|Theoretical Perspectives on Gender and Development|
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In April 1992, COL convened a week-long meeting at Saint Marys University in Halifax, Canada, to examine ways to create course modules on women-gender and development. The meeting was attended by representatives of institutions of higher education from Australia, Canada, the Caribbean, India, Nigeria, the South Pacific, and Zimbabwe, as well as the United Nations Training and Research Institute and the International Womens Tribune Centre (IWTC) in New York. Discussion focused on identifying the needed resources and materials and examining the capacities of various institutions to coordinate the development of modules. All the participants expressed interest in contributing to the long-term project and a desire to use the modules in courses on women-gender and development and womens studies at their own institutions.
They established a project team, comprising representatives from the three campuses of the University of the West Indies (UWI) (Barbados, Jamaica, and Trinidad); the Summer Institute for Gender and Development (SIGAD), a joint project of Saint Marys and Dalhousie University; IWTC; and COL. The team convened in Kingston, Jamaica, in February 1993 to determine the specific content and design of the course modules and to assign writing tasks to team members. Two subsequent project-team meetings were convened, in New York in January and June 1994, to review and finalize draft materials prepared by the various teams of writers. COL managed the project and coordinated the activities.
The Centres for Gender and Development Studies at the three campuses of UWI and SIGAD collaboratively developed and wrote this core module, which focuses on the theoretical justification for examining womens specific roles and contributions to development initiatives. The module is concerned with the integration and recognition of women and their inclusion as decision-makers in development planning and policy-making, as well as other development activities: it also celebrates womens contributions to social, economic, and political development. The collaborative process was complicated, but rewarding. Although individuals or small teams authored specific chapters, feedback from the various writing teams enriched and enlarged everyones writing and thinking. For example, the presentation of black feminism and Third World feminism in Chapter 3 benefited enormously from the input of Eudine Barriteau from the Barbados UWI team. The opportunity to read each of the chapters provided new ways of addressing important issues and influenced all of our writing and thinking. Input from the writing teams also assisted in the laborious process of identifying appropriate activities, excerpts, case studies, recommended readings, and key concepts. Above all, the two editorial meetings facilitated rethinking and rewriting. Representatives of the writing teams worked through the materials with the additional input of the various participants from IWTC, COL, and the International Development Research Centre. These meetings were grueling, intellectually challenging, and enormously important. Every sentence and word was examined and contested; every concept was revisited and reexamined. Participants left humbled, but inspired, by both the challenges and the benefits of SouthNorth collaboration.
The module that emerged from this process is a comprehensive, foundational text on gender and development (GAD). The module contains narratives or case studies to further illustrate the main topics. Exercises and study questions invite the user to enhance his or her knowledge through personal research. Related further readings are provided to direct the user to additional sources of information. Key concepts (defined in Appendix 1) are highlighted in bold in the text. The module spans the emergence of women in development (WID), bringing us to the point where the second wave of critiques and evaluation led to the emergence of the new field of GAD. It documents, discusses, and presents the major themes and practices in the field of WID, WAD, and GAD. It also addresses emerging debates that have continued to develop since the mid-1990s, particularly those on the power of development discourse, globalization, and the concepts of difference and voice.
The module was made available to educational institutions and nongovernmental and womens organizations throughout the Commonwealth for local adaptation and use in traditional educational settings and informal situations. Its publication, in revised form, as a book is intended to enhance its usefulness and increase its availability around the world. The attribution of general editors reflects the work of moving the manuscript from a module to a book. Individual authors are listed on the chapters they wrote, but the manuscript as a whole reflects our collective endeavours.
Jane L. Parpart
M. Patricia Connelly
V. Eudine Barriteau