THIRD WORLD WOMEN FAMILY, WORK, AND EMPOWERMENT
Contemporary Issues for Women in Three World Areas
South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Latin America
An Instructional Unit for Adults
Susan Hill Gross
Upper Midwest Women's History Center for Teachers
Mary Hill Rojas
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
The U.S. Agency for International Development's
Development Education Program
FOR TRIAL USE ONLY
NOT FOR DISTlIBuTIB
Glenhurst Publications, Inc.
6300 Walker Street
St. Louis Park, MN 55416
Upper Midwest Women's History Center for Teachers
Central Community Center
6300 Walker Street
St. Louis Park, MN 55416
This manual and the accompanying audiovisual presentations, Third World Women -
Family, Work, and Empowerment, can be used with a number of adult audiences:
* As a workshop for educators who are interested in including Third World
women's perspectives in their courses.
For workshop use, the manual exercises and lessons can be adjusted for a day or
day and a half workshop. Suggested times for lessons and adjustments are
included in the facilitator instructions for each section.
As course curriculum for undergraduate students studying women in the Third
In Third World or in women's studies courses, the exercises can be used in class
with handouts given out as readings for homework assignments.
* Specific sections may be used for adult audiences interested in Third World issues
(for example, church groups and private and voluntary organizations).
For study groups, individual exercises and audiovisual presentations may be taken
from the unit.
The manual is planned for a minimum of involvement on the part of the facilitator.
However, planning by the facilitator is important for adjusting the unit to the needs of the
group being addressed. A careful reading of the manual and a review of the audiovisual
presentations by facilitators is recommended before presenting materials in a workshop or
classroom setting. All necessary handouts have been reproduced separately for ease in
copying. The facilitator's manual includes background information, objectives, suggested
answers to "Points to Consider," a script of the audiovisual presentation, methods for
adjusting exercises and readings for various workshop and classroom formats, and
handouts and resource materials.
For a one-day workshop, the focus will be on Parts II and III ("The Family and Women in
the Third World" and "Women's Work in the Third World") but we suggest that the
facilitator emphasize the importance of Part IV, "Empowerment of Women in the Third
World." The rationale for a focus on women's organizations (page 49) should be reviewed
with all workshop participants and students. Particularly point out HANDOUT 8
"Planning With Women in Mind The Example of the Grameen Bank" (Part IV-B) as a
useful selection to use with students and adults that describes conditions in the Third World
and a successful worldwide program that originated in Bangladesh. Part V-A and B
Exercises 1-2: "Teaching Women's History and Culture in a Global Setting" is specifically
written for educators. It is recommended that this section be used when introducing
materials on women's history and culture to secondary teachers and other educators.
Time frame for a one-day workshop:
Coffee, review of the day's activities, "Introduction," and HANDOUT 1- Pre-workshop
Response (See HANDOUT PACKET).
Part II: The Family and Women in the Third World
Part III: Women's Work in the Third World
HANDOUTS 3 and 4 (Pages 23-32)
LUNCH: 11:45AM -1:00 PM
Box lunches and a viewing of the audiovisual presentation
"Women and Work in South Asia."
Part III -HANDOUTS 5 6
Short version of Part IV-
"Empowerment of Women in the Third World"
(See page 50 for instructions.)
2:30 3:30PM (FOR EDUCATORS)
Part V Exercises 1 and 2: "Teacher Questions"
and HANDOUT 9
Summarize the day's activities by having participants review HANDOUT 10 -
Resources and Selected Bibliography.
Complete HANDOUT 1 Post-workshop Response.
For a longer workshop or classroom, more emphasis should be placed on Part IV -
"Empowerment of Women in the Third World."
The above outline is a suggestion only. Discussions may take longer with some groups;
exercises can be shortened to fit revised schedules. "Points to Consider" generally call for
open-ended answers with many possible answers.
The major goal for participants is for them to discover why gender must be considered -
and used as a category of analysis when the Third World is discussed. It has been the
experience of the authors that participants come to realizations about the importance of
gender in their own way and within their own time frame. The facilitator can best help to
bring participants along by presenting evidence and allowing for open discussion with a
minimum of value judgments or comments.
We would appreciate any suggestions, additions, or ideas you may have on the
instructional unit: Third World Women Family, Work, and Empowerment.
Susan Hill Gross and Mary Hill Rojas
General Facilitator Instructions
1. Each participant should have a name tag with a number that indicates their small
group for the day. Small groups should be made up of four to six participants.
2. Each participant should be given a folder with the table of contents,
handouts, and evaluation forms.
The table of contents of the workshop will give participants an idea of what to
expect during the day. Care should be taken not to take away from group
exercises by giving participants too much information prior to the workshop.
3. General information about time for lunch, smoking, toilet facilities, etc. should be
4. Participants should fill out the evaluation form the first side of HANDOUT 1.
Have them place these in their folder until the end of the day when the reverse side
will be filled out.
5. Read or summarize the workshop "Introduction" and "Goals."
6. Point out the glossary to participants. Many of the terms and concepts used in the
workshop handouts are defined. A copy of the glossary can be reproduced for
each participant or terms defined when they come up in the day's discussion. If
you feel additional terms should have been included in the glossary, please pass
these on to Susan Gross.
7. The workshop is designed for a minimum of facilitator involvement. Most
of the exercises use readings as the bases for small group
discussions followed by large group discussions to compare findings. The
basic strategy is for the participants to discover their own answers to open-ended
problems and questions.
Participants should be told that they will be doing some
reading during the day as well as having discussion groups and
audio-visual presentations. The format should be explained.
Frequently there are no right or wrong answers to these open-ended questions.
8. Room setup:
Easel with marker and paper or blackboard easel preferred.
DuKane filmstrip projector (or slide projector if alternative presentation is used).
Tables and chairs should be arranged so small groups can meet comfortably but the
room should also be arranged so that large group discussions can take place.
9. Suggested times for exercises and readings are meant to give facilitators an idea of
how much time to allot to each section. Time periods given to discussions may
vary greatly and facilitators should decide if a particular discussion should continue
or be closed.
If you have questions, comments, or concerns about workshop techniques,
strategies, or content, please call:
Susan Hill Gross
Upper Midwest Women's History Center
Central Community Center
6300 Walker Street
St. Louis Park, MN 55416
THIRD WORLD WOMEN FAMILY, WORK, AND EMPOWERMENT
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. Introduction 1
II. The Family and Women in the Third World 6
A. Defining "Family" A Small Group Exercise 6
B. "Family Configurations in the Third World 7
A Focus on Women as Single Heads of Households"
An Audiovisual Presentation and Small Group Exercise
C. "Examples of the Influence of Gender on the Distribution of 17
Family Resources" (HANDOUT 2)
III. Women's Work in the Third World 21
A. "What is Work? An Exercise" (HANDOUT 3) 24
"A Model for Defining Work" (HANDOUT 4) 27
B. "Getting at Women's Work 33
A Day in the Life of Third World Women"
C. "Gender Issues and Work: Cross-cultural Examples" 43
IV. Empowerment of Women in the Third World 49
A. "Women Organizing for Change" (HANDOUT 7) 53
B. "Planning With Women in Mind 65
The Example of the Grameen Bank" (HANDOUT 8)
V. Teaching Contemporary Third World Women's Issues 73
A. Exercise 1 "Teacher Questions" 75
Exercise 2 -
"Teaching Women's History and Culture in a Global Setting" 77
(HANDOUT 9) "Cultural Relativism vs. Ethnocentrism" 81
B. Resources and Selected Bibliography (HANDOUT 10) 87
C. Glossary (HANDOUT 11) 103
VI. Summary Videotape
PART I: INTRODUCTION
THIRD WORLD WOMEN FAMILY. WORK. AND EMPOWERMENT
Gender has an impact on everyone's lives. The relationships of men and women are
fundamental to all human activities. Therefore, gender differences must be examined and
gender must be given a central role in the interpretation and analysis of all human
The history and culture of women has largely been overlooked in traditional social science
scholarship as well as in textbooks. Therefore, it is necessary to pull out and focus on
women's experiences in order to overcome their invisibility.
By the year 2000 eighty percent of the people on earth will be living in the Third World.
Many areas of the industrialized world are still at the Third World stage in their economic
development. Third World studies must be an important part of global studies at every
FOUR BASIC WORKSHOP GOALS
To demonstrate why gender must be considered when
contemporary Third World issues are discussed and analyzed.
To provide examples of women's perspectives in three cultural areas
focusing on women and the family, work, and empowerment.
To suggest curriculum materials and teaching methods for
incorporating women's issues into global
studies curriculum, particularly at the secondary level.
To suggest and discuss philosophical dilemmas that are present
when teaching global issues, particularly those problems that
have a special impact on the integration of women's history
and culture into global studies curriculum.
INSTRUCTIONAL METHODS USED
Presentation of data in the form of readings, statistics,
audiovisual presentations, and videotaped discussion.
Participant oriented small group discussions and exercises
with summary discussions in a large group.
PART I INTRODUCTION
TOTAL TIME PART I 30 MINUTES
Review the Purposes and Goals of the unit with participants.
Read or summarize the Introduction that follows on page 3.
Review the definition of Third World on page 4.
Have participants fill out HANDOUT 1 Pre-Workshop Response
(See yellow handout sheets at the end of this manual for a copy of
PART I: INTRODUCTION
In recent years there has been a growing awareness of the importance of women's
contributions to economic and human development, particularly in the Third World.
Women are overwhelmingly in charge of raising the children of the world, yet women also
do a majority of the world's work and grow half of the world's food. Because women
account for two out of three of the world's illiterates and 70 percent of the world's poor,
they labor under grave disabilities, often with severely restricted opportunities.
Along with a growing awareness of the contributions and problems of women in the Third
World there has been an increasing acknowledgment of the neglect of women's
contributions and concerns in social studies curriculum. In the last ten years there has
been an enormous amount of research on women in developing areas. Women in
development (WID) scholarship influences both foreign aid projects and the attitudes of
practitioners in the field as well as policy makers and academics at the post-secondary
level. However, presently there are few secondary level instructional materials on the
critical roles that women play in Third World development. This instructional unit for
adults is an introduction to curriculum units developed by the U.S. Agency for
International Development's Development Education project, Women and
Development Issues in Three World Areas. The project provides teachers with
curriculum materials case studies, inductive lessons, evaluation exercises, primary
source readings, and sound filmstrips that will help to fill this void in social studies
courses. This unit, Third World Women Family, Work, and
Empowerment, is meant to acquaint teachers, general adult groups, or undergraduate
level students with some of the perspectives of women in the Third World.
The instructional materials in this adult unit and those in the secondary global studies units
concentrate on three cultural areas: South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri
Lanka), Sub-Saharan Africa, and Latin America. Each secondary unit in the series
includes a sound filmstrip on women and work and print materials that cover topics such
as women and health and nutrition, educational opportunities, and organizing for change.
A teacher's guide accompanies each of the secondary units with suggested methods for
integrating women's concerns into regular curriculum, additional student projects and
resources, and answers to "Points to Consider."
Through this instructional unit, Third World Women Family, Work, and
Empowerment, teachers and other adult audiences are introduced to some contemporary
issues for women in the Third World. Used as a one-day workshop or as a series of
shorter class sessions, this unit also concentrates on issues of women and the family,
women and work, and empowering women. These issues reflect those of the United
Nations Decade for Women (1975-1985) which focused attention on the great need to
make visible the critical roles women play in the development of their countries, both
within their families and within the world of work. There has also been recognition that
women, particularly those raising children as single heads of households, are often the
poorest of the poor. With this recognition, women and men around the world are
organizing for change and, in so doing, empowering women so that they may have more
control over their lives.
NOTE ON THE USE OF THE TERM THIRD WORLD IN THIS MANUAL
There is no good way of labeling the poorer countries of the world, those with:
high rates of illiteracy.
high rates of infant mortality and low life expectancy.
a majority of population living in rural areas as small cultivators or
a low per capital income according to the Gross National Product with a
high percentage of economic activity taking place in the informal sector and
subsistence farming (see glossary).
Most of these countries are in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, although there are regions
within the United States and other industrialized countries that have similar conditions.
These countries have been called "less-developed," "under-developed," "undeveloped,"
and "developing." We have chosen to use "Third World" as a generic term in this manual
and in the curriculum for this project.
Originally Third World was a political term chosen by countries that did not want to align
themselves with either of the superpowers the United States and the U.S.S.R. in the
post -World War II era. The non-aligned countries chose this term after World War II to
refer to themselves and to distinguish themselves from what was called at the time the
"first" world (industrialized countries, generally Europe, the United States, and Canada)
and the "second" world (generally the socialist countries but particularly those behind the
'iron curtain' and the U.S.S.R.) Therefore, although this term Third World has taken on
an economic meaning, it was a descriptive title that came from the areas themselves and we
felt was preferable to the other labels mentioned as these seem to reflect ideas of progress
which are forwarded by industrialized areas such as Europe and the United States.
(Adapted from, Ben Crow and Alan Thomas, Third World Atlas, 1983.)
PART II: The Family and Women in the Third World
To make participants aware of the diversity of the world's
To focus participants on a discussion of the family unit
as basic for women worldwide and of the nurturing of
children and domestic tasks overwhelmingly
assigned to women.
To make participants aware of the complex considerations
that must be taken into account when families are analyzed
from the perspective of women and particularly to assess
individual family members' access to and control over
To discuss a major issue for women worldwide -
the concerns of women as single heads of households.
To investigate the problems of the"double day" for women
worldwide and the effect of the double day on their economic
PART II: The Family and Women in the Third World
TOTAL TIME PART II: 80 MINUTES
PART II-A: Defining "Family" A Small Group Exercise
1. Divide participants into small groups and assign a recorder by an equitable method.
Suggest that participants take turns as recorder throughout the day.
Have each group define the concept "FAMILY." (10 MINUTES)
Compare the results in a large group discussion. (5 MINUTES)
List the major criteria agreed upon on the blackboard or easel.
Have participants compare and contrast their own family structures to those they listed as
the major criteria for "family." (5 MINUTES)
PART II-B: An Audiovisual Presentation
2. Present slide/tape (or alternative sound filmstrip format):
"Family Configurations in the Third World -
A Focus on Women as Single Heads of Households" (20 MINUTES)
After viewing the presentation ask participants:
"In what ways would the criteria we listed for "family" be adjusted when looking at Third
World examples? Where does our criteria agree with family configurations in the
[Leave these additions or comments on the easel or blackboard following the group
definition of 'family.') (10 MINUTES)
3. Have participants define the word "RESOURCES" in small groups add this definition
to the easel or blackboard. (10 MINUTES)
PART II-C: "HANDOUT 2 and Points to Consider"
4. Pass out and have participants read -
"Examples of the Influence of Gender on the Distribution of Family Resources"
(HANDOUT 2) (10 MINUTES)
In small group discussions, have participants complete the discussion questions that follow
Compare small group answers in a large group discussion. (10 MINUTES)
(See additional instructions for HANDOUT 2 on page 15.)
PART II-B An Audiovisual Presentation
Family Configurations in the Third World
A Focus on Women as Single Heads of Households
GRETCHEN HEATH, NARRATOR
1. Focus Slide Glenhurst Publications, Inc.
2. Project Slide: Women and Development Issues in Three World Areas
Funded by: The Agency for International Development's Development Education Program
International Tribune Center Mother with Children
3. Title Slide: "Family Configurations in the Third World -
A Focus on Women as Single Heads of Households"
Andrus Himmelstrup Guatemalan Woman and Child
4. This presentation focuses on different family configurations in the Third World. Particularly emphasized
are the roles of women within family units and female-headed households.
Eileen Soderberg Nuclear Family, United States
5. The ideal model in the United States is the nuclear family with mother, father, and children living
Margo Sprague Indian Extended Family
6. Another familiar family model is the extended family still an ideal in many world areas where
grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins live together or in close proximity.
Thomas L. Kelly Tibetan Bride, Nepal
7. There are, however, other family configurations not so familiar to us in the United States. One of these
is relatively rare, polyandry, or a family where there is one wife and several husbands. This young girl of
ten is ready for her marriage day. She lives in the mountains of Nepal. She will marry three brothers.
Thomas L. Kelly Bride with Three Grooms, Nepal
8. The three brothers are of varying ages. This system means there frequently are women-headed families
with no husband present. These families are made up of the women who do not marry. These single
women make a living marketing or doing other activities with members of their natal family.
Thomas L. Kelly Buddhist Nuns, Nepal
9. Many single women in Nepal become Buddhist nuns, choosing a life of religious study and
contemplation. Several of them told anthropologist Thomas Kelly that they prefer living as nuns rather
than becoming wives.
Helen Henderson Fulani Husband and Two Wives, Niger
10. Much more common, particularly in Africa and to a lesser extent in the Muslim Middle East, is the
polygynous family with two or more wives and one husband. This Fulani family in Niger is composed of
two wives and one husband.
Leena Kirjavainen Family Two Wives and One Husband, Tanzania
11. This Tanzanian man is pictured with his fifth and sixth wife. His wives reflect his prominent social
and economic status. The work of each of his wives increases the economic power of the family.
Leena Kirjavainen East Africa
12. Under polygyny, if a woman's husband takes another wife, she may find she is expected to get along
on her own, as a virtual female head of household.
Doranne Jacobson Woman Wearing Chadri, Afghanistan
13. Some women in polygynous families live in strict seclusion. This woman from Afghanistan wears a
chadri in public. This seclusion of women is known as purdah. Some women are physically secluded in a
compound with other women of the family for most of their adult lives. This has obvious implications for
their ability to gain an education and to become economically active.
Enid Schildkrout Hausa Girl, West Africa
14. This girl from northern Nigeria is a member of a Muslim community the Hausa. Since she is too
young to be in purdah, she is able to sell on the public streets the cooked foods her secluded mother makes.
She goes to Arabic school for one hour in the morning but if she were to go to regular school, her mother's
one source of income, making and selling food, would be shut off.
Margo Sprague Indian Child Caring for Younger Siblings
15. One reason for higher illiteracy rates for women in many world areas is that girls are important to their
families as domestic helpers or caretakers for their younger siblings. Girls are often kept at home rather
than being allowed to attend school.
(Clementina Butler, Pandita Ramabai Sarasvati, 1922) Elderly Hindu Widow
16. Although neither polyandry nor polygyny necessarily results in female-headed families, there are other
types of families characterized by the absence of a man. Two very visible examples are those of widowed
and divorced women. Widows around the world have a special often low status. This early 20th century
photograph is of a high-caste Indian widow. By custom she had her head shaved and wore a rough sari. As
a widow she was considered to be bad luck and was expected never to remarry.
Doranne Jacobson Indian Widows at the Ganges River
17. Similar practices are still carried out in South Asia. These Indian widows are praying for their dead
husbands at the Ganges; they probably will not remarry. A young woman from Nepal recently recounted
that her widowed mother will never remarry, cannot attend weddings, and wears only a white sari. She
commented, however, that her mother has become almost like a member of a "third sex." As a widow her
mother has some freedoms a married woman does not enjoy.
(Clementina Butler) Child Widows, India
18. Again, in this early 20th century photograph, these child widows had their heads shaved, were
considered to be bad luck, and were expected not to remarry. Until recently, girls in India were often
married to much older men; they might then become widows as children and remain single all of their adult
(Katherine Mayo, The Face ofMother India) Young Men Pledged to Marry Child Widows
19. These young men were part of a group that worked against this practice by pledging to marry child
Doianne Jacobson Widow Selling Matches, Lahore, Pakistan
20. This widow in Lahore, Pakistan, sells matches on the street to earn a small pittance on which she
lives. Without social security, older widows who do not have sons or other family members to support
them are often left destitute. This is one reason that many women in South Asia desire a large family with
Jan Conkright Mende Husband and Wife, West Africa
21. This Mende man from Sierra Leone, West Africa, married the widow of his best friend. More
commonly in Africa a woman is expected to marry her brother-in-law upon her husband's death.
Ruth Harris Woman With Child, West Africa
22. In Burkina Faso, for example, when a woman is widowed, she must choose between staying in her
husband's family or leaving it. If she chooses to stay, she is not allowed to stay as a single woman but
must marry a member of the family. If she refuses, she must leave the family, including her children. The
Minister of Family Affairs in Burkina Faso has come out strongly against this practice.
Doranne Jacobson Woman and Boy at Bus Station, Konya, Turkey
23. Divorce as well as widowhood leaves women as heads of households. In parts of the Middle East, in
some Muslim countries, divorce rates are high. Natal family bonds are frequently seen as more important
than the bonds between husband and wife. Therefore, a divorced woman is cared for by her natal family.
Leena Kirjavainen Village Women, Kenya
24. However, divorce may not be as important an issue in much of South Asia, Latin America, and parts
of Africa. For a number of cultural reasons, divorce can be comparatively rare in these areas.
Andrus Himmelstrup Guatemalan Woman
25. Less obvious than divorce and widowhood and less easy to detect are women who are heads of
households but have never been formally married.
Etnice McCulloch Family Group in El Corpus, Honduras
26. In many parts of the Caribbean and Central and South America consensual unions are common where a
woman and man are never formally married according to law but where children are frequently born to the
Jan Painter Man and Woman Walking, Guatemala
27. The poor often cannot afford stable, legally sanctioned marriages as there are many social and economic
obligations attached to formal marriage that are prohibitively expensive. Some of these unions last a
lifetime but more often they are temporary arrangements.
Eunice McCulloch Central American Mother With Her Children
28. The dissolution of a consensual relationship places a woman in a position similar to divorce but with
none of the rights of a legalized union. This Honduran woman who is part of such a relationship has
healthy and well-fed children. Nevertheless, there has been a great increase in the dissolution of consensual.
unions in Latin America in recent years and her economic well-being may depend on this relationship.
Eunice McCulloch Woman and Child, Honduras
29. The ending of consensual unions leave many single mothers. But there are many other reasons for the
rapid increase in female-headed households in the last two decades.
Amnesty International Women Demonstrators, Plaza de Mayo, Buenos Aires, Argentina
30. Political chaos and disruption leaves many men either in exile, in prison, or fighting. These are
women marching in the Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires. In the 1970s and early 1980s they protested the
disappearance of relatives and demanded an accounting of these "disappeared ones" from the military
government then in power.
Ms. Magazine Bangladeshi Woman
31. Besides political disruptions, a rise in female-headed households may be caused by natural disasters.
When there were major famines in Bengal, women like this one became wanderers. Some men resorted to
the custom of korta, which means "master" and is an accepted social strategy to protect adult males.
According to korta, if resources were still available in the village, the husband would stay behind while the
wife and children were driven out If there were known resources outside the village but local food supplies
were exhausted, the husband would migrate.
Susan Gross Uruguayan Woman and Child
32. Modernization, population pressure, and the lure of higher wages have led to one of the primary
reasons for the increase in female-headed households migration of the men from rural areas to cities or
other countries in search of wage labor. Migration of men leaves women and children to run family farms.
This Uruguayan woman in South America runs her farm while her husband works in a factory.
Howard Massey Woman and Child, Nepal
33. In parts of Nepal women often have control over household and agricultural production because the
men are away herding or trading almost six months of the year. The children remain with their mothers at
Doranne Jacobson Riffian Women, Morocco
34. These Riffian Berber women of North Africa are known for their independence. In the 1960s and 70s,
many of the Riff men migrated to France as temporary workers.
Doranne Jacobson Riffian Women at a Market, Morocco
35. The women took over at home and marketed goods.
Leena Kirjavainen African Woman Grinding Grain
36. In African countries such as Botswana, Lesotho, and Swaziland, women are left with increasing work
loads because men leave home to work in South African mines. African men from other areas migrate to
cities for wage labor, leaving women behind in the villages. Not only do women have the household
chores such as grinding grain and
Kay Williams Women Carrying Straw, Tanzania
37. carrying fuelwood and fodder, often from many miles distance,
Finette Magnuson Women Farming, Narok, Kenya
38. but they also have agricultural tasks that the men once helped with or did.
Leena Kirjavainen Woman Carrying Baby on Her Back, Togo
39. These tasks, of course, are combined with child care.
United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization Woman Escorting Her Child to School
40. The money made by the men often helps pay for school fees or household necessities, but this doesn't
lessen the work load for women.
Cover of Viva Magazine
41. Women are left as heads of households when men migrate requiring greater decision-making powers
but with none of the legal rights of male household heads. One major problem is the lack of right to land
title for women. Even a Kenyan fashion magazine featured an article on this problem.
Page from Viva
42. Without the title to land, women have no collateral for credit and cannot get loans to buy equipment,
seed, and livestock.
Mary Rojas Nairobi Skyline, Kenya
43. Besides migration of men, another reason for a rise in female-headed households is urbanization. The
lure of the cities, here Nairobi, Kenya, and the
Ginny Seitz Suburban African Home
44. hope for a better life have led some single women, particularly in Latin America and Asia, to move to
urban areas. They leave behind their family and village social supports and often find, not comfortable
homes to live in,
Ginny Seitz Cite Simone, Haiti
45. but urban slums, here Cite Simone in Haiti,
Ginny Seitz Slum, Haiti
46. with open sewers and few resources.
Ginny Seitz Street Vendor in Port au Prince, Haiti
47. Because of their lack of skills and training, many Third World women work in the informal sector
outside of the formal, wage economy. This Haitian woman, for example, sells vegetables on the streets of
Port au Prince,
Doranne Jacobson Woman Selling Notions, Jaisalmer, India
48. and this woman sells household items in Jaisalmer, India.
Doranne Jacobson Indian Woman Construction Worker
49. This woman from India is an urban construction worker who maintains the social custom of purdah
while she works.
Doranne Jacobson Woman Carrying Child at a Construction Site
50. She may bring her children with her to the construction site. An Indian woman organized mobile child
care centers after she saw the children of construction workers playing in the mud at a building site in New
Eunice McCulloch Young Woman With Children, La Laguna, Honduras
51. It is estimated that one-third of all households worldwide are headed by women. One cause of the
worldwide feminization of poverty is that women particularly women with children are left to fend for
themselves without adequate social or economic support.
United Nations Literacy Chart
52. Particularly in the Third World, many women have little education. Most of the world's illiterates are
women. This means that women often must settle for unskilled, poorly paid work.
Ginny Seitz Women Marketing Goods, Haiti
53. Women, however, have managed to contribute to family income or support themselves and their
children as single heads of households against great odds. They may eke out a living as petty traders like
this Haitian woman,
Finette Magnuson Women Farmers, Narok, Kenya
54. or as farmers like these Kenyan women,
Margo Sprague Construction Worker in India
55. or as construction workers like this woman in India.
International Women's Tribune Center Women Marching, Nairobi, Kenya
56. Although women in the Third World face serious problems, many are organizing to change economic
and social conditions to assure a brighter future for themselves and for their children.
57. THE END
58. ACKNOWLEDGMENT SLIDE
59. COPYRIGHT SLIDE REPEAT
*Thomas Kelly described the Buddhist nun as blowing a musical instrument called a kangling held in her
left hand. The kangling is made of a human thigh bone. Playing the kangling is meant to evoke the gods
and is also used at the time of spiritual worship involving exorcisms. The nun beats a ndamaru (drum in
her right hand), also to evoke the gods.
Note about polyandry: Polyandry was virtually unknown in north America. The Kaska Indians of extreme
northern British Columbia practiced it but restricted polyandry to old men who could not hunt and therefore
invited a younger brother or close relative to live with him and his wife. (Carolyn Niethammer, Daughters
of the Earth, 1977).
The groups that practice polyandry in Nepal were originally from Tibet where polyandry has been a
common family configuration. The many months that men were away herding meant that frequently only
one husband was present at home at any time. Polyandry was a way to keep all the land of a family intact.
Sometimes polygyny and polyandry were practiced in the same family one of the brothers bringing an
additional wife to the family. In the form of polyandry practiced in Tibet, all the children born were
attributed to the oldest brother. (See, Marjorie Wall Bingham and Susan Hill Gross, Women in Modern
China, 1980, "Women of Tibet," p. 42-48.)
**Facilitator: Remember to have participants redefine "family" after the
audiovisual presentation. See facilitator instructions page 6.
PART II-C: HANDOUT 2
Have participants read HANDOUT 2 and then discuss the "Points to Consider" on page 20
in small groups. Each group should assign a recorder to note down group ideas.
As a summary to PART II, compare answers in a large group discussion.
Suggested answers for "Points to Consider," HANDOUT 2. page 20.
The participants may give a wide range of answers to these questions. As with other
exercises in this workshop, the facilitator should take a minimal role that allows for an open
The following, then, are only a few of the many possible ideas that could be brought to this
1. Resources can be both tangible and intangible in nature. Education, for example, is an
important intangible resource. Boys and men are often favored when educational resources
are distributed within families or by governments. An example would be the lack of
attention frequently given to women farmers by extension workers. A discussion of
resources may range from government priorities to intra-family distribution of goods.
2. Women's access to resources can be limited by many factors. An important one can be
women's socialization. Women may see their roles as wives and mothers as being ones of
self-sacrifice and long suffering. These attributes are considered ideals of womanly
behavior in many cultures. The character of Sita in the Indian myth of the Ramayana or the
marianismo and supermadre ideals in Latin America express these characteristics.*
Customs such as women eating last or food taboos may limit women's access to resources.
Purdah restrictions and other modesty codes may severely restrict women to resources such
as wage work, education, etc. There are many possible answers to this question.
3. Women may practice "self-imposed deprivation" for a number of psychological and
social reasons. In many cultures this may be one of the few ways that women can feel
superior to men. For example, in Latin American culture the ideal for women called
"marianismo" after the Virgin Mary is one in which the mother sacrifices for her children
and is seen as morally superior in this role to the father in the family. Women in many
societies may get their emotional support from their children rather than from husbands.
This may lead to their willingness to make significant sacrifices for their children out of
love and affection as well as from social pressures. Again, there are many possible
answers to this question.
4. Women in virtually all world areas have been denied access to resources at various
times and places. Participants will be able to list examples from their own experience.
*See glossary for Sita, marianismo, and supermadre.
5. The distribution of resources begins at the family level. In families with severe
hierarchical or patriarchal* structures, with segregation of the sexes in work and living
space, and very limited resources, various age groups of women may be deprived of an
equitable share of family resources. More egalitarian family structures will be more likely
to distribute resources according to need and with family agreement. Accepted social
norms at the family level may affect national goals and priorities.
6. Many answers are possible. For example, expectations that women will be the primary
childcare providers while doing other work; the fact that women are often unschooled or
illiterate but may need to provide for themselves and their children as single heads of
households; and the fact that women's work is often invisible because women themselves
are undervalued in many societies or much of their work is done in private may all be given
*See glossary and exercise on page 41 for description of patriarchy. This might be an
appropriate place to use the quick exercise on "patriarchy from page 41.
"Examples of the Influence of Gender on the Distribution of
The following examples demonstrate how the distribution of resources in the Third World
can be related to gender. The categories of resources selected as the focus are access to
food and nutrition and health care. The rationale for selecting these categories is that they
represent the most basic of human needs and have special implications for women who are
bearing or nursing children.
The examples are taken mostly from South Asia and, to a lesser extent, Africa. Specific
examples of gender biases in distribution of food within the family were not found for
Latin America and rarely for Africa. Africa, perhaps, had the most frequent examples of
food taboos that might influence women's health and the most rigid tradition of women
being in charge of subsistence farming and cooking. This tradition gives women power as
food providers as well as imposing a heavy burden of family responsibility upon them.
Researcher A. K. Sen in, Resources, Values and Development (1984) claims that intra-
family biases in food distribution are peculiar to Asia. However, other investigators point
out that discriminatory distribution of food resources favoring males within families may
depend more on class or specific group. (Barbara Harriss and Elizabeth Watson, "The Sex
Ratio in South Asia," in, Momsen and Townsend, Geography, p. 93.) In many parts of
the world women are at special risk of suffering from malnutrition because of frequent
pregnancies and lactation and insufficient diets. A large percentage of women in Latin
America are part of consensual unions or are single heads of households. They are often
completely responsible for feeding their families and may deprive themselves to do so.
This situation is also true of women in Africa, South Asia, and North America who, for a
variety of reasons, are supporting themselves and families often as single heads of
households. Lack of support systems for these growing numbers of female heads of
households has led to inadequate nutrition for many women in this family configuration. A
division of family resources, then, reflects the power structure within the family, social
taboos, and the division of labor. The status of family members may be the basis of
allocation particularly where resources are limited. The evidence that women in some
groups deprive themselves of food to give the best and most food to family males reveals
the powerful psychological internalization by these women of their subordinate position
and the ideal of female self-sacrifice.
According to a study of women in rural Bangladesh, adult women (15 and over) receive
between 27 and 63 percent fewer calories than men. When the study was adjusted for the
needs of pregnant and lactating women, the female disadvantage worsened.
(L.C. Chen, E. Huo, and S. D'Souza, "Sex Bias in the Family Allocation of Food and
Health Care In Rural Bangladesh," Population and Development Review, Vol. 7, No. 1,
(1981), p. 55-70.)
A study of 17 villages in the Punjab area of India discovered that boys were breast-fed
longer and given more food after they were weaned than were girls. Boys from 6 24
months in all castes were better nourished than girls of the same age.
(Sue Ellen Charlton, Women in Third World Development, 1984, p. 5.)
Researcher Shirley Lindenbaum describes a rating system in Bangladesh that gives
preference to boys: "mothers favor sons...and the male child receives preferential
nutrition. Along with his father, he eats first; and if there is a choice, luxury foods or
scarce foods are given to him rather than to his female siblings."
(quoted in, Barbara Miller, "Sexual Discrimination and Population Dynamics in Rural
India," unpublished dissertation, 1978, p. 137.)
In the northern Indian state of Kashmir an anthropologist reported the belief that
"overfeeding" girls makes them unattractive but there was no similar belief about
overfeeding boys. (quoted in, Ibid., p. 138.)
According to a study of a village in south central Bangladesh, women eat after the men and
children, making do with what remains. This is largely a self-imposed form of deprivation
since it is women who cook, distribute, and serve the meals. It is widely-held belief that
such a practice ensures the husband's longevity and good fortune.
(Naila Kabeer, "Do Women Gain from High Fertility?" in, Haleh Afshar, ed., Women,
Work, and Ideology in the Third World, 1985, p. 96.)
Hindu women are not allowed to cook or be in the kitchen when menstruating and therefore
must accept what food is given them during their menstrual periods. Their food intake is
frequently less than normal.
(Judit Katona-Apte, "The Relevance of Nourishment to the Reproductive Cycle," in, Dana
Raphael, ed. Being Female Reproduction, Power, and Change, 1975, p. 46-7.)
The Indian Council of Medical Research found in 1971 that girls outnumbered boys among
children with kwashiorkor, a disease resulting from severe malnutrition, but among
children hospitalized with kwashiorkor, boys outnumbered girls.
(Kathleen Newland, The Sisterhood of Man, 1979, p. 447.)
"It is not unusual to find households [in India] where the women are vegetarian but the
males are not. Vegetarianism among females may be rationalized on religious grounds,
thus leaving more (or all) of the high protein foods for the males."
(Katona-Apte, "Relevance," p. 45.)
The state of Kerala in south India has the most balanced sex ratio girls to boys in India
(967 males to 1000 females comparable to Africa, Europe, and North America) while the
northern state of Uttar Pradesh has a sex ratio of 1129 males for 1000 females.
(Janet Henshall Momsen and Janet Townsend, Geography of Gender, 1987, p. 93.)
A study of a slum area in Khulna, Bangladesh, found that 56 percent of all female children
from the households studied were either second or third degree undernourished (under 80
percent of expected weight for height) while only 12 percent of male children were
(Jane Pryer, "Production and Reproduction of Malnutrition in An Urban Slum in Khulna,
Bangladesh," in, Ibid., p. 135.)
In Bangladesh 66 percent more boys than girls under five were brought for treatment to
health facilities even though there are no sexual differences in general morbidity.
(L.C. Chen, E. Huq, and S. D'Souza "Sex Bias in the Family Allocation of Food and
Health Care in Rural Bangladesh," Population and Development Review, Vol. 7, No. 1,
(1981), p. 55-70.)
"From official statistics [in Bangladesh], it has been deduced that high female death rates
from gastroenteritis, colitis, pneumonia, tuberculosis, avitaminosis and other diseases
associated with malnutrition are indicative of the late stage at which treatment is sought.
But this evidence may also reflect influences of nutritional status."
(Momsen and Townsend, Geography, 1987, p. 92.)
Among Hindus in Nepal, women "prepare the food (unless menstruating or recently
delivered), but eat last and, therefore, within poor households, eat little. Nutritious foods
such as milk, eggs and vegetables may be scarce, and are invariably offered first to men
and honored visitors."
(Maggie Pearson, "Old Wives or Young Midwives? Women as Caretakers of Health: the
Case of Nepal," in, Momsen, Geography, p. 126-27.)
Women provide significant labor as subsistence farmers of the Blue Nile Province in
Sudan. Because of male migration, women are left behind to tend and manage the farms.
As household providers, they depend on their subsistence farms and remittances from the
male family members who have migrated for jobs. However, additional income earned by
the men is not necessarily sent home to improve the farm or to pay f rily expenses.
Consumer goods and alcohol are often purchased with extra income .nd in many cases
the husband takes an additional wife. In contrast to the men, women generally spend their
income on community social occasions such as rites of passage, the household, health and
(Lina Fruzzetti, "Farm and Hearth: Rural Women in a Farming Community," in, Afshar,
Women, Work, and Ideology, p. 42-58.)
"The cooking of food has considerable symbolical significance in relationships between
men and women in most African societies, ...For a wife to refuse to cook for her husband
is indicative of her extreme displeasure and tantamount almost to a sign that she is about to
leave him. Similarly, for a husband to accept and eat food cooked for him by a woman
other than his own wife or a relative is tantamount in her eyes to his committing adultery."
(Kenneth Little, African Women in Towns, 1973, p. 169.)
Food taboos may prevent good nutrition. In parts of Tanzania and Botswana, women are
reported not to eat eggs because they think it interferes with women's fertility. The
restrictions on the diets of nursing mothers in many societies are too numerous to list
(Newman, Sisterhood, p. 49.)
Among the Luo of Kenya "the association of women with agriculture and men with
livestock and wild game is mirrored in a series of food taboos that prevented Luo women
from eating chicken, eggs, milk, sheep, rabbit, hippo, or elephant meat...Customs that
reserved many of the high-protein foods for men must have had some effect on women's
health, fertility, and agricultural productivity." (Margaret Jean Hay "Luo Women and
Economic Change During the Colonial Period," in, Nancy Hafkin and Edna Bay, eds,
Women in Africa, 1976, p. 91.)
Secluded muslim women in Africa, South Asia and the Middle East who keep to purdah
restrictions must depend on the availablility of women doctors and health care providers as
it is against modesty codes to visit a male doctor. For example, in one case all the men
were sent out of a north African village for a day while the women were vaccinated for
tuberculosis. (Rene Gardi, Blue Veils-Red Tents, 1953, p. 33.)
Ewe men of east Africa traditionally grew the staple crop, yams, used primarily for
subsistence. In recent years heavy male migration and growing of the cash crop, cocoa, by
men has meant that women now provide food for their households. Men contribute money
for occasional expenses like school fees, tools, or house maintenance but not toward food
and day-to-day expenses. The Ewe women complain that the men spend cash from wages
and selling cocoa on "bachelor consumption goods" such as cigarettes, palm wine,
watches, and sometimes radios or bicycles.
(Esther Trenchard "Rural Women's Work in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Implications for
Nutrition," in, Momsen and Townsend, Geography, p. 165.)
POINTS TO CONSIDER
1. Thinking over the discussion of the terms "family" and "resources," the audiovisual
presentation of family configurations, and the information on HANDOUT 2, in what ways
would you modify or change your definition of "resources"? Would you further modify
your definition of "family"?
2. From these readings and your general knowledge, what specific factors limit access to -
and control of resources by women?
3. Since women are the cooks, the fact that they often are less well-fed is (as Naila Kabeer
commented in the example from Bangladesh in HANDOUT 2 on page 18) a largely self-
imposed form of deprivation. What factors do you think lead to this kind of self-imposed
deprivation on the part of women?
4. From what you know of limitations to Third World women's access to resources, are
there similar limitations for women in parts of the industrialized capitalist or socialist
5. List reasons why a knowledge of family structure is important for an understanding of
the allocation of resources in all societies.
6. Speculate about ways in which this allocation of resources may relate to. women's roles
in economic and social development.
PART IIm: Women's Work in the Third World
To introduce participants to the complexities of the
To present participants with a cross-cultural
description of women's work and the division of
labor by sex.
To make participants aware of ways in which women's
work is crucial to family welfare.
To investigate reasons why women's work is frequently
not perceived as work or is undervalued.
PART III- A: HANDOUT 3
TOTAL TIME PART III A: 60 MINUTES (HANDOUTS 3 AND 4)
** Facilitator Instructions:
Put Questions 1 and 2 below on the easel or blackboard.
Question 1: In small groups discuss and record how you would define "WORK."
Question 2: What kinds of work does our society value most? Least?
How does your group think these values are determined? (10 MINUTES)
After participants have completed Questions 1 and 2, pass out -
HANDOUTS 3-a. 3-b. 3-c, 3-d ONE TO EACH GROUP.
(If you have more than four groups, give two small groups the same handout.)
**Facilitator put the following instructions on the easel or blackboard:
In small groups:
Read over the brief description of one aspect of work.
List in group discussion examples of this kind of work in the participants' society.
Then, as a group, decide whether in the participants' society:
women or men are the primary people to carry out the
activities in this category.
this is a valid description of an aspect of "work."
If it is "work," how highly valued is it?
Share the definition of work that was discussed in your small group and your group
decisions about this aspect of work in a large group discussion. (15 MINUTES)
HANDOUTS 3-a. 3-b. 3-c. and 3-d (One to each group)
WORK AS PRODUCTION TASKS
Production is work where workers are generally paid for their labor with wages or receive
payment for other income-earning activities. It also includes work, such as subsistence
farming or slave labor, where the result is a consumable product. However, subsistence
farming in many world areas is looked at as an extension of housework and so is not seen
WORK AS REPRODUCTION TASKS
Reproductive work can be defined as the biological reproduction of human beings and the
daily maintenance of the labor force but also social reproduction; the perpetuation of the
particular social system. (Lourdes Beneria Introduction to Women in Development,
xxiii.) Subsistence farming and work in the informal sector is often viewed as an extension
of housework, so is "reproductive" work.
WORK AS INTEGRATION TASKS
Integration work can be defined as those tasks that serve to hold the society together and
build morale in the community. Integration work aims at tempering griefs,
disappointments, failures and celebrating success and joy. These tasks often involve life
stages' rituals associated with birth, passage to adulthood, courtship and marriage, and
death. (Kenneth Boulding, quoted in Jessie Bernard, The Female World From A Global
WORK AS STATUS ENHANCEMENT TASKS
Status enhancement tasks are those that lead to increased prestige for an individual, family,
or community group within their community or society. These tasks may be associated or
confused with leisure activities. They often involve various kinds of volunteer work.
PART I A: HANDOUT 4
After completing the exercise on "work" and comparing answers in a large group
discussion, have each participant read HANDOUT 4. (12-15 MINUTES give enough
time for individuals to read and study this handout)
In small group discussions have participants review their group definitions of work. They
should decide whether they want to change or modify their definition and give reasons for
Then they should complete the summary questions following HANDOUT 4 on page 31 in
a small group discussion. (10 MINUTES)
Small group definitions of work and answers to summary questions should then be
compared in a large group discussion. (5-10 MINUTES)
Is there a consensus of what "WORK is?" If so, write it on the easel.
Suggested answers to the summary questions for HANDOUT 4 on page 31.
Answers to the Summary Questions on page 31 will vary. Some work might be hard to
evaluate or give a monetary value to; women's work might be undervalued because women
are undervalued; child care and reproductive work as well as status enhancing and
integrative work may be looked at as non-work something particularly women do for
others willingly, as self-sacrifice or out of love or affection.
Participants may offer other models for work. A problem with this model may be that it is
too broad and that even those things seen as non-work could be classified as work. On
the other hand, the idea is to have participants look at how they occupy their time and to
view particularly integrative tasks as very central to social survival though frequently
"A Model For Defiing Work"
WORK AS PRODUCTION
Historically, production has been associated primarily with men.
Production involves income-generating activities, paid or wage labor. It is valued as
"real," accountable work because visible cash payment is made for productive labor or
economic activities. The category "productive work" should also include subsistence
farming and work in the informal sector such as trading fruits and vegetables and selling
homemade beer and foods. Work in the informal sector, however, is often not counted in
national statistics. The work of women in the informal sector is often seen by both men
and women as an extension of housework.
The capitalist view of women and productive work is that, although not the ideal, some
women may need productive work to help support their families or themselves. In some
countries, such as Japan and Mexico, corporations often encourage young women to work
in low-level office or factory jobs. Generally these are poorly paid and are seen as
temporary productive work jobs for women before marriage.
Women are needed in the productive work force in times of emergencies, particularly
during wars. Through propaganda, governments encourage women to work in the
productive sphere during wartime. Frequently, reverse propaganda demands they leave the
productive work force at the end of war.
In the 20th century women in the capitalist world have organized to demand equal
productive work opportunities and wages and to have men share in reproductive work.
The socialist view of productive work for women has encouraged women to enter the
productive work force this has been an ideological commitment.
According to socialist planning, day care for children, food, and laundry services were to
be provided and women were to work for wages. For example, Lenin said that to become
equal with men "women [must] participate in common productive labor."..."housework is
the most unproductive, savage and the most arduous work a woman can do."..."We are
setting up model institutions, dining rooms and nurseries, that will emancipate women
from housework. And the work of organizing all these institutions will fall mainly to
women....Women can also work in the sphere of food distribution, on the improvement of
public catering..." (N. Lenin, "Pravda," No. 213, September 25, 1919.) In other words,
in the socialist state, women would be doing tasks similar to those they did before the
socialist revolution but with socialism they would do these tasks as productive wage
laborers rather than as unpaid reproductive laborers.
Third World views on women as productive laborers vary some fit the capitalist view and
others fit the socialist view. However, the Third World view toward women doing
productive work, as in most of the world, has been ambivalent. Young women, as in
Mexico, may work for wages until marriage but the ideal is the mother at home. Many
Third World women must work for wages as with Indian construction workers or factory
workers. Many Third World areas (e.g., the Middle East) have very low rates of women
in the formal productive wage force, but many subsistence workers are women and
women in the informal sector are not counted in official statistics.
Policies aimed at providing women with productive labor have often resulted in a double
work day for women worldwide. Neither capitalism nor socialism have seriously
addressed the problem of changing the male/female division of labor. Soviet propaganda
encourages husbands to help their wives at home; men are pictured in aprons washing
dishes. However, studies, have shown that Soviet women are overwhelmingly in charge
of domestic chores, child care, and shopping. (See, Gail Lapidus, Women in Soviet
Society, 1978). The ideal of institutionalizing day care, laundry, and food preparation
tasks faded away by the Stalinist era in the U.S.S.R. and has not been possible in China
because of limited resources.
The women's movement in the capitalist world has had a goal of sharing equally the home
tasks between women and men as well as better public services for child care. The ideal of
mothers staying at home and the lack of female political clout in many capitalist world
countries has meant that progress toward equal sharing of domestic work and public
support for child care are limited. Perhaps a lesson to be learned from the history of
women as productive workers is that it is easier to change the status of women in law or the
workplace than it is to change female and male roles.
Because of lack of support services, lower-class women working for wages in the Third
World are frequently severely overworked. On the other hand, availablility of domestic
workers and the extended family ideal have meant that some highly educated women in the
Third World are free to pursue careers.
WORK AS REPRODUCTION
Reproductive work is associated with domestic work and child care.
Reproductive work is generally undervalued, non-paid, and overwhelmingly associated
In many world areas, subsistence farming and food preservation are seen by women and
men as extensions of housework therefore as reproductive tasks.
The capitalist solution to the undervaluing of reproductive work has been to glorify
motherhood and the home. In the 19th century, for example, upper-class women in
Europe and North America were often seen as the protectors of the home while men
sacrificed and tainted themselves by working in the "evil" outside world of business.
Women were seen as the moral force of the family and their roles as wives and mothers
were venerated. (Barbara Welter, "The Cult of True Womanhood: 1820-1860," American
Quarterly, Vol. 18 (Summer, 1966), p. 151-66.
More recently women have been encouraged to work for wages but the attitude toward
their productive work has been ambivalent, particularly in the United States. Child care
facilities, for example, have lagged far behind need, partly because the family ideal has
continued to be a mother staying at home to care for her children.
The socialist solution to undervaluing of reproductive work was to provide women with
productive (wage) labor and take care of domestic work communally. Therefore, Lenin
called women "'household slaves,' for they are overburdened with the drudgery of the
most squalid, backbreaking and stultifying toil in the kitchen and the family
household."...The solution is the "emancipation of woman, her liberation from 'household
bondage' through transition from petty individual housekeeping to large-scale socialized
domestic services." (N. Lenin, speech for International Woman's Day, 1921, in, Collected
Works, Vol. 32, p. 161-63.)
Most Third World societies put heavy emphasis on women as inothers. High infant
mortality, lack of social security, preference for boys, and other factors encourage large
families and a focus on motherhood for women. Women are valued as mothers but
women's reproductive roles are also seen as "natural" ones and often appropriate
Technology to relieve the domestic labor of women is not given high priority.
Both the capitalist and socialist solutions have been unsuccessful in solving the problem of
undervaluing. The capitalist solution of honoring motherhood and encouraging women to
stay at home has only been applicable to a small group of upper-class women whose
husbands could afford dependent wives and children; the solution does not acknowledge
economic problems that frequently accompany divorce or widowhood; it assumes that all
women find satisfaction in domestic work.
The socialist solution to undervaluing of domestic work has not successfully addressed the
difficulties in setting up a system of "large-scale socialized domestic services." Women
continue to do double duty in the Soviet Union and other socialist states. Even in an
idealistic communal setting such as the kibbutzim in Israel, women still tend the "baby
houses" and few men are assigned to what is seen as "women's work" such as laundry or
food service. Here, as elsewhere, the tasks associated with women, such as child care,
have less prestige than those associated with men, such as using farm machinery.
(See: Rae Lesser Blumberg, "Kibbutz Women" in, Lynne Iglitzind and Ruth Ross, eds.
Women in the World, 1976.)
The idea that men and women are equally responsible for child care and domestic work -
that female/male roles have to change has only recently been forwarded as a necessary
element in solving the problem of acknowledging and valuing reproductive work.
WORK AS INTEGRATION TASKS
According to American economist Kenneth Boulding, the concept of "integry" contrasts
with the idea of economy and polity. As explained by sociologist Jessie Bernard, integry
"served the function of holding the parts of a society together, of preventing the economy,
for example, from self-destructing. The rules which govern the way the economy and the
integry operated were almost polar opposites. The economy governed the production of
goods and services for the market; the integry did the integrating work, that is, it built
morale in the community; it 'stroked,' supported, tempered griefs, disappointments, and
failures;..." (Bernard, The Female World, p. 16.)
Tasks associated with integry are primarily assigned to women.
Many integration tasks are accomplished in the private sphere of home and family but have
important implications for the public sphere. Integration tasks often involve life stages, as
mentioned earlier, and making arrangements for these crucial rituals and religious
observances have usually fallen to women. The care of the elderly and disabled individuals
may be seen as integrative tasks (and reproductive).
Integration tasks also involve the creation of community the formation of bonds that hold
groups of people together and create loyalties and provide needed services to individuals in
times of trouble. These tasks are often important in preventing the alienation of
individuals, therefore, may prevent criminal or violent acts against the group or community
Integration tasks have been invisible as work worldwide. They have been valued in
themselves as entertainments or significant events marking traditional holidays or life
stages. They have also been valued for their economic importance as in arranged
marriages involving dowry or brideprice. But their importance as integry has not been
fully recognized. As important and time-consuming tasks primarily of women, integration
tasks are generally unacknowledged as work.
STATUS ENHANCEMENT TASKS
These tasks are associated with both sexes but more frequently are women's work.
Status enhancement tasks are generally undervalued as work and may be viewed as leisure.
Status enhancement tasks are usually seen as the result of economic privilege. Symbolic
messages are one important result of this work. For example, purdah restrictions placed
upon women in the Third World are seen as demonstrating a family's affluence and power.
Purdah restrictions on women become a symbolic expression of a family's increased
status. Work, however, in other categories may continue to be done by women with the
added burden on family women of keeping purdah restrictions.
In the capitalist world, status enhancement tasks frequently involve consumerism and
shopping mainly by women. Consumerism is intended to emphasize the importance of
the family or individual by "conspicuous consumption." A display of expensive consumer
items or the giving of gifts may enhance the power and prestige of a family in both the
capitalist and Third Worlds and can contribute to the upward social mobility of individuals
or families. This is probably also true in many socialist societies although officially denied.
Other status enhancing tasks involve volunteer work. These tasks may also be seen as
integrative. Frequently, however, wives (especially in the capitalist world) are expected to
carry out certain kinds of volunteer work that can be status enhancing for the family or
husband. In the capitalist world, volunteer work often involves public acknowledgment of
the status enhancement work being done a charity ball, for example. These time-
consuming volunteer commitments can only be accomplished by wives with the time to do
them so they are a public acknowledgment of the ability of the family or husband to
support the activity. In addition, entertaining such as giving dinner or other parties
arranged for and carried out mainly by women may involve status enhancement.
Capitalist societies may swing from eras of consumerism, where symbols of affluence act
as strong status enhancers, to eras of belt tightening, where conspicuous consumption is
deprecated. The idea of the "social climber" is generally scorned, but social occasions are
frequently used for status enhancement purposes.
In the socialist world, party activities and meetings may be important to the status
enhancement of individuals. Soviet women are less able to do this kind of volunteer work
because of domestic, reproductive chores that they are expected to do along with their
productive, wage jobs. With this "double duty," they have significantly less time than men
for the party activities that might develop into leadership positions. (See Alena Heitlinger,
Women and State Socialism, 1979, p. 147-165 and Gail Lapidus, p. 5-6, 323.)
Socialist societies strive to eliminate many of these activities as class symbols but
encourage volunteer tasks and other status enhancement activities involving party
In the Third World, women are frequently in charge of social obligations. For example,
one researcher foundthat women in the Sudan village she studied spent much time and
their own earnings on cultural and social obligations rites such as birth, marriage,
circumcision, death and the gift giving involved women's money and labor.
(Lina Fruzzetti, "Farm and Hearth: Rural Women in a Farming Community," in, Haleh
Afshar, Women, Work, and Ideology in the Third World, 1985, p. 50.)
One way to think of work is to consider "how one fills one's time" and then
make a distinction between work and non-work. Non-work is perhaps more easily defined
than work. Non-work can be seen as activities involving personal maintenance
(specifically sleeping, eating, exercise, and physical grooming) and leisure activities of
one's choice done for pleasure.
Work is not all disagreeable and not all non-work is done for pleasure. Personal
maintenance tasks can be quite dull, for example. In fact, it is noteworthy that wealthy or
powerful persons often hire others to do most of their non-work but not all of their work.
The line between work tasks and what is considered leisure may be unclear.
Work may be a concept so narrow (only productive) or so general (all four areas equally
considered) that it is not particularly useful concept as a category of human endeavor.
However, since our value or worth as human beings is partly dependent upon the work we
are perceived as doing, it is essential to discuss the concept "work" when thinking about
For large group discussion and summary:
1. Suggest reasons that you think certain types of work may not be included in national
statistics? Be undervalued?
2. If you include all four categories as definitions of work, what is non-work? Do you
agree with the authors' definition of non-work? Why or why not?
3. Is work a useful concept? Why or why not?
PART m B: HANDOUT 5
TOTAL TIME PART II-B: 25 MINUTES
Have participants quickly read over HANDOUT 5:
"Getting at Women's Work A Day in the Life of Third World Women"
Have participants write down a "day in their life" in as much detail as they can recall. They
might try doing this for a recent, typical work day. (10 MINUTES)
(**Facilitators note that these directions are reproduced for participants at
the beginning of HANDOUT 5.)
When they have completed their "day," have participants categorize their activities as
Reproductive, Productive, Integrative, and Status Enhancing, Leisure, or Personal
Maintenance. (5 MINUTES)
Discuss in the large group similarities and differences between their own typical work day
and that of women in the descriptions in HANDOUT 5.
Have participants suggest ways that unpaid (often women's) work can be
made more visible. These can be added to the easel or blackboard.
(Discussion total: 10 MINUTES.)
"Getting at Women's Work A Day in the Life of Third World Women"
To get at the reality of women's work, the usual measures that emphasize productive, wage
work have had to be revised or abandoned. Official definitions of those who are
"economically active" frequently do not count women who support themselves and their
families by working in the informal sector of the economy.
In near subsistence societies women's labor is often crucial to family survival but
frequently is not counted in the gross national product of the country. According to the
United Nations definition, the poorest countries have a per capital income of $125 or less a
year. Survival for many people in these societies obviously does not depend upon cash
expenditures but on subsistence activities.
Time-use studies (or time-budget surveys) have been one way to get at women's work.
Many of these studies are elaborate, statistical analyses of a number of households in one
particular area. (See: Mayra Buvinic, Margaret Lycette, and William McGreevey, Women
and Poverty in the Third World, 1983; Nural M. Islam, Richard Morse, and M. Hadi
Soesastro, Rural Energy to Meet Development Needs, 1984, for examples of time-use
This exercise does not attempt to replicate time-use studies. The following are descriptions
of a few typical "days in the life" of women in a variety of world areas and times.
Directions for the Participants:
First quickly read over the descriptions of the day in the lives of five women described in
Think back on a recent, typical day in your life and account for how you filled your
time. Try to be as accurate and complete as possible.
Looking at your list, categorize each activity as: Reproductive, Productive,
Integrative, Status Enhancing, Leisure, or Personal maintenance.
What percentage of your time was spent in work that would be
counted in the GNP Gross National Product? (The total monetary value of all
goods and services produced in a country in one year.)
* List specific problems you had accounting for your time.
Do some activities fall into more than one category?
In small groups discuss:
* The similarities and differences between your work and those of
women in the descriptions of the daily activities of the women in this handout?
* The ways that work in the informal sector or non-wage work -
could be accounted for.
* Compare ideas in a large group discussion.
Women's Long Working Day
From: Madhu Kishwar and Ruth Vanita, In Search of Answers, 1984, "Women's
Condition and Family Life Among Agricultural Laborers and Small Farmers in a Punjab
Village," data collected by Berny Horwitz, p. 89-90.
"Women's activities were centered on a continuous round of domestic and/or field labor.
Their working day was much longer than that of the men of the household. The survey
was carried out during the cotton picking season, a time when most women from both
agricultural laborer and Jat land owning households were heavily involved in field labor.
Among the 13 agricultural laborer women who went to the fields to pick cotton (only one
80-year-old blind agricultural laborer woman did not go), the average length of the
workday reported by these women was 15.5 hours every day.
"On an average, they spent almost six hours a day on domestic work. Typically, they got
up at 4 or 5 AM, did cooking, cleaning and other household work until about 8 AM,
reached the fields by 9 AM and picked cotton till about 6 PM. In the evening, they returned
home between 6 and 7 PM, and then spent the next few hours till 9 or 10 PM doing
*See glossary for Jat.
A Day in the Life of A Tamil Woman of Sri Lanka Yogamma
From: Else Skjorsberg, A Special Caste: Tamil Women of Sri Lanka,
1982, p. 56-59.
Yogamma is a woman who belongs to the Hindu Palla caste. The Palla caste is considered
to be the lowest of Sri Lanka Hindu Tamils they are outcastes. She is 28 years old and
has five children. She is a comparatively well-off for an outcaste woman. Her husband, a
healthy and strong man, taps toddy [palm trees tapped for their sap to make a fermented
drink] for wages.
"By six o'clock AM she is already up, has washed, and gone to the field to do her toilet.
This is the timetable for the rest of her day:
6:00AM She sweeps the kitchen and makes breakfast.
6:20 The whole family eats bread and drinks tea.
6:35 Yogamma goes to look for a cup that has been lost.
7:00 She washes up after last night's dinner.
7:25 She helps her older girls get dressed and off to school.
7:40 She washes her infant and prepares herself for going out.
8:00 She is at the Thoppukadu health center to get milk powder which is distributed to
underweight infants. The child is fed there.
9:30 She is back home, where she sweeps the kitchen (which is a separate building),
living quarters, and the yard.
11:10 She washes herself, hands and feet.
11:25 She comforts her baby, who is crying.
11:35 She goes to get water which is brought to Main Street in a tanker lorry, because the
village wells have dried up. The water is rationed because of the drought. She is entitled
to only two pots or 36 litres of water.
11:55 She goes with a neighbor to an uncultivated area to pick green leaves.
12:30 She starts making lunch: fish and "spinach."
1:35 She washes up and sweeps the kitchen.
2:00 She pounds chilies for the dinner.
3:00 She prepares her baby and herself for going to the health center again.
3:10 She goes to the health center to get milk powder for the afternoon feed and feeds the
3:30 She is back home again. She leaves the baby with her elder daughter and collects
3:40 She goes to the well where she washes clothes, helped by her second daughter.
4:40 She arrives back home and spreads out the clothes to dry.
4:50 She lights the fire, makes tea for her father-in-law, and drinks tea herself.
5:00 She goes to Main Street to see if she can find some cheap vegetables to buy.
5:30 She goes to the well to get water (not drinking water.) The pot she carries weighs
18 kg [about 40 points] when full.
5:55 She cleans the lamp, fills it with oil and lights it.
6:10 She cooks dinner: rice and fish.
6:55 She cooks milk porridge for her baby.
7:00 She gives her children dinner.
7:20 She puts the children to bed.
7:30 She sits outside the house and makes a basket from palmyra leaves, chatting with
her neighbors while she works. The basket whe will try and sell.
8:30 She serves dinner for her husband and father-in-law.
8:45 She eats dinner herself and washes up.
9:00 She rests.
9:30 She goes to sleep.
Timetable of Yogamma's Husband's Day
Rajendran gets up shortly after 6:00 AM. Then -
6:20 He eats breakfast which is served by his wife.
7:00 He goes to work at Kayts [a neighboring island].
8:00 He starts his job building fences, plowing, watering, building houses, or whatever
work he may be put to.
12:00 He goes home.
12:30 He goes to the men's well to wash himself.
1:15 He eats the lunch prepared by his wife.
1:30 He rests.
2:00 He returns to Kayts.
2:30 He resumes work.
5:00 He leaves when the working day is over and goes home in the company of friends.
5:30 He drinks tea at home.
5:35 He goes to Main Street to be with friends, play cards, and chat.
8:30 He eats dinner.
8:45 He chats, listens to the radio or rests until bedtime.
How a Miner's Wife Spends Her Day
From: Domitila Barrios De Chungara, Let Me Speak!, 1978, p. 32-33.
This is the testimony of a Bolivian woman who reported at the International Women's Year
Tribunal at the United Nations meeting in Mexico in 1975. She is the wife of a miner,
mother of seven children, and represented the "Housewives' Committee of Siglo XX" an
organization of wives of workers in the tin mines of Bolivia.
"My day begins at four in the morning, especially when my companero
[husband] is on the first shift. I prepare his breakfast. Then I have to prepare the saltenas
[Bolivian meat pie], because I make about one hundred saltenas every day and sell them in
the street. I do this in order to make up for what my husband's wage doesn't cover in
terms of our necessities. The night before, we prepare the dough and at four in the
morning I make the saltenas while I feed the kids. The kids help me: they peel potatoes
and carrots and make the dough.
"Then the ones that go to school in the morning have to get ready, while I wash the clothes
I left soaking overnight.
"At eight I go out to sell. The kids that go to school in the afternoon help me. We have to
go to the company store and bring home the staples. And in the store there are immensely
long lines and you have to wait there until eleven in order to stock up. You have to line up
for meat, for vegetables, for oil. So it's just one line after another. Since everything's in a
different place that's how it has to be. So all the time I'm selling saltenas, I line up to buy
my supplies at the store. I run up to the counter to get the things and the kids sell. Then
the kids line up and I sell. That's how we do it...
"Well, then, from eight to eleven in the morning I sell the saltenas, I do the shopping in the
grocery store, and I also work at the Housewives' Committee, talking with the sisters who
go there for advice.
"At noon, lunch has to be ready because the rest of the kids have to go to school.
"In the afternoon I have to wash clothes. There are no laundries. We use troughs and have
to go get the water from the pump. I've also got to correct the kids' homework and prepare
everything I'll need to make the next day's saltenas...
"The work in the committee is daily. I have to be there at least two hours. It's totally
"The rest of the things have to get done at night...I generally go to bed at midnight."
A Day in the Life of An African Woman
From: 1984 Church World Service Third World Calendar,
New Internationalist Publications, Ltd.
According to studies of the Church World Service and the United Nations, the following
would be a day in the life of a typical rural African woman.
4:00 AM Wakes up, washes, eats some leftover food.
5:00-5:30 AM Walks to her fields.
5:30 AM to 3:00 PM Plows, hoes, weeds her fields.
3:00 to 4:00 PM Collects fire wood and comes home.
4:00 to 5:30 PM Pounds and grinds corn.
5:30 to 6:30 PM Fetches water (2 kilometeis each way).
6:30 to 7:30 PM Lights fire and cooks for family.
7:30 to 8:30 PM Serves food to family and eats.
8:30 to 9:30 PM Washes children, the dishes, and herself.
9:30 PM Goes to bed.
(Child care chores accompany these activities.)
"A Day in the Life of an Illinois Farm Woman"
From: Gerda Lerner, The Female Experience, 1977, p. 128-129.
This article was submitted to a journal, The Independent, anonymously, in 1905.
"Any bright morning in the latter part of May I am out of bed at four o'clock; next, after I
have dressed and combed my hair, I start a fire in the kitchen stove,...sweep the floors and
then cook breakfast.
"While the other members of the family are eating breakfast I strain away the morning's
milk (for my husband milks the cows while I get breakfast), and fill my husband's dinner
pail, for he will go to work on our other farm for the day.
"By this time it is half-past five o'clock, my husband is gone to his work, and the stock
loudly pleading to be turned into the pastures....I now drive the two cows a half-quarter
mile and turn them in with the others, come back, and then there's a horse in the barn that
belongs in a field where there is no water, which I take to a spring quite a distance from the
barn; bring it back and turn it into a field with the sheep....
"The young calves are then turned out into the warm sunshine, and the stock hogs, which
are kept in a pen, are clamoring for feed, and I carry a pailful of swill to them, and hasten
to the house and turn out the chickens and put out feed and water for them, and it is,
perhaps, 6:30 AM.
"I have not eaten breakfast yet, but that can wait; I make the beds next and straighten things
up in the living room, for I dislike to have the early morning caller find my house topsy-
turvy. When this is done I go to the kitchen, which also serves as a dining room, and
uncover the table, and take a mouthful of food occasionally as I pass to and fro at my work
until my appetite is appeased.
"By the time the work is done in the kitchen it is about 7:15 AM, and the cool morning
hours have flown, and no hoeing done in the garden yet, and the children's toilet has to be
attended to and churning has to be done.
"Finally the children are washed and churning done, and it is eight o'clock, and the sun
getting hot, but no matter, weeds die quickly when cut down in the heat of the day, and I
use the hoe to a good advantage until the dinner hour, which is 11:30 AM. We come in,
and I comb my hair, and put fresh flowers in it, and eat a cold dinner, put out feed and
water for the chickens; set a hen, perhaps, sweep the floors again; sit down and rest and
read a few moments, and it is nearly one o'clock, and I sweep the door yard while I am
waiting for the clock to strike the hour.
"I make and sow a flower bed, dig around some shrubbery, and go back to the garden to
hoe until time to do the chores at night....
"I hoe in the garden till four o'clock; then I go into the house and get supper...when supper
is all ready it is set aside, and I pull a few hundred plants of tomato, sweet potato, or
cabbage for transplanting...I then go after the horse, water him, and put him in the barn;
call the sheep and house them, and go after the cows and milk them, feed the hogs, put
down hay for three horses, and put oats and corn in their troughs, and set those plants and
come in and fasten up the chickens....It is 8 o'clock PM; my husband has come home, and
we are eating supper; when we are through eating I make the beds ready, and the children
and their father go to bed, and I wash the dishes and get things in shape to get breakfast
quickly next morning...."
PART II C: HANDOUT 6
TOTAL TIME PART I-C: 30 MINUTES
Facilitator Instructions for HANDOUT 6:
As a summary to Part m have participants read HANDOUT 6:
"Division of Labor by Sex Gender Issues and Work Cross-cultural Examples."
(10 15 MINUTES)
Have participants in small groups discuss the "Points to Consider" that follow the reading
on page 47. Then they should share their answers in a large group discussion.
Suggested answers to "Points to Consider" for HANDOUT 6 (Page 48).
1. Women's labor may be less visible because:
* Of patriarchy (women's work is less valued).
**Patriarchy could be discussed here. In all societies there are certain
fundamental institutions: politics, religion, economics, marriage and family,
education, and the arts. To determine if and how extremely a society is
patriarchal, the participants might consider each area of the cultural universals and
who makes the decisions within each of these institutions. For example, in the
United States, who are government leaders, religious priests, financial leaders,
superintendents of schools, and most highly respected as artists? If men are
generally "in charge," the society can be considered to be patriarchal. Societies
vary from extreme patriarchies to near equality of the sexes in decision making. A
quick lesson for participants: The cultural universals can be put on the easel or
blackboard and decisions for the United States or another selected society about
"who is in charge" of each area could be discussed.
* Much of women's work is done in the private world of horhe
so is not seen.
* In many cultures women are secluded and all their work is kept
from the eyes of men, therefore, male researchers are not allowed to
interview women about their work.
* Women's work often includes taking care of children; therefore,
women have frequently been assigned tasks that can be interrupted.
This may make women's work harder to measure.
2. One reason given for not extending women full rights is that they are not "productive"
and therefore men are more critical to national economies. Also, the "double day" or
"double duty" has meant that women are overburdened with work in most societies. This
prevents them from taking part in activities that may lead to power positions.
3. The problem for women of the double day has many possible solutions. Perhaps the
most realistic but hardest to attain in many societies is the sharing of child care and other
domestic tasks between parents.
4. Many answers are possible but basically women need to have access to credit,
education, technology, and support services if they are to aid their countries to develop
economically and socially. A recognition of the work they do is a first step toward making
sure they are given appropriate support.
"Division of Labor By Sex
Gender Issues and Work Cross-cultural Examples"
The following questions and points for your consideration are meant to highlight the family
or household unit and relate it to the division of labor by sex.
Read over these examples and then discuss the "Points to Consider" on page 48 in small
groups and compare ideas in a large group discussion.
I. Who makes up the household?
Wife, husband, and children? Husbands, wives, grandparents, and children? A woman
and her child? A woman alone never married, divorced, or widowed? Man alone?
Issues for your consideration:
A. In many regions, the extended family makes a definition of "household"
In one area of Africa, the definition became "those people who eat from the same pot" or
"use the same cooking fire." Relatives even distant relatives may live for months or
even years in a household because family obligations extend far beyond immediate family
(As told by Mary Rojas, assistant director of International Development, Virginia Tech.)
In the biography of his mother, the Indian author, Ved Mehta, described how "most of
Daddyji's relatives in Lahore moved [into our house] so that the new house became the
home of a traditional Indian joint family. [Mamaji] and Daddyji now had living with them
four of Daddyji's younger brothers; three of his sister Bibi Parmeshwari Devi's teen-age
children; and one of Daddyji's first cousins."
(Ved Mehta, Mamaji III, New Yorker, July 23, 1979, p. 35.)
B. Female heads of households need to be counted.
In many parts of the world it is a matter of honor that a man be counted as head of
household even though he may be absent because of death, divorce, migration, or
abandonment. Those collecting data often automatically assign a man as "head of
household" even if he is not present. One study in Kenya concluded that "survey data
show that 30 percent of the family heads were absent..." with no recognition that a "head
of household" must be the person in charge in these cases women.
(Quoted in, Barbara Rogers, The Domestication of Women, 1979, p. 66.)
More difficult to discern is the case of a man classified as "head" when he
might more accurately be described as a dependent or co-head. In a study of women
workers in Morocco, it was found that women as single heads of households, or
households where an adult male was present but the woman's earnings were the family
mainstay, accounted for almost one-third of the women workers sampled. Yet women
machinists who work side by side with men were paid 70 percent of the male wage
partly because the assumption was made that women were "working for lipstick." (Haleh
Afshar, ed, Women, Work, and Ideology in the Third World, Susan Joekes, "Working for
Lipstick? Male and Female Labour in the Clothing Industry in Morocco," 1985, p. 205-
Women in a Sri Lankan village, Ralahamywatta, obtained small loans to set themselves up
as cashew nut processors in their own homes. High male unemployment in the formal
economy meant that the women's profits from their production in cashew nut processing
became the major source of family income. When a husband was present, would these
women normally be listed in statistics and for purposes of law as the family head of
household? (Rex Casinader, et al, "Women's Issues and Men's Roles: Sri Lankan Village
Experience" in, Momsen and Townsend, Geography of Gender, p. 309-322.)
C. Different forms of living arrangements should be considered.
Different forms of living arrangements single women living alone or in a family,
monogamy, polyandry, polygyny, and consensual arrangements have different
implications for different family members, depending on age and sex. A first wife, for
example, may have privileges of land tenure in a polygynous marriage that a third wife
does not have.
Polygyny has been outlawed in many African countries. In Zaire, although polygyny was
outlawed by decree in 1951, the practice of clandestine polygyny is still widespread with
the result that only the first wife is officially acknowledged and other wives have no legal
standing. (Maria Rosa Cutrufelli, Women of Africa, 1983, p. 59.)
The rights of widows in Zambia depend on a written will. If the husband dies intestate a
common occurrence the property will be transmitted according to customary law. The
result is that the widow may be deprived of all her property by her husband's family.
(Ibid., p. 62.)
The common practice of consensual arrangements in Latin America puts many women in an
economically precarious position. In their study of Andean women, Susan Bourque and
Kay Warren found that women preferred formal marriages to consensual ones. The
disadvantages of consensual unions included abandonment and the possibility that a wife
might not be able to inherit her husband's property or animals if he died. They described
the case of Lourdes. She was forced out of her home after 30 years of a convivencia or
consensual marriage and three children. The only possessions that her wealthy consensual
husband allowed her to take with her were two cows. (Susan C. Bourque and Kay Barbara
Warren, Women of the Andes, 1981, p. 100-101.)
D. A knowledge of the ages and life stages of women as well as other
considerations are important in determining women's status in the
In most world areas a woman's freedom and decision-making power may depend on her
stage in the life cycle, to whom she is married, and the number and sex of her children. In
places in the Middle East, for example, the division of labor among women is by status;
"esteem-carrying" tasks are carried out by women with higher status. According to
Vanessa Maher, who studied women in a village in Morocco, the most important criterion
in the allocation of status is the woman's relationship to the "head of the household.*"
This gives a man's mother priority over his wife but his wife priority over her mother if the
context of activity is his own household. Women performing esteem-carrying tasks like
cooking can call on others to help them and can "distribute tasks."
(Vanessa Maher, Women and Property in Morocco, 1974, p. 121.)
*Notice that in this study of Moroccan women from the 1970's the author uses "head of
household" as "male head of household." This is an example, in our view, of the misuse
of this term which causes confusion in describing households. The irony here is the
misuse of "head of household" in a generally balanced and insightful study focusing on
II. What household tasks are performed and by which family members?
Cooking? Gathering fuel wood? Provision of water? Child care? Health care?
Wage earning tasks? Exchanges of goods and services? Farming chores? Care of
Issues for your consideration.
A. Recognition of who does what tasks may have implications for planning
of Third World aid projects.
In the hill areas of Nepal, men are responsible for house and furniture construction that
depend on one specie of tree. Women who collect fuel wood for cookstoves and fires
depend on another specie. Both species are essential to household tasks and must be
considered in aid projects. (John J. Hourihan, "Consultant's Report: Gender Issues in the
Preparation and Implementation of Forestry Projects," unpublished paper submitted to the
Asian Development Bank, Manila, Philippines, March, 1987.)
In Haiti, many men interviewed concerning community needs identified no
household problem with hauling water or collecting fodder. Only by
interviewing the women in the household was it learned that the women walked five
kilometers each day in search of both. (Related by P. Howard Massey, Department of
International Agriculture, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia.)
B. Advances which are overwhelmingly positive still may add another
burden to already overworked women.
Oral Rehydration Therapy is an inexpensive medication of salts, sugar, and sterile water
given to babies suffering from diarrhea. This simple technique has saved the lives of
thousands of Third World children. Mothers, however, are overwhelmingly in charge of
children's health care in Africa, South Asia, and Latin America. The administration of the
life saving rehydration salts needs to be done at regular intervals over a period of a few
hours to over a day. One U.S.A.I.D. official said, "We are creating a Third World version
of Supermom," with women feeling guilty if they are too exhausted to carry out all the
family tasks and stay up all night to give a sick child the medication.
(Elayne Clift, "US AID Burdens Mothers" in, New Directions for Women,
C. In many world areas, cooking and serving food is women's work and
can be a way to control the behavior of men.
A wife, for example, may refuse to cook if she is angry with her husband. Among the
Woyo peoples of the Congo River area, it is the custom for husbands to eat with other male
friends, separate from their wives, but for the wives to do all the cooking. When a wife
has a disagreement with her husband, she sends him a message in the form of a carved
wooden pot lid. Normally the clay pots of food are covered with leaves by the wife to keep
the food warm until served in the men's dining area. However, when displeased with a
husband (or male family member), a wife replaces the leaves with the wooden pot lids. In
carved symbols, each lid tells what is bothering the woman by use of a proverb. When a
woman marries she receives various pot lids from her mother and mother-in-law that give a
number of different standard messages. It is embarrassing to men to be confronted by
women in public, in front of their male friends. Therefore, this custom is one way Woyo
women can control the behavior of their husbands or male family members.
(Marjorie Bingham and Susan Gross, Women in Africa of the Sub-Sahara, Vol. I, 1982,
Tanzanian school children were asked what the Swahili words "amepatajiko" meant. All
said "wife." However, literally translated, these words mean "I married a stove." Does
this idiomatic expression for "wife" reflect a low status for Tanzanian women or an
acknowledgment by men of the important role of women as cooks in a society where there
are strong social norms against men cooking?
(As told to Mary Rojas by Mary Materu, Tanzanian woman attending Virginia Tech, 1988).
D. The sexual division of labor in livestock, farming, and food gathering
has important implications for power within the family.
For the Hima of Uganda subsistence was by cattle raising only and milk was frequently
the only food available; yet married women were not allowed to herd, water, or milk cattle -
a powerful form of social control for the men who thus determined whether married
women had access to food. (Yitzchak Elam, The Social and Sexual Roles of Hima Women,
1973, Chapter II.)
Among the Shona in Zimbabwe, cattle are used to enhance male status, for manure and
plowing, and as payment to a bride's father. Seldom are cattle used for beef. (Sharon
Lynn Deem, "A Study of Veterinary Services and the Women of Zimbabwe," Unpublished
paper submitted to the Program for Women in World Development, Virginia Tech, 1986.)
With the Fulani in West Africa, each wife in a polygynous family arrangement is allocated a
number of cows and she has control over the milk produced. If beef production is
emphasized, this has a negative impact on women's income and family position.
(Helen Henderson, "Case Study in Gender Issues and Agricultural Development: A West
African Example," slide presentation, University of Arizona, 1984.)
E. Tasks associated with agriculture can be gender-specific.
In many parts of sub-Saharan Africa, women are responsible for certain crops and have
their own fields, often these are subsistence crops cassava, millet, vegetables. Men are
more involved with cash crops, rice, coffee, and tea. However, at times both grow
subsistence crops in parts of Nigeria women grow cassava and men concentrate on yams.
(Helen Henderson, Ibid.)
Both men and women are active in agriculture in Sri Lanka. Men, however, are primarily
responsible for land preparation and chemical application, whereas the women dominate in
other tasks seeding, transplanting, weeding, harvesting, and processing.
(John J. Hourihan, "Gender Issues in the Preparation and Implementation of Forestry
Projects," Unpublished paper submitted to the Asian Development Bank, March, 1987.)
In one region of Peru, women have few tasks in the field. However, decisions on what to
grow often are shared by the man and woman. One reason is that the type of bean grown
for export does not have the flavor or cooking characteristics demanded by the farm
woman. She is responsible for feeding the hired agricultural labor and their meals are a
part of their salary. If the food is not good, the laborers will not come and crops are not
harvested. (Jacqueline Ashby, "Case Study: Production and Consumption Aspects of
Technology Testing" Unpublished paper submitted to the Population Council
Interhousehold Allocation and Farming Systems Research Project, IFDC/CIAT, Cali,
The usual definition of work as reflected in gross national product statistics of nations and
in everyday speech (at least in industrialized countries) is usually restricted to paid or
"productive" work. Much of women's work worldwide is not counted in these statistics
and is ignored or discounted in everyday speech.
In world areas where subsistence activities count heavily, the daily tasks of women like
those discussed here (Domitila Barrios de Chungara of Bolivia or Africa or Asian women
agriculturalists) make major contributions to their families' well-being.
To understand and appreciate the economic contributions of women:
* Work must be defined to include non-wage and income generating activities.
* Women's work must be made more visible by adapting methods of
collecting data to the reality of women's work in a variety of cultural areas.
* The stereotype of women as primarily consumers and of households as places
where goods and services are consumed must be overcome.
* The division of labor by sex must be considered; there must be a realization that
tasks for men and women may differ, depending on time and place, but that most
societies divide tasks according to gender.
Points to Consider
1. Within most groups and societies historically and in the contemporary world work
has been assigned according to gender.
List reasons why you think women's labor has been less visible than that of men in most
time periods and societies.
2. In her opening remarks at the final meeting of the United Nations Decade for Women at
Nairobi, Kenya, Leticia Shahani, Secretary General of the official meeting, said that the
major focus and purpose of the conference would be to discuss how women can take their
"rightful place in society, on an equal basis with men."
Thinking back on the readings on women and work, why do you think most observers feel
that accounting for women's work is critical for enabling women to take their "rightful
3. A major problem for women worldwide is that of "double duty" or the "double day."
Although women in the past have overwhelmingly been in charge of children and domestic
work, what conditions of modem life seem to have contributed to the burden of double
duty? How can this problem for women best be addressed?
4. List all the reasons you can think of that the division of labor by sex and specifically
women's work must be made more visible in the Third World if economic and social
development projects are to be effective.
PART IV: Empowerment of Women in the Third World
To emphasize the importance of considering women in
economic planning, particularly in the Third World.
To make participants aware of ways women are organizing
for change in many Third World areas.
To emphasize that the women's movement for equity is
worldwide and not a product of European or United States
Rationale for focusing on women's organizations and networks:
A commonly held European and North American view sees Third World women as
downtrodden victims. Women are seen as "women and children," as a single
concept, and generally as people who are starving and extremely poor.
Emphasizing women's organizations in the Third World shows women as active
citizens, making changes and connections that they see as valuable.
Emphasizing women's organizations blurs the undefined and often false distinction
between modernity (good) and traditional (bad) in the thinking of the industrialized
world, and, more recently, traditional (good) modernity (bad) among some
ultra-conservative groups in many parts of the world. For women, both traditional
and modem values and goals frequently have been problematic. Women's groups
and networks have battled for women in both the traditional and modern sector -
their networks have functioned to help women through times of social, political,
and economic change.
Although the idea of private vs. public space representing the worlds of
women vs. men has much value, and the idea of studying the separate worlds of
women and men is an important one, a focus on women's groups and networks
shows women acting in the larger world and acknowledges their power bases in
both the private and public sectors.
* A focus on women's networks can help to provide reasons for the lack of
progress of women in some areas and their real weakness in political and highly
structured economic spheres ('old boy' networks) where women's networks have
not been very effective... or when their organizations have been co-opted by more
* The enormous variety of women's organizations can help to point up the diversity
of conditions for women in the Third World. The universality of women
organizing networks and support groups can point up the common experiences of
Part IV-A: Women Organizing for Change
TOTAL TIME FOR PART IV-A WILL DEPEND ON THE METHOD USED
THE COMPLETE LESSON WOULD TAKE 30-40 MINUTES.
THE BRIEFEST REVIEW BY THE FACILITATOR ABOUT 10 MINUTES.
**Facilitator's Instructions HANDOUT 7:
HANDOUT 7 is rather long. A number of different approaches to this selection might be
considered, depending on the way the instructional unit is being used.
For classroom use, HANDOUT 7 could be a homework assignment leading to a later
If HANDOUT 7 is a part of a workshop, it might be divided into two (or more) sections
with different groups or individuals taking part of the reading and then reporting to the
other participants on their selection.
For example, the participants could all read the background information on page 53 and
then they could be divided with half reading the historical organizations (p. 54-56) and half
reading about the contemporary organizations (p. 56-61). The "Points to Consider" on
page 62 would then be done as a large group exercise with participants using examples
from the organizations they read about.
If time does not allow for the reading, the Facilitator should go over the "rationale for
focusing on women's organizations and networks" on page 49 and review the major
background points on page 53.
If time does allow for this reading, have participants read the handout and complete the
answers to the "Points to Consider" on page 62 in small groups. Then they should
compare their small group answers in a large group discussion.
Suggested answers to the "Points to Consider" for HANDOUT 7
1. Women have less political and social clout in almost all societies. They have less access
to resources within the family and society, as seen in many of the examples given here.
They often suffer from the "double day" and frequently work at more arduous tasks than
men without the benefit of technological improvements. Yet they use their influence where
they can often by utilizing their traditional roles as food providers. Exceptions might
particularly be present in some African groups mentioned where women are traditionally
highly organized. Other examples may also be seen by participants as indicators of
2. Perhaps women, more frequently than men, have had to cooperate to raise children and
do subsistence farming and food processing Because they were less powerful, they
needed to form female support groups.
3. Women may not have been experienced in forming complex organizations on a national
scale. Class differences have frequently caused problems in organizing at the national
level. Changes for women are seen as politically dangerous and threatening to social order
and are often strongly opposed by women and men in power positions.
4. It may be that these issues are of special interest to women in their traditional family
roles. Deforestation means women must walk further and further for firewood. Pollution
can mean wells where women seek water are contaminated.The social norms of many
societies allow women to publicly protest policies that have an impact on the family or
children as a legitimate interest of women. At other times, any protest by women means a
risk to their safety and branding as outcasts.
"Women Organizing For Change"
Europeans and North Americans usually think of reform movements for women -
education, suffrage, and the recent women's liberation movement as originating in
Europe. Feminist reforms are traced to the Protestant Reformation, the Enlightenment, and
to thinkers such as Mary Wollstonecraft, John Stuart Mill, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
Other cultural areas, however, have had their own histories of reforms for women. These
movements were indigenous ones that developed out of the historical events of a particular
group, society, or cultural area. In justifying modern reforms for women in India,
reformers looked to ancient Vedic times for models of liberated women. In the history of
many African groups there were role models of powerful women religious leaders,
queens, dual rulers of queen-mothers and sons, female chiefs, and consensus rule by
groups of men and women to emulate. Latin American women can look to the first
feminist in the Americas as their role model. Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, a 17th century
Mexican nun, was a distinguished philosopher, poet, and scientist who called for the end
of a sexual double standard and a full acadeniic education for women. Feminism, then,
was not a movement in European and North American history reforms for women have
been part of the history of many world cultures.
Women, however, have supported each other's struggles for reforms through
international networks. In 1871 Empress Haruko of Japan sent five Japanese girls to the
United States to be educated. One of these was eight-year-old Tsuda Umeko. She
graduated from Vassar and Bryn Mawr, returned to Japan and founded the first women's
college in Tokyo. Huda Shaarawi of Egypt returned home from an international women's
meeting in Italy in 1923. She publicly unveiled and later founded the Egyptian Feminist
Union that worked for Egyptian nationalism and women's rights. Pandita Ramabai, a late
19th century Indian reformer, traveled to England and the United States and was aided in
her efforts to help Indian widows by friends in the United States.
But contacts with European and North American culture have frequently been detrimental to
women's status in other societies. For example, although colonial powers might feel they
were improving the status of African women by the. introduction of European style
education and Christian values, traditional roles that gave authority to women were often
lost under the colonial powers. Powerful roles for women in many African groups were
not recognized by colonial administrators. The queen-mother of the Swazi, for example,
had equal and balanced powers with her son, the king. The British sent the king to Oxford
University in England but did not similarly educate the queen-mother. She lost power as
the need to manipulate a European bureaucracy required a European education.
(Hilda Kuper, An African Aristocracy: Rank Among the Swazi, 1947, p. 54-56.)
One insightful British officer noted that the colonial administrations in the 1920s did not
recognize the power of these women rulers. "Today the Queen-Mothers are unrecognized
by us and their position and influence are rapidly passing away." (Robert Rattray, Ashanti,
1923, p. 84.)
Similarly, women's organizations and networks were often unrecognized in
traditional historical and anthropological studies. In the last two decades
scholars have begun to investigate women's organizations. As a result, the extent of
women's collective influence in Third World cultures is becoming more visible.
The following examples give some idea of the types of women's organizations
that have been present in Third World cultures that have worked to protect and promote
Historical Examples of Women's Organizations
Lelemama Associations Mombasa, East Africa
(Communal dance festivities that became women's improvement associations).
"Lelemama was brought from Zanzibar to Mombasa at least eighty years ago.
Women in their mid-eighties recall watching it as children and claim that their mother's
generation danced it. Although the associations changed during the colonial period, certain
features characterized lelemama throughout these years. Married women danced lelemama
at weddings or other special occasions. At times cattle or goats were slaughtered at a
member's farm for a picnic that culminated in a lelemama dance. Dancers from one
association lined up in two groups on two benches with members of each group wearing
similar attire. The women danced sedately while singing songs that revealed the misdeeds
of people in the community, publicly shamed individuals, or challenged rival lelemama
associations by ridiculing their dancing abilities....Lelemama networks are utilized to
mobilize women for today's political struggles."
(Margaret Strobel, Muslim Women in Mombasa, 1890-1975, 1979, p. 156-57, 181.)
"Sitting on a Man" Igbo Women, Nigeria, West Africa
Igbo women had a significant role in traditional political life. As individuals, they
participated in village meetings with men. But their real political power was based on the
solidarity of women, as expressed in their meetings, their market networks, their kinship
groups, and their right to use strikes and boycotts to force change.
"Sitting on a man" or a woman, boycotts and strikes were the women's main weapons. To
"sit on" a man involved gathering at his compound, sometimes late at night, dancing,
singing scurrilous songs which detailed the women's grievances against him and often
called his manhood into question, banging on his hut with the pestles women used for
pounding yams, and perhaps demolishing his hut or plastering it with mud and roughing
him up a bit. A man might be punished in this way for mistreating his wife, for violating
the women's market rules, or for letting his cows eat the women's crops. The women
would stay at his hut throughout the day, and late into the night, if necessary, until he
repented and promised to mend his ways. Although this could hardly have been a pleasant
experience for the offending man, it was considered legitimate and no man would consider
(Adapted from, Judith Van Allen, "Sitting on a Man," Canadian Journal of African Studies,
Vol. IV, (1972), p. 169-70.)
Women Organizing in India
"Two women's organizations, the Women's Indian Association (WIA) formed in 1917,
and the All-India Women's Conference (AIWC) formed in 1927, sought to bring women
together to advance their status through education, social reform, and politics....
"When the AIWC discussed ways in which social problems could be attacked, they
mentioned four strategies: propaganda, protest meetings, legislation, and vigilance
committees. [The issue of purdah the seclusion and veiling of women was one such
social problem.] Purdah, they decided, needed to be 'treated' with propaganda. In Bihar
and Bengal, where purdah was observed by the majority of Hindu women, there were
attempts to break the custom with massive doses of propaganda. In Patna, women planned
'anti-purdah' days. At one of these, the speeches delivered gave various reasons why
women should abandon purdah: Women needed to gain physical and mental strength so
they could defend themselves; Gandhi was opposed to the custom; it had not been observed
in ancient times; and it led to illiteracy and bad health. The message was loud and clear:
Women would have to seize the initiative and come out of purdah....
"In Calcutta, Marwari women had begun to celebrate an annual anti-purdah day in the
1930s. By 1940, their Anti-Purdah Conference attracted 5,000 women. At the conference
itself, the Chairwoman of the Reception Committee, Rukmini Devi Birla, told the women
that there could be no reform or progress until purdah was abolished. She urged social
workers to help, and a resolution was passed to boycott weddings where purdah was
practiced by women of the household. All who attended were impressed with the success
of the anti-purdah day."
(Geraldine Forbes, "The Indian Women's Movement: A Struggle for Women's Rights or
National Liberational Liberation?" in, Gail Minault, The Extended Family, 1981, p. 54,
Family Networks of Urban Upper-Class Women in Mexico
"In 1970 [researchers Larissa Lomnitz and Marisol Perez-Lizaur] began a study of kinship
structure in an upper-class family in Mexico City that ranged over five generations of men
and women, including 118 nuclear families. These were the descendants of Carlos Gomez
"Information, the most elementary and basic type of exchange within the clan, involves a
wide spectrum of facts, ranging from family gossip to knowledge about relatives and
ultimately to clan ideology. Women have always played a large role in the transmission of
such information, which is one of the main mechanisms of clan solidarity. Prominent
female figures, who devoted their lives to creating and transmitting a clan ideology,
established information networks over certain branches of the family kindred, often across
generational and socioeconomic boundaries. The personal prestige of these 'centralizing
women' was based on their authoritative knowledge of the family history, including the
personal backgrounds and relationships among individuals members.
"Women are prominent in the organization and promotion of all [family]
reunions, as well as of informal parties, games, theater parties, and so on.
The kind of gossip exchanged during such events is not restricted to personal
affairs; on the contrary, business gossip is prominent...Women are conversant with a
wealth of details concerning the business affairs of family members, past and present,
which constitutes vital background information of those deals initiated or formalized during
family reunions. These 'centralizing women' often also act as brokers for needy relatives
or relatives looking for jobs." (Larissa Lomnitz and Marisol Perez-Lizaur, "Kinship
Structure and the Role of Women in the Urban Upper Class of Mexico," Signs, Vol. 5,
No. 1, (Autumn 1979), p. 164-67.)
The above four historical examples suggest some of the types of women's networks and
organizations that have operated in Third World cultures.. They range from formal
organizations legally recognized and publicly visible like the All-Indian Women's
Conference to informal family networks like that of the women in the Gomez family of
Mexico. Recent studies like these of women's organizations and networks reveal that
women have had considerable authority gained through organizing and networking.
The history of Third World cultures, then, demonstrates that these societies have
had their own struggles with reforms for women and a diversity of roles and
status for women, depending on many factors such as time period, life stage,
class, and individual talents.
Reform movements for women differ depending on the world area but have in common a
desire for more equitable treatment for women and a greater recognition of their
contributions to their societies. At this time in history the women's organizations in India,
Kenya, or Peru may be seen as more active even militant than those in the United States
Contemporary Examples of Women's Organizations
This Indian women's magazine and organization was founded in 1978 as "a medium for
women to speak out, to help raise questions in their own minds,...to generate a widespread
debate about ways of bringing about change...[to] bring women's organizations ...in touch
with each other,..."
The magazine staff sometimes goes further than describing and advertising women's
problems. On March 4, 1985, Manushi organized a demonstration at a court room in
Delhi protesting judgments that acquitted a husband (along with his sister and mother) of
murdering his wife by burning her to death.
Editor Madhu Kishwar writes letters to officials supporting the cause of women and
petitions courts on their behalf. The magazine has worked to help tribal women to regain
their land rights; has protested against dowry payments; has worked for better education for
women and for better working conditions for women in factories.
(Madhu Kishwar and Ruth Vanita, In Search ofAnswers, 1984, p. 301-311.)
Mobile Creches India
Founded by Meera Mahadevan in 1969, after she saw the children of construction workers
playing in the mud at a building site in New Delhi. "She began with a tent, a handful of
well-intentioned volunteers, no theories, no money, and unswerving determination," wrote
Ms. Swaminathan, the author of a recent study of Indian day-care facilities.
The organization grew rapidly with volunteers and government and private funding. In the
past 18 years Mobile Creches has opened 162 day-care facilities moving these with
construction sites as needed.
Today the organization runs about 50 centers, serving about 4,000 children on a particular
day. Other voluntary agencies have been inspired to offer similar services serving
200,000 children. The Mobile Creches idea was an imaginative solution to help some of
the neediest people in India female construction workers and their children.
(Christian Science Monitor, May 18, 1987, p. 25.)
Self-Employed Women's Association (SEWA) India
SEWA works primarily with rural women who have migrated to the Ahmedabad area (in
the state of Gujarat, west central India) often on a temporary basis as a survival technique
in times of famine or drought.
SEWA was organized in 1972 by Ela Bhatt as a union for the city's many female street
vendors of vegetables and used clothing, manual laborers, and pieceworkers.
Before SEWA, these women had led a miserable existence, eking out a livelihood walking
miles around the city selling goods or fighting over a place on the pavement. Capital to buy
the goods they sold came from money lenders who usually charged 50 percent per day
SEWA members established their own cooperative bank. They also have a day-care center
for members. Other projects include providing information and courses to members on
family planning, yoga, money management, and sex education.
In 1977 Ela Bhatt and SEWA. received the Ramon Magsaysay Foundation award, the
Asian equivalent of the Nobel Prize, for "fostering development where it matters most,
among the poorest and the weakest..."
(From, Terry Alliband, Catalysts of Development: Voluntary Agencies in India, 1983,
Women's Action Forum (WAF) Pakistan
WAF is a lobbying and pressure group organized to further women's civil, political, and
economic rights. Considering the repressive military regime of General Zia-ul-Haq and his
push for the Islamization of Pakistan, WAF has had considerable success.
Although it has had internal organization problems, WAF chapters have been founded in
major cities in Pakistan. In May 1982 the Lahore chapter of WAF held ajalsa an event
between a rally and a meeting with a central topic, speeches, poems, humorous skits,
songs, and resolutions.
"Recognizing that most women live a life of oppressive drudgery and are well aware of
their oppressed state, WAF started from the premise that to call them to meetings where
privileged women would tell them how miserable their lives actually were would be to add
insult to injury. Hence in thejalsa speeches were kept to a minimum and the skits
presented deliberately humorous...inviting the audience to laugh along with the organizers
and performers at the absurdity of various policies..." The Lahorejalsa was so successful
that other WAF chapters have held similar meetings and even rival organizations have
replicatedjalsas throughout Pakistan.
Just how successful WAF has been is still in question. The military government supports
(some say even started) a rival, more conservative women's organization. Perhaps this
indicates that the government feels threatened by WAF. One observer commented that
"WAF has provided a name around which those concerned with women's rights can rally."
(From, Khawar Mumtaz and Farida Shaheed, eds. Women of Pakistan, Two Steps
Forward, One Step Back?, 1987, p.123-24, 135, and 141.)
Peru Mujer Peru
Peru Mujer is an association that works for equal rights and opportunities for women and
men in Peru. Their projects have included educating poor women in urban slums of their
legal rights and providing information for rural people, especially women, on family
health, domestic violence, and family planning.
Peru Mujer is one of several feminist groups dedicated to education in Peru. Others are
"Flora Tristan" Peruvian Woman's Center, and the "Manuela Ramos" Movement. Both of
these also work with women in the slums, promoting workshops on health, sexuality, and
education. The "Aurora Vivar" Association works with female workers and the CESIP-
Woman directs its actions towards organizing Peruvian women through workshops and
courses on women's struggles.
Centro de Orientacion de la Mujer Obrera (COMO) Mexico
This organization was founded in Juarez, Mexico to deal with the exploitive conditions for
women in many of the maquiladora or export-oriented border assembly plants. Women,
who made up 80 percent of the plant employees, frequently did not know their rights under
Mexican law, which led to abuses by the plant managers.
COMO was the result of the vision, determination and drive of a group of concerned upper-
class women led by Dr. Guillermina Valdez de Villalva, a social psychologist. After they
met with working women, COMO was founded as an organization to provide guidance,
support, and advice to single working women in the Juarez area.
COMO has been involved in literacy programs for adults, health campaigns, and provided
on-the-job training to workers. In addition, COMO provided psychological counseling,
legal aid, and referred women to family-planning services. Eventually COMO expanded
into consumer cooperatives as well.
After a period of organizational difficulties, COMO regrouped with a new director an ex-
obrera (woman factory worker). COMO now provides leadership and organizational
training to women of all social classes. Although it is not the widespread organization that
it once was, it has had a lasting impact for women in Mexico. One staff member
commented, "We go against so many traditional systems; our only arm, our only defense,
is to present positive results." (Sally W. Yudelman, Hopeful Openings, 1987, p. 17-31.)
Federacion Hondurena de Mujeres Campesinas (FEHMUC) Honduras
FEHMUC grew out of rural housewives' clubs established by the social action arm of the
Catholic Church in 1967. FEHMUC is now made up of 294 peasant women's groups
with over 5,000 members. Many members are single mothers and most are landless the
poorest of the poor.
The long-term goals are to integrate peasant women into the social, economic, and political
life of Honduras. The FEHMUC program aims at working with members in four major
areas: consciousness-raising and organization; health and nutrition; agriculture; and crafts
and clothing production. Each area has a diverse group of projects offering services and
FEHMUC's health program has been particularly successful. FEHMUC also addresses
issues of women's rights and has worked to change the image of Honduran peasant
women from passive and inactive to that of strong and capable women who play an
important role in development.
Although the organization presently faces major institutional problems, development
consultant Sally Yudelman who studied FEHMUC, claims that "there is cause for optimism
[about the future of FEHMUC]. Over the years, FEHMUC has demonstrated its resiliency
and capacity to survive, to overcome setbacks, to grow."
(Yudelman, Hopeful Openings, p. 35-46.)
African Association of Women for Research and Development (AAWORD) -
The African Association of Women for Research and Development was founded in 1977
by African women scholars and development professionals. The focus is on having
African women research their societies and formulate their own theories and development
In 1986 AAWORD started publishing a quarterly newsletter, ECHO, in English and
French. Projects that have been launched by AAWORD include a 1985 meeting of the
AAWORD working group on women and reproduction. The meeting reviewed research
papers, and proceedings and bibliographies were made available. Similar meetings and
seminars are a major goal of AAWORD. (Write for more information: AAWORD B.P.
11007 CD Annex, Dakar, Senegal.)
Zambian Association for Research and Development (ZARD) Zambia,
ZARD is a non-governmental organization of women which is concerned with furthering
action-oriented research on women's issues. A recent project was to compile an annotated
bibliography of research on Zambian women. The directors of the project were faculty
members of the University of Zambia and funding was provided by a number of sources,
but ZARD initiated and sponsored the project.
The rationale for the bibliography serves also as the rationale for ZARD: "Zambian women
are increasingly becoming aware of their own status and of gender inequalities which
structure their opportunities in the wider society. All too often it has been foreign agencies
which identify problems, such as the lack of integration of women in development, and
propose solutions. This work arises from local initiative and will argue that women are
integrated in Zambian development, but unequally so."
THE WOMEN'S GROUP MOVEMENT Nyanza Province, Kenya
The Women's Group Movement in Nyanza was organized to focus on the special needs of
women. There are now many of these groups in the Nyanza area of Kenya. Since
independence, women found that they had common problems which could not be met or
solved by individuals. For example, after independence, Kenya introduced universal
educational opportunities, but women frequently were not given adequate educations
because they often dropped out of school to get married or their families favored sons for
higher levels of schooling.
In recent years women often found themselves living alone in rural areas and providing for
their families by their farm labor while husbands went to urban areas for white-collar jobs.
Even when husbands were present, they often assumed that women should do the farming
and provide for the family. Most of the Women's Groups, therefore, started with farming
activities. Issues of land ownership, decision making, division of family labor, and
technology which is appropriate for the needs of farm women are some of the issues
addressed by these groups.
The St. Joseph Women's Group, for example, was started mainly to aid widows of the
Luo ethnic group. To earn money for this and other projects, the women's group built a
poultry house and started to keep hens. Each member bought three hens, sold the eggs and
then bought more hens. The group also started keeping bees and farmed several acres of
land together as a group project. Although they have encountered setbacks from time to
time, they say they have achieved a higher standard of living, improved schools, clinics
and decent housing.
These examples are only a few of the hundreds of contemporary women's organizations
that have been formed in the Third World in the last few decades.
Several historical reasons have led to the increasing attention by Third World women to
The realization that development projects often were not
The disillusionment felt by women when newly acquired political
independence in their various countries had usually not led to
equality for women in new laws and policies.
The need to take control of their own destinies. Fatma Alloo
and Sumati Nair wrote in AAWORD's newsletter, ECHO, that
"it is time we women from Third World countries develop an
understanding of our own situation and then prepare the
grounds for a dialogue with white feminists--on our terms. We
are the ones to change our situation.."
The traditions of Third World women's organizations and
networks that could be called upon and expanded to fit modern
needs has meant that women have an organizational structure
to work within.
The declaration of the United Nations Decade for Women that focused on
the needs of women worldwide and the final meeting of the Decade for
Women in Nairobi which emphasized the organizational abilities and
activism of Third World women.
POINTS TO CONSIDER
1. The following statement concerns women in two Peruvian villages:
"The analysis of [the lives of women of Chiuchin and Mayobamba] clearly shows that
women are not hapless victims, immobilized in the face of the forces of an economy and a
political system marshaled against them. Rather, our material suggests that women
mobilize a variety of resources to help them cope with their limited and restricted
(Susan Bourque and Kay Barbara Warren, Women of the Andes, 1981, p. 9.)
Mention a few ways that women have mobilized to cope with the realities of their lives.
What indications are there in the materials you read that women's influence is restricted
when compared to that of men?
Do you see exceptions to this in these materials?
2. What advantages might women have in organizing informal networks when compared
to men? Formal organizations?
3. In these examples, what problems did women have in forming organizations? What
problems might they encounter as their organizations become larger and more involved
with changes for women?
4. Women frequently organize around issues that can be considered domestic ones -
extensions of their roles as housewives. For example, when there were food shortages
during the time of Salvador Allende's presidency in Chile in the 1970s women protested
food shortages by beating on pans in mass demonstrations. In recent years Japanese
women have protested high rice prices by organizing parades carrying rice-paddle banners
with slogans written on them. As pointed out earlier, women in many areas of Africa
refuse to cook as a way to protest what they see as the misbehavior of men. "Mother's
Clubs" were formed in many Latin American countries. Women in several world areas
have organized around environmental issues such as deforestation and pollution.
Why do you think women's public protests often center on food, environmental, or health
Part IV B: HANDOUT 8
TOTAL TIME WILL DEPEND ON THE METHOD SELECTED
For classroom use, this reading could be given for a homework assignment and discussed
For use in a workshop,
Have participants read HANDOUT and complete the answers to the "Points to Consider"
that follow the reading on page 71. This can be done individually or in small groups.
Compare answers in a large group discussion. (30 MINUTES)
Have all participants read pages 65-67 (background information on the Grameen Bank
Project). Have them read the case studies after the workshop or divide the participants into
three groups and have each group read one of the case studies. Then in a large group
discussion have the participants complete the "Points to Consider" on page 71.
Suggested Answers to the "Points to Consider" on page 71:
There are many possible answers to these questions.
1. Small loans are particularly valuable for people working in the informal sector as these
people normally do not have access to credit Without a steady, wage job, they do not have
the necessary collateral to guarantee a normal bank loan. This means that to carry on their
small businesses, they must get loans from money lenders who charge very high interest
rates. Since women in the Third World overwhelmingly work in the informal sector, small
loans are most beneficial to them. Women have even less access to credit than men in the
Third World. Male heads of households usually hold title to family land and control family
property so women would not have collateral for loans.
2. Answers will vary, but safety of water supplies and dowry would not apply in the
United States; the group meetings and exercise might work well!
3. That the poor particularly poor women are vulnerable and need special support
systems but that they are also capable, hard working, and responsible. The point here
might be that the Grameen Bank is a social and economic institution. The Grameen Bank
brings services to needy people but also provides them with the support and incentives to
succeed and repay the loans. Welfare mothers and minority women in poor areas of the
United States might similarly benefit by a system that keeps them from being isolated but
also applies peer pressure to repay loans.
4. It is clear that without a realistic support system that the loans are not as readily repayed.
Again points can be made about how vulnerable and isolated many of these women are.
Half of Samina's first loan was stolen (page 68); houses of the poor are often insecure.
Their health may not be good, yet their income-generating project depends on physical
work. For many reasons, then, the poor particularly poor women with children need
the kinds of support systems and motivators that the Grameen Bank provides.
"Planning With Women in Mind The Example of the GrameenBank"
The Grameen Bank Project, launched in 1976 in the Bangladesh village of Jobra, was
based on what might have been seen as a radical idea. The Grameen Bank Project aimed at
loaning money to poor, landless, rural people in Bangladesh. These men and women had
no collateral and none would be required for the loans. But the loans were to be secured;
the persons receiving loans would be responsible for their repayment with interest. The
method of securing loans without collateral helps to explain why the Grameen Bank Project
has become a model for similar programs throughout the Third World and in the United
The idea for the project came from Professor Muhammad Yunus, Director of the Rural
Economics Program at the University of Chittagong in Bangladesh. The intention was to
extend banking privileges to poor women and men; to eliminate the exploitation of money
lenders; to provide disadvantaged people with a financial support system based on sound
banking principles; and to reverse the vicious cycle of "low income, low savings, low
investment, low income." Women who applied for loans would not need the approval of
their husbands or other family members to receive loans in their own names. This
provision was a radical departure from traditional custom. As one man wrote, "all this has
occurred in a Moslem society where women traditionally have few individual rights to say
nothing of being able to borrow money for their own business enterprises. To do this, no
laws were passed or changed and the husband's permission is not required. Grameen bank
managers simply went ahead and made loans to women because it was sound business to
do so even though it violated custom and tradition." (Richard Saunders, ZATPID
memorandum to Dr. Muleya, MAWD, memorandum, "Sound Money for Small Farmers,"
January 5, 1988, Lusaka, Zambia.)
The loans would be small ones averaging $US 60.00. However, these small loans to poor
villagers could mean flexibility and opportunity for starting small income-generating
projects. Although normal interest rates would be charged, borrowers would be protected
from the enormous interest rates of moneylenders rates that often kept them in a cycle of
The first step in starting the Grameen Bank Project in Jobra, was to reach poor villagers
and help them to understand the program. To reach women in a predominately Muslim
country such as Bangladesh was a particularly formidable task.
Because Dr. Yunus was known and respected in the village of Jobra, he was allowed to
hold a meeting with village women at night when they would be able to attend after the
day's work. The women, however, maintained a distance by taking their places at the
meeting in a hut while Dr. Yunus sat outside in the yard talking to them through two female
aides. The women in the hut were not seen or heard. As the discussion began (through the
interpreters), it also started to rain. Dr. Yunus was given shelter in a hut but not the one
where the women were sitting. As the discussion continued, it became obvious that direct
communication was needed to make the program clear to the women.
Finally, the women understood that Dr. Yunus was trying to explain something in their
interest that he was speaking of bank loans available to them. They moved to his hut,
taking their place behind a partition so they could hear him and he could hear them without
seeing each otfier. After a long session, the women were convinced of the benefit of taking
out loans from the Grameen Bank so they could participate in small income-generating
projects. (Bank Credit for Rural Women Report on Study Tour of Grameen Bank in
Bangladesh, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific,
Bangladesh is one of the poorest countries in the world, according to ordinary statistics that
rely on an accounting of the formal economic sector. According to the 1981 Bangladesh
census, only 40 percent of the population over ten years of age participated in economic
activities and for women the figure is four percent. However, virtually all adults and
majority of children are engaged in some form of economic activity in the informal sector.
The Grameen Bank Project focused on credit because having access to credit greatly
increases the economic strength and flexibility of poor people. The project quickly
expanded and by 1987 over three hundred thousand loans had been given the large
majority of these loans had gone to women.
How does this banking system for the poor work?
* Each Grameen Bank branch is headed by a manager who commands a field staff of three
male and three female bank workers. All staff members are required to live in the villages
in which they are assigned to work.
* Bank workers visit the villages and talk informally to villagers explaining the rules and
benefits of the bank.
* Any person who owns less than 0.5 acre of cultivable land and has a severely limited
income is eligible for a loan for any income-generating activity.
* To get the loan, the individual must form a group of five similar people. Each group
elects its own chairperson and secretary and holds weekly meetings. Several groups meet
at the same time in a village; this group of meetings is called a Center. The Center elects a
Center-Chief who conducts the weekly meetings and is responsible for the observance of
all rules prescribed by the bank.
* Loans are given to individuals or groups; only the person receiving the loan is
responsible for his/her loan.
* All loans are for one year and are paid back in weekly installments.
* Each week every group member deposits one Taka (Bangladesh currency) as personal
saving. This fund is operated by the group. In addition, each member pays a "tax" into a
group fund. The group also must set up an emergency fund to which all group members
contribute as insurance against default, death, or disability of members.
The formation of the groups are a key to the bank's success. An individual poor person -
particularly a woman may feel exposed and powerless but group membership makes her
feel protected and less alone. Peer pressure helps to keep members in line with the
Grameen Bank rules and assures repayment of the loans.
Discipline, unity, courage, and labor are the four principles of the Grameen
Bank. The Grameen Bank is more than an economic system for loans and credit, it is a
social system as well. Therefore, along with the loans, each member promises to:
* Repair old and construct new houses.
* Cultivate, eat, and sell vegetables annually.
* Plant as many trees as possible.
* Plan their families.
* Educate their children.
* Drink tube well water.
e* Introduce physical exercises in Centers.
* Refuse to pay dowry in their children's marriages. [Dowry payments have been a
serious financial drain on families when arranging marriages for daughters. The
undervaluing of girls in South Asia can partly be traced to demands for dowry payments
from the bride's family upon marriage.of daughters.]
* Undertake social activities collectively.
* Participate in joint activities for earning higher incomes.
* Fight injustice and oppression.
The results of the banking program:
Since 1976 the Grameen Bank has lent an average of $60 to a total of 300,000 people.
Eighty percent of the borrowers were women. The repayment rate is 97 percent much
higher than the repayment rate of bank loans secured by collateral.
The focus has increasingly been to encourage women borrowers. Mohammad Yunus
commented in a recent interview that "in the case of a man, too often the beneficiaries are
himself and his friends. A loan to a woman results in more benefits to the family." (Kristin
Helmore, "Banking of the Poor: Changing the Face of Foreign Aid," Christian Science
Monitor. September 30, 1987, p. 16.)
Case Studies of Grameen Bank Borrowers
Samina An Interview with Grameen Bank Manager Abdur Rashid Khan, Rangpur.
"A small path winding through the green of paddy fields takes you to Samina's house in
Mirjapur....Looking at this 32 year old woman in her tattered sari, I knew what kind of life
she was living; a life of relentless struggle with poverty ...
"There were no windows in Samina's hut. The sky was very heavy after the rain. It was
difficult to see anything distinctly in the fading light of the evening... I asked Samina,
'What do you eat your meals in?' 'In earthen plates, Sir,' she said shyly 'Since we have
very few of them, we let our children eat first. My husband and I eat afterwards. She
then showed me an earthen jug, a very old glass of aluminium, and a spoon. These are
gifts from my mother. I have preserved them with care.'"
Samina told Abdur Khan about her life. Perhaps the worst period was during the famines
of 1974. "In that winter [Samina's family] had no means to buy rice at.... They sustained
themselves by eating boiled banana leaves. Sometimes they had nothing at all to eat for
days. Her eldest daughter Mannara would cry for rice. Samina herself felt like crying
because she could not give the hungry little girl any."
In 1983 Samina received a loan from the Grameen Bank Taka 1000 (US $36.45). With
the money, her husband Matiur and she set up a rice husking business. Matiur went to
other villages to buy the rice and collect fuel while both carried out the rice husking
business at home.
"This is how Samina, working on a capital of US $18.50 [half of the loan was stolen] and
hard work and determination was able to pay off the entire loan of Taka 1,000 ($US 36.45)
on the 17th of April 1984. Apart from the extreme hard work and the attendant physical
exhaustion, Samina was now free from worries about food for the family. They had just
enough to eat; not a day of starvation in the whole of that year. The children even had new
clothes and books. A few necessary domestic articles were bought....
"Samina has paid her installments and her special savings account money very regularly.
So far she has never missed a weekly group meeting, not even when she has been sick. 'I
would feel very bad if I ever missed a meeting.'...
"I asked her about her feelings when she first received the loan from the Bank. I felt very
happy, Sir. It was like having a new friend.
"Samina has applied for a second loan from the Bank. It has been approved...Her plan is
to continue in rice husking with part of the money and put the rest into setting up a grocery
shop." (Bank Credit for Rural Women, 1984, p. 108-111.)
Bhagya Rani The Results of A Loan, An Interview with Grameen Bank Manager
Bhagya Rani's husband was disabled by illness. Bhagya Rani eked out a living for the
family "winnowing by day as well as by night. The payment was made in '
kind;...Recalling her experience of that part of her life Bhagya Rani said, through tears,
'you know, Sir, those people with money just didn't think we were human beings. They
would use most horrible language if I was ever late by a minute. However, I never
protested. I thought I owed my life to them, otherwise I would just be without work and
"'I do not have words to tell you how I felt [when I got my bank loan from the Grameen
Bank]. I came back home with the money, a thousand Taka ($US 36.40).... I had never
been able to send my children to school or buy them clothes at thepuja [village shop]. I
could not even arrange for my husband's [medical] treatment I set out in search of rice...I
dried the parboiled rice in four days and got it husked at a rice mill...I made a profit [from
the husked rice] of Taka 184 ($US 6.70). I wept in sheer joy'" [This meant Bhagya Rani
realized an average of Taka 150 ($US 5.40) profit each week.]
"I requested Bhagya Rani to tell me something about the difference she had evidently
experienced in the condition of life before and after joining the Bank.
"'Well Sir,' she said 'Before joining the Bank, I just could not think of myself as a human
being. What have I not done to manage two bare meals for myself and my family. As I
have already mentioned, I was thrown out by my father because my husband could not do
anything. He was forced to ignore his fatal condition [tuberculosis] and beg along the
streets of Galachipa for work and trying to get something for the hungry children. I myself
went to work at the rice-mill, though I know well enough what nasty things people might
say of me. Even then I could not get enough food.for my children. I could not think of
giving them an education or buying them new clothes. Because I was poor, nobody cared
to know what I was living through. But now things have changed. And the change is as a
result of the Grameen Bank...We now eat three meals a day. My husband is having the
kind of medical treatment tuberculosis calls for. He doesn't have to work. My children are
going to school. Before this Bank business, my parents did not bother to enquire after me.
Now my neighbors love to come to me and have a chat. I am the chief of my Center....My
luck had abandoned me for want of money. Now it has returned to me due to the Grameen
Bank.'"(Bank Credit for Rural Women, p. 105-107.)
Sultana An Interview with A.S.M. Mohiuddin, Branch Manager.
"Sultana was hard working and practical mirided right from her childhood. She became a
wage income earner from the age of 12...
"Impressed with Sultana's business ability [peddling wares in the village] her uncle Abdur
Rahman expressed a desire to bring her into his house as his daughter-in-law. Her father
was delighted and at the age of eighteen Sultana married Chand Miah and moved to his
"Sultana's mother-in-law had not been too enthusiastic about the marriage. However,
Chand Miah gave her a sari, blouse, petticoat, and a nose ring. Her father gave Sultana a
pair of gold earrings [and promised to pay Taka 1000 ($US 36.40) in dowry for his
daughter]. Due to his pecuniary condition he could not immediately make the payment.
However, after the wedding he paid Taka 400 ($US 14.58) in two installments.
"Chand Miah worked in a shoe shop. He was not pleased at the fact that his father-in-law
had not met his end of the bargain of paying Taka 1,000 ($US 36.40) as dowry for
marrying his daughter. While he could do nothing to the father, Sultana had to bear the
brunt of his anger as well as that of her mother-in-law. They insulted her at every
opportunity, humiliated her by abusing her father. And often they would beat her
mercilessly and afterwards send her to her father's house for the remaining amount of
"[The last time] her father accompanied her to explain to his son-in-law. On reentering her
husband's house Sultana saw some festivities going on. Realization dawned on her with
horror. Chand Miah was getting married again and this time with even a bigger
dowry....Her mother-in-law was triumphant. Seeing Sultana and her father in the midst of
her festivities she became enraged....this lady refused them entry into the house and told
them never to return again. Seeing the commotion Chand Miah also entered the scene. The
sight of his wife and the father-in-law was like a red rag to a bull. He pulled Sultana by her
hair, dragged her in the mud, beat her mercilessly, and with a final vicious kick ...he
shouted these dreaded sentences. I divorce you,' clearly three times by which any
[Muslim] man can dissolve his marriage just like that and proceed on with another
Sultana's second marriage was also unfortunate. Her husband was totally idle the spoiled
only son in a family with seven daughters.
She was told about the Grameen Bank by an employer and friend, "Sultana did not take
him seriously in the beginning. What could she offer to the Grameen Bank as collateral or
guarantee. A poor, hopeless woman with nothing to her name, with the exception of the
clothes she had on her back. What bank would take her seriously?"
Sultana formed a group and was approved for a loan. "The first thing the group was taught
was to sign their names....The first time Sultana signed her name on a receipt of the Taka
800.00 ($US 29.16) loan her hands shook visibly. So much money in her hands was like
a tonic for Sultana." She bought $US 30.00 worth of goods before returning home.
"Early the next morning Sultana set out on her rounds to sell her goods...The profits of the
first day truly excited Sultana...[After a week] her profit had been on the average Taka
55.00 ($US 1.46) every day...Her reputation spread far and wide as she would not sell
below standard articles, nor would she ever cheat anyone. Her next task was to set up a
small grocery and variety store for her husband...Next to the shop Sultana constructed a
tiny house for her family. She was a proud woman..." (Bank Credit for Rural Women,
The Grameen Bank Project has been imitated worldwide as a successful way to reach the
poor and encourage development. The Prodem credit program in Bolivia and Finca -
Foundation for International Community Assistance are two such projects. The World
Bank, United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development, and the United
States Agency for International Development now earmark funds for credit programs for
poor people in the Third World.
This is one indication of a change in thinking about foreign aid from a "macro" approach of
investing in large-scale industrial projects to investing in "micro" ones that concentrate on
small-scale projects for poor individuals. Large scale programs often did not help poor
Third World people to improve their standard of living the "trickle down" effect did not
occur. This negative impact of large scale projects was often particularly harmful to
Credit is seen as a central way of improving the living standards for the very poor.
"Money lenders charge between two and 25 percent interest per day," says Maria Otero,
regional director of a credit program in Honduras. "More than anything, this [charging of
high interest rates] hampers individual economic growth and perpetuates poverty."
(Christian Science Monitor, September 30, 1987)
Barbara Rodey, Executive Director of Finca, reported,"We estimate that in Latin America
[alone] there are approximately 140 million people living in life-threatening poverty. These
are the poorest of the poor...." "We try to guide the money into the hands of women,"
says Finca's director John Hatch. "If the money is available to the wife, she will spend it
on rapid-turnover investments like buying and selling vegetables, raising chickens or pigs.
She knows what to do with her $50 [loan]....It's ironic that the woman has traditionally
seen herself as a nobody, now, with access to credit, she's empowered." (Ibid.)
"We [at Finca] believe that when you give somebody something as charity, you lower their
self-esteem," says Barbara Rodey "But when they feel that what they have done has been
through their own efforts, it changes their lives."
Particularly for women, direct loans made to them for projects that they devise are critical in
raising their feeling of having power over their lives and futures. Dr. Yunus commented
that the Grameen Bank Program "builds up the dignity of human beings while building up
a country's economy." (Ibid.)
POINTS TO CONSIDER
1. "In most third-world countries more than half the workers belong to the 'informal
sector.' These are people who survive, often marginally, through self-employment,
outside the economic structures. They are fruit vendors in Cartagena, Colombia;
ragpickers in India; basketmakers in Accra, Ghana. In India, for example, a country of
770 million, more than 80 percent of workers are in the informal sector." (Kristin Helmore,
Christian Science Monitor, September 30, 1987)
Why do you think small loans particularly benefit these informal sector workers?
Why might women particularly benefit?
2. Look back at the two lists of promises (economic and social) that borrowers make
before receiving loans from the Grameen Bank. What criteria would seem to be ones that
could be applied in the United States for similar programs for the poor? What ones would
seem to apply only for the Third World or would be difficult to implement in the United
3. Recently a similar program of making small loans to the poor was begun in the Chicago
area. What things might we learn from Third World experiences that could be applied here
in the United States?
4. A study of women borrowers who had participated in a government-sponsored program
in India of bank loans to poor in the Bombay area showed a wide range of repayment rates.
After isolating several variables, the study showed that women who were organized into
women's organizations with requirements similar to those of the Grameen Bank had a
repayment rate of 90 percent. Those that were not organized and had only a "social
worker" (an intermediary who might be a politician, slum leader, or raw materials supplier)
or a state agency called the BCC (Backward Classes Corporation) as their loan agency had
a rate of repayment that ranged from a low of 44 percent to a high of 71 percent.
Even accounting for the possiblility that the women's organization (Annapurna Mahila
Mandal) recruited borrowers with a better chance of carrying out successful enterprises,
this study showed the positive effect of the women's organizations in encouraging loan
(Jana Everett and Mira Savara, "Bank Loans to the Poor in Bombay: Do Women
Benefit?," in, Barbara Gelpi, et al, eds., Women and Poverty, 1986.)
Why do you think that women's organizations or similar groups might be a key to the
success of these projects for providing poor women with loans?
PART V: TEACHING CONTEMPORARY
THIRD WORLD WOMEN'S ISSUES
To make educators aware of philosophical and practical
dilemmas and problems when women's history and culture are
incorporated into K-12 curriculum.
To provide educators with techniques for achieving a balance
between cultural relativism and ethnocentrism in teaching about
women in world cultures.
To provide sources of instructional materials, book lists,
and bibliographies on women in Third World cultures.
PART V A: TEACHER QUESTIONS
TOTAL TIME PART V: 60 MINUTES (EXERCISES AND HANDOUT 10)
When this unit is conducted as a workshop for educators, a suggested conclusion for the
day is a discussion of the concerns of teachers about incorporating new materials into their
curriculum and courses.
EXERCISE 1: "Teacher Questions" (Page 75) (20 MINUTES)
This exercise can be done in one of two ways:
1. Each small group is given one of four "teacher questions" (page 75) on an index card.
In a small group discussion, solutions are suggested to the problem and then shared in a
large group discussion. (10 MINUTES in small group; 10 MINUTES to compare in large
2. Each of the four "teacher questions" (page 75) are discussed by participants in a large
group as a summary for the day. A list of all four are put on the easel or blackboard.
EXERCISE 2: "Teaching Women's History and Culture in a Global Setting"
A fifth question frequently posed by teachers is:
"How do I teach students to respect and understand other cultures
while discussing customs and conditions that have a negative
impact on girls and women?"
HANDOUT 9 "Cultural Relativism vs. Ethnocentrism," suggests some possible ways to
find a balance in teaching about women in a global context.
After participants have completed EXERCISE 1 have them complete Problem 1 of
EXERCISE 2 on pages 79 in small groups (15 MINUTES).
Participants should then read HANDOUT 9. complete Problem 2 (25 MINUTES) and
compare solutions to Problems 1 and 2 in a large group discussion.
If time does not allow for this exercise, HANDOUT 9 can be given to participants to read
and think about after the workshop.
Educators will decide on many different solutions to the problems posed in EXERCISES 1
and 2. Therefore, no particular answers are suggested here.
When teachers are asked to include new perspectives and materials in existing curriculum
and courses, they frequently raise a number of concerns about these changes. When the
discussion involves integrating women's history and culture into social studies courses,
teachers frequently raise these questions:
1. I have too much to teach already and I need to teach to standardized tests that are
important in the evaluation of my teaching and my student's learning. How can I make
room for these new materials in my social studies courses?
2. Where do I start? The enormous amount of recent scholarship and new curriculum
on women's history and culture is overwhelming.
3. How do I know this new curriculum isn't just a "trendy" new angle but a genuinely
needed new perspective?
4. My students are often hostile to new materials and boys particularly don't want to
study about girls and women. How do I overcome this hostility?
"TEACHING WOMEN'S HISTORY AND CULTURE
IN A GLOBAL SETTING"
A fifth question frequently posed by teachers about incorporating women's history and
culture into global education curriculum and courses is:
"How do I teach students to respect and understand other cultures while
discussing customs and conditions that have a negative impact on girls and
Women as a class have had less economic and political clout than men in virtually every
world area. This lack of power often translates at the family level into an uneven
distribution of resources within the family unit. Similarly, from the village to national
levels economic and political agendas and policies are usually set by men and priorities
often reflect male perceptions of what is valuable.
A discussion, then, of women's history and culture will inevitably deal with what is
unequal or oppressive in a particular society or culture as well as what is positive,
beautiful, and uniquely valuable. How does a teacher find a balance between teaching
respect for other cultures and discussing women's concerns?
Teachers must discover their own ways to deal with this difficult question. The following
exercise, however, presents two commonly held but opposing views of the "proper"
way to approach the teaching of global issues especially controversial ones. Used as a
conceptual framework, these two approaches may suggest to teachers ways to balance their
curriculum between two opposing positions.
In a small group discussion complete Problem 1.
Problem 1: Perhaps because women have generally had less political clout than men and
are seen as upholding traditional values in many cultures, some customs or actions that
affect women in many world areas can be seen as unfair, oppressive, or offensive. A few
examples of such customs or actions are:
Differences between the wages paid to women and men in many countries.
Rape of women in all world areas.
Veiling and seclusion of women in the Middle East.
Female genital mutilation in parts of Africa and the Middle East.
Restriction of women from jobs and careers in many
world areas because of their sex.
Wife beating and abuse worldwide.
The "double day" with women working much longer hours than men
particularly in the Third World.
Property rights and other laws that often favor men in many countries.
Prostitution including sex tours of men to Third World countries.
Uneven distribution of resources within the family that favor men and boys.
In a small group discussion first decide which of these issues should be included in a
discussion of women and contemporary global concerns. What factors influenced your
decision about which issues to include? What issues do you feel should be.excluded, if
any? Justify your answers.
If your group agrees that a particular issue should be included, discuss:
how you would fit this issue into the global studies curriculum.
problems that you might encounter, and give suggestions for
overcoming these problems.
When your group has finished Problem 1 read HANDOUT 9 and then complete
Problem 2: After reading HANDOUT 9 decide where you feel you fall on the continuum
below and why. (What issues you feel should be taught and how these should be taught
might influence where you would place yourself philosophically.)
Cultural Relativism Ethnocentrism
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Share additional small group conclusions in a large group discussion.
In large group discussion compare your small group solutions to Problem 1 and your
individual conclusions of your philosophical position as represented by where you placed
yourself on the continuum.
"Cultural Relativism vs. Ethnocentrism
Two Philosophical Positions on Teaching Global Issues"
The labels given to two approaches to teaching global issues are "cultural relativism" and
Those that advocate a "cultural relativist" approach take the position that, although world
cultures are very diverse, they are equally valuable. Therefore, when discussing other
cultures, teachers must use extreme caution not to denigrate customs, laws, or attitudes
which are different from our own. Aspects of other societies or cultures that might cast
them in a bad light should be avoided when teaching world studies.
Those that take an ethnocentricc" approach claim that "Western" (European and North
American) culture is superior in most ways to those of socialist and Third World countries.
Global education (and foreign policy including foreign aid) should demonstrate the value
and necessity of spreading European and North American culture particularly democracy
and capitalism worldwide.
The "cultural relativist" view developed from the liberal left tradition of
post-colonialism in which the industrialized world began to question the morality and
benefits of colonialism. With the formation of the United Nations after World War II there
was also a growing appreciation of Third World cultures.
European and North American educators increasingly felt that they should use extreme
caution when criticizing the customs, standards, or mores of other cultures, societies, or
nations. Cultural relativists strongly support learning about other cultures, but customs that
might be perceived negatively by outsiders should be played down, ignored, or only
discussed when similar examples from their culture, society, or nation are used. According
to this view, people in different times and places do different things, and it is improper for
outsiders to make value judgments about these things that others do.
For women's issues, however, taking a cultural relativist approach may mean that critical
problems are avoided or ignored. Women as a class have had less public, political power
in most world areas. Women have frequently suffered because of asymmetrical laws and
customs that restricted their life choices and even physical movement.
Women's work has tended to be more invisible than that of most classes of men and thus
less rewarded. Important topics for women will include aspects of the sexism present in
varying degrees in the overwhelming majority of human societies.
Suggested ways to avoid cultural relativism.
1) Discuss with students the distinction between propaganda and analytical scholarship.
Teachers can point out that we in the United States, for example, no longer find it
acceptable to teach only positive aspects of our own history and culture. Textbooks that
overemphasize the positive and ignore past and present injustices are seen as presenting
simplistic views; propaganda rather than history.
In the case of Third World cultures, avoiding all subjects that might be perceived as
negative by North American or European standards assumes that other peoples are so
powerless that they cannot stand up and argue effectively for things they may feel are
uniquely valuable in their own societies. It also assumes that these societies are too fragile
to withstand outside criticism and are unable to change things they come to perceive as
damaging. Looked at in this way, such an unbalanced treatment would, in actuality, be a
form of ethnocentrism.
2) Emphasize differences within societies or cultural areas.
When studying the continent of Africa, individual countries or ethnic groups should be the
focus of discussion rather than continued references to "Africa." If the African continent is
presented as a complex area with over 40 countries and 1000 ethnic groups, the diversity of
customs can be discussed as they differ from group to group. For example, seen from the
view of specific ethnic groups, practices such as polygyny or female genital mutilation can
be viewed as part of the diversity of African life some groups may practice these customs
while others reject them.
The Kikuyu of Kenya practiced female genital mutilation while the Luo, their neighbors,
did not. President Daniel Moi, a member of the Luo minority, banned the practice of
female circumcision in Kenya in 1982 after the reported deaths of 14 girls as a result of
genital operations. President Moi declared, "I will not allow children to die when I am the
leader of this country." (Quoted in: WIN News, Vol. 8, no. 4, p. 34, Autumn 1982.) As
a member of a Kenya minority group that did not practice this custom, his declaration
banning these practices was a daring political move.
An issue of serious concern in India is the unbalanced sex ratio favoring men. However,
although the sex ratio imbalance favoring boys and men (a probable indication of neglect of
female infants and babies) is pronounced in areas of North India, South India has
approximately the same sex ratio as North American countries and those of Africa.
While footbinding was a custom that severely restricted women in traditional China,
various minority groups in China did not practice footbinding for girls.
In India some tribal groups resisted the commonly accepted practice of female child
marriage by marrying their girls to objects such as trees, arrows, or wheat paddles then,
at a more suitable age, married them again to a young man.
Cultural areas or particular societies are not monolithic. Many are very diverse in their
peoples and geography. Customs depend on area, class, and time period. Comparisons
and contrasts can be made from within a society. Statistical comparisons can be made
within a cultural area or country that indicate diversity depending on internal conditions.
Historical processes can then be traced that indicate some of the reasons for these
differences. Pointing up internal differences provides a way to avoid "us" vs. "them"
ethnocentrism while discussing a variety of cultural norms.
3) Cultures and societies change through time.
Few people in the United States would like to reinstate slavery or take the vote away from
women. We now are ashamed of conditions such as slavery and the denial of basic
political rights to classes of citizens that we tolerated at other times in our national history.
But we are proud of reformers who worked to change these practices.
Similarly, reformers both men and women in other countries and cultures have worked
to eliminate customs they thought were harmful or outdated.
Emperor Shun-Zhi in the 17th century tried to outlaw footbinding in China by decree. As a
Manchu emperor he was seen as an outsider and was unsuccessful; he was afraid to use
more forceful measures as these might have incited rebellion. Chinese author Li Ruzhen
wrote a famous satire criticizing the custom in about 1800, and the empress-dowager Ci Xi
finally outlawed footbinding in China 1907.
Many reformers in Indian history worked against the practice of widow burning (sati or
suttee), child marriage, and the forbidding of widow remarriage. D. K. Karve, a 19th
century reformer, set up homes for widows. He and other men married widows at great
personal cost their families or villages often treated them as outcasts. Women like
Pandita Ramabai, Muthulakshmi Reddi, and Ramabai Ranade also worked against child
marriage, the restrictions on widow remarriage, and for women's education in India.
Latin American women writers faced much criticism and scorn in the late 19th and early
20th century as poets, journalists, and prose writers. They followed in the tradition of the
first feminist of the Americas poet, scientist, and philosopher-nun, Sor Juana Ines de la
Cruz. She was eventually silenced by the Roman Catholic Church for her scientific studies
and her writings that advocated the equality of the sexes and the need to get rid of the
sexual double standard.
Each world area and society has had reformers who were agents of change. These
reformers were sometimes aided by outsiders but their accomplishments are as much a part
of the history of their society as the conditions that brought about the need for their
reforms. This is equally true today. As seen in this unit, women and men throughout the
world are working for reforms to improve the living conditions of people in their societies -
particularly reforms for women.
4) Sometimes a push from the outside is useful.
Although it may be painful to national honor, outside criticism is not necessarily
In 1893 a French aristocrat, the Due d'Harcourt, visited Egypt and returned home to write a
highly critical book of his observations particularly about the inequality of Egyptian
women. Outraged, an Egyptian jurist, Qasim Amin, wrote a rebuttal in French. But in
doing so he slowly gained a new view and six years later he published The Emancipation
of Woman in which he called for reforms in family and property laws to improve the legal
and social position of Egyptian women.
From 1938 to 1942 Gunnar Myrdal, a Swedish economist and sociologist, conducted a
study for the Carnegie Foundation entitled, "The American Negro Problem in America."
From this study he wrote The American Dilemma. This book was a benchmark in the
modern Civil Rights movement in the United States. Many people in the United States
awoke to the evils of "Jim Crow" and the treatment of Blacks as second-class citizens after
seeing these conditions from the view of an outsider.
The ethnocentricc" approach to teaching world studies arose in recent United States
history. It was a response to "United States bashing" by some Third World countries'
representatives in the United Nations, the conservative swing in United States politics and
foreign policy, and a revival of patriotism and nationalism in the United States in the post -
Ethnocentrism is a view that declares that the United States is the "City on the Hill" a
model to the world with the duty to impose our values on other societies. In this view the
customs, standards, and even "pop" culture of the United States rightfully should be spread
throughout the world. European and North American cultures are seen as superior. Taken
to the extreme it is a neo-colonialist outlook.
This view assumes that improvements and positive traditions for women have come from
the "Western" world. It ignores the many positive role models for women present in the
history of other cultures that may not be present in European or North American cultures.
Suggested ways to avoid ethnocentrism:
1) Comparisons between the Third World and the United States (or European) should be
made with care.
Conceptual labels describing the Third World and the industrialized countries such as
Western, developed, underdeveloped, primitive, and civilized should be used with great
care. For example, is "Western" culture being confused with technology and industrial
output? Does our unfamiliarity with other cultures diminish our appreciation of them? Do
we confuse military might with superiority in all areas? Does underdeveloped mean
industrialized countries' views of what constitutes "development"?
Comparisons between Third World societies and the United States or European cultures
generally should favor the other society or culture. This is a matter of good international
manners and does not mean that outsiders cannot criticize other societies or cultures.
Historical comparisons can be useful. Property rights of women in the United States in the
19th century were severely restricted while at a similar time period Islamic states, following
Koranic law, provided women with guaranteed property rights of inheritance, upon
divorce, and within marriage.
Students may feel less distant from Third World women hauling water if they know that in
the 1920s over 50 percent of women in farm states such as Minnesota had to haul water
from wells or streams to their homes.
(University of Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station Bulletin #234, June 1927.)
2) Allow students to have and express their feelings about other people's customs and
values to even feel that customs in other cultures are "weird" or strange. The idea of
differences between peoples and cultures can pique the interest of students. After they have
expressed their surprise or even disgust they can slowly be introduced to human values,
needs, and aspirations that are universal. World history and culture teaches the diversity of
the human condition, the complexity of causation, and the fact that customs and values
change over time in all cultural areas.
3) United Nations standards and statistics can be used as an internationally accepted guide
to issues such as human rights, health issues, and equity. Other international organizations
such as the Red Cross or the YWCA provide almost universally accepted standards to
guide national human rights and customary practices. The use of these standards avoids
"us" vs. "them" divisive comparisons.
The Declaration of Human Rights was accepted by all the nations that signed the United
Nations charter and each can be held to that standard. As of July 25, 1985, 105
countries, including the United States, have signed the "Convention on the Elimination of
All Forms of Discrimination Against Women." The United States has not yet ratified the
Convention, but 78 countries have and, therefore, can be held to its provisions.
The World Health Organization, at a 1979 international conference at Khartoum, Sudan,
declared that genital mutilation was a dangerous and medically valueless practice.
The presence of United Nations personnel in the United States after World War II helped to
end the practice of Jim Crow in the South when delegates from African countries objected
to the treatment that they received in public accommodations.
RESOURCES AND SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY
Sources of Information About
Women's History and Women in Development*
Association for Women in Development
P.O. Box 66133
Washington, D.C. 20035
Canadian International Development Agency
Public Affairs Branch
200 Promenade du Portage
Hull, Quebec KIA OG4
EPOC: Equity Policy Center
4818 Drummond Avenue
Chevy Chase, MD 20815
American Home Economics Association
2010 Massachusetts Avenue N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036
Written to be included in home economics classes, units include slides and print materials
on family life, education, clothing, food production, etc. in Africa, Asia, Caribbean, Latin
America, and the Middle East.
417 Queen's Quay West
Canada M5V 1A2
With the National Film Board of Canada they have developed a list of films on the United
Nations Decade for Women and women's issues. Catalog available.
*Organizations with instructional materials are annotated.
Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs
Women, Public Policy, and Development Project
Arvonne Fraser, Project Director
301 19th Avenue So.
University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN 55455
Publications include "Forward Looking Strategies" an abridged version of the document
adopted by the United Nations Conference on Women at Nairobi, July 1985. Other useful
documents on women's concerns in a global setting. Price lists available minimal
International Center of Research on Women
1717 Massachusetts Avenue N.W.
Washingotn, D.C. 20036
ILO: International Labour Office
CH-1211 Geneva 22
1750 New York Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20006
An ILO brochure features women and development materials. Also available is a free
pamphlet "Equal Rights for Working Women" available upon request.
INSTRAW: International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women
Cesar N. Penson 102-A,
P.O. Box 21747
Focus is on "improving the collection and analysis of statistics and data so they will
adequately reflect women's often invisible productive activity."
Posters and other publications projects include Latin America, Asia, and Africa.
International Tribune Center
777 United Nations Plaza
New York, NY 10017
C/O Ann Walker
Many excellent materials, graphics, posters, post cards, particularly on Third World
women. Free catalog available.
ISIS Women's International Information and Communication Services
Via Santa Maria dell'Anima, 30
00186 Rome, Italy
United States address:
P.O. Box 25711
Philadelphia, PA 19144
Excellent newsletter and other publications available in Spanish and English.
National Public Radio
2025 M Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20036
Audio cassette "A Global Gathering of Women: The Decade of Women Conference,
Nairobi HO-85-09-04, 1/2 hour, $9.95. Other tapes on women's issues available.
National Women's History Project
P.O. Box 3716
Santa Rosa, CA 95402
C/O Molly MacGregor
Many resources for women's history K-adult. Excellent catalog. Yearly poster for
National Women's History Month, March. Emphasis is on United States women's
Development Education Program
1815 H Street N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20006
Excellent videotape "Seeds of Promise" on Third World women's development projects
and print materials available. Write for free brochures.
Office of Women in Development
Agency for International Development
Washington, D.C. 20523
The resource center of the Office of Women in Development (WID) has bibliographies,
some articles, and a book list available free of charge.
P.O. Box 3923
Grand Central Station
New York, NY 10163
Booklets available on specific new projects that have had a positive impact on women.
Sisterhood is Global, Robin Morgan, ed., 1984.
501 Franklin Avenue
Garden City, NY 11530
Country-by-country information on women very useful.
Available at bookstores $12.95.
TABS: Aids for Equal Education
744 Carroll Street
Brooklyn, NY 11215
Many excellent posters particularly for younger students. Catalog available.
United Nations Development Fund for Women
304 East 45th Street, Room 1106
New York, NY 10017
Margaret Snyder, Information Officer
Women Associated for Global Education (WAGE)
C/O The Immaculate Heart College Center
10951 West Pico Blvd. Suite 2021
Los Angeles, CA 90064
A nationwide network of female educators and administrators founded to remedy the lack
of emphasis on gender-related issues in global education.
The newsletter of the Immaculate Heart College Center, Global Pages, is an excellent
resource emphasizing women's issues through the WAGE PAGE,
WEAL: Women's Equity Action League
805 15the Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20005
WEAL publications are concerned mostly with issues for women in the United States but
cover a wide variety of topics that may be useful in cross-cultural comparisons. Catalog
C/O Fran Hosken
187 Grant Street
Lexington, MA 02173
A journal of excerpts from world newspapers and magazines on women's concerns.
Excellent for current issues.
WIRE: Women's International Resource Exchange Service
2700 Broadway, Room 7
New York, N.Y. 10025
Catalog of many useful publications on women worldwide. Reprints of articles and books.
Women: A World Report, Debbie Taylor, ed.
Methuen London Ltd.
11 New Fetter Lane
London EC4P 4EE
Women...A World Survey, Ruth Legar Sivard
Washington, D.C. 20007
Easily reproduced graphs, etc. for classroom use. This publication is included in a kit of
materials from the Population Reference Bureau, (see below.)
Women in Development:
A Resource Guide for Oganizations and Action, 1984.
New Society Publishers
Philadelphia, PA 19143
$14.95 plus $1.50 postage.
Very useful, materials, charts, statistics on women in a world context.
Women in World Area Studies and
Women and Development Issues in Three World Areas
C/O The Upper Midwest Women's History Center
6300 Walker Street
St. Louis Park, MN 55416
The WWAS program has developed curriculum materials on the history of women in eight
cultural areas for secondary to adult. 13 books, 9 sound filmstrips, teachers guides. New
curriculum units are being developed for Women and Development Issues in Three World
Areas. Workshop manual, filmstrips/slide programs on women and development issues.
Write for free catalog from Glenhurst Publications at the above address. Brochures and
newletters on these projects also available from the Upper Midwest Women's History
Women in the World Atlas, Joni Seager and Ann Olson, Touchstone Book, Simon and
Schuster, Inc., New York, 1986.
Excellent source of statistics and charts on women in a geographic setting. Original and
pertinent graphics used. Available at book stores for $12.95.
Women in the World: Annotated History Resources for the Secondary
Student, compiled and edited by, Lyn Reese and Jean Wilkinson,
The Scarecrow Press, Inc., Methuchen, NJ, 1987.
Available from Glenhurst Publications, 6300 Walker Street,
St. Louis Park, MN 55416.
An important new book of sources well annotated, publishers listed useful and
appropriate. $19.50 prepaid postage included.
Women of the World: A Chartbook for Developing Regions,
United States Agency for International Development
Office of Women in Development
From: Superintendent of Documents
United States Government Printing Office
Washington, D.C. 20037
"The World's Women: A Profile"
Population Reference Bureau, Inc.
2213 M Greet N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20037
Wall chart on women worldwide. Kit of materials on women also available includes
Women...A World Survey listed above.
WOMEN IN THE CONTEMPORARY THIRD WORLD
Afshar, Haleh, ed. Women, Work, and Ideology in the Third World. New York:
Tavistock Publications, 1985.
Beneria, Lourdes, ed. Women and Development: The Sexual Division of Labor in Rural
Societies. New York: Praeger, 1982.
Bernard, Jessie. The Female World from a Global Perspective. Bloomington: Indiana
University Press, 1987.
Blumber, Rae Lesser. Stratification: Socioeconomic and Sexual Inequality. Dubuque:
Wm. C. Brown Company, 1978.
Borooah, Romy, Barbara Yates, and Jean Treloggen Peterson. "Women and
Development: An Interdisciplinary Seminar," Curriculum Guide No. 7 and Annapurna
Shaw, "Women and Agricultural Production in the Third World," Curriculum Guide no. 1.
Available from the Office of Women in International Development, University of Illinois at
Urbana-Champaign, 324 Coble Hall, 801 So. Wright Street, Champaign, IL 61820,
USA. **Other unpublished papers available list available upon request.
Boserup, Ester. Woman's Role in Economic Development. New York: St. Martin's
Bourguignon, Erika, ed. A World of Women. New York: Praeger, 1980.
Buvinic, Mayra, Margaret A. Lycette, and William Paul McGreevey. Women and Poverty
in the Third World. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1983.
Boulding, Elise. Women in the Twentieth Century World. New York: SAGE, 1977.
Charlton, Sue Ellen M. Women in Third World Development. Boulder: Westview Press,
Chipp, Sylvia A. and Justin J. Green, eds. Asian Women in Transition. University Park:
Pennsylvania State University Press, 1980.
Davies, Miranda, compiler. Third World Second Sex. London: Zed Press, 1983.
Dixon, Ruth B. Rural Women at Work: Strategies for Development in South Asia.
Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1978.
Eberstadt, Nick, ed. Fertility Decline in the Less Developed Countries. New York:
Eck, Kiana L. and Devaki Jain. Speaking of Faith: Global Perspectives on Women,
Religion and Social Change. Philadlphia, PA: New Society Publishers, 1987.