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In this interview, Executive Director of the Centre for Development and Enterprise (CDE) Ann Bernstein discusses the development paths of India, Brazil, and South Africa and what the experiences of these countries tell us about whether a democratic market-based alternative to increasingly popular authoritarian approaches is emerging in the developing world. Bernstein also discusses the challenges facing these democracies and the reforms needed to strengthen them.Read more...
CIPE: Some of the key aspects of women’s empowerment — political, economic, and civic — are fundamentally linked. How do you view these connections and why are they important?
Henrietta Holsman Fore (HHF): The connections between different areas of women’s empowerment are complex and unique to every society where they have been evolving throughout history. It is important for women to have access to democratic processes, such as voting, but what women do with that access is also important. Empowerment comes from full participation beyond voting, which means inclusion in all political, economic, and civic activities.
Equal economic participation is also fundamental to empowerment. It is not enough for men and women to have equal access to the same career opportunities — they must also have equality of pay, responsibilities, roles, and respect in organizations, be they in government, the private sector, or civil society groups. Men and women’s equal partnership at all levels is essential to women’s empowerment.Read more...
The benefits of political participation
Political and economic realities are intertwined. Progress in one dimension reinforces progress in the other. These are the two principal elements of empowerment.
Women’s political participation has been slowly improving. In the last ten years, for example, the rate of participation in Parliaments has grown from 13% to almost 18%. Currently there are fewer than 20 women heads of state or government, and women hold about 16% of ministerial portfolios. Clearly the figure ought to be much better, especially when exceptional women like Germany’s Angela Merkel and Liberia’s Ellen Johnson Sirleaf have demonstrated the strong qualities that women bring to political leadership.Read more...
Public Procurement Debate in Russia
In March 2011, Russia’s Federal Anti-Monopoly Service (FAS) promised an investigation of a Russian military unit that had awarded a contract for $200 million for the maintenance of 41 Volkswagen automobiles. It was enough money to have purchased 1,000 new cars of the same kind as the 41 being maintained. The details of the transaction came to light not through a government whistleblower or muckraking journalist, but thanks to an online government database created to encourage transparency. Procurement websites maintained by the Russian government are being increasingly mined for information by Russia’s bloggers. The result is a growing public fascination with public procurement, one of the most visible realms of government spending.Read more...
There is a real danger that the search for a benevolent dictator may become a development mantra in many countries. Proponents of democracy should take notice and show that democracy is the path for sustainable development, and that there are no substitutes for institutional reforms in seeking growth and development.
The rise in interest of having a strong leader, often with unchecked power, rather than a democratic government is driven in part by the continued rapid economic growth of Asian tigers among the stagnation of economies in Western Europe and the United States.Read more...
CIPE: Women represent 70 percent of the world’s poor even though they perform over 60 percent of the world’s work. What are some of the key barriers women face in political, economic, and civic spheres that prevent them from equal participation?
Manal Omar (MO): The biggest barrier is access by women to the decision-making table. This does not just mean women’s participation in national government or representation in parliament. Such high-level inclusion is an important step but does not necessarily translate into empowering women on the ground in other spheres beyond the national political arena. Women need to be part of farmers’ collectives, business associations, labor unions, city councils, etc.
Often women are performing tasks in an informal capacity and their real contributions are not captured. Many societies use religious and cultural arguments to force women into the invisible sphere. However, over time, societies are beginning to realize they will not be able to progress without the full participation of women.Read more...
- Democratic Governance
- Access to Information
- Combating Corruption
- Business Association Development
- Corporate Governance
- Legal & Regulatory Reform
- Informal Sector & Property Rights
- Corporate Citizenship (CSR)
- South Asia
- Middle East & North Africa
- Latin America & the Caribbean
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