The purpose of this paper is to provide a deeper understanding of how culture in the Pacific impacts gender equality and human development. The analysis addresses two views that are widely held in the Pacific: 1) that gender is biologically determined, and 2) that culture is a sacred template should not be meddled with. Both these notions have attracted sound scholarly consideration in the Pacific, which has shown that rather than either being fixed, gender is socially constructed and culture is constituted by contemporary milieu as much as it is by its traditional and historical genealogy.
Concerns about culture are frequently raised in relation to initiatives for gender equality in development cooperation. In some cases, program officers or partners are concerned that promotion of gender equality would “interfere with local culture”, and therefore feel that gender equality should not be promoted for ethical reasons. In other cases, the cultural values of a particular area are described as a major constraint on efforts for gender equality, and therefore action is considered to be difficult for practical reasons.Are these concerns valid? What should we be doing as development workers?
This study aims to analyse the critical role of cultural concepts, traditions and practices in Africa’s development. Other specific objectives include a review of diverse definitions of culture and development concepts as they intertwine to form a framework for assessing the increasing awareness of the need to mainstream cultural approaches to development strategies in Africa. Another important objective is to reveal the centrality of cultural approach to development in the on-going international call for an inclusive gender and development strategy to enhance sustainability. Using desk research, the study explored this relationship from the historical, current and future perspectives. The new emphasis on cultural approach to development can be traced to the World Conference on Cultural Policies (MONDIACULT) held in Mexico City in 1982 and the subsequent declaration of the United Nations Decade of Culture.
The Manual is organized as follows: MODULE 1 – Session 1: Introduction to the workshop – Session 2: Importance of Culture, Gender and Human Rights in Development Work – Session 3: The Culture Lens and its links with the MDGs – Session 4: Development Practitioners as Facilitators, Communicators and Negotiators. MODULE 2 – Session 1: Applying the “Culture Lens” – Session 2: How to Apply the Culture Lens at the UNCT level – Session 3: Evaluation and Global Feedback – Session 4: How to Communicate, Negotiate and Mediate in a Culturally Sensitive Approach
[.pdf] GD160- Gender inequality and women’s rights in the Great Lakes – Can culture contribute to women’s empowerment
Culture is an important capability that people bring into development. It influences development through its various forms of expression; attitudes and behavior related to work, reward and exchange; traditions of public discussion and participation; social support and association; cultural sites of heritage and memory; and influences on values and morals. In this paper, we address the issue of gender inequalities by looking at ways in which the cultural repertoire in the Great Lakes region can contribute to women’s empowerment.
This volume of essays may be seen as a continuation of the UNITWIN objective of linking academic centres and ‘action research’ for development, in this case with a gender, culture and people-centered development thematic scope, initially involving Boston University; Visva-Bharati at Shantiniketan, West Bengal; Jamia Millia Islamia at New Delhi; Punjabi University at Patiala, Punjab, plus several non-governmental organizations (the Bhab Initiative, Cultural Resource Conservation Initiative and the Lime Centre). The ten essays in Another Side of India: Gender, Culture and Development, all deal with the Indian experience and one with South Asia more broadly. Three themes are represented: governance, from a local, decentralized perspective prompted by the Panchayat decentralization movement beginning in the early nineties in India; livelihoods and education initiatives; and women’s rights. The ‘open’ format of these perspectives and experiences shared through the ten essays is deliberate, meant to encourage the entry of additional partners (both North and South) into this UNITWIN arrangement. The intended goal is lively debate from a variety of viewpoints.
[.pdf] GD162- Gender, culture and sustainable development—the Pacific way
Pacific women argue that they have not been disadvantaged in the development process, because they have been shielded by customary. ways. The case studies presented below show tremendous faith of Pacific women in the family system—the family systems that are central to both Pacific women’s vision of what development should be (as documented in the Pacific Platform of Action for Sustainable Development) and to the strategies Pacific women are using to achieve their development goals. At the same time, while Pacific women are preserving the customary ways, the question must be raised of whether the customary ways, as they are practised, are ensuring women’s physical, social, economic and spiritual well-being in these times of transition. Women’s vulnerability in times of rapid change is briefly discussed.
This discussion of gender relations in Pacific cultures and the impact on children’s development and growth, looks at the contemporary Pacific and the experiences of children today. Pacific culture is not seen in terms of an idealized past or present – indeed it would be misleading and dangerous for children to maintain a constant cultural ideal, if it does not reflect reality. The focus here is on gender relations in Pacific Island countries today and ways in which gender relations has impacts on children.
This paper presents a cultural perspective towards thinking about, and acting on, issues concerning gender and computer science and related fields. We posit and demonstrate that the notion of a gender divide in how men and women relate to computing, traditionally attributed to gender differences, is largely a result of cultural and environmental conditions. Indeed, the reasons for women entering – or not entering – the field of computer science have little to do with gender and a lot to do with environment and culture as well as the perception of the field. Appropriate outreach, education and interventions in the micro-culture can have broad impact, increasing participation in computing and creating environments where both men and women can flourish. Thus, we refute the popular notion that focusing on gender differences will enhance greater participation in computing, and propose an alternative, more constructive approach which focuses on culture. We illustrate the cultural perspective using specific case studies based in different geographical and cultural regions.
The British Council’s awareness of gender as it affects cultural relations has developed and the Council was keen to explore its implications further. Thus it engaged Rosemary Bechler, a writer immersed in thinking about the relationship between human and political rights. Here she tackles the interplay of gender in this relationship, outlining challenging, illuminating and relatively under-explored ideas. She talked to eight women who have made notable contributions in their fields, including diversity, human rights, journalism and international relations. These interviews, held between December 2009 and December 2010, offer widely differing perspectives and experiences. Women are far from a homogenous group, and the rich variety that exists when thinking about gender across diverse cultures and its different impact on women depends on all those characteristics that make each one of us unique.
In the developing world, women form a sizeable proportion of those who migrate from rural to urban areas in hope of a better life. But as they soon find out, urban conditions and services are hostile to them and often permeated with the patriarchal culture that prevails in rural areas. This paper maps out the interplay between gender, culture and urbanization, and how it enlarges or restricts the role of women in human settlements development around the world. It provides insights into the way cultural and gender constructions relate to the social, economic, and cultural circumstances of women, and the extent to which women are involved in addressing these unique circumstances.
What has gender and development got to do with culture? Is gender and development (henceforth GAD) an interference in people’s cultures? How can these issues be tackled on a practical level? This booklet introduces a variety of resources that provide answers to these questions, in the form of summaries and extracts from:
• Key resources, including findings and recommendations for policy makers and practitioners
• Case studies which challenge cultural norms both within societies and in the development industry
• Examples of training manuals, guides and bibliographies useful to those wishing to implement work on cultural change in development
This collection forms part of the BRIDGE Cutting Edge Pack ‘Gender and Cultural Change’ which includes an in brief bulletin and an overview report on the same theme. It can be used on its own as an introduction to relevant resources, key ideas and experiences, or as a complement to other parts of the pack.
In the first part, the author discusses the relationship between culture, attitudes to power and power asymmetry, constructions of gender and gender relations and the impact of all three (and of their mutual influence) on conflict and its conduct. In the second part, she examines the implications of this for conflict transformation, some of the tensions between the values and ideals it embodies and the realities of the situations it seeks to transform. In the third part of the chapter, she considers how the needs of equality, cultural sensitivity and constructive approaches to power can be incorporated into organizations that seek to contribute to conflict transformation, and suggest some elements of good practice in conflict intervention itself. She concludes by reflecting on the immensity of the challenges that face us, suggesting that we need to add to rigour and analysis a more fluid and tentative approach.
This thesis thus seeks to develop a more historically-grounded, relational and politically accountable feminist approach to addressing essentialist constructions of embodied ‘cultural practice’. Mapping feminist and other critical literatures, the author identifies three main approaches to linking embodied practices: the ‘continuum’, ‘analogue’ and ‘subset’ models. Through three case study chapters, she conducts a comprehensive analysis of these models, and their potential discursive-material effects. Each case study focuses on a different set of practices which have been linked: ‘African’ female genital cutting and.-`Western’ body modifications; Muslim veiling and anorexia; and ‘passing’ practices associated with the categories of race, gender and sexuality. The author argues that rather than illustrating how particular practices or their imagined subjects are fundamentally similar, we should examine how they are constructed relationally in and through one another. This is possible through genealogically tracing how their historical trajectories of production intersect and inform one another. As an alternative to commonality-based comparative approaches, she advocates a ‘relational web model’ which traces multiple constitutive connections within a network of differently situated embodied practices or figures.
This article demonstrates an emerging mixed-method technique for developing culturally sound assessment tools, offers guidance on how to incorporate the overall approach in assessment, and provides a basis for thinking critically about the use of existing instruments when working with diverse populations.