Women and economy : the challenges - between resistance and social justice
Concept paper written for the WSSE Dakar, Senegal meeting (Nov 19-21,2005)
Whilst male/female inequalities remain remarkably entrenched, many female-led local initiatives combine economic and solidarity-based actions with the aim of providing fairer access to basic economic, social and political rights. Despite their weaknesses - which are, furthermore, very largely the result of their invisibility, of unequal access to resources and the inadequacy of traditional regulatory frameworks and project-support procedures - these initiatives play an essential role in compensating for the gaps in, or even absence of, social justice. It is thus vital and urgent to recognize the true value of these initiatives so that they may be afforded the resources needed to reach their full potential. Altering the balance of strength and power at the global level and ensuring that rights are respected are two obvious two priorities. However, faced with the inertia of social norms and the depth of local resistance - often underestimated - these can only be effectively achieved if promoted and sustained by locally-based initiatives. The role of such initiatives consists in identifying and placing needs in their context, then expressing them and making them public.