Written and produced in collaboration with partners, Cutting Edge Packs provide accessible overviews of the latest thinking on a cutting edge gender theme in development research, policy and practice. Each pack includes:
We usually translate packs into at least French and Spanish and on occasion we also produce some packs on CD ROM, which include versions in all available languages.
Responses to climate change tend to focus on scientific and economic solutions rather than addressing the vitally significant human and gender dimensions. For climate change responses to be effective thinking must move beyond these limited approaches to become people-focused, and focus on the challenges and opportunities that climate change presents in the struggle for gender equality. This cutting edge pack advocates for a transformative approach in which:
Put simply, governance refers to decision-making by a range of interested people (or 'stakeholders') including those in formal positions of power and 'ordinary' citizens. These decisions have a huge impact on the ways in which women and men lead their lives, on the rules they are expected to abide by, and on the structures that determine where and how they work and live. They also shape how public resources are allocated and whether services take account of both women's and men's needs and interests. Yet women are often excluded from decision-making, from the household to the highest levels of government and beyond to the global level. Governance processes - emphasising accountability, transparency, responsiveness and inclusiveness - should be a means to social transformation. But they often fail to deliver. How to ensure that the principles of inclusive, accountable governance go beyond rhetoric?
Providing care can be both a source of fulfilment and a terrible burden. For women and girls in particular, their socially prescribed role as carers can undermine their rights and limit their opportunities, capabilities and choices - posing a fundamental obstacle to gender equality and well-being. How can we move towards a world in which individuals and society recognise and value the importance of different forms of care, but without reinforcing care work as something that only women can or should do?
What does a world without gender inequality look like? Realising this vision requires inspiring and mobilising social change. But what would indicate we are on the right track - and how will we know when we get there? Gender-sensitive indicators and other measurements of change are critical - for building the case for taking gender (in)equality seriously, for enabling better planning and actions, and for holding institutions accountable for their commitments on gender.
Sexuality can bring misery through sexual violence, HIV/AIDS, maternal mortality, female genital mutilation, or marginalisation of those who break the rules, such as non-macho men, single women, widows who re-marry, sex workers, people with same-sex sexualities, and transgender people. Sexuality can also bring joy, affirmation, intimacy and well-being. How can we make possible more joy and less misery?
Trade and trade liberalisation have very different impacts on women and men - which can result in fundamental shifts in gender roles, relationships and inequalities. Moreover increasing claims that countries should be enabled to 'trade their way out of poverty' means that there is an urgent need to address how trade can promote gender equality and development. What policies are likely to have an effect on gender equality and how can such policies be influenced? How can development practitioners promote gender equality and better support women's access to the benefits of trade?
How does migration advance or impede gender equality? How can policy-makers and practitioners promote gender equality in work on migration? Migration can bring new opportunities for greater gender equality and a better life, for those migrating and those they leave behind. It can have positive impacts on sending and receiving areas. However, migration also brings risks, and may entrench inequalities around gender.
Who benefits from information and communication technology (ICTs)? ICTs have created new economic and social opportunities the world over. The positive changes brought about by ICTs, however, have not touched all of humanity. Their use continues to be governed by existing power relations where women frequently experience relative disadvantage. Amidst this inequality are individuals and organisations that are working to use these technologies to further gender equality.
There are those for whom citizenship is a site of achievement, of power and validation of their place in the world - a way of achieving positive change and gaining a better standard of living for all groups. For others it can be a malign concept - exclusive, alienating or threatening - serving only to marginalise and exclude by allowing some in and expelling those who do not fit on the basis of gender, class or race. Some may say citizenship has “no relevance” to their lives, lives that are already too full with the pressures of daily life to consider participating in broader decision-making or struggles over rights. Yet many development workers have argued that using the language and the arguments of citizenship is a powerful way of working in development programmes that seek to bring about gender equality through focusing on people and how they interact with institutions.
Mainstream approaches to conflict and reconstruction fail to recognise how armed conflict exacerbates gender inequality. This pack explores the impact of armed conflict on gender relations, analysing the distinct ways in which women and men are affected. The overview report demonstrates that interventions must respond to the diverse needs of women and men who may simultaneously play the roles of activists and parents, soldiers and victims. The supporting resources collection features summaries of key materials, case studies, tools, web resources and networking contacts.
Everyone who has struggled to mainstream gender into public policy recognises that programmed action without money attached amounts to inaction. While government budgets allocate resources in ways that perpetuate gender biases, budgets also offer the potential to transform gender inequalities. This pack shows how in recent years gender budget initiatives (GBI), both inside and outside government, have risen to this challenge.
Why, after 20 years of international responses to the HIV/AIDS epidemic are infection rates still on the increase? Why are the numbers of women living with HIV increasing faster than the number of men? HIV/AIDS is not only driven by gender inequality - it makes gender inequality worse, putting women, men and children further at risk. What can be done to address a problem entrenched in this inequality, denial and stigma? International experience demonstrates that an approach which transforms gender relations is needed to effectively tackle the epidemic.
Is gender and development a northern imposition on cultures of the south? Yes, in the sense that much of development, including gender and development, is dominated by northern agendas. On the other hand, cultures are changing and diverse, and within any culture some people will oppose and some will favour greater gender equality. Furthermore, the argument that gender is a northern imposition is often used to obstruct constructive action for gender equality, even when this is led by local priorities.
The terms ‘Participation’ and ‘Gender’ have become a part of development discourse and practice in the last few decades. Advocates of these concepts have claimed that they allow for representation of the most marginalised groups, such as women and the poor. However both approaches have also been accused of providing only lip service to the interests of those they claim to represent. Combining gender with participatory approaches can strengthen both gender and participation, grounding gender in the realities of people’s lives, and making participation a more effective channel for the expression of marginalised people’s demands. The mainstreaming of both approaches can increase the redistribution of positive outcomes of projects, programmes and policy.