Gender Action Mainstreaming for Empowerment to Change


Women's Rights | Women's empowerment | Working with men | Participation | Wealth Creation | Sustainability |
Rocky Road Framework and Tools| GALS Processes | Diamond Forest | FALS |
Livelihoods | Business | Markets | Value chains | Financial Services | Policy |
Advocacy | Research |

Gender interventions are generally conceived as 'projects' and add-ons to other 'mainstream programmes'.

In the GAMEchange framework the focus is rather in designing timebound interventions which catalyse change, and develop sustainable skills and set up sustainable structures for gender mainstreaming whereby women's issues are as 'mainstream' as those of men.

Environmental concerns are part of the definition of sustainability - but environmental sustainability is seen as the responsibility of men as well as women.

dimensions of sustainability

There have been a range of different concerns with sustainability in development debates:

  • Sustainability of client livelihoods and households which is dependent not only on increasing household cash income, but on women's empowerment and gender justice and attention to food security involving men as well as women
  • Developmental sustainability: contribution to sustainable changes in inequalites, client wealth creation and civil society development which will continue even if develkopment services cease to be available.
  • Financial sustainability of development institutions which can be achieved in many ways, some of which enhance client empowerment and some of which undermine it.
  • Sustainability of services and relationships which will continue to exist through linking of clients to diverse sources of support, capacity-building of clients - even if any one support source or NGO disappears.
  • Environmental sustainability: contribution to sustainable changes in inequalites, client wealth creation and civil society development which will continue even if financial services cease to be available.
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definition of sustainable development

Most attention has been given to sustainable development in terms of environmental sustainability. This has been defined in many ways, but the most frequently quoted definition is from Our Common Future, also known as the Brundtland Report:

"Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It contains within it two key concepts:

  • the concept of needs, in particular the essential needs of the world's poor, to which overriding priority should be given; and

  • the idea of limitations imposed by the state of technology and social organization on the environment's ability to meet present and future needs."

All definitions of sustainable development require that we see the world as a system—a system that connects space; and a system that connects time.

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some Contentious issues

  • Are we aiming for 'sustainability' of the status quo, or sustainability of the skills and structures for upscaling and dynamic development?
  • Sustainability for whom and where?
  • If there are trade-offs between sustainability (eg financial, environmental) and other benefits (eg empowerment, food security), who should bear the costs?

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