“The current approach to gender today is from a Gender Equality perspective. The UN Economic & Social Council (ECOSOC) definition of gender mainstreaming states that the ultimate goal is to achieve gender equality.
The approach of gender equality implies a degree of aggression1.
The word equality as expressed in the Chambers dictionary is “the condition of being equal; sameness; evenness.” This can mean divisiveness – the act of dividing to ensure there is equality. When we should in fact be integrating and unifying to be ONE – a whole, based upon the fact that men and women are different. And that men and women need to live in harmony with each other.
Gender Partnerships …
It is only when we approach and address the topic of gender as Gender Partnerships will we be sensitive to the differences and to the inter-connectedness of men and women and importantly, to the web of life that we belong to.
Furthermore we need to recognize that gender participation is not about the numbers of men and women that are equally involved rather it is how they have been and are engaged throughout the process. It will become clear then that only through gender partnerships can we accomplish and achieve the participation of men and women in a compassionate and harmonious atmosphere.
Since the UNDP December 2007 Meeting in Kuala Lumpur….
Since the above UNDP meeting I have continued to raise the need to address gender from the perspective of gender partnerships. The following are the forums to-date subsequent to the UNDP Gender Mainstreaming Workshop in December 2007, at which I have raised the issue of gender partnerships.
1. National Seminar: A Shared Understanding on Gender organized by the Sustainable Development Network of Malaysia (SUSDEN), 17th January 2008 an activity under the current Danida funded project to the Mengo’s.
2.The Danida Technical Review Mission Meeting with theMalaysian Cooperating Committee (MCC) and the Mengo Support Unit, 6th March 2008.
(Gender was an important component under the Danida funded project on …..to Malaysia)
We must re-look and review the current approach to gender so that the goal and objective is to achieve gender partnerships. This however is a topic that needs a lot of thought and dialogue. The issues of concern cannot all be discussed in this one letter. I do hope that the UNDP Gender initiative will begin to review its gender program in this light.
The above is an extract of the letter sent to the UNDP office here in Kuala Lumpur and to a number of Malaysian social and environmental NGO’s and to the Leader of the Danida Review team to Malaysia.