ARDD release paper on International Women's Day

[08-03-2021 12:35 PM]

Ammon News - The Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development (ARDD) Sunday released a position paper, titled "Localizing the Gender Agendas", calling on local organizations to strive to reach decision-making positions at all levels and to set their priorities in their agendas in line with the concerns and needs of the communities they represent.

The position paper comes adopted this year’s theme for the International Women's Day, "Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world", and looks to shed light on the work concerned with gender programming and advancing women’s rights in country context. It explores the understanding of and approaches to gender programming and methods used to promote women’s rights.

It also documents experiences of women-led organizations working on women’s rights in selected countries in Africa, Asia and MENA region, and the lessons learned from the undertaking of making issues appropriate to a country and its culture. The paper studies the examples of countries from regions with similar cultural contexts and that face similar issues.

The paper criticizes the impact of "unbalanced power relations" between international agencies with relatively high levels of resources and authority on the world stage, and local organizations, which often leads to a feeling of having entered an "unequal partnership", and the mission drift of the local organization during crisis and, over time, to the local organizations losing their identity.

The report called on donors to place the needs and priorities of local actors as a central objective, and for funders to act as active agents that collaborate to support local priorities, not make decisions in their regard.

At the same time, the paper asked that local and international organizations exhibit greater transparency and accountability and called on women-led organizations from the South to come together, show solidarity and be willing to act together, while building a solid support base in their countries. These organizations, the paper believes, must strive to be well informed and willing to be critical of their partners. Solidarity amongst them is crucial if they wish to be able to stand up to their international partners and make them more accountable for the manner in which they deliver on their commitments.

While International Women's Day calls for women to assume more leadership roles and decision-making positions in local and national contexts, the paper stresses the need for better representation of women from various intellectual and cultural backgrounds, the need to listen to them with a holistic view and to take in the critical local voices that strive to tackle local issues, and to refrain from dictating agendas that do not have full consensus in their communities.

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