Rethinking Empowerment: Gender and Development in a Global/Local World

By Jane L. Parpart; Shirin M. Rai et al. | Go to book overview

Women's mobilization in Chile and Turkey tary regimes that temporarily closed the political arena and banned political party activity. This created a space for women to come together as women, without having their interests subordinated to struggles based on class or ethnicity.

However, the two cases differ. The type of state each movement encountered, as well as their particular relationship with the state, has shaped these differences. In the Chilean case, although some women's groups supported the military regime, most opposed it. However, once democracy returned, the state was no longer seen as an 'enemy'. The democratic opposition, which had been supported by the most visible parts of the movement, became the government in 1990. The state was no longer seen as a threat to the women's movement, but as an ally. This led to the incorporation of the movement into the state. In contrast, the movement's relationship with the Turkish state has been more complex. Given the history of 'state feminism', women's groups have tried to keep their distance from the state. The movement has become institutionalized in recent years, but largely outside formal state structures.

Also, in both cases, the nature of the state has affected divisions within the movements. In Turkey, the modernizing projects of the nationalist and secularist state have made ethnic and religious identity the main dividing axes within the movement. In Chile, women are confronted with a state committed to modernization based on neo-liberal principles. This exacerbates the tensions and divisions between those parts of the movement that work within the state and benefit from globalization, and those (rural, indigenous and working-class) women whose lives are negatively affected by neo-liberal social and economic policies. In both cases, neo-liberal restructuring projects have inspired state programmes aiming to further incorporate women into labour markets, programmes that often claim to be empowering. Both cases illustrate, however, that the states' goals in this respect are often aimed more at improving its global competitive position (by relying on low-wage and flexible female labour) than at empowering women as a group by challenging gender hierarchies.

However, the existence of institutionalization, division and even fragmentation does not mean that women's movements have ceased to exist in Chile and Turkey. In both cases the need to confront and address the differences among women is recognized and is being debated within the different segments comprising the movements. Thus, many women recognize the problems inherent in seeking 'women's' empowerment, without taking into account the different ways in which women experience gender subordination. The nature in which these issues are resolved is likely to determine the future shape and strength of these movements in promoting not only women's empowerment, but also class, religious and ethnic equality.


Notes

The authors wish to thank Rianne Mahon, Jill Vickers, Antonio Franceschet, Veysi T. Kondu, Kathy Staudt and Jane Parpart for their very helpful comments.

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Rethinking Empowerment: Gender and Development in a Global/Local World
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Routledge/Warwick Studies in Globalisation ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Contributors xi
  • Acknowledgements xv
  • Abbreviations xvii
  • Part I - Theory and Praxis 1
  • 1 - An Introduction 3
  • References 18
  • 2 - Education as a Means for Empowering Women 22
  • References 36
  • Part II - Women's Empowerment in a Global World 39
  • 3 - The Janus Effect 41
  • Notes 57
  • References 58
  • 4 - Toward Empowerment 61
  • Notes 75
  • References 76
  • 5 - Rethinking Technoagency 79
  • References 92
  • Part III - The Nation State, Politics and Women's Empowerment 95
  • 6 - Beyond Official Empowerment Discourse 97
  • References 110
  • 7 - Women's Mobilization in Chile and Turkey 112
  • Notes 127
  • References 129
  • 8 - The Quota Debate in India 133
  • References 145
  • 9 - The Case for Female Peasants in India 147
  • Notes 158
  • References 159
  • Part IV - The Local/Global, Development and Women's Empowerment 163
  • 10 - The Pra Approach 165
  • References 178
  • 11 - Examples from Kenya and Cameroon 182
  • References 197
  • 12 - Depoliticizing Empowerment in a Tanzanian Family Planning Project 199
  • Notes 213
  • References 215
  • 13 - Informal Politics, Grassroots Ngos and Women's Empowerment in the Slums of Bombay 218
  • Notes 232
  • References 234
  • Part V - Conclusion 237
  • 14 - Concluding Thoughts on (em)powerment, Gender and Development 239
  • Index 245
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