Describe the Nature and Consequences of Male Bias in Development Projects
The systematic gathering and examination of information on gender differences and social relations in order to identify, understand and redress inequities based on gender. Gender analysis is a valuable descriptive and diagnostic tool for development planners and crucial to gender mainstreaming efforts.
From the Daughters of Liberty in 1765 to the first Brazilian woman president in 2010 a lot has changed. During the World War I women’s role in society was expanded as they entered the workforce. In 1963 the Equal Pay Act makes it illegal for companies to make inequities between men and women for the same job. But to what extent did that happen? Do they have equal opportunities for jobs that until recently were thought only to be open for men? In 1968 the Supreme Court decided that women with the abilities can work in jobs that have previously been considered typically suitable only for men. In the 70s, women begin to study more and more at University level entering professions like medicine, law, dentistry and business. An amazing statistic is that during the 80s 17% of total doctors in the USA were women! The estimates show that women are only paid about 70% of the wages paid to men for comparable work. Unfortunately, sex stereotyping in the workplace still occurs and men get the higher paying jobs. Men have access to higher paid jobs probably because they have been working far longer than women, who only started to work outside the household in the past 30 or so years and another reason may be motherhood. It still happens to date, when a man and woman with the same experience and academic qualifications are interviewed for a job position, the man has many more chances to get the job because the human resources person knows that the woman might soon start a family and that work will become her second priority and family the first.
Gendering the development agenda focusses on immediate issues like reproductive rights, domestic violence, maternity leave, equal pay, sexual harassment, discrimination, and sexual violence alongside long-term issues such as patriarchy, stereotyping, objectification, and oppression (Graham, C., 1994). It encompasses a retake on the definition of desirable development and the strategies needed to achieve it and rethinking of development as a masculine enterprise, throughout the planning cycle. It talks about a paradigm shift from a view of development planners in which women are vulnerable and should be provided with aid to the view in which women can be empowered actors of development and challenging the traditional balance of power. Women need not be seen as victims, but their capacities as social actors who are capable of affecting change should be acknowledged and their voices should be a part of the dialogue for an inclusive and gendered development agenda (Peet, Richard and Hartwick, Elaine, 2009). This approach looks at women’s real problem as the imbalance of power between men and women and focuses on both women’s practical as well as strategic gender needs by challenging existing divisions of labour and power relations. Thus, gendering the development agenda uses a gender lens to formulate development and shape policy, taking into account the significance of gender relations as an organising dimension within households, communities and public policies, and the implications of the universal practice of placing women in an inferior position as compared to men.
In the end, the relationship between critique and prior knowledge of the author's sex emerges in diverse, disguised, and complex ways. The relation between language and gender is not a simple straightforward mapping of linguistic form to social meaning of gender. Rather the relation of language to gender is constituted and mediated by the relation of language to stance, social acts, social activities, and other social constructs. They may expect prior knowledge or inferences about the author's sex to affect the evaluation of a piece of student writing, but they should also expect them to do so in no across-the-board manner--as with simple anti-female bias--but rather depending upon the sex and educational status of the evaluator, upon the critical task assumed by the evaluator, upon the presence of other evaluators, upon the contiguity of other pieces read before, and no doubt upon many other factors and contexts.
Pearson, Ruth (2006), Gender and Development, in Clark, David Alexander [ed], The Elgar Companion to Development Studies, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, UK, pp189-196
Peet, Richard and Hartwick, Elaine (2009), Theories of Development: Contentions, Arguments, Alternatives, [Second Edition], The Guilford Press, New York and London, pp240-274
Graham, C. (1994), Safety Nets, Politics and the Poor: Transitions to Market Economies, Washington DC: Brookings Institution