Women and Development
Dr. Mehdi Nazer
June 5th, 2011
Women are very important in realizing the goals of development yet they still face the hurdles of inequality and lower recognition in the predominant male society. They form a larger number in the world population but in most countries, only a few are given chances to air out their views at the national development. Women in developing countries experience worse cases for apart from facing violation in their rights, other problems like ethnic clashes and poor systems of governance still affect them. Gender inequality has made the breakthrough for women worldwide and mostly, in developing countries become difficult. Proportional representation has not rescued them from the political seclusion and the economic alienation. Ancient stereotypic beliefs are putting the social lives of women at stake, making it difficult for them to gain access to good education and higher social status as men. This essay is going to discuss the factors impeding women in development, their plight and the methods they have adapted to fight for their rights. Lastly, the resolutions that are supposed to be implemented to improve their development will also be looked at keenly. Factors that cause the slow growth of women in development can be drawn back to ancient time. In the past, women were never seen as people who possessed the qualities to do something formal so, most of their roles were home based. Their only role was to take care of the family and they were never allowed to own property. Young girls at puberty were forced into marriage and thus denied chances to pursue their education. Today, some of these trends continue thus hindering the rate of women in development. In most developing nations, women are still forced to play home based roles. In the Middle East and the Northern parts of Africa, male chauvinism denies girls to get the necessary education. Girls are not supposed to get higher in education more than boys and if they do, they can still not get better paying jobs (Chamlou, 2004). Illiteracy is the main hurdle that impedes women’s development across the globe. In African and Asian countries, about 70% of women have no formal education (Green & Trevor-Deutsch, 2002). The percentage of men with no formal education is less than 60% in these countries. Girls are discriminated against in schools and they are not provided with the special parameters they need in order to make their learning conditions more conducive. Lack of access to economic tools and poor financing systems is the other difficulty women and mostly those in developing countries face in their bid to try to empower themselves. According to Green, et al (2002) women in developing countries have very limited time to learn because of burdensome home based chores and duties. In Afghanistan, about 57 % of girls are forced into marriage at very tender ages. Domestic violence is a common phenomenon and even with the introduction of human and international rights, Afghan women are always judged by customary laws. In its new constitution, the government has guaranteed the women equal rights as men but still, 60% of the marriages are still through old customary laws (Momsen, 2009). In African countries and especially in the Northern parts, women are undergoing harsh conditions and restrictions to pursue their education farther. Other profound areas where women have been sidelined are the political and economic fields. Women are an important aspect in development yet their voices continue to be shut down. Before the International Year for Women was marked in 1975, it is estimated that only one percent of books talked about women in development. In the political arena, policy makers have a tendency to treat women as if they are invisible. In India, male have dominated politics and development has always been associated with men alone (Kabeer,...
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