Patriarchy and Economic Development: Women's Positions at the End of the Twentieth Century

Patriarchy and Economic Development: Women's Positions at the End of the Twentieth Century

Patriarchy and Economic Development: Women's Positions at the End of the Twentieth Century

Patriarchy and Economic Development: Women's Positions at the End of the Twentieth Century

Synopsis

At the end of the twentieth century, after four world conferences on women, debates on the impact of economic development on the lives and status of women - including their life-options and opportunities for betterment - continue unresolved. Is patriarchy on the decline, or is it merely its form that is changing? What effect does development have on gender relations, and how do patriarchal structures affect the development process? The chapters in this book were written for a UNU/WIDER research conference convened to explore two parallel phenomena: the changing position of women and gender relations and the relevance of the concept of patriarchy, and the impact of development--and especially industrialization and wage work--on women and gender. They address questions through theoretical, historical, and empirical approaches, and provide critical analysis and macro- and micro-level data for Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, sub-Saharan Africa, the Indian sub-continent, the Nordic region, and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Following an introduction and overview (Part 1), the book is divided into two main parts. Part II offers historical and theoretical perspectives on the evolution of women's positions in the course of development, with contributions by Sylvia Walby, John Lie, Elizabeth Dore, Sheila Carapico, Leela Kasturi, and Jane Parpart. Part III focuses on industrialization, state policies, and women workers, with contributions by Ruth Pearson, Helen Safa, Rita Gallin, Valentine Moghadam, Guy Standing, and Tuovi Allen. The book ends with an appendix of statistical tables providing descriptive data on women in the countries under consideration and others. The contributors are well-known academics and researchers who utilize the methods of economics, sociology, history, and feminist analysis in their case studies of economic development and women's positions.

Excerpt

What has been the impact of economic development on the lives and status of women? What effect does development have on gender relations, and how do patriarchal structures affect the development process? At the end of the twentieth century, and after four world conferences on women, is patriarchy on the decline, or is it only its form that is changing? The chapters in this book address these questions through theoretical, historical, and empirical approaches, and by providing critical analysis and macro- and micro-level data for east Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, sub-Saharan Africa, the Indian subcontinent, the Nordic countries, and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.

Before turning to the chapters themselves, let us first look at some contradictory evidence of the development process and women's positions. Around the world, women's life expectancy, literacy, educational attainment, labour-force participation, contraceptive use, and political participation have all increased. In all but a few countries, women's life expectancy exceeds men's; in some former state-socialist countries, more women than men attained university degrees; around the world the working class and professional-managerial class are now female as well as male; family planning programmes, women's advancement, and the women's movement have led to postponement of marriage and increased control over fertility; and more women are seeking major roles in national and international decision-making. Another achievement is that more and more women have entered the field of law, pushing for legal reforms and working to extend legal literacy to women. Women are also the new proletariat worldwide. This phenomenon has been termed the 'globalization of female labour' and, in a somewhat different vein, the 'feminization of labour' (Joekes, 1987; Standing, 1989). The role of women in manufacturing has been receiving considerable attention from scholars--if not always from planners and policy-makers. The industrial performance of the newly industrialized economies suggests an important mutual relationship between women's employment and overall development and industrial growth.

And yet, major gaps continue between men's and women's advancement. In industrial countries, gender discrimination continues in employment and wages, with women often getting less than two-thirds of the employment opportunities and about half the earnings of men. In developing countries, the great disparities, besides those in the job market, are in health care, nutritional support, and education. For example, women make up two-

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