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SOSC 1430 (15)


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York University
Social Science
SOSC 1430
Soren Frederiksen

GENDER AND DEVELOPMENT: ISSUES AND STRUGGLE OF THIRD WORLD WOMEN Andrea Martinez - despite numerous initiatives and efforts by the international community, stats show that women are still socio-economically worse off than men. - 1.2 billion people in the world are living in extreme poverty; 70% are women (disadvantaged in terms of lack of access to property, housing, credit, technology, health care, inheritance, education, jobs, etc. - In Africa, women account for over 75% of agricultural work, 60-80% of production & marketing, yet they earn only 10% of total revenue and own less than 1% of land that they work on (51) - 85 millions school-aged girls are deprived of their education; account for over half of the children who don’t go to school. - Women account for 2/3 of illiterate population (52) - Low education + low socio-political status = low quality + unstable employment = dependence on men + physical + sexual abuse (52) - World bank: correlation between female literacy and birth rates (more children = lower literacy) [53] - Of 800 million suffering from malnutrition, most are girls/women  less healthy young aged girls = susceptible to learning disability, anemia, obstetric complications, and other health problems such as AIDS (girls up to 4 times more likely to become infected) = harm economy and families (53) -  loss of so many women = more burden on the surviving women with already weighty social responsibility of working and taking care of those afflicted with AIDS (53) - Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women: far from being actualized – declaration states: “ states should condemn violence against women and should not invoke any custom, tradition or religious consideration to avoid their obligations with respect to its elimination…states should pursue by all appropriate means and without delay a policy of eliminating violence against women” (53) - Women are still repressed by family honour codes and customary laws, rendering them second-class citizens  under cultural and religious beliefs they are justified to abused, harassed, degraded, dehumanized (53) - Contrary to Western/North belief that third world women lag “behind” those of the West, diversity of female experience demonstrates that the cycle of misery, oppression, and exploitation does not affect everyone equally  i.e. Mexican women who works in food production/agriculture does not have the same privileges as a bourgeois woman in government (53) - Discrimination of women based on complex web of power that includes gender, social class, race, religion, and sexual orientation (54) - Example of unjustifiable repressive practices (54) EMERGENCE OF THE FIELD WOMEN, GENDER, AND DEVELOPMENT - WGD was developed through the contributions of 3 categories of women: academic, feminist activists, and development practitioners; whose concerns and roles occasionally overlapped (55) - Gender: distinguishes biological sex from the associated socially constructed notion of sex (acquired sexual identities such as femininity versus masculinity) - Intro of gender into international development realm corresponded with the mobilization of feminists in the South who were determined to “women’s projects” -  these feminists called for development policies and projects to take into account the sexual division of labour between men and women - little or no attention has been devoted to the social construction of gender relations within the existing patriarchal structuresIMO, GAD does fulfill this Social Assistance: - “Welfare Approach” that ended in the 70’s, was embedded in the context of decolonization and political independence of African/Asian countries (55) - In the south, the formation of nation-states favoured the emergence of local elites who were more concerned of their personal interest - Guiding principles of United Nations activities in the postwar period: economic growth, increased consumption, strengthening of the nations achieve these goals required intense efforts to contain demographic explosion of the third world (population increase make economic advancement more difficult) (56) - Malthusian perspective was picked up by World Bank: family structures in developing world as greatest obstacle large families, early marriages, too many children, illiteracy, low income were responsible for overpopulation and contrary with development (56) - UN, the food and Agriculture organization of United Nations, united nations childrens fund, and WHO all underestimated the significance of local cultures and socio-political and economic modes of organzization in third world societies they built in place population control initiatives which targeted female reproduction (ie maternity/child care), social welfare programs (training social workers, familial well-being, community development to tackle malnutrition and implement family planning)this included setbacks  clear example of stubborn effect of “welfare” approach to programming: India public program to reduce birth rate and use of surgical sterilization in its policy; forcibly sterilizing women, use of media campaigns, & distribution of contraceptives (57) - However, within this perspective women were closely monitored their bodies became the focus of social control of fertility, and their thoughts, experiences, sexual/health needs were ignored (56) - women were manipulated multinational corporations (such as Nestle) who took advantage of policies promoting maternal health so they could promote and establish a ground for milk formulas  financial burden on poverty stricken mothers to purchase this product, also, powder milk+contaminated water=fatal Brazil: risk of death for babies (1<0) = 14x higher when drinking powder milk (56) WOMEN IN DEVELOPMENT (WID) - approach rose out of liberal feminist movement and in the context of 3 key social phenomena that changed ideas about the feminine condition: the mobilization of feminist organization in North, declaration of UN Decade for Women (’75-85), and publication of a influential book about the role of women in developments (56) - Suffragettes began the movement for women in North America/Europe -  they refused to be objectified, and placed under control of husband/father which made women “minor” in terms of their gender -  wanted to be recognized as full citizens, as people (56) - demands were: right to work, study, divorce, control their property, freely express sexuality, right to abortion (57) - these women challenged the societal norms (at the time) and other women noticed it, sparking the Sexual Revolution successful lobbying, gaining governmental recognition = UN organized global conference on women (1975) in Mexico which took first steps between equality between sexes and develop strategies plans to support women’s rights (57) - subsequently, a World Action Plan was setup based on 3 goals: complete equality between men and women/eliminate discrimination on sex, integration/participation of women in development, and greater contribution by women to the quest for international peace (57) - women led the discussion during the conferences of UN and talks about women equality (113/133 reps were women) (58) - nonetheless, views from South and North were different: south importance of development processes, Northequality between sexes - Key book: Womens role in economic development by Ester Boserup sent shockwave through Northern development agencies and organizations research showed that statistics ignored the value of work by women (58) - Ester Boserup argues that the increasing specialized division of labour deteriorates the status of women furtheri.e. in agricultural sector, only men use new equipment and modern farming tools=increase productivity, and women left with simple activities =
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