With the stakeholder analysis in mind, we spent the rest of the day hammering out a SWOT analysis of IFUW. SWOT stands for Strengths and Weaknesses (internal elements) and Opportunities and Threats (external factors).
To best understand the external factors, our fantastic facilitator, Jane, used the world PESTLES, to start us off analyzing what was going on outside IFUW. We had to look at the main trends in the following areas:
P – Political
E – Economical
S – Social
T – Technological
L – Legal
E – Environments
S – Sector
There was a lot of input in all these areas but the main outcomes were:
Political: There are freedom revolutions ongoing. Fundamentalism and right wing is growing bringing less political will to close the poverty and equality gap. We live in a fast changing world where economics is more important than politics. Youth is not so interested in existing political structures and need new ways of engaging. There is also a lack of trust in the political system.
Economical: There is a trend towards more privatization of education bringing a risk of an economically driven curriculum. This could mean reduced standard and equality of education. Economic crisis resulted in more people educated but no guarantee for jobs/careers. The gap between rich and poor is widening. Women are less likely to be invested in when money is short.
Social: Violence against women is growing. Smart girls are less fashionable and girls are more into the modeling careers and making quick money rather than into schools (there is a lack of good role models). Schools do not help teenage pregnant girls to complete their educational ladder. Trafficking of schoolgirls is also a problem. The economical crisis brought a shift in choices of studies from humanities to vocational oriented subjects. Social trends differ, of course, from country to country regarding women’s age, status, class etc.
Technological: Technology has brought a lot of positive changes such as Wi-fi, E-books, remote and distance learning. But the digital divide has grown in certain countries too because of limited access to technology. The use of technology reduces genuine communication and social interaction.
Legal: More women are educated in law but only a few are in partnerships and are more likely to be assigned minor jobs. More women are appointed as judges, have access to supreme court, but reality is that only few of them are members of courts of appeal and the glass ceiling is very present. There is a scarcity of “free” legal services and it is difficult to access the law especially for poor women. There is legislation on violence against women but there is a problem with implementation. Privacy law needs to be balanced – to protect the rights of individuals but also for those who are unable to realise their rights. Traditional/customary law can affect women negatively.
Environments: Climate change affects everything, education included. Desertification, lack of water, lack of land, flooding could force students to relocate. The earth is running out of resources and the right of water is questioned with privatization of water. We need alternative ways to solve the climate change problems… women are innovative!
Sector: In the Human Rights sector the negative trends for women is the impact of Arab springs e.g. there is a risk of formation of new establishment that will cut off women (women will not have a role), could impact on birth control and family planning programmes. In education the impact of increased fees of higher education in many cases could affect girls less than boys. On the positive side, the creation of UN Women and the increased use of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) could help promote the rights of women.
Nina Joyce & Réka Fogarasi