Displaying items 1 - 15 of 16 in total
  • Archive Resource

    An Unholy Trinity: The Church, The State, The Banks And The Challenges For Women Mobilising For Change In Nicaragua

    The paper explores the increasing inter-connectivity of the economic and religious ‘right’ through consideration of recent events in Nicaragua. It examines the policy discourse of the state and the international development banks though consideration of a Conditional Cash Transfer programme and highlights how this draws on notions of family and family values, notions more generally promoted by the Church. It suggests that those that seek to resist the actions of these three actors face a difficult challenge, not least since their own counter-actions continue to be largely un-connected. The discussion highlights how on the one hand women’s movements have tended to focus on the threats to sexual and reproductive rights from neo-conservative forces, while on the other, those that work with women’s groups at the community level have tended to respond to the real economic need of the women that result from neo-liberal policies. …

  • Archive Resource

    Challenging Empowerment

    McFadden argues that societies in the South have been approached from a particular research gaze that is derived from a liberal epistemology that focuses on the individual; it simplifies women’s lives and is both methodologically and politically inadequate and deeply problematic. Empowerment as a notion is, too, embedded in liberal and neo-liberal worldviews and is ideologically flawed. With this liberal and neo-liberal development discourse in mind, McFadden looks at empowerment, MDGs, gender and human rights, and citizenship, entitlement and rights and analyses how they are embedded in this ideology. …

  • Archive Resource

    Counting The Cost Of Privatised Provision: Women, Rights And The Neoliberal Health Reforms In Chile

    This paper traces the reshaping of the right to health under neoliberal reforms and considers the new Plan AUGE that has been implemented in the health sector in Chile. The paper highlights how women’s right to health has been challenged by the marketisation of health care services. At the same time the paper demonstrates how a limited notion of women’s health is being promoted, one that notably excludes women’s reproductive rights. The Plan AUGE will improve women’s access to health care services but does little to challenge the underlying gendered assumptions around unpaid work and women’s reproductive rights remain severely restricted. …

  • Archive Resource

    Empowerment From The Semiperiphery Perspective

    Blagojevic reflects on empowerment. She looks at the history of ‘empowerment’ in Serbia, from the debate over its translation to the co-opting of the concept by donors to enforce democratic, neo-liberal policies, with the result that empowerment simply instrumentalized women. She provides a definition of empowerment that links it with rights and introduces the concept of ‘de-development’ to indicate when development does not equal progress, linking this concept to MGDs. In relation to the Balkans, Blagojevic suggests that gender equality instead of empowerment may be a better term to use. …

  • Archive Resource

    Holding It Together In A Crisis: Family Strengthening And Embedding Neoliberalism

    The paper seeks to intervene in debates about the role of crisis in Post Washington Consensus (PWC) policymaking. Gender and, especially, sexuality are largely absent from that debate. My paper asks: What do experiences of crisis reveal about the inter-connections between crisis, gender, and sexuality? In concrete crisis conditions, which common sense groundworks of the present (Nikolas Rose) get unsettled, which get re-entrenched, and what is the role of the development industry in this process? Using policy texts, interviews with Bank policymakers, and fieldwork on a family strengthening loan in Argentina, I argue that the denaturalization of free markets in the PWC is articulated, in part, through the re-naturalization of monogamous heterosexual couplehood. With the injuries of neoliberalism framed as injuries to loving couplehood, the Bank and its allies resolve to (re)generate intimate partnership as defining feature of the post-crisis era, raising crucial questions about the new regimes of heteronormativity under construction in contemporary development practice. …

  • Archive Resource

    Interrogating the Rights Discourse on Girls' Education: Neocolonialism, Neoliberalism, and the Post-Beijing Platform for Action

    This article examines how girls’ education since 1995 has emerged as a prominent symbol within the ‘rights’ discourse coming out of the Beijing Platform for Action. By highlighting the neo-liberal and neo-colonial processes during this time, particular shifts are traced which show how girls’ education has been a symbolic part of the geo-political canvas in Pakistan and Afghanistan alongside the ‘war on terror’ and universalisation of education. The article refers to alternative voices which have attempted to disrupt the global narrative of the post-Beijing ‘rights’ agenda and points to the problems of this in the context of occupations, militarisation, and markets being used simultaneously as strategies for global governance and order. …

  • Archive Resource

    Introduction: Reclaiming Feminism, Gender And Neoliberalism

    Neoliberalism – that ‘grab-bag of ideas based on the fundamentalist notion that markets are self-correcting, allocate resources efficiently and serve the public interest well’, as Stiglitz (2008) puts it – has been a focal point for contestation in development. Feminists have highlighted its deleterious effects on women’s lives and on gender relations. They have drawn attention to the extent to which the institutions promoting neoliberal economic and social policies have undermined a more progressive agenda, as they have come to appropriate words such as ‘empowerment’ and ‘agency’ and eviscerate them of any association with a project of progressive social change. This collection of articles brings together reflections from a diversity of locations on prospects for reclaiming these ideas and using them to reframe and revitalise feminist concepts like ‘agency’ and ‘empowerment’, we argue, we need to return to and reaffirm their ‘liberating’ dimensions, reaffirming their association with forms of collective action that involve resisting and transgressing repressive social norms. …

  • Archive Resource

    Marriage, Motherhood And Masculinity In The Global Economy, Open Democracy

    In this article, Naila Kabeer looks at the rising global phenomenon of the female breadwinner. This phenomenon has had an impact on relations of social reproduction, family structure and size, and on global trade, which has, as a result, seen a rise in global mail-order bride services and the globalization of the sex trade. …

  • Archive Resource

    Reclaiming 'Agency', Reasserting Resistance

    This paper examines how concepts of women’s ‘agency’ have been appropriated and transformed by neo-liberal discourses. Within this framework, the exercise of agency is sought in women’s strategies for survival rather than struggles for transformation, and at the level of the individual rather than the collective. Post-modern preoccupations with the subject and the recognition of ‘difference’ have been incorporated alongside liberal definitions of the ‘rational individual exercising free will’ to pursue and legitimise neo-liberal economic policies involving intensified exploitation of poor women’s labour. Meanwhile the emphasis on women’s agency marginalizes analysis of oppressive structures, and shifts the focus away from patriarchal ideologies. …

  • Archive Resource

    Reclaiming Feminism: Gender And Neoliberalism

    Even the most devoted believers in the neoliberal paradigm will have had their convictions shaken recently, as the world’s markets have played havoc with their faith. For those who have long questioned the purported benefits of neoliberal economic policies and highlighted their injurious consequences, it comes as little surprise that this 'grab-bag of ideas' is in freefall. The focus of this IDS Bulletin is particularly apposite at a time when much-cherished axioms are being re-inspected and where new possibilities and directions are so badly needed. Contributors add to a growing, vibrant debate about Gender and Development. …

  • Archive Resource

    Reclaiming Feminism: Gender And Neo-Liberalism Conference

    This conference, held at the Institute of Development Studies from 9-10 July 2007, was co-hosted by the Pathways of Women's Empowerment Research Programme and Birkbeck College, London. The Pathways programme linked with openDemocracy to provide communications outputs from this conference. Building on recent work which highlights the need to critically reassess approaches to gender within mainstream development theory and practice, this workshop focused specifically on whether, and if so how, dominant neo-liberal discourses of development have systematically appropriated and transformed feminist concepts - and on the prospects for reclaiming and reframing feminist engagement with development. …

  • Archive Resource

    The Ethics Of Empowerment

    In this article, Koggel reflects on the various influences on her thinking on gender and development, including a research project in Indonesia to explore the possible gaps between the World Bank’s understanding of empowerment and social science theory and NGO practice prior to mainstreaming the concept; capabilities theory and the difference between empowerment and agency; and the rhetoric of empowerment. She discusses the importance of contextual analyses and of the limitations of generalized policies or principles designed to promote ‘development’ or empower women. An important lesson for development ethicists is the need to pay attention to and analyse relations of power – including the overarching factor of economic globalization in the form of neo-liberal and capitalist assumptions and structures. Another important lesson is the one she learned from Sen's complex analysis of poverty: that ethical issues of development are as relevant to ‘developed’ countries as they are to poor ‘developing’ countries. …

  • Archive Resource

    Whose Money Is It?': On Misconceiving Female Autonomy And Economic Empowerment In Low-Income Households

    This article argues that the slip between policy intension and outcome in policies addressing women and money lies in three neo-liberal assumptions: that individuals have clear title to their earnings, that markets are not socially constructed and that viewing individuals and families as isolated units of subsistence is a valid analytical method. It argues that critiques of development policy that are rooted in individualised conceptualisations and measurement of female autonomy and empowerment do not adequately challenge these assumptions, instead they tend to rely on them themselves. It also suggests that feminist critiques are based on the double standard that women should have clear title to their earnings and assets, while men should be supporting the family. Using research undertaken in South India, this article demonstrates that the social construction of credit, labour, housing and marriage markets determine the extent to which women can benefit from improved livelihoods. …

  • Research Project

    Development Gender and Empowerment 53.2

    This special issue of 'Development' picks up some of the contentions and contestations that have accompanied the uptake of 'women's empowerment' by the development industry. Contributors reflect on their own personal and political engagement with the term and what it has come to represent. …

  • Research Project

    Open Democracy - 50.50

    Articles by Pathways of Women's Empowerment researchers for Open Democracy's 50:50 section which features and analysis and news from women working around the world on issues of women's rights and empowerment. …