Interview with Lotta Sylwander, Lead Policy Specialist Gender at Sida: Applying a Gender Perspective to DLG

For the special gender edition of the DeLoG Newsletter on the occasion of International Women's Day, partner organisations of the network shared their experiences working on DLG with a gender perspective. In this interview, Lead Policy Specialist Gender equality Lotta Sylwander highlights the importance of the Gender-DLG nexus to Sida's work.

Why do gender-related topics matter to you?

I developed an interest in gender issues already during my university days in the 1980’s. I have a degree in Anthropology and it was important to understand the diverse roles and responsibilities that women and men have in different societies. It was also clear to me then that ownership, power, voice etc were crucial to women’s lack of empowerment and equality.

Why is the nexus of Gender and DLG relevant to SIDA?

Sida seeks to empower women and girls at all levels of society and believe that there will never be a true sustainable development without gender equality. We find that women can, and will, participate at local levels (community or local government) if given the possibility and space. Women are often more engaged in local issues and often know them better and can therefore develop more female centred sustainable solutions and plans for development.

According to your personal experience, what can institutions and authorities do to integrate gender perspectives into local governance systems?

Sida promotes women’s participation at all levels of society. Political participation, economic participation and empowerment, legislative participation and civil society participation are all different aspects of different Sida programmes. We are experiencing a backlash or and a resistance in many countries to gender equality which is something we are now trying to mitigate.

In order for Sida to ensure gender perspectives in all planning and decision making we carry out a Multi-Dimensional Poverty Analysis where a gender and power analysis is an integral part. How Sida works with Gender Equality brief. All data is gender differentiated. All Sida staff are obliged to do an on-line course on Gender Equality.( Sida e-learning on gender equality)