8

Gender and development

Men usually despise occupations manned [sic] predominantly by women, be it agriculture or trade, and they will normally hesitate to take part in such work.

(Boserup, E., Woman 's Role in Economic Development, George Allen & Unwin, 1970.)


Gender and Inequality

Women make up more than 50 per cent of the world's population, and yet in every country, without exception, their social position is inferior to that of men. What this means in practice is that they work longer hours, have poorer educational opportunities, poorer health care, less control over their lives. This chapter looks at the position of women in development.

In recent years, a lot of research has been done by women working within a feminist approach. Feminism is not only a social and political movement aimed at improving the position of women. It is a set of theories, a new language (see Spender, D., Man Made Language, Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1980, for more about this), for talking about the world. It begins from the assumption that history and society can be such as looked at from the viewpoint of women, where previously the male perspective has dominated and excluded that of women. Some feminists have argued that although the unequal treatment of women can be partially explained by Marxist sociology, such as looking at women's relations to the means of production, such an approach does not go far enough. For this reason, they have rejected Marxist theory. Instead they argue that in all societies, women are subordinate to men. This subordination is not something which appears with the development of capitalist society. It is found in all societies. It is true of subsistence farming societies

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