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Both gender and development are complex constructs affecting global gender justice. Watch Dr Maree Pardy explain more.
MAREE PARDY: Hi, I’m Maree Pardy, and I’ll be leading you through this open course, Gender and Development. First, this is my colleague Dr. Francesca Bussey. We call her Fran. And she’ll also be working with us on the course. Gender and the gender agenda has been well and truly mainstreamed. It’s a concern now, as we’ve seen, for celebrities, United Nations agencies, governments, and even corporations throughout the world. But what we’ll consider here are the sorts of changes that have come about from this groundswell of sentiment. And we’ll ask, what is the predicament of gender and development and gender justice throughout the world today? Firstly, we’ll talk about gender and gender justice as a single story.
So we’ll really pick what it means to have a particular idea about what gender justice must look like everywhere at all times, and really raise questions about whether or not there is a single story, and what some of the consequences of just having one story about one situation might be. And the other thing we’ll raise is the concept of unconscious bias. What do we understand about our own engagement with gender and gender bias, gender inequality, gender thinking? We’ll be thinking about the way in which those gender and sexuality rights don’t translate smoothly across cultures necessarily.
So we’ll be mindful of what sorts of issues around gender and gender and development, gender equality, gender freedom, et cetera, are meaningful in different contexts. DR.
FRANCESCA BUSSEY: One of the things I’ve liked about working with you on the course is your ability to take some really quite complex ideas and make them accessible, make them understandable through a series of narratives. So this is what we’re going to be looking at and exploring through this course. DR.
MAREE PARDY: Theories of exploration and explanation of how the world works, what gender is, what sexuality is, what gender justice might mean, what gender and development might mean– those things necessarily require quite a level of philosophical depth and engagement. And yet, there is always an empirical intent to all of that work. So this is kind of dynamic, I think, between the theory and the empirical or the real or the practical. DR.
FRANCESCA BUSSEY: That lived experience. DR.
MAREE PARDY: Lived experience. And that dynamism, really, between the two, really is a major feature of this unit, I think. DR.
FRANCESCA BUSSEY: And another factor that I think is quite exciting is the social component of it is really– which we call social learning– is great, because it means that you have to articulate what are really complex ideas. And in the articulation of those ideas, you also find the learning. And that’s where I think there’s some real strength in this approach. DR.
MAREE PARDY: Well, this course includes participants from all over the world. Each person will have their own experiences and understandings of gender and of development, and even of gender and sexuality justice. Some of you will be practitioners in a field of development or humanitarianism, or perhaps community development or the community sector more broadly. Some of you will perhaps be completely new to this field. I’m sure all of you will have as much to share as you have to gain on our journey as we engage together through our studies. We also draw on issues here in the course of this unit that some of you may consider controversial. Some issues might even provoke emotional responses.
And you might wish to be mindful of these as you participate in the conversations with each other. So at this point, I would suggest that we get to know each other a little better. Please write a little bit about yourself, your experiences, your interests, or your motivations in actually taking this course. And once again, welcome to Gender and Development. And I’m looking forward to learning with you and with Fran as we undertake the course together.
Welcome to Gender and Development.
This free open course is part Deakin University unit ADH714: Gender and Development.
It will provide you with a taste of the broader Masters of Sustainable Development and Humanitarian Action, a degree designed to cultivate the skills and the knowledge required to respond to national and international emergencies.

Course purpose and context

In 2015 the United Nations pledged to work towards ending all forms of discrimination against women and girls by 2030.
Such commitments indicate the success of gender and development as both an intellectual and a political project.
In this course we’ll trace this project’s history and also subject claims of success to some serious scrutiny.
To do this, we’ll ask and seek to address the following big questions:
  • Is the developing world heterosexual?
  • Is gender a performance?
  • What’s the story with gender and development?

What you’ll be learning

Over the next two weeks you’ll:
  • explore the concept of gender and how it is now considered an integral part of development
  • analyse the concept of development, including what it means, what its history is and whether we’ve arrived yet
  • investigate if the association of gender with development is making a positive difference in people’s lives
  • consider how can thinking about development improve the life experiences of people in diverse contexts.
See the to do menu for an overview of all Week 1 and Week 2 activities and steps.

Meet the team

Your Lead Educator for this course is Dr Maree Pardy.
Joining you in course conversations will be Dr Helen Dalton, Unit Chair of ADH714, and you’ll also hear from Dr Francesca Bussey.
If you haven’t already, take a moment to view your teaching teams’ profiles and follow Helen for course updates, feedback and discussions.
You can also add to the conversation on social media using #FLgenderdev.

Making the most of your learning

  • If you have a general interest in this topic, you can work through the core learning activities in about three hours each week. You will have the opportunity to check your understanding and spend some time joining the discussions.
  • If you would like to develop a more integrated understanding of the topic, such as what’s expected at a postgraduate level, you can spend more time engaging with the learning materials and activities. This may including looking at additional resources provided in the see also section and more actively participating in conversations.

Your task

Watch the video to hear more from Maree and Francesca about the critical issues facing hospital operations and how these will be addressed in this course.
When you’re done, use the comments to introduce yourself, why you’re taking this course, what you hope to get out of it and what the concept of global gender justice means to you.
Next, select the mark as complete button (doing this will help you keep track of your progress) and move to the next step.
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Gender and Development

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