The McKinsey Global Institute estimates that by advancing women’s equality could add US&12 trillion to the world’s yearly gross domestic product over the next decade. Regrettably, the tendency is for developmental policies to marginalize women’s specific conditions and needs by adhering to the belief of women’s inferiority. Countless women have suffered globally through the patriarchal structures and policies which have rendered them as second class citizens.
Gender as a social indicator must be seen as a critical pillar of development in which women are integrated more into the process. We need to move away from the top down, urban centered approach to development which unfortunately many governments still subscribed to. There is an urgent need to incorporate more gender sensitive policies in the development progress to benefit all our people. A process of gender analysis is essential since it is only through an integration of gender into development that we can truly better understand the realities of both sexes and provide by policy makers which the tools necessary to overcome inefficient resource allocation to encourage a holistic approach to development. Jamaica stands at a critical juncture as the country moves to achieve its 20/30 vision of making Jamaica the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business. However, in order to realize this we must redouble our efforts to eradicate poverty and move towards and embrace a paradigm shift in which gender and development (GAD). As we approach the new year let us emphasize more on gender and development as active contributors to development planning and action as we encourage more women to participate equally in the decision making process at all levels of the society. In the words of Nelson Mandela, “as long as poverty, injustice and gross inequality persist in our world, none of us can truly rest.
Wayne Campbell is an educator and social commentator with an interest in development policies as they affect culture and or gender email@example.com