• Gender equality is a key feature of democratic governance. Democracy is supposed to transform power relations between women and men in such a manner that women participate equally in governance and development processes. While this goal remains a challenge for stable democracies, it is much more daunting for conflict-ridden and postconflict societies. This is so not only because democracy and development are difficult to achieve under conditions of political instability, but also because protracted violent conflicts have tended to hit women and children the hardest.

  • The devastating impact of conflict results in widespread destruction of infrastructure, livelihoods, services and communities and massive dislocation of populations. Years of bad governance and fiscal breakdown leave war-shattered failed States with no reserves and little capacity for financial management. Huge amounts of resources have been and continue to be expended on large and medium-level conflicts in countries such as Afghanistan, Bougainville, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Liberia, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka and the former Yugoslavia. Millions of dollars have been spent on attempts to reconstruct these countries with no guarantees of sustainable democratisation or economic development.

  • In most developing countries, women producers and workers in the informal economy play a key role in providing the food and income that enable their families to exist. The impact of economic globalisation on these women has varied according to who they are, where they are, which sector they are involved in and how they are integrated in global production systems. While some women have lost markets and jobs or seen a decline in working conditions, others have been able to find new markets for their products and new jobs on favourable terms. Recent literature has emphasised the growing casualisation of the labour force and the increased number of women workers who form the backbone of many global supply chains for garments, footwear and other consumer goods. However, this chapter focuses on women producers (who still form the vast majority of those earning an income in the informal economy) and seeks to show how they can take advantage of new economic opportunities arising from increased economic globalisation if they are enabled to do so.

  • Gender equality is central to achieving the MDGs [Millennium Development Goals] and other development goals, making it important to ensure that aid structures target and monitor progress towards gender equality goals. (UNIFEM, 2006) Try not to get tricked because of love…. [Women] should love them self first, take care of them self and then introduce condoms to their loved one and tell them the reason and if the other person don’t want to use condoms to protect his or herself, then the individual has to stand up and stick out that if there is no condom, there is no love. (HIV-positive Jamaican woman in Haniff, 2006)

  • What are the effects of globalisation on women workers in agriculture? In many countries the spread of commercial agriculture has provided new openings for female employment. Women have long worked in agriculture, but often as unpaid family labour (Boesrup, 1970). The rise of supermarket retailing is contributing to the transformation of agriculture. Initially concentrated in developed countries, supermarkets are now growing rapidly in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Production for supermarkets generates opportunities for female employment. Accessing this employment can bring many opportunities for women, but also new forms of vulnerability.

  • 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