cost. The scheme has been operational in six districts and has seen over 17,000 out of school children enrol into private schools. Nearly half of them are girls. Adam Smith International is implementing both programmes.






11,232 NIGERIA


68,049 KENYA





Number of girls benefiting from improved quality & access to education






Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, North-West Pakistan











© sadikgulec – istock


average % of women parliamentarians 41.5%

Nordic countries

Europe (excluding Nordic countries)



Middle East & North Africa



Sub-Saharan Africa






Rwanda has one of the highest number of women parliamentarians worldwide.




© J Carillet – istock

COMMUNITIES during Conflict



irls and women in Syria face regular violence; many are exhausted trying to keep their family safe, whilst struggling to find food, water and shelter. They are often the main providers of the household, but during the brutal conflict women have also been subject to arrest, detention, physical abuse and torture. The rise of ISIS is also threatening their equality with reports suggesting it is “legitimate” for girls to be married to fighters at the age of nine and emphasising their role as wives, mothers and home-makers. Funded by the UK Conflict Pool and the European Union, Adam Smith International has been working in partnership with communities in contested parts of Syria to deliver basic services. Such areas have no formal governance, limited public services and are plagued with hundreds of armed militia. The Tamkeen project, which means ‘empowerment’ in Arabic, is providing grants which communities use to plan and implement projects. The purpose is to help communities to meet their basic needs and to strengthen the emerging system of local governance in the country. Community representatives form Tamkeen committees which receive a block grant and training in community participation, budget prioritisation, project design and implementation to ensure that good governance principles inform the actions of the committee throughout the project cycle. The programme is not just delivering projects; it is stimulating the demand for good governance, holding decision-makers to account and reducing conflict by bringing fractured communities - both men and women - together for a common goal. Tamkeen committees work together with existing local councils and nongovernmental organisations to assess community needs: delivering services that benefit the community. It is paving the way for when a legitimate, formal administration develops.

Women & Power

Even before the Syrian conflict, women were rarely involved in political decision-making in rural areas. Women were overlooked due to a lack of confidence in their abilities and social taboos around men and women working together. Tamkeen has begun to break the taboo of female involvement in governance. Women’s subcommittees are being formed in communities which have low female participation. This allows women to be included in the governance process without causing social disruption, and creates a space where Tamkeen can provide targeted mentoring and capacity development for women in its communities. A women’s sub-committee in Aleppo has designed and implemented a skills training centre. More than 100 women have signed up, courses are being delivered and a women-led management team is already planning how to expand its offering using fee revenue that is being collected.

Overcoming stereotypes Initially, some committees begrudged women making decisions about public services: it was considered culturally inappropriate. Forcing committees to allocate some of their funds to a women’s sub-committee could have caused conflict and resentment towards women. Instead, Tamkeen provided an incentive: an additional US $5,000 per community as a matching grant for projects implemented by, and for, women. Since the community stands to gain an extra US $5,000 in funding, it has a strong motivation to allocate part of its existing grant to the women’s sub-committee. Now sceptical members of the community have begun to see the impact women can have on good government and societal development. Despite a bloody and unforgiving conflict, localised, modest positive change is happening.





There is no legitimate national governance. Militia controls governorates and local councils are weak. Most governance structures are male-only and exclude women from decision making. Communities are left without any services and society disintegrates.


Temporary Tamkeen Committees, which include women, are formed and partially merge with local councils to start strengthening local governance. Public services are provided. There is popular demand for good governance in and around Tamkeen areas and traditionally male-only councils see the benefit of women in decision making positions. Local councils are strengthened, adopt good governance and are better positioned to stand up to armed groups.


A demand for good governance spreads and becomes more entrenched, it is replicated in more areas and more levels. It influences peace dialogue and the formation of new state/government structures.

impending: WE HOPE

© Girish Chouhan – istock


has dominated global headlines for more than four years: chemical weapons, terrorism, refugees. It is a seemingly endless crisis. The big question, the one that keeps diplomats awake at night is: how do we make this stop? The answer is not simple. Syria has become a political and moral minefield; aligning and dividing countries across the world. Meanwhile, nine million Syrians are homeless. Many live in neighbouring refugee camps without any sense of belonging or legal employment opportunities, while others choose to risk their life travelling in tiny, dangerous boats to seek asylum in Europe. But let us not forget those who are still living in one of the world’s most complex conflicts. Nadya is from rural Damascus. Like many Syrians, she is highly qualified. Nadya has a degree in philosophy and psychology and a diploma in education. She was also a former headmistress. She could have fled,


but decided to stay. “I was a teacher when the revolution began. My school was bombed so I became an activist. I opened my own children’s centre in Mleha, my hometown.” After her school was attacked, her home was bombed too. Today, Mleha is unliveable. The carcasses of collapsed buildings litter roads and soldiers roam around deserted, hollowed blackened cars. “I lost everything. My family left. But I persevered. I moved to a nearby town and opened an education centre for women. At first, all the teachers were volunteers, but then I got funding and was able to pay their expenses. Now over 80 students are enrolled. They tell me how my centre has given them more control over their lives.” Tamkeen, a UK and EU-funded programme to increase good governance through service delivery in opposition-controlled Syria and is funding Nadya’s education centre. Tamkeen is also helping her re-establish the children’s centre she lost when Mleha was destroyed.


“I have been able to re-establish the children’s centre I had dreamt of. We call it ‘Home of Hope’ and we offer educational, recreational and psychosocial support for children. “We have trained over 250 teachers and hired psychotherapists to offer psychosocial support to hundreds of children affected by poverty, depression, and fear. We have a small playground, called the ‘happiness corner’ but the facilities are indoors to keep our children safe from bombing,” says Nadya. Nadya painted bright pictures all over the walls. “I want the centre to be an inspiring place for children to learn.

A place where they can heal and forget what is happening outside. You have to understand that we are under siege and have suffered immensely. “Life has become so difficult because even the basic necessities are scarce or too expensive. The price of a kilo of sugar has increased more than 10 times. People are so poor they search for food in the rubble,” she says pointing beyond the centre’s gates. Nadya has been deeply affected by the devastation that has unfolded in her country. But she is determined to stay and give the next generation a brighter future. We must not forget Nadya and the millions like her trying to stabilise Syria. It is the one investment no one can dispute.

Nadya is a former headmistress turned activist from rural Damascus. She started her own education centre for war affected children from Mleha.



istory often downplays a woman’s role and her contribution to society. Somalia’s history is no different: it focuses on unified stories of successful men, yet for women, different identities emerge depending on clan and region.

A woman’s involvement in society often reflects her sense of responsibility, which changes during her lifetime. By documenting the stories of Somali women, one can see that a woman’s experiences are not collective and each individual’s experience is unique within a particular historical and social context. Women are also typically associated with traditional female activity and employment – mother, carer, wife, cook, nurse. Women are rarely in positions of political or economic power.

Suad is not the kind of person to say no to a challenge: she plans to open the first women only gym in Somaliland’s capital.

The Somalia Stability Fund is a multi-donor fund which aims to change that. It is supporting the strengthening of women’s leadership and participation in decision making and supporting women in the private sector As an information technology graduate through job placement schemes and youth and previous owner of a kindergarten, Suad entrepreneur grants. We hear from Suad Ismail, is one of many young Somalis trying to break a young entrepreneur aiming to change the the mould by starting up a business of her own. traditional image of Somali women. But Hargeisa is not conducive to business. The unemployment rate for 14-29 year olds is 67%, a statistic that becomes even more worrying when over 70% of the population is under 35”. Suad’s enthusiasm and business acumen may not be enough to keep her ventures alive. Unlike start-up companies in the UK, Somali businesses do not have easy access to loans and support. In an atmosphere of financial uncertainty where banks are few and skittish, starting up a functioning corporation and finding the right staff is a huge challenge. This lack of financial literacy and capital is being addressed by projects such as the Somalia Stability Fund’s Youth Enterprise Initiative. The initiative, led by a consortium of Somali companies, is providing over 200 small businesses with financial training and selecting a smaller group of 15 to receive loans and further support. The project ensures that the young Somali entrepreneurs know that the loans are Halal (in accordance with Islamic financial rules) and are part of a legitimate operation that will monitor and support their growing enterprises. The risk involved with starting up a Somali business for Suad is a painful reality. This new initiative will provide more women like Suad with the confidence needed to let their companies flourish and help to improve the homeland that they will never stop believing in. “I have high hopes for the future,” says Suad, “soon things will change for the better”.



I am the sister of the martyr. I am the aunt of the potato seller at the local market. I am the daughter of the local sheikh. I am the injured of the revolution. The protester. The jailed. The detained. I am the tortured. The exiled. The kidnapped. The raped. I am the veiled. The non-veiled. I am a beautiful soul. I am a Somali woman. My skin is of ebony and ivory. I am young by spirit. Old by experience. I am the pregnant. The wife. The single mother. The widow. The godobtiir and godobreeb tool forcing me into marriage as the compensation payment for another clan’s peace settlement. I am a Somali woman. Yet I am not a victim. I am a leader. Not a woman leader. But a leader who happens to be a woman. I clean up the streets of my nation. I rise up the past. The present and the future generations. I brought the Nobel Peace Prize to Somalia. I am a Somali woman. I speak out for my son at school. I speak up for my daughter in the madrasa. I pray for my ancestors and for my older son in jail. For my mother in the hospital. I speak out for our artists whom they keep bombing in theatres and on the streets. I am a Somali woman. I speak out for my mind. I am the pulse of the people. I live in the city. In the town. In the rural areas. In the suburbs. On the mountains. Along the borders. I am in Garowe. Mogadishu. Afgoye. Erigavo. Hargeisa. Galkayo. Bosaaso. Beletweyne. Badhan. Bocame. And every corner where there is life and sound. I am a Somali woman. I am synonymous with strength and victory. I celebrate sisterhood. I celebrate motherhood. I boost the economy. I advance the technology. I give life to the community. Do I deserve to be equal to you? Yes I do. Because I am a woman. A Somali woman. Sahro Kooshin


© Amisom





Š Amisom


97% of military peacekeepers and 90% of police personnel are men. One in three women are likely to experience physical or sexual violence. The economic costs of violence against girls and women can be 3.7% of a country’s GDP.





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Over the past 22 years the semi-autonomous region of Somaliland has steadily recovered from civil war to make impressive strides towards democratic governance and political stability. However the state remains fragile and faces substantial threats to safety such as violent crime, arms trafficking, and terrorism. We have been working with the Ministry of Interior and Somaliland Police Force to bring about institutional change and develop necessary counter-terrorist operational capabilities, whilst ensuring women – for the first time – are central to institutional development.



Women, Peace & Security – a women’s issue?


he landmark United Nations (UN) Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security was the first resolution to formally recognise that women and girls are uniquely affected by conflict. Over the last 15 years, seven resolutions have followed and highlight how women play both a role in conflict prevention and resolution, as well as the maintenance of peace and security. Member states are required to provide better protection against sexual violence; improve the political participation of women; provide access to justice and services towards the elimination of gender discrimination; and to enhance the incorporation of gender into conflict processes. This includes peace negotiations, humanitarian planning, peacekeeping operations and post-conflict governance.

The evidence that links gender equality with a country’s prospects for peace The work of Valerie Hudson and Mary Caprioli, authors of ‘Sex and World Peace’ and others demonstrate that the best predictor of a state’s peacefulness is how well its women are treated. The larger the gender gap between the treatment of men and women, the more likely a country is to be involved in conflict, to be the first to resort to force in such conflicts and to experience higher levels of violence.

Kathryn Lockett is a Senior

Development Consultant

specialising in gender,

violence and

conflict and a

Senior Gender and Conflict


in the UK

Stabilisation Unit.


New analysis by the Centre on Conflict, Development and Peacebuilding also illustrates how the inclusion of women leads to a much higher rate of sustaining peace agreements. In addition, the World Bank has long confirmed the link between gender equality and improved economic and development outcomes, which in turn has been found to indirectly increase a country’s stability through its impact on GDP. It is therefore unsurprising that UN Women identifies the need to include information on gender equality when undertaking conflict analysis. They recommend collecting country-level data on the extent of gender equality under the law, the percentage of women in parliament, state responses to gender-based violence and female literacy rates, amongst others. By monitoring gender equality in fragile and conflict-affected states, we learn crucial information not only about the situation for women in that context, but potentially about that country’s long-term risks of violence conflict. Protecting girls and women against sexual and gender-based violence in conflict is crucial to upholding human rights and preventing death, disability and lost quality of life for survivors, their families and communities. Yet, beyond the protection agenda, more information in this area can provide us with essential information about the acceptability of violence and domination within a culture.

Strong evidence exists to suggest that norms (held by both women and men) related to male authority, male sexual entitlement, acceptance of wife beating and female obedience increase the likelihood that individual men will engage in violence – and not just violence against women and girls. Recent findings by a UN multi-country study led by Partners4Prevention found that most men who had raped another man, or men, had also raped a female non-partner. Recent findings also show a culture of violence increases the likelihood of violence against women. This is particularly meaningful when we consider how sexualised violence against males during conflict, whilst increasingly being reported, is likely to be much higher than is generally assumed or publicly admitted. The same UN study confirmed the inter-generational effects of violence: that witnessing or experiencing domestic violence in childhood increases the likelihood of violence perpetration in later life, as individuals learn to use violence to exert influence and control. As such, working with families to tackle harmful gender norms, habits and behaviours to reduce sexual and gender-based violence against women and girls may offer an entry point to reduce violence more broadly. Much can be learned from the best practice of programmes that have successfully worked with communities to change harmful gender norms within communities, such as Promundo’s Programme H, research into young men showing genderequitable attitudes; Raising Voices’ SASA!, a programme designed to address the core driver of violence against women and Stepping Stones’ resources to raise awareness of gender issues. The promotion of women and girls’ rights in situations of conflict and fragility is a moral imperative that is all too relevant in the ongoing conflicts of today. Yet, women, peace and security’ is so much more than just a ’women’s issue.’ Analysing indices of gender equality in a particular context can give us vital clues about the general level of inequality, intolerance and exclusion within a society.

© Amisom

Collecting data on gender norms can also help us assess the acceptability of violence and domination over others. From such data, we can programme for change towards more stable and peaceful societies.



© D Berehulak – istock

time to redefine masculinity



have worked in Somalia for several years. There have been huge efforts to focus on the development of girls and women, and rightly so. Somalia’s maternal mortality rates are amongst the highest in the world, women are rarely involved in political decision-making and violence is not uncommon. But after these years of working in Somalia I ask myself if this focus on women is enough to achieve gender equality? I don’t think so. Without understanding the Somali definition of masculinity we don’t stand a chance to reach equal opportunities for both men and women?

Yes, promoting gender equality from a women’s perspective is important, but alone it will not take us all the way. A wife could start working, but what happens when her husband feels inadequate and uses domestic violence to assert his authority? A woman could be appointed as a Minister (to fill a quota), but will men respect her decisions? Businesses are encouraged to employ more women, but what happens when only menial ‘feminine’ jobs are offered? We have to be careful of development symbolism. We have to support men if we are to advocate for a new gender-friendly policy climate. If Somalia is expected to expand its definition on what it means to be a woman, it is crucial we redefine what it means to be a man.

The discourse of war

War can have a tremendous impact on gender. In Europe wars have helped the process of gender equality, but in a conflict with fundamentalist ideology driving one of the parties this process is reversed. Al Shabaab – a predominately male Islamist militant group – plays into traditional stereotypes and has narrowed gender definitions. Al Shabaab has had a dominating influence and is based upon a religious discourse which makes it very hard for men and women to refine themselves outside traditional roles – not least for their own security. In a context influenced by a dangerous insurgency, a strong counter narrative is needed to deflect a fundamentalist agenda. A new discourse will open up a space for both men and women to find their own personalities in a wider definition of what it means to be a man, and what it means to be a woman.

Redefining masculinity – how can it be done? What can we learn from other countries? Let’s take Sweden. Granted, the cultural and social context is completely different, but the examples are relevant. In Sweden, women are given equal rights at work — and men equal responsibility at home. Many men no longer want to be defined just by their career or ability to provide; raising their children at home is as important. Sweden became the first country to replace maternity leave with parental leave, and businesses expect employees to take leave irrespective of gender. Hence, much of the gender equality has been achieved because family life and work has been easier to combine, both for men and women. Female employment rates and GDP surged as a result. Gender equality in Sweden is promoted as cultural pride and men are at the heart of the gender-equality debate.

Erik Pettersson is a former programme officer with the Embassy of Sweden in Nairobi.

Sweden still has a long way to go but there is a fundamental lesson that is not being adopted in development policy: giving focus to reforms in the family-work nexus. Any cultural shift is a long, slow process but it is far more important than typical female inclusion targets. As the example from Sweden shows, it is time to think about how we can support a process of redefining masculinity to create a better enabling environment for gender equality.




Š Jonas Restle


On average, natural disasters kill more women than men. The indirect effects of climate warming have greater consequences for women. Rising temperatures mean an increase in the transmission of malaria and pregnant women more susceptible to malaria-carrying mosquitoes. Yet women contribute less to climate change and produce less greenhouse gas emissions than men.




water points, such as wells & dams, have been located & mapped in Sierra Leone which enabled the government to better respond to the Ebola crisis.




Ensuring access to a water sources for

girls and women



by 2050, of crop production will be negatively affected by climate change. We must act fast.


do you think of when you hear the word farmer? Perhaps you envisage a sturdy man in overalls standing alone in his corn field. Sweat trickling down his skin after many hours toiling in the sun; resting his spade across his right shoulder as he surveys his farm. Perhaps he makes his way over to a bright red tractor, his heavy boots sinking into wet soil. Let’s say his name is John.

come when it should, or too much falls at once, then not only will farmers have less food, but the chances of selling excess produce disappears – and along with it, the chance to afford ‘luxuries’ such as education.

But John is not your typical farmer. In most of sub-Saharan Africa, John does not exist. In Africa, John is most likely a woman. In fact, women farmers constitute up to 70% of Africa’s workforce for food production. They labour small farms, producing haphazard crops for personal consumption. They are guaranteed to be amongst the world’s poorest, earning less than US $1.25 a day. Rarely will they have access to advanced equipment, like tractors.

By 2080, Africa’s annual average temperatures are expected to rise by 3-4°C; this seems a small increment, but it is far above the United Nations’ catastrophic limit of 2°C. Extreme heat-waves that we only experience every couple of centuries will become normal during summer months. By 2050, scientists are expecting that 56 percent of all crop production in Africa will be negatively affected by climate change. This will pose an enormous threat to the livelihoods of African women who will be disproportionately affected.

A woman farmer will never have the same rights or privileges as John. Even though they work more than men, they receive significantly less benefits. They are 10 percent less likely to access credit to invest in their farms than their male counterparts. Women farmers are 50% less likely to access fertilisers, high-quality seeds, mechanical tools and equipment. And even though two in three farmers are female, men own 99% of Africa’s land. On top of this, climate change is risking livelihoods. With a global temperature rise comes erratic and extreme weather. If rainfall does not


Let’s envisage a female farmer in 10 years’ time, let’s say her name is Amri. She receives a text message warning her about a likely drought. Amri’s community, however, has a small irrigation system draining water from a nearby dam; now she can ensure the system is working so she won’t be affected. Her hands reach into a large brown fabric sack and she begins planting weather resilient seeds she has purchased with money borrowed from a bank; her output has dramatically increased. With knowledge of market prices she has decided to invest her money in

But Amri’s story will only become a reality if we mainstream gender in improving access to finance, increase female participation in local farming bodies, provide climate resilience training for female farmers and advocate for legislation promoting female ownership. Only when women have the same access to benefits as men will Africa’s food security increase and the poverty gap close.

Yet international development funding for agricultural programmes has decreased and gender is rarely discussed. This must be urgently reversed. 70% of Africa’s agricultural workforce depends on it.

© Tarzan9280 – istock

cotton seeds. With additional funds from cotton sales she will manage to pay the education fees for her two children.

Adam Smith International is designing and implementing the Climate Smart Agriculture Programme (CSAP) on behalf of the UK’s Department for International Development. CSAP will catalyse climate resilience and food security for vulnerable African communities focusing on women farmers and benefiting over two million people.


Solar power brings new opportunities for women Risking their health, and often their lives, the smell of diesel from generators made the air putrid and filled the clinic with poison at night. Even if the generator-powered lanterns were able to provide light, there was no guarantee that enough electricity was left to refrigerate lifesaving vaccinations. Despite this, generators and lanterns were until recently the only way medical clinics in Nigeria could stay open at night, which they did, albeit inefficiently. “Now there is light everywhere, in every corner. There is light!” shouts Matron Nesisi, a health worker at a clinic based just outside of Lagos. The stable provision of electricity now means women can deliver their children safely and immunisations can be given early enough to prevent the spread of infection and disease. For a clinic with only 36 beds but the only clinic to support the entire community, resources are everything. The introduction of solar power has reduced the cost of health services and is increasing the number of people the clinic can treat.

cannot afford electricity so use a lot of firewood and charcoal.” Soaring maintenance costs and harmful emissions from generators are no longer the only way to power households. Solar also has the potential to reform business opportunities. Matron Nesisi suggests “Solar power could provide huge benefits for women engaging in business. Many are market vendors who sell chicken, turkey and other poultry. They could use solar power for ovens to prepare the food and

Now there is light everywhere, in every corner. There is light!” broadcasts Matron Nesisi, a health worker at the Epe PHC clinic in Nigeria. ensure it is hot. It will improve the standard of living. Those who are selling drinks can sell them cold. Solar power would be able to increase the income of women who could use refrigeration and cooking in market stalls to extend food shelf life and save costs by reducing food waste. It means they can also sell frozen foods.” The current state of the energy market in Nigeria is failing women. The cost to replace generators is inaccessibly high and there are no incentives for greener energy contracts to replace inefficient and harmful energy supplies. A solar programme is supporting the Government and private sector providers to commercially finance and support energy provision through competitive solutions for Nigerians.

In 2014, Nigerians spent over US $185 million on importing generators and this is set to increase by 8.7% – a situation that has been dubbed an “epileptic power crisis” by local media. After two years of working at the clinic, Matron Nesisi believes that renewable energy has empowered communities by giving women in Nigeria an unspoken and underrated freedom. Choice. She explains, “We use a generator in our own home. This is very expensive and it is not normal, however, we have no choice. The vast majority


Reducing emissions and generating income that is currently wasted on energy can now be used to support the household. Matron Nesisi reflects on the wider conversation around solar energy, “People need enlightenment. They need education to get enlightened so that their children can get educated. Electricity could greatly help this in education. It would enable studying for students and keeping schools open for longer,� she says. Small-scale innovations such as the introduction of solar power in health clinics provides tangible and sustainable change. Renewable energy addresses more than just climate change; it stimulates the production of food and gives women opportunities to develop entrepreneurial businesses to reduce inequalities. Matron Nesisi’s clinic is a symbol of catalytic change. It is more than a business model; it is a successful health intervention and an opportunity to address global challenges.




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