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Title: Economic participation of low income urban women in the developing countries ; excerpt from a draft report dated June 1979
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Title: Economic participation of low income urban women in the developing countries ; excerpt from a draft report dated June 1979
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Language: English
Creator: Furst, Barbara G.
Publisher: United States International Development Cooperation Agency
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Publication Date: 1979
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Table of Contents
    Title Page
        Page i
    Table of Contents
        Page ii
    Acknowledgement
        Page iii
    Introduction
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
    Status of women, urbanization, and implications for development
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
    Economic and social conditions of poor urban women
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
    Past and current women's programs
        Page 29
        Page 30
    Recommendations
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
    Bibliography
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
Full Text

















THE ECONOMIC PARTICIPATION OF

LOW INCOME URBAN WOMEN

IN THE DEVELOPING COUNTRIES









EXCERPT

From a Draft Report

Dated June 1979

by

Barbara G. Furst

under a Contract

for

Office of Urban Development
Bureau for Development Support
Agency for International Development
United States International Development Cooperation Agency











TABLE OF CONTENTS



INTRODUCTION . . ............ * ...

STATUS OF WOMEN, URBANIZATION AND IMPLICATIONS FOR DEVELOPMENT .


Traditional Status . . . . .

Current Political and Economic Status . .

ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL CONDITIONS OF POOR URBAN WOMEN .

Labor Force Participation . . . .

African Women in the Labor Force . ... .

Women in the Labor Force in Latin America. .

Asian and North African Women in the Labor Force

Women and the Informal Sector. . . .

Informal Urban Support Systems . . .

Caveats, Contradictions and Questions . .

PAST AND CURRENT WOMEN'S PROGRAMS. .. . .

RECOMMENDATIONS. . . . . . .

General Guidelines . . . . .

Programs to Improve the Economic Status of Women. .


5
. 5









. 11






. 19

. 22

. 26

. 29


. 31

. 31


. 33


Housing and Other Programs for Upgrading Squatter Areas 36

Additional Research . . . . . 38

BIBLIOGRAPHY . . . ... ... . 40


1

5


f m










ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

This report was sponsored by the Office of Urban Development of

the Agency for International Development with the cooperation of the

Office of Women in Development of the same agency. The author is grateful

for access to documentation centers and support of the International Center

for Research on Women, the New TransCentury Foundation, the Office of the

Advisor on Women in Development at the World Bank, the Urban Projects

Office of the World Bank, the Social Studies Section of the Inter-American

Development Bank, and other interested individuals who provided willing

ears and good advice in the preparation of this report. At the same time,

of course, the author takes full responsibility for errors of fact or

interpretation and for the views expressed in this paper which are not

necessarily those of the Agency for International Development.








THE ECONOMIC PARTICIPATION OF

LOW INCOME URBAN WOMEN

IN THE DEVELOPING COUNTRIES


INTRODUCTION

Given the general conditions of the urban poor in developing

countries and given the social and economic status of women within many

of these countries, it is with great temerity that one attempts to

address the issues and problems concerning poor urban women. However,

there is currently abundant evidence to demonstrate that women are

economic and social entities in their own rights within the urban

setting and many of them are not dependent upon men or the formal

system for support. Their activities in most instances have not been

recognized, and their special needs have rarely been considered.

As with many women in industrial nations, the perceptions of

the women in developing countries themselves regarding their own roles

as domestic and economic beings are often ambivalent and confused.

However, the harsh realities of life in the cities have forced many

of them to depend for survival upon their own initiative, often in

the fact of overwhelming odds. It is remarkable that there are so

many such women and that they are surviving and occasionally even

prospering.

This report is based on the following assumptions:

Women play a vital role in the economic life of most of

the developing countries.








In the cities poor women are critically in need of cash

incomes but the traditional support systems which exist

in the countryside which might enable them more easily to

work away from home are not as well developed in the cities.

Women are usually found in the informal sector and, until

recently, many of them have not been included in formal

measurements of economic activity making them invisible

in labor market terms.

In many instances women are at least as business-oriented

as men, if not more so, and, given the chance, reinvest

in their businesses and accrue capital and property.

Barriers to women's greater access to the benefits of develop-

ment will vary depending upon beliefs and perceptions of individual

societies. However, in many developing societies today there are few

if any inherent cultural barriers to the wider participation of women

in the economic life of cities. Their low and, in some places

declining, rates of economic participation appear rather as by-products

of modernization.

In discussions of poor women in cities and their increasing

numbers, it must be remembered that men are not very well off in the

cities either. However, the problems of urban men and women, though

related to each other, are different. The differences are of course

rooted in the fact that women are and continue to be perceived as

the bearers of children and the keepers of the hearth, while men are

perceived as breadwinners and are more free to work away from home.








Similar to the early era of industrialization in the West, many men

in the developing countries are working farther away from home than

ever before. They are migrating to cities and beyond national borders

in search of wage earning jobs in industry and commerce. At the

same time women are left with the responsibility for children and

other family members.

Programs to reach women are economically and socially

critical for two reasons at least. One is the cost effectiveness

for development efforts of upgrading women's capacity to produce in

the formal economic sector, and the other is their primary responsi-

bility for succeeding generations of third world citizens. The care,

feeding, and education of children will determine their future

potential. Higher levels of education and economic activity among

women are closely associated with high standards of living, low

fertility, good family nutrition and health, high levels of sanita-

tion and high aspirations for children. In short, the condition of

women is tied not only to the level of economic development but also

to the whole package of "basic needs" which are the current goals of

development programs.

There is also considerable evidence in the literature that

the urban environment is conducive to effective development programs.

Despite the chaotic appearance of the crowded lanes of squatter

settlements and city centers, they are more organized and structured

than they appear, and the goals of many squatter residents are self-

chosen upward mobility (Perlman, Epstein, Little). There are indica-

tions that cities are the setting for upwardly mobile and enterprising









individuals and self-help programs. For instance, when. an urban

renewal project was begun in Calcutta it was found that there were

an estimated 100 informal primary private schools with approximately

7,600 students operating in the squatter areas (Sivaramakrishnan).

Likewise, in a Bangkok squatter area one enterprising young women

had started a day care center while still a student. The center had

grown into a nursery school and then into a primary school which

necessitated her hiring staff and paying them from the nominal

school fees she charged (Ungsongtham).

What appears at times as social breakdown is part of the

urbanization process and from it evolves social and economic support

systems which allow urban dwellers to compete for the services and

goods of the city, for its jobs and its markets. At the core of the

process are women.

The literature on urban women ranges from ethnological

neighborhood monographs to nationwide analyses of their labor force

participation to essays on their general conditions around the world.

The material selected for this paper was chosen on the basis of its

relevance for economic development policy and programs. As a back-

ground for discussion, a sampling of demographic data is presented

regarding the numbers of women in cities and the numbers of female

heads of household. The discussion of the socioeconomic conditions

of women in the cities is based on available data regarding the

process of urbanization, working conditions, income levels and formal

and informal social and economic support systems.







STATUS OF WOMEN, URBANIZATION AND IMPLICATIONS FOR DEVELOPMENT

Traditional Status

The traditional status and power of women varies from culture

to culture and from area to area. Despite the anthropological examples

of societies where women had or have considerable status and power,

in the emerging social and cultural patterns of today, .there are few

places where they compete on equal terms economically or socially with

men. Even in agrarian societies which require closer cooperation

between men and women, it has been the rare society where men and

women perceived themselves as having equal or overlapping rights and

obligations, economic or social.

In tropical Africa, the role played by women is one of the most

ambiguous in the world. Traditionally, she had a certain amount of

autonomy, especially in polygamous systems because she was in fact

head of her own household and responsible for her own children. She

had land to till and she took part in the construction and maintenance

of her house. Furthermore, as a rule she had trade items and sometimes

cash which she generated herself to provide additional goods and service

which she did not produce. Cash cropping for export in West Africa,

which began at the end of the last century, did not include the women's

agricultural activities or trading networks, with the result that

while the cities and seaports drew men, the women were left the agricul-

tural and/or rural markets and intracountry trading. The reasons for the

poor economic position of many African women relative to men today does

not appear to be inherent in culture but rather is a result of modern

commerce.


- 5 -








In many Muslim cultures,particularly where female seclusion

is the ideal, the move to the city for women in many instances confines

them still further. Whereas before migration she was an active

member of the economic life of the rural community, in the city she is

virtually economically inactive and in some places does not even do

the family marketing. And, ironically, because a secluded woman is

a sign of status for many, as families prosper, women in many instances

are still further secluded (Youssef-l).

Southeast Asian women, because of a variety of culturally and

socially recognized norms appear to have a substantial amount of power

over their own economic well-being and within the family. There is

some evidence that in Indonesia women had greater power historically

and that it declined somewhat during the colonial era, to be regenerated

in the struggle for independence and then more recently to have fallen

into decline (Vreede). However, at the household, extended family and

neighborhood levels, the organization of women, and their group and

personal strength have given them a social mobility and economic inde-

pendence which is unmatched perhaps in any other part of the world.

Women in Indonesia have historically played important roles
in earning money for family support--through participation
in agriculture, in marketing, in the production of handi-
crafts, and in the service sector. In this respect, Indo-
nesia is different from other Asian societies with a
largely Muslim population, such as Pakistan and Bangladesh,
where women are discouraged from activity outside the home,
but resembles other Asian societies where Islam does not
play an important role (Papenak, et al).

The same holds for the Philippines. There is no need to liberate

the Filipino woman. She has always been so. (Reining, et al).


- 6 -








Extrapolating from traditional statuses and roles of women in the

different regions of the world, it is quite apparent that the obstacles

to women's more equitable participation, politically and economically,

will vary from region to region. One can state relatively confidently,

that women are least likely to be allowed to participate in their own

destiny in the countries stretching from north Africa to the eastern

boundary of Pakistan (Youssef-l,Van Dusen). They stand a slightly better

chance in Hindu and Christian or Buddhist India, and as a force are a

potential to be reckoned with in southeast Asia (Geertz, Papenak). In

Latin America women are already accepted in the labor force, especially

for certain types of work where their skills are considered superior to

men, and in Africa, despite their ambiguous position as entrepreneurs they

are very visible and likely to become more so.

Despite the differential status of women around the world, however

it must be remembered that in many parts of the world such as Indonesia

and the Philippines there is nothing inherent in the individual cultures

themselves to prevent women from becoming more active participants in the

economic life of their countries. This is especially so among poor women.

There is sufficient evidence that the strength and vitality of urban

women, even if poor by conventional standards, make them ideal clients

for sensitively planned and implemented programs.

Current Political and Economic Status

The realities of the economic and political position of women

of developing countries and the lack of leverage among the poor preclude

simple solutions for alleviating the economic conditions of poor women.


- 7 -









Political and economic status go hand in hand, and male-oriented govern-

ments are not likely to change in the immediate future. Among educated

and more affluent women their formal organization and mobilization for

political purposes may lead eventually to recognition at the national

level. However, such processes are not likely to affect poor women at

least for some time to come. Despite universal suffrage and the implied

political equality between the sexes granted by the constitutions of

most developing countries and the general espousal of equal access to

education, the ignorance of poor constituents and limited national resources

preclude the general application of such precepts.

In light of the Collver-Langlois thesis relating the economic

status of women and family structure to the degree of economic development,

it is ironic that the constitutions of most developing nations, many of

them with feudal economic and political systems, are modelled on consti-

tutions of industrial countries. Such constitutions include women's

suffrage which was usually granted in the West only after industrialization

was well established.

The gap between the constitutional ideal and the economic and social

reality in many areas in developing countries reflects the fact that life

at the local level for many citizens operates much as it always has and

for many people their lives are not directly affected by government

programs and policies. From this they derive a certain local economic

and political autonomy. Therein may lie the potential for effective

appropriate technologies and small-scale locally based development


- 8 -








programs. Local systems and institutions continually adapt to meet

local needs, and the absence of a political voice at the national

level rarely affects such processes. Therefore, while political power

may indeed be necessary for middle and upper class women to become

economically more independent, meeting the basic economic needs of poor

urban women need not depend upon their acquiring the same power.

ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL CONDITIONS OF POOR URBAN WOMEN

Labor Force Participation

Data on labor force participation rates of women around the

world, their income levels, and unemployment rates are abundant,

uneven and at times unreliable. The following does not pretend to

be an analysis. Rather it is a sampling of the data; as such and

despite its unevenness, it provides a general picture of the position

of women in the formal and informal labor sectors of the developing

countries.

While women have a high rate of agricultural labor force

participation in the developing countries, their participation in

the modern sector labor force is very low compared to men.* This

can be attributed to a variety of reasons including labor surpluses

*Women's "economic activity" and its contribution to the maintenance
of the labor force is quite another issue. Elizabeth Jelin writes
"What is beyond discussion is that housework plays a vital role in
the maintenance and reproduction of the labour force, and therefore
has to be taken into consideration when analyzing the total picture
of social production" (Jelin-2). She has proposed that one way to
go about measuring the value of women's work in economic terms, is to
add up the total income of a household and then to divide it by the
number of active adult members of the household. This would provide
some measurement of the real value of "women's work". Eva Mueller
has proposed a series of questions to be asked in household surveys,
many of them related to time studies, in order to gain a better under-
standing of the contributions of women.


- 9 -








in many parts of the world, the tendency for men to be more "urbanized"

than women and have more skills, perceived "suitability" of men for

certain kinds of jobs, the limitations on women as a result of their

domestic and reproductive roles, and sex discrimination. "In the

scramble for urban jobs, employers tend to fill jobs by ranking

applicants as follows: educated (literate) men, uneducated men, educated

women, uneducated women" (Nassau).

In many instances, where minimum wage laws and such benefits

as childcare and maternity leave have been introduced, women as

workers have been perceived by potential employers as an economic

liability. "In order to avoid their legal obligations, many firms

simply fire women when they marry or when they become pregnant"

(Merrick and Schmink).

Leaving such operative forces aside, Collver and Langlois have

related women's labor force participation to levels of economic development

and to social factors such as marriage and childbearing patterns and have

distinguished four types of societies which illustrate the relationships.

According to this model, industrial countries are characterized by a

high degree of female labor force participation associated with diminished

household responsibilities, and the desire for a higher standard of living

and high wages. Social values permit employment while married but limit

work after childbirth. In the second instance, best illustrated by

South American societies, women are permitted or encouraged to work until

marriage, and indeed such women often go to the city to work as domestics.

In the third, illustrated by Caribbean systems, women are often heads of

household, there is a high degree of common-law or casual unions between


- 10 -








men and women, a high degree of illegitimacy, and women are of necessity

economically active. The fourth category is the standard Muslim society

where there is early marriage, early childbirth, female seclusion and

a very low degree of participation in the industrial or commercial labor

force.

However, in spite of the differences in the status of women in

the various regions of the world and in spite of the level of economic

development, in no place do the labor force participation rates of women

in the formal sector approach those of men, although it may be doing so

among young people in Thailand (Pongasapich).

African Women in the Labor Force

In Sub-Saharan African cities, market activity is the most important

source of income for most working women. In the formal sector it is esti-

mated that in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Ghana, women's share of employment

is less than 15 percent (Gugler and Flanagan). In Nairobi 16 percent of

those unemployed and seeking work are males and 30 percent are females (ILO).

In Botswana "52 percent of the female peri-urban work force are unemployed,

are actively seeking work but unable to find it. Only 14 percent of the

male work force is unemployed" (Nassau).

Close to a third of all women economically active outside agriculture

in Liberia and close to half in Sierra Leone, Ghana and Nigeria are self-

employed traders. "In Ghana women in trade hold more than nine-tenths of

the positions, numbering over 300,000 in a predominantly rural population

of less than nine million in 1970" (Gugler and Flanagan). Among Yoruba

women of Nigeria it is estimated that two thirds are in trade (Awosika).


- 11 -









In Ghana the streets and market place are dominated by women, and

retail market and modern sector shops, industry and offices dominated by

men (Van Allen). Despite the peripheral economic status of market women,

trading has become a way of life.
Trading as an occupation for the urban woman is very
attractive because of her need towork to provide at
least a supplement to the husband's contribution to the
family, and the lack of other opportunities in the city
for an uneducated woman. Estimates are that 65 percent
to 90 percent of the women traders are illiterate (North, et al).

Market activities for West African women are so much a part of

their lives that they do not perceive of such activities as an occupation

(North et al). Their income from market activities is often the sole

income for women and their children. It is common for family members or

husbands to give women the initial capital, often in very small amounts,

to set themselves up with the understanding that their profits will be

used to support themselves and their children.

In some instances these women have been able to organize themselves

into associations for both cooperative buying and to regulate prices. They

have been powerful enough to gain the attention of political leadership

in Ghana (North). However, attempts of market women to organize in Ibadan

met with little success because of factionalism among the women themselves,

and in the Ivory Coast they are not organized to any effective extent

(Lewis).
The most obvious arena through which female migrants
(in Africa) have contributed to change is the world of
the marketplace. They have been responsible for most
of the small-scale distribution of the overseas manu-
factured goods imported into some parts of West Africa.
They have also been instrumental in moving commodities
from one West African country to another, thereby making
food stuffs, textiles, housewares, medicinals, etc.,
available to cor-sumers who would not otherwise have access


- 12 -








to them. In many instances, female commercial migrants
have also helped to introduce new types of machinery,
for example, pepper-grinding machines and flour mills,
and to promote new techniques for getting tasks
accomplished (Sudarkasa).

While some African market women have exhibited business

acumen, most of them deal in very small quantities with very low

profit margins and barely eke out enough to feed themselves and

their children. In Ghana, though "a few market women do very well indeed ...

the majority of the traders make a substandard income from their efforts"

(North et al). In the Lagos market over 85 percent had less than N100 at

the start of their business (N = $2.50), and annual net incomes were very

low (Awosika).

Formal sector employment in Africa is extremely limited in

relation to the labor market and men get the jobs that are available.

Unless and until women are given access to the modern sector and the

sector is expanded considerably, women are likely to remain in the

informal trading sector.

Women in the Labor Force in Latin America

There have been rapid changes in the distribution of both men

and women in Latin America working in agriculture, industry and ser-

vices in the 20 years between 1950 and 1970. About one fifth of the

workers in Latin America are in industry compared to industrial

countries where it is twice that. In 1970, 47.57 percent of the men

and 15.70 percent of the women in the labor force were in agriculture.

Industry accounted for 23.13 percent of working men, and 17.06 of the

women. By far the highest rate for women was in the service sector

which accounted for 67.24 percent of all working women compared to


- 13 -








29.30 percent of working men. Despite the rapid increase in non-

agricultural jobs, the number of jobs for available workers is

woefully inadequate, and this is reflected in the underutilization of

labor (IDB).

In Jamaica, 40 percent of females who head households
work as compared to only 32 percent of all women ...
Among all female heads of households (including those
who work and do not work) 20 percent are in sales and
services. Males are primarily located in the production/
labor sector (36 percent); only 5 percent of all female
heads are located in this sector. As anticipated, women
heads of household are not represented in the more lucra-
tive sectors of the economy but continue to find employ-
ment in marginal occupations. Only 6 percent of these
women are found in the white collar sector, i.e., cleri-
cal and professional/administrative jobs, while twice
as many men are found in these types of employment (Buvinic,
et al).

Furthermore, in the Commonwealth Caribbean, while 54 percent of male heads

of household earn more than $1000 a year, only 13 percent of women heads

of household do so, a further indication of the link between poverty and

families headed by women (Buvinic et al). (For a more in-depth analysis

of the relationship between poverty and family structure, see Anna

Sant'Anna, "Income Distribution and the Economy of the Urban Household:

The Case of Belo-Horizonte," World Bank Working paper 237, June 1976).

Despite the rapid expansion of industry in Mexico City women

are unable to find places in the modern sector. As mechanization advances

in Mexico, employment goes predominantly to men, occupational segregation

increases with development, and women's participation in formal employment

declines with age while it increases in informal activities (Arizpe). With

modernization the participation rates of women in the labor force in

Mexico has actually decreased, this despite the fact that many women

who are unemployed and looking for a job are often better qualified


- 14 -








educationally than male counterparts. (In much of Latin America,

even among the poorer communities, women have usually attended school

longer than men.)

Because they tend to be in the informal sector, women's economic

activity is under-reported in Mexico, where according to formal labor

statistics 79.9 percent of the women appear as economically inactive,

"a totally inaccurate figure, to say the least" (Arizpe).

In Guatemala "male workers increased their participation in the

industrial sector (1.4 in 1950, 12.5 in 1964, and 17.5 in 1973). By

contrast, the proportion of women workers in this sector declined from

28.1 percent in 1950 to 21.7 percent in 1973. The female loss was parti-

cularly acute in crafts and productive process work" (Youssef and Buvinic).

Domestic servants are the largest single component of the non-

formal labor sector for urban women in Latin America. According to Jelin,

rural women are acculturated to urban life as servants starting in lower-

middle class households and working their way up to better households

(Jelin-l). Chaney argues that most domestic servants'are in fact in a

"trap" where their work is perceived as having low status. She says

such work is a deadend for most women.

In 1970, one-third of persons in the urban traditional
sector occupations earned $23 a month or less, while
only 12 percent earned $116 or more. In contrast, a
third of those in the modern sector earned $116 or
more. Women, however, earned less than their male
colleagues in the urban traditional sector. Among
the self-employed, for example, women's incomes averaged
only $30 per month, versus $70 for men. Domestic
servants earned an average of $31 per month, versus
the $50 per month average wage for the sector.


- 15 -








As in many other parts of the world, the alternative to

the formal sector or domestic service for Latin American women is the

market place. Market women of Lima consider their work better than

domestic and factory work and often they have arrived in the market

place after having done both (Bunster).

However, despite this perceived improvement in their status

they still live a precarious economic existence. Many of them depend

upon their children to carry produce from the wholesaler to the market

stand, to care for younger siblings while they work, and to take their

place should they become ill. Women complained that their work and

its location made them ill. There were no buying or credit coopera-

tives, and because they set up their business in poor neighborhoods,

their profit margins were minimal. In addition, though they are a "vital

entrepreneurial resource", they are subject to harassment from market

inspectors and the police (Bunster).

In Latin America, as in many parts of the world, women tend to be

passive and "even when they are employed in specialized occupations outside

the home, they tend to fill the lower ranks, receive lower wages and

have fewer opportunities for training and promotion than men" (de Miranada).

Asian and North African Women in the Labor Force-

Labor force participation of women in the formal sector in

Asia is extremely varied in level and in kind. For instance Pakistan

has one of the lowest rates in the world while the participation of

women in the electronic assembly plants of the Far East is substantial.

However, between these two extremes, in other countries such as Indo-

nesia and Thailand, the picture is not significantly different than for

Latin America and Africa.


- 16 -








In Thailand in 1970 it is estimated that 83.4 percent of women

workers were agricultural. Manufacturing accounted for 3.7 percent, trade

and commerce for 6.0 percent, services for 5.4 percent and other non-

agricultural employment accounted for 1.5 percent (Hanasuta).

Among the women working in manufacturing in Bangkok, it is esti-

mated that 63.57 percent are in textiles, 9.62 are in food or beverage

processing. Among all the women working outside manufacturing 92

percent are in retail trade (Chitranukroh). There is generally a high

participation rate for Thai women in the labor sector compared to other

countries, and there is some indication that young women today have the

same opportunity as young men at certain levels.

At lower levels females are not being deprived of opportu-
nities for work and opportunities for self-improvement
and social mobility. There are opportunities to enter
into the prestigious job category at the lowest level
which economically speaking is at the transitional stage
where lower and middle economic groups meet (Pongsapich).

These jobs are above those of factory workers, construction laborers,

restaurant workers, and bus ticket collectors and below teachers,

government workers, nurses and bank workers. They include mechanics,

carpenters, welders, smiths, barbers, hairdressers, tailors and

dressmakers.

In Indonesia it is estimated that 33 percent of Indonesian

women participate in the labor force (Milone). This is considered low

for Asia but high for a Muslim country. Thirty percent of, the women in

the labor force are in manufacturing, trade and services and another 20

percent of women are listed as "unpaid family workers." Among all the

women working outside agriculture, 35 percent are in sales (usually in

small quantities oF food and beverages) and the very poor are rag pickers.


- 17 -








According to a 1975 report on the status of women in India,

their labor force participation rate has declined.

The percentage of women in the total labour force came
down from 33.44 percent in 1911 to 31.53 percent in
1961 and to 17.35 percent in 1971. The percentage
of female workers to the total female population
declined from 33.73 percent in 1911 to 27.96 percent
in 1961 and 11.86 percent in 1971. According to the
1971 census, there were 31 million workers, 28 million
in rural areas and only 3 million in urban areas ...
only 6 percent is engaged in the organized sector of
the economy, and the rest are in unorganized, non-
agricultural occupations (Indian Council).

Women form 7 percent of the labor force in urban areas.

In India the informal labor sector accounts for 41 to 49 percent

of the female labor force while only 15 to 17 percent of the males are in

this sector (Mazumdar).

Like India,.Pakistan has one of the lowest female participation

rates in the world, with 8.1 percent of females 10 and over actively

involved in the labor force, compared to 78.7 percent for males. Although

80 percent of all rural women are involved in agricultural work, in the

cities only the more educated women were in the labor force and then

usually in teaching or other education-related activities which are some

of the few approved occupations for women (Helbock).

In Morocco, of the total population of divorced men and women

who are job seekers, 63 percent are women; in urban areas, 70 percent of

them are women (Youssef and Buvinic).

An unpublished World Bank report estimates that in one poor

neighborhood in Rabat unemployment among women (which means women looking

for work and unable to find it) was 50 percent while only 15 percent for

men. In another neighborhood the unemployed included slightly more


- 18 -








unemployed women household heads than unemployed males. If one

assumes that there are many more male heads of household in any given

neighborhood, that is a very high unemployment rate for women indeed.

In summary, the data from Asia are varied and reflect the

combined factors of traditional status of women and the level of

industrailization and urbanization in the areas for which data are

available. For instance, the opportunities of young Thai women to.

enter the formal sector in low intermediate jobs are not available

to many women in the Near East and North Africa and more nearly

resemble Latin America and the Far East. These patterns are obviously

related not only to the status of women but also to the degree of

industralization or urbanization of the countries in which they

work and to the number of jobs available.

Women and the Informal Sector

When all is said and done about women in the labor force,

despite incomplete and sometimes inaccurate data, the universal

picture that emerges is one in which women make up a small percentage

of workers in the modern sector.

Indeed, there has been a decline in labor force participation

rates of women in some parts of the world. This decline is tied to

the process of economic development. Early industries in many

developing countries consisted of the processing of raw materials.

Such industries as sugar cane processing or textile weaving were

considered as extensions of craft industries, though removed from

the home, and women were prime participants in many such industries.

However, with the increased sophistication and capitalization of industry,


- 1 -










participation rates for women in many places have declined. At the

same time where assembly line work of a delicate nature is available,

such as in electronics manufacturing, women are often considered the

more skilled workers and are in demand. Such work is in fact repet-

itive and monotonous. It is not known whether such jobs are women's

because women really perform them better or because men reject such

work.

Despite low participation in the formal sector, however, in

virtually all cities of the world a substantial number, if not the

majority, of poor women are economically active. This economic activ-

ity is such that it is overlooked in formal estimates of their labor

force participation. Furthermore, the work that they do to sustain

family and household is not counted as "work" in such estimates

(Jelin-2, Mueller).

The world of work is divided between the "respective domains of

the sexes" and the woman's proper domain excludes her from decision

making and from inclusion in modern economic activity (Chaney and Schmink).

In small industries, where she is often found, such industries rarely

are the capital intensive kind which are likely to increase her productivity

and thus her wages.

Because women are excluded for the most part from employment in

capital intensive industries and in most instances, have little access

to the education skills needed to command work in the modern 'sector,

their economic activities have tended to be in the informal or service

sector, including domestic services, street vending, and casual manual

labor.


- 20 -









There is no doubt that a larger percentage of low income

earners are in theinformal sector and the majority of economically

active women in all countries are in this sector. It is estimated

that 46 percent of those in theinformal sector in Lima are women,

and that their average income is about $30 compared to $70 for men

(which was near to the average earnings of blue-collar workers in

the formal sector)(Mazumdar).

In Brazil among self-employed males income distribution is

roughly the same as for wage earners, but above a certain level of

income a larger proportion of self-employed are found in higher

earning groups. However, the distribution of earnings of self-

employed females lies below that of female wage earners (Mazumdar).

Many of the workers in the informal sector would appear to be secondary

workers in families whose heads have jobs in the formal sector,

these secondary workers being often females or young people (Mazumdar).

The issue of "secondary workers" in industrial and developing

countries, including the definition of the term, is cloudy. With

the increasing number of female headed households where a woman is

the primary or sole breadwinner, her earnings are not necessarily

secondary or supplementary. Papanek claims furthermore that the

sometimes false perception of women as secondary workers affects

their wages:

The widespread assumption that women's earnings 'are
simply supplementary to those of male household mem-
bers is a very significant element in determining
women's wages and the access of women to specific kinds
of employment and promotion. According to this idea,
women are willing to work for lower wages than men,
because both their actual financial needs and their
opportunity costs (based on alternative uses of their


- 21 -








time) are lower than those of men. This clearly
results in lower labor costs in occupations where
the labor force is entirely female. It is unlikely
that this economic reality will be easily. challenged
by the recognition that, in fact, a large proportion
of women in the labor force of many countries are heads
of households or are independently supporting children
in households where men are also present.

In summary, in the developing countries the similarity of

responses among poor women to limited access to the formal labor

sector is striking. With a few exceptions, such women earn cash

incomes from marketing, domestic service, manual labor and cottage

industries. When they do work in the formal sector such work tends

to be limited to a few specialized "women's" industries and is labor

intensive, low-paying and unskilled.

Informal Urban Support Systems

The literature is replete with descriptions of the social and

economic support systems of women in the poor neighborhoods of Beirut,

Mexico City, Delhi, Benares, Cairo, and Lagos (Joseph, Lomnitz, Singh,

Chatterjee, Rugh, Little). The picture that emerges is the substitution

of neighbors and other migrated relatives in the neighborhood for

services once provided by integrated and homogeneous rural systems. There

is an exchange of goods and services which is informal but which parallels

economic activity. The men come and go from the neighborhood in search

of work, but the women maintain the social and economic fabric of the

neighborhood. They continue the domestic services associated with

household maintenance and they exchange childcare, small quantities of

food, and other goods and services. In a shantytown in Mexico the networks

are comprised of nuclear families where "the active participation of men


- 22 -









is often overshadowed by the role of women in the daily reciprocity of

goods and services which knits a network together" (Lomnitz).

In Africa rural women traditionally had their own sphere of

interaction. "Men and women accommodated each other in groups. Among

illiterate and semiliterate women, this solidarity has been intensi-

fied in the urban setting ... It is urbanization which, by providing

new social structures, brings women together and facilitates their

meeting and making common cause despite ethnic, tribal and other

sectional differences" (Little).

In instances where women work away from home as street vendors,

as domestics, as sweepers, or in factories, they depend upon family

members, often older children or grandmothers, and neighbors to care

for their small children (Bunster). When asked what happened to

her children during the day a Delhi sweeper woman said "They are in

the care of God" (Singh). Many women in the market places of the

world have their children with them.
For many women income earning activities are performed in the

home or in the neighborhood not far from home. If she needs extra

cash she prepares extra food and sells it from a stand, or she brews

beer in the backyard and sells it (often encountering difficulty

with the law if she is doing so without a license). In this way

she integrates both her household responsibilities and her.cash

earning activities.

In some instances women establish themselves commercially with-

in the neighborhood which keeps them further tied to it. In one

area of Beirut, women spent three quarters of their waking hours in


- 23 -








their apartments and the streets of the immediate neighborhood (Joseph).

In Lagos many women set up their small street stands in the neighbor-

hood. "Gaining a known clientele ... and finding middlemen-creditors

are achievements which tend to stabilize residence, especially for

women" (Gugler and Flanagan).

In Brasilia the economic activities of women have, at times,

overridden other considerations. "Women also find in domestic

services and in small business, especially dressmaking, that they

can increase their income and improve their position vis-a-vis their

husbands, and in several cases have successfully resisted the migra-

tory urges of their spouses" (Epstein).

In addition to the neighborhood or relatives who tend to

function as an interacting group in support of each other, there are

a variety of other more formalized associations. Some of them are

religious, some of them social, some economic, and some are occupational.

There are market women's associations in Africa, a women's social

organization which acts as liaison between the neighborhood and

political headquarters in Paramaribo (Brana-Shute). Rotating

credit associations among men and women exist around the world

whereby each contributes a fixed amount periodically. At each

collection one person takes the whole pot. The money may be used

for business capital or for household goods or celebrations. Memberships
in such associations tend to increase with socioeconomic status (Barnes

and Peil).

As with most social analysis of traditional or emerging societies,

it is difficult to separate out social from economic activities and


-'24 -








in the case of women's groups it is still more difficult because they

tend to retain traditional institutions longer. Lewis, writing of the

Ivory Coast, says that "Capital resources available to a woman increase

her well-being when they are translated into denser social ties--into

social being." She goes on to say that salaried women and petty traders

have more associational ties than inactive women and students. However,

in Mexico City among poor women, "The relationship between women in net-

works is not particularly emotional; rather it is utilitarian and confines

itself to the exchange of information and the mutual sequence of borrow-

ings and favors" (Lomnitz).

The positive relationship between economic status and membership

in clubs and associations is illustrated by the fact that in Africa as a

woman's commercial status improves she is more likely to be married and

also she is more likely to have more formalized associations (Lewis).

Conversely the organization of poor women is very informal and based on

mutual trust and friendship.

Human support networks, of course, exist everywhere--among rich

and poor, in city and countryside, in industrial countries and in develop-

ing countries. The difference between such support systems is one of

degree rather than kind with the greatest degree of difference between

the rich (where people "buy" some services) and the poor where they are
obtained through reciprocity. Despite the prevalence of traditional

informal and formal networks, it must be kept in mind that'they provide

support only up to a certain point. Furthermore, formalized but

traditional women's organizations are usually found among the relatively


- 25 -








affluent. Despite the fact that much attention has been devoted to

the potential of such organizations for development purposes, it is

unlikely that such an approach would have much of an impact on very

poor women unless steps are'taken to organize them first.

Caveats, Contradictions, and Questions

Descriptions of the conditions of poor urban women in Asia,

Africa and Latin America lead to several valid generalizations. At

the same time they also contain contradictions.
For instance, the statement that the urban poor tend to manifest

a high degree of family breakdown and social dysfunction is rebuted

byJanice Perlman who found in a Rio de Janeiro favella that "90 percent

of those we interviewed are members of a nuclear family ... About 80

percent headed by males, and two-thirds of the residents are married

or in 'stable' common-law unions." This may be a peri-urban area

which is more established or which has a higher economic base than

others. It is quite possible that the barrios, favellas, bustees, and

bidonvilles of the world could be put on a scale which would indicate

the level of economic and social stability of each in relation to the

other. And one could therefore assume that some of these settlements
are closer to the perceived ideal neighborhood than others, and that

therefore the degree or kind of development needs will vary from

squatter area to squatter area.

In the Middle East women have little control over the fruits of

their labor (Safa) but in a Rio de Janeiro squatter settlement one woman

had sufficient clout in defending her neighborhood-based business that

she could dissuade her husband from moving (Epstein).


- 26 -








Even speaking of women in the Middle East it is observed that

at the household level the woman has more powerthan is generally

believed. "Ironically, there are indications from studies of both

village and urban subcultures that women often have more authority

within their own households than they are supposed to have according

to explicit norms" (Gulick).

Naturally each community will have the values which go with its

particular economic level. Of significance for development planners

is the fact that low economic status does not permit the observance

of many of the values of the greater society. "Social segregation

(between the sexes) in the village is clearly marked and the partici-

pation of women in farming is due to dire necessity and is not an

indication of any relaxation of segregation principles" (Gulick).

The same can, of course be said for the cities.

In an Indian sweeper community, where high caste values are

hardly likely to be the norm in any case, the women controlled the

money and the men shared household tasks. Having contributed

substantially to the family income, the women doled it out as necessary.

"It appears that in an environment where identical opportunities for

paid labor are open both to men and women and the network is sufficiently

close-knit for neighbors to supervise children during the day, a joint

pattern of conjugal division of labor emerges" (Chatterjee).

In Botswana, Adrienne Nassau found that

Men interviewed in Botswana reported that women like to
leave all decision-making to their husbands, while women
indicated that in most families decisions are joint.
In addition, community leadership responsibilities are often
vested in women--an unusual feature in a society which is
nominally male dominated.


- 27 -









Another contradiction which appears in an analysis of the

literature on women in the cities is that, despite their continuing

traditional roles, there is "some evidence that women tend to be quicker

than men to embrace innovations that promise to improve their position"

(Guglerand Flanagan). Women who have been left behind in the country-

side tend to have more conservative and fixed ideas. However, once the

women leave the countryside, especially in West Africa, the reverse

seems to be the rule. Once the women get a taste of urban life, they

can be far less traditional than men. A survey in Ghana among students

showed that the boys wanted to retain the old polygamous marriage system,

while the girls wanted a nuclear family and monogamy based on the Western

model (Cohen). In Peru, urban women as well as men realized the value of

literacy for city living (de Sagasti).

No quantitative data were readily available to demonstrate female

innovativeness relative to men, but the ability of some African market

women to capitalize on market activities, accrue assets and reinvest in

business is relatively well known. This, in fact, could be rooted in the

woman's responsibilities as family provider and the fact that responsi-

bilities often become more acute in the cities. Often the earnings of

men are spent on memberships in clubs or societies or to buy chiefdoms.

The accumulation of cash, therefore, has different significance for men

and women although both sexes use it to further or intensify their

respective traditional statuses. The woman's more economic view of

the world is reflected in some of the literature on attitudes toward

family planning. Although children have been important for women to achieve

status, very often the reasons that they gave for wanting many was economic


- 28 -








security in old age. Children are seen by both men and women as socially

and economically necessary, but the women's views lean more toward

economic necessity (Furst).

In some instances, the business activities of women and their

ability to take advantage of resources has come to light in programs

that were not set up for women specifically. For example, in El Salvador

it was found that 85 percent of the borrowers in a small credit coopera-

tive were women and that the default rate was only 3 percent (Personal

communication, Donna Haldane, The World Bank).

It has been suggested that women's strength derives from their

status at the periphery or outside the formal economic and political

structure and that attempts to provide a place for them in the formal

system might undermine what they already have (Personal communication,

Michaela Walsh, Office of Technology Assessment). Whether this is so

or not must await further evidence.

A survey in Ghana conducted by a World Bank team found that

women were reluctant to talk about their business and credit needs.

This reluctance may stem from a suspicion that such information was

being gathered to curtail their activities.

The impressionistic view of women's business acumen and

their reluctance to make their needs known has several implications

for programs aimed at this particular segment of any society.

PAST AND CURRENT WOMEN'S PROGRAMS

In the past public and private programs to help women

usually focused on them as wives and mothers. These programs

addressed fertility, food preparation, or motherhood, and included

family planning, nutrition, health education and other family services.


- 29 -








When programs were developed to help women earn cash (such as

production cooperatives), the products were usually extensions of

homemaking and/or agricultural skills including needlework, weaving,

other handicrafts or agricultural produce.

Recently there have been attempts to organize women into consumer

and credit cooperatives, especially in Latin America. In India, a small

credit cooperative has been organized with some success in Ahmadabad among

5,000 small entrepreneurial women such as street vendors, cart pullers,

"junk smiths", and garment makers. This cooperative lends money in small

amounts ranging from Rs. 250 to Rs. 1000, and the cost of a membership

share is Rs. 10 (U.S. $1 = Rs. 8).

An AID-sponsored survey of women in Asia and Latin America

regarding their childcare needs is underway. Not surprisingly,

tentative findings suggest that the needs for such care are greater

in the city. Mobile creches have been organized in India to care

for children left by the roadside at construction sites while their

mothers work as manual laborers. The system has expanded to include

nursery schools, health services, and the training of childcare and

teaching staff (Mahadevan).

More recently, international lending agencies have begun to

incorporate "women's components" into comprehensive urban projects.

These include skills training centers and childcare centers for the

children of trainees. In principle women have access to building sites

for houses on an equal footing with men; at times they have had

difficulty meeting the building schedule set by such programs

because they lack both workers and credit to construct their houses

within the required time period.


- 30 -








Because innovative programs which address the specific eco-

nomic and social needs of women in the urban area are so recent,

there has been little, if any, opportunity until recently to assess

the effects of such programs. At this writing the Population Council

is preparing a report which reviews and assesses some urban women's

projects and approaches to gathering information as a basis for

urban service program design. The activities under review include

ten or more health, credit and childcare programs in India, transporta-

tion and day care programs in Latin America, and credit programs for

women in Nicaragua and El Salvador. The report will incorporate the

proceedings of a seminar on urban women held March 5-23, 1979 at the

East-West Population Center. The seminar focused on such issues as

female migration, female adjustment/adaptation to urban life, labor

force issues, social mobility, urban planning for women, research

methods for urban women studies, and policies and strategies for urban

development efforts. This report will be issued some time in the

summer of 1979.

RECOMMENDATIONS

General Guidelines

In development programs for women, it must be kept in mind that

they contribute substantially to the maintenance of their families

in economic terms and to the national economy. Their greatest need

is for cash incomes and, among business women, access to capital

and credit. At the same time they are responsible for the well-being

of their families. Ideally urban programs should be designed to assist

women in their dual roles.


- 31 -








In designing programs which will affect women positively,

care should be taken to ensure that the institutions and activities

upon which women depend are not eliminated or changed in ways which

will deprive them of already scarce resources.

National and local policies should be scrutinized in order to

assure that they do not inadvertently discriminate against women. For

instance, police harassment of petty traders without licenses in

some parts of the world affects women more than men because women

tend to predominate in these activities.

Regulations regarding title to property and land are very

important in urban sites and services programs. It is not altogether

clear whether in all parts of the world women have equal access under

the law to such sites.

Zoning laws in residential neighborhoods which bar economic

activity -- such as cottage industries or vending -- can have an

adverse effect on women who depend on such activities for their

livelihood.

Minimum wage laws, maternity benefits and other legislated

social programs often act as inhibitors to the employment of women.

Care should be taken in the development of industry that women are

not displaced from their traditional roles in such work and that

regulations to improve their working lives do not inadvertently

create further hardships.

The needs of particular groups of women will often be

determined by their ages or by their particular stage in life --

whether they are single, have children, have infants, or have grown


- 32 -








children. The female age structure of urban communities can help

determine needs -- for education, job training, or family welfare.

Young single women may need skills training; young mothers childcare

centers and skills training; and older women entrepreneurs, credit

services. Obviously programs should be based on perceived needs and

number of clients.

Projects for the poorest women should be of an "appropriate"

nature. That is to say, for those women whose lives revolve around

home and household where support needs are relatively basic, programs

need not be excessively expensive or highly sophisticated and could

be organized and supported locally.

Wherever possible, women themselves should participate in the

design, development and implementation of programs.

Women's organizations, both those of the established upper income

women and those at the neighborhood level, should be enlisted in setting

up programs.

Programs to Improve the Economic Status of Women
Evidence from the literature and from conversations with develop-

ment professionals leads to the conclusion that the single most important

development activity likely to benefit the urban poor, both men and women,

is the expansion of the small business sector and of the job market. Because

of the low absorptive capacity of industry relative to the available

labor force in most developing countries and because women have access to

jobs usually only after men, any expansion of the job market would benefit

both men and women.


- 33 -










In those industries, formal or informal, where women tend to

be concentrated, efforts should be made to adjust the capital/

labor ratio so that as many jobs as possible are created with

a given amount of capital. For instance it was found in El

Salvador that for each job in one textile plant the working

capital outlay per job was $2,200, and, in one informal

sector industry, permanent jobs (of 15 years or more) could

be created for as little as $100 to $200 (Personal communication,

Donna Haldane, World Bank).

Where women are owners of small businesses such as tailoring

or food processing, efforts should be made to increase the

productivity of these women (if the market will bear it)

through the use of small capital goods such as sewing machines

or small and easy to operate food processing mills and presses.

For the makers and sellers of handicrafts or other cottage

produced products*, such as dyed cloth, the intro-

duction of new techniques for upgrading the product and more

efficient production and marketing should be considered.

Where possible, attempts should be made to organize individual

women entrepreneurs into production, marketing and credit

organizations.




*By this is not meant souvenirs or other tourist items (although they are
not necessarily ruled out), but locally needed and used implements and
products.


- 34 -








Women should be encouraged to participate in trades not

normally thought of as "female" in either developing or

industrial countries. For instance, women in Botswana felt

that service station attendants should be men (Personal com-

munication, Adrienne Nassau, World Bank). Furthermore,

although these same women in the rural areas would aid in
the construction and finishing of houses, they did not feel

it fitting to build houses in town. (Lest construction work

be thought of as male universally, it must be remembered

that women are the main carriers of building materials on

construction sites in northern India.)

The development of such programs as recommended above must be

accompanied,of course,by further research and inquiry. For instance,

for each project it will be necessary to learn what are women's industries

and where are they at the moment. How many women work in such occupations?

Are they already organized? If there is a plant or factory setting, how

efficient is plant management? What might be the effects of upgrading

or expansion of the plant? Will men get the jobs if the technology is

improved?

In market activities (both improvement of locally made products

and the provision of credit), what is known about the market dynamic and

the effects of such intervention? Is it not possible to saturate a

limited market with so many small entrepreneurs and so many'trade goods

without expanding the number of customers that no one makes a profit? Can

markets for such goods be expanded? As individual projects unfoldycon-

stant monitoring will be necessary to discern the real effects upon women

of such interventions.


- 35 -








Housing and Other Programs for Upgrading Squatter Areas

Care must be taken to assure that women have equal access

to sites and services in comprehensive urban shelter

programs.

In self-help housing programs, where women do not have the

financial or labor resources of men, women should be given

access to credit for building materials and more flexible

construction schedules.

In the overall design of such projects, because of the needs

of many women to work near home, consideration should be given

to the integration of industry and marketing centers with

housing. Local neighborhoods themselves generate considerable

market activity, and the planning of market locations within

such neighborhoods would not only seem logical in the

development of viable and stable neighborhoods, but would

also greatly assist women who operate small businesses.

Where women must leave the neighborhoods for industrial or

other work sites, a system of transportation should be an

integral part of such planning.

Where an industrial component is built into a comprehensive urban

plan it would be logical to include also a skills training

program for women so that they could qualify for work in

that particular industry. It is assumed that skills training

programs are not provided in a labor market vacuum, and such

training would be a subcomponent of the industrial component.


- 36 -







* The household needs of women require that they have access

to goods and services near their homes. In addition to

food, this includes access to water and fuel for cooking

and where necessary heating.

Housing design should include space for kitchen gardens

where feasible.

Because of the obvious critical need among poor urban

women they must be listed even though their costs are

often beyond the resources of national governments and

lending agencies. For this reason any attempts to provide

such services must be low cost, appropriate and eventually

self-supporting.

* Each comprehensive urban project should include health

centers and schools for young people of both sexes.

* There is sufficient evidence to demonstrate an inverse

correlation between education and/or employment of women

and fertility and furthermore that contraceptive use is

greatest where employment and family planning services

are available in the same place (Furst). Because cities

are centers of working women they would also be ideal

places for the most effective family planning programs.

* Childcare centers would have at least a two-fold benefit.

They would free women to work outside the home and at the

same time free young girls from domestic responsibilities

so that they can attend school.


- 37 -









Women's centers should be developed and participation

of local women encouraged. Such centers could provide

employment advisory services, literacy training, and

health, nutrition and other family oriented information.*

A report on the special needs of women in the development of

urban housing and slum up-grading projects is currently being prepared

at the Foundation for Cooperative Housing and will be forthcoming

shortly.

Additional Research

Finally, a plea for additional research. For many places in

the world, it is simply not known what proportion of the urban popula-

tion is female or what proportion of households are headed by women and,

therefore, the size of the client population.

Likewise there are few data available on health, nutrition

levels, and other indices of well-being among urban women and their

children. Therefore, it would seem logical to find out what such needs

are for women and their families in the cities, in order to design

programs to address them.

Research on living arrangements within households would seem

appropriate for urban shelter programs. Traditional modes of living

have generated certain house types or arrangements of rooms within houses,


*Unfortunately, the "battle between the sexes" continues in many parts of
the world and women are more likely to be at ease in groups among their
own sex, especially since they share similar responsibilities. While
agreeing that the best programs are probably those which integrate
services for men and women, it must be remembered that women in traditional
societies often find their greatest support among other women. This is
especially so in matters that involve the household, such as health,
nutrition, and childcare. Therefore, women's centers may prove the most
efficient way to mobilize their collective strengths for community programs.


- 33--









especially in societies where the sexes are separated. While recognizing

the limits of economic resources to provide "ideal" dwellings, in large

projects which are designed and built of a piece, it would seem logical

where possible to adapt such design to social as well as environmental

conditions.

The question of the ability of women to work together in business

enterprises is an open one and probably varies from country to country or

region to region. Therefore, before attempting to organize cooperatives

among market or other entrepreneurial women, it would be wise to ascertain

the feasibility of such organization before programs are launched.

Because current projects for women in the cities are new, monitoring

of these projects and of their effects upon women is essential. For instance,
although training may be provided for women, there is nothing to assure

that they will find jobs after they have been trained. Furthermore, there

is no way of telling how the potential economic position of such women

will affect their lives, whether their earnings will cause them to be

exploited by their family or, indeed, whether their improved skills

will not be exploited by industry.

In short, although it is obvious that women in the cities need

assistance, it is not known exactly how much of what kinds of assistance

they are most in need of or how they themselves perceive their own

needs. When introducing innovations, therefore, care must be taken to

assure that such innovations are appropriate for the setting, that they

receive the cooperation of those for whom they are designed, and that they

do in the end benefit women.


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BIBLIOGRAPHY


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