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Chapter 6: Feminist Theories of Development


First wave of feminist activism and politics, which began as an organized ... and theory, during the 1960s, capitalism was contested as biased, discriminatory, ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Chapter 6: Feminist Theories of Development

Chapter 6 Feminist Theories of Development
  • Jeana Wiser, Scott Wagoner, Brad Hanson, Kyle
    Summer, and Jeremie Berthonneau

Waves of Feminist Activism
  • First wave of feminist activism and politics,
    which began as an organized movement in the
    latter half of the 19th century, the exclusion of
    women from suffrage (voting rights) revealed the
    partial and biased nature of modern, political

Feminism Activism Cont
  • Second wave of feminist activism and theory,
    during the 1960s, capitalism was contested as
    biased, discriminatory, and unfair.

Feminism Activism Cont
  • The third wave of the 1990s is often associated
    with the entry of post-structural and post-modern
    ideas into a more differentiated feminism.

Women Facts
  • Women are half of the worlds population
  • Perform 2/3 of the worlds working hours
  • Receive one-tenth of the worlds income
  • Own only 1/100 of the worlds property

The Socialist Element
  • Failure of classical Marxist theory to recognize
    unequal treatment of women
  • Womens work in the home going unpaid
  • Women not naturally the weaker sex
  • Historical reasons for the unequal power share
  • Social creation of human nature including gender,
    race, other distinctions, and class
  • Goals
  • Reproductive democracy
  • Voice in sexual and procreative decisions
  • Control in commodity production

Feminist Epistemology
  • Epistemology is a branch of philosophy that
    deals with the origins and nature of knowledge
  • Sciences androcentrism
  • Enlightenment vs. Postmodernism
  • Enlightenment and Postmodernism

Womens Criticism of Development Theory
  • Womens perspective needed for development theory
  • Modern/industrial/ publicmen
  • Traditional/nature/ private-women
  • Reconsideration of modernity, industrialization,
    and development

Womens perspective on Development Theory
  • Everyday life is joined to its societal aspect
  • Productive ventures of all kinds are valued more
  • Sustainability of environment always considered

Women in Development (WID)
  • Recognized the sexual division of labor in the
    3rd World
  • Taken as a natural occurrence. Did not question
  • Placed technologies under the control of men
  • Led to marginalization of women and reducing
    their status, power and income
  • Liberal Modernization Theory
  • Development as a linear process of economic
  • WID accepted this theory believed that women
    had been left out of the development process
  • U.S. Response
  • 1973 Foreign Assistance Act
  • WID Response
  • Aligned itself with liberal feminism while using
    the poor woman image to evoke sympathy and obtain

What WID Did Not Do
  • The unequal value placed on mens and womens
    activities were ignored
  • Did not consider influences on women such as
    class, race or culture
  • Avoided calling into question womens
    subordination as part of a wider global system of
    capital accumulation
  • Emphasized POVERTY but not OPPRESSION
  • Only partial analysis of womens roles and
  • Represented women in the Third World as
  • Backward
  • Vulnerable
  • In need of help from the First World
  • Development as a technical problem requiring
    sophisticated methodologies available only in the
    First World

Women and Development (WAD)
  • Women have always been a part of the development
  • Link to modernization led to impoverishment
  • Drew from Dependency theory and neo-Marxist
  • A good feminist strategy should
  • End the exploitation of women and nature by men
  • End the exploitation of colonies by the First
  • End the exploitation of classes by the elite
  • 2 groups within the WAD school
  • Dependency Feminism
  • Traditional Marxist-feminist framework
  • Global Capitalist Patriarchy and Male Violence
  • Aligned more with radical feminism, which saw
    gender having precedence over class
  • Women were controlled through sexual violence
  • Modern education and mass media perpetuated
    sex-biased stereotypes

What WAD Did Not Do
  • Neglected social relations of gender within
  • Did not take completely into account variations
    in patriarchy in different modes of production
    and how these impacted women
  • Marxists in this school gave insufficient
    attention to reproduction
  • Just as in the WID school of thought, WAD tended
    to group women together without much notice given
    to race, class, or ethnicity

Gender And Development (GAD)
  • Origin in the late 1970s Institute of
    Development Studies (University of Sussex)
  • Analysis of womens subordination in development
    process with respect to gender relation
  • Drew on
  • Marxist analysis of social change
  • Feminist analysis of patriarchy

  • GAD - Reject conceptualization of sexual
    division of labor.
  • - Asked for a change in allocation of tasks.
  • - Take gender relation as main analytical
  • Disadvantage come from the ideology of male
  • The state should play a role in promoting women
  • Rathgeber (1990) deep questioning of social,
    economic and political structures.
  • Kabeer (1994) New strategies for feminist
    intervention developed by GAD.
  • Then come an important offshoot of Gad and WAD
    which focus more on relation among women,
    development and natural environment.

Women, Environment, And Development
  • Origin in the 1970s, drew parallels between
  • - Male control over nature
  • - Male control over women
  • - Connected men sciences and industrialization
    with assault on the ecological health of the
    planet (impact)
  • Carolyn Merchant (1980) the root of
    environmental dilemma induced by the fathers of
    modern sciences (Bacon, Descartes, Newton)
    reality as a machine death of nature
    exploitation of human and resources.
  • Shiva (1989) consider science and development as
    a project of Western Patriarchy.
  • Moreover she show that third world women have
    ecological implication like conserving forest,
    land and water that challenge the western concept
    of nature as an object of exploitation

  • Diane Rocheleau, Barbara Thomas-Slayter, and
    Esther Wangari (1996) explain that gender
    difference in nature exploitation and
  • - Is not from biology
  • - But from social construction of gender
  • (which vary with class, race and place)
  • Feminist political ecology
  • - gendered knowledge
  • - gendered environmental rights
  • - gendered environmental politics
  • Sustainable development as the central idea of
    the WED perspective
  • Challenge Development Economic growth equation

Postmodernism And Development (PAD)
  • Reacted to the controversial entry of post
    structuralism and postmodern critiques into
    feminist theory by asking whether a more
    accessible and politicized postmodern feminism
    had relevance for the problems facing women in
    the Third World.
  • Step away from Eurocentric Development theories
  • placed value in local knowledge
  • Criticized other views for representing Third
    World women as others (GAD), or images of women
    as victims, sex objects and as cloistered beings
  • Emphasized on postmodernisms sense of
    difference, allowing spaces for marginalized

Postmodernism And Development (PAD)
  • Favored an approach that accepts and understands
    difference and the power of discourse, and that
    fosters open, consultative dialogue which can
    empower women in the South to articulate their
    own needs and agendas (Parpart and Marchand
    1995 19)

  • Theories attempt to address development from a
    feministic perspective in a variety of ways-
  • What similarities and differences are there
    between Western feministic ideals and Third World
    feministic ideals?
  • As we address gender, how can we address race,
    class, and culture?
  • How do human rights, economic justice, and
    degradation of the environment value in women?
  • All five theories have values that can be
    appealed to, yet take different approaches as to
    how to address what women are in addition to
    identifying what development is.

  • Typical criticism from a feminist standpoint
    tends to reverse the dominant trend, turning
    society upside down (the just becomes unjust,
    normal becomes abnormal)
  • We are moving away from Western feminist
    reactions to understand the different experiences
    of different groups of women, and the development
    theories are just starting to try to address this.
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