Engendering Wealth and Well-Being: Empowerment for Global Change

Engendering Wealth and Well-Being: Empowerment for Global Change

Engendering Wealth and Well-Being: Empowerment for Global Change

Engendering Wealth and Well-Being: Empowerment for Global Change

Synopsis

The new international division of labor and the imposition of structural adjustment on Third World countries has necessitated a reexamination of development policies and a reevaluation of the role of gender in their success or failure. Although women often bear the heaviest burden under structural adjustment, there is also considerable evidence of women being empowered through their responses to the challenges of economic restructuring. Based on case study material from Eastern Europe, the Islamic nations, Africa, China, and Latin America, this volume explores the significant contributions women make to the wealth and well-being of their families and nations. The contributors argue persuasively that women may hold the key to sustainable development, an increasingly critical issue at a time when policymakers are reconsidering the full costs and benefits of a growth-fixated development model. One of the first to embody the new "gender and development" paradigm, this book reports on research at the frontiers of knowledge and theory about the gendered outcomes of economic transformation, restructuring, and social change. By incorporating "voices from the South," it makes a provocative addition to our understanding of the political economy of development and of the relationship between world ecology and the world economy.

Excerpt

Rae Lesser Blumberg

The dual goals of this volume are to analyze the gendered nature of economic transformation and to promote the understanding of this phenomenon in a cross-regional perspective, comparing trends in Latin America with developments in other world regions. All the chapters illustrate the ways in which economically empowered women engender wealth and well-being that radiate far beyond their own families.

To establish a historical and conceptual framework for approaching these interrelated issues, this introduction offers a three-part expedition through time, theory, and space. I begin by tracing the quarter century of intertwined gender and economic history since 1970. This period witnessed the rise and evolution of the field of women in development (WID), a great increase in the proportion of income-earning women around the globe, and sweeping changes in the world: its economy, its ecology, its political geography, and its population patterns.

In the second part, I will stress the relationship between women and income and I will argue that women's control of economic resources, especially income, is the most important predictor of the degree of gender equality. in addition I will also argue that women's control of income engenders not only their own empowerment but also the creation of wealth and well-being at levels ranging from the micro (family) to the macro (nation). in the third part, I will discusses the evolving field of women/gender and development, which has come to focus less on women;s victimization by development policies and world economic trends and more on women's rising contributions to the economy and . . .

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