Increasing use of public-private partnerships sets off "alarm bells" for women rights activists, says report

Author: Gender & Development Network, Published on: 28 February 2020

"The impact of PPPs on gender equality and women’s rights", February 2020

Public services play a pivotal role in the pursuit of gender equality, and the increasing use of public-private partnerships (PPPs) in their provision has set off alarm bells for many women’s rights advocates.

Proponents of PPPs argue they are an efficient way to fund the services and infrastructure that governments could otherwise not afford. [C]ritics raise concerns that PPPs will provide poorer quality services and drain governments of resources, with little evidence of the promised efficiency gains beyond those created by user fees or cuts in labour costs. The promotion of PPPs is instead seen as the latest way in which private corporations are expanding their reach and revenue as part of a broader agenda of the privatisation and deregulation of public services.

This briefing...looks at three ways in which [PPPs'] use in relation to public services threatens gender equality and women’s rights – through increasing government costs, poorer provision of services, and fewer decent jobs, all of which are exacerbated during times of austerity.

[The briefing] concludes with some recommendations for governments and international institutions, with a more evidence-based approach to costs and benefits to counter the ideologically driven push towards PPPs.

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