Koenders supports women’s rights projects
The MDG3 Fund launched by development minister Bert Koenders to improve the position of women worldwide will support 45 projects aimed at reducing violence against women and increasing women’s economic independence and participation in parliaments and political bodies.
The African Women’s Development Fund is one such project. It enhances cooperation between women’s organisations in 16 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and is aimed at reducing violence against women and increasing women’s participation in politics. The project Women Living under Muslim Law promotes equal rights for women living in Islamic countries by informing the population and supporting women who are disadvantaged by Islamic customs and laws. Decisions for Life, a project to be set up by the International Trade Union Confederation, aims at improving women’s rights and opportunities on the labour market in countries like Brazil, India and Indonesia.
Most of the selected organisations will be working on strengthening regional networks. They have the ability to put and keep equal rights and opportunities for women on the political and social agendas, nationally and internationally, by coupling grassroots activities with an effective international lobby. Because these networks are transnational, it is often difficult for organisations to find support elsewhere. Many aid flows and funding sources have a national focus.
Mr Koenders set up the MDG3 Fund in 2006 when it became clear that the number of projects aimed at women had dropped by 40 per cent relative to 2000. The Millennium Development Goal 3 is equal rights and opportunities for men and women. There is still great disparity in this respect around the world. Women have fewer property rights and lose out under inheritance law. They are underrepresented in politics and government and find it harder to get paid work. Worldwide one in three women is subjected to sex-related violence.
Interest in the MDG3 fund has exceeded all expectations. There is an enormous need for concrete action to improve the position of women around the world. The fund received 454 project proposals from all over the world, many of them from developing countries. Altogether, the 45 projects that were selected are to receive a total of €70 million.