Minister of State Kitt launches Development Cooperation Ireland's new gender equality policy
Today Minister of State for Development Cooperation and Human Rights, Mr. Tom Kitt TD, launched Development Cooperation Ireland’s new gender equality policy.
The adoption of this policy signals a renewed commitment to gender equality within the Government’s development programme as a whole. It is widely acknowledged that the majority of poor people in the world are women and girls. Equally it is acknowledged that it is impossible to be committed to the elimination of poverty without having a clear and unambiguous commitment to gender equality. The Millennium Development Goals, which increasingly shape development policy both nationally and globally, recognise the importance of gender equality and women’s empowerment in the achievement of the Goals. However to date, international recognition of women’s rights has not always translated into practice on the ground.
Speaking at the launch Minister Kitt stated:
“The Nobel Laureate, Amartya Sen documented the stark fact that there are an estimated 100 million women who are simply missing from the world’s population, killed or allowed to die because of an extreme cultural preference for sons.”
“In sub Saharan Africa, approximately 50% of girls never go to school and of the one billion illiterate people in the world, about two thirds of them are women. In many African countries HIV prevalence is up to six times higher among young women than among young men. Rape as a weapon of war is at epidemic proportions and there is widespread evidence that its use during conflict, most recently in Dafur, is systematic and endemic.”
The Minister continued by saying:
“I wish to emphasise today that we now have a critical opportunity to redress the situation. The new Gender Equality policy stresses three areas for the advancement of gender equality for women and men: full achievement of human rights; equal access to resources and services; and equal participation in political and economic decision-making.”
“The full implementation of this policy will enhance the quality and effectiveness of our development cooperation programme. This alone is an important incentive. But more important is an acknowledgement that the struggle to achieve full gender equality is part of the wider struggle to achieve the full exercise of human rights for men and women. ”
Dr Kathleen Lynch of the Equality Studies Centre, UCD also spoke at the launch on the importance of this new policy, the integral link between gender equality and poverty reduction and she reflected on the challenges and opportunities for transforming inequality between men and women globally through development cooperation.
Copies of the policy are available on the Development Cooperation Ireland website at: www.dci.gov.ie