Feminisms in Development: Contradictions, Contestations and Challenges

Front Cover

This collection of essays by leading feminist thinkers from North and South constitutes a major new attempt to reposition feminism within development studies.

Feminism's emphasis on social transformation makes it fundamental to development studies. Yet the relationship between the two disciplines has frequently been a troubled one. At present, the way in which many development institutions function often undermines feminist intent through bureaucratic structures and unequal power quotients. Moreover, the seeming intractability of inequalities and injustice in developing countries have presented feminists with some enormous challenges. Here, emphasizing the importance of a plurality of approaches, the authors argue for the importance of what 'feminisms' have to say to development.

Confronting the enormous challenges for feminisms in development studies, this book provides real hope for dialogue and exchange between feminisms and development.

 

What people are saying - Write a review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

This book explores contested relationships between feminisms and development as political project, not to mention the challenges in reasserting feminist engagement in development. The authors of the chapters in the book also touch upon ‘empowerment’, which has been reduced from a complex process of self-realization, self-actualization and self-mobilization to demand change, to a simple act of transformation bestowed by a transfer of money and/or information (p.7). This book basically shares how ‘women empowerment’ in development context also in my opinion relates to access, if not the endowment of resources to empower women in the process.
Furthermore, the book also discusses social transformation by feminist engagement in development, which creates political spaces. Various forums and international network of researchers have also contributed to stimulating debates and engagement in dealing with gender inequalities. (p.2)
Interestingly the book also underlines that social transformation demands not only activism but also engagement in content and processes of international development policy, including 0.7% target of GDP on most states for their aid budget. Aside of the failure to meet the target, according to the authors, the spending on aid and loans has been rising for the last twenty-five years and been considered as major government revenue for many poor countries. (p.3)
The authors also mention background of gender mainstreaming concepts which was officially adopted by the UN in 1995 during the UN World Conference on Women in Beijing. Feminists have seen this concept as a way to ‘integrate women’ in development policy and practice, although one of the authors argues that the implementation of this concept has to deal with technocratic challenges which redress as well as suppresses differences amongst women. (p.3).
In my opinion, the book is helpful in providing various experiences of feminist engagement in development policy and practices in further promoting social transformation. Through the book, the authors seem to acknowledge positive contribution of international networks, collaboration of various stakeholders in addressing gender inequalities, including through international aid and international assistance which promote gender mainstreaming through their programming.
 

Contents

Announcing a new dawn prematurely? Human
17
a view from
21
Dangerous equations? How femaleheaded households
35
Back to women? Translations resignifications
48
gender myths in the British
65
the African woman
79
reframing the debate
86
the perils of mainstreaming
101
feminist studies in African
150
from crosscutting obscurity to sectoral
161
The NGOization of Arab womens movements
177
postconflict
191
gender ennui and the changed
227
Notes on contributors
241
Index
247
Copyright

what is it about and should
122

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2007)

Andrea Cornwall is Fellow of the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex. She is co-editor of Dislocating Masculinity: Comparative Ethnographies (1994), Realizing Rights: Transforming Sexual and Reproductive Wellbeing (Zed 2002) and editor of Readings in Gender in Africa (2004).

Ann Whitehead is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Sussex. A contributor to foundational debates on feminist engagement with development and on theorising gender, she has had a wide engagement with national and international feminist politics.

Elizabeth Harrison is a Senior Lecturer in Anthropology at the University of Sussex. She is the co-author of Whose Development? An Ethnography of Aid (Zed 1998).
Andrea Cornwall is Fellow of the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex. She is co-editor of Dislocating Masculinity: Comparative Ethnographies (1994), Realizing Rights: Transforming Sexual and Reproductive Wellbeing (Zed 2002) and editor of Readings in Gender in Africa (2004).

Ann Whitehead is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Sussex. A contributor to foundational debates on feminist engagement with development and on theorising gender, she has had a wide engagement with national and international feminist politics.

Elizabeth Harrison is a Senior Lecturer in Anthropology at the University of Sussex. She is the co-author of Whose Development? An Ethnography of Aid (Zed 1998).

Bibliographic information