• Karin Rosen Christensen

This study provides an input to the debate on the empirical estimations of the Millennium Development Goals, and makes a contribution to on-going Post-2015 debate about the next set of sustainable goals. The Millennium Development Goals are a set of time-bound and measurable goals, which address and seek to reduce the number of people living in poverty before 2015. Aside the focus on poverty, the goals make a pledge to gender equality and women's empowerment, marking their importance globally, and galvanizing worldwide attention to these issues.

This study employs a framework derived from the construct of gender, women's empowerment, gender equality and normative international relation theory to explore the two targets, and the six indicators of the fifth Millennium Development Goal, to improve maternal health. For this end, a single case has been selected, Nicaragua. While Nicaragua at a first glance may appear insignificant, a closer look reveals some grave data on the health of girls and women, including one of the highest rates of adolescent birth worldwide and wide-spread domestic violence.

Through an analysis based on data generated via an expansive desk review this study finds there to be a number of obstacles in Nicaragua, which prevents the country from further progress on the inbuilt six indicators of the fifth goal obstacles which in one way or another are closely interrelated with the status of women, as well as perceived gender roles inherent in the society.
It is argued that the influence of the both the Catholic Church and that of different governments through their actions and policies related to maternal and reproductive health, has significant consequences in the lives of Nicaragua’s gendered citizens and how women and men are perceived. Policies and actions that in addition, are found to exhibit contradictions towards Nicaragua's commitment the Millennium Development Goals.

While the recognition of women's health is pivotal for its improvement and for sustainable development, this study shows that unless the underlying roots of the problem are addressed, namely the subjugation of women, development goals as normative objectives will find it difficult to attain success and promote true sustainable development.
SpecialisationLatin American Studies
Publication date19 Dec 2013
Number of pages70
ID: 168644852