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Decentralization, local power and womens rights
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Decentralization has the potential to empower citizens, including such
historically excluded groups as women, poor people, and racial, ethnic,
sexual, and religious minorities. Many women and men are enthusiastic
about the opportunities decentralization affords for participation in
public life and are committed to pressing for greater gender equality
and equity in decentralized systems.
However, the research and experiences shared at the Conference
demonstrate that decentralization is not a panacea and does not
automatically benefit women and men equally.
Decentralization can reinforce elite power, including discrimination
against women. It frequently fails to address not only gender
discrimination, but also other structural divisions and inequalities.
Research shows that such discrimination and inequalities may be
manifested through verbal and physical violence against women
representatives, including those from marginalized communities.