By: Eileen Adams
International action toward gender equality is a relatively new phenomenon, and its position as a target of specific development policies is even newer. As nations first attempted to come to terms with changing structures of gender, controversy erupted over how far international policy can go to promote development. Since the recognition of “gender equality” as a Millennium Development Goal (MDG), however, opposition has become mere historical dialogue, with controversy superficially replaced by the “consensus” that gender equality was a universal right that could be obtained through targeted reforms in educational, political, and economic representation.
This paper strives to continue the dialogue, doing so within the setting of Yemen, where persistent obstacles to MDG-defined gender parity suggest that the current methodology of gender policy is not working. Rather than adjusting to the unique cultural context of Yemen, this MDG seeks to overlay a Western perspective where one is not applicable. Gender policy must be malleable when addressing questions of what true gender equality is, how success is reached, and who really benefits from reform. Discourse thus far has only narrowly addressed these questions using the Western frame; however, this paper argues that our current understandings of equity are not universal and can no longer be applied as such. In order to move discussion forward, this paper will analyze the elaborately segregated Yemeni context and approach gender from the perspective of those closest to the issue: Yemeni women themselves.
By: Jordan Gulli
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set forth in 2000 the goal of eliminating gender disparity in primary schools preferably by 2005, but no later than 2015. Kenya, in particular, has made major progress towards this goal despite significant political, social, and economic challenges. Unfortunately, its progress is not likely to be recognized since it will probably not meet the official goal of eliminating gender disparity in primary schools entirely by 2015, creating the paradox of a successful failure. This presentation will firstly discuss the MDG itself, as well as the recent Gender Parity Indices (GPIs) and how they compare to overall primary school enrollment. Secondly, it will discuss the historical context of girls’ education in Kenya and the major political, social and economic challenges that prevent girls from attending school in equal numbers to boys, such as the 2007 election violence, student to teacher ratios, and family income. Thirdly, the focus will shift to what is being done by both the government and international organizations to combat these challenges. In conclusion, when all these factors are combined and analyzed, it can be shown that Kenya has made great progress in eliminating the gender disparity in primary education, and will likely continue to be successful with its current policies, even if it is declared an MDG ‘failure.’
Author: Lauren McGuiggan
The first target of the sixth Millennium Development Goal is to halt and reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS globally by 2015. One indicator used to measure progress toward this goal is the percentage of people aged 15-24 with “correct comprehensive knowledge” of HIV/AIDS (United Nations Development Group 2003, 45). Although such knowledge is important, cultural barriers obstruct people from implementing their knowledge of HIV/AIDS prevention. In Botswana, 24 percent of people aged 15-49 years old are infected with HIV, which is one of the highest prevalence rates in the world (Weiser et al. 2006, 1940). The cultural practices of intergenerational sex, multiple concurrent sexual partners, and alcohol consumption facilitate the spread of HIV in Botswana and act as barriers to safe-sex practices. The Botswana Government has developed a Strategic Framework that includes prevention awareness as well as behavioral change programs, using specific behavioral indicators to assess the effects of these interventions. The MDG for HIV/AIDS can only be met through the development of culture-specific interventions and indicators that accurately measure progress towards this critical goal.
Recent international efforts accentuate the extension of educational opportunities as the most significant development to promote gender equality and women empowerment. The United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDG) reflects this ideology by highlighting educational targets and measures as the means to advance and assess gender equality. The UN plans to target gender disparity in primary and secondary education and subsequently, evaluate the ratios of girls to boys in primary, secondary and tertiary education.
This piece presents research which shows that despite approximately equal access to basic, secondary, and higher education for Jordanian men and women, males comprise the overwhelming majority of the total labor force. An inconsistency occurs between data regarding educational opportunities available to Jordanian women and the gender disparities present in the Jordanian economy. Because participation in economies reflects overall gender equality within society, assessing gender equality merely through educational targets is inaccurate, as it fails to acknowledge the applicability of an education and the social value of education appropriated for Jordanian women; this assessment is reflected in case studies conducted in Samma and Tel Yahya, villages in Jordan. UN efforts should focus on targets and measures that more appropriately promote gender equality by targeting gender disparity as it occurs in the economy. The programs implemented by the Jordan River Foundation and the Education Reform for Knowledge Economy initiative exemplify successful methods to reduce the current gap that occurs between rates of access to education between girls and boys and expressions of gender equality and women empowerment.
By: Mosugu, Joseph Tegan.
This paper seeks to address the Nigerian system of free universal primary education under the Universal Basic Education program. By looking at Nigeria’s colonial history and the predecessor program of the U.B.E., the Universal Primary Education program (U.P.E.), this paper thoroughly examines the evolution of primary education in Nigeria. It addresses the implementation of providing free universal primary education and takes into consideration: cultural differences, national funding, social stratification and human capital. The purpose of this paper is to point out a disenfranchised system of collaboration that exists in Nigeria from the federal government to the local spheres of life. This disenfranchised system has been a result of an old ineffective mentality that fails to address and accommodate the needs and demands of the Nigerian populace. The question that arises is how than can policymakers ensure a system of sustainable, universal primary education. The lack of adaptability and the laissez-faire policies of leaders are the major hindrances to advancing universal primary education.
Most of my methodology in this paper is composed of qualitative data, but in reference to programs in the past, quantitative data is used to highlight progress made in education. Most of the evidence utilized is generated from educational specialists in Nigeria, with few accounts coming from the Nigerian populace when it comes to primary education applicable to specific groups of people in different parts of the country. The paper produces untraditional results due to the unconventional approach used in tackling universal free primary education.
Environmental Sustainability: On the Rapid Deforestation in North Korea, by Daniel Piao
The purpose of this paper is to discuss the problems that North Korea faces regarding environmental sustainability, specifically with regards to deforestation. Deforestation has been a problem since Japanese colonization and was exacerbated by the Korean War, but has not improved since then; rather, more and more forested areas are being depleted; this deforestation is a major factor in why North Korea has the lowest Environmental Sustainability Index (ESI) rating in the world. Between 1990 and 2010, North Korea lost 30.9% of its forest cover, a number that is far larger than that of any other country during this timeframe. This is a crucial issue, seeing as how the forests serve many different purposes, such as the maintenance of watersheds, provision of habitat for animals and plants, supply of key ingredients of traditional medicines, wood fuel, as well as significance in Korean culture and spiritual life. The rapid deforestation of North Korea, along with the other problems it faces such as the production of organic pollutants such as DDT has both political and apolitical aspects, and both must be resolved to help reduce the problems that North Korea faces in environmental sustainability. The political aspects stem from involvement with nuclear weapons and the threat of conflict with other nations, as well as an isolationist mentality hinders access to foreign aid organizations, and the apolitical from natural occurrences such as acid rain from China. New policy can be realized to help reverse the serious problems that North Korea faces in environmental sustainability.
By Jen Yam
The lack of formal education in Afghanistan is at the forefront of concerns that keeps Afghan women in a continuous cycle of poverty and oppression. Goal 3A of the Millennium Development Goals, aims to “Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education, preferably by 2005, and in all levels of education no later than 2015.” This particular goal, along with policies implemented by the Afghanistan Ministry of Education, are too ambitious and do not target issues specific to the education of rural women in Afghanistan: the strong traditional values, lack of security and surveillance, and the lack of employment opportunities in the non-agricultural sector. In this paper I address the projected failings of the MDGs to meet their own standards by 2015 due to policies that overlook the social obstacles women face. By assessing school enrollment, literacy, employment rates as well as Afghan tradition and lack of security, I shall attempt to bring a full spectrum of issues that will not allow the MDG goal of gender equality to be accomplished by 2015.
The policies of the Afghanistan Ministry of Education and the MDG pinpoint problems such as insufficient funding for school supplies, poorly trained teachers, and lack of buildings to accommodate the post-Taliban era influx of students. Though this policy is undoubtedly beneficial, it fails to target deeply rooted historical and economical problems.
By Alex Vaz
The Epidemiological State of Mozambique: Inadequacy of Maternal Health Evaluation
Surveys estimate that almost one in a hundred births in Mozambique is accompanied by maternal mortality. The planar understanding of the maternal health indicators and of the idiosyncratic nature of Mozambique’s epidemiological situation has led to ineffective maternal health evaluation and has effectively undermined myriad relief efforts aimed at this Millennium Development Goal (MDG). In addition, poor infrastructure, medical personnel “brain drain,” and lack of adequate resources account for much of this dearth of maternal health care. This paper therefore illuminates these issues and examines the underlying components of such an epidemiological study including the structural and social circumstances of the Mozambican people. To achieve this, specific policy evaluation methods contained within the World Bank’s Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) for Mozambique were analyzed with deference to general applicability and cultural implications. The paper concludes that maternal health indicators such as the MMR do not adequately gauge maternal health in contexts of evaluating the effectiveness of implemented policy. A better understanding of the maternal health indicators, by virtue of comprehending the idiosyncrasies of Mozambican epidemiology, is required of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) for the advancement towards achieving the fifth MDG in Mozambique.
By Anthony Wang
Although denounced as unfairly repressive of free speech by most of the Western world, extensive Internet censorship is nonetheless employed by China to limit access to allegedly harmful material. Target 8.F of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) declares the need to provide unhindered information and communication technologies, including the Internet, as an essential step in the advancement of developing countries. In the context of striving to achieve Target 8.F, Internet censorship must be examined to determine its effects on the direction and scale of Chinese economic growth. This paper will first analyze present literature to discern current public perceptions of Internet censorship and its effects in China. These assumptions will then be reconciled with the motives of the Chinese government, as declared in its Internet policy documents. Based on the tangible results arising from these conflicting interests, we find that Internet censorship in its present form in China is a tool that protects the complex Chinese social dynamic from disrupting itself while a stable, well-developed country emerges. This argument acknowledges that the grievances charged against Chinese Internet censorship are well-founded, but defends them as unfortunate necessities. The conclusions presented in this paper offer the world a fresh perspective from which to critique Chinese media censorship, hopefully with a newfound understanding for Chinese government decisions as unavoidable compromises that ensure sustainable Chinese economic development.
by: Arturo Garcia
The Mexican government declared the achievement of the second Millennium Development Goals in 2006. Their governance report announced a 109.8% of enrollment ratio while the INEGI disclosed that 1,617,710 out of 19,700,930 children in the country are not attending school. The goal could have been met for the people of the urbanized areas, but it is far from attainable to a group of unprivileged people whose lives depend on the money they earn. Once again money is the problem. Families move around the country to obtain the needed resources. These farmer’s children are required to work and little by little get uninterested and drop out of school. Some children do not speak the language, because they live in the mountains where only indigenous dialects are spoken. Their economic instability deprives them from urbanized areas. There are also children of drug farmers who live in segregated areas where education has not reached yet. Lack of money is not the issue, wanting more is. None of these children is responsible for their position; it is the government’s responsibility to create a reform that will provide education to this selective group. Reforms have been proposed in order to overcome these obstacles. The implementation of a new way of study where every school in the nation has the same schedule of classes, the increase of payment to teacher who are willing to go to the segregated areas, and providing financial aid to native speakers who are willing to go back to their areas to teach are ways to truly achieve the second MDG.