Women in Development vs. Gender and Development Essay

2250 Words Mar 10th, 2010 9 Pages
Most of the people who inhabit this world live in poverty. However, women are more likely than men to be impoverished. This is called the feminization of poverty.[1] In the 1970s, feminists and agents of development came up with an approach to address this problem called the Women in Development [WID] approach. As the years went by, this approach was criticized. A new approach emerged out of this critique called Gender and Development [GAD] approach. This paper makes two arguments: that GAD is the best approach to address the inequalities women experience in developing countries, and that the WID approach must also play a supportive role in addressing these inequalities. A crucial difference between the GAD approach and the …show more content…
There are obvious benefits to this. When a woman has an income, it helps to raise her and her family out of poverty. It also theoretically gives the woman economic power which should translate to relational power within the family and social power within the community. However, the structures of gender inequality may prevent her from benefiting from her income. Although the money was earned by the woman, her husband may feel that by right of his male privilege he should take control over it, and thus her relational power within the family will not increase.[12] In fact, it is possible that her relational power within the family may actually diminish. Patriarchy teaches us that within a relationship one must either be dominant or subordinate. Patriarchy also teaches us that masculinity is defined by power. When these lessons are combined with the ideology of capitalism, which equates money with power, a woman earning money within the family may feel quite threatening to her husband’s sense of power, masculinity, and his very position within the relationship. He may then compensate for this by exercising power in other ways, such as violence towards his wife, which will also allow him to express his resentment towards her for disrupting his masculine identity. Another major distinction between the WID approach and the GAD approach is that the WID approach focuses on ‘women’s’ issues in a way that separates them from ‘real’ development

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