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Threads from multiple reels of cotton joining to create a single thread.
The intertwining relationship.

Gender and development together. What's the problem?

The danger of a single story about gender or development.

Assumptions about gender and sexuality intersect with assumed knowledge about different cultures, often relying on stereotypes and always running the risk of misrecognising or misinterpreting people and social situations.

Assumptions about development as progress may also lead to judgements about cultures being backward or traditional, rather than different.

Stereotypical images of the developing world often include urban slums, corrupt and inefficient governments, garbage, militarised landscapes, starving children, unfree and enslaved women or dangerous and aimless men.

The complexity of human societies and the ways in which gender intersects with such diversity is both complex and controversial.

Development and Gender

  • Development has been conceived historically as a project of economic change that would lead to social benefits and political stability.
  • Gender is considered to belong to the realm of biology and culture and the relations between them.

In bringing gender and development together, something of each needs to be undone, deconstructed and reconfigured.

So the problem is to understand how these two work with and against each to produce new forms of development and to eliminate gender inequity.  

Your task

Consider what you have learnt this week.

Review Step 1.1 in which you shared your ideas of global gender justice. Read your description in Step 1.3 about what development means to you.

In the comments, define what ‘Gender’ and ‘Development’ means to you now.

Read other participant’s definitions and comment on how our definitions and understandings have changed.

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This article is from the free online course:

Gender and Development

Deakin University

Course highlights Get a taste of this course before you join:

  • Chalkboard with 'Change the Story' written on it.
    Single stories

    Simplifying gender or development to a single narrative distorts our perceptions. Read Dr Maree Pardy and watch a video of Nigerian writer Adachie.

  • Female celebrity in gold sparkly dress signing autographs.
    So hot right now

    Watch videos of Madonna and Angelina Jolie speak up about Gender and Development. Read as educator Dr Maree Pardy examines celebratainment.