Small Change or Real Change?

Commonwealth Perspectives on Financing Gender Equality

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It is now generally recognised that gender equality is essential for sustained economic growth and for democracy, peace and security. Small Change or Real Change? Commonwealth Perspectives on Financing Gender Equality presents key thinking from experts around the world on a topic that is currently of great international concern: how to ensure that sufficient financial resources are available – both through the new aid modalities and from domestic sources – to effect the necessary changes to make gender equality a reality.

The chapters cover the full range of issues around financing gender equality, including implementation of the aid agenda, the implications for gender equality of financing HIV and AIDS interventions, the impacts of trade policies on key sources of financing and women’s need for equal access to affordable finance. Of particular concern is the importance of tracking the gender impact of aid resources (including post-conflict aid) through mechanisms such as gender-responsive budgets and aid effectiveness approaches.

The contributors, all of them development practitioners though from diverse backgrounds, share one common goal: to influence governments, bilateral and multilateral organisations to scale up their commitments to financing gender equality and thus not only make a real difference to the lives of women around the world but also reduce poverty and promote sustainable development.



The Role of National Women's Machineries in Financing Gender Equality

Governance has to do with how power is exercised, how citizens acquire a voice and how decisions are made on issues of public concern. While it may be difficult to define good governance, it certainly requires the state to act responsibly and take into account the interests of the people (Yaya Mansaray, 2004). It requires the participation of both women and men in public life as it must relate to society as a whole in its quality and functions. There must also be an effective separation of powers between the legislature, the judiciary and the executive organs of government. Since at least the first United Nations conference on women held in Mexico in 1975, it has been recognised that women are not fully participating in governance and the development process, and that greater women’s participation is needed. As a result of the 1975–85 UN Decade for Women, governments set up desks, units, departments and even ministries to address the issue and ensure that the experiences of women, their concerns and their perspectives, were incorporated in governance structures. These were to be mechanisms, processes and institutions through which women would be able to articulate their interests, exercise their legal rights, meet their obligations and mediate their differences. The fourth point of the 1991 Harare Declaration also affirmed women’s equality and that they must be able to ‘exercise their full and equal rights


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