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Twenty five years ago progressive staff in international development institutions argued that women as well as men should be beneficiaries of development. Hard-nosed neo-liberal male economists interpreted this argument as women as consumers rather than as producers of wealth. When thought about at all, they were seen as a category of the population that had specific needs, such as water and firewood (men apparently never going thirsty or needing to eat). Women had babies. They were wealth consumers, not producers. Rosalind Eyben asks if the trend in global policy towards market-led growth is seeing these positions returning?

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