Gender Gap: Prof. Vibhuti Patel

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Gender Gap and MDG with Special Focus on Health :

Gender Gap and MDG with Special Focus on Health by Dr. Vibhuti Patel, Prof. & HOD, University Department of Economics, SNDT Women’s University, Smt. Nathibai Thakersey Road, Churchgate, Mumbai-400020 Phone-26770227®, 22031879 Ext. 243(O) Mobile-9321040048 E mail: 1

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are :

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are I Eradication of Poverty and Hunger, II Achievement of Universal Primary Education, III Promotion of Gender Equality and Empowerment, IV Reduction of Child Mortality, V Improvement of Maternal Health, VI Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria, T.B., VII Ensure Environmental Sustainability VIII Develop a Global Partnership for Development 2

As articulated in the Millennium Declaration,:

As articulated in the Millennium Declaration, the MDGs are benchmarks of development progress based on such fundamental values as freedom, equity and human rights and peace and security. MDGs can be achieved if all actors work together- heads of the nation states, civil society organizations, international financial institutions, global trade bodies and the UN system- and do their part. Poor countries have pledged to govern better, and invest in their people through health care and education. Rich countries must stick to their pledge to support the poor countries through aid, debt relief, and fairer and just trade. Only if there is commitment on the part of the rich as well as poor countries to fulfil these promises all the MDGs could be achieved. 3

MDG 3 challenges discrimination against women by:

MDG 3 challenges discrimination against women by Focusing on school education ensuring that more women become literate Guaranteeing more voice and representation in public policy and decision making-political participation providing improved job prospects- 36 % WPR gender equality and the empowerment of women –Win-win approach Food and nutrition security Women subsistence farmers Women as users, managers and storers of natural resources-Climate change Combatting VAW 4

Neo- liberal Macro Economic Policies (MEPs) and Women:

Neo- liberal Macro Economic Policies (MEPs) and Women Neo-liberal MEPs have accentuated inequality and poverty and has had massive influence on the urban, rural and dalit /tribal poor women as paid, underpaid and unpaid workers of the economy. (UN report- “The World Social Situation :The Inequality Predicament”, August 2005. Structural Adjustment Programmes, Stabilisation policies Liberalisation, Privatisation, Globalisation(LPG) Reduced budgetary allocation for social sector 5

Erosion of Survival Base:

Erosion of Survival Base Expensive transport erosion of public distribution system that provided grains, fuel, cloth material, soap, etc. have reduced chances of schooling, nutritious diet and healthy growth of poor women’s children. Privatisation of Education-GATS Laissez-faire in the labour market Girl child labour Climate change and women’s woes Trafficking of girls and women Perpetuation of wage differential Safe drinking water Footpaths on road 6

“The Feminization of Poverty":

“The Feminization of Poverty" The majority of the 1.5 billion people living on 1 dollar a day or less. Reasons - Unemployment, underemployment War, Conflict non-rewarding work Public policies-SAP prejudices against minorities casteism, racism The gap between women and men caught in the cycle of poverty has continued to widen in the past decade. Worldwide, women earn on average slightly more than 50 per cent of what men earn. Women Headed Households-the poorest of the poor 7

Primitive Accumulation of Capital for Expansion of World Capitalism :

Primitive Accumulation of Capital for Expansion of World Capitalism enlightened self- interest activated through market forces sweatshops, ghetto labour markets and stigmatised migrant workers, criminalisation of the labour force SEZ, EPZ and FTZ supported by FDI Displacement –work & shelter Retrenched population joining the unorganised sector Loss of entitlements-traditional and rights 8

Violation of Labour and health standards :

Violation of Labour and health standards Erosion of workers’ rights and collective bargaining process Feminisation of poverty Demand for flexible labour Demand of uniform labour standards for all countries that are part of World Trade Organisation so that the nation-states stop competing for cutting the cost by violating workers rights. 9

Co-existence of high wage islands in the sea of pauperised working class :

Co-existence of high wage islands in the sea of pauperised working class Expansion of visible and invisible activities of underground extra-legal economy Forced Eviction to Accommodate Mega Projects “Women...and other vulnerable individuals and groups suffer disproportionately from the practice of forced eviction. Women in all groups are especially vulnerable given the extent of statutory and other forms of discrimination which often apply in relation to property rights (including home ownership) or rights of access to property or accommodation, and their particular vulnerability to acts of violence and sexual abuse when they are rendered homeless.” UN 10

Health Sector Reforms and the Poor Women :

Health Sector Reforms and the Poor Women Women’s health is determined by the forces working at homes, work places, society and the state. According to Dr. Amartya Kumar Sen , “Burden of hardship falls disproportionately on women” due to seven types of inequality- mortality (due to gender bias in health care and nutrition), natality (sex selective abortion and female infanticide)), basic facility (education and skill development), special opportunity (higher education and professional training), employment (promotion) and ownership (home, land and property). Entitlement Economic Globalisation has accentuated all 7 types of inequalities faced by women from womb to tomb. Mental Health issues- psychiatry driven mental health services 11

Population Policy:

Population Policy Responsible reproduction is an answer to overpopulation and infertility. Any coercion, be it through force, incentives or disincentives in the name of population stabilisation should be rejected. Instead enabling women to have access to education, resources, employment, income, social security and safe environment at work and at home are precondition to small family norm. Reproductive Rights of Women guarantee women healthy life, safe motherhood, autonomy in decision-making about when, how many and at what interval to have children. Coercion in the name of two child norm is barbaric and escalates violence against women. 12

Need for Rural-Urban Linkages :

Need for Rural-Urban Linkages Opening up of market since 1-4-2000 for 729 new commodities (240 are agrarian products including rice, meat, milk powder, fruits) that can be imported unrestrictedly have resulted in enormous tragedies resulting into suicides and starvation deaths among farmers and weavers. Prices of rubber, cotton, coconut, coffee, cardamom, pepper, tomatoes, sugarcane and potatoes have crashed. Urban poor women in Kerala and Karnataka are fighting desperate struggles against imports of these items to express their solidarity with their rural and tribal sisters. 13

Unaddressed Agenda:

Unaddressed Agenda Women decision makers are striving for agenda setting power to achieve MDGs. At the same time, they are aware about the failure of MDGs -to reaffirm women’s human rights, -access to secure land tenure, -action to stop violence against women and -reproductive rights of women. Women are evolving strategies to address the vicious circle linking gender inequality, neo liberal macro economic policies and poverty. 14

Thank You:

Thank You 15

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