Women and Development Approaches - Essay Example

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The role of women in society has always been debated in the modern era. The debate received greater impetus when a need was felt of involving women in global societies and in the larger processes of development. It was Ester Boserup who brought out in the beginning of 1970's that the role of women in development had been underestimated…
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Women and Development Approaches Essay
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"Women and Development Approaches"

Download file to see previous pages It shifted from, "woman and development" (WAD) to "women in development" (WID) and later to "gender and development". (GAD). (Braig: 2000). Ironically the use of acronyms at times has led to confusion in the debate which has otherwise seen gradual empowerment of women in development from a more holistic approach to progress in the developing World of the South. Some of the key issues which need to be considered are discussed as per succeeding paragraphs.
Key concepts linking development and women have been transforming over the years as progress is assuming a multi dimensional perspective and is viewed in differing time frames as well as stages. The progression of roles of women in development is linked with economic as well as socio-political theories. The Developed World has been able to transform a number of these theories after initialization and discussion to the developing World, which has largely benefited but with attendant malfunctionalities.
Women and Development (WAD) was the initial theory evolved in relation to role of women in development. It adopted a neo-Marxist and feminist approach. Thus the interpretation of class and exploitation of the under class is inherent in this approach. The "Third World" is seen as being a victim to the class struggle imposed from the top. There were strong roots in dependency theory which implies that developed regions continue to exploit developing regions for sustained growth. WAD theory adopts a rather mechanistic outlook to the role of women in development. It thus states that women are and have always been part of the process of development. The participation of women in the process of development is said to be in the form of both paid and unpaid labor, considered an essential part of development. (Ramji : 1997). There is also a generalized inequity in role distribution in the WAD approach which assumes that women will contribute more in their traditional roles of home and hearth with supplemental roles being added through the forces of modernization. There is an implied inferiority-superiority dyad by which the determining role for development is not accorded to women. A detailed analysis of the other approaches to development will enable clarification of this concept.
The, "Women in Development" approach arose from the liberal trend in feminism. It recognizes the importance of roles and status of women in the process of development. Thus women are provided a special role and status when development assistance is provided. Active involvement of women in implementation of assistance is also underlined by aid giving countries as Japan. The enhancement of opportunities for participation of women is said to lead to improvement of the status of women in society in general. (Initiative : 2006). The Women in Development approach thus caters for women as a distinct group which is homogeneuous and which strives for equaltiy in status with men. The growth of modern economies where in white collar work is assuming a significant role even in developing countries as Bangladesh and India, has led to progression of this concept. Women in Development(WID) approach is also fostered by the aspriational growth in women. Thus while neo ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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