Gender sustainability development rests on conserving lasting environmental, financial and societal capital. Numerous countries are investing less in the required human principal to guarantee sustainability and are failing to make the superlative use of their feminine populaces. While the prominence of capitalizing in commercial resources to assure development has long been acknowledged, sustainable growth brings consideration to the environmental and human scopes, which are also ultimate to growth and progress. Women’s contribution socially, environmentally and economically go in part unrealized as a result of being marginalized, even though they account for over one half of the base for prospective aptitude globally. The paper explores various aspects of sustainable development in terms of gender. Case in point is women’s position which highpoints the economic outlays of the persistent gaps of gender. Additionally, how female contributions can best be realized and how policies can be developed for meeting the future generation needs are also presently illuminated, thus, providing the basis for enlightened strategies and more sustainable development and growth.
Gender and Sustainable Development in Developing Countries: A Case Study of Kenya
Sustainable growth can only be accomplished through the longstanding investments in human, pecuniary and ecological capital (OECD, 2008). Presently, the human capital of the world’s female half population is underestimated and utilized less globally. Women, together with their societal advancement, fiscal advances and ecological protection influence, have been marginalized (Ellis, Cutura, Dione, Gillson, Manuel & Thongori, 2007). Better use of the feminine population globally could surge financial growth, lessen poverty, augment communal welfare, and help safeguard sustainable growth in all countries. Terminating the gender breach is dependent on enlightened government guidelines which take gender scopes into justification. The present paper aims to upsurge indulgence of women’s role in pillars upholding social, environmental and economic sustainable development.
Looking at Kenya as a Case Point
Women have been subdued to constant rights abuses throughout the history of Kenya, while they bear a prodigious amount of accountabilities. A case in point of this is in agriculture. Agriculture generates over eighty percent of jobs and sixty percent of income in Kenya respectively. At present, Kenyan women do the massive majority of agricultural work and produce the mainstream food hitherto they earn merely a fraction of the generated income and own an insignificant percentage of the assets. A great number of women work in the informal segment without any centralized sustenance, since only 29 percent of them earn a formal wage all over the country. The outcome is severe and approximately 40 percent of families are run only by women, and nearly all these homes suffer from poverty or extreme poverty because of a lack of fair income (Foundation for Sustainable Development, n. d.).
Women continue to be educated at a mediocre rate as compared to men, thus, aggregating their dependence upon their male counterparts. This is largely due to the traditional ideas that are still held regarding the role of women in society (USAID, 2014). Additionally, they are limited from possessing, obtaining, and regulating property throughout the country, regardless of their social class, their ethnicity and religion. Women are always detested by their communities and families if they attempt to assert property rights over their in-laws or men. Moreover, this disinheritance practice seems to be a norm, especially in areas hit hard by poverty.
In addition, other serious abuses of women’s rights are still being practiced throughout the country, for instance, wife inheritance by male relations of her departed husband. These cultural practices contribute to low self-esteem among women at the same time absolutely ignoring the HIV threat, which is exponentially higher in young women and girls than in their male counterparts. However, the Kenyan government fails constantly to offer assets and support necessary for women empowerment (Foundation for Sustainable Development, n. d.).
Policies that will Increase Gender and Sustainable Development
The Government needs to come up with policies that will promote gender development. Some of these policies are:
- family and women-friendly policies to increase the labor force participation of women;
- development assistance policies which promote the economic role of women;
- upgrading the status of and wages for traditional areas of women’s work;
- incentives to women to pursue science and technology careers;
- increased access to finance and support services for women entrepreneurs;
- gender-specific approaches in health care planning and treatment;
- better integration of women migrants in labor markets and society;
- setting targets and goals for women managers and parliamentarians;
- giving greater weight to female perspectives in environmental policies;
- encouraging women participation in policy and decision making.
- to attain gender equality and empower all girls and women;
- to ensure healthy lives and encourage wellbeing for all at all ages;
- to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all;
- to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for the sustainable development;
- to provide access to justice for all and build effective, inclusive and accountable institutions at all levels;
- to reduce inequality;
- to end hunger, improve food security, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.
Strengths and Obstacles
According to studies, if better use were made of the world’s female human capital, then:
- economic growth would increase in the developing countries;
- the number of people wallowing in poverty would wane;
- business performance and innovation would be enhanced;
- health care cost-effectiveness and social programs would be elevated;
- government policies would better respond to the requirements of all citizens;
- damage from unsustainable activities of the environment would decline.
Inadequate fiscal resources for enactment are often cited as the main obstacle to gender mainstreaming. Obstacles include
- lack of clarity and comprehensive monitoring;
- lack of understanding of gender as an idea;
- the failure to recognize issues like poverty, the environment or HIV/AIDS, as having dimensions in the gender;
- inadequate staff capacity to employ gender mainstreaming policies or carry out gender scrutiny;
- lack of staff self-assurance in their dimensions to integrate gender concerns
According to Thomas (2006), projects that are women specific have been criticized on a number of grounds, by the literature research on gender, women and development in terms of instrumentality, which directs resources to women as a way of accomplishing other policy ends. Other than the welfare of women, the commitment is for something else and women are used to this. An example is the historical use of women in the 1960s and 1970s for the purpose of populace control. Present examples include strategies which center on women development to attain performance in economy, reduction of poverty and other objectives of development.
Ethically, instrumental justifications of ingenuities that are women specific can be deliberated as objectionable. Essentially, they are manipulative with women becoming pawns in other people’s games who invariably are more powerful actors on the global stage. The approach has an embedded view of development. However, it is significant to recognize that such initiatives may offer resources women can use to their own advantage.
Nevertheless, it is probable to create a practice of development relating to women initiatives that may not leave itself exposed to these criticisms. The practice of development is transformational, starting from the specificity and erraticism of each locale and working to back those involved to change it for the better. The case study of Kenya has begun to demonstrate such a practice. In so doing, it provides an original reply to such appraisals. Groups of women started making school uniforms, while other women groups chose goat raising as the means of making great changes in their lives (Thomas, 2006).
Enhanced use of the female populace globally could upsurge economy development, augment the well-being of the society, lessen poverty, and help guarantee sustainable development in developing countries. Closing the gender gap rests on liberal government strategies which take dimensions of gender into account (USAID, 2014). Additionally, when there are sufficient machineries and approaches to size mainstreaming of gender, through specific and consistent pointers, there really can be proportional analysis and observing of the notion across the continuum of growth practice. Finally, human rights of women can be comprehended only through femininity power alteration relations, at all stages. A rights-based viewpoint must be unequivocally based on thought-provoking predominant relations of power. This may encompass addressing imbalanced relations of power among women groups, as well as between women and men.
Ellis, A., Cutura, J., Dione, N., Gillson, I., Manuel, C. & Thongori, J. (2007). Gender and economic growth in Kenya: Unleashing the power of women. Washington DC: The World Bank.
Foundation for Sustainable Development. (n. d.). Gender Equity Issues in Kenya. Retrieved from http://www.fsdinternational.org/country/kenya/weissues
OECD. (2008). Gender and sustainable development: Maximizing the economic, social and environmental role of women. Retrieved from http://www.oecd.org/social/40881538.pdf
Thomas, P. (2006). Introduction: Gender, civil society and political participation. In Women, Gender and Development in the Pacific: Key Issues (3-7). Development Studies Network.
USAID. (2014, August). Gender equality and women’s empowerment in Kenya. Retrieved from http://www.usaid.gov/kenya/gender-equality-and-womens-empowerment-kenya
But still, not as bad as I expected.