There was discussion of the most effective methods to work together to elevate diverse women’s voices and build consensus including:
- Feminist activism: Feminist activism is characterised by a drive to advocate for the unaddressed issues and be a strong voice for those who are often unheard, which is crucial for progress.
- Interrogating the existing architecture: A collective examination of the current global and local structures is necessary to identify where gender equality may be most vulnerable to being sidelined, revealing insights to shape future strategies.
- Collaborative groups and best practices: Working together in smaller groups can facilitate the sharing of best practices and create sustained joint efforts. Collective collaboration is essential in achieving constructive and credible outcomes and helps in connecting the international development agenda with domestic agendas.
- High-level panels and co-convening: High-level panels offer a platform for setting goals, but translating these into actionable results is often challenging. The proposal to co-convene a ‘coalition of the willing’ can build momentum towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal 5. This effort can be likened to a countdown, promoting a sense of urgency and shared responsibility across all sectors and systems.
- The inside/outside dynamic: Exploring the dynamic between insiders and outsiders is crucial in building alliances and bridges within government circles. Historically, external support and pressure have helped movements and coalitions align forces and push for key global initiatives.
- Women’s advocacy organisations: Women’s advocacy organisations, particularly in the global south, play a pivotal role. Strengthening their roles in economic policymaking is essential for achieving gender equality and empowerment.
- Platform and dialogues: Achieving gender equality requires change in institutions and norms, contingent upon collective action, innovation, and financing. Creating communication channels between governments and civil society will enable this cohesion.
- Alliances with the private sector: Engaging the private sector in initiatives like climate finance programmes is essential. These alliances can drive consideration for gender and women’s economic empowerment in their strategies.
- Data and evidence: Gender data and diagnostics are instrumental in shaping policy action for gender equality. Data-driven insights are pivotal in unlocking the potential of developing countries. Economists and policymakers should embrace a broader understanding of evidence, including qualitative and granular data, to effectively incorporate the perspectives of Women’s Rights Organizations (WROs) in the global south.
- Climate and gender nexus: The intersection of climate change and gender issues, particularly in the agricultural sector, requires interdisciplinary conversations. Gender specialists should be actively engaged to ensure that women in off-grid businesses can access energy resources, addressing this pivotal aspect of women’s economic empowerment.
Working together in a gender-responsive way encompasses advocacy, collaboration, data-driven insights, and a comprehensive approach to tackle the multifaceted challenges faced by women worldwide.
Head of Women’s Economic Empowerment, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office
Wilton Park | November 2023
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