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

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

12
Development, demographic and feminist agendas
Depoliticizing empowerment in a Tanzanian family planning project
Lisa Ann Richey

Introduction

In the post-Cairo and post-Beijing environment, 'women's reproductive health' has emerged as a crucial site for negotiation between development, demographic and feminist agendas. Because these strategies are often ambiguous and may even conflict, struggles over interpretation arise in implementation, with implications for women's empowerment. This chapter examines an NGO-run integrated family planning project in Tanzania as an entry point for illustrating how competing agendas, embedded within a web of relationships – international donors, states, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and local recipients – manifest themselves in local implementation. The Integrated Project on Family Planning, Nutrition and Parasite Control, known as the Integrated Project, has been operating in Tanzania since 1984. It has tried to integrate family planning service provision with projects that address other community needs. 1 This 'empowerment project' has been a site of conflict between different priorities, where feminist goals have been constrained by demographic and development goals.

On the surface, one would expect that the Integrated Project would have contributed to the empowerment of Tanzanian women, thus meeting what I have labelled feminist goals. These goals include active participation by women in all stages of the Project – including defining its goals, objectives and scope, and an improvement of women's strategic power within the Project and its community activities. These expectations were based on the fact that the Project has operated in a changing international environment of population intervention that links family planning with a larger focus on women's empowerment. Socio-economic development issues and issues of gender inequality are receiving more attention than ever before in the international family planning community. Second, the Integrated Project is noted for its community-based approach. It is meant to be a grassroots-based project that responds to the needs of local communities. Moreover, the Project explicitly claims women's empowerment as one of its primary goals.

However, my research suggests that women's empowerment has not taken centre-place in practice. The Integrated Project illustrates how the goals of

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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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