Decentralization, Women’s Rights and Poverty: Learning from India and South Africa

Programme Type: Networks Programme: 1, 2, 2, 2, E, A, E, p, c, c, , a, , , 2, 2, , 0, h, 0, p, , 0, 1
Publication Date: 2010

From the early 1980s decentralisation became integral to international development and by the mid-1990s 80 per cent of countries were engaged in some form of decentralisation (Crook and Manor 2000). Much of the enthusiasm for devolved governance and for enhancing the powers and responsibilities of local units of government is based on the idea that they are closer to the people that the state is supposed to serve. It is also often assumed that the global trend towards the decentralization of public roles, responsibilities and resources is also good for women, as a vehicle for increasing women’s participation in local government and because women are concerned with things homebound and local, such as basic infrastructure and services. Yet in reality localisation has its limits and even when the benefits of decentralisation can be demonstrated it is not guaranteed that these are extended to all women.

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