Women in Development and Gender and Development

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Women in Development and Gender and Development

Question

a)Compare and contrast WID and Gad approaches to involvement of women in development.{12} b)Which of the two approaches have contributed more to the involvement of women in development activities?{8} a)According to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia,Women in development (WID) is an approach to development projects that emerged in the 1970s ,calling for treatment of women’s issues in development projects. Later ,the Gender and Development (GAD) approach proposed more emphasis on gender relations rather than seeing women’s issues in isolation. Reeves,H. and Baden,S.(2000:33) stated that the WID approach calls for greater attention to women in development policy and practice ,and the need to integrate them into the development process. The approach was a reaction to women being seen as passive beneficiaries of development. It marked an important corrective, highlighting the fact that women need to be integrated into the development process as active agents if efficient and effective development is to be achieved. Women‘s significant productive contribution was made visible, although their reproductive role was downplayed.

Women‘s subordination was seen in terms of their exclusion from the market sphere, and limited access to and control over resources. Programmes informed by a WID approach addressed women’s practical needs by, for example, creating employment and income-generating opportunities, improving access to credit and to education. The main features of the WID approach according to Mawere,D.(p39) are as follows: * WID views women’s lack of participation as the main problem. Women‘s subordination is, therefore, is seen in terms of their exclusion from the market sphere, and limited access to and control over resources. * Integration of women into existing structures of development is viewed as the solution to the problem. The approach seeks to integrate women into economic development through legal and administrative support.

* WID advances a number of strategies aimed at addressing the problem under focus. Through WID, projects such as transfer of technology, extension services, credit facilities, and other interventions that have a welfare orientation especially projects on hygiene, literacy or childcare are implemented. * WID also focuses on advocacy strategies for more equal participation of women in education, employment and other spheres of society. * The other strategy is to increase women’s ability to manage the household (family planning). * All these strategies are aimed at increasing women’s productivity and income. * The approach also examines the sexual division of labour and the differential impact of gender in development. Furthermore it recognizes that women and men’s experience of development and societal changes are different.

Mawere,D.(P39-40) cited the achievements and limitations of the WID approach as follows:

Achievements

* The WID approach has enhanced people’s understanding of women’s development needs, particularly the need to improve statistical measures of women’s work and to provide women with more opportunities for education and employment (Overholt, et al. 1984). The approach has provided a checklist for ensuring women’s status in societies, a checklist that is helpful and accessible to development technocrats. * Programmes informed by the WID approach address women’s practical needs by creating wage employment, income-generating opportunities, and improving access to credit and to education. * Its presence at the UN helped to push for social legislation that enhanced women’s civil and political rights in some countries.

* It has also been successful in helping secure a prominent place for women’s issues at the United Nations (UN). * The UN declared 1975 to 1985, the Decade for Women. A major achievement of the decade has been the establishment of women in development structures. * WID has helped to mainstream gender issues in many development agencies and policies as well as increase women’s visibility. * WID highlights the fact that women need to be integrated into development processes as active agents if efficient and effective development is to be achieved. It has also encouraged research and debate on women issues.

Limitations

* The benefits of ‘modernization’ do not, in fact, trickle down automatically or equally. Furthermore the approach focuses on integration of women into ongoing development strategies. This often entails the acceptance of existing social structures that perpetuate inequalities. * The approach tends to focus heavily on the productive aspects of women’s work, overlooking the burden of social and reproductive functions. It should also be noted that women’s issues tend to be increasingly relegated to marginal programmes and isolated projects (Gender! A Partnership of Equals, 2000). * The approach does not challenge gender relations and assumes that these will change, as women become economic partners in development.

* WID views women as being outside the mainstream of development and yet women are already playing a crucial part in development, for example, in the domestic and agriculture spheres. Boserup ,E.(1970:1) brought greater attention to the importance of women’s role in agricultural economies and the lack of alignment of development projects with this reality. In the preface to her book, Boserup wrote that “in the vast and ever-growing literature on economic development, reflections on the particular problems of women are few and far between”. She showed that women often did more than half the agricultural work, in one case as much as 80%, and that they also played an important role in trade.

* By exclusively targeting women, WID creates tension, suspicion and hostility. * The approach tends to perpetuate gender inequalities as it focuses on practical needs to the exclusion of strategic gender needs. * The approach calls for women’s inclusion in development but it does not call for changes in the social, cultural and legal structures that give rise to inequalities in society. * Because the approach relies heavily on modernization theory, it generally assumes that western institutions hold most of the answers and it often ignores the possible contribution of indigenous knowledge.

In contrast ,the GAD approach to development policy and practice focuses on the socially constructed basis of differences between men and women and emphasises the need to challenge existing gender roles and relations.According to Reeves,H. and Baden,S.(2000:33) GAD emerged from a frustration with the lack of progress of WID policy, in changing women’s lives and in influencing the broader development agenda. GAD challenged the WID focus on women in isolation, seeing women’s ‘real’ problem as the imbalance of power between women and men. There are different interpretations of GAD, some of which focus primarily on the gender division of labour and gender roles focus on gender as a relation of power embedded in institutions. GAD approaches generally aim to meet both women’s practical gender needs and more strategic gender needs by challenging existing divisions of labour or power relations. Mawere, D.(P45) stated the following as the achievements of the GAD approach:

Achievements

* The biggest contribution of GAD is the inclusion of men into the approach. * It does not exclusively emphasize the solidarity of women. * The approach acknowledges that women spend a lot of time; – bearing, raising children, cooking, washing, and fetching water, caring for the sick and elderly, attending to the fields and small stock. * It also observes that women have no control over their fertility and over productive resources. * The GAD approach has also helped us to understand that the gender division of labour gives triple roles (reproductive, productive and community) to women in society. * It goes beyond seeing development as mainly economic well being but also that the social and mental well being of a person is important. * Arising from the GAD analysis is the need for women to organize themselves into a more effective political voice in order to strengthen their legal right and increase the number of women in decision making.

b)The GAD approach contributed more to the involment of women in development activities.This is supported by the following reasons: * Due to the involvement of men

References

Mawere,D.Historical Development of Gender

Reeves H & Baden S,(2000) Bridge (development-gender)

Boserup E,(1970) Women’s Role in Economic Development

Connelly, M.P., Murray, L.T., Macdonald, M. and Parpart, J.L. Feminism and Development: Theoretical Perspectives, International Development Research
Centre. (Accessed online 2005.)

Gender! A Partnership of Equals, (2000) International Labour Office

Moyoyeta L, (2004) Women, Gender and Development. Lusaka; Women for Change.

Overholt, C., Anderson, M., Cloud, K., and Austin, J., Eds. (1984) Gender roles in development. En.wikipedia.org/wiki/women_in_development#references(accessed on 5 February 2013 at 1:58pm)

B

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  • University/College: University of Chicago

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 17 December 2016

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