The Millennium Development Goals provide an important foundation upon which to progress gender equality, but the gender dynamics that underpin the root causes of poverty need to be addressed simultaneously. Only two MDGs explicitly consider gender (MDG 3 on Gender Equality and MDG 5 on Maternity Mortality and Reproductive Health). Without a gender responsive approach to the other Goals this focus is unlikely to lead to women’s empowerment and equality; undermining efforts to achieve sustainable poverty reduction and contribute to equitable growth. The Commonwealth Secretariat and many Commonwealth country governments have recognised the gendered dimensions of poverty and are undertaking a range of policy and programming responses. This paper provides a brief overview of gender-specific challenges facing Commonwealth countries and examples of good practice in addressing them according to five broad clusters of Goals. It concludes by providing some key policy recommendations about how best to tackle gender inequalities in international development and promote women’s empowerment.
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