Public-private partnerships (PPPs) are being actively promoted by donor governments and international financial institutions to finance social services and infrastructure projects around the world.. PPPs are agreements where private sector companies replace the state as providers of traditional public services and infrastructure, such as health and education, transport, energy, and water and sanitation.
With International Women’s Day and the next session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) fast approaching, now is the time to unpack how PPPs impact gender equality and women’s rights. Indeed, the risks and consequences associated with PPPs can undermine the achievement of governments’ commitments under Agenda 2030 to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including gender equality and the fulfilment of women’s rights.
Access to public services is one of the topics the United Nation’s 63rd CSW session will discuss. This is crucial, given that as a result of discrimination, women generally have lower incomes and less access to resources than men. They are therefore in more need of affordable public goods and services, while their socially defined roles as caregivers further increases women’s reliance on public service provision.