The Asian University For Women
Women in Public Service Project Summer Institute
Day 3: August 3rd
Transformative and Inclusive Policy Making
“We cannot achieve democracy and lasting peace in the world unless women obtain the same opportunities as men to influence developments at all levels of society” -Nobel Prize committee 2011
“Women have to be part of the future. And it’s imperative that as constitutions are created, as political parties are organized, as elections are waged and won, nobody can claim a democratic future if half the population is marginalized or even prevented from participating” -U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
In law, as in political life generally, much depends on who controls the influential discourses. What law is or ought to be has been historically determined based on a male standards and often reflects primarily male values. The founding theorists of many of the laws are male and tend to ignore unequal distribution of power in family life and politics.
The legal biases depict stereotyped views about women and men and ignore the realities of their lives resulting in laws and practices that disadvantage women. In the process of lawmaking, women’s voices have been largely absent. The result of this long standing exclusion of women from law is that the legislation and case law used by lawyers and judges have been developed by men, with their problems and concerns in mind, and they reflect men’s perspectives on the world; including their perspectives on women and women’s roles.
How can laws be more inclusive of the needs of both men and women? How do we recreate laws in the image of both men and women and their families?
Group Work Students will be asked to unpack family laws, labor laws, penal codes in Asia and asked to identify areas where women’s needs are not represented.
• Drafting Inclusive Educational Policies Draft a new education policy that provides food for education and other incentives to mothers and families that will help to retain girls in schools. The Government of Bangladesh launched the innovative Food for Education (FFE) program in 1993. The FFE program provides a free monthly ration of rice or wheat to poor families if their children attend primary school. The goals of this program are to increase primary school enrollment, promote attendance, reduce dropout rates, and enhance the quality of education.
How can you improve this program? How can this program be replicated in other countries in Asia?
• Create a National Action Plan to Prevent Child Marriage
This should include programs to delay marriage; register birth and marriage; raise the minimum age of marriage in compliance with CEDAW and CRC; compulsory education etc.
• Develop an Anti- Corruption Policy for your country
Systematic corruption threatens democracy and governance by weakening political institutions and mass participation, and by eroding economic development. Public ethics are a cornerstone of good governance. Ethics reforms have been enacted by many parliaments around the world. Ethics regimes have been adopted by many countries in order to inculcate more ethical behavior among politicians and to rebuild public trust in political institutions.
The United Nations Convention against Corruption of 2005 provides measures for prevention of corruption, with measures directed at both the public and private sectors. These include model preventive policies, such as the establishment of anticorruption bodies and enhanced transparency in the financing of election campaigns and political parties. The Convention also provides for prosecution of corruption.
4) Develop a National Action Plan based on the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD to empower women and promote gender equality.
New Awakenings and Women’s Critical Role in Democratic Transformations: Women and the Arab Spring and Women in Democratic Transitions in Asia Dr. Rangita de Silva de Alwis in a panel discussion with AUW student leaders will share experiences of political transitions from their communities and countries (Nepal, Sri Lanka, Cambodia) Introduction How do we honor the historic role of women in the Arab Spring and locate women in peace building and conflict resolution? This session will examine the paradox of women’s extensive engagement in the revolutions and in pro-democracy struggles and their subsequent marginalization from democratic negotiations and newly formed governance structures, institutions and democratic and political processes.
The Way Ahead: Lessons from Other Post- Conflict Communities Lessons from Rwanda, East Timor, and South Africa
Dr. Rangita de Silva de Alwis
Student Leaders will break into groups and discuss ways in which women in their countries have informed peace and transitional justice processes. How, for example, did women in Nepal organize for a quota in the Constitution? How did Women’s Action Forum in Pakistan or the Chipko movement in India organize and mobilize attention around critical issues? Discuss ways to network and build alliances with male and religious groups?
Some Issues for Discussion:
• How can women be at the forefront of placing equality under law at the heart of democratic transitions?
• What are the transitional justice processes women have been left out of in the Asian region ( Nepal, Sri Lanka)?
• How can we sustain the spirit of the revolutions while preventing the rollback of prior gains for women?
• How do we combat violence against women in transitional justice processes including sexual abuse?
• How can we prevent conservative and fundamentalist forces from eroding equality for women?