Third World women were long the undervalued and ignored actors in the development process but are now recognized as playing a critical role. This book is a comprehensive reader presenting the best of the now vast body of literature that has grown up alongside this acknowledgement.
Divided into five parts, this book incorporates readings from the leading experts and authorities in each field. The first part acts as an introduction to the field, examining the key theoretical debates and discourses surrounding women and development from a historical perspective, and outlining fundamental concepts such as class, ‘race’ and ethnicity, religion, reproduction, persistent inequalities, colonialism, modernization, economic exclusion and patriarchy.
Part two goes on to look at the household as a unit of analysis; exploring sexuality, single-parent families, agricultural production, and environmental relationships, while the third part locates women within the global economy, addressing issues such as industrialization, multi-national companies, free trade zones, the informal sector and the feminization of labour. Part four views the social transformation of women as a consequence of structural adjustment policies and intrusive state policies into women’s health, reproductive rights and sexuality. Next, the volume poses the fundamental questions around women and ideology: Do national liberation struggles contradict with feminist movements? What is the impact of religious fundamentalism? Are socialist development processes similar or dissimilar to capitalist processes? How has the transition to capitalism affected women? The final section of the book shows how women are organizing themselves for change.
Case studies drawn from all regions vividly illustrate the theoretical debates. A guide to further reading at the end of each chapter provides a foundation for any serious student of women in the development process.