United Nations system: Mainstreaming a genderperspective is the process of assessing the implications for men and women ofany planned action, including legislation, policies and programs, in all areasand at all levels. It is a strategy for making women’s as well as men’sconcerns and experiences an integral dimension of the design, implementation,monitoring and evaluation of policies and programs in all political, economicand social spheres so that women and men benefit equally and inequality is notperpetuated.
The ultimate goal is to achieve gender equality (ESC, 1997). The approach seeks to alter power relations,present a critique to property rights, and ensure the meeting of men/womenstrategic as well as practical needs.1.1.1 Sustainable development Sustainable development should “meet the needs ofthe present without compromising the ability of future generations to meettheir own needs”. Sustainable development is economic, social and environmentaldevelopment that ensures human well-being and dignity, ecological integrity,gender equality and social justice, now and in the future (UN, 1999). Women have a critical role to play in allSDGs, with many targets specifically recognizing women’s equality andempowerment as both the objective and part of the solution (Eriksson, 2016).
Achieving genderequality and empowering all women and girls is the fifth goal of sustainabledevelopment. It aims to end all forms of discrimination against all women andgirls everywhere, eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girlsin the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and othertypes of exploitation. Next is the elimination of all harmful practices, suchas child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation (UN, 2015).
Next is therecognize and value unpaid care and domestic work through the provision ofpublic services, infrastructure and social protection policies and thepromotion of shared responsibility within the household and the family asnationally appropriate. The other aim is the insuring that women’s full andeffective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels ofdecision-making in political, economic and public life (UN, 2015). More so, the ensuring that there is availabilityof universal access to health and that the reproductive rights are availed. The undertaking of reforms to give women equalrights to economic resources, as well as access to ownership and control overland and other forms of property, financial services, inheritance and naturalresources, in accordance with national laws.
Additionally is the use ofenabling technology to promote the empowerment of women. Lastly the adoption,strengthening of sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotionof gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels (Eriksson, 2015).The environmental costs of production, such toxicwaste and greenhouse gas emissions are experienced in countries in their pathto development. Such patterns of development create profits at environmentalexpense, whether through the entrenched fossil fuel systems that supplyindustry, energy and automobiles or through industrial agriculture thatgenerates short-term gain by mining soils and depleting water resources (UN, 2014).
Such areunsustainable, compromising future production and consumption and threateningthe integrity and resilience of ecosystems and biodiversity (MillenniumEcosystem Assessment, 2005). Decline in ecosystem services and productivecapacity destabilize people’s livelihoods and health, both in the present andfor future generations. In the pursuit of profit, the social and environmentalcosts of production are shifted onto the state, private households and localcommunities, or onto the natural environment.
The costs and consequences ofsocio-environmental change are manifested in different forms of genderinequality.National disasters, including those related toclimate change, disproportionately affect poor women (Neumayer, 2007). Womenoften bear the brunt of coping with climate- related shocks and stresses or thehealth effects of indoor and urban pollution, which add to their care burdens.As land, forest and water resources once held in common are increasinglyenclosed, privatized or grabbed for commercial investment, local communitiesand indigenous peoples, particularly women, whose livelihoods depend on them,are marginalized and displaced (Levien, 2012). In this process, sustainablelivelihoods, health, rights and dignity are jeopardized mostly of women.Governments and donor agencies target women as critical agents assustainability saviors. This is done by community adaptation to climate changein their role as smallholder farmers, the mainstay of sustainable food production;and through limiting their reproductive rights, as the answer to population-environment problems (UN, 1999).
1.1.2 Institutional gender policiesThe formation of policies should be sensitive togender. The categorization of policies is dependent on the degree in which theyrecognize gender issues.These may be gender-blind, gender–neutral, gender-aware, gender–specific orgender–redistributive. When doing gender analysis for planning needs to examinewhat immediate, intermediate and long-term factors are responsible for theproblems and the effects on those involved (Kabeer, 1994; Kabeer , 1996). In challenginggender inequality in the institutions that social relations experiencedisparities, focus should be on the process through which equitablepower-sharing is to be achieved.
The introduction of the structural adjustmentpolicies in the 1990 to the developing countries by IMF and World Bank camewith them the economic liberalization and opening of markets. Competitivemarket forces, free of prejudice from development planners were seen as theobvious mechanisms to generate gender neutral opportunities of self-employment (Byerle et al., 2010). However thestiff competition was a disadvantage for example, some case studies from Kenyadescribe how women basket makers experienced loss of employment and livelihoodas consumers switched to imported, mass produced substitutes from East Asia(Joekes and Weston, 1994). Women were accorded increasing recognition as keyagents in development process and as the power behind exports success of globalmarket factories like EPZs and the providers of food through farming who wouldsolve sub-Saharan food crisis. Developments overriding objective was economicdevelopment. Welfare programs weredeemed to be residual in nature and actually discouraged by the SAPs, were onlyto be offered when there was requirement to mainstream planning had been met (Byerle et al., 2010).