Research matters. Proof is convincing. It’s harder for politicians and decision-makers to ignore human rights violations in the face of powerful evidence. It’s easier to push for improving women’s access to financial services when you can present the barriers in a woman’s own words and demonstrate the benefits of removing them.
IWDA conducts ground-breaking research that helps to reveal the barriers to women realising their rights in Asia Pacific. Read on to learn about a few highlights from our recent work.
Individual Deprivation Measure: Measuring poverty of women and men
Currently, the world measures poverty at the household level. This assumes that everyone in the household is equally poor, or not. We can’t know if women are poorer than men, or vice versa, or how their experience of poverty differs.
To address these gaps, IWDA and our research partners spent four years developing a better way to measure poverty, supported by the Australian Research Council. We used input from poor women and men to develop a new gender-sensitive tool for measuring poverty: the Individual Deprivation Measure.
Do No Harm: Investigating the relationship between money and violence
In the Pacific, 60% of people live in rural areas. Women and men support themselves and their families through subsistence agriculture. Women do most of the farming for household consumption, and sell and buy most of the produce. Often, they are also involved in paid work.
Yet, banks are hard to reach. In Solomon Islands for example, 85% of women do not have access to a bank account, and there are few bank branches outside the capital city. Many women must come up with their own ways of storing money at home. In communities with high rates of violence against women, keeping money at home can put women in danger. We need to understand how to empower women economically and improve their access to money without putting their safety at risk.
IWDA and the State, Society and Governance in Melanesia program at the Australian National University are researching the relationship between women’s money and security, with funding from the Australian Government.
Triple Jeopardy: Violence against women with disabilities in Cambodia
IWDA and partners spent three years researching the link between disability and violence for women in Cambodia. Since then, we’ve been working to turn the insights from that research into policies and programs, and support others to do the same through developing practical tools. To date, both the Australian and Cambodian governments have used the research to inform their own activities.
We are supporting our Cambodian partner Banteay Srei to incorporate disability across all their programs. In 2013-14, over 200 staff and volunteers received gender and disability training. IWDA also worked with CBM Australia to bring ten Cambodian fellows to Australia for a month to study gender and disability. The group drafted guidelines to assist Cambodian organisations to include women with disabilities in their work.
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