Gender Mainstreaming in Micro-Enterprise Development

Gender is defined as a socio-economic variable to analyse roles, responsibilities, constraints and opportunities for both men and women involved in development and also ways in which these interrelate. The Nepalese context, mainstreaming gender in programme focuses on relations between men and women and aims to transform unequal power relations between them through empowering women.

Gender disparities are high in Nepal against women. Their socio-economic position is subordinate, their contribution is undervalued, and they have less access to and control over resources and benefits, and are largely excluded from the decision-making process at home and in the society. Nepal Living Standard Survey (1996) indicated that women's participation is 66 percent compared to 75 percent for men. Only 4 percent of economically active women are in formal sector compared to 12 percent for men.

Mainstreaming Gender

MEDEP has the target of achieving 70 per cent women participation in micro-enterprise activities. Consequently, it has developed its own strategies, techniques and tools in order to mainstream gender equity in its activities. The Programme strategies and activities leading to women's empowerment have its foundations on a balance between economic growth and social transformation.

The programme routinely undertakes the following activities in addressing the needs of women to ensure maximum participation of rural women in enterprise development: Gender awareness and gender sensitivity training to programme staff, target groups, and stakeholders for gender equity development.

Focus on capacity building of the rural poor especially women to boost their confidence in decision-making, taking leadership roles, and to have access to and control over their earning.

Gender analysis, explicitly identifies differences between women and men in their access to and control over income, participation in decision-making and benefits and impact on their household. Use of gender indicators and indexes, such as Gender Empowerment Measure (GEM) to monitor progress toward gender equality as well as to measure the impact of particular approaches and strategies.




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