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Old Thursday, February 01, 2007
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Post Balancing the gender equation

Balancing the gender equation – Men’s important role in achieving gender equality in development co-operation

Introduction: Gender equality has been one of the core goals in international development co-operation for several decades. ‘Gender and Development’ (GAD) is currently the most prominent approach with respect to gender issues in the field of development co-operation. It has evolved from its earlier forms of ‘Women in Development’ (WID) and ‘Women and Development’ (WAD) which came into existence in the 1970s. The WID and WAD approaches concentrated solely on women in terms of integrating them into the economic sphere and production activities, and in terms of overcoming the oppressive structures of capitalism and patriarchy. The importance of the WID approach should not be dismissed as it introduced women’s concerns into the field of development co-operation at large. Later, the new GAD paradigm has continued working towards gender equality, albeit from a more holistic perspective through the concept of gender. (Visvanathan 1997; Young 2002.)
Gender, by definition, refers to the socially constructed relationship between men and women (Moser 1993). In its focus on the relationship rather than one sex in particular, the GAD approach, in principle, welcomes men as part of the equation. It aims at challenging rigid gender roles and power hierarchies. It views gender relations as highly complex, and women and men as internally heterogeneous social categories instead of monolithic entities. (Visvanathan 1997.)
However, the GAD approach has recently received some criticism for, intentionally or not, continuing the legacy of the WID approach by mostly concentrating on women. (Chant 2000.) Many scholars have pointed out that the very discourse of GAD, used by both men and women, has tended to marginalize men via concentrating more on women as well as presenting men in the homogeneous light of negative stereotypes. Some of the gender stereotypes frequently found in the GAD discourse include viewing all men as “pampered sons and patriarchs” as well as Southern men as lazy, self-centred, ignorant, promiscuous, violent drunkards. (White 1997, 2000; Jolly 2004; Datta 2004; Greene 2000; Large 1997.) At the same time, stereotypes of women as universally vulnerable, understanding, emotional and caring are prominent. (Crewe and Harrison 1998.)
One of the factors contributing to the emergence of male sensitive gender politics in the field of development co-operation has been the internal pressure and criticism by the GAD advocates themselves (Pearson 2000a). The emergence of the “male sensitive GAD” is also linked with the evolution of ‘mainstreaming’ and ‘equality’ approaches (1) in gender policy in development co-operation (Chant and Gutmann 2000). A general interest during the twentieth century in gender issues, and their relation to globalization, drew attention to the changing roles of men in society (Chant 2000). In the Nordic countries, there has been wider interest in acknowledging and strengthening the role of men in gender policies at large, as well as engaging men in the gender discourse without forgetting the advancement of women’s status at the same time (Varanka 2005).
Some scholars have gone as far as suggesting a separate approach for men and gender, such as MAD or MID. However, just as focussing on women only, concentrating on men only lacks the transformative power that enables wider advancement of gender equality. In principle, GAD as a holistic framework does not treat men as a homogeneous group of oppressors or label them as fundamentally bad. Similarly, it does not treat women as somehow closer to “correct” and more acceptable behaviour in terms of gender relations. (Young 1997.) Therefore, it can be said that GAD as a framework provides substantial opportunity for working towards gender equality through joint efforts – if there is political will to do so.
This is not to say that there is no need for gender-specific development initiatives for men and women as social groups – provided that such initiatives serve the purpose of working towards gender equality. Although the focus of this article is on promoting the role of men as part of gender and development initiatives, the importance of furthering the status of underprivileged women is not to be undermined or dismissed as redundant. This article is based on the writer’s Master’s Thesis examining how men at the beneficiary level (2) have been included in GAD at the levels of discourse and practice in Uganda (See Heinonen 2006).
Why should men be included? Some feminists have voiced their objections to men’s inclusion by arguing that it would remove attention away from underprivileged women and that men would somehow “take over” (Cleaver 2002). This fear of including men also frequently entails the fear that the limited funds for gender work in development co-operation will be reallocated to men respectively (Chant and Gutmann 2000). Moreover, some development organizations prefer women-only interventions to avoid entering into the more problematic and complex areas of relationships and sexual identities (Cleaver 2002). This is further maintained by the lack of guidelines on how to include men and in what particular contexts (Chant 2000).
Some reservations have also been expressed by the men themselves. In development organizations men may fear what other people think if they speak for a shift in focus towards including men (Chant and Gutmann 2000). In addition, not all men are attracted to work towards this goal as it may draw attention to their often more privileged status (Lang 2003). At a more general level, there may also an ideological gap between the interests of male beneficiaries in the developing countries and the interests of critical men’s studies in Western societies (Cleaver 2002). Some scholars challenge the very idea of men having been excluded in the first place, as they are often in positions of power in development organizations and generally enjoy a more privileged status in society ( Cornwall and White 2000).
First of all, the international community is bound by conventions such as the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action 1995 which specifically mention the need for encouraging men to participate in actions towards gender equality (United Nations 1995). Moreover, the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) urges governments, organizations, the UN, international financial institutions and the civil society to include men and boys in their gender agendas (United Nations 2004). Several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have also engaged themselves in promoting the inclusion of men into gender and development.
Secondly, women rarely act as autonomous individuals in their communities. By including men, the development interventions become more relevant and workable, which secures more sustainable results. (Chant and Gutmann 2000.) Ultimately this translates into more effective delivery of development services (Cleaver 2002). Including men is also crucial in challenging the traditional gender roles and reducing the workload of women in developing countries (Chant 2000).
Excluding men may be just as problematic with respect to limited budgets to gender work as including men. As men are in key positions in many donor organizations, including men may assist in obtaining a bigger share of funds earmarked for gender initiatives. (Chant and Gutmann 2000.) Moreover, Sternberg and Hubley (2004) argue that the fear of distorted budgets in favour of men is unrealistic as there is clear evidence of, for example in the reproductive health sector, that many men approve and care about family planning and the welfare of their families, and in actual fact wish to be involved in activities promoting such goals.
Fourthly, the benefits of women-only projects, which often give less attention to the long-term strategic gender interests of women, are limited. For example, women are frequently unable to influence the course of development of their entire household in issues such as each family member’s sexual or dietary behaviour. (Chant and Gutmann 2000.)
There has also been a lot of debate on the crisis of masculinity, in which men’s traditional gender roles are increasingly under pressure as the structures in the economy, society and household change. If not acknowledged, this may increase anti-social or violent behaviour by men (Cleaver 2002; Chant 2000.) All gendered vulnerabilities must be taken into account when planning for development, which also means that men are not automatically taken as the privileged ones. In fact, men also suffer from social and economic structures, the patriarchy and hegemonic models of masculinity. For example, within the social sector there is increasing demand for initiatives for men in the matters of mental health, exposure to pesticides and HIV-AIDS infections. (Cleaver 2002; White 1997.)
Sixthly, the present discourse and practice of men’s inclusion in gender and development work is rather limited in scope as it mostly concentrates on themes such as violence, reproductive health and family planning. For a more holistic approach on gender relations, it is necessary also to include issues such as intra-household budgeting, labour market distortions, education and training, and the legal basis of property rights of men and women, for example. (Pearson 2000b.)
The present-day discourse on development policy emphasizes what is called the ‘rights-based approach’ which stresses, not the needs, but the rights of people in developing countries in receiving development assistance. Drawing on this approach, Chant (2000) argues that excluding men denies them of the rights that have been granted to women, and it is therefore fundamentally unjust. On the other hand, she points out that using the human rights argument is not very convincing as women have also been excluded from the very concept by creating a separate category of “women’s rights”.
As men are already involved – and often in powerful positions – throughout society, it is even more important to work with them rather than against them. Many political forces in developing countries assign power to men, and it is therefore crucial to include men in joining forces towards gender equality and preventing unnecessary conflicts. (Pearson 2000b.) However, the actual discourse and practice of GAD have shown that men have been put aside.
Therefore, the notion of negotiated gender roles is important. This way women and men may engage themselves in renegotiating their roles and the models of femininity and masculinity. (Cleaver 2002; Chant and Gutmann 2000.) Indeed, strong arguments for so called ‘strategic gender partnerships’ have been presented, in which men are valuable partners in the quest for gender equality. Nordic feminism, particularly, has presented men as important allies in the process of working towards gender equality. In a similar vein, certain activities that target and involve men have been seen positively. (Malmi 2005.)
Ways forward: It is pivotal to step away from the bipolar conflict thinking and the win-lose scenario of power between the sexes, which are all too often taken as starting points. Power is frequently seen as a zero-sum game between the sexes. The real world is better seen as more complex, and consisting of multiple situations in which individuals have differing degrees of power over other individuals. It should be remembered that gender is only one dimension influencing this complex reality of social relations.
Including men is relevant because no policies or practices can escape the fact that gender influences development co-operation in all of its sectors and spheres. Therefore, men are just as much influenced by development co-operation interventions as women are, and should be included as valuable actors in the process – not as obstacles to achieving gender equality for women. It is everyone’s responsibility to take gender into account in a balanced way and ensure that men’s voices are not altogether dismissed in gender and development interventions. Scaling up the unit of analysis from the level of individuals as homogeneous representatives of either sex to the household level may be useful in achieving a more holistic representation of gender relations in a given context.
Similarly at the discourse level, men need to be better represented in organizational, national and international guidelines and policies relating to gender and development. As gender is a cross-cutting issue, there is a need for greater policy coherence in terms of men as part of ‘gender’. There should not be a separate approach for men, but rather the gender mainstreaming approach should be made more coherent with its original definition.
The lessons leant from the case of Uganda include the local contextualization of men’s inclusion as beneficiaries. It should be noted that men’s subject positions are in actual fact multiple, ranging from resistance to caring. Similarly, it is important to understand local reactions by, and local priorities of, male beneficiaries. Gender in development co-operation still dismisses these reactions and priorities as it chooses to concentrate mostly on women. (Heinonen 2006.)
The implications for the project design in development co-operation include that the sectoral domains of men’s inclusion should be seen more dynamic than merely involving sectors of health and family planning as well as violence against women. Through applying the contextualization of men’s inclusion together with gender mainstreaming, there may be a need for redesigning gender interventions. Identifying the groups of vulnerable men in a given context may shed light into how to better start including male beneficiaries as the other half of the gender equation at all phases of the co-operation projects. (Heinonen 2006.)
When an equal gender partnership is genuinely negotiated and aspired towards, there is no fearing that men will somehow take over. At the same time, there is a need for caution of not falling into the same pitfalls of the “add-on rationale” by the WID approach. To acquire long lasting structural transformations in gender relationships, the focus should inevitably be on holistic gender relations inclusive of both sexes. (Mis)taking ‘gender’ as a synonym for ‘women’ is not only old-fashioned but also fundamentally unjust (just as excluding women would be). Such misconceptions undermine the work towards gender equality.
The experiences from Uganda show that gender in the context of development co-operation is still very much concentrated on women, but through the concept of gender partnership there is more room for men in the gender equation. However, the rationale for men’s inclusion still seems to be more reflective of the needs-based than the rights-based approach. There is a need for contextualizing the efforts with respect to men’s inclusion to understand the local culture, possible forms of resistance and men’s priorities and vulnerabilities. Investigating the local best practices in terms of efforts in including men offers a chance for learning and, ultimately, balancing the gender equation in development co-operation (Heinonen 2006).

GAD: Gender and Development
WAD: Women and Development
WID: Women in Development


Regards.
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  #2  
Old Thursday, February 01, 2007
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Dear Thanks for sharing these approaches.

There is anothe approach known as

GID "Gender in Development"

Please check that as well.

Its good that there is a bit of critical analysis on these appraoches.

What is your point of view on these appraoches, what is suitable for our society (keeping in view of the in depth knowledge and understanding of these approaches)?

I will go for

...........................

Why??
Guess!!!!!!!!!!!! and reply I will post my comments.

Dear, how you took definition of Gender???

"Roles and responsibilities assigned to men and women by society"

Don't you think that there one word missing, i.e

Indigenous
before society.

now again

Why????


and if we put this word, what overall impact it will create in development cooperation???

Guess and post your comments.

I will define and clarify things for you.



Please note that I am discussing things in the lights of my experience.

So be pragmatic in your discussion.

Cheers

AA
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  #3  
Old Friday, February 02, 2007
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Salam
Quote:
Originally Posted by amjad777
Dear Thanks for sharing these approaches.

There is anothe approach known as

GID "Gender in Development"

Please check that as well.

Its good that there is a bit of critical analysis on these appraoches.

As regard to ur post Blancing the gender equation...
Actually Im the student of Women's Studies and i'm studying approaches but i didnt learn or havent any information abt the GID i have also read abt WED.

As u ask abt

What is your point of view on these appraoches, what is suitable for our society (keeping in view of the in depth knowledge and understanding of these approaches)?

I will go for
...........................

Hmm in my point of view these all approaches are by come from west no worries if we ignored this soo abt WID we cant apply this on our society cause women are already working as a part in development ..
Criticism: WID didnt recognize the contribution of Marxist or Neo-Marxist analysis, it overlook the impact of class, race and education.It focus exclusively on the production aspects of women work ignoring reproductive side of women life.It is based on assumptions that gender development is changed by themselves as women become full economic partners.
WAD perspective focused only on relationship b/w women and development.but it fails to undertake a full scale analysis of the relationship b/w patriarchy diff modes of production of women sub-ordination and oppression. It assumes that women position will improve if and when international structures became more equitable. It also focused on production sector only at the expanse of reproduction side of women work.
ok after that last GAD abt this approach it is not concern with women perse but with social construction of gender and assignments of specific role, responsibilities, and expectations from women and men.But it sees women as agent of change rather than passive recipients. This approach question the under line assumptions of current social, economic and political status. GAD approach doesnt lead itself to integrate into ongoing development strategies and progress even socialist center have shown less interest in referring gender by biases.
When GAD approach came into being they totally ignored the current affairs of that time may b that called RECESSION PERIOD cause of this they got very bad influence on their socio-economic condition.
But any how GAD is better than the above two approaches.

Why??
Guess!!!!!!!!!!!! and reply I will post my comments.

I dont know Why ... and y u have soo much interest in this im waiting for ur comments.

Dear, how you took definition of Gender???

The concept of gender refers not only to women and men but importantly to the relation of power b/w them. Gender relations are constantly renegotiated in the context of changing political, economical, social and cultural environment at the local, national and international level.

"Roles and responsibilities assigned to men and women by society"
This is right definition.

Don't you think that there one word missing, i.e

Indigenous
before society.

now again

Why????


and if we put this word, what overall impact it will create in development cooperation???

Guess and post your comments.

I havent any comments on this or may b i didnt get ur point.

I will define and clarify things for you.
Please note that I am discussing things in the lights of my experience.
So be pragmatic in your discussion.
Cheers
AA
Thankz!!!
It will be pleasure for me.
Its ok i know u are discussing things in the lights of ur experience.

Regards.
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  #4  
Old Friday, February 02, 2007
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Post Gid

Salam
[QUOTE=amjad777]Dear Thanks for sharing these approaches.

There is anothe approach known as

Quote:
Originally Posted by amjad777
GID "Gender in Development"

Please check that as well.

Its good that there is a bit of critical analysis on these appraoches.
As regard to ur post Blancing the gender equation...
Actually Im the student of Women's Studies and i'm studying approaches but i didnt learn or havent any information abt the GID i have also read abt WED.

As u ask abt

Quote:
Originally Posted by amjad777
What is your point of view on these appraoches, what is suitable for our society (keeping in view of the in depth knowledge and understanding of these approaches)?

I will go for
...........................
Hmm in my point of view these all approaches are by come from west no worries if we ignored this soo abt WID we cant apply this on our society cause women are already working as a part in development ..
Criticism: WID didnt recognize the contribution of Marxist or Neo-Marxist analysis, it overlook the impact of class, race and education.It focus exclusively on the production aspects of women work ignoring reproductive side of women life.It is based on assumptions that gender development is changed by themselves as women become full economic partners.
WAD perspective focused only on relationship b/w women and development.but it fails to undertake a full scale analysis of the relationship b/w patriarchy diff modes of production of women sub-ordination and oppression. It assumes that women position will improve if and when international structures became more equitable. It also focused on production sector only at the expanse of reproduction side of women work.
ok after that last GAD abt this approach it is not concern with women perse but with social construction of gender and assignments of specific role, responsibilities, and expectations from women and men.But it sees women as agent of change rather than passive recipients. This approach question the under line assumptions of current social, economic and political status. GAD approach doesnt lead itself to integrate into ongoing development strategies and progress even socialist center have shown less interest in referring gender by biases.
When GAD approach came into being they totally ignored the current affairs of that time may b that called RECESSION PERIOD cause of this they got very bad influence on their socio-economic condition.
But any how GAD is better than the above two approaches.

Quote:
Originally Posted by amjad777
Why??
Guess!!!!!!!!!!!! and reply I will post my comments.
I dont know Why ... and y u have soo much interest in this im waiting for ur comments.

Quote:
Originally Posted by amjad777
Dear, how you took definition of Gender???
The concept of gender refers not only to women and men but importantly to the relation of power b/w them. Gender relations are constantly renegotiated in the context of changing political, economical, social and cultural environment at the local, national and international level.

Quote:
Originally Posted by amjad777
"Roles and responsibilities assigned to men and women by society"
This is right definition.

Don't you think that there one word missing, i.e

Indigenous
before society.

now again

Why????


and if we put this word, what overall impact it will create in development cooperation???

Guess and post your comments.
I havent any comments on this or may b i didnt get ur point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by amjad777
I will define and clarify things for you.
Please note that I am discussing things in the lights of my experience.
So be pragmatic in your discussion.
Cheers
AA
Thankz!!!
It will be pleasure for me.
Its ok i know u are discussing things in the lights of ur experience.

Regards.
__________________
Mehaak Butt
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  #5  
Old Friday, February 02, 2007
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Default

Good comments dear, somehow bookish!! but good.

Now share more on

GENDER MAINSTREAMING

the latest and crrently used in various organizations all over, whether you agree or not.

Will post my episode after that.

Thanks
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  #6  
Old Sunday, February 04, 2007
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Default Indigenous Society

AOA,
well amjad your talkin about "Indigenous" and then ur further relating it to "society" and then u have asked what sorta impact its gona leave on the development? okey thats fine, but dont u think that its gona leave hertic image on the developemt of PAkistan?, (im not talking about the natives of pakistan) since u have mentioned Indigenous society thats mean "effort to develop native's" and thats cearly means that if we talk about Indigenous society then ppl who are native of pakistan are gonna be benifit, then what the heck witll happen to those who are migrates? dont u think we should develop both natives and thoese who aint native? aint they human or something?

More further...

whats yr views towards empowerment ?
And + what could be your effort/ how could we empower E-g Karachi's women?
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Old Sunday, February 04, 2007
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Waslam hermit!!!

I think you did not get my point clearly (Acetually I was unable to explane it clearly)

I will elaborate my point for you and Ms Mehaak

"Roles and responsibilities assigned to men and women by INDIGENOUS society"

Now see the difference,

If we put the word Indigenous, its mean that what we as a society determine differently for different sexes i.e for men and women. Its mean we had our own culture
Value system
Social norms
Religious obligations.

We had complete and responsible society. So if society determines different roles and responsiblities then

WHY

Exogenous factors and elements would like to intervene??
Why they want to change the roles and responsibilities that society determine itself??
Why efforts are being made to break-up indigenous society??


Think that every subject starts from DEFINITION.

Now see by putting the word INDIGENOUS alot of dimensions,

Development pracitioners are talking about

Community Development (now see definition of community, its not global community its villge level community)
No development expert will talk of top-down, rather bottom-up or grassroot participation and development.


So, keep these few words and see how this one world will change the whole dynamics of Gender interventions. Then there is no need for externals (exogenous elemeents i.e WEST) to determine the roles and responsibilities for men and women of specific society. Socity better knows whats best for them, if no then please check the concept of participation explained by all development practitioners. Check UN, go for CRC (Child Rights Convention '1989'), this convention even stress on children's participation in their own decision making. Its WEST, not me who is saying this. Except two countries every UN Member state had ratified this convention.

Now There is Question of Violence against Women!!

We acknowledge the violence against women is not good, we condemn that. Its Islam that give respect and honour to women then any other religion. We strongly oppose this. Our society is against this, but this is an issue.

What in WEST!!

Where is more violence against women, in our society or in WEST??? Where you will have most rape cases, here or there?? Where women has more respect?? Here or there???



Its our society who care and respect women as a whole in the shape of Mother, Sister, Daughter and even as Wife.

There, women are taken as showpiece, A lover only, a sex toy, untill she had good looks and young and even in that stage she has never been treated as good as in our society.

Pakistani Context!

There are some cases like the recent one of girl rape and compelling her to walk naked at village streets.

Now tell me

Who in our society don't condemn that?? Who like this act?? Definetely no one. Everyone feel bad for it. There are some other issues like that, but the question is that is this sort of roles and responsibilities that our society determine for women?? No, if yes, then why everyone is against such violent behaviour of some men??

(HERE I would say that as per Women Protection Bill, this is gang rape and I think they will not be hanged, because of clauses of bill, although old HUDOOD ORDINANCE was having provision of death panelty for these culprits "Conclusion: WPB is imposed by WEST to breake our socity and make it like...................., see below)
Here we had only few cases/incidence like this one.

What happened in WEST,

Hundreds of thousand young girls are compled to walke/dance naked in bars and clubs. They give it the name of free concent, but they don't explain why?? Why they are doing so?? because they have not been supported by their family, they don't have brother, parents, relatives or husband to support them financially. So its economic compulsion of being raped and walk naked.

There are alot of other aspect, but ...... and will elaborate in next post.

If you had comments/questions please post here.

Thanks

AA
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