Making Governance Gender-Responsive

Twenty-one participants from Thailand, Indonesia, Laos and the Philippines joined the Gender and Governance Workshop held on 24 October 2005 at the Student Christian Center in Bangkok, Thailand. Primar Jardeleza and Olive Parilla (PATAMABA-Philippines) served as resource persons.

The workshop aimed to 1) identify gender problems and issues in informal work (in their respective communities); 2) explain the elements of an effective Gender and Development (GAD) Plan and Budget for their organizations and communities; and 3) identify steps towards making their organizations more gender-sensitive and eventually, towards formulating a Gender-Responsive Plan for 2006.

The opening ceremonies got everyone involved with the “Paper Folding” exercise where each participant was asked to explain the meaning of her/his creation. From the participants’ creative minds, various persuasions and symbolic meanings surfaced.

The 15 minute showing of “The Impossible Dream” was the take off point for identifying gender problems, issues, and manifestations of gender bias in society and in informal work. Dividing participants into country groups, their presentations revealed some commonalities: within the family, women assumed their traditional reproductive roles; in the community, women surprisingly, had time for organizational activities, despite their numerous tasks within the home; but women have more problems, because of the multiple roles that they assume.

The discussion on Why Gender Matters in Governance emphasized that good governance can only be attained if gender biases are addressed and eliminated. In gender-responsive governance, there exists: equality among women and men (access to resources, participation in decision making, sharing of benefits); respect for human rights; empowerment of women; and a transformative agenda. Its attainment, through the preparation of a GAD Plan and the GAD Budget, can be a potent advocacy tool and has its implications for social equity (how the pie is sliced and shared). The GAD Plan and Budget, translate political commitments and goals into reality, and reflect the government’ s social and economic priorities at various levels.

Homenet SEA participants to the Gender and Governance Workshop  held at the Christian Student Center,  Bangkok, Thailand on 24 October 2005.

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