Women’s News: Empowering women is key to building a future we want, Nobel laureate says

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New York — Empowering women and girls with more choices and more freedoms is crucial to achieving a better future for all, Amartya Sen, Nobel laureate and a founder of UNDP’s Human Development Index, said Thursday.

Women agency and freedom are among the crucial means for enhancing development,” Sen, professor of economics and philosophy at Harvard University, told a panel on “Securing the Future We Want: Gender Equality, Economic Development, and Environmental Sustainability” alongside the 67th UN General Assembly.

The way in which economic progress is judged in the contemporary world … tends to give a much larger role to men’s needs and demands despite all the progress that has been achieved in enhancing the voices of women in the last half-century,” he said, calling for  stepped-up efforts to make women’s lives “more free, more robust, and more empowered.”

Sen was a seminal contributor to the first Human Development Reports (HDRs), UNDP’s flagship publication, and Human Development Index—which were developed in collaboration with the Pakistani economist Mahbub ul Haq.

The HDI aims to measure national progress beyond gross domestic product through indices such as gender equality, child survival rates, and educational attainment.

Countries that have expanded opportunities for women and girls in education and work in recent decades have largely achieved greater prosperity and moderated population growth while limiting child mortality and achieving social progress for all, Sen said. “These greater opportunities and freedoms…have had truly astonishing results,” he said. “There is an overwhelming need to pay attention to the needs of girls and women.”

Bangladesh, written off as a basket case” in recent memory, has achieved tremendous strides since the 1970s in reducing child mortality, increasing life expectancy, and reducing fertility from seven children per woman to 2.2 children per woman, Sen said. “In contrast with India, in each area Bangladesh has come from behind and surpassed it. And the moving force has been the rapid development of women’s empowerment,” he said, adding, “Bangladesh is the only country I know of in which the number of girls in school exceeds the number of boys.”

“Women’s empowerment is catalytic and central” to achieving social and environmental goals, UNDP Associate Administrator Rebeca Grynspan said. “Women are central actors making the case for the sustainable development triple-win strategy”—meaning economic growth, social development, and environmental sustainability.

The panel included former Finnish president Tarja Halonen and Amina Mohammed, founder of the Center for Development Policy Solutions and Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Post-2015 Development Planning.

Winnie Byanyima, Director of UNDP’s Gender Team, moderated the discussion, which marked the launch of a new publication, Powerful Synergies: Gender Equality, Economic Development, and Environmental Sustainability.

Read More:  http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/presscenter/articles/2012/09/27/empowering-women-is-key-to-building-a-future-we-want-nobel-laureate-says.html

Women’s News: Laws without implementation not enough for women’s empowerment: Sonia Gandhi

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NEW DELHI: Against the backdrop of rising crimes against women, Congress President Sonia Gandhi today said making laws for their empowerment is not enough as they will have to be implemented properly on ground.
“We realize that by just making laws and announcing policies would not be enough to empower women. Along with it, policies and laws will have to be implemented properly on ground,” she said while addressing a gathering at the launch of the Ahimsa Messenger scheme, under which volunteers will be created to spread awareness on women’s issues.

“We should end all acts of violence against women and initiate all steps so that women feel safe and become fearless, empowered and they are given the respect,” Gandhi said.

The Congress President’s statement on the issue comes at a time when the number of incidents of crime against women are witnessing a rising trend.

Urging the people to launch a “social revolution” for empowering women, the Congress President said, “The most fundamental issue that the mindset and old thoughts of our society have to be changed. Giving women equal status as men is a very big challenge and the wall of discrimination amongst women has to be demolished.”

Gandhi said it is the collective responsibility of all women to initiate this process of giving equal status to women right from their homes.

“We all know that the social outlook of our children is formed inside the four walls of our homes. The girl in the family should be given the same status as that of her brother in a family. Girls too have a right to get education, development and employment as that of the boy in the family,” she said.

Read More:  http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2013-08-31/news/41642180_1_congress-president-sonia-gandhi-giving-women-empowerment

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