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Political Science
POLI 227
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ALL THE HANDELMANPOLI 227Handelman Chapter 5Women and Developmentearly studies of political and economic change in the LDC werent concerned with womens issues but in the past decades three factors have contributed to a new understanding of women in developing nations1 emergence of feminist of genderrelated social science research2 policy planners with heightened awareness of how women play a distinct and important role in political and economic development3 growing political empowerment of women in many parts of the Third Worldpoorer women work primarily in agriculture domestic service or the semilegal urban economy known as the informal sectorwomen who work industry are disproportionately employed in laborintensive lowerwage industries such as apparel electronics assembly plantslower wages wield less powerpolitical underrepresentationda horrifyin junk genital mutilation in Africa sale of child brides for dowries in Bangladesh wife beatings Indians murdering their wives due to disappointing dowries courts condoning honor killings of women suspected of extramarital relations involuntary prostitutionalso female circumcision is criminalized it still continues Part of the problem is that women subscribe to itmany women from Islamic countries dont consider female oppression an issueless sensational issues divorce laws favouring husbands barriers to women seeking commercial credit etcgrowing force of womens empowermentwomen have played a decisive role in independent grassroots political organizations known as new social movements NSMsstarted in the 70sThe Political and Socioeconomic Status of Third World WomenLDCs women have far fewer educational opportunities and lower literacy rates than menTaliban prohibited women from going to schoolNegative correlation between educational levels and birth ratesGDI Gender Development Index compares HDIs of men and women in a countryGEM Gender Empowerment Measure index comparing womens income share of professional technical managerial and administrative jobs and share of parliamentary seats relative to menMore modernized economically advanced countries tend to have greater gender empowerment equalityOverachievers Rwanda has highest percentage of women in parliamentModernization and the Economic Status of Womenmodernization theory contrasts the egalitarian values of modern culture with the allegedly sexist perspectives of most traditional societiesradical feminists often dependency theorists counter than in many instances industrialization urbanization and the spread of world capitalism widened the gender gapmodernization positively affects womens status over the long run but may be harmful in short termearly stages of transition to modernity often produce hardships for womenWomen in Economy Rural and Urban3rdw women play most vital economy role in countrysideproduce foodUNs Food and Agriculture Organization laments that farmers are still generally perceived as male by policy makers development planners etcThus women find it harder to gain access to valuable resources that would enhance their production capacityDuring the past halfcentury enormous population shift to the city once arrived in the city most women are only able to secure lowend jobs Ex domestic service many work in the informal sectorEast Asias industrial boom since the 1980s created new jobs for women in laborintensive industriesMany of those firms prefer to hire young unmarried women becausethe jobs frequently require manual dexterity associated with women willing to work for lower wages aint principle breadwinners Asian women are less likely to join unions or participate in strikesOccupational opportunities are limited by lesser educationPoverty and lack of vocational skillsprostitution40 of prostitutes do it voluntarily the rest have been forced or deceived into itamong middle and upper class women the advantages of higher class status usually mitigate the educational and career disadvantages of being femaleWOMEN AND POLITICS traditional cultural values often limit womens political participation and activism social class correlates with female political participationLDCs highly educated and westernized women are as likely to hold important political offices ad women in the WestModernization theory would lead us to expect that more socially and economically developed countries would be quicker to grant political rights to womenBUT Latin America little correlation between literacyincome and female suffrageMany countries have increased womens political representation by creating reserved seats and quotas for women in parliamentWomens Political Activism at the Grass Rootswomen most influential in own neighborhoods and communitiesafford them opportunities for participation and leadership normally absent at the nationalregional levelthese orgz focus on housing healthcare noms educationgrassroots groups are more likely than urban organizations to stage demonstrationsprotestsmore prone to demand redistributive economic remedies ie land reformsocial movements often develop as a response to a specific crisis or dangerwomens movement entailed three types of political organization1 feminist groups middle class2 neighbourhood organizations women from urban slums3 human rights activism middle and working classesgrassroots movements allow to pressure government in absence of demo electionsngoswoooWomen as Political Leaderswomen are underrepresented other than in Nordic countries hmpositions are often considered femininenurturing roledont get important roles as muchmore likely to be elected to local or state legislatures than to the national parliamentfactors pertaining to political success of women leaders in Asia and Latin America1 a number of them only served briefly as interim leaders2 most emerged from a tiny elite of highly educated upperclass women in powerful families not representative of womens status in societysometimes wives or widows of former presidentsReserved Seats and Quotas Female Representation in Parliament and the Cabinetwomen still constitute 18 of all MPs worldwidein the past two decades however as womens educational levels have risen in most of the developing world as they have entered the professions in greater numbers and as cultural prejudices have diminished in many places both the supply of and demand for women officeholders have increasedhowever the most important change in recent years has come from demand the introduction of genderbased quotas for parliaments etc
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