Women at the helm of international development cooperation: insights and lessons for and from the Indian experience
Unlike many other development assistance providers, India does not have an explicitly articulated gender policy or strategy to guide its international development partnerships. As a result, India’s conceptualisation of gender equality as an analytical framework or a developmental priority is often implied or left open to interpretation. To that end, this working paper will tease out and unpack how the Indian Ministry of External Affairs discursively frames gender/gender equality and operationalises this understanding through its bilateral, multilateral and regional operations and institutional arrangements. This analysis will, in turn, form the basis for a deeper, comparative analytical exercise, in which the Indian experience will be compared and contrasted with the gender-responsiveness of the international cooperation policies of other key providers from the Global North and South. The purpose of this working paper is two-fold. Firstly, it will offer a close analysis of the current status of the gender-responsiveness of India’s development partnerships, highlighting both what is working well and what isn’t, in order to provide a possible entry point for the creation of a cohesive strategy or policy dedicated to mainstreaming gender equality into India’s development partnerships. Secondly, a comparative analysis will provide a foundation for the diffusion of insights, ideas and best practices in gender-responsive development cooperation: from South to North, North to South and across the variegated entities of the South itself.
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