Gender inequality is a key issue in development policy and practice, yet the relationship between gender inequality, patriarchal social norms and donor programmes is complex. This panel examine how donor policy translates into programming, and the challenges that arise on the ground when attempting to promote gender-equality. It also considers how exogenous variables, such as employment and education, may lead to women's empowerment and changing social norms outside of aid programmes, as well as how such norms can affect the relative success of donor-led interventions.
It is impossible to consider global inequalities in development without focusing on gender issues. While donors and practitioners tend to prioritize gender equality, programs targeting women may have different results in different country contexts based on cultural norms and the reality on the ground. Often the women most in need of support are the hardest to reach. At the same time, the benefits of achieving gender equality are far reaching, and are linked to improvements in wellbeing for other household members and the wider community, as well as impacting on other basic indicators. This panel will explore the interplay between gender inequalities and both development programmes and paid employment. Whilst social norms may prevent women accessing labour markets, which hinder their ability to earn an income or maximize the benefit from inclusion on asset-transfer programs, their involvement in such activities can also influence social norms. It is important to understand the relationship between employment, entrepreneurship and individual/societal values if we are to understand how policy and programmes can aim to improve the position of women in the long-term. In order to provide a holistic analysis of this problem, the panel will also explore the process gender policy goes through from formulation to implementation in the field.