Cover Image
close this bookBreaking the Barriers - Women and the Elimination of World Poverty (DFID, 1999, 24 p.)
close this folderWomen's inequality and world poverty
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentOur Policy
View the documentPartnerships


United Nations estimates suggest: that up to 70% of the world's poor are female.

Gender discrimination is the world ''s most widespread form of social exclusion.

Women's inequality is a key-obstacle to development and a major cause of social injustice.

Women in the developing world play a vital role. They manage community resources, help protect the environment, maintain peace and keep societies together. They make up most of the labour force. They are responsible for bringing up children and passing on knowledge to the next generation. But most women's work is unpaid and unacknowledged.

Women are poorly represented in positions of power. Their opportunities to act on their own behalf are often severely limited. Where they do try to assert their rights, they are often met with strong opposition and sometimes intimidation and violence.

Calls for change in the social, economic, and political relations between the sexes and an end to gender discrimination are being voiced increasingly strongly. These calls have been echoed in international meetings and agreements, most notably the Global Platform for Action agreed at the I995 World Conference on Women at Beijing. They are also reflected in the International Development Targets for the 2Ist Century.

The Department for International Development (DFID) is committed to women's equality. World poverty cannot be eliminated without it. This booklet describes our policy and gives examples of how we put this into practice. We are making good progress, but there is still a long way to go and many lessons to be learned.