Missionaries and mandarins: feminist engagement with development institutions

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Intermediate Technology Publications in association with the United Nations Research Instiute for Social Development, 1998 - Social Science - 226 pages
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Women working to change unfair treatment in bureaucracies can be either "missionaries" or "mandarins," and must often be a combination of the two. "Missionaries" work from within the organization in their pursuit of gender equity. "Mandarins" work to adapt to the techniques and practices of the bureaucracy. This book examines two kinds of strategies for making the bureaucratic structures of organizations, multilateral institutions and non-governmental organizations more gender-equitable. The contributors examine gender struggles not only at the discursive level, where women's needs are constructed and contested, but also at the institutional level of bureaucratic rules, procedures and resource allocation. Studies from many different countries, including Vietnam, Australia, the US and Morocco illustrate the variety of strategies for change adopted by feminists in different political and cultural settings, and show the highly diverse forms of feminist politics. From their different perspectives the contributors acknowledge the gendered nature of institutions, but argue against the view that these organizations are monolithic and impermeable. The contributors have much to say to all feminists working within bureaucracies -- whether state or civil society institutions -- with the aim of promoting women's concerns; this book is also a significant contribution to recent developments in the anthropological study of organizations.

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the challenges of feminist policy
Mainstreaming gender equity to national development
the womens movement and political

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About the author (1998)

Shahra Razavi is Research Co-ordinator at UNRISD. She specializes in the gender dimensions of social development, with a particular focus on livelihoods and social policies. She began her collaboration with UNRISD in February 1993, when she joined the Institute to work on a new research initiative to explore the gender dimensions of economic policy (Technical Co-operation and Women's Lives: Integrating Gender into Development Policy). She has led the Institute's subsequent research projects on gender, including Gender, Poverty and Well-Being; Agrarian Change, Gender and Land Rights; Globalization, Export-Oriented Employment for Women and Social Policy; and work on Gender Justice, Development and Rights which was carried out as part of the Institute's contribution to the Beijing Plus 5 Review Process. More recently, she coordinated the preparation of the UNRISD report (published in 2005), Gender Equality: Striving for Justice in an Unequal World. Her current research areas include work on Gender and Social Policy, and the rise of Islamic-based politics and gender equality. Prior to joining UNRISD, Shahra was working on her D.Phil. Thesis at St.Antony's College (Oxford University). Her thesis explored the gender dimensions of agricultural commercialization in southeastern Iran, where she carried out field research in 1988. She obtained her D.Phil. in December 1992. Shahra is currently serving on the editorial boards of Development in Practice and Global Social Policy.

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