Fighting for the rights of women – all over the world

This week, The Independent has run an interview with International Development Minister Lynne Featherstone – and no surprise that equalities feature strongly in her approach to the job:

Today we are talking about Zambia, from where she has just returned from a trip to meet victims of domestic violence, as well as the First Lady and the newly-appointed Minister of Gender, as part of her brief as Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the Department for International Development (DFID).

In Masabuka, Featherstone discussed ways to empower a population where 63 per cent of women believe domestic battery is justifiable. “It’s a culture that is so far from our understanding,” she says. “Gender-based violence is on a spectrum from the United Kingdom right across the world.” Even at the milder end, here in Britain, as many as two women are killed by their partner or ex-partner each week…

We meet at a conference in a stately building in Central London. At first sight the aid minister looks like she may be swallowed by a huge velvet curtain, but anything looking to obstruct this tiny tour-de-force would have a fight on its hands: according to one member of her staff, her dogged determination is the driving force behind her rise through the political ranks.

Read the interview with Lynne Featherstone here.

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One Comment

  • The connection between gender equality and development is important and relevant. Looked at another way, why should we send aid to countries which waste half of their human potential.

    Having said that, I think Lynne’s PR department needs to lay off the gender issues for some time. While I am sure that in reality she spends her time dealing with all sorts of different development issues, the public presentation is of someone concerned with a single issue – which if true would actually not be to the credit of the idea of giving non-ghettoised ministries to female politicians.

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