Deepa Narayan

Development blind spots: rethinking gender inequality

If development is about achieving human potential for the maximum number of people in the world, our current public policy approaches have a huge blind spot. Can public policy deal with millions of daily acts of violence and oppression that are perpetrated by millions of people on millions of other people in their daily lives? These limit human potential. Watch poverty economist, Deepa Narayan, speak on gender inequality in our #KAPTalks.

Thursday 07.05.2015

More from the speaker

„Why it is considered reasonable to intervene when the Taliban in Afghanistan organizes to stop girls from attending school? And why do we hesitate when millions of girls are prevented from attending school by the private decision of millions of individual fathers who are spread over large areas?” – asks Deepa Narayan ahead of her lecture in Budapest.

How can we address gender inequalities that still persist in rich countries and in poor countries? In the USA, with an overall ranking of 20 on the Gender Gap index (World Economic Forum), the pay gap between men and women will take a century to close.  The United Nations may have already given up.  In the current UN efforts on developing Sustainable Development Goals, gender equality is about the only goal that is not time bound, a direction without commitment. It makes gender equality more difficult to achieve than climate change, which has time bound targets. Given these difficulties, how long then will it take India with more than 500 million girls and women, and an overall ranking of 114 on the gender gap index, to achieve gender equality?

Given this context, we need to fundamentally challenge existing development policy and practice to achieve greater gender equality more quickly.

Drawing on data from the USA and new research on India, a case is made to re-consider the primacy given to economics rather than culture, the public rather than private, and the external rather than internal in our policy thinking.

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Dr. Deepa Narayan is a scholar who has worked on global poverty issues for the last 25 years, with international organizations and civil society. From 2002 through 2008 she served as Senior Adviser to the Vice-President in the Poverty Reduction and Economic Management (PREM) Network of the World Bank in Washington D.C. She serves on the Global Advisory Councils of the World Economic Forum. Narayan was named as one of 100 most influential global thinkers by the U.S. Foreign Policy magazine, as one of 35 great minds by India Today magazine in 2011 and one of 100 disruptive heroes to bring about changes in large organizations by Hackers Work, 2013. She has published over 15 books. She is author of forthcoming book, Womanhood: Made in India. 2016.

Deepa Narayan

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