Chapter 5

Chapter 5 - Chapter 5: Women and Development There is an...

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Chapter 5: Women and Development There is an ancient Chinese saying, "Women hold up half the sky." But in spite of this thinking, for many years scholars, Third World governments and Western development agencies appear to not understand women's role in the modernization process. Women's issues were rarely mentioned in early studies of political and economic change in LDCs. In the past few decades , three factors have led to a new understanding of women in developing nations. First, the emergence of feminist or gender related social science research; policy planners were more aware of how women play a distinct and important role in national development; and the growing political empowerment of women in many parts of the developing. Gender analysis, along with examinations of ethnicity and social class give us a better understanding of underdevelopment. It has been learned that women in less developed countries are concentrated in certain occupations and have many barriers to entering others. Poor women work mostly in agriculture or the underground urban economy known as the informal sector. Those that work in industry are usually employed in labor-intensive and lower wage industries such as apparel, and electronics, in the Far East, in Southeast Asia , in Mexico and the Caribbean. When it comes to the female professionals, they are overrepresented in nurturing professions such as nursing and teaching. In some Asian and Latin American countries, women make up about half of the professional and technical workers, but less than 20% of administrative and management employees. The division between "women's work" and "men's work" has important economic and political implications, with women's jobs earning lower wages or salaries and wielding less power. Women are also very underrepresented in the political area. Gender inequality and exploitation exist in most societies, but the problem is much more severe in parts of the developing world. For example, forced female genital mutilation in parts of Africa, the sale of child brides in India, wife beating and Zambia, the murders of some 5000 Indian women
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annually by their husbands were dissatisfied with the size of their dowry, courts that condone "honor killings". Other examples of gender inequality, include divorce laws that favor the husbands, barriers to women obtaining commercial credit for small businesses, the double day that working women generally face, restricted opportunities in government, the professions, and better paid blue-collar jobs. Studies in areas other than inequality of victimization, have begun to show women's special status in particular needs and development projects. Much literature now focuses on women's empowerment, the role they do play in grassroots political organizations, human rights, poverty, and gender issues. In countries like India, Bangladesh , the Philippines, Panama, Nicaragua women have headed the national government. And during the last 15 years a growing number of developing countries have
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Chapter 5 - Chapter 5: Women and Development There is an...

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