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Verdana 28 pt. The Nexus of Livelihoods and SGBV UN-CSW Side Event, March 12,2013, Mara Russell of Land O’Lakes International Development. Livelihoods are Impacted by SGBV. Reduction of women’s self-esteem and agency needed to make independent decisions

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Verdana 28 pt

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Verdana 28 pt

The Nexus of Livelihoods and SGBV

UN-CSW Side Event, March 12,2013, Mara Russell of Land O’Lakes International Development


Livelihoods are Impacted by SGBV

  • Reduction of women’s self-esteem and agency needed to make independent decisions

  • Loss of essential assets (capital), which are the “building blocks” of livelihoods:

    • Human Capital: health, education, skills

    • Productive Capital: tools and owned/managed resources that enable livelihoods

    • Social Capital: relationships within a community or society that enable commerce

    • Financial Capital: monetary wealth that enables investment in other types of capital (human capital, productivity)

    • Natural Capital: natural resources that support lives and livelihoods


Asset Stripping: Essential to SGBV

  • “Asset Stripping” (In the context of disasters and conflicts):

    • Unsustainable sale of assets at a loss

    • Depletion of natural resources or assets due to high degree of exposure to a shock or disaster

  • SGBV in a woman’s life can be equivalent to the impact of a disaster!

  • It doesn’t just impact a woman’s life, but an entire household (and may have community impacts)

  • May underlie chronic poverty


What is lost with SGBV: Assets needed for livelihoods

Productive Capital

Human Capital

Financial Capital

Social Capital

Natural Capital


Asset Stripping: Essential to SGBV

  • Loss of Human Capital:

    • Negative impacts on women’s and children’s physical and mental health; handicaps - women’s inability to care for children, illness, depression in women reduces agency and self-esteem

  • Loss of Productive Capital:

    • Theft of land, livestock from widows(Izumi, 2007), access to land (sometimes children) removed due to divorce, return of bride price by parents of SGBV accusers (ACFODE, LVCT, 2012)


Asset Stripping: Essential to SGBV

  • Social Capital:

    • Both intimate partner and public violence against women requires impunity, acceptance and protection of perpetrator, divorce may result in isolation and loss of social connections

  • Financial Capital:

    • SGBV has been found to be positively correlated to women’s employment (Morrison and Orlando, 2004)

    • Uptick in SGBV at harvest in Zambia – arguments over use of funds from crop sales

    • Women who travel for business are vulnerable

    • SGBV increased with promotion of savings & loan groups in Bangladesh (Kelkar, 2005)

    • SGBV did not automatically decrease with microcredit interventions (Kim, et. al., 2007)

    • Sexual harassment continues in work places throughout the world


Asset Stripping: Essential to SGBV

  • Natural Capital:

    • Conflicts over grazing rights, water, and depletion of natural resources due to unsustainable activities impact women’s ability to engage in livelihoods and care for their families


Cause: Rights, Roles, Responsibilities

“Unequal gender relations distribute the burden of poverty disproportionately on women. They can also be the cause of poverty among women and girls in non-poor families. These unequal relations…need to be addressed both as a cause and as a factor in the intensification of poverty.” (Kelkar, 2005)


Ensuring Sustainability Requires a Shift in Underlying Power Relations

  • Providing credit, assets and training to women will not matter if they continue to be victims of SGBV:

    • Essential: build women’s agency and self-esteem

    • Essential: build respect among intimate partners, male community members and leaders

    • Essential: women in leadership roles, act as role-models for girls


How to Bring About the Shift

  • Ensure women have a support group: A “women’s group” they can work and grow with: Care Groups, Coops or Production & Marketing Groups, Saving & Loan Groups

  • Foster education, training and attainment for girls and women on par with men’s & boy’s:

    • Train men and women together

  • Ensure women’s participation in decision-making: in communities, coops, businesses, and government

  • Shift ownership patterns so that “his” and “hers” become “ours”

  • Build access to justice and redress


Dare to Challenge Culture!


Productive Capital

Human Capital

Financial Capital

Social Capital

Natural Capital


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