Cover Image
close this bookBreaking the Barriers - Women and the Elimination of World Poverty (DFID, 1999, 24 p.)
close this folderWomen-friendly infrastructure
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View the documentTravel and Transport
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View the documentImproving Basic Services
View the documentEasing Women's Workload

Easing Women's Workload

Women in developing countries work long hours, often performing arduous tasks necessary to meet basic needs Drudgery and hard labour take a toll of women's health and limit their freedom to engage in more rewarding activities We support participatory research and action aimed at developing labour and energy saving technologies to ease the burden on women and help them improve their health and well-being

Men and boys

Gender equality should recognise both women's and men's needs and, most importantly, how these interact. Our policy recognises that unlike biological roles, which are determined by sex, gender roles are determined by society and can be changed.

This policy enables us to work towards identifying the underlying causes of gender inequality, and thus develop a more strategic approach.

We hope it will also help us, and our development partners, to persuade men that gender equality is in their interests as much as it is in women's.

Usually women are at a disadvantage, but sometimes a special focus is needed on men and boys. This may be because they are specifically disadvantaged, or because they suffer different disadvantages to women and girls which, in combination, create problems for everyone.

Looking at men's as well as women's needs is revealing In the Caribbean, for example, gender analysis has shown that boys suffer from low educational attainment while women suffer high unemployment, creating a spiral of poverty which is damaging to everyone. In Pakistan, we have learned that effective family planning programmes must actively seek to bring men into dialogue with women so that joint decisions on child spacing and family size can be made In Tanzania, health research showed that men and women suffer different health problems, at different stages of their lives.

Gender inequality is preventing us from eliminating poverty It is in all our interests to remove it The empowerment of women does not need to be at a cost to men, but creates a benefits for society as a whole.