This publication comes out of the Gender, Citizenship and Governance programme of the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT), Netherlands. The project aimed to develop good practice in changing governance institutions to promote gender equality, enhance citizen participation and build accountability of public administration systems. Action research projects were conducted with 16 women's organisations and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in eight countries in Southern Africa and South Asia (South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh). The research projects showed how women's citizenship responsibilities are often unpaid and therefore hidden from economic management systems. This precludes government accountability for the needs of women. Potential avenues such as laws or institutionalisation of citizen participation do not necessarily translate into protection or inclusion of women. The action research projects therefore cover four areas: promoting women in political office; engendering institutions; claiming citizenship; and governing peace. Projects involved training and capacity-building for development practitioners, drawing together good practice and networking/sharing information.The publication begins with a section on global debates, providing a background to the ways in which citizenship can be used in promoting gender equality. It then goes on to the four case study sections as outlined above. The section on claiming citizenship for example includes studies from South Africa on reform of Customary Law, from West Bengal on the rights of sex workers in Bangladesh (see case study in section 5 of the Overview Report in this pack), lobbying and advocacy activities in Zimbabwe, and rights over guardianship of children in Bangladesh (see article from the In Brief bulletin in this pack).The report then presents several conclusions and recommendations which include:•Interventions must start from women's needs.•'Voice' is not enough. Institutional rules and norms and public perceptions must also be influenced thorough contacts with key officials and engaging civil society.•Spaces must be made to talk in terms of citizenship entitlements. Examples of such spaces could be processes of law and constitutional reform or setting up regulation boards that involve both men and women in assessing the impact of development interventions.•Decisions must be pragmatic and must make sense in practice and take into account the variations in feminist/women's demands.•In the struggle for rights, it is important to work in conjunction with states and institutions when campaigning for change.
Authors and Publishers
M. Mukhopadhyay (ed)
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