Women in Asia: Tradition, Modernity and Globalisation

By Louise Edwards; Mina Roces | Go to book overview

1 Contesting gender narratives,
1970-2000

Mina Roces & Louise Edwards

University of New South Wales

Australian Catholic University

Modernisation is not gender neutral. In the modernisation process women are 'developed' differently, often inadvertently, from men. Similarly, women participate in development projects with objectives that often differ from those of men. By actively creating 'modernity' in this era of rapid globalisation, women in Asia are establishing dynamic new conceptions of contemporary cultural practice for their various nations, regions or communities.So diverse are the pictures and experiences of modernity that it is more fruitful to explore the multiple modernities of Asian women, or in Maila Stivens' terms, their 'divergent modernities' ( Stivens 1998, p. 10). The development project of the close of the twentieth century provided new opportunities for women in the Asian region, but it also posed new dangers.This volume addresses the manner in which the 'woman question' has interacted with the dominant national discourses of 'development', 'globalisation', and 'modernisation' in a range of country case-studies. Recent social changes in women's place in society, often expressed as 'progress towards modernity', are untangled in recognition that not all change is 'progress' and not all 'modernity' enhances women's status.

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