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Back | Programme Area: Gender and Development (2000 - 2009), Special Events (2000 - 2009) | Event: Ford Foundation Launch - UNRISD Report on Gender Equality: Striving for Justice in an Unequal World

Ford Foundation Launch - UNRISD Report on Gender Equality: Striving for Justice in an Unequal World

  • Date: 7 Mar 2005
  • Location: Auditorium, Ford Foundation Building, 320 E. 43rd St., New York, USA
  • Speakers: Amina Mama, Diane Elson, Anne Marie Goetz, Pregs Govender, Amrita Basu, Deniz Kandiyoti, Ching Kwan Lee, Frances Lund, Thandika Mkandawire , Shahra Razavi, Stephanie Seguino, Onalenna Doo Selolwane, Rosalba Todaro
  • Project Title: Policy Report on Gender and Development: 10 Years after Beijing

Speech by Amrita Basu

From Amrita Basu's speech...

"The background paper that I did for this report examines the relationship of women to political parties and social movements in South Asia: I argue that in South Asia, as Anne Marie describes for other regions of the world, political parties have done a pretty miserable job in representing women’s interests, addressing questions of gender inequality and helping women attain political office.

I argue that political parties have been most effective in situations in which they have been tethered to activists groups and to social movements. This sounds as if it would be promising news for women and to some extent it has been. In most countries of South Asia there are strong and vibrant women’s movements which have at times have worked effectively with political parties. But just as civil society mobilization has given rise to progressive social movements, including women’s movements there has also been a very significant growth in religious and ethnic movements which have mobilized women but without promoting gender equality.

Strengthening the links between certain political parties and certain social movements is an important arena for scholars, activists and policy makers to explore. Party-movement links provide an important way of bridging the divide between civil society and political society and the state. And yet at the same time women’s movements have rightly worried about the ways in which their agendas have been co-opted and appropriated by political parties. Moreover increasingly ethnic and religious movements have mirrored and appropriated feminist demands."