Process Of And Remedy For Under Development Sociology Essay
Email id : email@example.com
Phone : 09395122221
Subject : Development Theory-2
Q1 (a) How does dependency theory discuss the process of and remedy for under development?
Dependency theory is one of the neo-Marxist theories that combine historical materialism with classical traditions in thought. This theory developed in late 1950’s majorly by Raul Prebisch. His main argument was that "as told by Neo-classical economics economic growth was not beneficial to all and benefits are not being shared equally". Huge economic growth was happening in industrialised countries where development was not happening in the poorer countries.
This theory states that the development of the European countries and USA is based on the underdevelopment of the non-European countries. This was possible since they were doing conquests, siphoning resources and surpluses and by having colonies at their control. So they say that the radical modernisation of the European countries was less on the internal innovation they have achieved and more due to the external conquests they have done. So these historical processes have led to a new global geography.
This theory also states that underdevelopment is very much different from the undevelopment process. Underdevelopment is where resources are utilised for the gains of the dominant center rather than the place resources are found. So most of the poor countries are poor not because of their historical contexts but because of the forceful integration into the capitalist economic system to provide raw materials and cheap labour. In this way this theory states that resources since being used to the benefit of the center should be used according to the priorities of the poorer countries themselves i.e. the needs of the vulnerable and the poor in the society should be given more importance rather than the political needs. The use of resources in this context can be different in different countries until it does not serve the dominance of the dominant countries. But this will be resisted not only by the dominant countries but also the rich and elite of the poorer countries since they are also the beneficiaries of this sort of exploitation. The private interest of these rich elite is nearly the same as that of dominant states having very less national priorities.
Andre Gunder Frank (1925–2005) was one of the prominent writers who in his works tried to prove that the development of underdevelopment went along with the development of capitalism itself. He showed that the metropolis- satellite relations are not limited at global level but also at the national and regional levels also in Latin American colonies and countries. So the Latin American countryside acted as satellite where as the provincial capitals acted as the center extracting the surplus to their benefits. He also tries to prove this by showing the examples of Spain and Portugal which are now underdeveloped but still are extracting from their own satellites. So he says that the underdevelopment in Latin America is today due to the historical participation in the capitalist development. Through case studies he proves Chile and Brazil also have the same process of underdevelopment.
The basic and most important thing is that economic growth and development in poor countries cannot be on the same lines as that of advanced countries. Different historical contexts mean that the same patterns cannot be possible. Poor countries should follow a strategy of self reliance rather than depending on the dominant countries. Dependency theorists say that the models which come from the neo classical economics are not suitable for the poor countries and that they should not fall prey to the policies of agencies like World Bank and International Monetary Fund. They prefer to say that there should be only controlled interactions with the world economy with a keen eye on the benefits which poor counties can obtain to improve their social and economic conditions.
They also break away from the view that economic growth leads to development. So they do not subscribe to the notion that growth in GDP or stock markets leads to the well being of the people. So they would like to have social indicators such as education levels, life expectancy, IMR etc., as bench marks of development rather than the economic indicators that the west follow without much concern to the people. They also believe that markets alone are not the best way of economic activity in developing countries since they are affected by historical factors like gender issues, racial and ethnic conflicts et al. So the welfare and economic distribution should be planned rather than leaving it to the markets.
Q1 (b) Does dependence theory provide any useful insight for analyzing the development experience of India and how?
Indian Nationalist movement which started after 1857 had also led to the development of the dependency theory. The basis was that Drain of wealth from India was one of the causes for the rise of England. In terms of Education, Technology, Arts, administration Indian greatness was ruined and made completely dependent on the culture of the British. Oriental thinkers like Burke argued for in the favour of Restoration of Indian way of things but in vain. For Burke, British have destroyed India for its own advantage. Even to this day, many of the features of the British administration are being directly taken up into the Indian Polity. Economically also they made over extraction of rents which ruined our peasantry. In return of the great exploitation there was nothing worthwhile that India has been rewarded. Drain theory was also propounded on this by Dadabhai Noaroji and Romesh Dutt. So, historically India was forcefully made a Satellite where as British Empire was the Metropolis.
Development theory gained importance in 1990’s after the growth in India started and dependency theory lost some support. But many examples from India’s development experience show that the rise in growth, technology, knowledge is making us more dependent than ever. For example, India experiences great amounts of malnutrition internally but exports substantial part of its agricultural produce to the dominant states. Overtime this has not only led to diversion of agricultural land to other less priority cash crops but also leading to the food insecurity of its people. Dependency theorists say that these agricultural lands to be only used for domestic food production and consumption in order to reduce malnutrition.
Case Study: Rise of knowledge leading to rise in dependence.
Indian IT industry has been a story of success world over. It is a key component in the Knowledge based economy which would improve the performance of India industrially and also technologically. In 1990’s after liberalisation, dependency theory lost its sheen due to high growth rates in India but that growth which was mostly due to the rise in IT also made India a dependent country to the Dominant center once again. Even though India is having more than half of its GDP from service sector which majorly depends on the IT our R&D expenditure, patents filed in country of residence and patents granted by United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) are very less when compared to developed countries.
We can see from the table that the as our economic growth was increasing and our dependence on the knowledge economy was growing R&D expenditure on the same started declining and also now we are almost completely dependent on the innovations made by the dominant center even for our basic innovations. Even when it comes to Filing of patents India lacks hugely behind U.S in large numbers but the growth rate of filing patents appear to be on the rise. We can even say that India’s growth rate is outstanding.
A close examination of the statistics here will reveal that even though India has upgraded its R&D activities the difference between U.S and India will remain more than thirty percent in the years which are taken into consideration. So U.S and India gap widens at a rate proportional to the annual growth rate of U.S. patent filings.
From these empirical data we can conclude that the knowledge gap between the Rich and poor countries is increasing substantially. The latest form of dependency is the technology monopoly now maintained by the center. This gap is wide and will continue to remain wide in the foreseeable future. The economic development of India parallels more of technological dependence. Most of the technology which we use today is provided by the developed nations and we are nowhere near to develop these features. So the old form of dependency has changed its forms and grown into a new form. So advanced economies continue to dominate the ways and means of gathering wealth from the peripheries.
Vincent Ferraro, "Dependency Theory: An Introduction," in the Development Economics Reader, ed. Giorgio Secondi (London: Routledge, 2008), pp. 58-64.
Cowen, M.P and R.W. Shenton. 2005. Doctrines of Development, Routledge, New York, chapter 1, 2.
Frank, Andre Gunder. 1966. Development of Underdevelopment, Monthly Review Press.
Peet, Richard and Elaine Hartwick. 2009. Theories of Development: Contentions, Arguments and Alternatives, The Guilford Press, New York, chapter 5.
Vincent H. Shie and Craig D. Meer "The Rise of Knowledge in Dependency Theory: The Experience of India and Taiwan" Review of Radical Political Economics, March 2010; vol. 42, 1: pp. 81-99.
Q2 (a) Discuss the central features of Marxist theory of development.
Marxist theory of development states that in all approaches to development process State will have a very important role to play. The role played by the state can be in terms of supervising markets, controlling unnecessary competition, regulation of key sectors, law and order control etc. Marxist theory arguments mainly depend on Historical materialism which can be said as "the economic interpretation of history" (Eduard Bernstein, 1859). He identified different stages of social development.
Ancient/primitive communism: This was practiced in ancient tribal societies where all the resources like land, tools etc., and was owned by everyone in that society.
Feudalism: The tribal societies become into city states where aristocracy is born, agricultural production will be controlled in large estates, and society will be divided into different classes.
Asiatic: This was with specifically to the eastern countries like India, China where different classes dominate economy and state machinery.
Capitalism: Capitalists are born who own the means of production and proletariat is born who do not have anything except their labour to sell in the market. Here the capitalists create and employ the people who sell their labour. Markets will play a major role in the allocation of resources to different classes.
Socialism: Capitalism due to its inherent difference of classes creates surplus through exploitation of the proletariat. So through a bloody revolution, workers will take over the ownership of means of production and eliminate the capitalistic dictatorship. By this the means of production will be socialised i.e. everyone will own the resources. Individuals will be working as per their abilities and would be paid according to their needs. So distributive mechanism will be the state and not the market. By this the implication is that people will not have to suffer for their daily living and the collective distributive mechanism will take care of the individual through appropriate measures.
Communism: This is advanced stage of society which Marx thought would be achieved after socialism. His vision was a classless and stateless society in which the resources would be collectively taken care of without any overarching institution like a state.
In pre capitalist stages, society was working for their families based on less technology and subsistence agriculture. So the amount of labour required was more and was only giving them bare necessary requirements to live. When we proceed to capitalistic stage technology advances, more complex organisations come in as people start to exploit resources more effectively. Here the society will be divided into two where the proletariat will not only produce for their families but also for the bourgeoisie. So owners will have a surplus in their hands as the workers will not be paid for what they produce. The surplus will be used for the regeneration of wealth for the owners as they invest more and more. Marxist theory also talks about some of the social effects of capitalism as the destruction of community where all the non –profit and non-economic values will be destroyed. Workers will be doing only routine works and they become alienated in matter of time and state would support the elite classes in society.
As such we can see the central features of the Marxist theory were the relation between the capital and labour. The different stages also represent different modes of production, relations of production and forces of production. Modes of production includes the relationship by which production happens, cultures, ideologies, legal systems, state machinery etc., Means of production are the materialistic things that are required to produce goods by the society. Relations of production can be simply explained as what work is done by whom. Division of labour in terms of who does the manual work and who does the decision making process defines the relations.
So for Marx, capitalistic stage of development was better than the previous stages since tribal societies were viewed by him as backward. He also viewed capitalism as a transition stage towards socialism as capitalism is very exploitative and will be hit by many crisis. According to this theory capitalism requires ever increasing markets to make profits in order to survive. So capitalists went after colonies to extract the surpluses exploiting the colonies. So imperialism was said as the highest stage of capitalism. So once the exploitative opportunities reduce and colonies start usurping power from capitalists, capitalism would collapse.
Apparently his expectation was that people would shift towards collectivisation of resources, collective mode of organisation and production. This transition to socialism from capitalism was said to be one of the inevitable parts in the development of human society.
Q2 (b) How is Socialism related to and different from Marxism?
Socialism relation with Marxism
More Theoretical in nature.
Applied practically in some parts of the world.
Marxism can be said as an advanced stage of development of socialism.
Most of the Concepts are political in nature.
Its ideology is more towards economic system of production.
Both ideologies work to bring equanimity in society.
If Marxist principles are worked out socialism will lead to communism.
Socialism comes from capitalism.
These are transition stages of development.
All the class distinctions are removed, classless society is the vision
In socialism, class distinctions are present in diminished form
Both socialism and Marxism are achieved after the class distinctions are subdued in capitalism.
Implemented Based on History.
Implemented on the social relations in the society.
Whatever way implemented both aim at making society less unequal.
Allocation of resources to nullify the gap between the rich and poor.
Allocation of resources to satisfy the human needs.
Both have a tendency to say that no human should be deprived of basic needs.
Believes in Revolutionary transformation
Revolution and reformation are both in proportionate levels.
Revolution is simply against capitalism in both these circumstances.
In Marxism government will bring the changes in the structure of society.
Here, workers are the primary agents who bring about change.
Whoever brings the change targets and destiny are the same for both of them.
No one will have private property; all the things are communally owned.
Distinction between private and public property exists.
Whoever owns, both seek egalitarian society.
No religion will be accepted. Religion was created by the rich to keep the lower classes down.
Freedom of religion.
Marxism is a bit harsher in enforcing ideologies or it might also be a way of achieving universal religion of humanity.
All choices will be made for the good of everyone in the society by anyone.
All choices will be taken by individual where state provides free education and health
Both systems state is benevolent and acts as a welfare state.
Everyone will be getting equal benefits from the labour.
Equal benefits can be achieved but anyone can earn more if he works more.
No large inequalities are accepted in both the systems.
Communal control of means of Production
Workers control means of production
Whoever owns, both seek egalitarian society.
Its political system will consist of one party system as in communist china.
Multiple parties exist in socialist states.
One party system has internal competition like a multi-party system.
This form of society is still a dream and could not be achieved since human nature gets in the way.
Socialism has been tried in different countries differently but with limited success.
Pure form of both socialism and Marxism remains utopian ideas.
Q2 (c) Do you agree that Marxism fails to offer a cogent and feasible blueprint for development and why?
No, I do not completely agree to the statement that Marxism fails to offer a cogent and feasible blueprint for development. Marx predictions were a product of the applications of the Hegel’s ideology of the progress of human history and through the economics of capitalism. Marx work primarily concentrated on analysis and explanation of the capitalism and its contradictions. His explanation is one of the most comprehensive and elaborates accounts of capitalist system. Some of the predictions of Marx came true like that of income gap between workers and capitalists will increase, rate of profit would fall, worker’s wages will be near subsistence level. His works endures which talk about the deep understanding of the human nature.
If we closely look at what Marx has described in his stages of development from feudalism to capitalism and then transition to socialism, we are still at the stage of capitalism. Marxism has not been exactly tried in any industrialised nation on exact terms of what Marx has spoken of. Only socialism has been tried in a few countries like Soviet Union, Red China etc. but they weren’t exactly following what Marx has written in his theories. They even went on to become corrupt and dictators but we cannot equate that with failure of socialism and there on Marxism.
Some of his ideas were proven wrong in the course of capitalist history. Some of the capitalist societies that he thought became economically strong and politically vibrant than what he thought they would be. Working classes in these societies are also not impoverished or revolutionary as Marx would have said. But his analysis of nature and development of capitalism is proven accurate and socialism has evolved as a major political force in many parts of the world.
Marx contribution to the world which we can hold on is his theory of history and his idea that no one can predict the history and everybody will be effected by the kind of surroundings and culture that they have at that point of time. But in terms of development he was more idealistic. He was saying that people should have to bring revolutions to move on to socialism from capitalism. The crisis in the capitalism and other forms of exploitation would pave the way for such a transition. But in the present context such a revolution appears not to be feasible in service sector. Marx at his time of writing had many abuses in the industrial society but now capitalism appears to have enough structures to take care of them.
But here comes the major question. Hasn’t capitalism raised the inequalities in the society? Any idea of egalitarian society has taken a back seat with the capitalistic agenda. Economic crisis has been suffered by almost all the parts of the world. Many third world countries which have large populations also have huge number of people living below subsistence. So, contradictions in capitalism still continue to persist. The cycle of boom and depression could not be eliminated. So we cannot say capitalism is the ‘end of history’.
In Marxist theory development that is to transform the society will also have a class conflict in between rich and poor. Development is using the state power along with the huge mass movements to change and work for the poor sections of the society. Class conflicts are happening in the present era and that too heavily between the rich and poor although they are different from the context where Marx has described. So a different form of Marxism has to be applied with the same features of egalitarianism for the development process to occur.
If we consider Russia we can see that after a revolution which changed the course of human history and development by adopting socialism they could come out of semi-feudal backwardness to a major industrialised nation. Despite civil war and world war their material conditions were developed greatly.
Socialism is considered as a democratic form of society. But this form of democracy is not being maintained by the so called communist states. As experience from the Russian experiment suggests we can implement multiple political parties that will add to the Socialism. The role of markets also needs to be reassessed in Marxist ideology. These changes would take time to incorporate and so the transition might take longer time and lengthier. So Marxism rethought and reformed with some basic tenets from old theory would offer a theory for interpretation of modern world and that can become blueprint for development.
Home, Leslie. 2009. Communism: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford University Press, New Delhi.
Newman, Michael. 2005. Socialism: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford University Press, New Delhi.
Peet, Richard and Elaine Hartwick. 2009. Theories of Development: Contentions, Arguments and Alternatives, The Guilford Press, New York, chapter 5.
Sweezy, Paul M. 1981. Four Lectures on Marxism, Monthly Review Press, New York.
Sean Sayers, "The Future of Marxism", August 1991, University of Kent at Canterbury.
Q3 (a) How have scholars discussed and used the term ‘Empowerment’?
Different scholars have used the term empowerment in different ways as there is variety of understandings for the word "empowerment". Empowerment is described as "the enhancement of assets and capabilities of diverse individuals and groups to engage, influence and hold accountable the institutions which affect them" Kabeer(2001). The Process of Empowerment starts from below and will also involve agency which will be exercised by individuals or groups or communities. Social inclusion is a key component of empowerment where there will be removal of barriers to access of resources through institutional arrangements. Redistribution of Power and resources and recognizing the needs of different genders will help in improving the gender equality thereby leads to empowerment.
Empowerment entails a process of change. It is a process where people who were denied the ability to make choices acquire such ability. People who exercise a great deal of choice in their lives may be very powerful, but they are not empowered in the sense in which empowerment has been described here, because they were never disempowered in the first place (Naila Kabeer, 1999). According to Kabeer(2001) choice has can be seen in terms of three inter related components.
Resources: Most important sources where empowerment is highly likely to be made. They form the conditions under which choices are made.
Agency: It is the heart of process through which choice can be made.
Achievements: this can be seen as the outcomes that come from the choice that we make.
According to Naila Kabeer, empowerment is "the expansion in people’s ability to make strategic life choices in a context where this ability was previously denied to them." According to Kabeer, empowerment cannot be reduced to a single aspect of process or outcome. How the choices will be exercised and the final outcomes will depend on the individual. Choices differ according to the class, time and space where women belong to. Also the impacts of empowerment as seen by the external agents might not be valued greatly by women. So women have to be the central agents in the process of empowerment. So we have to remember that development agencies cannot empower women but can only provide some sort of support as facilitators.
Scholars have also tried to measure gender empowerment by using micro and macro indicators. At macro level GEM (Gender Empowerment Index) was built.
Source: Prahlad Kumar and Tinku Paul (2007)
At micro level they have developed six domains of empowerment expressions. Decision making, control, choice etc are seen as more effective ways of measuring empowerment. Empowerment is also taken in a behavioural sense like self confidence, autonomy, belief in one’s own self potential etc., in this effort of bulding micro indicators Linda Mayoux, Naila Kabeer, Rahman, Ackerley, Anne Marie Goetz, Sara Longwe and Hashmi have provided their own indicators and expressions which show the empowerment quantifiably. From these we can also write a few models of empowerment as said by the scholars based on
Consumption pattern - meals per day, skipping meals for rest of the family.
Access and control over resources - earned/saved income, source of money, responsibilities for money.
Decision Making - related to children, self and critical issues.
Self Esteem - how the family responds to her individual actions.
Awareness - age for marriage of daughters, education ,health awareness etc.,
Source: Prahlad Kumar and Tinku Paul (2007)
Q3 (b) Does ‘empowering’ one gender [say, women], necessarily ‘disempower’ another gender [say, men]?
No, empowering one gender does not disempower another gender. "Gender" refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviours, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women (WHO). If we take into account Gender empowerment Index then women shares in the political as well as economic activity increases i.e. the traditional order of looking after the family members would be given less time. This can cause conflicts with other gender as their roles will include more responsibilities than previously. So they came up with patriarchal bargains so that women resist empowerment process (sharp, 2003).
Women are the center of family wellbeing. So when women are empowered in terms of decision making, control over resources, awareness etc., it will lead to the betterment of the family i.e. empowerment of other gender also. There might be resistance initially since there will be changes in the order followed traditionally but that will change over a period of time as shown in the article discussed below.
In the article Microfinance and women's empowerment, Fiona Leach & Shashikala Sitaram highlights that at one point when the business was benefitting both genders were sharing the gains and family was running smoothly. But initially men became resentful only when they were excluded from the process. Even though the project aimed at asking for support of men practically it did not happen. License and purchasing of material were all in the name of women. Women became owners of the units and husband their employees. This created a reversal of roles. So men were against this.
Women were also empowered in the sense that their social and economic status was increased, their respect in the community and self respect was on the rise. They could provide for their children without asking their husbands. They had sense of security and were becoming self confident. So when all the things were in place even husbands and family were encouraging and also they were helping in doing the work. Even if some of the husbands were uneasy with their wives they could not talk as this was empowering not only women but also indirectly men in different ways.
But when the business was seeing the downside husbands started complaining about their wives inabilities to do business. Violence was also reported from many women in the groups. From this we can say that since the disempowerment of women directly affects the family and there by men also we can easily say that disempowerment of women leads to disempowerment of men. Greater importance should be given to raising awareness about gender relations among men as well as men (leach & sitaram, 2010).
There will be conflicts at the grassroots on the empowerment of women as there will be many men also who will need to be empowered (chant & guttman, 2000). They have documented many unresolved cases between men and women in the development practices. So, while empowering gender (say women) necessary awareness should be inculcated in other both the gender as how the empowerment process would go about.
Batliwala, Srilatha and Deepa Dhanraj. 2007. Gender Myths that Instrumentalise Women: A View from the Indian Front Line, in Cornwall, Andrea, Harrison, Elizabeth and Ann Whitehead (eds) Feminisms in Development: Contradictions, Contestations and Challenges, Zed Books, London, pp.21-34.
Fiona Leach & Shashikala Sitaram (2002): Microfinance and women's empowerment: A lesson from India, Development in Practice, 12:5, 575-588
Chant, Sylvia & Gutmann, Matthew, "Mainstreaming Men into Gender and Development: Debates, reflections, and experiences" Oxfam, 2000
Joanne Sharp, John Briggs, Hoda Yacoub and Nabila Hamed, "Gender and Development: Understanding Empowerment and Local Gender Relations" Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, New Series, Vol. 28, No. 3 (Sep., 2003), pp. 281-295.
Kabeer, Naila. 1999. Resources, Agency, Achievements: Reflections on the Measurement of Women’s Empowerment, Development and Change, Vol. 30, pp435-464.
Peet, Richard and Elaine Hartwick. 2009. Theories of Development: Contentions, Arguments and Alternatives, The Guilford Press, New York, chapter 7.
Q4 (a) what does it mean to have a ‘Feminist’ perspective on Development?
Bell hooks in her book "Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center" defines feminism as a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression (Bell Hooks, 2000). From this directly understand that this movement is not about being against males but against sexism. It encourages both males and females who are socialised from birth to accept sexist thought and action to unlearn that. It strives to end patriarchy where hooks call patriarchy as institutionalised sexism to change our heart and mind towards feminist thought and action. It also visions a world where males and females might not be always equal but interactions between both sexes are on the basis of mutuality.
With this understanding of feminism, we will have a look at history of developmental programs in relation to feminist perspective. From 1945 when industrialised nations thought to benefit underdeveloped nations through foreign aid, programs developed for it undermined the rights of women and many indigenous women communities in the Third world. Modernisation programs, Increase in GDP were effectively thought to bring benefits to all sections of population irrespective of gender. But the trickledown theory failed miserably. Women and development was considered as a process of modernisation in the liberal theory which was questioned by Boserup (1970) in her book Women’s role in economic development. She argued that the approach has bypassed needs of women. She highlighted the important role of women in development (WID), women’s role in development process and brought attention and sensitization of various actors in development agencies towards the inattention paid to women in development programs.
WID (Women in Development):
This started with the publication of Boserup(1970) book Women’s role in economic development. Female development practioners were concerned that men were getting more benefits than the women in economic development. Research and advocacy in WID concentrated more on recognising the roles of women, access to resources and making available employment opportunities. But WID mistakenly assumed that by putting women into cash economy they could get women out of their troubles. So WID brought to the forefront that women needed to be active agents if development was to happen. So lot of funds were allocated to WID by both government and international organisations over its first decade(1975-1985).Credit was seen as a developmental tool to bring women into the developmental activity by increasing household income through making women participate in income generating projects. They were also educated about health, education and family planning etc, while in these projects. So WID basically sees development of women as a logistical problem but not something which requires radical shift in ideologies, gender relations and attitudes. Three approaches WID followed were equity approach, anti- poverty approach and efficiency approach.
WAD (Women and Development):
Early 1980 have saw the rise of an alternate approach to women’s development which criticised WID for ignoring the realities of social and gender inequalities in the development process of women. This was a socialist feminist approach which was critical of the liberal approach. Socialist feminists argued, along with Marxists, that the relations of capital, and therefore class relations, are pivotal for understanding women’s oppression (Hamilton, 2007). This new approach, which came to be known as WAD, stressed that patriarchy and capitalism limited the options available to women (Beneria & Sen, 1981).
GAD (Gender and Development):
The GAD approach emerged from grassroots experiences and writings of a group called Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era and Western socialist feminists who were interested in development issues (Elson, 1992; Moser, 1989).The current GAD approach combines aspects of WID and WAD but begins its analysis by examining the system of gender relations, which, along with the economic system, structures the options that are available to both women and men (Moghadam, 1998). The GAD framework acknowledges that by overcoming gender inequalities, important systemic changes may be achieved. It favours the elimination of legal, customary, and labour market constraints on women’s mobility and economic participation while realizing that these constraints are rooted in long-standing gender ideologies and asymmetrical gender relations (Moghadem, 1998).
GAD researchers take a note of many aspects like health, violence in households, inequalities, collective actions etc., they argue that the neoliberal policies are against women and poor. At present GAD framework is broad and inter disciplinary including Marxism, feminism, neoclassical approach by sociologists, anthropologists, economists etc., notwithstanding its diversity, there is a core of assumptions, concepts, and methods that may be delineated as constituting the GAD framework. The premise, of course, is that women in any society represent an unequal, disadvantaged, or oppressed social category (Moghadam, 1998).
The GAD approach to development policy and practice focuses on the socially constructed basis of differences between men and women and emphasizes the need to challenge existing gender roles and relations (Moghadam, 1998; Reeves & Baden, 2000; Rowlands, 1998). There are different interpretations of GAD, some of which focus primarily on gender roles or gender relations. The GAD approaches generally aim to meet both women’s practical gender needs and more strategic gender needs by challenging power relations (Reeves & Baden, 2000).
The advancement of women and the achievement of equality between women and men are matters of human rights and conditions for social justice and should not be seen in isolation as a women’s issue. They are the only way to build a sustainable, just, and developed society. Empowerment of women and gender equality are prerequisites for achieving political, social, economic, cultural, and environmental security among all peoples (Beijing Platform for Action, Fourth UN World Conference on Women, Beijing, 1995, para. 41, quoted in Canadian International Development Agency, 1999, p. 4). The history of women or gender and development theory is interwoven with the history of policy interventions in developing countries and with the history of the women’s movement throughout the world (Connelly et al., 2000).
b) Why is it important to have a feminist perspective on development?
c) What are the consequences of not having this perspective?
Feminist perspectives on development can be summarised in the three paradigms as WID, WAD and GAD. The WID approach has highlighted the developmental needs of the women like employment, opportunities and education. The WAD approach has highlighted the uniqueness of women’s work, knowledge, responsibilities. The GAD approach focuses on the oppression of the Women differently as per their history, culture, position. These approaches continue to evolve and make new research with line to emerging issues. Each approach has made distinct contributions to knowledge and perspectives of feminist thought on development.
These feminist theories affect the development paradigms in the sense that they will have an effect in the policy making; enter into the planning framework for gender base approaches. Drolet in her article on microcredit shows how "the feminist empowerment paradigm is helpful in understanding the forces that have an impact on women as they negotiate their microcredit loans (drolet, 2010). It helps the practioners to concentrate on what women want in cultural context rather than what is needed according to their development approach. Various studies have demonstrated that women’s empowerment has different dimensions and levels, some of which are linked to a woman’s individual situation and abilities and others of which are dependent on a woman’s environment. Feminist theories continue to affect development paradigms and thus play a critical role in shaping the past, present, and future discourse in social work (ibid).
If we see the planning process in India in a feminist perspective, gendered analysis was to be done and that women are to be recognised as the active growth agents in the process of development. The strategies for growth proposed in the Twelfth Plan appear to be formulated with little consideration for the needs and roles of large sections of the population of the country and especially those of poor women (Planning Commission 2011). The planning commission recognises the fact that we haven’t yet taken care of women with necessary programmes. All this kind of thinking comes from the GAD perspective which is the latest feminist thought.
Despite several decades of struggle by women’s groups to make policy gender-sensitive, the approach to the Twelfth Plan exhibits insufficient awareness of the specific problems of women, their unpaid labour and their distinctive economic contribution to the nation’s economy. (Planning Commission 2011). So a lot of research from the feminist perspective has to be done to solve the problems of women. There is an urgent need for policymakers to take cognisance of the roles women have traditionally played in many vital sectors of the economy. Improving their productivity in those occupations will not only be equitable but will also lead to a more efficient use of national resources ( Mridul Eapen, Aasha Kapur Mehta,2012).
After many years of gender budgeting also we are not able to empower women in many aspects. The main reason for this is that we are only allocating resources but not implementing the schemes whole heartedly. Only after WID, WAD and GAD the perspective on what needs to be done has been evolving. Gender-responsive budgeting (GRB) should go beyond a number-crunching game of estimating the flow of budgetary resources to women, "to engage with the overall determination of macroeconomic policy and the degree to which there is adequate support for social investment and provision of public goods" (Elson 2011: 17). So, policy imperatives and ground level work to be done has come to the forefront only with the work done through the feminist perspective.
While ill-health affects both men and women, the problems get compounded for women due to higher morbidity in both rural and urban areas, lack of access to and control over resources, restrictions on mobility, unrecognised care work burden, high levels of anaemia and greater fear of stigma(Drolet, 2010). Women additionally also face domestic violence and other forms of harassment. Health, education and other issues are where women needs further support. So we need data of women and men separately to identify how much are support required.
Form all the above discussion it can be seen that it is due the perspective of feminists that has brought a change in attitudes in the people. The process has been evolving and still a paradigm that needs to be more worked on. The consequences of not having these perspectives would have been disastrous especially in the third world countries where women are more marginalised in any section of the society. They have to face all types of opposition in culturally, traditionally and societal. Things are especially prone to change only because of this rigorous process of research and perspectives.