Reading Notes: Rethinking gender

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International Development Studies
Ryan Isakson

Rethinking Gender Matters in Development RUTH PEARSON Both development analysis and the policies that spring from it are now fully gender balanced rather than being male biased as in previous decadesGender rather than sex is the key conceptconcerned with roles and interactions with men and women rather than their biological characteristicsWhat is considered appropriate behaviour for men and women their attributes etc vary in ydifferent societies cultures and historical periodsGender constructs social institutions and processes y Gender represents more holistic and socially grounded category than the biological category of ysex th20 century saw women as key participants in and beneficiaries of policies programmes and projects concerned with both poverty eradication and achievement of social and political improvement in peoples lives CEDAW as a blueprint for eliminating discrimination against womenfor ensuring that womens interests and needs are reflected across the whole gamut of the development issuesNotions of gender roles and activities have a strong ideological contentin rural sector of many ylow income countries people feel that women dont do any productive agricultural work but just go about domestic work In reality women spend a lot of time weeding harvesting collecting animal fodder water and fuel wood food processing and marketing of agricultural producemake direct economic contribution to household income as well as local agrarian economy 1970 birth of gender in developmentinfluenced by feminism in West in wake of civil rights and anticolonial struggle of 1960sGender planning in development assume that it is quite unproblematic to use women as a yanalytical categoryThere are policies which address changing gender relations between men and women in ydeveloping countries and making it easier for women to challenge traditional and contemporary problemsviolence against womendiscriminatory political structures Platform for Action at Beijing 1995To neutralise the tremendous amount of gender gender perspectivesyDebatesex or genderybracketing of word gendernot yet agreedypoliticization of the concept genderidentity formationequity risky Deriving womens strategic and practical needs from an analysis of gender interestsposition of women dependent on different criteriaclass ethnicity and genderygender interestssocial positioning through gender attributes yStrategic gender needs result from womens subordinate position to men in their societydivision yof labour power and control May include issues as legal rights domestic violence equal wages
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