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ABSTRACT The World Bank is committed to a world free from poverty. And it is clear that efforts to achieve this must address gender inequalities. Large gender disparities in basic human rights, in resources and economic opportunity, and in political voice are pervasive around the world in spite of recent gains. And these disparities are inextricably linked to poverty and gender inequalities. While disparities in basic rights; in schooling, credit, and jobs; or in the ability to participate in public life take their most direct toll on women and girls, the full costs of gender inequality ultimately harm everyone. A central message is clear: ignoring gender disparities comes at great cost to people's well-being and to countries' abilities to grow sustainably, to govern effectively and thus to reduce poverty. James D. Wolfensohn President The World Bank, 2001


1.1 Introduction Gender is known to be a social construct that ascribes different qualities and rights to women and men regardless of individual competence or desires. Globally, women perform the bulk of work especially in the home without pay, while men receive these services yet are regarded both as family providers and as family heads.

According to Johnsson-Luthan 2007:8, gender and gender powers are reflected at all levels of society, where women are often responsible for health and social care provision both at home and at the workplace while men are able to use their greater share of leisure time to pursue careers/work and to participate in decision-making at all levels of public life.

This paper therefore seeks to discuss and analyze feminism and gender equality. The paper is divided into three chapters; the first chapter will discuss the historical background of feminism and gender and its evolution. The influence of culture on gender equality will be discussed in the second chapter, while the importance of gender equality and limitations associated with engendering development will be discussed in the third chapter and a conclusion shall be drawn.

1.2 RATIONAL/JUSTIFICATION. Efforts by the world leaders in conversing, policy announcements and declarations on gender, all point in part to undisputable fact that women are very important to development. However, the influence of culture cannot be overlooked as many women still remain trapped in cultural norms. It is therefore an issue of interest to take a background evaluation of gender, the influence of culture on gender equality and most of all the importance of gender equality to development. 1.3 RESEARCH PROBLEM Women subordination and unequal participation in social and economic spheres has been a problem since time in memory. Over the years, activists and feminists have campaigned for equal rights and reflection on women involvement not only in production work but also reproduction and community work. Therefore, the following questions will be answered; 1. How has gender evolved over the years? 2. How does culture influence gender equality? 3. What efforts have been made towards gender equality and what is its importance? 1.4 OBJECTIVE. This paper attempts to discuss the historical background of feminism and gender and the role culture plays in gender inequalities. It also aims to discuss the importance to gender equality and limitations to engendered development.


2.0 HISTORICAL BACKGROUND TO FEMINISM AND GENDER. Feminism is a social movement predicated on aspiration for social justice usually touched in terms of gender equality, Schecks, 2000:109, it a belief in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes; that each individual is a valuable human being in his or her own right. With a perceived goal of revising ways of considering history, society, literature, etc. so that both male and female are seen equally conditioned by the gender constructions of their culture.

The history of the feminist and gender approaches can be divided into three approaches; 2.1.1 WOMEN IN DEVELOPMENT (WID)

According to Rathgeber (1990:492), the WID approach come in use in the early 1970s and the term was understood to mean the integration of women into global processes of economic, social and political growth and change. It was the first coherent theoretical attempt by feminists to engage with mainstream development, Schecks, 2000:90. Reeves and Baden, 2000:33 further argues that the nature of womens roles and work was oversimplified and attention paid on sexual division of labour, therefore, the approach emphasized on the development of strategies and action programs to minimize the disadvantages of women and end discrimination. However, WID is said to be a liberal feminist approach that does not challenge basic social relations of gender and it was criticized because it did not examine why women fared less well and overlooked the existing social structures but instead concentrated on the production aspect of women and not their reproductive and community management side, (cf. Reeves and Baden, 2000:33). 2.1.2 WOMEN AND DEVELOPMENT (WAD)

WAD approach, emerged in the late 1970s due to the limitations of the WID approach because according to Rathgeber, 1990:493, from inception, women have been involved in the developmental process at family and community levels. Therefore WAD focused on the

relationship between women and development process and not on strategies of integration. WAD sees women as important economic actors in their societies and the work they do within and outside home as central in the maintenance of those societies. 2.1.3 GENDER AND DEVELOPMENT(GAD)

GAD emerged from a frustration of the WID and WAD approaches which gave little analytical attention to the social relations of gender within classes, the patriarchy relations, mode of production and womens subordination and oppression were also overlooked and therefore, WID and WADs focus on women in isolation and seeing womens real problem as the imbalance of power between women and men was challenged (cf. Reeves and Baden, 2000:33).

On the other hand, Ratheberg 1990:493, contends that GAD takes into account all aspects of womens lives and links the relationship of production to the relationship of reproduction and indentifies the social construction of production and reproduction as the basis of womens oppression and focused attention on gender relations. Therefore, GAD today has is said to have lead to the design of intervention and affirmative action as well as re- examination of social structures and institutions as it demands a degree of commitment to structural change and power shift. 2.2 INFLUENCE OF CULTURE ON GENDER EQUALITY Traditions is supposed to be a guide and not a jailer wrote W. Somerset as quoted in Drechsler and jutting (2008) who writes could it be that some traditions however, rooted in great histories and culture are now trapping countries in poverty and inequality. This certainly appears to be the case when it comes to the influence of social and cultural norms on status of women. Schuuman F 1996:169, defines gender as socially constructed differences and relations between male and female. It is said to be a meaning that cultures give to biological difference; a set of behaviors that is learned and performed, which changes from one culture to another and even in individual attitudes over the course of a lifetime. cf. Lipsitz Bem 1993. Sherry Ortner (1974) as quoted in Scheck 2000:86 points to the fact that specific cultural conceptions and symbolization of women are extra ordinarily diverse and even mutually contradicting and that the treatment of women, their status and contribution to society varied from one culture to another. This socially contradictory construction of agenda has produced development failure which eventually forced gender on the agenda of mainstream development institutions. 2.2.1 SOCIAL INSTITUTIONS. It is argued that all cultures interpret and translate the biological differences between men and women into beliefs about what behaviors and activities are appropriate for each gender as well as their rights, resources, and power. For example, most societies give the primary responsibility for the care of infants and young children to women and girls, and that for military service and national security to men. Therefore culturally gender is said to shape ones life chances and ones role in the home, in society, and in the economy, cf. World Bank 2012:46.

These societal institutions are social norms, customs, rights, laws shape roles and relationships between men and women and influence what resources women and men have access to, what activities they can or cannot undertake, and in what forms they can participate in the economy and in society, Word Bank, 2001:13. Therefore, Grosz 1989:11 summarizes that whether female or male, the human body is already coded, placed in a social network and given meaning in and by culture, the male being constituted as virile or phallic, the female as passive and castrated. Whatever their individual abilities or interests, men are expected to take greater risks and initiatives, act as the principal family provider, take an active part in public life, display more aggressive behavior and be capable both of dealing with violence and inflicting it upon others (cf Johnsson- Luthan 2007:18) Therefore, Helen 2002:137, recommends that social and cultural norms at community level, the practices of levirate for example; inheritance of a wife by the deceased husbands brother; polygamy; the suppression of sexual expression among women; female genital cutting, all require re evaluation so that damaging elements in them are eradicated. 2.2.3 ECONOMIC INSTITUTIONS Economic institutions, such as markets and households are also said to play a fundamental role in shaping gender relations from early in life and in transmitting these from one generation to the next. People are said to make many of life's most basic decisions within their households; about having and raising children, engaging in work and leisure, and investing in the future. How tasks and productive resources are allocated among sons and daughters, how much autonomy they are given, whether expectations differ among them, all this creates, reinforces, or mitigates gender disparities, cf World Bank, 2001:13. Therefore according to Geertz 1973:44-5, culture is a set of control mechanisms plans, recipes, rules, instruments, what computer engineers call programs for governing behavior. While recognizing that, there are numerous cultural practices that require immediate eradication at the same time, appreciate that there are still others that are useful, either potentially or in reality. Furthermore, such cultural inequalities are also perpetuated at national levels. An example is given where, government policies and practices may view the informal sector and subsistence

farming which are dominated by women, as not requiring as much support as foreign exchange earnings and export oriented economic activities associated with men. CHAPTER 3 3.0 IMPORTANCE OF GENDER EQUALITY AND ENGENDERED DEVELOPMENT. 3.1 GLOBAL LEVEL Nallari and Griffith (2011), points to the fact that the World Bank has identified gender equality as a developmental goal in its own right, with long term economic growth in prospect countries. In 1946, the United Nations (UN) established a commission on the Status of Women, two years later in 1948, it issued its Universal Declaration of Human Rights which protects the equal rights of man and women, and addressed both the equality and equity issues. And since 1975 the UN has held a series of world conferences on womens issues including the UN Decade of Women of 1975 -1985, cf World Bank 2012:46. It is further reported that CEDAW in 1979 brought into international focus the rights of women as human rights, including the right to be free from discrimination and women activists regard this convention as a key tool to support their struggle against discrimination and pushing governments towards attaining these internationally recognized minimum standards, (cf Reeves and Badan, 2000:3,4). It is further argued that greater equality can enhance productivity, improve development outcomes for the next generation and make institutions more representative. Therefore to promote gender equality, policies for institutional change and economic development need to consider and address prevailing gender inequalities in rights, resources and voice cf World Bank 2001:15 The importance of gender equality is also underscored by its inclusion in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), cf World Bank 2001. According to UNFPA (2003) gender equality is a human right, women are entitled to live in dignity and in freedom from want and free from fear adding that empowering women is a tool for advancing development and reduce poverty. Empowered women are said to contribute to the health and productivity of whole families and communities and improves prospects for the next generation.

3.2 NATIONAL LEVEL Figure 1.1 Illustrates how equal opportunities in rights, resources and voice can lead to economic growth and development.

Gender equality in rights, resources, and voice leveling the field of opportunities

Household household resource and task allocations, fertility decisions

Economy and Markets access to land, financial services, labor

Society civic and political participation

Domains ofchoices domains for policy

markets, technology

Aggregate economic performance Poverty reduction, growth

Source: World Bank 2007, 107. Cited form Gender and Micro economics policy-2011. Poverty in Focus 2008 article contends that as with overall equity concern, gender equality is important for both intrinsic and instrumental reasons as it has a bearing on family harmony and wellbeing in many dimensions. It is said to involve policy making with respect to society as a whole in areas such as education, labour and financial markets, economic and political empowerment, institutions and economic growth. According to Chen (2004:6), gender inequality tends to have a negative effect on economic development. For example, Klasen (1999) as quoted by Chen finds that if countries of South Asia, Sub Sahara Africa and the middle East and North Africa had achieved gender equality in schooling during the period 1960 and 1992, as rapidly as in the Eastern Asian countries, their

income per capita could have grown by additional 0.5 and 0.9 percent per year for Africa, and this would imply almost doubling per capita income growth. It is further argued that development policies and actions that fail to take gender inequality into account and that fail to enable women to be actors in those policies and interventions will have limited effectiveness and serious costs to societies cf. World Bank, 2003a:4. Furthermore, engendering development is important because policies, affect women more, for example Structural Adjustment Programs (SAP) which called to cut on public expenditure such as health and education which were in public domain went back to the homes and women had to spend more time taking care of the sick,(cf Nallari and Griffith 2011:9). Shuuman, 1996:170 dares that after all increased exploitation of women is what made economic growth possible in the tiger nations of Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore. What more if they are given equal chances to lifes opportunities, even better results for the rest of the world would be achieved.

4.0 CHALLENGES IN GENDER EQUALITY AND ENGENDERING DEVELOPMENT. There are many challenges in ensuring gender equality, Shuurman 1996:171 warns that gender equality will not come easy as no one is ready to redistribute power, for example the UN, governments, bureaucrats and agencies are male dominated. Therefore, engendering development represents the most ambitious and comprehensive attempt to explore and resolve the relationship between gender equality and the pursuit of economic growth, cf Rittich, 2004. 4.1. INSTITUTIONAL AND STRUCTURAL CHALLENGES Despite the fact that gender inequality roots are in cultural norms and beliefs, Drechsler and Jutting 2008 Culture, Gender and Growth article, contends that less attention has been given to the role of these social institutions such as norms, tradition, family law as discrimination through social institutions is often hidden, especially in countries with low formal institutions and governance structures.

Furthermore, implementation of policies through allocation of necessary resources is still cited as a challenge. Some critics argue that there is need for broader institutional change if

pervasive male advantage was to be challenged as adding women specific activities at the

margin was no longer seen as sufficient, even though most major development organizations and many governments have now embraced gender mainstreaming as a strategy for moving towards gender equality, (Reeves and Badan, 2000:3,4). However, it is argued that the choice of policies and their implementation does not occur in a vacuum and that policies must be attuned to countries institutional, social, and political environment and to the societal actors involved, because domestic action is central to reducing inequalities, World Bank, 2012:35-36. 4.2 INADEQUATE GENDER STATISTICS The World Bank 2007 report, asserts that gender statistics is a challenge in effective gender decisions, arguing that statistics and indicators on the status of women and men are needed to formulate and monitor policies and track change. It is further argued that statistics provides an important tool in promoting equality and monitor progress towards the agreed goals in order to improve the situation of women. However, this state of affair could be attributed to dependency of most governments on donor aid and development assistance in gender related issues hence have very little accountability and are not able to give sufficient information on gender progress let alone programs, cf ADB/ADF, 2006:32. 4.0 CONCLUSION. There is steady progress in engendering development, however complete gender equity will not come easy as no one is ready to redistribute power, for example, the United Nations, governments, bureaucrats and agencies are male dominated, cf Schuuman 1996:171 and female participation in workforce will remain low in areas where discrimination through social institutions is high for example women who are denied ownership rights cannot easily take on an entrepreneurial role, Drechsler and Jutting (2008). Therefore, more still has to be done in research and commitment to structural Institutional change and power shifts is order to un-trap future generations from gender inequality.


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