United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM)

UNIFEM South Asia Office

Gender and Development

Report: Listening to the Voices from the Field – Mid Term Appraisal of the Eleventh Five Year Plan (2007 – 2012)

(Health, Women and Child Development, Minorities, Handicraft and Handlooms), by the Planning Commission, Government of India, organized by the Voluntary Health Association of India and National Alliance of Women, supported by UNIFEM, UNFPA and UNICEF 

Description: This is a Report, which presents the findings from the consultations of the Planning Commission’s Mid Term Assessment of the Eleventh Five-Year Plan. Five regional consultations were held at: Chandigarh (North Consultation), Bhubaneshwar (East Consultation), Jaipur (West Consultation), Bangalore (South Consultation) and Guwahati (North East Consultation). These were organized by national level NGOs, Voluntary Health Association of India (VHAI) and National Alliance of Women (NAWO), in collaboration with UNIFEM, UNFPA and UNICEF. These consultations enable an analysis of the interplay of schematic implementation and feedback on policy corrections from all quarters. The Report makes available a tool to review current schemes and programmes; it also provides solutions and good practices from across the country.

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Engendering the Eleventh Five Year Plan 2007-2012 – Removing Obstacles and Creating Opportunities

A civil society initiative coordinated by the National Alliance of Women (NAWO) with support from the Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD) UNIFEM and UNDP




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Enabling Environments

Enabling Environments is a Manual, which has been developed and produced by SAARTHAK, in collaboration with UNIFEM and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). It was released by the Hon’ble Ms. Renuka Choudhury, Minster of State (Independent Charge), Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India, on 19th December, 2007, at the CII conference on Women as Catalysts for India's Transformation. 

It is a part of an induction package on promoting gender equality at the workplace and the creation of a healthy workplace environment. The package also includes films and posters on Sexual Harassment at the Workplace, which have been produced by SAKSHI, in collaboration with UNIFEM and CII.  

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Report on Gender Biases and Discrimination against Women: What do Different Indicators Say?
by Dr. Preet Rustagi and expert team at Centre for Women’s Development Studies (CWDS)

Description: It charts progress made in 7 critical areas across all states of India, by displaying the most recent data. It helps in understanding some of the reasons behind the various forms of gender inequality by analyzing each indicator in the light of the broader socio-economic and cultural factors prevalent in the respective states and by making inter-state comparisons.


Directory on Panchayati Raj and Women in India: Compiled by Dr. Susheela Kaushik and her expert team at the Centre for Development Studies and Action (first printed in 2001)

Description: The Directory lists institutions working on Panchayati Raj and women, presenting consolidated information on: written materials like books, reports, directories and dossiers; organizations involved in activities concerning Panchayati Raj; workshops, seminars and discussions on Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs); training organizations; resource materials; persons with sustained involvement in Panchayati Raj; some elected women who helped in building the capacity of other women; and current data on elected women in various states of India.


Regional Consultative Meeting – Political Empowerment for South Asian Women by ABC Nepal

Description: This is a Report of the UNIFEM supported Regional Consultative Meeting, organized by ABC Nepal to identify strategies to empower women politically and move towards transformative politics. Capturing the proceedings of the meeting, it includes country presentations by Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka,  discussions on transformative politics and the role of the media, traditional politics and the vision in transformative politics, women’s participation in local level politics, and the prospects and challenges faced by women parliamentarians. Recommendations with regard to regional strategies to increase women’s participation, which emerged from group work are included.


Best Practices: South Asia – Series 1 by UNIFEM and its partners, with funds provided by Ford Foundation, MacArthur Foundation and the Royal Netherlands Embassy, edited by Dr. Reba Som



Best Practices: South Asia – Series2


Best Practices (Series II)


Nepal – Engendering the National Plans, based on contributions by Dr. Bal Gopal Baidya of New Era, Nepal. With the objective of developing the national capacity to make national development planning gender responsive, this publication encapsulates a collaborative effort between the National Planning Commission (NPC) and UNIFEM through the initiative, “Mainstreaming Gender Consideration into National Development”. It examines the structural obstacles to women’s full participation in national development and makes recommendations to the Government for appropriate corrective measures in policy, institutional responsibilities and a legal framework.


Bangladesh – Formulation of National Action Plan for Women’s Advancement, Based on contributions by Dr. Mahmuda Islam, Secretary, Women for Women Research and Study Group. Represented by Government and non-government representatives at the Beijing Conference, Bangladesh began various initiatives as part of its commitment for the implementation of the BPFA. One of the most important and immediate initiatives was the formulation of a National Action Plan, which was initiated by the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs (MoWCA), as the nodal Ministry. The Government began the process, involving not merely government but also non-government representation. This led to the setting up of a Core Group, comprising eight external resource persons and three Government representatives, which assisted the Department of Women’s Affairs in planning and carrying out the work involved in the implementation of the BPFA and the formulation of the NAP. The publication captures this process.


Sri Lanka – Empowerment of Women through Participatory Planning and Communication, based on contributions by Mr. Lal Hewapathirana, Director Worldview Sri Lanka. It captures the processes involved in promoting the economic empowerment of women, working from the premise that it holds the key to women’s empowerment. Existing skills of indigenous women were identified, training imparted to sharpen these skills with the objective of finding a source of income generation, and a process of development begun whereby women receiving training could themselves take the lead in activating others in two villages in Sri Lanka. The success of this initiative led to its replication in others.


Nepal – Janakpur Women’s Art, based on contributions by Ms. Bandana Rana of SAATHI and Sancharika, Kathmandu. The publication captures the successes of using the traditional art of painting by Janakpuri women into a recognized and respected art movement and the creation of the “Janakpur Women’s Development Centre” (JWDC). It showcases the development of JWDC as a self managed NGO capable of sustaining itself on income earned from handicraft production, imparting training to women in the production of marketable products, in administrative assistance and literacy. An inspiration to other women’s organizations in Janakpur, the JWDC has spearheaded self-awareness and self dependency among women.


India – Gender and Judges, based on contributions by Ms. Naina Kapur, Director SAKSHI. SAKSHI, a feminist intervention centre with a focus on violence against women has sought to explore the gender bias in the justice system, addressing the important and sensitive subject of educating the judiciary in the region to be gender responsive through interaction and training. Working in partnership with judges, lawyers and activists from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka through local focal points for liaison with the judges, the initiative has led to the formation of the Asia Pacific Advisory Forum, which in turn has created a small management consultative team, which has set in motion the process of designing and delivering a gender equality education programme. The initiative has played an important role in facilitating a process whereby legal/judicial institutions have begun questioning and examining social assumptions, which may impact judicial decision-making. It has also led to a unique Judge-NGO partnership, progressive trends in judicial pronouncements and the use of CEDAW to uphold women’s rights. 


Pakistan – Radio Information Dissemination, based on contributions by Ms. Uzma Khan, Director DRC, Aurat Publication and Information Service Foundation. The publication captures the process of keeping a continuous link with peasant women following the First National Conference of Peasant Women (the first Haryali Conference) organized in 1991 by Aurat Foundation and supported by UNIFEM. In response to the felt needs of women farmers, Aurat Foundation undertook this intervention with UNIFEM support, running a radio programme on food production technologies for rural women. Following considerable research into relevant and appropriate techniques and technologies, which could benefit rural women, the radio was used as a medium for information dissemination, increasing the outreach, and being accessible to women with low levels of literacy, allowing the listener to be involved in other activities at the same time. As a result, about 44 million persons, including 11 million women could hear the programme, presenting a range of information, which include information on major crops, poultry and livestock, health and sanitation and access to credit among others.


Powering the Momentum – UNIFEM South Asia Regional Office Promotes the Global Agenda for Women’s Advancement, is based on contributions by Dr. Deepa Grover. The publication describes the process undertaken by the UNIFEM South Asia Regional Office in preparation for the Beijing + 5 Review, employing its comparative advantage to keep the spotlight on the Beijing Consensus and contributing to the acceleration of ongoing efforts for women’s advancement in South Asia.


Women in Print – A Study for UNIFEM by UNNATI Features. The publication traces the change over the last half century in reporting on women and gender issues by Indian newspapers


Bridging the Digital Gender Divide


Progress of South Asian Women 2003, delineating salient features, key achievements, gaps and challenges faced by women in South Asia