Displaying items 46 - 60 of 99 in total
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    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. …

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    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. …

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    Religion And Women's Empowerment Workshop Notes

    This is a note of a workshop held from 10-12 April 2007 in Dhaka on Religion and Women's Empowerment. The aim of the workshop was to understand how religion is experienced in everyday lives among women of various classes in Bangladesh and Pakistan, and learn how women are using interpretations of Islam to empower themselves. …

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    Religion And Women: Trajectories Of Empowement BDI 2

    As Bangladesh turns 40, improvements in women’s wellbeing and increased agency are claimed to be some of the most significant gains in the post-independence era. Various economic and social development indicators show that in the last 20 years, Bangladesh, a poor, Muslim-majority country in the classic patriarchal belt, has made substantial progress in increasing women’s access to education and healthcare (including increasing life expectancy), and in improving women’s participation in the labour force. The actors implementing such programmes and policies and claiming to promote women’s empowerment are numerous, and they occupy a significant position within national political traditions and development discourses. In the 1970s and 1980s development ideas around women’s empowerment in Bangladesh were influenced by an overtly instrumentalist logic within the international donor sphere. …

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    Researching Empowerment: On Methodological Innovations Pitfalls and Challenges 2009 Report

    This paper presented at 'Pathways: What are we Learning?' conference held in Cairo from 20-24 January 2009, reflects on the linguistic and methodological challenges of researching aspects of women's empowerment in Ghana. It shows how by using both surveys and indepth interviews across three generations of women, researchers were able to highlight how various factors such as education changed in significance over time. The research process also drew attention to importance of selecting the right words to use during the planning stages in order to avoid biasing responses, for instance the words for 'empowerment' and 'empowering' had different significance in terms of strength and type. …

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    Researching Women's Empowerment: Reflections on Methodology by Southern Feminists

    The articles in this collection are based on papers presented by authors and the collective reflections of participants and external resource persons from a workshop on methods organised by Pathways in December 2012. These articles represent the experience of conducting specific research projects on women's empowerment in Bangladesh, Egypt, Ghana, Brazil, and Palestine. During the workshop, the participants collectively reflected on the practical experience of investigating empowerment in a particular country context and through this lens re-examined theorising on feminist methodology. They began with an appreciation of the contradictions and complexities underscored by earlier feminist analysis of women's empowerment and the use of feminist methodology to examine women's experience in the global South. …

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    Security And The Pathways Of Women's Empowerment, IDS WP 406

    While security and women’s empowerment are both prominent development concerns, there has to date been little sustained analysis of the relationship between the two. An unexamined assumption appears to be that insecurity – violence and rights abuses – prevent women from gaining power over their lives through full social, economic or political participation. But how and how much does insecurity structure women’s agency? In which domains and contexts are these insecurities prominent? And what are the policy and practical implications of the relationship between women’s security and processes of empowerment in contemporary developing countries? This paper reports on an effort to derive lessons about how security and insecurity shape processes of women’s empowerment in developing countries through a thematic synthesis of a collection of research outputs from a five-year programme of research on the Pathways of Women’s Empowerment. The programme covered four broad thematic areas: voice (political mobilisation), paid work, body (or changing narratives of sexuality) and concepts of empowerment. …

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    Small Powers, Little Choice: Contextualising Reproductive And Sexual Rights In Slums In Bangladesh, IDS Bulletin, 37.5

    How do young married women fare in an urban slum in Bangladesh? This article is based on in-depth ethnographic fieldwork among 153 married adolescent girls, aged 15–19, in a Dhaka slum, carried out from December 2001–January 2003. The author finds a shift away from the traditional arranged marriage practices, with 81 out of 153 young women having “love” marriages. Young women now have greater mobility and freedom to choose their own partners, but at the same time, face greater instability in marital relations. The lived experiences of engaging in sexual relations with their spouses are fraught with contradictions. …

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    Subversively Accommodating: Feminist Bureaucrats and Gender Mainstreaming

    Is it possible to secure the desired policy action 'infusing' gender into existing ways of doing and organising things - and by so doing to incrementally secure real gains for women? Or will transformative policies for women's empowerment only be achieved through discursive and organisational transformation? …

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    The Empowerment Of Women: Rights And Entitlements In Arab Worlds, In Gender Rights And Development: A Global Sourcebook

    This chapter argues that the instrumentalist approach to women’s empowerment has created a broad near consensus around some rights, but has failed to engage with the political processes which determine how rights in general are defined and made operational in society. The timid approach to gender rights as an avenue to well-being has failed to question why these rights have been denied, and how this denial has been ideologically legitimized. Unitary and rigid interpretations of religion, culture, and tradition have been doled out as reasons why the structural meanings of empowerment are unsuited to and unpopular in Arab Muslim countries. The contest between the basic needs approach to empowerment and the more radical rights-based approach defines current approaches to gender and empowerment. …

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    The Under Reporting Of Women’s Economic Activity In Bangladesh: An Examination Of Official Statistics. BDI 1

    In Bangladesh women are engaged in a variety of economic activities ranging from homestead based expenditure saving activities to outside paid work. However, women's work always remains under reported, especially women’s non‐market homestead based economic activities. Under reporting is particularly critical in the case of official statistics. The types of work women are involved in are often overlooked by women themselves. …

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    Unmarried In Palestine: Embodiment And (Dis)Empowerment In The Lives Of Single Palestinian Women (Article)

    There are rising numbers of single women across the Arab world. While this is usually connected with delayed marriage, Palestine shows a unique pattern of early but not universal marriage. This article looks beneath the statistics to investigate the stories behind this trend. How do young unmarried women negotiate boundaries and understand and enact choice in the context of a society experiencing prolonged insecure and warlike conditions, political crisis and social fragmentation and where the high number of unmarried women can be an increasing locus of moral panic? In conducting focus groups with two generations of women, my research looks at the prevailing importance of education, civil society and security in negotiating space within women's lives and uncovers a long tradition of unmarried women leading full and significant lives which needs to be recovered from the past. …

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    Unmarried In Palestine: Embodiment And (Dis)Empowerment In The Lives Of Single Palestinian Women (Report)

    Using topical life stories, focus groups, data and discourse analysis, this paper, presented to 'Pathways: What are we Learning?' Analysis Conference, Cairo, 20-24 January 2009, explores the experiential diversity and thematic commonalities in the lives of Palestinian unmarried women, in the context of a society experiencing prolonged warlike conditions, political crisis, and social disruption. In particular, the project examines dynamics of choice, embodiment, responsibility, and survival, as well as attempt identify structural, social, political and economic factors shaping Palestine’s rather unique pattern of early, but not universal marriage, with a relatively high proportion of never-married women (but not men) over time. Comparing topical life stories of an earlier generation of largely educated unmarried women (now 40-65) who often had a clear trajectory of a life committed to the national project e and/or self-improvement with the diverse voices found in focus groups of contemporary young women (18-25) in diverse locations in the West Bank offers a window into how choice and responsibility operate differentially in the lives of unmarried women. Issues explored are how unmarried women place and value themselves in family and societal settings, how families and communities view unmarried women and shape these choices and responsibilities, and how unmarried women narrate marriageability, self-fashioning, and embodiment. …

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    Voice And Women's Empowerment: Mapping A Research Agenda, Pathways Brief 2

    The number of women in public office is an inadequate proxy for assessing ‘women’s political voice’ in public decision-making as it is based on the assumption that female public officials will - by virtue of their gender - seek to promote women’s rights and gender specific issues. This Policy_Brief seeks to explain how a critical analysis of the concept of ‘representation’ can help researchers understand the reasons why numbers alone is not enough to ensure an amplification of women’s public voice and substantive transformation of policy. …

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    Voice And Women's Empowerment: Mapping A Research Agenda, Pathways Working Paper 2

    The number of women in public office is an inadequate proxy for assessing ‘women’s political voice’ in public decision-making as it is based on the assumption that female public officials will - by virtue of their gender - seek to promote women’s rights and gender specific issues. This Working Paper seeks to explain how a critical analysis of the concept of ‘representation’ can help researchers understand the reasons why numbers alone is not enough to ensure an amplification of women’s public voice and substantive transformation of policy. …