A question for Justine Greening, Melinda Gates, Tewodros Melesse and Justin Forsyth

I received an email last week from the Guardian Development Professionals Network inviting me to submit a question to a panel of speakers taking part in a discussion on the rights of women and girls. The event is hosted by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and Save the Children.

This is what I submitted:

“I feel that a lot of development dialogue perpetuates unfair stereotypes of developing countries and does not give fair representation of their citizens (the discourse focuses disproportionately on poverty, suffering, corruption, war etc and treats the people involved as a collective, homogeneous group and thus dehumanizes). Do you agree with this and if so do you also agree this is damaging? What can be done to stop this?”

The speakers at the event include:

  • The UK’s Secretary of State for International Development, Justine Greening
  • Co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Melinda Gates
  • CEO of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, Tewodros Melesse
  • CEO of Save the Children, Justin Forsyth

The event takes place on Wednesday in London and will focus on the steps towards improving the lives of women and girls around the world, through family planning, ending female genital mutilation, child marriage and infant mortality.

I doubt that this is a question that will get asked, but I will be interested to hear the responses if it does.

What do you think of my question? What would you have asked instead?



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