The Feminization of Development Processes in Africa: Current and Future Perspectives

The Feminization of Development Processes in Africa: Current and Future Perspectives

The Feminization of Development Processes in Africa: Current and Future Perspectives

The Feminization of Development Processes in Africa: Current and Future Perspectives

Synopsis

Women have historically provided vision and leadership to African countries and are now being recognized as pivotal to the overall sustainable development of Africa. In many cases, however, this recognition has not resulted in the empowerment of African women, who still face great discrimination. This edited volume explores the contributions women have made to all phases of development--planning design, construction, implementation, and operation--and the obstacles they have had to face. Besides analyzing the current situation and identifying trends, the contributors also make recommendations for policy reform and for future planning.

Excerpt

A great deal of effort is being made in the developing countries to maximize the contribution of women in the development processes. In some countries most of the energy is spent at the menial and laborious bottom level of institutions, while in others serious institutional changes are being put in place.

Although the title of this volume might indicate that the work is about the feminization of development processes in developing countries as a whole, it should be emphasized that the chapters in this volume emphasize the African situation. There are occasions when broad generalizations are made about the developing countries, but the main thrust of this work is on Africa.

The history of development in Africa can be divided into three main categories -- the precolonial era, the colonial era, and the postcolonial era. Many development experts and historians argue that the division of labor in the precolonial era in most African societies gave women the power and a voice that put them on an equal footing with men. This does not mean that there were not societies in Africa where women were treated on an unequal basis with the men.

The colonial era, it is argued, exacerbated the subordinate role of women. Colonial rulers established employment centers that led to men's leaving their rural farming jobs for the work in the towns established by foreign rulers. Men also left for plantations and mining jobs. The contacts made between foreign colonial rulers and African men led to the long-term working relationships and institutional establishment that excluded women.

This volume begins with an introductory chapter by one of the editors, Valentine Udoh James. James examines the "Trends and Conundrums in the Feminization of Development Processes in Africa." The chapter basically examines the theoretical foundation of development and the modification needed . . .

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