Women’s role indispensable for a green economy
Posted 05 July 2011, by The Editor, The Daily Star, thedailystar.net
The conference of South Asian Women’s Network (SWAN) which ended recently with the Dhaka Declaration has called for peace and a green economy, highlighting the role of women in South Asia in establishing both. For this, however — as was pointed out by the participants at the two-day conference — women must have equal access to resources and a greater role in development policy-making.
Women have an unequal share of the world’s resources and relatively few are to be found at the policy-making level. According to a UN study in 2000, women do 60% of the world’s work, make 10% of the world’s income and own 1% of the world’s property. Yet, the fact that women influence some 85% choices of consumer products goes to show their influence on the economy.
While privatisation and commoditisation have been inevitable features of capitalist economies, a line must be drawn between profit-making and the destruction of nature and its resources. Women’s knowledge, skills and best practices, such as that of growing indigenous crops, fruits and vegetables as opposed to the mono-crop culture can save nature as well as the economy more than technology and artificial methods of production can.
Security and human rights of women themselves were also issues raised at the conference, and, while Afghanistan is a country of key concern, in Bangladesh too, women’s rights — despite several progressive policies and even bigger promises — are yet to be realised. Without protecting the rights and security of half the world’s population, security of nature and the economy can hardly be ensured.
SWAN has called for green ways of economy that are “diverse, decentralised and a path of empowerment for all”. We hope that the call and pledge will be realised beyond the declaration and incorporated in development policy around the world for a greener economy, sustainable environment and more secure future for our coming generations.