Skip main navigation

Week 1 summary

Watch this video of Dr Maree Pardy and Dr Francesca Bussey discussing gender and development myths.
FRANCESCA BUSSEY: We’ve had quite a week, haven’t we? It’s been really fascinating. We’ve been on a journey that’s allowed us to look at the notion of the single story and how that can present sometimes a myopic vision of the way in which the world works or the way in which gender works in the world and development works in the world. We’ve looked at those in quite detail– in quite a lot of detail. And we kind of complicated by those concepts, which I think is really exciting. So one of the things I wanted to do is to– while I have Marie with me– is just to ask her, what do you think is the biggest myth about gender and development? DR.
MAREE PARDY: Well, it’s difficult to limit it to one myth, I think, Fran. I think some of the myths include this notion of gender and development being particularly and solely about women. But even more specifically, there’s an assumption that it’s about poor women and that all those poor women are also oppressed, and those poor women all belong to something which has been labelled as either the third world, or the global south, or the developing world. So that’s one set of myths. And that feeds into another set of myths really about development and about ways out of development.
So there’s an idea about– a mythical idea that development is really about the so-called developing world becoming or replicating the so-called developed world. But the path to that, it is assumed, is the help and the support of those from the Western or developed worlds. And these are a series of myths around the idea of gender that it’s just about women, that the women that we’re dealing with in development are always poor and oppressed, and that there’s a reliance on those in the West or the so-called developed world to lift those women out of the current situations. So they’re myths that we will begin to unpack immediately in the coming sections of the course next week.

This week we set-out to investigate some of the threshold concepts related to gender and development.

These relate back to the key questions we started the course with, including:

  • how the complex concepts of gender and development interrelate
  • whether this association is making a positive difference in people’s lives
  • how thinking about gender and development improve the life experiences of people in diverse situations.

Coming up next week

While we have complicated concepts of gender this week, next week we’ll focus on women, including an investigation of why women bear a disproportionate burden of world poverty and disadvantage.

We’ll also observe how celebrities, corporations, the media and philanthropic organisations have taken up this issue and ask how this newfound attention has improved (or not) the lives of both men and women.

Your task

Watch the video to hear your educators, Maree and Francesca, discuss the key concepts we’ve covered this week.

When you’re done, use the comments to share your own key takeaways from the week.

You can also use this opportunity to ask any questions/clarify your understanding about any of the ideas we’ve looked at before taking the quiz in the next step.

This article is from the free online

Gender and Development

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education