Gender-CLD Article References & Abstracts

Asaki, Becca and Shannon Hayes. 2011 “Leaders, not clients: grassroots women’s groups transforming social protection.” Gender and Development 19, No. 2, Social protection: 241-253. DOI:10.1080/13552074.2011.592634. 

Abstract:  Analyzing grassroots women’s groups in Kenya, Brazil, and Peru and their impact on CLD, this article emphasizes the necessity of women’s empowerment within the broader framework of what is necessary in the development of any given community; the article demonstrates the capacities of grassroots women’s groups to provide for themselves and their communities a greater degree of social protection. Asking “Why do we need to expand our understanding of social protection?,” the article proposes “that social protection policies can and should be designed to address severe and long-term poverty, stop shocks, build assets, promote well-being, address inequitable social relations, and redress inequality.” Sans the services and social protections of a given respective developing state, these grassroots women’s groups effectively and efficiently handle immense community issues such as HIV/AIDS medical care, group financing schemes, food insecurity, and more. In Peru specifically, the national network of community/communal kitchens and the grassroots womens’ groups that support them have in turn created women leaders and ‘rights advocates’ who are able to raise such groups’ concerns with municipal and federal officials. 

Bolin, Anna. 2018. “Transforming gender relations: upscaling collective action in women’s entrepreneurship.” IIED Briefing Paper (July). http://pubs.iied.org/17475IIED

Abstract/Summary: Strengthening gender equality in business is an important and valid entry point to achieve Sustainable Development Goals that leave no-one behind. Making progress on gender means tackling entrenched power inequalities in diverse societies. At the heart of gender inequality lie systems of patriarchy and related socio-cultural norms which must be challenged at multiple levels. In practice, social and religious taboos restrict entry points. But upscaling collective action to strengthen women’s role in business can be facilitated. Phase I of the Forest and Farm Facility (FFF) used peer mentoring, business incubation and networking to increase gender equality and reduce poverty within Forest and Farm Producer Organisations (FFPOs) and their businesses. Future actions will be tracked to ensure greater representation, recognition and resource redistribution to women at household, institution and national levels.

Chomat, A.M., Menchú, A.I., Andersson, N. et al. 2019. “Women’s circles as a culturally safe psychosocial intervention in Guatemalan indigenous communities: a community-led pilot randomised trial.” BMC Women’s Health 19, 53. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12905-019-0744-z

Background: Indigenous Maya women in Guatemala show some of the worst maternal health indicators worldwide. Our objective was to test acceptability, feasibility and impact of a co-designed group psychosocial intervention (Women’s Circles) in a population with significant need but no access to mental health services.

Methods: A parallel group pilot randomised study was undertaken in five rural Mam and three periurban K’iche’ communities. Participants included 84 women (12 per community, in seven of the communities) randomly allocated to intervention and 71 to control groups; all were pregnant and/or within 2 years postpartum. The intervention consisted of 10 sessions co-designed with and facilitated by 16 circle leaders. Main outcome measures were: maternal psychosocial distress (HSCL-25), wellbeing (MHC-SF), self-efficacy and engagement in early infant stimulation activities. In-depth interviews also assessed acceptability and feasibility.

Results: The intervention proved feasible and well accepted by circle leaders and participating women. 1-month post intervention, wellbeing scores (p-value 0.008) and self-care self-efficacy (0.049) scores were higher among intervention compared to control women. Those women who attended more sessions had higher wellbeing (0.007), self-care and infant-care self-efficacy (0.014 and 0.043, respectively), and early infant stimulation (0.019) scores.

Conclusions: The pilot demonstrated acceptability, feasibility and potential efficacy to justify a future definitive randomised controlled trial. Co-designed women’s groups provide a safe space where indigenous women can collectively improve their functioning and wellbeing.

Farrell, Martha, and Rajesh Tandon. 2016. “A shifting paradigm: engendering the politics of community engagement in India.” In Politics, power and community development, edited by Rosie R. Meade, Mae Shaw, and Sarah Banks, 121-138. Bristol University Press, Policy Press.

Introduction: Community development, as a distinctive approach to socioeconomic development, began to be official practice in India in the early 1950s. Although such approaches have, in different ways, addressed women’s experiences of discrimination in society, the specificity of women’s needs and their gendered identities have largely been ignored. As a result, the agency of women has not, historically, been given sufficient attention within the dominant community development paradigm. It is only since the 1990s that specific structures for women’s participation have been included in development programmes, although these were originally limited to participation in those ‘invited’ political spaces (Cornwall, 2002) created and mediated by powerful interests which were not necessarily committed to women’s empowerment. In the mid-1990s, when the affirmative policy statutorily reserved places for women in local government institutions, their presence in public spheres did increase to some extent, but, similarly, this did not necessarily ensure that their voices were heard or their contributions recognised.

Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA) was set up as an educational support institution for the empowerment of the excluded in 1982. Its founding inspiration was the theory and practice of participatory research, and its belief in the capacity of ordinary citizens to transform their lives and societies. As we discuss in this chapter, PRIA’s experiences of building the collective capacities of elected women leaders has shown that an alternative pedagogy and methodology for addressing gender discrimination is both required and possible. However, this approach has had to challenge embedded inequalities within the institutions of governance and elsewhere, while at the same time addressing power issues within families and communities.

This chapter attempts to analyse the evolution of community development thinking and programming in India using a gender lens. It brings into focus the complex politics and practices of gender discrimination that persist within the structures and institutions of development. Consequently, it also argues that development must be ‘engendered’, in the sense that it must demonstrate a critical understanding of, and commitment to, the political empowerment of women. Engendering development entails prioritising the special needs and interests of women as equal partners in and active agents of development, not merely as passive beneficiaries (Farrell, 2014). This is necessary in order to transform community development itself, and to ensure real participation and engagement by women in governance, local democracy and development.

Flintan, Fiona. 2006. “Combating Marginalisation of Pastoralist Women: SOS Sahel’s Experience in Ethiopia.” Gender and Development 14, no. 2 :223-33. www.jstor.org/stable/20461138.

Abstract: Increasingly, pastoral communities in Ethiopia are under pressure to change their livelihoods and cultural practices. There are serious implications for sustainable development, livelihoods and social relations, including gender relations. In response to these concerns, SOS Sahel Ethiopia is implementing an action research programme in the pastoral areas of Ethiopia. The main objective is to move towards more community-led processes of development and environmental management that will offer a higher degree of equal opportunities for all sections of pastoral societies, including women.

Konstantina Isidoros. 2017. “Unveiling the Colonial Gaze: Sahrāwī Women in Nascent Nation-state Formation in the Western Sahara.” Interventions 19, No. 4: 487-506. DOI: 10.1080/1369801X.2016.1277152

Abstract: Sahrāwı̄ women were rendered virtually absent in Spain’s colonial record of its Western Saharan territories, and this has since been ossified in generational layers of scholarship in the postcolonial era. As this last colony of Africa engages in projects for self-determination, return to homeland and nascent state formation, the development–humanitarian nexus has sometimes been sceptical about women’s sudden visibility in empowered roles in refugee camp administration and the political conflict. This essay makes two interventions. First, it offers a postcolonial feminist examination of these ossified histories from which to foreground ethnographically Sahrāwı̄ women’s organizing principles of matrifocality and customary fields of power. Second, it bridges across to critical refugee theory and anthropology of development to question the Orientalist scrutiny of a neocolonial gaze which often seeks to safeguard the emancipation of Sahrāwı̄ women in the modern period . . . This essay [further] examines how Western Sahara scholarship remains divorced from and bereft of a comprehensive feminist/gender-balanced historical framework and critical postcolonial studies’ theoretical analysis from which to better understand contemporary Sahrāwı̄ sociopolitical transformations. Two anthropological interventions offer the first steps towards a gendered starting point and bring Western Sahara to the attention of scholars in the fields of postcolonial and feminist studies. The first part of the essay interrogates the ethnographic absence of Sahrāwı̄women and social principles of matrifocality in the colonial historical record to illuminate the legacy of a “colonial veil” in postcolonial scholarship. The second part critically engages the development–humanitarian nexus, as a new external (neocolonial) gaze, to reframe Sahrāwı̄women in the present day within feminist and postcolonial debates.

Kebede, Wassie and Alice K. Butterfield. 2009. “Social networks among poor women in Ethiopia.” International Social Work 52, no. 3: 357-374. DOI: 10.1177/0020872808102069.

Summary: Despite the social, cultural and economic roles that social networks provide in rural and urban communities, there are only a few studies that focus on social networks in Ethiopia and other parts of sub-Saharan Africa. A study in Ghana looked at how informal network systems influence family planning and contraceptive use ( Montgomery et al., 2001). Studies in Kenya address, firstly, the ways in which the presence of children influences the social network of women (Musalia, 2006), and, secondly, the characteristics and social networks of on-the-street of-the-street, shelter and school children (Ayuku et al.,2004). Meagher (2006) argues that social networks and economic development in Africa, in particular Nigeria, do not complement each other, but a study conducted in rural northern Ethiopia describes the relationship between income shocks, livestock survival and social capital in social networks (Mogues, 2006). In the absence of formal institutions to supply good-quality seeds, farmers in Ethiopia also use social networks to get seeds at planting time for an affordable price (Seboka and Deressa, 2000). Taken together, these studies pay little attention to the broader role of social networks, especially their social, cultural and spiritual functions. Only one study has explored the role of social capital using social network analysis in urban areas of Ethiopia. Serneels (2007) found that social networks were utilized to search for a new job among 1500 unemployed male youth in seven cities of Ethiopia.

In summary, these studies of social networks in Ethiopia and other parts of Africa suggest that understanding the interconnections and interactions between individuals in poor communities may be important for community development and other social interventions. This study explores the ways in which social networks contribute to the common good for women-headed households living in the Gedam Sefer neighborhood in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The study is a first attempt at understanding the qualitative aspects of social networks among urban slum-dwelling women. The article begins with a brief review of the concepts of social network analysis, and then discusses the study methods and results. Implications for the use of social network analysis in community development and participatory social work are presented.

Madambura, Marshal, and Munyaradzi Mawere. 2017. “Climate Change, Gender and Development in Africa.” In African Studies in the Academy: The Cornucopia of Theory, Praxis and Transformation in Africa?, edited by Munyaradzi Mawere, Tapuwa R. Mubaya, 185-210. Langaa RPCIG. https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctvh9vv87.11

Abstract: In Africa, men and women are, however, impacted differently by climate change due to their differentiated roles. According to Boyd (2014), some feminist scholars maintain that patriarchal structures are predominantly responsible for development challenges as well as the inability to adapt and mitigate climate change. These feminist scholars further argue that the debate on climate change is also dominated by men thereby limiting discussions about climate change to masculine principles (Tuana, 2013). Research by CARE International in sub-Saharan Africa has revealed that when women are in control of the family income, it is likely to be spent more in human development than when men are in control of the same resource (CARE, 2010). 

More so, women and girls face social, economic and political barriers that limit their coping capacity and development opportunities. These disparities are a result of imbalanced social positions of women within the family and community which are further exacerbated by the effects of climate thereby negatively affecting development as well as means of subsistence due to constrained food, water and energy supply (African Development Bank, 2009). Women are predominantly involved in subsistence agriculture for the major reason that they are the ones responsible for the survival and health keeping of children. FAO studies have confirmed that women are the mainstay of agricultural sectors, the farm labour force and day-to-day family subsistence (Viatteditto 2009). This means that women mostly suffer the impact of climate change. The condition of women is worsened by the fact that in Africa, women are more likely than men to be engaged in activities characterised by low earnings and productivity and a lack of security and benefits—either as own-account workers or as contributing family workers. Most agricultural jobs are insecure because they are rarely formal-sector jobs with contracts and benefits. According to the UNDESA (2010), an estimated 84% of women in sub-Saharan Africa, compared with 71% of men, have such jobs. In Northern Africa, informal or self-employment is less predominant and has a high percentage of women (53%) as men (28%) having informal and self-employed status (UN DESA 2010). 

In view of all these observations, this chapter argues that women in Africa are not only vulnerable to climate change but are also agents of change in both mitigation and adaptation. The chapter further argues that African women rely heavily on the environment since they are responsible for securing water, food and fuel for cooking and heating. In order to uphold sustainable development, women generally hold more of indigenous knowledge in adaptation and mitigation of climate change than men because of their experience with farming and gardening. On this note, the chapter stresses the importance of gender-sensitive strategies in responding to the environmental and development challenges caused by climate change.

María Soto Alarcón, Jozelin and Chizu Sato. 2019. “Enacting peasant moral community economies for sustainable livelihoods: A case of women-led cooperatives in rural Mexico.” World Development 115: 120-131. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.worlddev.2018.11.005.

Abstract: The Mexican state has promoted women’s group-based income-generating projects for nearly three decades. Although most state-supported income-generating projects discontinue after external funding ends, some continue to operate. While existing studies have highlighted several reasons for dis-continuation, none have focused on the role of moral obligations in shaping women’s everyday livelihood practices and few have closely examined context dependent external factors. In order to provide more effective support for women’s collective efforts to strengthen sustainable livelihoods, we developed the framework peasant moral community economies. This framework draws on that of household moral economy, community economies and peasant moral economy as informed by feminist scholars’ recognition of gender as process. Through our framework we investigated how intra-group dynamics and groups’ relationships within their members’ households and communities in their own specific environments shape group operations through examination of three initially state-funded women only but now long-running women-led cooperatives in rural Hidalgo, Mexico. Data was collected through surveys, focus group discussions, and in-depth interviews with cooperative members, their families and community authorities supplemented by secondary literature review and observation. We found that context specific manifestations of reciprocity and the right to subsistence were common to both household and community arrangements. While context specific manifestations of these moral principles enabled new gendered subjectivities that contributed to gender transformations and livelihood production, we also found that the same principles reinforced female altruism and exacerbated women’s time poverty. The framework of peasant moral community economies allowed us to see how both contradictory gender transformations and time poverty provided conditions that supported the durability of the cooperatives. We conclude that support for women’s collective efforts for sustainable livelihoods may be more effective if we recognise how livelihoods are produced also outside the cooperative by paying particular attention to context specific contradictory gender and moral dimensions.

Muñoz-Cabrera, Patricia. 2015. “Women Contributing to Gender-Just, Equitable and Sustainable Development.” In From the Local to the Global (3rd edition): Key Issues in Development Studies, edited by Gerard McCann and Stephen McCloskey, 170-190. Pluto Press. https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt183p5fn.14

Abstract/Introduction: In recent years, women’s organisations in the global South have been identifying alternatives to the current growth-driven model affecting the realisation of social and gender justice in local development agendas. Furthermore, they have provided compelling evidence of the linkages between neoliberal policy frameworks and pervasive gender inequality in development. Moving beyond the resistance standpoint, they have made sound proposals for non-discriminatory and non-violent development policies and interventions, at both the local and the global level. These proposals are substantiated by empirical data and theoretical insights, and have enhanced our understanding of gender relations and of the status of women in complex and highly diversified development contexts. Significantly, women’s development initiatives have successfully debunked the idea that macroeconomic growth is a driver of equitable, gender-just and sustainable development on the ground.

The purpose of this chapter is twofold. First, it maps out some of the key development challenges for women in the global South, and the main policy initiatives aimed at promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment by global development institutions. Second, it examines the impact of policies promoting macroeconomic growth as a key driver of sustainable development, and the responses to this model by women in the global South. In this direction, it assesses the transformative potential of grounded initiatives led by women in response to growth-driven policy frameworks and instruments. In the limited scope of this chapter, transformative potential refers to a development initiative that contributes to non-discriminatory and non-violent development models, and brings about collective well-being, including caring for nature.

Neumann, Pamela J.. 2013. “The Gendered Burden of Development in Nicaragua.” Gender & Society 27, No. 6: 799-820. DOI: 10.1177/0891243213499447. 

-Rebuttal to Gender-CLD

Abstract: The recent political “left turn” in Latin America has led to an increased emphasis on social policy and poverty alleviation programs aimed at women. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork and interviews in a rural village in Nicaragua, I argue that one of the consequences of such programs is an increase in women’s daily workload, which I call the gendered burden of development. By exploiting women’s unpaid community care labor, these non-governmental organizations (NGO) and state-led programs entrench established gender roles and responsibilities. Furthermore, through their selective interventions, these programs reinforce the neoliberal ideal of self-sufficiency in women’s everyday lives, contributing to the formation of a particular kind of developmental subject who assumes responsibility for her own hardships. Although these programs have produced some tangible improvements in women’s lives, they ultimately do little to alter the structural conditions affecting the precariousness of women’s survival.

Ikenna J. Nwakamma, Amber Erinmwinhe, Arinzechukwu Ajogwu, Aniekan Udoh, and Anne Ada-Ogoh. 2019. “Mitigating Gender and Maternal and Child Health Injustices through Faith Community-Led Initiatives.” International Journal of Maternal and Child Health and AIDS 8, No. 2: 146-155. DOI: 10.21106/ijma.326.

Background and Objective: Congregational Health Empowerment and Social Safety Advocates (CHESS-Advocates) initiative, a project aimed at mitigating maternal and child health (MCH) and gender injustices in religiously pluralistic societies, was implemented in two Northern Nigerian states of Benue and Kaduna between September 2018 and July 2019. The objective of this study was to assess the effectiveness, sustainability and factors of success in the CHESS-Advocates model as a faith community approach to mitigating gender and MCH injustices in Northern Nigeria. 

Methods: Data were from desk review of monthly project reports which were documented monthly all through the 10-month project life, and qualitative assessment conducted in July 2019 at the end of project. The assessments involved focus group discussions, key informant interviews, and in-depth interviews conducted in four randomly selected communities in each of the project states. The variables of interest were sustainability, effectiveness of initiative, and the factors that contributed to the success of the program. 

Results: The CHESS-Advocate model was effective in the mobilization of community response that improved uptake and acceptance of antenatal care (ANC), immunization, and uptake of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) testing services. The model was cost-effective and able to instigate change in harmful practices, particularly in highly religious communities. The model showed promise of sustainability and identified some factors that led to its success in the different communities. 

Conclusion and Global Health Implications: The CHESS advocates model showed promises of efficacy in engaging faith communities as important actors in promoting MCH practices and mitigating gender injustices particularly in rural and underserved communities. Like other faith based models, the CHESS-Advocates model provided opportunities in faith congregations for building sustainable development in health and social justice. The model helped to improve MCH seeking behavior, influenced change in harmful gender norms and in community response against gender based violence in rural communities.

Steffy, Tracy. 2008. “Women Creating Social Capital and Social Change: A Follow-Up Study of Women-Led Community Development Organizations.” PhD diss., The City University of New York. 

Abstract: This dissertation explores the leadership and political influence of women through their participation in local community development organizations in the U.S. The research follows up on a Ford Foundation sponsored study that examined women’s leadership in community development in the U.S. and identified among other thing, women leader’s “holistic” and “comprehensive” definition of development as well as the significant gender, race and class-based barriers that they and their organizations face as they pursue development, and social and political change. It also found that while women were networked with other leaders and organizations, they lacked access to key funding and political networks. Because community-based non-profit organizations are a key means through which individuals and communities that face race, class, ethnicity and gender-based discrimination can call for economic, social and political change, it continues to be important to understand women’s community activism and leadership in these organizations. It is also true that in the U.S. these groups are relied upon to deliver essential services, and housing and economic development that elsewhere might be the responsibility of the state. It is also critical to assess how, and under what conditions, women have or have not been able to meet the needs of their constituents through direct service provision and local development. Coming ten years after the original study, this research focuses on the legacy and success of individual women leaders, the trajectory of the organizations, and examines in depth the question of network and relationship building among the organizations, and between the organizations and local political leaders. In the ten years since the original study was completed, twenty percent of the groups are no longer in operation. In addition, women leaders indicate that securing adequate funding has become more difficult while at the same time the need in their communities has become more acute. Whereas women leaders had previously indicated that gender and race were key barriers, ten years later most saw access to adequate funding, especially for general operating support as the primary obstacle but only some considered gender to be an issue in access to funding.

Thomas, Verena, Jackie Kauli & Anou Borrey. 2018. Harnessing community-led innovations: the role of participatory media in addressing gender-based violence, Development in Practice, 28:3, 345-357, DOI: 10.1080/09614524.2018.1430748

Abstract: Gender-based violence (GBV) remains a key development challenge. In Papua New Guinea, a country with one of the highest rates of GBV, the issue has been prioritised in the national development agenda. The programme Yumi Kirapim Senis (Together Creating Change) was created to support the development of the National GBV Strategy. To build on existing understandings and workable solutions in communities, six community-led programmes were examined. This article explores a crucial component of the initiative which utilised participatory visual media to bridge communication gaps between national agencies and communities to drive social change at all levels.