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What Is Gender and Development?

In: Social Issues

Submitted By Fredrica
Words 859
Pages 4
This small abstract underscores the main conceptual meanings of gender and development.lt shows the heated debate among scholars and substantiates how elusive these concepts are in development discourses. In the 1970s the word gender became a buzzword both in development discourse and policy making. The feminist movement challenged the existing theories of development which neglected women and excluded women in the mainstream development. It is in this backdrop that women like Boserup (1970) championed or spearheaded the women in development approach (WID) as a means of inco-operating gender analysis in development. However, the main thrust of this abstract is not on theoretical approaches but rather a definition of concepts such as gender and development.
A limited understanding of gender using some dictionary denotations would mean being male or female. If such, then gender studies would not be of any sociological interest. According to Cornwall (1997) gender relates to the various relations between men and women, boys and girls, mothers and their sons, fathers and their daughters, men and men, women and women and so on. Gender refers to the roles and responsibilities of men and women that are created in our families, our societies and our cultures (Schech and Haggis 2000, Razavi and Miller 1995; Kabeer 1995). According to Oxfam (1999) the concept of gender also includes the expectations held about the characteristics, aptitudes and likely behaviours of both women and men (femininity and masculinity). Gender roles and expectations are learned. This understanding shows that gender is a complex concept which can be understood in the social, economic, cultural, biological, political and environmental context of any society. The above definition by Cornwall paints a clear picture of what conceives gender of rather than a narrow view that gender is about women. In...

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