A Focus on Frameworks

You wouldn’t build a house without a blueprint, would you, so why are so many efforts to provide greater economic empowerment for women undertaken without a strategic framework? A rhetorical question, we know, but we’d like to call attention to the fact that folks are starting to realize that a framework for action can make governments and other actors more accountable, provide benchmarks and targets against which to chart progress, and give the women’s business community and other important stakeholders a soapbox for advocacy.

We write this because we’ve come across several new strategic framework reports we want to make sure all of you womenablers out there take a look at, bookmark, and file away for future reference and/or action.

First, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has published a Gender at the Heart of ICPD (International Conference on Population and Development): Strategic Framework on Gender Mainstreaming and Women’s Empowerment. While it does not focus much on enterprise development, gender equality, policy action and stakeholder engagement are central tenets covered in the publication. You might also want to take a look at their 30 second public service video, “Empower Women, Empower the Future,” which illustrates how a girl’s future can change with education rather than early marriage. (Puts us in mind of the excellent Girl Effect video.)

The UN agency in the Asia Pacific region, ESCAP, has also recently published a report looking at efforts that could be undertaken in that region to “strengthen national mechanisms” for gender equality and the empowerment of women. Learn more at THIS LINK. Sounds like a framework to us!

Next, there’s a new mid-term assessment of where things stand vis-a-vis MDG3, the Millennium Development Goal related to women’s empowerment. This AWID review of the Dutch MDG3 Fund shows the ways in which targeted investments can really make a difference in organizational capacity and women’s increased participation in advocacy and the political process, which has a ripple effect in other areas of women’s economic empowerment.

And, finally, we would be remiss if we did not mention and remind you of the Roadmap to 2020 report, spearheaded and published by Quantum Leaps in 2010, which focused on what women’s entrepreneurship stakeholders in the United States should do to move the agenda forward. It joins the October 2003 Prime Minister’s Task Force report in Canada and the May 2003 Strategic Framework report in the United Kingdom as a trilogy of policy and program recommendations to be undertaken in a developed economy context (which, truth be told, is not terribly different from areas of focus in developing economies).

All Hail the Next Generation

Did you know that today is International Youth Day? Neither did I until yesterday, but the day is fast approaching when the young women and men of Generation Y will move into positions of responsibility and start to put their imprint on the world.

So, in recognition that this day is coming soon, why not listen to the voices of the next generation of world leaders now to see what they have to say? Here are some places to start:

  • Young Women Speaking the Economy: An online exhibit from the International Museum of Women, created by 44 young women who ask the question, “What’s on your mind at this time of global economic crisis?” The answers are compelling.
  • European Youth Week was held in May, with the, um, engaging theme of “Structured Dialogue.” There’s some interesting information and resources on the website, though, including a recognition of the serious issue of youth unemployment (which most certainly was a contributing factor to recent riots in the UK).
  • Conversations for a Better World, a web-based facilitated dialogue for youth from around the world on issues of importance for the future, with monthly conversations on different topics. And, of course, they can be found on Twitter and Facebook as well.
  • Young Women First, an initiative in Africa for girls’ empowerment, especially with respect to personal health, safety and sexual and reproductive health rights. Check out their new newsletter HERE.
  • The Next Generation: Voices of 15 Year-old Girls, a radio series from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) highlighting the tipping-point stage that age can be for girls. While still children, many have come into sexual maturity and are forced into marriage, prostitution or are trafficked to other countries for those purposes as well. See also the website un15.org AND the compelling “Girl Effect” video, which speaks to many of these same issues.

Finally, for more generational musings, check out this previous Womenabler blogpost, “Talkin’ ‘Bout My Generation.” While we Boomers aren’t quite yet ready to f-f-fade away, we do have to start talkin’ ’bout the next generation!