Essay Example on Reduction of inequalities between women and men through gendered development








The reduction of inequalities between women and men through gendered development projects that aims to empower women is essential for poverty alleviation and a more feminist and democratic state Therefore institutions play a central role in targeting these inequalities and moreover they are responsible for the development outcomes Branisa and Klansen 2013 252 hence the enrolment of women in formal political institutions is seen as a key to engender democracy Cornwall and Goetz 2006 783 Women s participation as well as representation in formal institutions have substantially increased around the world yet governments laws such as access to landownership 7 still hinder women s empowerment Landesa 2017 and contribute to women s subordination poverty and inequality Deere 2017 Ownership of land is vital for strengthening women s agency however patriarchal societies have ignored this issue and in many cases local institutions have created barriers for women to own land Landesa 2017

Access to equal land rights is a need in various developing countries since gender equity in land tenure is essential for achieving the SDGs promoting gender equality empowering women and eradicating poverty FAO 2013 5 Yet concerns related to gender are little discussed within land reforms policies and women are generally excluded Jacobs 2003 Feminism often points out the existence of a gendered structural biases in democracies and suggest that it is necessary to address all forms of structural inequalities to build a genuine democracy Grugel and Bishop 2014 38 Existing literature suggest that there is a strong relationship between social institutions and gender inequality For instance Branisa and Klansen 2013 254 relates social institutions such as values traditions customs informal and formal laws as responsible to frame gender roles and the distribution of power between women and men in the social political and economic life Similarly Jacobs 2003 212 notes that gender relations and women s social position lie at the heart of most rural communities

The political approach of democracy stresses on the importance of respecting basic political and civil rights to ensure a more democratic process On the contrary the development approach suggest that democracy should focus on socioeconomic concerns such as equality welfare and justice Carothers 2009 In light of this it is noted that the political approach on land distribution does not fulfil the needs of all citizens since it does not respect the civil rights of women to own and to make use of land in many developing countries and therefore a more gendered inclusive developmental approach is necessary Nonetheless customary laws and forms of governance rooted in patriarchal societies represent a barrier to any possible gains for women and are unable to provide any forms of socially driven governance Taylor 2007 29 For instance Naybor 2014 notes that women movements in Uganda have pressured the government to have a more inclusive gendered constitution regarding women s ownership of land However despite the gains in the constitution to protect women s rights there is a lack of enforcement and support from local institutions ruled by laws based on customs and traditions that subordinates the role of women 8 Land is a valuable resource that can help to reduce poverty but in many societies land is also a social constructed resource that discriminate against women This type of discrimination does not only affect women s economic life but also isolates them from decision making and rural politics Morell and Bock 2008 368 In order to reduce these inequalities in rural gender regimes grassroots organisation play an important role for achieving changes Kabeer 2005 put emphasis on women s agency and knowledge that allows women to understand their rights analyse and challenge power relations in patriarchal societies

Similarly Kabeer suggest that grassroots organisations provide knowledge and a space for women s voice to be heard As it was mentioned before gender inequalities lie on local institutions ingrained in patriarchal customs and traditions therefore a more inclusive and local governance approach is necessary for building equitable forms of democracy Furthermore Goldmann and Little 2015 763 mention that grassroots organisations are facilitated by and most often part of NGOs which enhance women agency arguing that for women to be empowered they need to be aware of the existence of such powers and NGOs can bring awareness of these by providing knowledge and facilitating resources needed for agency As an example Goldman and Little 2015 study the role of MWEDO a grassroots organisation working in four Maasai one of the most patriarchal societies in East Africa dominated districts in Tanzania This organisation aims to empower women by promoting a right based agenda and education programs that creates awareness of the denied rights to Maasai women specially the right of land ownership Similarly it is noted that women attending to MWEDO meetings were more aware of their rights and power of participation in local communities which has helped to make changes in the societal gender norms and behaviours

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