Constructing NGO Selves

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Title: Constructing NGO Selves A Case Study of the Gendered Identity Work of Women in World Vision Colombia
Physical Description: 1 online resource (201 p.)
Language: english
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2008


Subjects / Keywords: america, democracy, gender, identity, latin, movement, ngo, social
Sociology -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Sociology thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation


Abstract: This study utilizes a grounded theory methodology to examine how women in World Vision Colombia (WVC), a non-governmental organization (NGO) in Bogota, Colombia, discursively contend with(in) their NGO over the meaning of gender power relations. Specific attention is paid to how women frame their identities, concerns, and agendas in relation to the NGO. This study uses a view of framing as 'interpretive practice' to offer an active understanding of meaning making work of NGO women. It is demonstrated that WVC women, while tied to the dominant discourse of gender relations of the NGO, contend with this discourse by creating alternative experiences and meanings for themselves. In this way, a dynamic understanding of NGO identity work is illustrated that attends to the interaction between cultural circumstances and social actors? agency. Finally, a discussion is provided regarding the significance of NGO identity work for evaluating the political impact of NGOs with regards to gender discourse in development.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2008.
Local: Adviser: Vera, Hernan.

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Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2008
System ID: UFE0021962:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0021962/00001

Material Information

Title: Constructing NGO Selves A Case Study of the Gendered Identity Work of Women in World Vision Colombia
Physical Description: 1 online resource (201 p.)
Language: english
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2008


Subjects / Keywords: america, democracy, gender, identity, latin, movement, ngo, social
Sociology -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Sociology thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation


Abstract: This study utilizes a grounded theory methodology to examine how women in World Vision Colombia (WVC), a non-governmental organization (NGO) in Bogota, Colombia, discursively contend with(in) their NGO over the meaning of gender power relations. Specific attention is paid to how women frame their identities, concerns, and agendas in relation to the NGO. This study uses a view of framing as 'interpretive practice' to offer an active understanding of meaning making work of NGO women. It is demonstrated that WVC women, while tied to the dominant discourse of gender relations of the NGO, contend with this discourse by creating alternative experiences and meanings for themselves. In this way, a dynamic understanding of NGO identity work is illustrated that attends to the interaction between cultural circumstances and social actors? agency. Finally, a discussion is provided regarding the significance of NGO identity work for evaluating the political impact of NGOs with regards to gender discourse in development.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2008.
Local: Adviser: Vera, Hernan.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2008
System ID: UFE0021962:00001

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2 2008 Steven L. Arxer


3 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to sincerely th ank World Vision Colombia and everyone in the organization for helping to make this project a reality. W ithout your patience (especially with my Spanish) and invaluable practical support, this work would not have taken place. I would also like to offer my deepest gratitude to all interviewees fo r voluntarily sharing their personal views and experiences with me, since their voi ces are the heart and soul of th is project. I would like to thank my committee chair, Dr. Hernn Vera for his unyielding support and reassurance throughout the development, data collection, and writi ng process of this study. I thank the rest of my supervisory committee for their encouragemen t and helpful insights that improved this project at all levels. And finally, I would like to say thank you to my incredible partner, Kelly, who was with me every (difficult) step of the way, as well as to my parents, my uncle, my grandmother, and close friends for providing the t ype of emotional support that only you could. Your collective love made this undertaking possible.


4 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS...............................................................................................................3 TABLE OF CONTENTS.............................................................................................................. ...4 ABSTRACT.....................................................................................................................................7 CHAP TER 1 INTRODUCTION....................................................................................................................8 Specific Aims............................................................................................................................8 Background and Significance...................................................................................................9 What Is an NGO?.............................................................................................................. 9 Growing Significance of NGOs......................................................................................12 Democratization and NGOs............................................................................................14 Latin American NGOs.....................................................................................................15 Case of Gender: Are NGOs an Alternative Power Base for Women?............................ 18 Contribution of Research........................................................................................................20 2 LITERATURE REVIEW.......................................................................................................22 Contention Over the Quiet NGO Revolution...................................................................... 22 Historical Background: Co lonial to Present ........................................................................... 30 Church and the Emergence of the Nonprofit Sector....................................................... 30 Liberal Reforms and Political Polarization..................................................................... 32 National Front Era........................................................................................................... 34 Democratic Opening and the Role of NGOs................................................................... 37 Mainstreaming a Gender Perspective in De velop(m en)t Discourse: The Role of NGOs and the State........................................................................................................................39 NGOs, the Emerging Neoliberal Terrain, and the Gender Policy Turn................................. 47 Neoliberal-NGO Relationship: Some Concerns.....................................................................51 Going Beyond the Doing Good? Question......................................................................... 55 Studying NGOs Today: Investigating NGO Identity Work................................................... 57 Call to NGO Researchers................................................................................................57 NGOs as Discursive Terrains..........................................................................................59 3 THEORETICAL ORIENTATION.........................................................................................63 New Social Movement Perspect ive on NGOs: Rationale for Use ......................................... 63 Framing Perspective: A Brief Overview................................................................................ 65 Framing as Meaning Making Work................................................................................ 66 Meaning Work for Collective Action..............................................................................68 Recent Concern with Framing Analysis.......................................................................... 72


5 Recent Advancement in Fram ing Analysis..................................................................... 73 Framing as Interpretive Practice.............................................................................................74 Self and Collective Nexus: An Interactive Approach .....................................................74 Framing as Interpretive Pract ice: A Theoretical Strategy ............................................... 76 NGOs and Intersections of (Framing) Power......................................................................... 77 Active Interviewing............................................................................................................ ....80 Traditional Interviewing: A Search and Discovery Mission .......................................81 Active Interview.............................................................................................................. 85 Active Interviewing and NGO Identity Work.................................................................87 4 METHOD AND ANALYSIS................................................................................................. 89 Method....................................................................................................................................89 NGO Under Study: World Vision Colombia.................................................................. 89 Sample.............................................................................................................................90 Interviews........................................................................................................................92 Analytic Approach..................................................................................................................93 Presentation of Results...........................................................................................................95 5 CONSTRUCTING SELF THROUGH GENDER TALK...................................................... 97 Gender Perspective as a Narrative Resource.......................................................................... 97 Gender as a Personal Mission................................................................................................. 98 Storying the Self through a Gender Perspective Lens .......................................................... 101 Working for Gender Equality............................................................................................... 105 6 DOING GENDER MAINSTRE AMING AND SELF ......................................................... 115 Interpretive Practi ce of WVC W omen................................................................................. 115 Constructing Professional Selves.........................................................................................116 Doing Self through Awareness Testimonials.......................................................................124 7 CHRISTIANS FOR A GENDER PERSPECTIVE.............................................................. 134 Christian Values as Narrative Resource...............................................................................134 Promoting a Gender Perspective as Being Christian............................................................ 134 Reading the Bible: Finding Gender in My Faith.................................................................. 140 Humble Followers of Jesus: Examining Gendered Selves...................................................143 8 DOING CHRISTIAN VALUES AND SELF...................................................................... 147 Interpretive Practice of WV C W omen as Christians............................................................ 147 Leading by Example: Doing Self Through Christian Leadership........................................ 147 Gender Reflexivity through Prayer....................................................................................... 156 9 DISCUSSION.......................................................................................................................163 Seeing NGO Selves..............................................................................................................165


6 Seeing the Significance of NGO Selves............................................................................... 168 Situating the Doing Good Work of NGO Gender Advocacy........................................... 170 WVC Women and a Relational View of Gender.......................................................... 172 Space for Reflexivity.....................................................................................................174 Revitalizing the Movement Face of NGOs................................................................ 176 Conclusion............................................................................................................................179 APPENDIX A SPANISH INTERVIEW GUIDE......................................................................................... 182 B ENGLISH INTERVIEW GUIDE......................................................................................... 184 LIST OF REFERENCES.............................................................................................................186 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.......................................................................................................201


7 Abstract of Dissertation Pres ented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy CONSTRUCTING NGO SELVES: A CASE STUDY OF THE GENDERED IDENTITY WORK OF WOMEN IN WORLD VISION COLOMBIA By Steven L. Arxer May 2008 Chair: Hernn Vera Major: Sociology This study utilizes a grounded theory me thodology to examine how women in World Vision Colombia (WVC), a non-governmental organization (NGO) in Bogot, Colombia, discursively contend wi th(in) their NGO over the meaning of gender power relations. Specific attention is paid to how women frame their identities, concerns, and agendas in relation to the NGO. This study uses a view of framing as interpretive practice to offer an active understanding of meaning making work of NGO women. It is demonstrated that WVC women, while tied to the dominant discou rse of gender relations of the NGO, contend with this discourse by creating alternative experiences and meani ngs for themselves. In this way, a dynamic understanding of NGO identity work is illustrated that attends to the inter action between cultural circumstances and social actors agency. Fi nally, a discussion is provided regarding the significance of NGO identity work for evaluating the political impact of NGOs with regards to gender discourse in development.


8 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Specific Aims The purpose of this doctoral research is to ex amine the gendered production of selves within nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in onr Latin American country: Colombia. Of interest is how NGO women cont end discursively over the meanings of gender and power in the context of their NGO. This study explores the interpretive practi ce (Broad, Crawley, and Foley 2004:510-11; Gubrium and Holstein 1997, 2000, 2001) of women in an NGO. Specific attention is paid to how women frame their identities, concerns, and agendas as part of a civil society institution. It is important to understand the mean ing making work of NGO women because discourses about gender, power, a nd democracy are tied to both the everyday interpretive activity of individuals and the settings (e .g., NGO) in which their identity construction is produced. To accomplish the task of investigating the gendered meaning making work of NGO women, I conducted a case study of an NGO based in Bogot, Colombia. Drawing on in-depth, qualitative interviews with 27 women, this st udy focuses on how women construct and negotiate their identities as part of an NGO while managing this self-production in th eir relationships with other NGO members. Guided by a grounded th eory methodology (Straus and Corbin 1998), analyses will thus examine the interpretive proce sses involved in generating an identity within an NGO and include practical and consequential is sues associated with such matters as communication, discipline, affection, educational instructions, spirituality, social support, to name a few. By revealing womens rich de scriptions and interpretations of their own experiences and relationships with others, this study offers both theoretical and empirical


9 insights about the present state of and future opportunities for NGOs in Latin America with respect to democratization a nd promoting a gender perspect ive in development discourse. Background and Significance What Is an NGO? Originally coined by the United Nations ( UN), the term nongovernmental organization (NGO) emerged as a concept in the post World War II era. In 1945 the UN Charter was adopted, and Article 71 stipulated that NGOs could be accredited to the UN for consulting purposes (Martens 2002:271). Early on then, the term NGOs was mainly applied to organizations that were operating internationally and within the fr amework of the UN. This view of NGOs has changed recently to include an increasingly wider range of societal actors that function not only in conjunction with but also beyond the UN context to pursue myriad of purposes. For this reason, defining what NGOs are can be a type of mission impossible (Martens 2002), making an agreed-upon definition difficult. For some, the term NGO is an awkward, catch-all-word used indiscriminately to refer to any social actor that is not clearly situated within the confines of the state/political society or the market (Archer 1983). This results in the inclusion of a vast ra nge of international and national ci tizens organizations, trade unions, voluntary associations, research institutes, public policy centers, private government agencies, business and trade associations, foundations, and charitable endeavors (Archer 1983:303). As Princen and Finger (1994:6) note: The difficulty of characteriz ing the entire phenomenon results in large part from the tremendous diversity found in the global NGO community. That diversity derives from differences in size, duration, range and scope of activities, ideologies, cultural background, organizational culture, and legal status. This has resulted in some scholars arguing that a so-called typical NGO does not exist, and that developing precise definitions is ne ar impossible (Willetts 1996a). Because NGOs are


10 sometimes defined by what they are not, very broad classifications that include a diverse set of organizations and societal act ors are common in the NGO literatu re. NGOs can thus include philanthropic foundations, church development agencies, peasant collectives, academic thinktanks, and community soup-kitchens. They can also focus on a ra nge of issues such as human rights, health, gender, poverty, ag ricultural development, and the environment, among others. In attempting to manage the diversity found among NGOs, some have distinguished among organizations according to specific criteria This, in turn, has produced a multitude of designations, littering the li terature with acronyms (Fis her 1997:447). Some NGOs are described as CBOs (community-based organizations ), GROs (grass-roots organizations), or POs (peoples organizations) in or der to distinguish membersh ip based, locally autonomous associations from ISOs (intermediary support organizations) that have urban intellectuals working in impoverished areas. Some categoriza tions highlight the vary ing degrees of autonomy of NGOs, differentiating fully autonomous NG Os from government organized or supported NGOs or GONGOs (Brown and Korten 1989), quasi-autonomous NGOs or QUANGOs (Sinaga 1995), and donor-organized NGOs or DONGOs. There are also distinctions made among NNGOs (NGOs in Northern or industrialized co untries), SNGOs (NGOs based in Southern or developing countries), and I NGOs (international NGOs). Ot her typologies focus on VOs (voluntary organizations) and PVOs (private volunt ary organizations) that differ as being either nonprofit and voluntary or professionally staffed.1 Other typologies examine NGO practices and associations over time. Korten (1990: 115-27) distinguishes thr ee generations of NGOs: the first 1 For a more comprehensive overview of the classification system of NGOs, see Aall, Miltenberger, and Weiss (2000); Carroll (1992); Korten (1987).


11 focused on relief and welfare work, the second dedi cated to small-scale, local development, and the third committed to community organizing and coalition building.2 Yet others have turned their attention to developing a more comprehensive definition of NGOs that addresses the diversity of the field (see Marten 2002). A common description found in the NGO literature views NGOs as bascially formal (professionalized) independent societal organizations whose primary aim is to pr omote common goals at the national or the international level (Martens 2002:282). Others similarl y highlight NGOs as primarily formal, private, non-profit organizations that hold a distinctiv e legal status and pur sue a public welfare agenda (Clarke 1998b). The World Bank itself ch aracterizes NGOs as private organizations that pursue activities to relief suffering, pr omote the interests of the poor, protect the environment, provide basic soci al services, or undertake comm unity development (World Bank 2002). It is helpful to quote Mart ens (2002:282) at length in order to capture the full breadth of these definitions: NGOs are societal actors because they originate from th e private sphere. Their members are individuals, or local, nati onal branches of an association (which, again, are composed on individuals)and usually do not (or only to a limited extent) include official members, such as governments, governmental representa tives, or government institutions. NGOs promote common goals because they work for the promotion of public goods, from which their members profit and/or the public gains. NGOs can be professionalized because they may have paid staff with speci fically trained skills, but they are not profit-oriented. NGOs are independent because they are primarily sponsored by membership fees and private donations. They may receive financial funding from official instit utions, but only to a limited extent, so that they ar e not under the control of gove rnmental institutions. NGOs 2 Elliot (1987) details a similar typology of NGOs by di fferentiating among charity, de velopment, and empowerment efforts. According to Korten (1990), first-generation re lief and welfare NGOs tend to dominate the developing world, are closely tied to states and international developm ent aid agencies, and are not overtly political in nature. Second-generation development NGOs attend to local issues by organizing community individuals to address concerns about, for example, public health and agricultural sustainability. More political in their activities than firstgeneration NGOs, second-generation organizations generally aim to help individuals and communities overcome structural constraints by challenging local and regiona l elites and avoiding dependency relationships. Thirdgeneration NGOs are often viewed as explicitly political in directly challenging, for example, political and economic constraints, focused on mobilization and consciousness-raising. This is done by building network among individuals and organizations (such as POs) to develop strategies to support larger social movements.


12 are formal organizations because NGOs haveat the le asta minimal organizational structure which allows them to provide for c ontinuous work. This includes headquarters, permanent staff, and constitution (and also a dis tinct recognized legal status in at least one state). Given these broad definitions, NGOs have also been considered a distinctive domain of civil societynamely, human activity outside the mark et and the state (Bry sk 2000:153). To be sure, the meaning of the term NGO has evolved in an exponential fashion since its inception in 1945 by the UN and now extends beyond the narro w focus on international organizations working within the sphere of the UN. Fisher (1997:448) notes that whil e these categorizations can be important and helpful to clarify differe nt NGO practices, these ty pologies are still more ideal than real since in reality these categories are not exhaustive or mutually exclusive. Nevertheless, the lack of consensus on how best to define NGOs, which is due in part to the increased heterogeneity and complexity of the NGO field, seems only to solidify attention of these organizations with respect to their percei ved impact and significance as social actors. Growing Significance of NGOs Presently, scholarly and pub lic interest cente rs on NGOs playing an increasingly significant role in politics and public policy, especially in issu e-areas such as human rights, womens rights, and environmental protection, among others (Gideon 19 98; Livernash 1992). Several scholars have commented that this is du e in no small measure to the scale of growth in NGOs throughout the globe (Carroll 1992; Clarke 1993; Fowler 1991), particularly within socalled southern, third-world or developing countries such as in Africa, Asia, the Carribbean, and Latin America (Fowler and James 1995). In fact, only about 30 percent of all development NGOs in the southnamely those organizations focused on issues of poverty alleviation/eradication, agricultu ral sustainability, human righ ts, health, education, and the


13 development of other basic needsare more than 15 years old, and only 50 percent are more than 10 (Livernash 1992:14). Many factors contribute to the significance of NGOs today. These include, but are not limited to, the following: (1) North-South NGO fi nancial relations, (2) economic and political changes, and (3) alterations in the nature of social movements. First, many southern NGOs are financially dependent on northern NGOs for funds. Development ag encies in the industrialized world channel large amounts of aid through NGO partne rs in the developing wo rld. This in turn has created a substantial financ ial stimulus for NGO growth. In 1990, for example, Northern NGOs provided US$7.2 billion to Southern NGOs, which accounted for approximately 13 percent of net expenditure of official aid (United Nations Development Programme, UNDP 1993:3). This has prompted some to argue that southern NGOs are too dependent on northern NGOs, thus causing them to have less autonomy, comp romise their priorities, and lose a sense of identity (Drabek 1987:xi). Second, economic and political changes have increased attention paid to NGOs. The economic recession of the 1980s and the expanding neoliberal environment has led many governments, previously antagonistic to NGOs, to begin to recognize thes e bodies by officially including them in social, political, and economic programs (Clarke 1998b:37). Thus, NGOs have been recognized for their influence on governments, either by offering models for new governments programs, proposing reforms of existing policies, or critiquing proposed government policies (Livernash 1992:19). Nevertheless, government-NGO relations are complex, varying from country to country. In addition, with the emergence of a neoliberal economic climate and the resulting political di senchantment with the state, bilateral and multilateral agencies have also chosen, since the early 1980s, to channel significant amounts of


14 funding through Southern NGOs. Beginning in 1981, th e United States Agency for International Development (USAID), for example, has been required by Congress to funnel a minimum 13.5 percent of expenditure through NGOs (Org anization for Economic Cooperation and Development 1988:84). In general, the move towards neoliberalism in regions such as Latin America and its effects has fost ered interest in NGOs as ag ents for service delivery. Third, large-scale social moveme nts in developing countries that were ideologically and organizationally cohesive (e.g., the Left) and of ten centered on the state began to fragment, producing newly developed themes and strategies fo r mobilization. For instance, the hierarchical structure of the Left was scrutinized and unde rstood by many activist wome n as patriarchal in nature, consistent with the au thoritarianism of the governments military forces, and thus antithetical to the radical political, economic, and cultural transformations implied in their struggle for liberation. Thus, Sandinismo was revolutionaryin [Nicara guan] society, in the socialization of property. But in private life, women were propert y. It wasnt revolutionary in this sense, within the family (quoted in Ewig 1999:82). As Lehman (1990:157) points out, since the late 1980s, [i]n place of large formal organizations, we find a myriad of small-scale dispersed movements engaged in an enormous vari ety of conflicts. Impo rtant to note is that NGOs acquired important roles in initiating and sustaining these myriad of protest movements (Clarke 1998b:37), particularly during the creati on of new democratic governments in Latin America during the 1980s. Democratization and NGOs Perhaps the most cited reason, however, fo r the importance of NGOs concerns their contribution to democratization. Indeed, it may not be an overstatement to say the new watchwords in international development discourses with which NGOs have become inextricably bound up are now civil society, demo cracy, good governance, and social capital.


15 (Mercer 2002:5). For Clarke (1998a:40), this has meant the production of an explicitly normative interpretation of NGO ideology that mirrors Brattons (1989) early commentary on NGOs as essentially participatory organizati ons that foster a st rong civil society. The potential of NGOs to foster democratizati on has been of interest to a wide range of scholars, development planners, policy makers and activists. Economists and development planners have examined the role of local NGOs in alleviating rural poverty and facilitating communities to adapt to modernization (Annis 1988; Brown and Korten 1989; Thompson 1992). Political scientists have studied the impact of voluntary associati ons in promoting a vibrant civil society and on the states relationship with civil society actors (Barghouti 1994; Chazan 1992; Fowler 1991). Within the field of international re lations, scholars have re viewed the influence of NGOs and their complex local, national, and international networks on inte rnational politics and international civil society (Brysk 1993; Ghils 1992; Wapner 1995). In addition, some activists and scholars have considered the relations hip between NGOs and social movements for empowering communities and opening up a space for alternative discourses of development and democratization (Escobar 1992; Patkar 1995; Wignaraja 1993). Latin American NGOs Discourse about the democratic potential of NGOs is especially prom inent in discussions about developing regions, such as Latin Ameri ca. Traditionally, emphasis on Latin American NGOs as a sphere of democratic influence has b een attributed to these organizations perceived ability to solve some of the pieces of the development puzzle (Livernash 1992:13). In this respect, the megaprograms initiated by the state are being seen as having been unable to tap the abundance of energy, knowledge, and will that th e local level has to offer. Specifically, a surge of grassroots initia tives and NGOs now represent an atte mpt to bridge the gap between the so-called everyday citizen and thei r larger social structure.


16 The role of NGOs in Latin America is thus very different today from the older do-gooder model of the voluntary charitable organizations that mainly transmitted goods and services. Currently, many NGOs have as a stated mission to give persons a stake in their society and an ability to determine how resources and power are used in their surroundings. Simply put, NGOs are supposed to be playing an ever greater part in the development of wh at Latin Americans call sociedad civil (civil society) by offering hands-on experience in the workings of participatory democracy The democratizing discourse surr ounding Latin American NGOs, however, is an arguably recent historical phe nomenon that includes the grad ual politicization of NGO activity. Up to the mid-1960s, the Catholic Church and NGOs worked primarily on charitable relief and welfare efforts that focused on tran sferring food from industrialized nations (Korten 1989:5). This began to change in the 1960s a nd 1970s when organizations diversified their work and orientation to include, for example, small-scale local development. A significant number of these types of organizations were created during the authoritarian military regimes present throughout Latin America. It was in this context that NGO activity, especially in the 1970s, became more explicitly politicized and iden tified with social justice work as a response to the violence of the military state (Korten 1989). This development was further bolstered following the Vatican II council of bishops fr om 1962 to 1965, when the Catholic Church dedicated itself more publicly addressing issues of poverty and marginalization. In 1968, about 130 Catholic bishops met in Medelln, Colombia for a conference to discuss how to apply Vatican II to Latin America. This helped to generate changes in the actual practice of Christian peoplemost notably, in establishing a preferential option for the poor During the conference, the bishops called for Chri stians to be involved in the transformation of society They denounced institu tionalized violence and referred to it as a situation of sin


17 (Berryman 1987:22-23). A consequence was a massive organizational effort at the grassroots level, with priests and nuns forming NGOs to work with poor people in rural and urban areas (Livernash 1992:17). Many secular antipoverty NGOs were similarly established during this time of increased attention to soci al transformation (Durning 1989:70). With the democratic transition of various Latin American count ries during the 1980s, NGOs acquired a distinct association with being a potential democratic force. In particular, this period witnessed the growth of many new NGOs s eeking to solve the problems of violence and poverty, which were seen as the outcomes of the military regimes that had dominated the region (Loveman 1994). As Ewig (1999:75 -76) notes, [d]uring the military and democratic transition periods, analysts of NGOs and social movements tended to view them as organizations actively opposed to the state, perceiving in them the pr omise of democracy. For example, many NGOs began to implement development projects in a wi de range of locales, such as rural and urban spaces, as well as sought to support ethnic group s, women, and the environment (Livernash 1992:17). Interest in womens poverty, domestic violence, and their experiences in different social arenas, for instance, grew in the mid-1970s with the UN declaring in 1976 its Decade for Women. The Decade for Women wa s a context for the creation of a variety of organizations, such as the United Nations Development Fund fo r Women, which increased collaboration with NGOs working to organize women and advance their interests (Buvinic and Yudelman 1989:3639). As will be discussed in Chapter 2, a centr al issue regarding the de mocratic potential of Latin American NGOs pertains to their ability to address issues of wo mens participation and power, given the expansion of neoliberalism in Latin America and the impact this has had on NGO gender ideology and practice.


18 Case of Gender: Are NGOs an Alternative Power Base for Women? With the growing presence and influence of NGOs in national, international, and civil society spaces, some are asking: Do NGOs constitu te an alternative power base for women and a platform for generating new gender politics? (Tinker 1999). As Tinke r (1999:88, 97) explains, the perception, if not hope, is that Today NGOs increasingly challenge the pow er and scope of tr aditional political institutions within the state and lobby international agencies to reinterpret development policies. As the civil society expands in most countries in response to this era of limited government, these new organizations are touted as the real arena for citizen participation and the foundation of present or future democracy. If women and their concerns are in fact being integrated into NGO debates and programs do women themselves and womens issues in general benefit? The sense of uncertainty expressed in these type s of questions is grounded, in part, on facets of the legacy of NGOs that have historically excluded women and gender issues from their programs and organization. As was mentioned, early NGO activity was closel y tied to the Catholic Church and thus these organizations were deemed primarily as reli ef agencies. What is important here is that NGOs not only shared the Churchs welfare work ; they also were influenced by the Churchs beliefs on the assumed roles of women and men. In this case, ma ny NGOs, being held accountable to certain institutional legacies and cultural constraints, have tended to view women solely in terms of their domestic roles and contributed to the exclusion of women from participating in planning and decision-making processes (Livernash 1989:18). Yudelman (1987:181) notes the marginalizat ion of women within the NGO framework during the 1960s and 1970s despit e the critiques levied against the Church by Latin American liberation theologians: The Bishops message of Medelln had a str ong impact on priests, nuns and organizations working with the poor, as well as on grassroo ts groups throughout Latin America. After Medelln, many religious personnel chose to work exclusively among the poor, and others


19 left the church to form service organizations. But the Bishops call for liberation, radical as it was, did not envision a new role for wome n. The Church hierarchy historically has been conservative, even reacti onary, on all issues re lating to gender roles and the family. Thus the Catholic Church strongly influenced the attitudes of th e nascent NGO movement toward women and the type of projects NGOs designed for them. For example, an important issue was the gende red composition of the largely male staff of NGOs, which lead to the lack of women in highe r administrative level of NGOs and a skewed assessment of their productive, economic, and leadership skills (Yudelman 1987:181). Exclusion was also evident in the nature of NGO-assisted agrarian development in Latin America which has been directed mainly to me n, largely because households are designated as beneficiaries of an agrarian reform (and) onl y male household heads are incorporated into the new agrarian reform structures (Deere 1985:1037). Many new NGOs in the 1980s and early 1990s we re started exclusively for and/or by women (Livernash 1992:19). The establishment of womens and feminist NGOs, in this case, was an attempt to improve the participation of women in development issues, as well as introduce gender proposals in to state policies. Thus the creat ion of womens and feminist NGOs represented a strategic response to the perceived opportunities made available with the collapse of the military regimes throughout Latin America in the 1980s. As lvarez (1999:182) explains, When feminists former allies in the opposition to the national security States assumed the reigns [sic] of government in the mid-to-l ate 1980s and 1990s, many feminist groups began honing their applied research, lobbying and rights advocacy skills in the hopes of translating the feminist project of cultural-political transf ormation into concrete gender policy proposals. These efforts have led to local NGOs su cceed[ing] in pressuring many Latin American governments to enact a number of feminist-inspired reformssuch as electoral quotas to enhance womens political representation and legisla tion to combat domestic violence. (lvarez 1999:182)


20 However, concerns regarding the democratic efficacy of NGOs have again re-emerged to include questions about the policy-oriented approach to gender advocacy adopted by many NGOs (feminist or not) today a nd their increased dependence on a neoliberal environment. As will be discussed in Chapter 2, a key issue is how these and other developments may or may not potentially undermine NGOs ability to advocat e effectively for feminist-inspired public policies and social chang e (lvarez 1999:183). To borro w from Murdock (2003:507), questions of whether NGOs are doing goodsuc h as in the their gender advocacy work keep stubbornly cropping up and thus continue to be relevant to bot h scholars and the public that place high value in the answers given. Contribution of Research The research proposed here attempts to re-e xamine these types of questions; however, the argument is made that a full accounting of the stat e of NGOs democratic pot ential in the context of gender advocacy efficacy requires a better understanding of NGO womens lived experiences, including the identity projects that they undertake within NGOs. Although the possible benefits and problems associated with NGO gend er advocacy have been well documented in the literature (as reviewed in Chapter 2), far less is known about how NGO women actually experience, interpret, negotiate, and talk about thei r self-identities and the political projects they construct with others (Murdock 2003). There is limited qualitative work that focu ses on the experiences of women working and volunteering within NGOs3 and only a handful of these have included Latin American NGOs and specifically those in Colombia.4 This project will further our understanding of the experiences 3 Some examples of this research include: Ahmed ( 2002); Goetz (1997); Desai (2 005); OReilly (2004); and Wendoh and Wallace (2005). 4 Some examples of this research includ e: Murdock (2003) and Ramirez-Valles (2003).


21 of women in a civil society institution and more clearly show how the experiences women have in NGOs affects the way hegemonic meanings of gender are reproduced and/or challenged; how the principles and practices of an NGO are appropriated, employed, and transformed by NGO womens interpretive work; and how these local social processes are connected to and conditioned by translocal cu ltures and entities such as the stat e and neoliberal globalization. In short, clarifying the future potential of Latin American NGOs as agents of social change, particularly in the realm of gender relations, is contingent on understandi ng how womens self is constructed through interpretive activity within different contexts (e.g., an NGO). The qualitative study of a Colombian NGO propos ed in this study, one essentially absent in this area of research, is uniquely designed for this purpose. Thus theoretical and practical contributions will be generated about the iden tity work by which NGO women not only construct a sense of self but also fashion lines of collective acti on with others in the NGO. Much can be gained by examining NGO womens descriptions and interpretati ons of themselves and their relationship experiences, such as better unde rstanding the processes and prospects of incorporating a gender perspective in an NGO. What is especially important for NGO scholarship is that investiga ting how NGO women make meaning re veals the set of development and gender discourses being utilized, sustained, and/or critiqued in NGOs today. In all, this study will answer Murdocks ( 2003:511-12) call to t hink about the dynamic nature of womens interpretations of and negotiations with external forces that also inform shifting NGO strategies.


22 CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW A striking upsurge is underway around the globe in the creation of private, nonprofit or non-governm ental organizations Indeed, we are in the midst of a global associational revolution that may prove to be as significant to the latter twentieth century as the rise of the nation-state was to the latt er nineteenth (Salamon 1994:109). Contention Over the Quiet NGO Revolution In the con text of ever-accelerating globaliz ation and a sense that nation-states are no longer an obvious source of authority over civil society, attention has in creasingly centered on a range of local, regional, and international collec tive action and its impact on social affairs (Lash and Urry 1994). The NGO universe is an example of a set of organizations and associations whose hugely varied activities include implemen ting grass-roots development, promoting human rights, and addressing environmen tal concerns, among others. As some have argued, the globe is being swept by an NGO, associational, or quiet revolution (Salamon 1993:1; 1994:109). Although said to be quiet, the NGO revolution has also roused serious contention over the meaning and impact of these organiza tions for local a nd global politics. This global associational revolu tion is particularly eviden t in Asia, Africa, and Latin America (Clarke 1998b). In the Philippines, for example, between the years of 1984 and 1993 the number of officially registered NGOs grew by 148 percent to 58,000 (Clarke 1995:305), while in Kenya, their numbers increase d by 184 percent between 1978 and 1987 (Fowler 1991:54). By 1993, Brazil had the largest NGO sect or on record in the so-called developing world with an estimated 110,000 NGOs (Fisher 1993: 24), with India holding the second largest, at more that 100,000 (Farri ngton and Lewis 1993:92-93). The literature on the NGO phenomenon is itself abundant and dense w ith a multiplicity of meanings based on different views on the origin s, capacities, objectives, and impacts of NGOs. Literature on NGOs covers an expansive gamut that includes NGOs being embraced and


23 heralded by international development agencies, such as the World Bank, to being attacked by radical critics of development for introducing ne w institutionalized means of arresting social change. According to Fisher ( 1997:442), the beauty or unattractiv e nature of NGOs depends on the perspective and agenda of the imaginer who can view these organizations as a progressive arm of an irresistible march toward liberal de mocracy that marks the end of history, an extension of the push toward privatization, or a means to resist the imposition of Western values, knowledge, and development regimes. The wide range of perceptions is no doubt tied to the key themes and discourses associated with NGOsparticipation, empowermen t, democracy, local, and community, to name a few. Indeed, sharp views on NGOs stem from the high standards NGOs have been measured against; nothing short than a mir acle, in other words, has been expected from NGOs (Little 1995). The origin of this standard can be found in the term nongovernmentalthat is, in NGOs being neither governmental nor for-profit. A heightened expectation for NGOs is not surprising, as they appear the ideal organization, unencumbered by political or monetary interest, for pursing public welfare goals (Brown and Korten 1989). These expectations are a reason for NGOs inclusion in the so-called development industry. As Edwards and Hulme (1996:3) not e, NGOs have been the favored child of official development (especially northern) agen cies and seen as a m agic bullet (Dichter 1993:vii) that will correct the pr oblems associated with the development process. Specifically, NGOs have emerged as a solution to traditio nal interventionist, top-down development approaches that have had to face widespread evidence that development strategi es of the past few decades have failed to adequately assist the poorest of the worlds poor, and gr owing support for development efforts that are sustainable and that include participation of intended beneficiaries have stimulated existing development agencies to search for alternative means to integrate


24 individuals into markets, to deliver welfare services, and to involve local populations in development projects (Fisher 1997:443). Thus, much of the optimism for NGOs as a means of transferring some of the responsibility of implementing development strategies has to do with a critical st ance on the development industry itself. The spec ific role NGOs should play in deve lopment, however, is contingent upon the type of critical stance adopted toward the development industry. Ferguson (1990), for example, suggests that there are at least two types of cr itics of development, which differ on their views on the appropriate role of NGOs for democratization. The first type of critics is well represen ted in the NGO literature. A significant portion adopts an instrumental approach to NGOs that considers them as primarily apolitical tools useful for smoothing out and making development objectives more efficient (Clark 1991; Patel 1995). In this case, development processes are flawed but fundamentally positive, inevitable, and corrective. NGOs, therefore, sta nd to mitigate some of the shortcomings in development. More specifically, development agencies and internat ional NGOs support organi zations in developing countries for the purposes of more effectively ac hieving the goals of what some call the new policy agenda, which refers to policies based on neoliberal political theory and economics (Biggs and Neame 1996; Edward and Hulme 1996). According to proponents of this perspective, NGOs represent a cost-effective, sm all-scale, and easily managed way to transfer the training and skills that will help individuals and communitie s compete in the marketplace, further policies of decentralization, foster priva tization, strengthen civil society, and eliminate (state) corruption (Bebbington and Farrington 1993; Frantz 1987). From this point of view, NGOs are the ideal platform to stimulate neo liberal globalization by im plementing neoliberal reform in regions, such as Latin America, wh ere state-directed efforts have been strongly pursued, faced severed limitations, or failed al together (Adam 1993). NGOs thus constitute an


25 alternative to the state in some cases and are thus viewed by the World Bank (1991:135) as an important force in the development process [cutting] the costs of developing countries institutional weakness. The second set of critics want an alternative to existi ng development paradigms and emphasize that the appropriate ro le of NGOs is as vehicles that challenge and transform relationships of power (Escobar 1995; Patkar 1995; Udall 1995). These critics see as basically flawed the dominant development model (e.g., neo liberal globalization) and its implementation, because it produces privileged spaces and inequa lity. As Escobar (1995:39) states, development has historically been about introducing discourse s which created a space in which only certain things could be said and even imagined. NGOs should thus encourage a new type of growth based on discourses and practices that facilitate fuller par ticipation and empowerment. Mercer (2002) highlights thr ee common arguments made in fa vor of NGOs as serving to promote greater participation a nd encouraging democratization. First, NGOs relative autonomy from other major actors (e.g., the state and market) is said to pluralize societys institutional milieu. Simply put, a greater number of civic entities, NGOs among them, create more opportunities for a wider range of interest groups to have a voice, more autonomous organizations to act in a watchdog role vis--vis the state, and more opportunities for networking and creating alliances of civic actors to place pressure on the state (Mercer 2002:8). In brief, some view NGOs as promoting de mocracy by enhancing the number and range of voices addressing the government and othe r key actors (Sillima n and Noble 1998:306). Second, NGOs work with grassroots or ganizations, the poor, women, and other marginalized groups creates possibilities for more extensive and deeper citizen participation. Because many NGOs work with and represent a va riety of disenfranchised groups, campaign to


26 influence public policy, and de liver social services, NGOs b ecome an important means of representing the interest of marginalized peoples. Scholarsh ip, for example, draws attention to the efforts of NGOs in aiding indigenous pe oples, environmental movements, and womens interests across Latin America (Clark 1991; Bebbington et al. 1993; lvarez 1999). And third, NGOs check state power by challenging its autonomy at the local, national, and even international level. In addition, NGOs pressure for change by building alternative agendas and policies. In the literature, this point is made by emphasizing the role played by NGOs during the democratic transitions and conso lidation in several Latin American countries, such as Chile and Brazil. For instance, NGOs are listed, along with ot her movement actors (e.g., womens and peace movement) as a key force in th e opposition to the Pinochet regime in Chile during the 1970s and 1980s (Bebbington 1997; La mbrou 1997). Garriso n (2000:10) similarly notes that NGOs in Brazil were important play ers in the groundswell of civil society forces pressing for policy amnesty and ope ning during the late 1970s. A more radical wing of these critics of development, howev er, point out the danger posed to NGOs by the resilience of the development industry to absorb and transform ideas and institutions for the purposes of reinstating traditional development realities. For these critics, new democratic processes are not necessarily fort hcoming from NGOs, since these entities are at risk of being co-opted and turn ed into the new technical arm of development. Under these circumstances, NGOs are more likely to undermine grassroots mobilization by channeling already limited social funds away from smalle r, less professionalized groups, while relying on unpaid labor to guarantee program execution (Arellano Lpez and Petras 1994; Valla 1994). NGOs quasi-government status has also been examined for indire ctly furthering the erosion of the state and its social welfare function because the presence of NGO social service delivery is


27 seen as reducing pressure to reform ineffec tive state departments and ministries (Angell and Graham 1995). Others contend that NGOs do he lp to alleviate the symptoms of poverty and other social problems; however, NGOs leave causes of the ills re latively unchalle nged (Edwards and Hulme 1992). For these critic s, the potential of NGOs to be a democratic force depends on the degree to which they can address and changenot simply help people and communities assimilate intoarrangements of power: Seeking alternatives to development, rather than development alternatives, and skeptical about so-called democratization processes, these analysts, acti vists and radical critics of neoliberal development agendas value NGOs for their ability to politiciz e issues that were not formerly politicized or that were ironi cally depoliticized through the discourses of development or democratic participation. Some thus see NGOs, such as grass-roots orga nizations, as struggling for autonomy from the state, political partie s, and the general development appa ratus (Friedman 1992). Activists, for example, consider local NGOs, especially volunta ry associations, not simply a new feature of civil society but as a means of cha nging the state and society. This critical perspective on development att acks the idea that NGOs are (or should be) basically novel instruments of de velopment because it obscures, or even attempts to co-opt, the activities of NGOs. In this way, NGOs are depoliti cized and made part of what Ferguson (1990) calls the antipolitics machine of neoliberal development. NGOs are used to depoliticize development in two ways. First, the common de scription of NGOs as being separate from the state and the market contributes to a perception that these orga nizations are less political in nature. Second, and maybe more important, in being perceived as primarily technical apolitical tools, NGOs are a way to obscure th e power relationships implied in neoliberal proposals. In this case, social problems are solved through the technical implementation of programs via NGOs, rather than through structural transformations of the social order.


28 The point of the discussion thus far was limited with regards to all the debates and issues in the NGO literature, but it does highlight some of the major discourses and the fact that the type of lens through which NGOs are perceived generates cont ested notions of whether NGOs are doing good or not. For some, NGOs are good because they are a new way to reach the goals of development, while others consider NGOs as good only if they help to rethink the limited goals of traditional development and help foster more open and just societies. For Murdock (2003), NGO scholarship thus remains to a large extent interested in and bound to the question of whether NGOs are doing good. The next section takes the Colombian NGO field in Latin America as a case illustrative of this te ndency. Later, special attention is given to how discourses about gender and gender equality have become intertwined with the NGO development framework. An NGO Universe: The Colombian Case For the publicparticularly in the United St atesColombia is perhaps best known for the images of violence and drug trafficking port rayed in the media than for its vibrant civil society. And while these images should be given their due attention, behi nd the headlines exists another face of Colombia, one characteri zed by the many NGOs and civil society organizations that widely populate and incr easingly shape this regions future. Defining the NGO sector in Colombia is difficu lt because the concept refers to a large group of heterogeneous organizations with diverse objectives, stra tegies, and service populations. Numerically, Colombias NGO sector is of comparable size to countries mentioned earlier, such as Brazil and India. Obtaining clear-cut statistics on Colombias NGO universe has been difficult, given that there is no absolute consensus as to their categorization. One of the first attempts at a comprehensive overview of Colombias NGO sphere was a study by the


29 Javeriana University, and using the United Nati on definition the study identified 58,000 private, nonprofit organizations registered in Colombia (Castaeda, Lpez, Puentes. 1989). Some estimates place the number around 70,000 at the dawning of the 1990s (Ritchey-Vance 1993:28). In his in-depth review of Colombian NGOs, Ritchey-Vance ( 1993:33) summarizes the significance and impact of NGOs within Colombian society in the following manner: The most solid figures available are those re lated to the cooperative sector. The [over] 5,000 cooperatives have a total membership of two million. Direct ly or indirectly, cooperative services benefit 10 million people, or one in every three Colombians. There is a coincidence of educated guesses that one in every five Colombians belongs to an NGO of some description and that directly or indirectly NGOs touch the lives of nearly half the population. In addition to their quantitative magnitude, NGOs are significant given the relatively recent trend in Colombia (as in many other parts of the globe) to view these diverse organizations as a key sector in the promotion of civic life. As will be discussed in more detail below, the historical role of c hurch and state and the more recent social transformations (e.g., the Constitution of 1991) resulting from the process of democratic opening that started in the mid1980s have encouraged the increasing growt h, activity, and significance of NGOs in the countrys public affairs, such as in the area of promoting a gender pers pective in development proposals. Before entering into a discussion ab out the nature of NGOs and the discourses concerning gender in which these organizations ar e embedded, it is important to briefly review the history of NGO development in Colombia. Th is in turn will place recent events and debates in the NGO sphere in historical context.


30 Historical Background: Colonial to Present5 Church and the Emergence of the Nonprofit Sector Historically, the Roman Catholic Church, the state, and political parties were central in the development of NGOs. Although the concept of NGO did not gain its contemporary meaning until the middle of the 20th century, organizations considered separate from the government and economic sector have existed in Colombia sin ce colonial times. The origins of the nonprofit sector in Colombia are rooted in the Spanish co lonial period and what were the vast powers of the Catholic Church (Flrez 1997). Spanish colonial rule lasted for approximately two and a half centuries (1550-1810) in which the Spanish Crown ga ve the Church both (material) privilege and (military) protection so long as the Church pr omised to evangelize conquered populations and legitimate the practice of co lonization (Villar 1998). In this context, the Crown entrusted the C hurch with the creation and administration of nursing homes, hospitals, orphanages, and e ducational institutions. Funded by local governments and various donor sources, these pa storal activitieswhich were seen as opportunities to evangelize and maintain social order by ameliorating the more gross examples of inequality, poverty, and homelessness resultin g from colonialismbecame some of the first and most enduring charity organizations in Co lombia (Flrez 1997:387). In fact, it was not until the 18th century that the Crown, under the Bourbon regime, attempted to assume direct control and management of these institutions (Mrner 1979). The Churchs great influence extended beyond Co lombias colonial period, as represented in the debates in the 19th century concerning the creation of a na tion-state. In this case, questions often centered on the degree to which the state should be secularized and the Catholic Churchs 5 This section draws primarily from Fl rezs (1997) and Villars (1998) reviews of the historical development of the nonprofit sector in Colombia.


31 material and social power reduced. It was later in the mid-19th century, during its liberal revolution (1851-1876) that govern ment tried to obtain control and responsibility over institutions, such as education, hospitals, and hospices. Control over institutions such as the educational system became, during this period, a central point of religi ous debate and conflict between the two major political parties in Colomb ia, the Liberals and Conservatives, a debate which continues today. The former favors secula rization of government and other institutions (e.g., education) and the latter s upports the ecclesiastical privilege of the Church. Faced with the Liberals intention to secularize significant portions of the social landscape, the Church created private religious organizations a nd associations, such as the Cat holic Associations of Medelln, that would defend the Church from the deCatholi zation of education and Colombian society in general (Gonzlez 1979:50-58). What is significant for this discussion is the impact of this context on nonprofit organizations. On the one hand, the Churchs efforts and power helped keep at bay the development of Liberal secularization, produc ing the 1886 Constitution that reconfirmed the Churchs dominion over educational and social we lfare services and lead ing to a period of Conservative hegemony which lasted until 1930. On the other hand, this context spurred the establishment of notable non-Church-related nonprofit organizations in the 19th century, such as workers associations and other secular cooperativ es created for the education of their members and as a means of mutual aid, given the absenc e of a state social security system (Flrez 1997:388). These organizations were supported by the Liberal Party and became important during the liberal soci al reforms of the 20th century. Until that time, however, the third sector was generally monopolized by organizationssuch as Juntas de Beneficencia (Beneficence Associations), Accin Catlica (Catholic Action), and the Caja Social de Ahorros (Social


32 Savings Bank)created through the joint efforts of the Conservative government and the Church (Villa 1998:4). Liberal Reforms and Political Polarization Liberal party reform s in the early 20th century (1930-1945) ended the Conservative hegemony and began a movement toward creating a government more ac tive in the economic and social sphere (e.g., fiscal, agri cultural, labor, and educational affairs). Social reforms were intended to increase government inte rvention in such areas, seculari ze the state, and restrict the various socio-political privil eges the Church had acquired throughout the centuries. These efforts led to the constitutional reforms of 1936 a nd to a re-designation of social welfare as a government responsibility. As might be expected these changes only rein forced the alliance between the Church and the Conservative party and sharpened the antagonism between the two political parties. The increased polarization be tween Conservatives and Liberals led, during the period between 1945 and 1964, to the period known as La Violencia (The Violence), in which approximately 300,000 Colombians died. But it was as a result of this situation and a growing state of polarization that importa nt third sector, nonprofit organizations linked to the political parties were born. Supported by the Liberal government and in a legal environment favorable to union organizations, in 1936 the first confeder ation of unions was establishedthe Confederacin de Trabajadores de Colombia (CTC, the Workers Confederation of Colombia), as a result of the new political context As Palacios (1995:159) notes, the alliance be tween the CTC and the Liberal Party lasted until 1945, ending when the CT C increasingly had to as cribe to the Liberal political network and lost greate r and greater control and independe nce over government affairs. In 1946 a new confederation was created, the Unin de Trabajadores de Colombia (UTC, Colombian Workers Union), whic h was assisted by the Conservati ve party and the Church, and


33 struggled against liberalism and communism. The UTC became the dominate labor union confederation in the 1950s and 1960s with the aid of the Nationa l Security Doctrine and the growing Cold War climate of an ti-communism that was being spread throughout Latin America and particularly encouraged by United States (Villar 1998:5). The Church also sought to continue its opposition to the secularization of e ducation promoted by liberal reform. Thus in 1938, the Confederacin de Escuelas Catlicas (Confederation of Catholic Schools) was established with the main goal of re-Christia nizing education by crea ting several elementary schools, high schools, and universities (Helg 198 7:164). In response to the popular revolts on April 9, 1948, and the beginning of the political party conflict, La Violencia the Conservative government began purging liberal teachers with the help of the Church an d the Confederation of Catholic Schools (Helg 1989:114-27). The polarization and politic al antagonism generated around educational and labor associations was not as prevalent in othe r fields. According to Abeil (1996:15, 35), compromises from the Church were relatively easy to obtain so long no political group asked for government plans in these areas. Thus the gradual social involvement in fiel ds such as health did not produce major political contention or confr ontation. For this reason, many third-sector, independent foundations in the areas of health and child protection were created in cooperation with to the public sectors so cial welfare institutions (Acci n en Colombia 1974). Similarly, despite the political division of the time, ma ny womens organizations emerged, such as the Womens Citizen Union, composed mainly of upper and middle class women, and the Democratic Womens Union. These and other organizations were la ter instrumental in the fight for womens right to vote, which was eventu ally granted by the government in 1957 (Flrez 1997:388).


34 National Front Era Beginning in 1958, the leaders of the two m ajor political parties, w ith the support of the Church and business sector, established a bipa rtisan government called the Frente Nacional (National Front) that laid an agreement between the Liberal and Conservative parties for the rotation of the presidency and more equitable di stribution of power between the parties, which lasted officially until 1974. The purpose of the National Front was to end the political violence (La Violencia) and reconstruct a more democratic government (Flrez 1997:388). This arrangement arguably helped to improve the countrys institutional stability and decrease factional violence by restricting political participation to only Liberals and Conservatives; however, the National Front also weakened the two major partys ability to respond to the citizenrys demands. Political legitimacy decreased given the heavy institutional limitations for participation outside of the established two part y political machine. Thus the government also tried to create its own civil organizations as a st rategy to reinforce the state but also address the growing political apathy of much of the population. One of the greatest examples of organizations created by th e government and probably the most extensive popular organizations in Colombia are the Juntas de Accin (JAC, Community Action Committees). JACs were started at th e beginning of the Nationa l Front government in 1958 and were an obligatory way to formalise pa rticipation over community affairs, aiming to shape decisions over the distribution of state funds and development priorities (Flrez 1997:388). By 1974 there were 18,000 JACs and in 1993 the census counted 42,582 (Villar 1998:6). As some note, while JACs contributed significantly to the bu ilding of social and physical infrastructure (e.g., schools, health centers, roads, water systems, etc), JACs also became sites that contributed to clientelism. This is because they were often used by the party system to offer resources to poor communities in exchange for political votes. In some


35 cases, however, JACs were able to obtain some independence from the political parties and serve as a base for civic movements (Londoo 1994:50-51). At the same time, new international forces were extending their social and ideological influence. The Cuban revolution of 1959, the new pluralist, social justice approach introduced by Pope John XXIII, and the divisions of the Left (particularly along racial and gender lines), for example, translated well into Colombias political environment. Given the closed nature of the political system, these forces helped to radicalize many social movements and encouraged social actors to seek alternative ways of action beyond the conventional institutional arrangement (Villar 1998:5). It was in this context that organizaciones no gubernamentales (nongovernmental organizations, NGOs) emerged and assumed their more recognizable modern identity; many organizations were created because of dissatisfaction with, if not deep criticism of, the governments social and political system Indeed, around half of the over 5,000 extant NGOs in the cooperative sector were establishe d between 1961 and 1980, dur ing the years of the National front (Vargas, Toro, and Rodrguez 19 92:33-44). World Vision Colombia was itself started during this period a nd since 1976 has been active in community development and emergency assistance (Vision Mundial Colombia 2005c). The orientation and impetus behind these orga nizations, particularly with regards to promoting more participatory development and le ss charity, was greatly influenced by the new social justice orientation of the [Vatican II ] Church, the participation of professionals discontented with the hierarchical and authoritari an forms of the political left, and the loss of credibility in social action by traditional political pa rties and governments (Villar 1998:7). Besides their sense of independe nce from the government, therefor e, these organizations began to include strategies that are today considered catchphrases in describing the NGO universe, such


36 as the promotion of community organizations collaborative work, se lf-help and community participation (Villar 1998:7). World Vision Co lombia, for example, self-identifies with many of these themes when it refers to itself on its website as a Christia n organization that works intentionally to build a culture of p eace, so that societys transformations and accomplishments will be sustainable; to crea te the necessary conditions for fulfilling the vision of life in all its fullness for every ch ild, and each person that become involved and make this intention a reality (Visi on Mundial Colombia 2005b). They go on to add that the organizations work is focused on community participation and self-help through the use of activities for tr aining persons, families and communities to discover and use their own vision, skills, and resources to overc ome extreme poverty and enjoy a full life (Vision Mundial Colombia 2005c, emphasis added). In all, the national socio-political context, in the form of the National Front, and changes in the international environment in the r ealm of politics and ideology of the mid-20th century, helped encourage the emergence of new forms of participation in th e universe of civil organization linked to the private, not-for-profit sector. To be sure the governments inability to adequately channel citizens n eeds was often viewed as a source of the political apathy among large segments of the population and led to th e search for alternativ es to solve community problems independent of a political system that wa s virtually closed off to any groups outside of the Liberal-Conservative monopoly. While this closed system of political participa tion contributed to the birth of much of the Colombias NGO universe, it also helped establis h a new relationship (at times conflictual and sometimes controversially close) between the state and NGOs. This new state-NGO relationship was initially forged as the 20th century was coming to an end. More will be said later about state-NGO relations a nd its connection to gender advocacy in Colombia, as this issue


37 has become particularly salient due to the expansive neoliberal environment many Latin American regions are facing. Democratic Opening and the Role of NGOs A process of reform and opening of the political regime began to take place in the early 1980s, marked by the presidency of Belisario Betancur (1982-1986). Institutional inadequacy to channel participation was cite d as a root cause of the ap athy among the population, the state systems crisis in legitimacy, and the bloody political violence (Villar 1998: 8). In response, the government introduced plans that were supposed to open the door to more democratic forms of participation that would include a wider range of voices. Some reforms sought, for example, to expand dialogue (arguably unsuccessfully) with guerilla groups and to begin a process of decentralization, which is regarded as a central impetus behind the larg e voter turnout of 67 percent in the 1986 election (Villar 1998:8). It was in the presidency of Virgilio Barco (19861990), for instance, that poverty was for the first time officially recognized as a central problem of Colombian society and an anti-poverty st rategy created which uniquely called on civil organization to become active in its alleviation. The Barco Administration also engaged in effort s to end the violence linked with the very widespread and active paramilitary groups loca ted throughout the country. Barco ended, for example, a 1968 law initially intended as a national security strategy agai nst the assumed threat of communism and terrorism, but which also allowed the military to distribute arms to civilians, often paramilitary groups (Dugas 2005:235). There ensued paramilitary reaction to this and other acts of Barcos Admi nistration (e.g., providing amnesty to ex-guerilla fighters but not paramilitaries). Political violence thus con tinued among paramilitary groups, drug leaders (who regularly fund paramilitaries), guerillas, and military security organizations in the form of murders, kidnappings, and disappearances. To so me, the sustained political violence frustrated


38 the process of democratic consolidation. It was in this context of political violence; however, that actions were taken that have fundamentally a ltered to this day the natu re, role, and status of NGOs in Colombia, such as with issues surrounding gender. At the beginning of the 1990s, an assemb ly was convened with various governmental and third sector supporters to move toward reforma tion of the constitution so as to facilitate the process of democratization. From the deliberatio ns emerged a constitution with an emphasis on, decentralization, an extension of economic, so cial, and political rights, and participatory democracy. In particular, a new orientation to ward civil society organizations (CSOs) was established that included more e xplicit recognition of thes e entities in the part icipatory process. As Villar (1998:9) notes, in the 1991 Constitution [a] large number of participatory channels were established to encourage debate and discussion with civil societ y regarding public matters, a nd the groundwork was laid for greater participation for priv ate sector, both for-profit and nonprofit, in th e provision of public and social services. The new constitution officially recognized NGOs as important (if not necessary) means toward the promotion of democracy and citizens repr esentation. Article No. 103 of the Constitution states that governments should promote the organization, promotion, and guidance of nongovernmental public-purpose associations, wit hout prejudicing their authority so that they may constitute democratic means of representation in the various function of participation, agreement, control, and supervision of the public activities that they undertake (Political Databa se of the Americas 2005 unofficial translation). Article No. 335 even allows for the possibility th at public resources be given to NGOs and other civil organizations provided appropriate contractual agreements are met and that the funds be used for public interest activities that follow development plans. Since its adoption, the Constitution has also brought forth new debates and legislative developments with regards to the favoring of NGOs in service delivery and policy issues (education, health, gender, envi ronment, etc.). One such example is the civil society


39 organization (CSO) Participation in Public Administration ( Participacin en la Administracin Pblica ) bill, which aims to regulate the whole CSO sector through the creation of specific definitions of sector rights, duties, and respons ibilities with respect to its participation in decision-making processes. Attempts to system atize and further ground this sectors activity within Colombias democratic process (if not to improve the process) are also found in the creation of complex networks and confederations, such as the Confederacin Colombiana de ONGs (Colombian Confederation of NGOs). This national recognition has increasingly turned international, wherein multilateral developm ent agencies such as the Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank have beg un to support financially NGOs. In all, in Colombia and in Latin America in general, NGOs have to a large extent come to be seen and treated as central vehicles for the implementati on of development project s and the fostering of democracy. An important example of this has been in the connection made between NGOs and the promotion of a gender perspective in the La tin American development discourse field. Mainstreaming a Gender Perspective in Develo p(men)t Discourse: The Role of NGOs and the State NGOs have been increasingly active in tryi ng to mobilize national and international support about their concerns. One site where th eir presence has been growing in both size and influence, beginning at least in the m id-1970s, is the specialized UN conferences (Hochstetler, Clark, and Friedman 1998; Willetts 1996b). Many NGOs have attempted to include, or as some say, mainstream, gender in the development ag enda and for democratization. For Joachim (2003:248), [t]he inclusion of th ese issues on UN mainstream ag endas is significant because it legitimates womens demands at the domestic leve l. In this section we will review what is meant by mainstreaming a gender perspective in development discourse and how these efforts are tied to NGOs relationship with the state. Sp ecific attention is paid to the Colombian state.


40 At the 1975 United Nations (UN) International Womens year conferen ce in Mexico City, delegates concluded that all gove rnments should set up agencies de dicated to encouraging gender equality and improving the status and conditions of womens lives around the globe. This conference resulted in the famous UN Decade for Women (1976-1985) and led to consciousnessraising on gender issues. Specifically, these ye ars included a push to integrate women in development, a strategy that has come to be known as the women in development (WID) approach. This initiative prompted the creati on of new centralized state bureaucracies, called national machineries for the advancement of women, in over 100 countries between 1975 and 1997 (Rowan and-Campbell 1995:141-42). According to True and Mintrom (2001:28), the historical impetus behind and diffusion of these state machineries stem in no small part from civil society organi zations, such as NGOs. Indeed, as will be shown later, the relationship between NGOs and the state has played an important, and for some, a central part in delineating the contours of Latin Americas gender discourse (see lvarez 1999). P ublic visibility of NGOs in creased greatly during the 1990s, especially with The Fourth World Conference on Women, held in Beijing in 1995. This event had a significant NGO presence and NGOs were ac tive in generating the conferences Platform for Action, designed to develop st rategic objectives and actions in 12 critical areas, one being the creation of institutional m echanisms for the advancement of women (Division for the Advancement of Women 2007). It was during the Beijing conference that the term gender mainstreaming was popularized and the term has now been adopted nearly universally to address this critical area in the realm of policy and social planning (Baden and Goetz 1997:5). In True and Mintroms (2001:28) use, gender mainstreaming refers to e fforts to scrutinize and reinvent processes of


41 policy formulation and implementation across all issu e areas to address and rectify persistent and emerging disparities between men and women. The interest of NGOs with institutionalizing a gender perspective was eviden t in the numerous workshops given at the conferences NGO Forum on the very topic of gender mainstreaming. Gender mainstreaming, as a concept, evolved wh en the efficacy of the central planning approaches of the WID and their strategy to i ntegrate women in development began to be questioned toward the end of the 1980s. The notion of mainstreaming reflects, at least in part, the perceived theoretical and pr actical failure of the early national womens machineries, many established in the 1970s and 1980s, to achieve si gnificant results or in fluence policy (Buvinic 1986; Longwe 1991). Mainstreaming thus signif ies a push beyond simply integration and toward creating and diffusing a gender perspect ive in all decision-making aspects of an organization, i.e. policies, stra tegies, programmes, and administ rative and financial activities, thereby contributing to organizational transf ormation (Ahmend 2002:298). In its broadest sense, gender mainstreaming encompasses both tec hnical and political processes that change the practices, social structures, in stitutions and values that repr oduce gender inequality (Kardam 1998). In contrast to WID, gender mainstreaming has come to be associated with what is known as the gender and development (GAD) appro ach. Different from the WID position which was primarily concerned with access and inclusion of women within the modernization project, GAD seeks to make development-work more genderaware, by at times challenging the development project itself. Specifically, GAD focuses on the soci al relations that have given rise to gender inequalities in the first place and attempts to bring the power relations between women and men into the picture (Kabeer 1994:xii). GAD signaled a shift toward emphasizing the empowerment


42 of women and their involvement in a development pr ocess over which they had little influence or control. In this vein, Jahan (1995:15) refers to the mainstreaming approach of GAD as trying to go beyond integration to include agenda setting, since it seek s to transform the existing development agenda by introduci ng a gender perspective. Colombia serves as a good example of the GAD approach, since this country is often considered part of the so-called second wave of institutionalizing a gender perspective in government policy and planning (WID constitutes the first wave). In 1980 the Colombian government created the National Council for th e Integration of Women into Development; however, the Council lacked an administrative structure, personnel, and a budget (Beall 1998:531). Thus it was not really until the 1990s when liberal candidate Cesar Gaviria (19901994) won the presidential electionthat impo rtant steps toward ge nder mainstreaming and popular engagement (e.g., participation of civil society organizations) in development policy were taken in the country. In 1990, Colombia officially adopted highlevel institutional mechanisms for gender mainstreaming. This provided for stand-alone gove rnment ministries, offices within the head of states department, or quasi-autonomous state ag encies, such as national commissions (True and Mintrom 2001:31-32). It was during Gavirias administration that the Constitutional Convention was set up, drafting a new Constitution in 1991, which at least in official rhetoric guaranteed equal opportunities for women. For instance, Ar ticles 13 and 43 recognize the equal rights and opportunities of men and women, and Article 40 calls for the adequa te and effective participation of women in decision-making leve ls of public administration. Policy and planning changes were promoted through the National Development Plan, known as La Revolucin Pacfica (Pacific Revolution). This plan sought a two-prong appro ach of (1) economic liber alization and intense


43 promotion of market forces (e.g., decentralization, priva tization and increased investment in an export infrastructure ) and (2) a parallel commitment to polit ical reform and a strengthening of civil society through a reinforcement of public, private, and community sector partnerships. In keeping with the two main themes of the National Deve lopment Plan, Gaviria created six strategic area programs, within the president s office, each with their respective Advisory Council so that urgent issues could be addresse d quickly without the pr otracted negotiations characteristic of ministries a nd department. In addition to th e councils on peace and internal security, human rights and government reform, th is included a Presiden tial council for Youth, Women, and the Family. This councils purpose was to define and clarify policies, instigate activities designed to improve the social condition of women, and to help coordinate programs among multiple social actors, such as government departments, NGOs, and international agencies. As just mentioned, part of the function of the council for Youth, Women, and the Family was to branch out to civil society actors. Attempts to consult with representatives of civil society led to a 1992 consultative seminar in which womens organization and NGOs were asked to participate (Beall 1995). Opinions among the various organizations about the council ranged from enthusiasm to skepticism. This was partly due to the rapprochement between government and civil society, which had begun to emerge sin ce the 1990s and was still very new and fragile. It had not been forgotten by many that the creation of a more open political environment to that of the National Front years had be en difficult to achieve and rema ined uneven. To be sure, in 1992 the Colombian government was engaged in its so-called Integral War, which included military action and intervention in civilian organizations suspected of links to rebel groups. A variety of civil organizations, such as human rights groups, development projects, and media and


44 social research centers, were targeted for their potential links to rebel organizations and became vulnerable to intervention (Beall 1998:519-10, 531). Given this backdrop, there seemed little guarantee that the government would continue support of ci vil organizations or their commitment to gender equality. Nevertheless, by the end of the seminar there was general support for idea of the government institutiona lizing a GAD perspective that included on-going consultations with civil society. The process of institutionalizing a gender pers pective in Colombias policy and planning arguably came of age during the administration of Ernesto Samper Pizano (1994-1998). In its first year, the Samper administration passed the Poltica de Equidad y Participacin para la Mujer (Policy for Equity and Pa rticpation of Women, EPAM), ma king it an integral part of Sampers El Salto Social (The Social Leap Forw ard). El Salto Social was part of Sampers development plan to increase social spending by the government and create over a million new jobs. Because EPAM was part of the national development plan, it was viewed as a central means to institutionalize a gender perspective in development and make a more concerted shift away from any welfare, integrationist approaches still left over from Gavirias administration to one of mainstreaming the importance of gender power relations. EPAM began to be institutionalized in 1994 with the establishmen t of the Advisory Council for the Equity and Participation of Women, an advisory body to the national government. A Secretariat for Women and Gender was also set up; it took over the responsibility of the Presidenti al Program for Youth, Women, and the Family. By 1994 the functions of the various bodies responsible for implementing EPAM were organized and approved. This process was driven in pa rt by the Beijing Conference which was on the immediate horizon.


45 In 1995 the Direccion Nacional para la Equidad de Mujer (National Office for the Equity of Women) was established as an official, pe rmanent state structure that had administrative autonomy and its own budget. This office eventu ally took over the resp onsibility held by the Secretariat for Women and Gender; its f unctions included the management, planning, coordination, advisement, and monitoring of polic ies for women, and activiti es intended to foster gender equality in Colombia (Beall 1998:522). In addition, there were effo rts to strengthen the relationships between government and civil society organizations since it was recognized that institutionalizing a gender perspective in development requires more structural investment that offered by the previous administrations Presidential Council. In this case, organizations involved in implementing EPAM are monitored by the National Office for the Equity of Women and include the Consultative Group, which was based on a coalition of civil organizations that meet to discuss ideas and coor dinate plans related to EPAM. A variety of problems emerged, however, frustrating the efficacy of EPAM; these included continuing national violence and limited resource s. For instance, the National Office for the Equity of Women was made responsible for a policy on women displaced by national violence, but this was soon changed and a National Office for Displaced People created. Other problems included a lack of information and familiarity with the concept of gender-aware planning among civil servants, and inadequate human and fi nancial resources allocated to EPAM (Beall 1998:523). In fact, Samper and his admi nistration early encountered va rious political and economic problems that would impede the success of EPAM and a national plan for a gender perspective. Besides political scandals (which included a leak by Andres Pastra na of the so-called narcocasettes suggesting that Sampers 1994 election campaign was partially funded by the drug


46 cartel) economic problems pla gued his term. Although social spending had increased under Samper, so did the nations fiscal deficit. Large budgets cuts introdu ced in response to the deficit affected social investment expenditu res between 1997 and 1998. The economic situation was compounded by the continued violence in th e country and the lack of foreign support (particularly by capitalist states, such as the United States) for Sampers unpopular commitment to high levels of government spending. These dynamics helped to usher in a new era, one marked by the wining of the presidential electi on by conservative Andrs Pastrana (1994-2002) and his return to neoliberal economic policies. Most important with respect to these changes is their impact on gender advocacy and the resulting tension between implementing the nationally and internationally (i.e., United States) approved neoliberal refo rms and fulfilling the task of developing a gender perspective. One place where this tension has visibly manifested itself has been in NGOs gender advocacy work. On the one hand, the presumed problems of previous attempts by governments to institute a gender perspective and state weakness within a neoliberal context, has led to increased emphasis on NGOs as sites where gender advocac y can take place. Moser (1993:191) captures this point of view by arguing that [c]hange instituted though top-down interventions of the state as the dominant structure of power, control and domina tion is distinct from change achieved though bottom-up mobilization of agency in civil society. NGOs are crucial in this emancipatory process, Moser continues, [b]ecause of their capacity to reach the grass-roots where real people are NGOs ha ve increasingly been identifie d as the institu tional solution for alternative development models. On the other hand, while much attention ha s centered on the democr atic potential of NGOs, in recent years there has been a shift toward examining the profound economic and


47 political changes that have taken place across La tin American regions and how these forces have impacted NGOs and their gender advocacy. In pa rticular, interest has grown around what has been dubbed the NGOization or professionalization of gender advocacy work. Of interest now is how the ever growing neoliberal landscap e has altered the way a gender perspective is promoted within the NGO universe. This has be en the case with Colombian NGOs as neoliberal reforms have been strongly pursued in the countr y, particularly by the current president, lvaro Uribe Vlez (2002-present). Recen t studies have been for the most part concerned with the historical and political forces influencing the orientation and strategy of NGOs gender advocacy (lvarez 1999; Ewig 1999; Murdock 2003). What follo ws is a brief review of these processes. NGOs, the Emerging Neoliberal Terra in, and the Gender Policy T urn As mentioned earlier, NGOs in Latin America, while certainly not new, began to play a more visible and politically significant role beginning in the 1980s. For the many countries engaged in a transition from an authoritarian to a so-called democratic politics in the 1980s, local, national, and international entities comp rising the NGO universe were often considered a democratic counterweight to the military regime s of the region and a solution to the worsening poverty induced by the economic and political crisis of the time (Jaquette 1989, 1994; Jaquette and Wolchik 1998). In Colombia, the National Front facilitated the emergence of new forms of participation in the world of civil organizations The governments inab ility to guarantee basic services for the entire population led to the search for alternatives and the prom otion of citizen solutions to community problems independent of the polit ical system and the government. In many cases, the governments inefficiency and limita tions fed the idea that it was possible, and even desirable, for citizens to do things on th eir own. While this situation contributed to the creation of civic responsibil ity and an active attitude towards social problems, it also reinforced the paradigm of conflict betw een the government and the non-governmental agencies. During the democratic transition period, theref ore, scholarship tended to view NGOs as organizations that were important component s in the promotion of democracy and the


48 strengthening of a sociedad civil or civil society (lvarez 1990, 1999; Chuchryk 1994, Escobar 1992; Landim 1987; Clark 1991; Ritchey-Vance 1996). NGOs opposition to the state, however, tempered as the shift from democratic transition to democratic consolidation began to take place. Antagonism between the state and NGOs lessened as a new political climate emerged in th e early 1990s that was associated with a change from the national security state of the 1980s to a re turn to an (albeit uneve n) electoral politics. At this time, many civil society organizations be gan to see an opportunity to exercise influence over states that were, at least ostensibly, democratizing. It was also in this c ontext of civil societys rapprochement with the government that a major turn to policy advocacy was adopted by many civil society organizations, particularly NGOs. In Colombia, as noted above, the seeds for this new relationship with the state were planted in the mid-1980s during the Betancur and Barc os administrations efforts at democratic opening, but they did not really take root un til the beginning of the 1990s. To borrow from Jaquette (1994), the 1991 Cons titution and later the implemented GAD programs of Sampers government changed the perceived permeability of the state to civil society interventions. Many feminist NGOs, for example, viewed the new climate as a chance to influence a democratizing state that might be well-disposed to womens participation and interested in promoting a gender perspective in policies. As one feminist activist and director of a womens program of a labor NGO put it: In the decade of the 1990s ther e are huge changes for the Co lombian feminist movement, one is the new Constitution that talks about a new participatory democracy And this is contextualized with the fall of the Berlin Wall, the radicality of the Le ft begins to question its methods for changing society. We are part of this profound inte rnational movement, it affects us, so we changed from being anti-Sta te to being those who promote the new State (quoted in Murdock 2003:513).


49 Indeed, it was in this decade that the state f unded as much as 40-50 percent of Colombian NGOs (lvarez 1999:196). During the earlyto mid-1990s therefore, scholars began to document an increased cooperation between NGOs and the stat e (Carroll 1992; Fisher 1992), focusing on the state-NGO linkage and NGO policy advocacy as a ke y dimension in the promotion of democracy and in the promotion of a gender perspective. From the mid-to late-1990s, however, scholar ly attention began to center on the changing nature of the state-NGO relati onship brought on by the concer ted move of many countries toward a more private-sector rather than stateoriented economic policy. The most dramatic and obvious impact on civil society or ganizations, such as NGOs, was th at they were now relating to a neoliberal -state, whose private-sector orientation reinforced a new reliance on and heavy use of NGOs for a wide range of program evaluati ons and implementation. As already noted, neoliberal policy makers, especially those w ho understand democracy as inherently tied to capitalism and private enterprise, see NGOs as promoting democracy because they are independent of the state apparatus. For this reason, national and international policy makers who are inclined toward so-called free market principles tend to view NGOs as an efficient means for the economic and social development of the so-called third world countries. Specifically, the more states were downsized due to neoliberal reforms, the more the integration of NGOs into government programs came to be regarded as the vehicle of choice the Magic Bullet for fostering currently fashi onable development strategies (Gruhn 1997:325). State cutbacks resulting from neoliberal reform policy lead to governments using NGOs as substitutes for state services. Here governments subcontract out formerly state provided social welfare programs to NGOs. Colombia serves as a good illustration of how a significant portion


50 of the work toward developing a gender persp ective has become (unfortunately, according to some) overly NGOized. Although Colombia avoided the worst effects of the 1980s debt crisis that devastated much of the Latin American landscapeColombia s economy during the crisis actually has the highest average rate of a nnual economic growth, at 3.7 pe rcent (Snchez 2001:9)this good fortune ended in 1998 when the recently elected President Pastrana declared an economic and social emergency (Murdock 2003:514). The co untry had entered a f ull recession by 1999, and the official unemployment rate reached 20 percent, the highest in the Americas (Reina 2001:75). Besides the high rates of unemployment and its effect on the p opulations ability to meet its own basic needs, signi ficant adjustments were made in government expenditures as prescribed by neoliberal reform policiesnamel y, cutbacks in social fundi ng. The Medelln city government, for example, experienced economic cutbacks that postponed planned increases in public expenditures (Murdock 2003:514). Government funded womens development prog rams were affected by this situation. Several programs budget approvals were postponed, restricted (as in the case with Medellns City Agency for Women, La Casa de la Mujer), or terminated altoge ther (Murdock 2003:514). As Murdock (2003:514) expl ains, [w]hile legal debates rega rding womens rights continued, the more expensive womens development progra ms were facing extreme budgetary restrictions, thus reducing the potential for feminist advoc acy on development policy even further. Not surprisingly, NGOs became a panacea in city gov ernments facing the social funding cutbacks outlined by neoliberal policies. One Secretary of Social Welfare and Community Action in Cali, for instance, noted how efficient it was to hire NGOs to execute government programs: I could contract 1,000 public servants but instead I hire 200 NGOs There are no resources and


51 that way we can do more in the social realm ( quoted in lvarez 1999:195). Similarly, the head of The Municipal Division for Women and Gender said, We dont execute anything or implement anything we work with NGOs, but not with all of them (quoted in lvarez 1999:195). For this reason, Latin America witnesse d a surge in the 1990 s of NGOs specializing in gender policy assessment, project execution, a nd social service delivery that have received public prominence (lvarez 1999). Neoliberal-NGO Relationship: Some Concerns For som e, the emphasis on a gender policy ag enda has produced several problems. According to lvarez (1999:182), a result of the growing interd ependent relationship between NGOs and neoliberal centers of power and influence is a less self-eviden tly progressive set of gender-focused policies, centered on incorpor ating the poorest of the poor women into the market and promoting self-help, civil society-le d strategies. In response to Latin American states embracing the New Policy Agendaba sed on beliefs organized around neoliberal economics and liberal democratic theory (Hulme and Edwards 1997:5)many NGOs have needed to formalize their organizational practices as well as moderate thei r discourses to be able to interact with neoliberal state agencies a nd international bodies (Cra ske 1998). For example, the political capital and pattern of donors favoring larger, already well-resourced, more professionalized feminist NGOs whose work has measurable policy-relevance over smaller, less formalized, typically more grassroots organizations has put into question the democratizing ability of NGOs (lvarez et al. 2002:554). In brief, st ate cutbacks and an intensification of the gender policy advocacy lo gic has engendered a new set of circumstances with regards to NGOs efforts to foster a gende r perspective within de velopment discourse and practice. lvarez (1999) offers three significant consequences to consider.


52 First, states turning to NGOs as gender experts rather than as citi zens groups advocating on behalf of womens rights, threatens to reduce any cultural and polit ical action regarding gender equity to simply technical issues. By technical lvarez (1999:192) means to say that governments typically hire specialized NGO research teams to conduct policy impact studies or needs assessments surveys, but seldom encourage, much less require, wider political debate with civil society co nstituencies with the highes t stakes in gender-focused programs or with other actors in the feminist field. NGOs are most often consulted as experts who can evaluate gender policies and programs rather than as movement organizations that might facilitate citizen i nput and participation in the formulation and design of such policies. Thus while many neoliberal states have adopted a gendered perspective in their development approach (e.g., WID and GAD), it ha s come at the expense of making gender a primarily technical feature. In this case, ne oliberal states have sought to further privatize social welfare but have had to face the re ality of the deleterious effects of market structural adjustment policies on women (Craske 1998:104). Indeed, recent Latin American policy with a gender perspective forms an integral part of what we might call gendered social adjustment strategiesprograms targeted at those groups most clearly excluded or victimized by [structural adjustment policies] (lvarez et al. 1998:22). Here, gendered programs refer to practices that help facilitate womens incorporation into neoliberal development. The problem emerges because while gender has become a central concept of neo liberal states lexicon, it has also acquired an overly technical meaninga power neutral indicator of modernity and development rather than a power-laden fiel d of unequal relations be tween women and men (lvarez 1999:192). Second, NGOs are increasingly treated as surrogates for, rather than representatives of, civil society. Interest in NGOs as sites of gender advocacy has grown as many neoliberal governments in Lain America express their inte ntions to encourage t he incorporation and participation of all civil society in the task of generating new gender so cial relations (SERNAM


53 1994:7). NGOs, in this case, have been targeted as prominent actors within the vast array of civil society organizations that can act as essential intermediaries for societys female constituency. The issue here, however, is that while governme nts, donors, and other entities profess a deep interest in fostering a strong civil society, the criteria used in choosing which NGOs will be consulted or funded for such purposes may not be related to whether such NGOs actually function as conduits for the people th ey are supposed to represent. Again, professionalized NGOs are privileged vi s--vis other organizations. A hierarchy has emerged whereby [i]n most countries, thos e NGOs who possessed polic y-specialized staff, had previous experience in the UN process, and earned handsome fo reign fundingirrespective of their links to larger soci al constituencieswere usually the ones selected (lvarez 1999:193). Evidence for intermediation is thus highly based on NGOs technical capabilities for maximizing impact and conducting policy evaluation, rather than their ability to involve meaningfully women. In this respect, as professionalized NGOs increasingly become the primary surrogate for civil society and gender advocacy, the worry is that this undermines the need [and I would add willingness] to establish public forums or other democratic mechanisms through which those most affected by gender pol icies might directly voice their needs and concerns (lvarez 1999:194). A final concern listed by lvarez (1999:183) is the recent phenome non of subcontracting out NGOs to advise or carry out government womens programs, which undermines NGOs ability to critically monitor policy, advocate more thoroughly on be half of women, and even to examine their own internal structures. Fueli ng this growing trend in Latin America is the persistent neoliberal theme of co-partnership which highlights the relationship between the state and civil society as the source for social welfare. Co-partne rship here must be put within


54 the context of neoliberal structural adjustment policies which have cutback all but specifically targeted or emergency social programs and have led governments to promote self-help strategies for combating poverty and providing we lfare at the local leve l (Craske 1998:105). Civil society, and in particular NGOs, have become central components in the implementation of these projects given the social-welfare responsibilities now eschewed by neoliberalisms shrinking state (lvarez et al. 1998:1). In this respect, training with a gender perspective ( capacitacin con una perspectiva de gnero ) has become a major growth industry in Latin America and is being performed by feminist and non-feminist NGOs alike. Specifi cally, [m]uch of this involves job training programs aimed at the poorest of the poor, particul arly women heads-of-household, in an effort to keep them from slipping through the wide fissures at the bottom of the bottom of the neoliberal barrel (lvarez 1999:195). But while ne oliberal states have created a need for NGOs to supply training programs and other subcontracted services, st ate cutbacks have also placed NGOs in a context of diminishing funds and resources. Thus Latin American NGOs find themselves in a paradox: they are increas ingly dependent on government-funded programs to survive (Schild 1998:105), but their funding remains contingent upon their becoming more technical and less oriented toward critical types of movement activ ities. NGOs are put in the position to have to compete amongst themselves for funds; and what scholars have found is that professionalized NGOs have begun to acquire a privileged position on the funding food-chain, while more grassroots, less professionalized NGOs are either scram bling to survive or disappearing altogether (Schild 1998:105). As Gill (1997) notes, Latin American NGOs ha ve had to face the reality of neoliberal economic policies that limit the pool of state re sources and made the process of obtaining funds


55 more competitive. Given this context, many NGOs have made a commitment to policy advocacy and policy formulation. Simply put, general decl arations about the need for womens equality and justice are not enough in a hostile political arena. NGOs of all stripes must come armed with well-researched facts and s ophisticated, yet practic al, proposals if they wish to be taken seriously and hope to acquire any resources (Murdock 2003:515). Given the complex, if not difficult, nature of the NGO universe, it is not surprising that there is no consensus on the impact of these organizations for the democratization of Latin America. The experience of feminist and non-feminist NGOs in Latin America has shown that they can serve as a powerful base from which women can organize gende r-based interests to influence state policy, but, accord ing to Ewig (1999), it must be recognized that NGOs cannot replace the state, or at least should not act as surrogates to ci vil society when serving target populations. Subcontracting NGOs simply gives neo liberal states an excu se for dismissing their own obligation to social welfare. Going Beyond the Doing Good? Question There continues to be a great tendency in the NGO literature to evaluate and to ask whether NGOs are doing good. Scholars looking at Latin Am erica emphasize how these organizations have been influenced by a context of intens ifying neoliberal economic policies and state downsizing, but disagree about the political effects of these in fluences (lvarez 1999; Barrig 1998; Garcia-Castro 2001; Lebon 1996; Lind 2000; Th ayer 2000). This is largely because there are questions at stake about whether (NGO) d evelopment is a prac tice that perpetuates capitalisms global expansion and, of course, whet her globalization is in fact beneficial or harmful. For those who see development favorabl y, but seek alternative development strategies, NGOs are labeled good. In this case, NGOs are compared to the state but considered to be more efficient service providers and more clos ely tied to grassroots co mmunities (Carroll 1992).


56 Some are more critical of development discourse, particularly those who are eager to see more grassroots mobilization agains t capitalist expansio n. For them NGOs are more often bad because they help the deepening [of] the neolib eral project (Gill 2000:11) by facilitating state privatization, obscuring class politics, and disrupting grassroots mobilization (Gill 2000; Edelman 1991; Arellano Lpez and Petras 1994). According to Murdock (2003), however, th e doing good question suffers from both epistemological and ethical difficulties. In the fi rst case, the question seems to imply a return to dualistic categorizations, wher ein those NGOs viewed as resisting neoliberalism, professionalization, and other forc es do good while others may not The problem here is that the concept of resistance is appr oached with essentialistic cate gories. Resistance is thought to have inherent properties, featur es, and manifestations, but this ignores the socially constructed nature of events. In other words, resistance it self must be interprete d within contexts (Gal 1995; Kondo 1999). According to Murdock (2003) classifying NGOs through essentialistic categories obscures their historica lly specific realities and practices such as the extent to which NGO members think about, embrace, and negotiate their experiences both with communities and within NGOs themselves. Ethically speaking, researchers must be cogni zant and sufficiently reflexive regarding the impact that their commentary has on their subjects. As was mentioned, the current neoliberal context has made the process of obtaining funding a particularly complex, highly technical, and high stake venture. Thus researchers must c onsider how they report their findings, given NGOs delicate and heavy reliance on donor funding for survival. At issue here is what feminist scholars refer to as the complex ity of the researche r-subject relationship (Wolf 1996). In this case, while it is important to deconstruct the power dynamics in which NGOs are situated (e.g.,


57 white capitalist patriarchy), it is equally important to be aware of the power relations that are part of the research process itself. Simply put, scholarly commentary is also a political act that may have implications within the political real m in which NGO actors reside. It is in this vein that Murdock (2003:508) calls researchers to go beyond the doing good question that has contributed to reproducing a static and re ductionistic dimension to NGO research. In other words, asking if NGOs are doing good has imposed a one-dimensional analysis of NGOs, producing oversimplified descrip tions that encourage dualistic categorizations of NGOs as being either good or bad. The following section suggests how a focus on the selfand collective id entity work of women NGO member s allows for a more dynamic and nuanced understanding of the NGO phenomena and the impact these activities have for the promotion of a gender perspective within this domain. Studying NGOs Today: Invest igating NGO Identity Work Call to NGO Researchers As discussed earlier, state downs izing and neoliberal adjustment policies have significantly changed the conditions under which NGOs operate and fashion a gender pers pective in term s of their objectives and practices. In this respect, Fisher (1997:439) notes that a majority of the NGO literature is filled with statements about the potentials of NGOs for delivering welfare services, implementing development projects, and f acilitating democratization; and instrumental treatise on building the capacity of NGOs to perform these functions. This penchant, however, has led to fewer investigations that recognize NGOs as a micro -practicethat is, as evolving processes situated in a complex of competing an d overlapping interpretive practices. According to Fisher (1997:441), what is evid ent in the NGO liter ature today is relatively few detailed studies of what is happen ing in particular places or within specific organizations, few analyzes of the impact of NGO practices on relations of power among individuals, communities, and the state, and lit tle attention to the discourse within which


58 NGOs are presented as the solution to problem s of welfare service delivery, development, and democratization. More contemporary NGO scholars make a similar c ontention by noting that lack of attention to the local dimension of NGOs (Markowitz 2001 ; Lind 2000). As Markowitz (2001:42) points out, [l]ocal here, refers not to villages but to close observation of the small interaction that constitutes the lived experience of promoting, accepting, and contes ting modes of social change. In this vein, Fisher (1997:447) cites the need for analyses that find ways to appreciate and reveal NGOs particularities of history, cu lture, and even individual expe rience. The reason for this is the simple fact that NGOs are quite dizzy ing in their diversity of history, philosophy, objectives, personnel, structures, and constituenci es. In short, NGOs are anything but fixed or homogenous; they are instead complex in both form and practice and thus require studies that attend to their dynamic and heterogeneous character. Murdock (2003:511), for example, contends NGO researchers should concentrate on how NGO women are engaged in consci ous dialogue and debate. This is because, at present, researchers task may not be to ask whether they [NGOs] are doing goo d, but rather to ask what are the constraints and affordances under whic h they attempt to do good as they define it (Murdock 2003:508). Specifically, ther e is a gap in the literature that indicates a need to think about the dynamic nature of womens interpretati ons of and negotiations with external forces that also inform shifting NGO strategies [to] avoid a superficial re ndering of behavior and experience (Murdock 2003:511-12). What is importa nt is that a dimension of the NGO literature has turned its attention to an alyzing NGO members interpretiv e activity in the process of constructing an identity (lvarez 1999; Murdock 200). In short, some scholars are claiming that it is important to study the social construction of identity, esp ecially the relationship between a sense of self and collective identity in NGOs.


59 NGOs as Discursive Terrains In this vein, lvarez (1999:185) suggests th at N GOs should be understood in a specific waynamely, as a discursive field of action wh ich includes a vast array of cultural, social, and political arenas. Drawing from an analysis of contemporary femini sm in India, Rakka Ray (1999:6, emphasis in the original) expl ains that a political [discurs ive] field can be thought of as a structured, unequal, and soci ally constructed environment within which organizations are embedded and to which organizations and activists consta ntly respond. While the concept of field is not explicitly taken up in this work, its contribution to social movement scholarship has been to highlight that social m ovement organizations represent fl uid and contested terrains that are shaped by distributions of in terests, power and resources. Applying this view to NGOs reveals both the ag enic and the socially circumscribed nature of NGO members. NGOs are not simply a static aggregation of organizational/individual ideas and practices or the mere result of pressures from extant forces. To borrow from Mansbridges description of the U.S. feminist movement (1995:27), NGOs constitute a discourse in that they exhibit a set of changing, cont ested aspirations and understandings that provide conscious goals, cognitive backing, and emotional support for each i ndividuals identity. More specifically, NGOs and their members are constantly negotia ting and renegotiating political identities and practices while tied to a range of similarly produced economic, political, and social spaces. According to lvarez, it is significant to talk about NGOs as a form of discourse or representing a discursive field of action because this approach draws attention to social actors ongoing interpretive activity and the context in wh ich it is embedded. In this way, researchers move away from reductionist explanations of the meaning of behaviors that view NGOs as either statically possessing an orientation (e.g., ge nder policy advocacy) or mechanically responding to external factors (e.g., a neoliberal environment).


60 Murdocks (2003) study of femini st NGOs in Medelln makes this very point, noting that many women in feminist NGOs in the late 1990s re tained a commitment to policy advocacy as a developed strategy to effect change in a hostile climate. This environment included reduced funding for social programs due to neoliberal stat e cutbacks, the escalatio n of political violence between 1998 and 2000 as President Pastrana began peace negotiations with the FARC (Armed Revolutionary Forced of Colombia), and public pr otests against the budget-cuts, which were met violently by the state and the militarized Right. Presented with these difficulties, women working for feminist NGOs set about removing obsta cles they could controlsuch as their lack of experience in policy formulation, and their hi storically antagonistic stance toward parties and government (Murdock 2003:515). In other words, NGO members activity cannot disconnected from the set of meanings used to orient their behavior. Rather than being engaged in the simple reproduction of social reality, NGO members activ ely interpret and nego tiate the structural forces they experience, along with the set of goals and practices employed to respond to this context. The main idea here is that some NGOs may not simply be described as robotically serving the handmaidens of neoliberal planetary patr iarchy (lvarez 1999:199), but rather must be recognized as taking interpretive stances on a va riety of issues and factors, such as their commitments to social change and assessmen t of opportunities. For this reason, lvarez (1999:200) adamantly asserts that NGOs are hardly doomed to become a part of what some critics have dubbed the antipolitics machine of development or the community face of neoliberalism Blanket assessments of NGOs as handmaidens of neoliberal planetary patriarchy fail to capture the ambiguities and variations in both the local implementation of the New Gender Policy Agenda and in and among NGOs themselves. Such variations would surely influence just how much room may be available for NGOs to maneuver within the confines of the restructured late modern, pos t-transition, and post-Bei jing terrain of local and global gender politics.


61 According to Tarrs (1997), a way to avoi d making blanket assessments that render invisible the nuances and vari ations in the NGO phenomena includes paying attention to the socially constructed identity of NGO members. Th is means seeing that the space created by the NGO stimulates a re-elaboration of the identity of its members as social and political subjects (Tarrs 1997:4). Put differently, studying the i dentity work of NGO members helps to show the interpretive and negotiated quali ty of their social reality. In this way, researchers gain an understanding grounded in the meanings NGO women use to make sense of their experiences within particular contexts. Because limited qualitative work has examined the identity work undertaken within NGOs, this study can add to our understanding of how women discursively construct selves and a sense of collectivity within an NGO. A particular benefit of this type of wo rk is that, as Fisher (1997:450) notes, in understanding the heterogeneity of histories and processes from which NGOs emerge and within which they operate, we are prepared to explore the further opportunities for and constraints on NGOs. This echoes lvarezs (1999) argument that to appreciate better how much room may be availa ble for NGOs to maneuver within the confines of the restructured late modern terrain of local and global gender politics researchers must avoid generalizations by capturing the intricate processes in both the local implementation of the New Gender Policy Agenda and in and amon g NGOs themselves. The study proposed here accomplishes this task by shifting our attention from NGOs as a static set of ideals and practices to a fluid web of relationships (Fisher 1997: 450). Specifically, highlighting the numerous connections of NGO actions to the flows of funding, knowledge, ideas, and peoples can reveal new and innovative possibilities for NGO practices (Fisher 1997:450).


62 Chapter 3 discusses the key theoretical orientations that will be used to capture the identity work of NGO women. In partic ular, these theoretical outlook s aid in understanding (1) the interpretive processes of self-c onstruction and (2) how these ac tivities are situated in and contributive to a sense of colle ctivitynamely, being part of th e realities of an NGO. The attempt is made to view womens selves as actively and dynamically constructed in situ (with the NGO) so that questions about NGOs, such as whether NGOs are doing good, are not divorced from an understanding of what happens in sp ecific places and at specific times (Fisher 1997:449). In all, this study looks at how unders tandings of gender in an NGO are constructed, sustained, and critiqued by the way NGO wome n frame their identit ies, concerns, and relationships with others in the organization. In this way, a more detailed exploration emerges of the types of gender discourses and practi ces being reproduced and/or subverted in NGOs today.


63 CHAPTER 3 THEORETICAL ORIENTATION This study intends to continue the work in the NGO literature with regards to discourses about gender in developm ent but considers how it might be expanded with the contributions of the following theoretical frameworks: new soci al movement (NSM) theory, particularly the framing perspective (Snow and Benford 1988, 1992; Benford and Snow 2000; Broad 2002), feminist intersections analysis (Baca-Zinn and Thorton-Dill 1996; Collins 2000; hooks 1981), and active interviewing (Holstei n and Gubrium 1995). Following the version of grounded theory outlined by Strauss and Corbin (1998), these persp ectives and related concepts provide the basis for the theoretical sensitivity that will be used to understand the identity work of NGO women. Consistent with this view of gr ounded theory, the point is not to test a specific th eory, but rather to use these orientations as guides when exploring identity processes. New Social Movement Perspectiv e on NGOs: Rationale for Use Im portant insights about colle ctive action have come from the literature on social movements. The NGO phenomenon, however, has been under-examined from a social movement perspective.6 Ecksteins (1989) review of th e predominant literature on popular protest and contemporary social movements in Latin America, for example, analyses the variety of forms of protests but not the institutional vehicles, such as NGOs used to articulate it. This tendency stems in part from what Clarke (1998:38) calls the anti-institutional bias adopted by some scholarship. In this scholarship, social movements are often understood as a collective, organized, sustained, and noninstitutional challenge to authorities, powerholders, or cultural beliefs and practices (Goodwin and Jasper 2003:3, emphasis added). The general omission of NGOs in the social movement literature relates to how some scholars are opposed to the 6 Exceptions to this include Bebbington (1996), Sethi (1993), Landim (1993), and Wignaraja (1993)


64 institutionalization of social movements th at the NGO phenomenon seems to imply (Clarke 1998:39). Fisher (1997:451) makes this point by noting [t]his overs ight occurs in part because analysts of social movements generally ster eotype NGOs as primarily social development agencies and contrast the bureaucratization or in stitutionalization characteristic of some NGOs with the more fluid and fragmented nature of social movements. The idea that NGOs and social movements should be approached as if they were categorically separate concepts, however, ign ores the evidence that NGOs often initiate or sustain social movements or ar e the institutional vehicles that articulate protest and collective action, Fisher (1997:451) notes. It is thus important to recogn ize that Latin American NGOs have been vital in fashioning a nd circulating the discourses, tr ansformational goals, and ethicalpolitical principles that are constitutive of movement[s], such as the womens, feminist and other collective actions (lvarez 1999:185). In speaking about the Latin American feminist movement in particular, l varez (1999:185) writes that: NGOs have played a central role in setting up and sustaining these vari ous forms of formal articulation among the vast range of actors w ho make up the [Latin American] feminist field. They have been crucial to articula ting what I call social movement websthe capillary connections among feminists and their sympathizers who now occupy a wide variety of social and politic al locations That is, in producing and circulating innumerable newsletters and publications, organizing issue-focused conferences and seminars, establishing electronic networks and a wide gamut of other communications media, NGOs have functioned as the key nodal points through which the spatially dispersed and organizationally fragmented femi nist field remains divisively articulated. Indeed, the rise of NGOs in the late 20th century coincides with what some consider as a new era of womens mobilizat ion in Latin America (Jaque tte 1989:4; Jaquette and Wolchik 1998). Given the growing view of NGOs as a form of, or support for, collective action, Fisher (1997:450-51) argues that NGO scholarship today is in need of theore tical frameworks that alert us to the complexities of local sites, attend to the multiple subjectivities of actors, [and] direct our attention from local sites to [their] larg er contexts.


65 This work argues that the role of new social movement (NSM) theory offers a way to understand the construction of subjectivities within NGOs because it captures the everyday interpretive (framing) practices of social actors and the contex tual settings in which these identities are fashioned. To the extent that NSM scholarsh ip centers on identity work anything people do, individually or collectively, to give meaning to themselves or others (Schwalbe and Mason-Schrock 1996:115)an NSM orientation assists in focusing on issues of NGO members identity and mean ing, which are necessary to avoid overessentializing NGOs (Fisher 1997:450). An NSM perspective allows for this because it understands selves to be principally agenic and cultura lly circumscribed (Holstein and Gubrium 2000:12; Broad 2002). That is, identities represent interpretive cons tructions that are simultaneously embedded in particular circumstances, such as already established agendas, discourses, and resources. This perspective is relevant given th e recent call by some for NGO re searchers to start [u]npacking the micropolitics of NGOs (Fisher 1997:450) by pa ying particular attention to social actors ongoing negotiations of meaning and practice (M urdock 2003:508). An NSM point of view offers the conceptual means to examine this und erstudied facet of the NGO terrain because of its new emphases on culture, personal identity, a nd everyday life (Best an d Kellner 1997: 271). In this study, the NSM perspectiv e known as framing is used as an analytic for examining the production of NGO selves and their collective acti on. In particular, the recent formulation in NSM literature of framing as interpretive practice is principally adopted. Framing Perspective: A Brief Overview In a recent overview of the fram ing perspe ctive, Benford and S now (2000:611) note that the concept of frame has gained widespread us e in the social scienc es, such as cognitive psychology, linguistics, discourse an alysis, communications, media studi es and political science. It has been particularly popular in analytical and empirical studies in sociology, perhaps because


66 of Goffmans (1974) book Frame Analysis: An Essay on the Organization of Experience In this early formulation, Goffman (1974:21) defines frames as schemata of interpretation that allow individuals to locate, perceive, identify, and label themselves, others, and occurrences in the world. Frames are the means by which persons fashion and assign meaning to phenomena (e.g., an event, a person, an object, etc.). To bo rrow from Goffman, fram es are a way in which individuals organize experience for the purposes of guided action. Benford and Snow (2000) also point out that within sociology framing has been an important theoretical orientation in the st udy of social movements and collective action, especially with respect to the framing processes that are part of the collective action. In this context, frames represent organized attempts by persons or groups to hi ghlight certain social conditions in order to create some type of social change (Snow and Benford 1988, 1992). Persons or groups frame, or assign meaning to a nd interpret, relevant events and conditions in ways that are intended to mobilize potential adherents and constituents, to garner bystander support and to demobilize antagonists (Snow a nd Benford 1988:198). For this study, framing will provide both a theoretical and empirical link between micro-level action of NGO members and macro-level conditions in which these actors are situated. Framing as Meaning Making Work Scholarship focused on the fram ing processes of collective action emerged, in large part, as a reaction to a dimension ignored in the social movement literature up to the mid-1980s, that is, meaning workthe struggle over the production of mobilizing and countermobilizing ideas and meanings (Benford and Snow 2000:613). As Snow and Benford (1992) note, while ideas, meanings, beliefs, values, and the more general no tion of ideology have been part of the early history of social movement literatu re, these concepts tended to be tr eated as static descriptions or dismissed as irrelevant to collective action. The marginalization of meaning work has


67 traditionally is a consequence of the heavy emphasis on structure and institutional arrangements in early social movement literature, such as in the perspectives of resource mobilization and political process. Respectively these views emph asized the role of resources (e.g., time, money, etc.) and political conditions in th e rise, maintenance, or fall of co llective mobilization. In all, social movements were seen as merely carrier s of extant ideas and meanings that grow automatically out of structural arrangements, unanticipated events, or existing ideologies (Benford and Snow 2000:613). In contrast, the framing perspective recognizes that actors are more than carriers of movements; they are also actively invol ved in the production, maintenance, and subversion of meanings fo r constituents, antagonists, and bystanders or observers (Benford and Snow 2000:613). To borrow from Hall (1982), actors in collective mobilization are involved in the politics of signification. The notion of framing is used by scholars, in this case, to convey the signifying work and meaning construction of movement actor s (Gamson, Fireman, and Rytina 1982; Snow and Benford 1988). Reminiscent of the early work of theorists like George Herbert Mead and Herbert Blumer, these formulations attempt to m ove away from behaviorist notions that view social action in the reductionistic framework of stimulus-response. People do not simply respond to given stimuli (e.g., an economic envi ronment); action is charted from within symbolic interaction As suggested by its Greek root synbol symbol means to throw together. In this case, the social world is not obtrusive, or a thing to use Emile Durkheims imagery. Instead, reality is symbolic to the extent that persons construct (throw together) a world through a process of meaning making. For this reason, Lyotard (1 984:35) argues that behavior does not emerge stricto sensu as a product of mechanical stimuli-res ponse processes; instead, it works. In short, human volition is not ancillary, but essent ial to the generation of behavior or movement.


68 From a framing perspective, social action is thus an agenic, dynamic, and contentious process of constructing realit y. As Benford and Snow ( 2000:614) explain, social action understood as framing is active in the sense that something is be ing done, and processual in the sense of a dynamic, evolving process. It entails agency in the sense that what is evolving is the work of social movement organizations or movement activists. And it is contentious in the sense that it involves the generation of interpretive frames that not only differ from existing ones but that may also challenge them. Moreover, this process of crea ting interpretive frames (meani ng constructs) is not done in isolation but with others (in interaction), and thus in the soci al movement literature the products of framing activity are referred to as collective action frames. There are different traditions with respect to frames. Some scholars (see Johnston 1995; Klandermans 1997) view frames more as psychological schemas, or cognitive maps, when explaining behavior. More sociol ogical approaches, however, prefer to see frames not as maps (that could imply static organization) but more as meaning works produced in interaction with others. For this reason, Gamson (1992:111) distinguish es collective action frames from schemas in that [c]ollective action frames are not merely aggregations of individual attitudes and perceptions but also the outcome of ne gotiation shared meaning. The verb framing is a constant reminder that humans do not simply read off the meaning of the world via schemas, but more importantly bring a world into being through in terpretive activity engaged with others. Meaning Work for Collective Action Snow and Benford (1992:67-68) def ine colle ctive action frames as emergent actionoriented sets of belief and meanings that insp ire and legitimate social movement activities and campaigns. Collective action frames are thus th e result of the signifying work done by social movements, communities, and groups of people. Collective action frames organize and give meaning to the world out there in ways that mobilize potential adherents and constituents, to


69 garner bystander support, and to demobili ze antagonist (Snow a nd Benford 1988:198). Collective action frames can be understood as the in terpretive set of beliefs and meanings that inspire and legitimate the activities and campaigns of a social movement organization (Benford and Snow 2000:614). Within the social movement literature there have generally been two characteristic features in collective action frames: core framing tasks and discursive processes. The former refers primarily to collective action frames action-or iented function that serve social movement organizations, while the latter deals with the interactive process that generate the frames and their core tasks (Benford and Snow 2000:615). As movement actors construct and negotiate a shared understanding of what they define as a problematic situation (e.g., poverty, gender inequality, etc. ) that is in need of change, collective action frames are made. However, the process of meaning making does not end here; movement participants clarify these frames for the purpos es of assigning blame fo r the problem, explaining how the situation could be remedi ed with alternative arrangements, and motivating others (often non-participants) to act in concert with movement actors to promote the proposed change. These efforts also constitute framing processes and are referred to as core framing tasks; they are centrally important to the live lihood of movements and their re lated organizations. As was discussed earlier, NGOs may also be regarded as important organizations with respect to their impact on collective action, as in th e case of their gender advocacy work. Snow and Benford (1988) discuss three types of core framing tasks: diagnostic framing, prognostic framing, and motivational framing. Diagnostic framing involves the process of identifying a problem or set of problems. Sc holars have shown that movement organizations articulate injustice frames (Gamsom, Fireman, Rytina 1982). Studies draw attention to the


70 way in which movements identify the victims and perpetrators of a specific injustice and often amplify victimization (Best 1987; White 1999) The function of diagnostic framing is to focus on what/who is to blame or st ands to be responsible for the ex istence of situation in need of change. Benford (1987) notes, however, that co nsensus does not necessarily follow from this process and often can be the source of intramove ment conflict. As noted in Chapter 2, for example, NGOs and their constituents may diffe r in evaluating the impact of the gender policy agenda and professionalization of NGOs for the promotion of a gender perspective in development (lvarez 1999; Ewig 1999; Fisher 1997). Prognostic framing consists of articulating a proposed solution to the problem, or at least a strategy to alleviate the situa tion. Diagnostic and prognostic fram ing are sometimes related, in that the identification of specific problems and their causes can lead to an implicit solution namely, the elimination of the source of the a ssumed problem. Thus the process of diagnosing can constrain the range of perceived solutions and strategies. Because prognostic framing includes offering solutions or al ternative arrangements to t hose suggested opponents, Benford (1987:75) introduce the idea of c ounterframing to convey the way movement organizations contrast themselves to the people or organizations being associated with th e problem in question. As Fisher (1997) notes, NGOs have often been d ubbed as a solution to the problems associated with development, particularly because of their perceived distan ce from the politics of the state and private interest. The final core framing task is motivational framing, and which offers the rationale for people to engage in colle ctive action to ameliorate a condition. Motivational frames are the call to arms component that provides the vocabul ary and motive for mobilization. Gamson (1995) refers to this facet as the agen cy component of collective action frames. In a study of the Latin


71 American and Caribbean Feminist meetings called Encuentros (Encounters), lvarez et al. (2002) show that the issue of autonomy has recently emerged as an important motive for collective action. In this case, however, questions were raised about the de gree of autonomy of NGOs, especially feminist ones, from the expa nding neoliberal contex t and whether NGOs as institutions of this system have sold out to the forces of n eoliberal patriarchy (lvarez 1999:199). Beyond the core framing tasks, the second f acet of collective action frames noted by Benford and Snow (2000: 623) is the interpretive, discursive pr ocess of frame development and generation. Discursive processes refer to the talk, c onversations, and written communications of movement participants that take place during or regarding movement activities. Two types of processes are frame articulation and frame amplif ication. The first involves the connection and alignment of events and experien ces so that they hang together in a relatively unified and compelling fashion (Benford and Snow 2000: 623). Here experiences are assembled and packaged through meaning-work. lvarez (1999), for example, demonstrates the importance of the publications, pamphlets, conferences, and seminars put together by NGOs to allow itself and other social movements to stay discursivel y articulated. Frame amplification involves highlighting and accenting a particular issue or belief. Sometimes this takes place through powerful slogans that speak to the larger frame of the movement. The foregoing discussion of the characteristics as sociated with frames was not mean to be exhaustive (see Benford and Snow 2000), but to draw attention to what Benford (1997:413) refers to as the fact that frame has two different implications as a metaphor, sometimes referred to as the noun/verb tension. That is, fr ames imply a substantive dimension (frames as noun) and a processual one (fram ing as verb) dimension. According to Benford (1997), both


72 sides are needed to appreciate meaning work in collective activities and their dual use is represents a major contribution of the framing perspective. Recent Concern with Framing Analysis Recently, s cholars have been discussing the state of framing practices and its different connotations (Benford 1997; Benford and S now 2000; Ferree and Merrill 2000; Snow and Benford 2000). In particular, attention has centered on how the noun/verb tension has been treated in the lite rature. Benford (1997:414), for example, offers an insiders critique of the framing literature by arguing that inquiry has ove remphasized a description of frames (as nouns) which has lead to a laundry list of types of frames. This, in turn, has neglected important work on the active construction and gene ration of framesnamely, the act of framing (as verb). Hart (1996) similarly points out that while much ha s been said about how movement participants select frame characteristics that will be appealing to potential participants much less is known about how frames get made. The descriptive penchant in framing studi es, according to Snow and McAdam (2000:62), suggests that the link between a movements co llective identity and the personal or individual identities of movement adherents has received a lmost no attention in the literature. In other words, the understandable focus on the collectiv e in collective action has rendered invisible the personal within this domain. Benford and Snow (2000:624) acknowledge a problem which has, in part, frustrated such analytic work: research on fram ing is highly labor intensive, requiring not only fieldwork over time but access to and retr ieval of the discourse that is part and parcel of the framing process. Some locate the source of this problem in a deep assumption in NSM literature that movement collective identities become bases for members definitions of self (Stryker, Owens, and White 2000:26). In NSM literature, this assumption is perhaps best characterized by the idea


73 of frame alignment, which refers to an interactive process by which individuals worldview, grievances and actions are linked to [or made congruent with] an organization or movements agenda and actions (Ramirez-Valles 2003:208-09; S now et al. 1986). Take, for example, Snow and McAdams (2000:49) work on identity construction, wherein they recommend focusing on how personal identities of prospective participants have to be modified so as to enhance the congruence with the movements collective identity Personal-identity, then, has to a large extent been understood as self-changes in order to mold to a moveme nt or organizations collective identity. Bu t as Stryker, Owen, and White (2000: 26) contend, the problem is that merging individual and collective identities by definition or theore tical fiat obviates important theoretical and empirical issues in relation between i ndividual and collective identities. In particular, subsuming the self within collective action limits analytic approaches to the construction of self in social movement. This perceived limitation in framing analysis has lead to static tendencies that partially undermine what Snow and Benford (2000) consider the original intention of framing analysis : to provide a view of coll ective action based on the dynamic interaction of self and collective identity. Recent Advancement in Framing Analysis Recent advancem ents in the NSM and framing literature attempt to overcome the problems with analyzing the interactive self/movement nexus by understanding framing as interpretive practice (Broad, Crawley, Foley 2004:511; Broad 2002). Drawing on the work of Gubrium and Holstein (1997, 2000, 2001) and their view of the construction of subjectivities, these scholars intend to reinvigorate an interactive view of indi vidual and collective acti on. As Broad explains (2002:319), framing as interpretive practice offers an analytic th at views selves as actively constructed in interplay with a social movement. This st udy principally employs this conception of framing. I believe that it bett er captures the self a nd collective identity


74 constructions of women in NGOs regarding gend er discourses. The discussion that follows explores some of the central features of this approach to framing analysis. Framing as Interpretive Practice7 Self and Collective Nexus: An Interactive Approach Broad (2002) relies on G ubrium and Holstein s work to understand the construction of individual selves within colle ctive action. According to Gubr ium and Holstein (2000:102), the collective (e.g., social institutions, organizations, social movements) represents a set of going concerns that refer to relatively stable, routin ized, ongoing patterns of ac tion and interaction. Selves, on the other hand, are the individual construc tions that emerge amidst these going concerns or relatively stable pa tterns of interaction. Especially important is that for Gubrium and Holstein (2000:9), this suggest s that the social construction of selves emerges out of the interplay between circumstantial demands, restraints and resources, on the one hand, and selfconstituting social actions on the other. For Broa d (2002:320) the value of th is approach is that it provides a means by which to examine the self/social movement nexus that does not subsume the dynamics of self-construction in to collective constructions but e xplains them as interactive, reflexive processes. In this sense, the construction of subjectivities implies the dual workings of social context and personal agency in their formation. Subjec tivities draw from a context of going concern (e.g., NGO) and its discursive res ources, demands, and constraints in the construc tion of selfidentities. Holstein and Gubriu m (2000:12) clarify that the self is not a passive recipient that simply absorbs or consumes this context for the purposes of constructing an identity; the self is 7 This section relies on the recent theoretical and empiri cal work of Broad (2002) and Broad, Crawley, and Foley (2004) on the PFLAG movement organization in which they advance an interactive and dynamic understanding of framing processes in collective action movements and organizations.


75 far more active and should be appreciated as artfu lly agenic. Put differently, individuals must still interpret, negotiate, or give meaning to the going concern in place. Using th is perspective to study women in NGOs, it is thus becomes important to see their construction of self-identities as made under the conditions of the going concern of the NGO (e.g., gender advocacy) and even the broader context in which the NGO functions (e.g., neoliberal envi ronment). Furthermore, this perspective suggests that NGO wo men, while circumscribed by the NGO, remain agenic since they also actively interpret and negotiate this context. As Br oad (2002:320) points out, this approach understands that dis cursive environments set the conditions of possibility for constructions of self while also assuming an ethnomethodological view th at regards self as continually produced. In all, what Holstein and G ubrium (2000:104) highlight is th at the production of selves happens in the context of local cultures (e.g., organization) that provide resources for individuals identity work; or, as they note, selves are made in accordance with local relevancies (Holstein and Gubrium 2000:104). Specifically, local cu lture represents the set of regularized ways of assigning meaning and re sponding to things that is collectively derived and available for application within proxi mate circumstances (Gubrium and Holstein 1997:172). To the extent that se lves are constructed in concer t with going concerns, NGOs can be viewed as discursive resources for the produ ction of selves within this domain. Indeed, Holstein and Gubrium (2000:165) argue that selves are constit uted and informed by local cultures such as groups, organizations, and other collectivities. Thus, in this study, NGOs are considered an important site for self-production, in that they serve as the conditional, discursive resources for individuals identity work. Broa d (2002) notes, however, that these contextual conditions are not directives that speak to selv es mere embeddedness or integration into the


76 functioning of the larger collectiv e identity (like an NGO). If this were the case, framing would again return to an assumption that ultimately s ubsumes the self into the collective. Instead, Broad (2002:321) argues that It is the production of selves through interpretive practice that is embedded in the working of organization and collectives as they c ontinually create themselvesthe interplay between constructions of self and social moveme nt (collectivity). T hus the production of a social movement [in our case an NGO] self is the interaction between discursive possibilities and constitutive activit ies of identity work. Conceptualizing selves as the result of an interactive dynamic between self-production and local cultures (like an NGO), provides a unique and promising means of examining NGO selves. In particular, such a perspective would address th e need for a more ethnog raphic approach [that] would contextualize NGOs as the product of dynamic social interaction rath er than as good or bad types (Murdock 2003:509; Carroll 1992; Fisher 1997) Framing as Interpretive Practi ce: A Theoretical Strategy Borrowing from Gubrium and Holstein ( 1997), Broad, Crawley, and Foley (2004:511) adopt the strategy of framing as an interpretive practice to study the production of selves in collective action. According to th ese scholars, this view of fr aming returns to the original intention in formulating frame analysis [which] wa s to analyze both frames and framing, that is, the noun/verb dimensions of collective acti on (Broad, Crawley, and Foley 2004:511). Again, thinking in terms of NGO wo men, while womens selves are circumscribed by the going concerns (discursive resources, etc.) of the NGO, they are al so actively constructing their identities through interpretive wor k. Framing as an interpretive and intersubjective practice thus shows the collective action frames (nouns) of NGOs (what it says it believes and does), along with the framing, or meaning making, processes (verbs) that produce, co ntest, and negotiate these meanings. At heart, this interactive process is the site of the constitution of NGO selves and thus a central focus of this work, which inte nds to alert us to the complexities of local


77 [NGO] sites (Fisher 1997:450) by examining more closely womens expe riences and identity work within NGOs. According to Gubrium and Holstein (1997:114), interpretive practice is the constellation of procedures, conditions, and resources th rough which reality is apprehended, understood, organized and represented in the course of everyday life. For Gubrium and Holstein (1997:114), interpretive practice thus contains two moments that correspond to and link up the concrete and representati onal facets of frameswhich they refer to as discourses-in-practice and discursive practice Interpretive practice, in other word s, brings in both the substantive issues (the whats, or frames) and the ethnographic practices (the hows, or framing) that make up the fabric of meaning making in NGO collective ac tion. Discourses-in-pract ice are those cultural discourses in use and which constrain meaning making, in that they are already in place and functioning locally. It thus relates to the constitu tive dimension of discourse/framesthe whats. Thus, the idea of discursive practice stands as the active way individuals make meaning out of discourses already in play to c onstruct a sense of co llectivity (NGO) and se lfthe hows. This relates to the idea that reality (in this case an NGO) is not s imply substantive but also an accomplished phenomena created by social actors. Highlighting the interpretive practice of individuals in collective action shows how NGO members talk themselves into existence (Broad, Crawley, and Foley 2004). As it relates to this study, NGO women s identities are tied to their reliance on the dominant discourse s of the NGO (e.g., gender advocacy) and their interpretation and negotiation with these narratives. NGOs and Intersections of (Framing) Power A third th eoretical perspective used in this work to examine the identity work of NGO women is intersections analys is (Baca-Zinn and Thorton-Dill 1996; Collins 2000; hooks 1981). Emerging from contemporary feminist theory, this theoretical lens rev eals how experiences are


78 multi-dimensional; they imply the junction of multip le social dimensions such as gender, race, class, nationhood, sexuality, and age, to name a few (Collins 2000). These social dimensions, in other words, do not exist in isol ation from one another, but rath er are interlocked so as to produce a multiplicity of experien tial locations. To borrow fr om Bhabha (1994), sociological dimensions, such as gender and class, are not mutually exclusive categories, but rather are hybrid and crisscross one a nother. A significant consequence is the production of difference or the differentiation of experiences due to the varied intersections of these social dimensions. A specific form of difference th at results from intersectionalit y is the production of specific experiences of privilege and subordination. In Black Feminist Thought, Patricia Hill Collins (2000:23) argues that Black womens subordina tion in the United States results from intersecting oppressions of race, class, gender, sexuality, and nation. In this case, the relationship among multiple dimensions and mo dalities of social re lations and subject formations establishes specific power dynamics and arrangements among social actors (McCall 2005:1771). Again, thinking in terms of an NGO, the experiences of mi ddle/upper class, highly educated, light-skinned Colombian women may be different from women who do not have the same racial or class privileges, such as Afro-Colombian or indigenous women. Murdock (2003) has examined the extent to which the profe ssionalization of feminist NGOs in Medelln, Colombia impacts community relations by accentuat ing class differences, which threaten close relationships between NGO women and community members. Similar work, however, has not been conducted within Colombian NGOs to address inte rsectional differences between NGO members. On this note, Kondo (1990) points out that questions about NGOs cannot be answered without close attention to the situational contexts in which social actors experience and construct


79 their lives and political proj ects in an NGO. Kondo (1990) adopts a Foucau ldian (Foucault [1978] 1990) view that power is not a unidimensional force, but rather is situated within different operating domains. Thus, while some actors ma y (repeatedly) wield cons iderable power, this attribute can also be relative to ones position and shift dependi ng on the relations considered, so that those privileged with power in one relatio nship may be subjects, to a lesser or greater degree, of power in another (Kondo 1990:45) According to Collins (2000:18, 228), [i]ntersectional paradigms remind us that opp ression cannot be reduced to one fundamental type, and that oppressions work together in producing injustice through the historically specific organization of power in which social groups are imbedded and in which they aim to influence. Especially significant for this work is recogni zing the intersectional dynamics of privilege and subordination works to further de-essent ialize NGOs. This is done by refusing to universalize experiences along gende r, race, class, or other lines. Razavi and Miller (1995:3738) point out, in this regar d, that in the NGO literature the category of women is problematic, in the sense that it needs to be disaggregated: in addition to class, women are also divided by ag e and life cycle, not to mention nationality, race, ethnicity, religion and sexual preference Because women are positioned within society according to a variety of difference criteria, the interests they have in common as a group are similarly shaped in complex and sometimes conflicting ways; it is therefore difficult, if not impossible, to generalize a bout the interests of women. Although it would be a fair generalization to say that all women experience subordination, the fact that subordination has multiple causes and is extremely variable across time and space means that it is not sufficient as the single criteria fro explaining collective action. To the extent that women do not all have the same experience with subordination, intersectionally advantaged wome n may be privy to certain bene fits and protections of whitecapitalist-patriarchy that other women (of darker skin tone, lower cla ss standing, less education, etc.) may not have. Although the former may not ha ve full male privilege, they are nevertheless beneficiaries of privilege.


80 Returning to our discussion of framing processes, it is t hus possible to understand how the interpretive practices of NGO women are also tied to their intersectional experiences. More specifically, framing processes will also be differentiated along lines of privilege and subordination. Simply put, th e intersectional experiences of NGO women will influence the legitimacy or power of their interpretive practice. As a result, not all framing processes will acquire the same legitimacy. To the extent that frames, like metaphors, are ways of organizing thinking about political issues (Gamson 1992:39 ), questions may be asked regarding what frames within an NGO are being advocated, if this advocacy is uniform or contested among NGO actors, and what are the consequences of rely ing on specific framing processes. Capturing the power dynamic (the differential privilege) of framing practices of NG O women thus furthers this studys general effort to re veal the particularities of individual experience of NGO women. Intersections analysis aids this process by rendering the category of women a highly heterogeneous one (Razavi and Miller 1995:37-38). Active Interviewing Finally, this work utilize s the approach to interviewing described by Holstein and Gubrium (1995) as active. Using active interviewing is a means to focus attention on NGO womens active framing processes. In particular, active in terviewing fosters a view of the interview as a dialogical, discursive, and active process. In addition, active interviewing can provide insight into how the intersections of gender, race, cl ass, and other dimensions are negotiated and produce positions of privilege a nd subordination with respect to NGO members construction of self and sense of collectivity. As Holstein and Gubrium (1995) note, interviewees are multivocal, in that they hold multiple positions and perspectives. This recognition is used to uncover the multiple layers of e xperience that intersectional anal ysis suggests exists for NGO women. In all, active intervie wing challenges the supposed pa ssive role of the interviewee


81 (and interviewer) and thus is a useful approach to delineating the active identity work of NGO women. A brief overview of this perspective is given below, with special attention to its differences from a so-called traditional orie ntation to interviewing, its benefits for studying identity work, and its utility to highlight the intersecti onal dimension of NGO womens experiences. Before moving into an exploration of the ac tive interview approach, it is important to clarify why a discussion of this method is part of this studys theoretical or ientations, rather than being included in its methods section. After all, is not interviewing more of a methodological consideration? It is important to note that Holstein and Gubrium (1995) discuss the active interview primarily as a perspective and not simply as a methodological tool called interviewing. In short, active interviewing ma kes epistemological comments on the interview process itself. In their words: This book presents a perspectivean implicit theory of the interviewmore than an inventory of methods. We are not suggesting that the active interview is a distinctive research tool; instead, we use the term to emphasize that all interviews are realityconstructing, meaning making occasions, whethe r recognized or not. We offer a social constructionist approach that considers the process of meaning production to be as important for social research as the mean ing that is produced (Holstein and Gubrium 1995:4) As will be discussed later, active interviewing focuses our attention on not only the substantive features of meaning making (wha t is being constructed), but also the production of narratives (how meaning is made). This provides an interv iew approach that attends to the hows and whats of meaning making described in the framing literature. Traditional Interviewing: A Search and Discovery Mission Interviewing is one of the m ost common and powerful ways people try to understand one another. There are many different types and ap proaches to interviews: individual, face-to-face conversation, face-to-face group exchange, mailed (self-administered) or telephone


82 questionnaires. Interviews can al so be structured, semistructured, or unstructured in nature. For social science researchers, interviews constitute a central means by which information is obtained. Some estimate that 90% of all social science inquiry uses inte rviews as a source of data (Briggs 1986). The heavy reliance on interviews, not just by social scientis ts, but also administrators, politicians, medical practitioners, and the media has lead some to say that we live in an interview society (Atkinson and Silverman 1997). The interview as a means of knowing (e.g., to describe, interrogate, assist, te st, evaluate) is so pervasive that it is practically a universal mode of systematic inquiry (Holstein and G ubrium 1995:1). Qualitativ e researcher, however, now see interviews as more than neutral tools for gathering data; they are fundamentally active interactions between two (or more) people wher ein information and meaning are negotiated and constructed (Holstein and Gubrium 1995). Increasingly, the focus of interviews is not just on the traditional whats (substantive descriptions of ever yday life) but also the hows (the active work to make meaning and order in everyday life) (G ubrium and Holstein 1997; Holstein and Gubrium 1995; Silverman 1997). According to Holstein and Gubrium (1995:2), th e conventional image used to describe the interview is that of a search-and-discovery mi ssion, with the interviewer bent on finding what is already there inside variably c ooperative respondents. The primar y challenge of the interviewer is to extract information as directly as possible. This conception of interviewing is distinctly positivistic, in that research is assumed to begin with an empirical referent (the interviewee). This point of departure is supposed to repres ent the so-called real world embodied in the subject-respondent, as opposed to partic ular standpoint(s) be ing articulated.


83 To begin a study in this manner, interpretive judgments must be excluded as much as possible from the interview process. Although res earchers are only supposed to reflect nature, perceptual errors are always po ssible. Thus while a key methodol ogical approach in the social sciences is observation, it is only after rigorous traini ng that perception can be trusted to discover truth though interviewing Because the interv iewer and interviewee may be unreliable, the interpreter of data must be traine d to analyze data in particular way. It is the very fact that interviews represent conversations that they ar e also framed as a potential source of bias, error, misunderstanding, or misd irection, a persistent set of probl ems to be minimized (Holstein and Gubrium 1995:3). This issue has often been described as emerging from human errors, such as response effects or nonsampling errors (Bradburn 1983). For exampl e, error in the data may result when the respondent has faulty memory or deliberately tries to please the interviewer by providing a socially desirabl e response; these factors can prevent the researcher from learning something from the respondent (Brad burn 1983:291). According to this conventional view of interviewing, the researcher must learn to counter the effects of situa tional exigencies, in order to enhance the prospects for discovering knowledge from respondents. Due to this requirement, data collection in interviews becomes highly instrumental. Logistical refinements are thought to lead to a more natural ge neration of data. As Holstein and Gubrium (1995:3) note, the literature on interview strategy and technique remains primarily concerned with maximizing the flow of valid, reliable information while minimizing distortions of what the respondent knows. One respons e to this problem has been to increase methodological sophistication so as to neutralize the inte rview process. To the extent that the interview process is understood as a pipelin e for transmitting knowledge, various techniques


84 are introduced to standardize the conversation an d ensure the study is no t replete with bias (Holstein and Gubrium 1995:3). In structured interv iews, the interviewer asks all respondents the same series of preestablished questions with a limited set of re sponse categories. There is usually little room for variation in the responses, except where openended questions (which are usually infrequent) are asked. Moreover, the interviewer records responses according to coding schemes already developed by the project director. By heavily co ntrolling the pace of the interview, standardizing both questions and answers, and repeating these processes for all interviews, this interview context is supposed to allow the interviewer to pl ay a neutral role. In behaviorist fashion, the structured interview proceeds unde r a stimulus-response format that assumes that the respondent will truthfully answer questions previously determined to reveal satisfactory indicators of the variable in question. Subjects are considered essentia lly passive in this scenario, representing vessels-of-answers. Survey instruments tend to be structured in this manner. Jack Douglas (1985) notes that because convers ations take place largely in the situational everyday worlds of societal members, intervie ws themselves should reflect this type of contingency and spontaneity to better capture th e way the world actually works. For this reason, Douglas argues against how-to guidelines in conducting interviews, suggesting that interviewing and interviewers must be crea tive by adapting themselves to the ever-changing situations they encounter. Standard survey and structured questions crea te an overly detached interviewer and present an almost non-human subj ect to respondents; for Douglas (1985), this approach usually only touches the surface of experience and is unable to tap into the emotional wellsprings underneath. Creative interviewing, on the other hand, establishes a climate of mutual disclosure, in which the interviewers deep disclosure elicits recipr ocal actions on the part


85 of respondents. As Douglas (1985:51) notes, ge tting respondents to sh are deep feelings and emotions requires more than simply probing them, since mutual unders tanding requires that the researcherknow thyself. According to Holstein and Gubrium (1995:13), Douglas presents a more dynamic view of the interview process but one that may be char acterized as neo-positiv istic. That is, while Douglas jettisons traditional formulae guiding interviews, he does not abandon the idea of respondents constituting a pure empirical referent that the researcher n eed only access. While interviews now may require percent perspi ration in the form of developing mutual disclosure, subjects are still a ssumed to contain wellsprings of experience and researchers continue to be prospectors who tap into this rich resource. Thus the subject behind Douglass respondent remains an essentially passive, if creatively emotional, fount of experience, (Holstein and Gubrium 1995:13). In all, Holstein and Gubrium (1995:7) argue that discussions of interviews often center on the characteristics and aims of the interview process, with little attention paid to how interviews differ as oc casion for knowledge production. What is missing, in other words, is the recogniti on that interviews, or conversations, construct data, as much as they are a source of information. Active Interview Because of the fetish for m ethodological soph istication, Holstein and Gubrium (1995:2) argue that researchers ignore the most basic of epistemological questions in the interview process: Where does this knowledge come from, and how is it derived? For no matter what form the interview takes whether highly structured, standardized, quantitatively oriented, or free-flowing exchange and creative, all interviews are interactional events constructed in situ [and] a product of the talk between interview participants (Holstein and Gubrium (1995:2). This contrasts with the traditional v essel-of-answers approach which assumes that


86 the subject behind the respondent is passive. In other words, re spondents are viewed as merely containers that hold information that can be extracted by the researcher in an unbiased manner so long as certain measures are ta ken (Holstein and Gubrium 1995:8). Holstein and Gurbrium argue that this appro ach is untenable given the recent linguistic turn in social philosophy. Know ledge can never be collected in such a disinterested manner, since knowledge itself is a produc t of interaction [and] is created from the action taken to obtain it (Holstein and Gubrium (1995:3). Given their epistemol ogical stance, the traditional methodological image of the interv iew situation is inappropriate because it obscures the basic fact that interviews fundamentall y, not incidentally, shape the form and content of what is said (Holstein and Gubrium 1995:3). The thrust of Holstein and Gubriums thesis may now be more a pparent: The typical vessel-of-answers approach fails to recognize that both the intervie wer and interviewee are always and unavoidably active; each is i nvolved in meaning making work during the interview. The point is that meaning is not simply extracted by asking the right questions or by being more creative (for Douglas, more friendly and intimate) because meaning is constructed through the actua l interview. The interviewer and interviewee are collaborators that assemble knowledge together. For this reason the authors contend that if interview data are unavoidably collaborative, attempts to strip interviews of their interactional ingredients will be futile. Instead of adding to the long list of methodological constraints under which interviews should be conducted, we [propose] an orientation whereby researchers acknowledge interv iewers and respondents constitutive contributions and consciously and conscienti ously incorporate them into the production and analysis of interview data (Holstein and Gubrium 1995:4). According to Holstein and Gubrium (1995:73), ac tive interviewing represents a theoretical stance toward data collection and an alysis. This approach to in terviewing aids in the study of NGO womens identity work a couple ways.


87 Active Interviewing and NGO Identity Work First, Holstein and Gubrium present a clear argument that treating respondents as a passive vessel of answers denies their active involvement in the production and maintenance of social reality. Consistent w ith our earlier discussion of inte rpretive practice, interviewers must be cognizant that NGO women are not static reservoirs of m eanings about gender discourse in an NGO, but rather construct these meanings through interpretive actions within the NGO. In this vein, active interviewing reaffirms the idea presented in contemporary framing literature that NGO womens identities are fundame ntally interactional constr ucts and reflect the dynamic interplay between selves and thei r context. Holstein and Gubrium point out that traditional analysis amounts to systematically grouping a nd summarizing descriptions and offering a coherent framework to explain th ese details of the social world. That is, the objective whats overwhelm the hows (Holstein and Gubrium 1995:79). In contrast, active interview data are analyzed to show the dynamic interrelatedness of the what and the how (Holstein and Gubrium 1995:9). Consequently, in presenting findings the goal is to reveal not only what meanings are present but how they are cons tructed. Most notably, Holste in and Gubrium suggest that researchers should focus on dialogue or how convers ation establishes meaning about self and the NGO. Certainly a better understanding of gender discourses in NGOs involves examining womens way of talking about themselves, their ideas, and relationships with others in the organization. Second, active interviewing offers a means of revealing intersectional issues. A primary goal in active interviewing is to cultivate the respondents narrative activity: this means that the respondents positional shifts, linkages, and horizons of meanings take precedence over the tacit linkages and horizons of the pred esigned questions that the interviewer is prepared to ask (Holstein and Gubrium 1995:76-77) In this sense, the inte rviewer may want to promote


88 multivocality and shifts in narrative positions (e. g., asking the interviewee to move from the role of boss to co-worker) to expose the potentially multifaceted answers of respondents. In their terminology, multivocality allows for the possibili ty of narrative linkages, which illustrate the multiple ways respondents are connected to one another and even to their own selves (Holstein and Gubrium 1995:69). Fostering multi vocality is useful for revealing the multiple dimensions of experience and of attending to intersectionality. It is also important that th ese narrative linkages can be the groundwork to demonstrate the reach of the political into areas typically assumed to be personal (Reinharz 1992: 249-50). Similar to Dorothy Smiths (1987) idea of instit utional ethnography, the goal is to reveal the relationship between personal expe riences and larger social stru ctures. DeVault (1999: 49) writes that [i]nstitutional ethnography is always concerned with institu tional connections, with relations across and among various sites of activity, and with the c oordination of these sites with ruling regimes. Active intervie wing can provide a way to show relations of ruling or relationships of privilege and subordination. What follows in Chapter 4 is a discussion of the methods and analysis used to show NGO womens identity work and how th eir interpretive efforts shape discourses about gender in an NGO. Specifically, a grounded theory methodology (Strauss and Corbin 1998) is adopted. Along with the theoretical perspectives mentioned above, this analytic stra tegy is used generate primary themes associated with how NGO women pr oduce a sense of self and collectivity in the NGO This strategy examines the womens experi ences, opinions, and concerns in the NGO with regards to gender discourses as they are co-constructed in the interview process.


89 CHAPTER 4 METHOD AND ANALYSIS Method NGO Under Study: World Vision Colombia Analysis in this work draw s m aterial from interviews conducted with women working and/or volunteering for one Colombia n NGO, World Vision Colombia (WVC).8 WVC is part of the larger World Vision Intern ational community that recogni zes itself as a Chrisitan humanitarian organization working for the well -being of poor and vulnera ble peopleespecially children (World Vision pamphlet). WVC has been active in Colombia for several decades on projects of poverty alleviation and community development with a focus on youth. As they sate on their official webpage: Visin Mundial Colombia es una Organizacin de carcter Humanitario sin nimo de lucro, que trabaja desde 1.978 en algunas de las comunida des ms pobres, oprimidas y vulnerables del pas con especial nfasis en la niez desamparada (Visin Mundial Colombia 2005a). World Vision Colombia is an Organization of Humanitarian character without a spirit for profit, that has worked since 1978 in some of the poorest, oppressed and vulnerable communities of the country with special emphasis in the abandoned children. WVC is regularly characterized as an intermediary social service delivery, or mainstream9 NGO, since it is most often identified as a relief and development organization, although WVC is also committed to raising public awareness and advocating for justice (World Vision 8 After speaking with WVC members, it was decided that it would be difficult to disguise the identity of the organization to those familiar with the NGO field in Colombia, given its large size and well-known history as an intermediary NGO in the area. As a result, the NGOs actual name (WVC) is used but in order to protect the identities of the women I interviewed, I disguise identifying information. 9 Some typologize NGOs into the categories of alternativ e and mainstream (Fisher 1 997:445). The alternative NGOs are often seen as similar to social movement organizations. Examples such as Left, feminist, human rights, and other similarly motivated NGOs may fit within the alte rnative category. lvarez (1999) refers to feminist NGOs in Latin America as hybrid, b ecause they are a mixture of gender polic y advocacy and movement activities. Mainstream, or what some call intermediary, NGOs are more associated with development, and often the central focus of NGO literature, such as WVC (Carroll 1992 ). This second type is characterized as primarily concerned with providing social service provision rather than consciousness-raising and mobilization (lvarez 1999).


90 pamphlet). Some social moveme nt perspectives would suggest that this type of NGO (i.e., development oriented) is categorically distin ct from a social movement organization. Differentiations of this type are part of the te nsion between institutionalism and collective action found in social movement literature. As discussed in Chapter 3, however, this work does not start from an assumption that inherently sepa rates NGOs from collectiv e action. Instead this work seeks to understand the narrative production of NGO selves, which includes the creation of both an individual and co llective (NGO) identity. Furthermore, it is relevant to listen to a wide range of womens voicessuch as those working in so-called mainstream NGOsin order to appreciate how these womens interpretations of the structural forces they f ace, and the strategies they ultimately choose, are formed in concert with others (Murdock 2003:511, emphasis added). Returning to Murdocks call to go beyond dualistic categoriza tions of NGO activity, it may be fruitful to avoid simplistic bifurcations of NGOs into al ternative and mainstream. Fo r if the success of a gender perspective relies heavily on the participation of women, it is the organization of [ all ] women within civil society that require s examination (Moser 1993:191). To the extent that so-called alternative NGOs (e.g., feminist) and social moveme nt organizations are not the sum total of womens social movement activity in Latin America (Murdock 2003:522), it is important to study womens self-interpretations and collective mobilization activity in a wide range of sites. The study of WVC offers a clear opportuni ty for this type of investigation. Sample I conducted and audiotaped, in-dep th, priv ate interviews face-to-face and over the telephone with 27 women working and/or volunteering for WVC. I conducted seventeen faceto-face interviews at WVCs headquarters in Bogot, and eight telephone interviews with women working and/or volunteering in Cali, Barranquilla and Soacha for the same organization. Two


91 more personal interviews we re done with women in WVCs downtown branch office. Interviews were conducted over a six-week period in June and July of 2007. The women were given the choice to respond in Sp anish or English; all chose to do the interview in Spanish. Participants were recruited through a listser ve and e-mail announcements directed at a large number of WVC members. I was also pres ented to each department in WVCs central building in Bogot as the principal investigator (P.I.) of a st udy on gender in the NGO. This allowed WVC staff and volunteers to recognize me and listen to a brief description of the study; they were given information on how to contact me A number of participants were recruited after these meetings as some personally approach ed me and volunteered to participate. Other participants were recruited through word of mo uth. To be included, the women only had to be working and/or volunteering for WVC in some capacity. Demographic data (e.g., race, class, age, etc.) was not requested during the interview at the request of WVC administ rators and many of the respondents themselves. Some of the women did spontaneously note personal demographic in formation, such as race and class, but the majority did not. The main reason for refraining from collecting this information was that it would allow for easy identification by fellow co-wor kers and administrators. As discussed in the results, WVC employees and volunteers consider th emselves very close to one another and think that they would be able to easily recognize who said what if certain demographic information was made available. As a result, no descrip tive demographic information about respondents is provided. The lack of these descriptive statistics make s assessing representativeness and the diversity of the sample impossible. Nevertheless, the aim of the sample recruitment strategies in this study was not to generalize about a larger population of WVC employees and volunteers by


92 obtaining a representative sample. Instead, the go al was to capture a sufficiently diverse sample of experiences to develop a conceptual analysis of the processes associated with how womens discursive production of a sense of self and collectivity in the NGO, particul arly with regards to meanings in their discourse about gender. Cons istent with grounded theory studies, sample size and composition is determined by theoretical sa turation, which means that no additional data are being found whereby the [researcher] can de velop properties of the category (Glaser and Strauss 1967:61). This approach is also consistent with an acti ve interviewing st rategy, wherein the idea is to continuously soli cit and analyze representative horizons of meanings (Holstein and Gubrium 1995:74) related to the identity work of women in WVC. As Holstein and Gubrium (1995:74) note, the sampling frame as it were, is meanings. Thus the idea is not simply representativeness but the acquisition of a diverse set of meanings subjectively relevant to the respondents. As is customary, consent procedures were used All participants were asked to read an informed consent form and to sign it before participating in the inte rview. It was explained to all participants that their particip ation was voluntary and that their involvement in the study could be terminated at any time. It was also explaine d that their identity and their responses would be kept confidential to the extent permitted by the law. Interviews In order to facilitate recruitm ent and accommodate partic ipants, the majority of the indepth face-to-face and telephone interviews we re conducted in a private office in WVCs headquarter building, which provided both a convenient and comfor table site for the participant. 10 The PI traveled to the WVC s downtown building to conduct two interviews that were also 10 I would like to thank WVC for providing me with a private office to conduct both personal and telephone interviews.


93 done in a private room. Interviews lasted 60 minutes on average with a range of 40-90 minutes. Participants were not paid or given compensation. The audiotaped interviews were subsequently transcribed in Spanish and then translated into En glish by the P.I. All interviews yielded usable transcripts. Interviews were open-ended but I did have a general interview guide that consisted of general questions (see Appendices A and B). The scope of this general interview guide evolved after a meeting with WVC members. One of WVCs administrators asked eight members to participate in an open discussion to generate this ge neral interview guide. This was done in order to reflect the specific in terests and concerns of WVC and its interests with regards to gender. This is consistent with the goals of this study to have women reflect and discuss their thoughts, feelings, and experiences with regards to the production of self in WVC. Consistent with an active interview appro ach, interviews were meant to be flexible enough to encourage dialogue but they still had organization. Acco rding to Holstein and Gubrium (1995:76), the active interview is guided by the interviewer wh o must be prepared to furnish precedence, incitement, restraint, and perspec tive as the interview proceeds, not to avoid them. In general, the direction of the interviews offered WVC wome n the chance to describe themselves and their relationship experiences in WVC as they relate to gender, but participants were free to focus on issues of interest to them to talk and to their sense of self. In addition to interviews, organizational materials (pamphlets, reports, and other organizational documents) were used to highlight WVC womens talk of the organization. Analytic Approach This study uses Strauss and Corbins (1998) version of grounded theory and guided the coding process, particularly the strategies of open, axial, and se lective coding (all of which are discussed in the subsequent paragraphs). Th e coding process began with the open coding of


94 substantive themes that were found in a line-by-li ne and paragraph reading of the transcripts. The goal in open coding is to capture emergent categories. These categories are abstractions from the raw data and are initially relatively specific concepts that underlie the concrete examples and experiences that make up the data. While no pre-establis hed categories are used during open coding, this process is to a certain extent informed by the theoretical orientations. These concepts helped guide me to develop a line of inquiry and to uncov er data that I might have otherwise missed. The point at this initial stage is to ge nerate as many codes as possible without considering the possible im mediate relevance to pre-establ ished categories or theoretical frameworks. In addition, open coding was also performed while using the constant comparative method initially explained by Glaser and Stra uss (1967). LaRossa (2005:841) succinctly explains this method: The basic defining rule of constant compar ison is that, while coding an indicator for a concept, one compares the indica tor with previous indicators that have been coded in the same way. An indicator refers to a word, phrases, or sent ences, in the materials being analyzed. A concept is a label or name a ssociated with an indicator or indicators. In this analysis, narrative instances associat ed with womens sense of self in WVC were identified. Specifically, codi ng was done on various aspects of womens experiences in WVC that focus on how they talk about themselves, th eir concerns, and their relationships with others in the NGO. Axial coding occurs simultaneously with ope n coding and helps to refine categories by revealing how they are associated with subcateg ories. Axial coding takes place around the axis of a category by focusing on the action/interaction strategies (interpretive activity) by which women construct a sense of self in the NGO, the conditions (narrative resources of the NGO) that might influence womens construction of self, and the consequences (which interpretive activity and discourses about gender are privileged) associat ed with these dimensions.


95 The primary analytic aim is to improve our understanding of NG O womens identity worknamely, how they construct a sense of self that discursively produce meanings about gender in the context of their NGO. Thus, this study uses selective coding to identify core themes or concepts relevant to how women interp ret, negotiate, experience and interact within WVC to construct NGO selves that impact and shape discourses a bout gender. Selective coding allows for the integration of categories, their pr operties, and dimensions as they are identified by open and axial coding. Core categories were de termined based on two criteria: (1) the core category must have been related to all apparent categories and (2 ) it must have been a category that was frequently observed in the da ta (Emerson, Fretz, and Shaw 1995:157-58). Presentation of Results The f ollowing chapters present the results of th e qualitative analysis. The focus of these results is WVC womens interpretive practice with respect to meanings of gender in the context of their NGO. The point is to capture bett er how NGO women make m eaning to frame their identities, interests, and political projects while situated within the context of the NGO. In short, WVC womens identity work represents the intertwined process of constructing subjectivities in the midst of the collective, going concerns, of the NGO. Again, the purpose being to highlight both the circumscribed and agenic quality to NGO womens identities and the nature of discourses concerning gender, development, and power. In order to foster clarity, the results will present the discourse-in-practice and the discursive practice of WV C women. In other words, it is firs t shown how substantive features of WVC womens identity work draws from the dom inant discursive resources provided by the NGO. As Holstein and Gubrium (1997, 2000, 2001) and Broad (2002) note, WVC women should use the discursive resources, or going co ncerns, of the NGO in order to narrate their selves into being. Thus, atten tion is first directed to how WVC women rely on their NGO as a


96 resource to discursively produce their sense of self. Second, WV C womens interpretive practice is presented to demonstrate how WVC womens selves are also an active construction. Specific attention is given to how WVC women use the narrative resources of the NGO but also engage, appropriate, and sometimes critique these discou rses for the purposes of producing new ones. Chapters 5 and 6 explore respectively the discourse-in-practice and discursive with regards to WVCs use of a gender perspective, while Chapte rs 7 and 8 will similarly examine the discourse of Christian values WVC adopts in their gender advocacy work.


97 CHAPTER 5 CONSTRUCTING SELF THROUGH GENDER TALK Gender Perspective as a Narrative Resource As noted earlier, the notion of mainstreaming a gender pe rspective is considered a central notion for those NGOs working within the gender and development (GAD) context (Baden and Goetz 1997:3). Colombian NGOs are a specific case illu stration, given the highlevel mechanisms adopted by Colombia in 1990 to mainstream a gender perspective (True and Mintrom 2001:31-32). As Wallace (1998:159) explains [g]ender is a majo r issue of policy and practice for donors and for NGOs, at least in rh etoric. Baden and Goetz (1997:4) similarly note that [u]nderstanding the concept of gender in the context of social relations analysis remains a touchstone of gender and developm ent research, teaching, and training in many development organizations and increasingly NGOs. While a key issue, NGOs often hold conflicting meanings and various perspectives w ith respect to incorporating gender into their policies and projects, especia lly when it comes to institutionalizing gender within their organization (OReilly 2004; Wallace 1998). Wallace (1998:159), for example, points out that Recent literature shows that while most de velopment agencies use a common language to discuss their commitment to gender, their pract ice differs. For some, gender is about equal opportunities. For others it is about women in development, or that it involves a more fundamental commitment to social and organi zational transformation. Even with gender policies, organizations often fail to commit adequate resources, planning, or time to ensuring these are implemented. As will be shown, WVC women also rely on th e dominant discourse of gender produced in WVC to produce a sense of self, frame their intere sts, and elaborate conc erns. At times, WVC hold conflicting views on the meanings of this discourse, yet usage is made of the gender perspective narrative of the organization.


98 Gender as a Personal Mission WVCs focus on a gender discourse is particular ly evident in that gend er constitutes one the organizations six transversal themes (temas tr ansversales). Transversal themes are core, or universal, issues considered important for all projects and programs designed and enacted by the organization. As one document states, WVC has six primary transversal themes, which include Christian commitment, disability, environment, gender, construction of peace and conflict resolution, and protection, especi ally in regards to childre n (WVC internal document). According to WVC, gender is critical to development issues and thus constitutes an essential aspect to the transformative and so cial change mission of the organization: Visin Mundial, una ONG Cristiana, internacional y comprometida con el desarrollo transformador, reconoce el g nero y desarrollo (GAD) como un componente esencial y crtico de su ministerio (Wor ld Vision International 2005). [World Vision, an international Christian NGO, committed to transformative development, recognizes gender and development (GAD) as an essential and critic al component of its ministry.] WVC women used the telling of th e organizations history to express the importance of gender to them. Several WVC women, for example, pointed to gender being a focal their own work mission. The following examples were some t ypical acknowledgements of this orientation (identifying information has b een changed throughout the text when needed to maintain confidentiality): Bueno, conozco que uno de los ejes transversale s para el diseo, para la implementacin para los proyectos y los programas, y la misin de mi trabajo, es precisamente el enfoque de gnero. (Interview 2) [Well, I know that one of the transversal them es for the design, the implementation for the projects and the programs, and the mission of my work, is precisely a focus on gender.] La perspectiva de gnero tiene que ser un eje transversal. (Interview 26) [A gender perspective has to be a transversal theme]


99 Es muy importante hablar s obre relaciones de gnero. Bu eno, estamos un lugar [WVC] en donde siempre se habla de gnero, donde yo siempre hablo de gnero. (Interview 8) [It is very important to talk about gender relations. Well, we are in a place [WVC] where gender is always talked about, wh ere I also talk about gender.] Here WVC women adopted the idea of gender as a personal missi on as a way to identify what they do and who they are as part of the orga nization. Gender as a transversal theme for the organization was thus also a recurring subject in the work lives of WVC women, who regularly hear and talk about it. The centr ality of gender in womens identity is also visible in that some described themselves as changing because of the process of learning about gender, viewing it as important, and incorporating it into their daily life: Por supuesto que el genero es importante. Yo considero que la institucin viene incorporando en nuestro trabajo, en nuestro servicio la nocin de gnero, si. En ese sentido nos estamos preocupando en procesos tcn icas, de fortalecernos para trabajar el enfoque de gnero en los difere ntes proyectos. (Interview 2) [Of course gender is important. I consider that the institution has been incorporating in our work, in our service the not ion of gender, yes. In that sense I am preoccupied in technical processes, in preparation for ... wo rking the focus of gender in the different projects.] Nosotras tambin hemos empezado a cambiar, en el sentido que estamos pensando que podemos ocupar diferentes mbitos/cargos. (Interview 4) [We have also started to change, in the se nse that we are thinking that we can occupy different contexts/positions.] Gender is thus not only a central feature of their service work, but also is a concern that has even lead to some to rethink their ability to perform different jobs. In this vein, several WVC women talked about personal transformation as being associated with a focus of gender in development. In particular, individuals change because they are sensitized to their own and others value. WVC similarly describes its focus on gender analysis as having a transformative purpose not just for its social projects, but also for its own personnel:

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100 es la integracin sistemtica de una sensibilidad, conciencia, y anlisis del gnero dentro del ministerio de Visin Mundial en cada una de las reas de trabajo. La equidad de gneros no slo afecta el resultado y efectivid ad de los proyectos de Visin Mundial, sino que tambin contribuye a relaciones y dinmi cas sociales transformadas dentro del personal de Visin Mundial (World Vision International 2005). [... it is the systematic integr ation of a sensibility, consci ence, and analysis of gender within the ministry of World Vision in each one of the work areas. The equality of genders not only affects the re sult and effectiv eness of the projects of World Vision, but also contributes to transformative social re lations and dynamics w ithin the pe rsonnel of World Vision.] WVC womens narrative parallels the dominant discourse of the personally transformative capacity of pursuing a gender analysis in deve lopment. Although WVC are discussing their own personal development, the narrative is prac tically the same as one of establishing a new sensibility, conscience, and self-appreciation. Ese eje transversal [gnero] me lleva a una sensibilidad social; me lleva a buscar mis propios intereses. Reconocer la persona con valor. (Interview 23) [That transversal theme [gender] takes me to a sense of social sensitivity; it takes me to find my own proper interests. To recognize the person with value.] Un anlisis de gnero es muy importante. Yo creo que es hasta ms; es positivo porque es mejorar calidad de vida y auto-percepcin. Es un reconocimiento al nivel personal. Obviamente me influye directamente en mi persona, creer y llegar a conocer a sus capacidades, en tener posibil idad. Ayuda en formalizar mi persona. (Interview 25) [A gender analysis is very important. I believe that it is more; it is positive because it is to improve quality of life and self-perception. It is a recognition at the personal level. Obviously, it influences me di rectly as a person, to believe and to get to know ones own capacities, possibilities. It help s the formation of my person. In all, gender comprises a dominant discourse of which WVC women used to identify both their sense of purpose in the organization and how a focus on gender analysis has affected them personally. In short, WVC women view gender as a transversal th eme in regards to their sense of self in the NGO.

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101 Storying the Self through a Gender Perspective Lens As was m entioned in Chapter 2, the idea of mainstreaming a gender perspective in development work emerged in the 1990s, as it si gnaled a shift away from merely integrating women and womens issues to taking account of how gender in equality is reproduced through the technical and political realitie s of social structures, institutions, and cultural values (Kardam 1998). In particular, the movement from WID to GAD represented a recognition that gender and gender inequality goes beyond mere integration to include the multiple relations persons enact and in which they are situated, such as politics, economy, and cultu re. In short, the notion of mainstreaming a socio-historical understanding of gender dynamics has been heavily promoted within international development circles by ge nder policy advocates, in particular NGOs (Baden and Goetz 1997:5). WVC is no exception. One way that the mainstreaming of a gender pe rspective is reinforced in WVCs mission is by the self-telling of the histor y of how the larger World Visi on community transitioned to a GAD approach: De modo que, durante ms de una dcada, el personal de Visin Mundial ha estado acumulando conocimientos y experiencia sobre capacitacin en gnero y desarrollo de capacidad. En 1992, la Junta Directiva de Visin Mundial Inte rnacional adopto una poltica de la integracin de la mujer en el desarrollo para toda la Confraternidad. En 1997, se cre un puesto de liderazg o orientado hacia el gnero para implementar y apoyar esta poltica, la cual se revis para reflejar el enfoque GAD en 1999 (World Vision International 2005) [For more than one decade, the personne l of World Vision have been accumulating knowledge and experience on capacity building in gender and development. In 1992, the Board of directors of World Vision Internati onal adopted a policy of "the integration of woman in development" for the entire frat ernity. In 1997, a leadership position was created oriented toward gender to implement and support this perspective, which was later revised to reflect approach GAD in 1999.]

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102 As this text explains, the point of the GAD approach is to explore how gender is a sociocultural phenomena because everything is relational and transformation depends on these relations (World Vision pamphl et). As WV goes on to note, el gnero y desarrollo no se en focan en las necesidades de la mujer y las nias de manera aislada, sino en las relacione s de gnero en contexto. [Gender and development do not focus on the ne eds of women and girls in isolation, but rather on gender relations in context.] A relational and socially constr ucted view of gender was also prevalent in many WVC women general views about themselves. Para mi, gnero es una constr uccin social, establecido primeramente entre las relaciones de los seres humanos. Es la manera que personas se identifican, es como yo me identifico. Gnero se trabaja. (Interview 1) [For me, gender is a social construction, crea ted primarily from within human relations. It is a way persons identify themselves, it is how I identify myself. Gender is worked. Gnero son esas caractersticas de un todo. Es un conjunto dentro de lo social, cultural, econmico, como un todo en el cual todo el m undo est inmerso.. Pa ra m, estudiar el gnero es hablar de esas relaciones histricos. No pue do unir gnero como sinnimo a mujer. Tengo que ver gnero como esa c onstruccin. Son caractersticas sociales asimiladas a la persona. (Interview 9) [Gender is those characteristics of a totality. It is a set within the social, cultural, economic, like a totality in which everyone is immersed. For me, to study gender means to talk about those historical relations. I cannot see gend er as synonymous with woman. I have to see gender as a construction. It is those social characteristics taken to represent.] Bueno, gnero es una construccin social donde se define la identidad sexual y los roles sociales que tienen que cumplir el hombre y la mujer. Entonces gnero es lo que socialmente se considera femenino, lo que debo hacer yo como mujer. (Interview 22) [Well, gender is a social constr uction where sexual identity is defined and social roles that men and women must comply with. So then gender is what is socially considered feminine, what I as a woman am expected to do.] Importantly, WVC women used this way of ta lking about gender as a means for telling their own life stories. Se veral of these stories touche d upon specific past and present

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103 experiences. Below are two examples of WVC women explicitly adopting World Visions gender perspective discourse to recount their childhood experiences. Trabajando en Visin Mundial me ha hecho pens ar en muchas memorias. Pienso mucho de mi niez y cmo me vieron y fui tratada dife rentemente de mis hermanos. Tuve que hacer siempre ms trabajo domstico que mis hermanos Limpiaba los pisos y tuve que cocinar. Ahora s que eso estaba debido a creencias culturales sobre qu las mujeres deben de hacer. (Interview 6) [Working in World Vision has lead me to think of many memories. I think a lot about my childhood and how I was viewed and treated differently from my brothers. I always had to do more housework than my brothers. I clea ned the floors and had to cook. Now I know that it was because of cultural beliefs a bout what women are supposed to do.] Suena ridculo pero nunca me dieron una lla ve a mi casa cuando era jovencita, incluso cuando tena 16 aos. Mi padre pens que las mu jeres no deban tener ll aves a la casa. No era apropiado. Pero eso es un proyecto poltico. no? Para l las llav es tenia el significado de poder y el control, ms nadie me deca en la escuela o dondequiera diferente. Entonces (pausa) usted apenas lo acepta. Me duele un poco. Aqu [ WVC ] se habla de eso, y he aprendido que es importante autorizar a las mujeres para tomar decisiones propias. (Interview 12) [It sounds ridiculous but I was never give n a key to my house when I was young, even when I was 16 years old. My father did not think that young women should have keys to the house. It was not appropriate. But that is a political project, right? For him the key meant power and control, plus no one was tel ling me any different at school or anywhere. So (pause) you just accept it. It hurts me a little. Here [WVC] that is talked about, and I have learned how important it is to empower women to make decisions for themselves.] Consistent with the dominant discourse of World Vision, these two women relied on a socio-cultural view of gender to give meaning to past experiences. In fact, the full awareness and significance of these moments seems to be a relatively recent event that was sparked in large part by a context of learning and talking about ge nder in World Vision. In both cases, they now know and have learned the significance of these memories, even to the point of having to face a certain amount of hurt but being able to talk about it. Another way WVC women employed a gender pers pective is by interpreting their present work and family experiences through this disc ourse. One WVC woman, for example, chose to

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104 explain her financial success vis--vis other WV C women not solely in terms of her individual merit but also the product of gendered institutions. Me considero una mujer algo acertada con el dinero. Soy afortunada. Bueno, trabaj muy duro, fui a la universidad, y trabaj muchos trabaj os difciles. Mi xit o (pausa) la cosa es que la estructura no permite mujeres. Trabaj en un [tra bajo profesional ] con todos hombres y la razn que consegu el trabajo estaba debido a conexiones de mi familia. Merec el trabajo pero no pienso que lo hubiera conse guido sin ayuda. Realmente me afecta porque otras mujeres aqu nunca han c onseguido esas oportunidades y por eso no tienen tanto dinero. Hay estructuras sociales que son el problema que estn a favor del hombre en el mbito econmico y en la cultur al machista. Yo veo eso mucho en mi vida personal. (Interview 4) [I consider myself rather successful woman with money. Im lucky. Well, I worked very hard, went to the university, and worked many difficult jobs. My success (pause) the thing is that the structure does not allow women. I worked at a [professional job] with all men and the reason I got the job was because of family connections. I deserved the job but I do not think I would have gotten it without help. It really a ffects me because other women here have never gotten those opportunities and because of th at do not have very much money. There are social structures that are the problem that are in favor of men economically and in the macho culture I see that a lot in my personal life.] Consistent with the larger GAD di scourse of WVC, this woman attributes the lack of monetary success of her fellow co-workers as due in large m easure to structural impediments, such as an economic and cultural order that favors men. Like the two women mentioned earlier, the following individual recounted her experience growing up havi ng to do a disproportionate amount of housework, but emphasizes how this pattern seems to be recurr ing within her present family. Crec con tres hermanos y nunca hicieron trabajo domstico. Mi padre y madre los prohibieron hacerlo. Fue esperado que yo hiciera la mayor parte con mi madre. Mi madre deca que no era el trabajo de un hombre limpia r. Cuidar el hogar era el trabajo de la mujer. Me preocupa ahora porque esto pasa en mi casa. A mi marido no le gusta ver a su hijo limpiar. l piensa que es la responsabilidad de la mujer. Pero s de lo que he aprendido aqu que esos roles son cultural y no algo natural. Mi marido quiere que mi hijo consiga un trabajo, pero qu de su hija? E lla necesita ser econmicamente independiente, no (pausa) si no, ella nunca podr defenderse. (Interview 20) [I grew up with three brothers and they ne ver did any of the housework. My father and mother prohibited them for doing it. I was expe cted to do most of it with my mother. My mother would say that it was not the job of a man to clean. Taking care of the home was

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105 the womans job. I get scarred now because th is happens in my home now. My husband does not like to see his son clean. He thinks it is a womans responsibility. But I know from what I have learned working here that those roles are cult ural and not based on something natural. My husband wants my son to get a job, but what about his daughter? She needs to be economically independent, right (pause) or else she will never be able to stand up for herself.] Similar to before, a gender perspective is used to interpret a past chil dhood experience; however, in this case there is a concern that an unequal di stribution of work is now taking place with her own children. This conclusion, moreover, was r eached from information gathered at World Vision, such as that gender roles are a social construction and not na turally predetermined. Clearly, these examples again how WVC women adopt the domina nt narrative productions of their NGO to give meaning to their own selves. Working for Gender Equality According to W VC, promotion of GAD in th e organizations development approach is viewed as a direct response to changes in how gender inequality is understood. Consistent with a GAD orientation, promoting gender equality in deve lopment is primarily a relational issue, tied to how institutional arrangements are structured in ways that privilege men. WVC emphasizes this way of conceptua lizing gender inequality: [L]as investigaciones a nivel de las bases y acadmicas comenzaron a demostrar de qu manera las interacciones entre gneros impactan el proceso de desarrollo. El Gnero y Desarrollo se convirti en el trmino r econocido para un enfoque progresivo para el desarrollo que enfatiz la perspec tiva y experiencia de la mujer. Se centr en la manera en que las relaciones desiguales evitaban un desa rrollo equitativo y sostenible (World Vision International 2005). [The investigations at the base and academic level began to demonstrate in what way the interactions between genders impact th e development process. The "Gender and Development" became the term recognized fo r a progressive focus to development that emphasized the perspective and experience of woman. It centered on the way unequal relations averted an equitable and sustainable development.] WVC women also emphasized the significance of a relational view of gender inequality. Some typical expression of this are found below:

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106 Equidad tiene que ver con los de rechos, como en una poca se habl sobre los derechos del hombre. Pero no se habl sobre el derecho de la mujer. Ahora cuando hablamos de esos derechos, estamos hablando de esos derechos que son tanto como para hombres como para mujeres, que sale de la re lacin entre hombres y mujeres, de un reconocimiento entre ambos. (Interview 4) [Equality has to do with rights, just like when in one time it was spoken about the rights of men. But the rights of women were not talk ed about. Now when were speak of those rights, we are talking about those rights th at are for equally for men and women, that emerges from a relation between men a nd women, of a recognition between both .] Claro, el trabajo de equidad de gnero es una relacin social. Es esa cotidianidad donde tienes que construir con el otro diariamente. Para m es importantsimo dentro de la institucin. No se si hablamos de paradigmas, pero la construccin de gnero y la equidad de gnero ocurre en las relaciones. (Interview 9) [Of course, the work of gender equality is a so cial relation. It is in the quotidian where it has to be constructed daily w ith the other. For me it is most important within the institution. I do not know if we speak of para digms, but the construction of gender and the equality of gender occu rs in relationships.] Desde mi perspectiva, yo veo gnero y equidad como mucho ms amplio que la funcionalidad y ms como integralidad [sic ]. Hay estudios que ven cmo mujeres y hombres funcionan en sus roles, pero no hablan de una comprensin del ser como tal, en su todo. Y si yo hablo de la integralidad habl o de ese ser completo, sin compartimientos, funciones separados, o roles. Cul es la dife rencia entre los dos, la comprensin. Es saber que un ser completo es un ser con otro. En tonces de esa perspectiva es buscar las relaciones de casualidad y cons ciencia. (Interview 27) [From my perspective, I see gender and equality as much more broad than functionality and more as integral. There are studies th at see how women and men function in their roles, but do not speak of an understanding of be ing as so, as a whole. And if I speak of being integral I speak that complete being, without compartments, se parate functions, or roles. What is the difference between the tw o, an understanding. It is knowing that a complete being is a being with another one. So from that perspectiv e it is to look for the relations of causality and consciousness.] Beyond this general affirmation of the NGOs approach to issues of gendered inequality, what is noteworthy is the many ways WVC used this domina nt discourse to construct a sense of self by framing their perspectives, fee lings, and concerns in referenc e to the organization itself. One way WVC presents a discourse of gender in equality is through statistics that show the disadvantages women experience in numerous social spheres. Take, for example, an excerpt

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107 from an internal report distributed to WVC staff, which includes the stated objective to promote gender equality and the autonomy of women (prom over la igualdad de gnero y la autonoma de las mujeres): El 70% de los trabajos no asalariados corresponden a mujeres y aunque constituyen casi la mitad de la fuerza de trabajo ocupada como prof esional y tcnica, solo el 38% se encuentra trabajando como personal directivo. Adems exis te una baja participacin de las mujeres en las esferas del poder poltico, en el perodo del 2003 al 2006 las gobernadoras alcanzaron en promedio el 13%. Las mujeres no se encuentran en las mismas condiciones para acceder al poder econmico y poltico, aunque posean las mismas capacidades que los hombres (internal report). [70% of unpaid worker are women and although they constitute almost half of the force force in professional and technical occupatio ns, only 38% find themselves working as director of personnel. In addi tion there exists low participa tion of women in the political spheres of power, between 2003 and 2006 the average of women governors reached 13%. Women do not find themselves in the same conditions to achieve economic and political power, although they have the sa me capacities as that of men.] WVC women virtually mirrored this statistical approach to present information about gender inequality, but in their case it was used to descri be their experience in the organizationat work. Several pointed to the high propor tion of women working and volunt eering in the organization as a statement on the state of equality in the NGO. For two WVC woman, the higher number of women signals WVCs commitment to transf orming womens opportunities and power: Bueno, Visin es una organizacin que es 60% femenino. Y yo te puedo decir eso por mi trabajo. Es el hecho de que la organizacin pide que la mu jer tenga voz al nivel de la comunidad tambin como al nivel de la organizacin. Y en eso s empujn que las mujeres se capaciten. Apoyan mucho la capacitacin. (Interview 4) [Well, World Vision is an organization that is 60% feminine. And I can say that to you because of my work. It is the fact that th e organization requests that woman also have a voice at the level of the commun ity and at the level of the or ganization. And in that they push women to become qualified. They suppor t very much building qualification.] Yo he tenido la oportunidad de trabajar en un lugar donde el porcentaje est reversa, con 80% hombres. Aqu es diferente porque es una empresa social. Y aunque mucho de los pensadores sociales han sido hom bres, este trabajo est ocupad o por mujeres. Yo s que hay un dilogo sobre las difere ncias biolgicas entre hombres y mujeres, que los hombres son mas racionales. Pero eso implica que yo no puedo hacer cosas. Tambin esto ignora

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108 que mujeres han dado mucho de su tiempo en otros mbitos, como la familia. Entonces trabajar aqu me da a m y a otras mu jeres muchas oportunidades. (Interview 28) [I have had the opportunity to work working in a place where the percentage was reverse, with 80% men. Here it is different because it is a social enterprise. And although many of the social thinkers have been men, this work is occupied by women. I know that there is conversation about the biological differences between men and women, that men are more rational. But that implies that I cannot do thin gs. Also this ignores that women have given much of their time in other arenas, like the family. So then to work here gives me and other women many opportunities.] The disproportionate number of women represente d an imbalance of work distribution for others: Hay que equilibrar. Veo que un 90% de vol untariaros que nos ayuda son mujeres. Entonces tenemos que equilibrar el trabajo voluntarario para que los hombres puedan cumplir en este trabajo de servicio para que no se queda en un solo lado y ver este trabajo como femenino. (Interview 9) [We need to equilibrate. I s ee that 90% of volunteer s that help us are women. So we need to equilibrate the volunteer work so that men can contribute in this service work so that it is not one-sided and seen like womens work.] Yo no dira tener mas hombres. Equilibrar en este momento creo que hay ms mujeres que hombres, pero yo dira equilibrar porque se dara un equilibrio de percepcin. (Interview 15) [I would not say have more men. Equilibrate in this moment I think there are more women than men, but I would say equilibrate because it would create a balance of perception.] WVC women did not all agree on how to interp ret the higher number of women than men working and volunteering in the or ganization (In fact th e estimates were not always similar to one another). What was consistent was to use a strategy regularly adopte d by the organization to expose gender inequality, especi ally womens disadvantages in different social arenas. Especially important, however, was how WVC women used estimat es to switch the conversation from women in general to themselves, to how they view and feel about the issue. Whether this strategy was meant to suggest a pos itive attitude toward the organization because of its support for WVC women to have a voice or to expres s concern over the lack of equilibrium and

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109 balance in the labor load in this type of service, WVC women relied on the available discourse of the NGO to construct a self-position. In addition to talking about gender inequality, WVC is also focused on being an example of gender equality. WVC is not ju st articulating a particular concep tual apparatus, but rather this perspective is presented as its identity and central to its focus: Gnero y Desarrollo ... refleja el espritu, los valores centrales y la poltica de Visin Mundial (World Vision International 2005). [Gender and Development ... reflects the sprir it, the central values and the politics of World Vision.] This self-identifying discourse was also applied by WVC women, but was used more specifically to describe their own perceptions and experiences with regards to the state of equality within the organization itself. For some, practicing gende r equality included providing the conditions necessary to participate fully as women in social life. This most often meant having the same opportunities as men and to be able to be pa rt of the decision-making process at work. Para m equidad es tener las mismas oport unidades. Estoy hablando de igualdad de oportunidades salariares, opor tunidades de participacin, oportunidades de decisin, oportunidades culturales. Habla ndo socialmente, es que las oportunidades sean para todos los gneros, sin discriminacin. Y tambin co mo tener valores iguales para todos. En Visin Mundial, t participas y en particip ar te sientes como persona. Aqu tomo decisiones como persona, con mis opiniones. La participacin no es solamente levantar la mano y decir tal, es compartir. (Interview 28) [For me equality is having the same opportuni ties. I am talking about having the same opportunities in salary, opportuni ties to participate, opportuni ties in decisions, cultural opportunities. Socially speaking, it is that opportunities are for all gender, without discrimination. And also to have equal value for all. In World Vision, you participate and in participating you feel like a person. Here I make decisions as a person, with my opinions. Participation is not simply rais ing ones hand and saying something, it is to share.] La equidad de gnero es importante pa ra todos los seres humanos, porque es un compromiso poltico y practico. La equidad ne cesita ayuda a los niveles socioeconmicos y en las oportunidades. Y por s upuesto, en las empresas, en el trabajo. Es cierto que la mayora somos mujeres, pero como somos la mayora en la institucin ocupamos sobre todo la operacin y administracin. Eso nos da poder, no?... Yo me siento como que

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110 puedo hablar y participar en los procesos orga nizativos. Yo creo que es as que se est trabajando el genero. Bsicamente, eso me hace sentir bien como persona. (Interview 2) [Gender equality is important to all human be ings, because it is a political commitment and practice. Equality needs aid at the socioeconomic levels and in opportunities. And of course, in companies, in work.... It is true that the majority of us are women, but as the majority in the institution we mainly occupy the operation an d administration. That gives us power, right?... I feel like I can speak and participate in organizational processes. I believe that it is in this way that gender is being worked. Basically, that makes me feel good as a person.] Most evident in these quotes is that gender equality re quires a practical component that assures persons opportunities to participate, such as in decision-making at work. WVC women not only viewed the practice of gender equality as centra l, but also expressed how the very reality of this prac tice in their NGO affects their personal se nse of worth and set of interests. In other words, the discourse of gender equality in practice is used here to highlight the reality of their own opinions and sense of feeling good as a person. In the cases that follow, the discourse of gende r equality is used but, interestingly, to show how it is not being fully applied in practice. What is important to keep in mind in these examples is that while the meaning over the prac tice of gender equality in the NGO is conflictual with those above, the gene ral use of the discourse to construct a sense of self is the same. The difference is that rather than an affirmation of the self, what are emphasized is ones abilities and feelings of self-worth. As one WVC woman noted, En trminos de gnero, uno puede ver que Vi sin Mundial quiere buscar la equidad de gnero, pero no ha sido tan equitativo y tan funcional en lo practico. Es buscar una persona con carrera, con merito, sin importar que sea mujer o hombre, cierto. Sino que sean personas que puedan hacer el trabaj o y que tengas las mismas oportunidades que cualquier otra persona dentro de la organizac in. Pero no ha sido tan claro para m; no ha sido. El discurso no es siempr e la realidad. (Interview 3) [In terms of gender, one can s ee that World Vision wants to find gender equality, but it has not been so equitable or functiona l in practice. It is to look for a person with a career, with merit, regardless of whether the person is a wo man or man, right. That they be people who do the job and who have the same opportuni ties that any other person within the

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111 organization. But it has not been so clear for me; it has not been. The discourse is not always reality.] While confident about the importance of the discourse of gender equality, this woman expresses ambiguity and uncertainty regarding its actual implementation in the organization. Although in this case the individuals feelings are the matter are for the most part general, others are much more descriptive and arguably affected by theirs and others experiences in the NGO. One WVC woman described being discriminate d against at work and how it d eeply impacted her. Her story is discussed at length because other WVC women commented on it. Bueno, de pronto s he tenido dificultades. En mi caso personal yo vena de un proceso de [cargo profesional] y pues estuve ac con un equipo mientras que mi jefe no estaba. Mi preparacin es [cargo profesiona l], sin embargo mi jefe fue cambiado y vino otra persona para ocupar esa posicin y esta persona sele ccion solamente hombres en su grupo. Y los que venamos en un proceso de liderazgo pues nos quedamos atrs. Y el nuevo jefe design quin sera mi jefe. Y pues sent que mi proceso [sic] no estaba reconocido, porque me qued con un cargo inferior, digamos as Y en un proceso de seleccin mi jefe fue nombrado y llevaba menos tiempo de [cargo profesional] en la organizacin y entonces no se dio cuenta la experiencia que yo te nia. No hubo proceso, seleccionando sin mirar hojas de resume. Fue todo por simpatas. Me pareca que no hubo la equidad que se habla aqu. (Interview 4) [Well, I have had difficulties. In my pers onal case, I was in the process of entering a [professional position] and well I was here w ith a group while my boss was away. My preparation is in [a professional position], nevertheless my boss was changed and in came another person to occupy that position and this person selected only men for the group. And this new boss chose who was going to be my boss. Put it this way, I felt like my work was not acknowledged, because I was left with an inferior position. And in a selection process my boss was named and this person had less time as [professional position] in the organization and so then the experience that I had was overlooked. There was no process, selections being made without looking at resume pages. Everything was based on friendships. It seemed like there was not the type of equality that is talked about here.] This WVC women is clearly upset and concerned about the lack of perceived equality in the promotion practices of the NGO. As she notes, all the work done to enter into a higher position was not acknowledged as other peoplemainly all men and persons with less time in the organizationwere given the jobs. In all, the problem seems to have been a disjuncture between the type of equality ta lked about in the organization and what she experienced. When asked

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112 further about what this experi ence felt like, she expressed a d eeper sense of personal hurt and inferiorization: Pues me sent relegada y en una forma desaprovechada. Si, porque considero que tengo talentos y conocimiento de la organizacin. Ya son casi [numero de aos] que llevo en Visin Mundial. Entonces no se, yo creo que yo puedo tener una posicin de [cargo profesional] y me ha daado mis proyecci ones y valor dentro de la organizacin. (Interview 4) [Well I felt relegated and unable to take a dvantage of opportunities. Yes, because I consider that I have talents and knowledge of the organizati on. I already have almost [ number of years ] in World-wide Vision. So then I do not know, I believe that I can have a [professional position ] and my projections a nd value within the organization have been damaged.] This WVC woman continues to explain why this experience also impacted her spiritually and emotionally, citing the disconnection between the la rger discourse of practicing gender equality and her lived reality in the NGO. In her words, Bueno, porque como organizacin estamos buscando que haya participacin y que haya una apertura, cierto. Pero mi experiencia me limit mi perspectiva para participar en algunos proyectos. Tambin porque esa expe riencia me molest y fue muy fuerte y diferente para mi. Fue incomodo. (Interview 4) [Well, because as an organization we are looki ng that there be partic ipation and that there be openness, right. But my experience limited my perspective to participate in some projects. Also because that experience bothe red me and was very hard and different for me. It was uncomfortable. She explicitly uses the dominant discourse of the NGO with regard s to practicing gender equality, even pointing out that this is a goal of the organization. However, the use of this narrative is as a point of contra st to her own personal experience of discrimination. By using the NGOs primary discourse this WVC woman is able to reveal her feelings of being hurt and uncomfortable in par ticipating at work. The story of this particular individual was commented on by other WVC women. While these individuals say that they themselves have not experienced discrimination in the organization, they are friends with the woman mentioned above and have been affected by her

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113 experience (they each mentioned her by name). Particularly notewort hy is how they also associate themselves with the NGOs discourse on gender equality but use their friends experience to express concerns about it. Here is what some WVC women said: Yo conozco a [Interviewee 4] muy bien. Somos amigas y hablamos de cmo van las cosas. Lo qu le sucedi era horrible. Recuerdo llor ando con ella sobre eso. Las cosas no son siempre justas. Pero no deba haber sucedi do a ella porque nosotros se supone somos equitativos a todos y no importa si son muje res, hombres, amigos o no. (Interview 7) [I know [interview 4] very well. We are friends and talk about how things are going. What happened to her was horrible. I remember crying with her a bout it. Things are sometimes not fair. But it should not have happened her because we are supposed to be equitable to everyone and it does not matter if they are women, men, friends or not. (Interview 7) Visin Mundial ayuda a muchas personas a qu pero [Interview 4]. Yo estaba trastornada tambin. Supongo que no llevo a cabo la misma vista i nocente de este lugar. Mira, Visin Mundial es mejo r que la mayora de organizaciones. Pero siempre duele cuando es alguien cerca a ti y no est n tratado con cario. (Interview 13) [World Vision helps many people here but [Inter viewee 4] I was also upset. I guess I do not hold the same innocent view of this pl ace anymore. Look, World Vision is better than most organizations. But it always hurts when it is someone close to you and they are not treated with car e. (Interview 13) Nunca he experimentado la discriminaci n aqu y no pienso que Visin Mundial discrimina. Pero (pausa) nuestros valores son me jores que lo que [Interviewee 4] le pas. Creemos en igualdad y en trat ar todos iguales, sin importa r quines son. Pienso que no vivimos nuestra propia mission. (Interview 21) [I have never experienced discrimination here and I do not think that World Vision discriminates. But (pause) our values are be tter than what [interviewee 4] went through. We believe in equality and treating everyone th e same, regardless of who they are. I think we did not live up to our own mission.] In a similar fashion, these WVC employ the NGO gender discourse but point to their friends discrimination experience as something that ha s undercut the organiza tions larger mission. Even though none of them talk about themselves experiencing discrimination, the contrast of the dominant narrative of gender equa lity and their friends story prompts them to talk about their own feelings and perceptions of the NGO. This included feeling h orrible and upset, as well

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114 as finding the NGO itself as not living up to its own mission. In all, the dominant WVC narrative about prac ticing gender equality was adopted by these women to speak about themselves as workers in the organization. This section demonstrates that the discour se of GAD is a substantive focus of WVC women to provide a more critical understanding of gender in the area of development than the earlier WID model. Put differently, the dom inant gender perspectiv e discourse found in mainstream development NGOs, such as WVC, was shown to comprise the field of the possible, constraining what mean s are coherent yet also provi ding the resources to contest hegemonic meanings (Broad, Crawley, Fole y 2004:515). How WVC women employed the organizations gender discourse differed, sometimes to affirm the NGO and at other times to argue that it has not lived up to its own standards of gender equality. In both cases, however, WVC women framed themselves within the reco gnizable gender narrative of the organization, revealing how a sense of self was made that wa s congruent with the collective narrative of the NGO. Arguably, in adopting the dominant GAD narrative that holds resonance within the development and NGO context, WVC women reprodu ce its power. A central question is if the process of using the dominant gender discours e found among mainstream development NGOs, in fact, challenges or maintains hegemony, especially w ith regards to gender relations. It is at this juncture that the stubborn doing good question doe s crop up again. Unique to this study is that this question is now addressed anal yzing how a gender perspective is done The next section is dedicated thus dedicated to exploring the active side of framingWVC womens identity work.

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115 CHAPTER 6 DOING GENDER MAINSTREAMING AND SELF Interpretive Practice of WVC Women According to Holstein and Gubrium (2000), the self is a dynamic event that is constructed from both the conditions made available by the p ublic going concerns and the active work of agents. To be sure, WVC women rely on a sp ecific gender discourse in their NGOthat of mainstreamingwhen they construct a sense of se lf. WVC women, in other words, tap into the discourse-in-practice of the organization and th e larger NGO development field, and in so doing they identify themselves in terms of their interests, views, and concerns In the language of social movement literature, the gender perspective represents a substantive frame for WVC women in terms of self and thei r sense of NGO collectivity. Broad (2002:326) underscores Holstein and Gubriums earlier point though, noting that a full accounting of selves must examine the pr ocesses and procedures by which selves are accomplished in addition to the narrative resources th at comprise what a self might be. In this case, capturing the production of self in WVC would include an examination of how WVC women narratively construct a mainstream gender perspective as part of their selves. For Holstein and Gubrium (2000:12), the se lf is agenic in part because it is actively crafted in light of biographical particulars, using culturally endorsed format s. WVC women, therefore, not only make a self from within the discursive framework of their NGO, but also through their identity work, which includes weaving this dominan t discourse in accordance to their biographical particulars. In this chapter, I provide an illustration of how to understand the construction of NGO womens selves in terms of their mainstreaming talk. Specifically, attention is paid to how WVC women construct gendered selves as women by being professionals and telling awareness testimonials which allow them to practice a mainstream

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116 gender perspective. This analys is describes what Holstein an d Gubrium (2000:90) refer to as discursive practice, or how WVC women do self. Constructing Professional Selves As was discussed in Chapter 2, the mainstr eam NGO field, including some feminist NGOs, has pursued a professionalized approach to thei r gender advocacy work. A central factor in the process of professionalization has been the new gender policy turn that emerged in the 1990s as the economic and political terrain in many Latin American countries experienced the structural reforms of neoliberalism. In the decade of the 1990s in Colombia, many working in NGOs perceived the dismantling of the military st ate and the creation of the 1991 Constitution as a new opportunity to effect change in gender policy. In this case, many NGOs have formalized their gender advocacy practices a nd moderated their discourses a bout gender so that they can interact with neoliberal states and international agencies. Murdock (2003:515), for example, quotes a woman working in a feminist NGO in Medelln who explains the need to develop qualifications and expertise as a gender advocate when dealing wi th the new neoliberal state: To qualify ourselves for an effective participatio n, we need not just to have the force and space to participate, but also to know how to do so in a qualified manner. If they call us about a new law they are form ulating about women who are h eads of households, we have to have the clarity to make clear and effective and scientific contributions to this law. WVC has similarly emphasized the important role professionals play in gender advocacy in the organization. Specifically, development profe ssionals, such as those working in NGOs, now need the practical tools to implemen t gender into development programs: Ahora, este cambio en la cultura organizativa y en la prctica del ministerio necesita ir ms all de tan slo un mejor entendimiento y cambio de valores. No es suficiente ensear la importancia del gnero en el desarrollo. Nuestros profesionales de todo el mundo ya saben esto ahora. Lo que necesitan son herramientas que les permitan aplicar lo que saben. Los corazones y las mentes han cambiado, y ahora lo s profesionales de desarrollo quieren saber qu hacer y cmo hacerlo (World Vision International 2005).

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117 [Now, this cultural change in the organization and in the practice of the ministry needs to go beyond a mere better understandi ng and change of values. It is not sufficient to teach of the importance of gender in development. Our professionals around the world already know this now. What they need are tools that allow them to apply what they know. The hearts and minds have changed, and now th e development professionals want to know what to do and how to do it.] Thus the practice of doing a gender and developmen t approach is in large measure a professional undertaking, requiring tools that allow for them to apply this value system. In this vein, WVC women construct selves not only through the dom inant gender narrative of the organization, but also by being professi onals within the NGO. A mainstream gender perspective, in other words, is made as WVC es tablish professional selves in their relationships with themselves and others in the organization. And as was mentioned above, this identity work included the bringing together the larger going concern of the NGO (i.e, advocating a mainstream gender perspective) and WVC womens biographical particulars. One way WVC women crafted professional selves was by asso ciating their personal ev eryday social service work as a form of professional gender advocacy. WVC women, for example, drew a distinction between their own experiences as p ractical social service workers to the theoretical efforts of academics. Here are some examples of th is way of doing, or framing, professionalism: Yo entiendo que la experiencia es muy important e, porque la experienci a te da capacidades tcnicas y al mismo tiempo te da la seguridad en qu hacer y saber hacer. Te hace una persona prctica; te hace una persona decidida. La parte de academia y lo emprico son diferentes, y los dos son importantes. No te puedes limitar a uno, pero la prctica es necesario ahora para hacer nuestro trabajo, para trabajar el concepto de gnero. Nosotros aqu trabajamos los dos aspectos, pero es central trabajar en la prctica de gnero. (Interview 28) [I consider experience very important, becau se experience gives you technical capacities and at the same time it gives you the security in what to do and to know how to do it. It makes you a practical person; it makes you a determined person. The part of academia and the empirical are different, and both are im portant. You cannot be limited to one, but practice is necessary no w to do our work, to work the idea of gender. Here we work the two aspects, but it is central to work the practice of gender.]

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118 Cuando yo entro en Visin Mundial, yo tengo que c onfrontar lo terico con lo emprico. Parte de ser profesional es la prctica. Ac estamos tratando de transformar nuestro pas; trabajamos con comunidades de base. Es la misin de Visin Mundial manejar un programa de gnero y la organizacin nos est dando las herramientas para eso. (Interview 9) [When I enter World Vision, I have to confront th e theoretical with the empirical. Part off being a professional is practice. Here we ar e trying to transform our country; we work with base communities. The mission of Worl d Vision is managing a gender program and the organization is giving us the tools for that.] Yo no soy un acadmico. Soy profesional, pero no en lo acadmico. Yo considero que trabajamos en prctica lo que se di ce en teora. (Interview 7) [I am not an academic. I am a professional, but not in academia. I consider our work the practice of what is said in theory.] As these WVC show, a mainstream gender pers pective is done by be ing a practicing professional that implements the ideas that are produced by academ icians. While theory is not divorced from their gender advocacy work, puttin g into practice ideas plays a uniquely central role. As one women noted, ente ring World Vision requires that she confront theory with the empirical or everyday worldnot the other way around. What is important here is how WVC women construct a professional id entity by drawing from the prof essionalism discourse of the NGO and their own personal biography as practicing social service agents. To be sure, these WVC women reaffirmed the present task, as ou tlined by the NGO, of gender and development professional as being able to know what to do and how to do it. Another way WVC women constr ucted professional selves was by how they actually act like professionals. This was most often expressed by describing how they perform their duties in a professional mannernamely, by spending lo ng hours working, being organized, and paying attention to details. Yo dedico mucho tiempo en el mbito laboral Hay algunas personas que llegan tarde y ya a las 4:59 de la tarde estn listas para ir a la casa. Parte de ser pr ofesional es hacer el trabajo bueno y con cualidad y eso requiere tiempo. (Interview 20)

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119 [I dedicate a lot of time in the work environment. There are some persons who come in late and at 4:59 in the afternoon are ready to go home. Part of be ing a professional is doing the job well and with quality and that requires time.] Me considero una persona muy organizada y detallista. Pero eso se necesita en nuestro trabajo, no? Es nuestra responsabilidad ser organizado para las proye ctos que trabajamos. Si yo veo una palabra incorrecta, yo lo corrijo. No todo el mundo es as. Yo s. Es mi papel como professional. (Interview 5) [I consider myself to an orga nized and detail-oriented person. But that is needed in our job, right. It is our responsibility to be orga nized for the projects that we do. If I see an incorrect word, I fix it. Not ever yone is this way. I am. It is my role as a professional.] Estamos en un contexto profesional aqu en Visin Mundial. Si queremos cambiar las condiciones de las comunidades tenemos que trabajar mucho. En mi trabajo, yo soy muy organizada. Si no lo soy, las cosas no ma nejan bien. Algunas veces yo me quedo por ms tiempo para terminar lo que tengo que hacer. No lo puedo dejar para el prximo da, porque siempre hay algo nueve que hacer. (Interview 10) [We are in a professional context in World Visi on. If we want to change the condition of the communities we have to work a lot. In my work, I am very organized. If I am not, things do not work well. Sometimes I stay for more time to finish what I have to do. I cannot leave it for the next day, because there is always something new to do.] WVC womens own personal work habits and style are important components in how a professional is supposed to act, given the p rofessional context in World Vision and the responsibility that goes along w ith being a professional. Interestingly, not everyone enacts the type of performativity described by WVC women. In fact, according to WVC women, it is women who are more likely to be more organized, spend longer hours, and focus on details. For exampl e, the following WVC women draw from their personal experience as women and mothers to explain how and why women are more likely to do this type of perfomativity than men: Bueno, bsicamente es diferente porque la mujer es ms sensible hacia otras. Es decir, el hombre es un poco ms duro (pausa) no s la palabra. El es un poco ms descoordinado. Entre hijos y mamas se cree eso mucho. Yo digo eso como mujer y mam. Los hombres son ms dependientes que las mujeres. A unque no creo que todas mams hacen eso, no creo. Pero s, s muchas lo hace. Estn pendiente del desayuno. Los hombres no son tan detallistas, para usar una palabra. (Interview 11)

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120 [Well, basically it is different because women ar e more sensitive toward others. It is to say, men are a little stern (pause) I do not know the word. He is a little uncoordinated. The relationship between son and mother creates this a lot. Although I do not think that all mothers do this, I do not think. But yes, yes many do. They [men] are dependent on breakfast. Men are not detail-o riented, to use a word.] Yo tengo dos jornadas, la de mi casa y la de mi trabajo. Entonces cuando yo estoy aqu estoy trabajando para Visin Mundial, pero duran te el da estoy pensando en mis hijos. Porque cuando llego a la casa ello s me van a necesitar para la comida y para ayudarlos en una tarea del colegio. Las mujeres necesitan ser ms organizadas que los hombres porque no tenemos el tiempo para hacer las cosas ot ra vez. Yo s que muchos hombres ac no tienen hijos y si los tienen sus esposas son las quien hace el trabajo en la casa. Entonces, los hombres ac siempre estn caminando con un paso lento, pero yo no. Yo corro. (Interview 21) [I have a double work day at my house and at my job. So when I am here I am working for World Vision, but during the day I am thinki ng about my children. Because when I get home they will need me to cook and help them with some homework from school. Women need to be more organized than men because we do not have the time to do things twice. I know that many men here do not ha ve children and if they do their wife are who do the work at home. So, the men here always are walking at a slower pace, but not me. I run.] Es interesante que las mujeres son ms detallista s que los hombres. Pienso que sera por la manera que las personas estn criadas. A qu en Colombia, desde pequeo los hombres estn criados para ser pendientes de la mujer. La mujer es la quien mantiene el orden. Por eso ves que las mujeres en Visin Mundial son ms organizadas. Tambin en ser mam, la mujer tiene que manejar dos jornadas que el hombre no tiene. Yo, por ejemplo, tena un jefe que era hombre que estaba completament e pendiente de m. Si yo no tena todo en orden l no saba qu hacer. En un sentido la mujer reproduce eso, aunque no debe ser. (Interview 10) [It is interesting that women are more detail-orie nted than men. I think that it is because of the way persons are raised. In Colombia, from very little, men are raised to be dependent on women. Women are who maintain order. For that reason you see women in World Vision as more organized. Also in being a mother, women have to maintain two working days that men do not have. I, for example, had a boss who was a man who was completely dependent on my. If I did not have everything in order he di d not know what to do. In one sense women reproduce that, ev en though it should not be.] Yo no creo que el trabajo de la mujer est si empre reconocido. Ser de tallista es necesario en nuestra profesin y ayuda en el mbito laboral (Interivew 1) [I do not think that the work of women is al ways recognized. Being detailed-oriented is necessary in our profession and helps the work environment.] Si, los hombres ac toman su tiempo, por decirlo as. (Interview 17)

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121 [Yes, the men here do take thei r time, to put it one way.] As these quotes reveal, WVC women not only identify themse lves as professionals and do professionalism, but they produce these professional selves by tappin g into their personal biographies as women and mothers. Consistent with the domina nt gender narrative of the NGO, they use their identity as women and mothers to explain that their professional performance is based on womens and mens relational dynamics, in this case early childhood socialization in the family. Specifically, men in World Vi sion, and Colombia in general, are more uncoordinated, slower paced, and dependent than women because they were taught this behavior when young. Significantly, the intersectional experien ce of being a professional woman and/or mother creates disparities at wo rk, which include women having to be the ones who keep order and deal with two work-shiftsone at work and then another at home. As one WVC woman noted, this reality is not often r ecognized, yet the women themselves reproduce it to an extent by taking on these re sponsibilities that are necessary in our profession. In all, a contrast between women and me n was delineated by WVC women who drew on life experiences that they considered uniquely their own. Commentary about organizational interpers onal relationships was also extended to a perceived hierarchy existing among professionals. Importantly, both were described in relation to the construction of professional selves. WV C women, for example, highlighted the hierarchy existing between individuals working in the central offices of WVC and those working more directly in the communities, in the campos (camps). As WVC women po int out, this hierarchy is one that is based on whether individuals have acquired professional titles or degrees and privileging those who do. Signifi cant at this juncture is how WVC women attempt to challenge this scenario by constructing by a broader definition of professional selves that sees value in a wider range of biographical particulars beyond simply titlesuch as, persons practical

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122 experience. The following represent some examples of the making of this type of professional self (quotations were taken from WVC women in both central offices and camps, but any markers identifying their location were removed to preserve anonymity). Yo trabajo en [name of location] y s que pe rsonas con ttulo son tratados como mejores que personas sin ttulo. Dura nte una reunin, personas del cam po tienen que cualificar lo que dicen porque no hay el t tulo que te da una voz legi tima. Pero yo considero que personas en los campos tienen mucha experiencia pr ctica, emprica. Un titulo no te da la experiencia que se necesita pa ra trabajar en las comunidade s. Me considero profesional con o sin ttulo si tengo la prctica. (Interview 9) [I work in [name of location] and I know that persons with titles are treated better than persons without titles. During a meeting, pe rsons from the camps have to qualify what they say because they do not have the title that give you a legitimate voice. But I consider that persons in the camps have a lot of prac tical experience, empiri cal. A title does not give you the experience that is needed to work in the communities. I consider myself a professional with or without a title.] Si hay un problema en cmo personas del campo y de las oficinas centrales comunican. Muchas de las personas del campo no tienen t tulo o el mismo nivel de educacin que personas en el centro. Los dos no estn tratados como iguales. Es verdad que un ttulo trae mucho valor, especialmente en la teora. Pero lo emprico es igualmente importante y no se debe considerar menor. Creo que t odo el mundo debe tener una educacin, y Visin Mundial ayuda en eso. Al mismo tiempo, las personas de los campos tienen una reserva de experiencia que es central para actualizar la visin de es ta organizacin. Tenemos que ampliar la definicin de ser profesional. No es solamente tener t tulo. (Interview 17) [Yes there is a problem in how persons from the camps and the central offices communicate. Many of the persons from the ca mps do not have titles or the same level of education than persons from the center. The two are not treated the same. It is true that a title brings a lot of value, especially in te rms of theory. But the empirical is equally important and should not be considered inferi or. I think that ever yone should have an education, and World Vision helps in that. At the same time, persons from the camps have a reserve of experience that is central to act ualizing the vision of this organization. We have to broaden the definition of professional. It is not simple having a title.] Hay diferentes formas de abordar situaciones. Hay que reconocer que la experiencia es una forma de saber. En realidad s hay una jerarqua entre personas con ttulos y los que no los tienen. No deba ser, porque pers onas en los campos traen mucho, algunas veces ms que otros porque son las personas que hablan y trabajan en las comunidades. Creo yo que eso es suficiente para ser un profesional. Debemos hablar ms de eso ac, simplemente porque somos unidos en un tr abajar para justicia. (Interview 10) [There are different forms of dealing with si tuations. It needs to be recognized that experience is a way of knowing. In reality ye s there is a hierarchy between persons with

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123 titles and those without. It should not be, because persons in the camps bring a lot, sometimes more that other persons because they are the ones that talk and work in the communities. I think that is sufficient to be a professional. We should talk more about that here, simply because we are united in one job for justice.] Professionalization, at least the form that emphasizes titles, is e xpressed as threatening the close relationship between persons working in the camp s and those in the cent ral offices. As some explain, there is a problem and a real hierarc hy between persons with out professional titles and those who do have a certain level of edu cational achievement. One WVC woman noted an extra problem with this scenario: Son ms mujeres en los campos que hombres. No s los nmeros, pero no es igual. Entonces cuando hablamos de una jerarqua en trminos de ttulos, es entre mujeres. Es una lstima. (Interview 15) [There are more women in the camps than me n. I do not know the numbers, but it is not equal. So then when we talk about a hierarchy in terms of title, it is between women. It is a shame.] A central problem with this hierarchy is that it is primarily between women given that women represent a majority in the organization, especial ly the camps. WVC women, however, artfully craft a broader definition of what it means to be a professional by referr ing to persons personal experience and practice in working with communities as a way of knowing that is as valuable as that associated with a tit le. In a certain sense, WVC women again rely on the going narrative of the NGO regarding the need for prac tical professionals and weave this discourse with the biographical particulars of themselves as women to construct an alternative meaning of being professional and doing a gender perpsective Thus, WV C women are clearly bound by the meaning of being professional of the NGO, but c ontest the narrow application of it as simply title-oriented to offer a more inclusive perspective.

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124 Doing Self through Awareness Testimonials As was noted earlier, W VC views the mainstreaming of a gender perspective as more than an added dimension to its overall mission and wo rk; instead, a GAD approach is central to the organizations very sense of identity. In this re spect, a gender perspective is not external to the NGO, but also a focal point within the organization. An objective of WVC is to aplicar los conceptos de GAD a los procesos de desarrollo transformador en curso, en particular en el contexto de la cultura organizativa de Visi n Mundial y del trabajo diario en las comunidades (World Vision pamphlet). [apply the concepts of GAD to the processes of transformative development in course, in particular in the context of the organizational culture of World Vision and in the daily work in the communities.] A stated goal of these implementation efforts is a form of consciousness raising that highlights obstacles that personnel have encountered in their gender advocacy work. According to WVC literature, a gender perspective is meant to levantar conciencia del personal sobre los as untos de gnero y desarrollo en un entorno participativo de aprendizaje, en donde el personal puede discutir los obstcu los que ellos han enfrentado y los xitos de los que han sido te stigo al trabajar con los asuntos de gnero (World Vision pamphlet) [raise the consciousness of personnel regard ing issue of gender a nd development in a participatory and educational context, wherein personnel can discuss the obstacles that they have confronted and the successe s they have been witness to when working with gender issues.] Like their production of professional selves, WVC women also construct themselves in line with the larger NGO discourse about consciousness raising. Here again though, this production of self is not solely based on the narr ative resources of the NGO but also include the interactional processes that cons truct identity. In this case, WVC women accomplish an identity by building self-testimonials about their ever-growing awareness of obstacles to gender equality, both within and outside the organization. Cent rally important though is how WVC women rely on a broader, intersectiona l understanding of gender issues to constitute this self-awareness.

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125 As the following examples illustrate, WVC wo men draw on theirs and others biographical specifics to point out how gender is itself fractured along multiple ax is of race, class, and age, which create differential obstacles. As one WVC pamphlet explains, in raising public awareness regarding injustice, the organization seeks to promote public involvement and government policies that work for the well-being of vulnerable people. Similarly, WVC women constructed se lves by storying their own personal accounts of gender awareness, an aw areness that has lead them to become more involved both on a personal level and in the NGO to expose obstacles to gender equality. The construction of these awareness testimonials was done primarily by telling stories about who are the vulnerable people, which included themselves and others in the NGO. More specifically, vulnerability was determined by taking into ac count how the intersection of gender and other categories of difference introduce new levels and types of disadvantage and difficulties to gender equality. In one organizational pamphlet, WVC explains that their servi ce is available to all those in need, regardless of race, gender, ethnic background, or religious belief (World Vision pamphlet, Who We Are). Several testimonial s revolved around the theme of race and how it changes gender dynamics, in particular the re ality of women. WVC women build awareness stories by talking intersectionally about their own thoughts, feelings, and experiences in the organizations. The examples below shows awareness being built around the intersection of race and gender, revealing how women are not a homogenous group, each experiencing the same types of obstacles to gender equality. En trminos de gnero es importante sa ber que no todo el mundo tiene las mismas oportunidades o experiencias. Aunque todos ac sabemos de la injusticia, no es siempre fcil verlo por ejemplo, una mujer negra no es igual a una mujer blanca o mestiza. No tienen las mismas experiencias en la vida. Yo tuve una amiga [raza] y sus experiencias en

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126 el trabajo fueron muy diferentes a los mos. Despus de hablar con ella, vi que haba diferencias en confianza, en el hablar durante reuniones, y en el respeto de personas. Nunca me olvido de ella, porque hablando con e lla abri mis ojos que hay diferencias entre mujeres y que es importante reflexionar sobre eso en nuestro trabajo. (Interview 20) [In terms of gender it is important to know th at not everyone has the same opportunities or experiences. Although everyone here knows about injustice, it is not always simple to seefor example, a black woman is not the same as a white or mestiza woman. They do not have the same life experiences. I has a [r ace] friend and her experiences at work were very different than mine. After talking with her, I saw that there were differences in confidence, in speaking during meetings, and in respect from people. I will never forget her, because talking with her opened my eyes that there are differences between women and it is important to reflect on here at work.] En Colombia hay racismo no? Es parte de nuestra cultura. Pero algo que no se habla tanto es cmo el racismo afecta mujeres en maneras diferentes. Trabajando en Visin Mundial me ha enseado eso. Trabajando con las comunidades se ve cmo mujeres negras y blancas son tratadas diferente. Yo soy una mujer [raza] y eso me afecta mucho. Todava tenemos que trabajar ms esa realidad de desi gualdad entre mujeres. Por esa razn hablo con otros en el trabajo sobre eso y mi experiencia. (Interview 12) [In Colombia there is racism. It is part of our culture. But something that is not talked about much is how racism affects women in di fferent ways. Working in World Vision has taught me that. Working with the communities one can see how black women and white women are treated differently. I am a [race] wo man and it affects me a lot. We still need to work more on the reality that there is inequality between women. For that reason I talk to others at work about it and my experience.] Lo que yo noto es la desigualdad entre mujere s, como entre blanca e indgena. Aunque no debe ser as, en la sociedad a las personas no le gusta tener re laciones con las indgenas. He llegado a ese reconocimiento mirando mi vida personal. Por ejemplo, cuando iba a la universidad not que no se estudia el lenguaje indgena. Ya la mujer indgena tiene que confrontar los obstculos de la mu jer y de ser indgena. [What I notice is the inequality among women, like between whites and indigenous. Although it should not be this way, in society pe ople do not like to have relationships with indigenous people. I have come to this r ecognition looking at my personal life. For example, when I went to the university I noti ced that indigenous la nguage is not studied. And the indigenous woman has to confront the obstacles of a woman and being indigenous.] Bueno, yo soy [raza]. Y para m no hay dificultad en relacionarme con otros. Pienso que aqu en nuestra oficina no tenemos esas dificultades. De pronto uno s puede examinar ms adentro y ver cmo las personas se relacionan y ver que hay instancias cuando personas blancas conversan menos con personas negras. Me parece que esos instancias son importantes porque ser una mujer negra no es decir que el i ndividuo no tiene las mismas capacidades que una mujer blanca, las mismas capacidades de hablar, de pensar, y

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127 de participar. Ver eso en las oficinas me duele. Dice que no hay igualdad entre las mujeres y que todava tenemos mucho que hacer al nivel de gnero y raza para saber mejor cmo trabajar la inequidad. (Interview 8) [Well, I am [race]. And for me there are no diffi culties in relating to others. I think that here in our office we do not have those probl ems. But one can look more deeply and see how people relate and see that there are instances when white people speak less with black people. It seems to me that those instan ces are important because being a black woman does not mean that that indivi dual does not have the same capacities as a white woman, the same capacities to speak, to think, and to participate. Seeing th at in the offices hurts me. It tells me that there is no equality among women and that we still have much to do at the level of race and gender to know better how gender ineq uality functions.] As these stories show, a sense of self-awa reness was achieved by making visible how the intersection between race and gender function in their own and their friends lives. These womens testimonials highlight how this dyna mic produces subtle, often less discussed, differences in privilege among women, such as in their confidence, respect, and opportunity to participate. An important point expressed by many WVC women is how significant these experiences are for them. These stories are important not ju st because they change their perceptions about womens experiences, but also because they are often about close frie nds, making a sense of awareness an emotional event and thus long-lasting. Indeed, these testimonials are central to self because they are about individuals which they will never forget a nd refer to the hurt they felt in witnessing the differential treatment given to their friends. For ot her WVC women, this was more explicitly the case, noting that awareness sometimes becomes too overwhelming to bear if it were not for being able to share their stories. Tuve una compaera [raza] en Visin Mundi al y ramos muy buenas amigas. Pero si salamos a almorzar algo, senta que la gente en la calle nos miraba. Yo s que ella lo not tambin. Pero nunca hablamos de eso. Hemos aprendido ac que eso es el racismo. Lo que me duele, y he llorado muchas veces sobre esto, es que ella ya no est ac en Visin Mundial y era mi amiga, pero nunca pudimos hablar sobre lo que pas. Pienso en eso casi cada vez que voy a almorzar y que si nosotras co mo trabajadoras para justicia no podemos comunicar, cmo vamos a cambiar la realidad de otros. Yo s que no puedo cambiar el pasado, y lo que hago ahora es hablar con mis compaeras que tengo ahora. Eso es lo que

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128 me ayuda. Es importantsimo saber que el r acismo puede funcionar para afectar hasta las relaciones entre mujeres. Si no hablo me sien to peor y no pudiera a guantar mis emociones. (Interview 3) [I had a [race] companion in World Vision a nd we were good friends. But if we went out for lunch, I felt like people in the street would stare at us. I know that she noticed too. But we never talked about it. We have learned he re that that is racism. What hurts me, and Ive cried many times over this, is that she is no longer here in World Vision and she was my friend, but we never were able to talk a bout what happened. I think of that almost every time I go to eat and if we in working for justice could not communicate, how are we going to change the reality of others. I know I cannot change the past, and what I do now is talk to my co-workers that I have now. Th at is what helps me. It is very important to know that racism can function to affect even the relationships between women. If I do not talk I feel worse and would not be able to contain my emotions.] Tenemos que hablar de raza cuando hablamos de gnero. Aunque somos hermanas, no todas estamos tratadas igual. Como pue des ver soy [raza] y tengo una amiga [race]. Cuando estamos juntas todo el mundo nos mira muy raro. En Visin Mundial sabemos que tener amigos de diferente color es norma l. Pero yo s que no todo el mundo en la organizacin tiene amigos de di ferentes razas. En ese senti do es todava difcil expresar esas experiencias de discriminacin. Este te ma es muy importante para m, porque me ha daado mi relacin con mi amiga. Ella prefiere no hablar de estas cosas en pblico en la organizacin. Pero yo s quiero y he habla do con otros. Hemos fallado varias veces por mis conversaciones con otros trabajadores. Me frustra que en una organizacin en la cual he aprendido la importancia de la equidad tambin no es tan simple en realidad. En un sentido he perdido una amiga porque ya no hablamos como antes. (Interview 6) [We have to talk about race when we speak of gender. Although we are sisters, we are not all treated equally. As you can see I am [race] and have a fr iend who is [race]. When we are together people look at us very strange. In World Visi on we know that having friends of different colors is normal. But I know th at not everyone in the organization has friends of a different race. In that sense it is still difficult to express those experiences of discrimination. This topic is very important to me, because it has hurt my relationship with my friend. She prefers not to talk about these things in public in the organization. But I do want to and I have talked to others. We have fought various times because of my conversations with other workers. It frustrates me that in an organization in which I have learned the importance of equality it is not so si mple in reality. In a certain sense I have lost a friend because we do not talk as we did before.] In these stories, awareness is not simply conceptual; self-awareness occurs at an emotional level and is remembered through tears shed over lost fr iendships and the frustr ation felt in trying to manage ones awareness in certain contexts. In f act, this frustration has l ead some to claim that more work needs to be done with regards to race and gender to know better how gender

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129 inequality functions. Other WVC women have b een compelled to be more proactive and talk to others about their experience to continue the process of raising consci ousness. In short, achieving awareness about gender inequality is an embodied phenomenon that is brought on by recognizing intersec tional differences. Awareness testimonials also engaged how other dimensions, such as age and class, come together to form new types of gendered e xperiences. WVC women who touched on the intersection of age and gender often mentioned the differences between younger and older women in varied WVC scenarios, such as in meetings, times of decision-making, and informal settings. In all, these WVC wo men again relied on an intersec tional understanding of gender to express a self-awareness of how age impacts womens experien ces within the organization. Algo que me ha inquietado, porque yo soy empleada, es la edad. Aqu en Colombia se usa mucho el concepto que una mujer puede ser muy veterana para tr abajar. Y no estoy hablando de tener 60 aos. Hay muchas empr esas que ya no estn recibiendo mujeres de ms de 35 aos. Eso es parte de la cultura y es muy duro hablar de lo contrario con un director o lder en la empresa. Yo no creo que eso pasa aqu en Vi sin Mundial, pero s se notan cositas. Por ejemplo, en los pasillos puedes or chistes de mujeres viejas. Pero claro, un hombre se ve como ganando experienci a con los aos. La mujer tiene que vivir con varias dificultades que un hombre no tiene. De verdad no lo he pensado tanto como ahora que tengo [edad] aos, que no es mucho creo. (Interview 8) [Something that is unsettling to me, because I am an employee, is age. Here in Colombia the idea that a woman can be too old to work is used a lot. And I am not talking about being 60 years old. There are many businesse s that are no longer allowing women more 35 years old. That is part of the culture and it is very hard to talk about the opposite with a director or leader of the busin ess. I do not thing that that happens here in World Vision, but one does notice little things. For example, you can hear in the halls jokes about older women. But of course, a man is seen as gain ing experience with age. Women have to live with various difficulties that a man does not ha ve. To be honest I have not thought about it as much as now that I am [age] ol d, which is not too much I think. ] Lo que noto durante reuniones es que se usa mucho la idea de edad para hablar de mujeres. Por ejemplo, es comn si una mujer jovencit a y una ms mayor quieren hablar, or el director decir, Bueno, edad antes de belleza. Yo no digo nada porque es un dicho muy comn en Colombia, pero me molesta porque se usa nada ms para mujeres. Entonces si eres jovencita eres bonita. Pero si eres ms mayor qu significa? Tambin no me gusta que mi cuerpo sea parte del dialogo durante una reunin profesional. No creo que lo estn

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130 haciendo con mal intencin, pero produce un contexto en cual no me siento confortable. Esto es algo que esta ms y m s en mi mente. (Interview 16) [What I notice during meetings is that the idea of age is used a lot to talk about women. For example, it is common if a younger and olde r woman want to say something to hear the director say, Well, age before beauty. I do not say anything because it is a very common saying in Colombia, but it bothers me b ecause it is used only for women. So then if you are young you are beautiful. But if you are older what does it mean? Also I do not like it that my body is part of the conversa tion during a professional meeting. I do not think that they are doing it intentionally, but it produces a context in which I do not feel comfortable. This is something that is more and more in my mind.] These WVC describe a growing awareness of how age and gender shape their work experience, one that has for the most part only recently beco me a focus of attention. Age is felt to be a way not only to discriminate against older women, but also an officially legitimate means to make womens body part of discussion. In this case, le gitimation is based on using culturally accepted sayings. Other WVC women, however, shared that they have confront ed this issue for some time. For these WVC women, being aware of the inters ection of age and gender produced a deep sense of insecurity and ambivalence at th e work place and with co-workers. Yo llevo [numero] aos trabajando en Visin Mu ndial y yo s que me ven como vieja. No son malos conmigo, pero (pausa) es que me ha blan como si fuera su abuelita. En un sentido eso es bonito, pero no cuando estoy da ndo mis opiniones o perspectiva en algo. No tengo la misma autoridad, no. Entonces no me siento segura en reuniones. Esto no es algo nuevo. Y tambin me ha afectado cmo comunico con personas de menos edad, con los jovencitos. Tengo ms distancia que antes con ellos. No me gusta eso. (Interview 24) [I have been working in Worl d Vision for [number] years and I know that they see me as old. They are not bad to me, but (pause) it is that they talk to me as if I were their grandmother. In one sense it is nice, but not when I am giving my opinions or perspective on something. I do not have the same authorit y, right. So then I do not feel secure in meetings. This is not something new. And it has also affected how I communicate with younger persons, with the youth. I have more distance than before with them. I do not like it.] La equidad de gnero necesita equidad de edad tambin. No es todo el mundo, pero si se ve hombres tratando mujeres ms jvenes dife rente a mujeres mayores. Si una mujer ms joven hace algo incorrecto, no la regaan. Le dicen, no te preocupes. Pero una mujer de mayor edad no puede hacer un error, porque in dica que ya no sirve. Por eso tengo ms

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131 cuidado ahora porque estoy ms nerviosa en como hago mi trabajo. Algunas veces no duermo bien. Por eso digo que es muy importante hablar no slo de gnero sino de la edad tambin. No creo que un hombre vaya a entender esto como una mujer. (Interview 3) [Gender equality needs equality in age also. It is not everyone, but one does see men treating younger women differently than older women. If a younger woman does something incorrect, she is not reprimanded. Th ey tell her, do not worry about it. But an older woman cannot make a mistake, because it indicates that she no longer is useful. For that reason I am more careful now because I am more nervous in how I do my job. Sometimes I do not sleep well. For that reason I say that it is importa nt to not only talk about gender but also age too. I do not th ink that a man will understand this like a woman.] In these examples, awareness is narrated by expressing the various emotional concerns and consequential effects associated with the inters ection of age and gender. In particular, the differential treatment of younger and older wo men leads WVC women to feel unsure and nervous about their daily work to the point of a ffecting their relationship with fellow co-workers and impacting their ability to sleep. Finally, some WVC women highli ghted class in their awareness testimonials. Class was talked about as primarily personas having the fina ncial resources to hire domestic assistance. Being able to afford domestic help was viewed as distinctly affecting women, with those who could hire domestic help standing to benefit over women who could not. Sabemos que las mujeres tienen dos trabajos, un o laboral y uno domestico. Aqu en Visin Mundial hay muchas mujeres con hijos, pero no todas pueden pagar para ayuda. Esas mujeres que no tienen los recursos llegan al trabajo mas cansadas. Yo lo veo todos los das. Lo extrao es que trabajamos una perspe ctiva de gnero ac, pero nunca hablamos de las dos jornadas para las mujeres dentro de Visin Mundial. Despus de tener hijos empec a entender esto ms. Por eso creo que es importante promover este reconocimiento al hombre, que hace menos en la casa, y a las mujeres que se han olvidado de las experiencias de otras. (Interview 13) [We know that women have two jobs, one at wo rk and the other at home. There are many women here in World Vision with children, but they cannot all afford to pay for help. Those women that do not have the resources come to work more tired. I see it everyday. The strange thing is that we work a gender perspective here, but never talk about the double-shift for women within World Vision. After having children, I came to understand this more. That is why I think that it is important to promote this awareness to men, who do less at home, and to women who have for gotten the experiences of others.]

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132 Es muy difcil tener una car rera y ser mam. Muchas veces no puedo ir a reuniones durante los fines de semana, porque necesito estar con mis hijos. Qu puedo hacer? Visin Mundial entiende y por eso esas reuni ones no son obligatorias. Pero yo todava quiero participar. Los hombres siempre van por que su esposa se queda con los hijos, pero yo no puedo. Tambin hay mujeres que tienen ayuda; lo pagan. Yo conozco muchas mujeres ac que no pueden hacer eso; no tienen el dinero. Las mujeres ac lo reconocen, pero necesitamos una manera de comunicar es ta experiencia porque nos daa como mujer y como profesional. (Interview 24) [It is very difficult to have a career and be a mother. Many times I cannot attend meetings held during the weekend, because I need to be with my children. What can I do? World Vision understands this and for that reason th ose meetings are not obligatory. But I still want to participate. Men always go because their wife takes care of the children, but I cannot go. There are also women who have help; they pay. I know many women here who cannot do that; they do not have the mone y. The women here recognize this, but we need a way to communicate this experience because it hurts us as women and as professionals.] Esta es una organizacin en cual muchas de nosotras somos mams, algunas divorciadas. En hablar de gnero yo he realizado que la situacin econmica es central. Por ejemplo, poder pagar a alguien para ayudar en la casa es un recurso grande que no todos tienen. Yo no veo los hombres hablando de qu cansados estn porque no durmieron anoche porque estaban con su hijo hasta la madrugada. Co mo mam, he entrado al trabajo muy cansada, sin dormir, y todava teniendo que hacer m tr abajo igual como una persona que descans toda la noche. Esto no est siempre reconoci do ac, pero es vital pa ra nuestro trabajo de gnero. Mira, el otro da tuve que trabajar hasta las 7:00 de la noche, entr a las 7:00 de la maana, y cuando llegu a la casa mi hija neces it ayuda con su proyecto de escuela. Nos toc hasta las 11:00 para terminar. Ni com. El prximo da fue muy duro, pero qu pude hacer? (Interview 4) [This is an organization in which many of us are mom, some divorce d. In talking about gender I have realized that the economic situa tion is central. For ex ample, being able to pay someone to help in the house is a big reso urce that not everyone has. I do not see the men talking about how tired they are because they did not sleep last night because they were with their child until the morning. As a mom, I have come to work very tired, without sleeping, and still having to do my job the same as someone who rested all night. Look, the other day I had to work until 7:00 at night, I entered at 7:00 in the morning, and when I got home my daughter needed help with her school project. It took us until 11:00 to finish. I did not even eat. The nest da y was very hard, but what could I do?] The awareness testimonials of WVC women regular ly center on how obstacles that women face are not homogenous and thus require a host of ot her considerations to understand how certain personas are advantaged vis--vis others. As these WVC highlight social class is another key category to consider when understanding what prevents women from participating fully and

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133 fairly in the workplace. Indeed, the inability to pay for domestic assistance affects everything from their energy levels to if they wi ll be able to attend weekend meetings. In all, by telling testimonial s WVC women simultaneously cons truct a sense of self as a woman and practice the promotion of a gender perspective in the NGOnamely, by engendering awareness of about gender inequa lity. Importantly, WVC womens awareness stories are built on their own and others persona l, biographical experiences and the larger awareness narrative of the NGO. As many noted, th ese stories are important to their sense of identity because they touch on a range of emotiona l and relational facet of their lives. Thus, in constructing professional selv es and telling testimonials, WVC women produce gendered identities within WVC that re veal the interplay be tween the narrative reso urces of the NGO and the interaction production of selves.

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134 CHAPTER 7 CHRISTIANS FOR A GENDER PERSPECTIVE Christian Values as Narrative Resource Such as in Chapter 5, the purpose here is to pr esent yet another way that WVC womens selves are constructed in refere nce to the going concerns of their NGO. In particular, Christian values stand as a primary substantive focus of WV C and also provide a set of narrative resources from which WVC women produce thei r identities. Especially im portant is how WVC women, in their production of selves, also adopt the NGOs a pproach of using its dominant discourse of Christian values to pursue the prom otion of a gender perspective. Promoting a Gender Perspective as Being Christian Although WVC is an NGO working toward m ainstreaming a gender perspective within its internal and external projects, this was not the organizations ce ntral focus from its inception. While gender is a stated transversal theme of the NGO, WVC (as the Colombian arm of the international World Vision organi zation) principally identifies itself and emphasizes a discourse of and about religious Christian values. This is made evident in a description of the organization by the President of World Vision International: World Vision is a Christian humanitari an organization. We follow the great commandment to love our nei ghbors as we love ourselves. Heeding Christs model of unconditional love, our work is focused on thos e who are most vulnerable or most in need: those who are sick, hungry, persecuted, homele ss or defenseless (World Vision pamphlet). This is echoed by WVC on their website where under the heading of Who We Are (Quines Somos) they explain that We Ar e Christians (Somos Cristianos): Nos comprometemos a conocer a Jess como nue stro Seor y Salvador, nuestro modelo, lo que implica para nosotros la adopcin de un estilo de vida individual y corporativo, caracterizado por la oracin, la l ectura y la prctica de la pala bra de Dios, la adoracin, el testimonio personal, la proclamacin y la pr esentacin de un servic io de calidad a los pobres con quienes interactuamos (Visin Mundial 2005d).

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135 [We commit ourselves to know Jesus as our God and Savior, our model, what it implies for us the adoption of a style of individual and corporative life, charac terized by the oration, the reading and the practice of the word of God, the adora tion, the personal testimony, the proclamation and the presentation of a quality of service to the poor with whom we interact.] In this sense, World Vision is motivated by Chri stian faith (World Vision pamphlet), a set of religious Christian values that c onstitute a vital, if not the, substantive discourse of the NGO. What is important for this discussion is how WVCs narrative of Christian values is intentionally used to legitimize and engage a gender perspectiv e, in particular a relational understanding of the gender order. In other words, for WVC gender issues are not divorced from but rather constitutive of its religious values. Instituting a gender perspective is central to carrying out a Christians mission. This is clearly stated in the prologue of an internal document by the Vice President of World Vision Inte rnationals Developmen t and Resources of Nourishment: Segn se nos cuenta, Dios cre al gnero hum ano, tanto al hombre como a la mujer. Juntos, complementados, ninguno est completo sin el otro. Qu otra cosa podra esperar de un Dios relacional que es tres personas en una? Desde el principi o, todo es relacional y la transformacin depende de las relaciones. Esto es el fundamento de un entendimiento cristiano acerca del gne ro y su relacin con el desarrollo humano y social. Ninguno de los gneros puede lograrlo si n el otro. Ambos aportan sus dones y cumplen con sus papeles. Esta piedra fundamental cristia na es avalada por un alud de estudios que demuestran la importancia de las mujeres para lograr un desarrollo sostenible; y que la debilitacin de las mujeres o el fortalecimien to desmedido de los hombres dificultan el cambio social (World Vision International 2005). [As the story goes, God created to the human species, as much man as woman. Together, complemented, no one is complete without the ot her. What else could be expected from a relational God that three persons in one? Fr om the beginning, everything is relational and transformation depends on relations. This is the foundation of a Christian understanding concerning gender and its relati onship to human and social development. No one gender can obtain it without the other. Both contribute their gifts and fulfill their roles. This Christian cornerstone is guaranteed by an av alanche of studies that demonstrate the importance of women to obtain sustainable development; and that the debilitation of women or the excessive fortification of men makes frustrates social change.]

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136 The association of Christian valu es with the promotion of a gende r perspective is similar to the way WVC women describe themselv es as Christians. Specifical ly, WVC model their storying of self after the dominant discourse (being a Christian) of the NGO and utilize this narrative to justify a gender advocacy position. This strategic move to associate being Chri stian with gender advocacy is illustrated in several of WVC womens descri ptions of what it means to be a Christian themselves. Para me, gnero es parte del cristianismo, no? Es parte de la filosofa, de los principios cristianos Es parte de mi misin como cristi ana seguir una perspectiv a de gnero, porque la importancia de gnero es en los procesos sociales de desarrollo. Como cristiana estoy dedicada a un desarrollo justo y equitativo y eso incluye lo de gnero. Entonces si estamos hablando de esos valores fundamentales, y si hablamos de ese espacio espiritual tenemos que hablar y reconocer tambin el gnero como un eje transversal. (Interview 23) [For me, gender is part of Christianity, right. It is part of the philosophy, of Christian principles. It is part of th e mission of a Christian to pursu e a gender perspective, because the importance of gender is in the social pro cesses of development. As a Christian I am dedicated to just and equal de velopment and that includes gend er. So then we are taking about those fundamental values, and if we talk about that spiritual space we have to talk about and recognize gender al so a transversal theme.] La parte espiritual es muy importante en mi vi da. El primer eje en Visin Mundial es una buena relacin con Dioses como el eje, el centro. Ser cristiana es manejar los valores del reino. Estos valores incluye valorar al otro, a ser sensible Manejar una perspectiva de gnero nos ayuda a desarrollar espiritualment e como personas. No cada cristiano maneja la parte de gnero, pero es central como un modelo para un desarrollo que es sensible con el otro. Por eso yo me considero una cristi ana que trabaja gnero como parte de mi espiritualidad. (Interview 16) [The spiritual part is very important in my life. The first theme in World Vision is a good relationship with Godit is like the theme, th e center. Being Christian means working the values of the kingdom. These values include valuing the other, to be sensitive. Working a gender perspective helps us deve lop spiritually as persons. Not every Christian works the gender aspect, but it is central as a model for a de velopment that is sensitive with the other. For that reason I consider myself a Christian that works gender as part of my spirituality.] La religin es tambin importante en el discur so de gnero. Como una persona que trata de vivir con los principios de Jess Cristo, te ngo que reconocer la rea lidad de gnero. Es mi obligacin como cristiana analizar el de sarrollo de la mujer y del hombre como una relacin de seres. Por eso Visin Mundial tr abaja una perspectiva de gnero, porque te permite un desarrollo de oportunida des y equidad. (Interview 17)

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137 [Religion is also important in the discourse of gender. As a person who tries to live with the principles of Jesus Christ, I have to recognize the reality of gender. It is my obligation as a Christian to analyze the development of women and of me n as a relation of beings. For that reason World Vision works a gender perspective, because it allows you a development with opportunities and equality.] WVC women provide descriptions of themselves th at are similar to the depictions for the NGO. Like the NGO, WVC women talk about promoting a gender perspective as what it means to be a Christian. These individuals clearly emphasized this linkage as something fundamental and obligatory to their spirituality as living for the principles of Jesus Christ. This was made particularly evident in one WVC womans persona l account of how gender has become a central feature of her Christianity: Trabajando aqu en Visin Mundial me ha enseado cmo me puedo amar. Yo crec en una familia en cual la mujer fue tratada como inferior al hombre. Desde pequea aprend eso y hasta hoy lo llevo conmigo. Pero ac en sean que Dios quiere a todo el mundo, sea hombre o mujer. Ac se maneja el gnero co mo parte del la espiritu alidad. Ahora s que me puedo valorar como mujer porque es lo que Dios quiere. Esto ha sido algo duro para m y todava me toca duro. (Interview 5) [Working here in World Vision has taught me how I can love myself. I grew up in a family in which women were treated as inferior to men. Since I was little I learned that and until today I take it with me. But here they teach that God loves everyone, whether they be a man or woman. Here gender is worked as part of spirituality. Now I know I can value myself as a woman because it is what G od wants. This has been something difficult for me and it still hits me hard.] The relevance of gender in this WVC womans re lationship with God is explained as a direct result of working in the NGO and coming into contact with its discourse concerning the role of gender in a Christians mission. As this individual notes, this narrative is one that has helped her to learn how to love herself in wa ys that were frustrated before. In general, WVC womens sens e of self as a Christian mirrors the NGO narrative of gender being important for social and human development. As was mentioned earlier, WVC understands transformational deve lopment as contingent upon a relational view of gender. According to the organization, a relational a pproach is fundamental to a Christians

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138 understanding concerning gender and its relationship to human and social development. Thus another significant way WVC women articulated a sense of self was more specifically in terms of their social service work. Important to note is how gender advocacy is a central feature in their Christian service efforts in communities. Nosotros como institucin, que somos el de sarrollo, pues tenemos esa misin de gnero tambin. Es parte de mi servicio como trabajador, como cristiana, modificar esos elementos sociales y culturales en las difere ntes instancias en las comunidades. En realidad la equidad es precisamente un trabaj o cristiano. As es como nos cre Dios. Necesitamos trabajar para promover la atencin a la mujer, sin dejar el hombre. (Interview 23) [As an institution, as development, we have th at mission regarding gender too. It is part of my service as a worker, as a Christian, to modify those social and cultural elements in different instances in the communities. In reality equality is precisely a Christian job. That is how God created us. We have to work to bring attention to women, without leaving out the men Tenemos un trabajo muy importante que hacemos para nuestras comunidades. Es un privilegio hacer el trabajo de Dios y ayudar en el proceso de desarro llo. Dios permiti que la mujer tenga hijos, pero es importantsimo tambin saber que la mujer necesita un poco de protecciones afrente de la inequidad. Es muy raro, por ejemplo, or un hombre en las comunidades decir que tengo que ir a recoger a mi hijo; tengo que comprar la ropa de los nios. Hay que trabajar esa relacin para tr ansformar los papeles histricos de la mujer y del hombre. Por eso me prepar, estudi, y ahora trabajo para esa transformacin social que es tambin una transformacin deseado por Dios. Hago este trabajo no porque tengo, sino porque est en mi co razn. (Interview 16) [We have a very important job that we do for our communities. It is a privilege to do Gods work and help in the development pro cess. God allowed wome n to have children, but it is very important to know that women need some protection with regards to inequality. It is very strange, for example, to hear a man in the community say that I have to pick up my child; I have to buy the kids clothes. That relation has to be worked to transform the historical roles of the woman and man. For that reason I prepared myself, studied, and now work for that social transformation that is also a transformation desired by God. I do this job not because I have to, but because it is in my heart. These WVC women see their social service work as constitutive of their own identity as Christians, pointing out how their labor stems from their heart. In addition though, gender advocacy is also explained as a central part of their work. This was again done by associating gender and development with a Christian mission. Indeed, a religious ra tionale was used to

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139 justify working a gender perspective in communities. According to one WVC woman, all of her preparation, studies, and now work is to do the type of transf ormative work desired by God. Other WVC women slightly modified this focu s of social service to also include the internal realties of the organi zation. In other words, being a Christian working for a gender perspective not only occurs in communities, but also in the everyday interactions at the workplace. Deseo que esos proyectos de gnero se implan ten y que se vean efectivos, no solamente en los programas y proyectos sino en la cultura, en la estructura organi zacional. Como una organizacin cristiano, yo tengo qu e crear una unidad de gnero. Es mi misin porque es la misin de Dios. Entonces mi trabajo es formar los tcnicos para poder implantar programas para que se camine hasta la e quidad. (Interview 2) [I want those gender projects to be implemented and that they are seen as effective, not only in the programs and projects but in the cu lture, in the structure of the organization. As a Christian organization, I have to create ge nder unity. It is my mission because it is Gods mission. So then my job is to formul ate techniques to implement programs so that we walk toward equality.] Hay que mantener la reflexin interno, para que se transcienda esos discursos feos que tratan la mujer como inferior o el hombre co mo superior. Yo trabajo en una organizacin cristiana, entonces esos discursos no deben ex istir ac. Es verdad que la mayora somos mujeres, pero todava existe inequidad en posiciones de poder. Visin Mundial est trabajando eso, pero es mi trabajo tambin cambiar esos instancias. Jess dijo que el reino esta aqu, no solo afuera en el cielo. (Interview 4) [Internal reflection has to be maintained, so that those ugly discourses that treat women as inferior and men as superior are transcended. I work in a Christian organization, so those discourses should not exist here. It is true that the majority here is women, but there still exists inequality in positions of power. World Vision is working that, but it is my job also to change those instances. Je sus said that the kingdom is here, and not only outside in heaven.] One WVC woman spoke specifically about the relevance of this study for the implementation of a gender perspective within the organization in explicitly religious terms. Yo creo que Dios cre todo y est detrs de todo. Tu ests aqu ahora porque Dios quiso que nosotros trabajemos ms el concepto de gne ro dentro de Visin Mundial. Para m su trabajo afirma mi creencia en Dios, por que hace tiempo que nosotros hemos tratado implementar una posicin acerca de gnero. Por eso quise hacer esta entrevista. Es para promover la misin de Dios. (Interview 5)

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140 [I believe that God created everything and is behind everythi ng. You are here now because God wanted that we work more the concept of gender within World Vi sion. For me your work affirms my belief in God, because it has been some time that we have been trying to implement a position on gender. It is for that reason that I did the interview. It is to promote Gods mission.] WVC women understood gender advocacy to not simply be the work of the organization, but represents their pers onal duty as a Christian. Some describe d this duty in more general terms as including formulating techniques and changing inst ances of inequality within the workplace. Another WVC woman spoke more sp ecifically citing her participation as an interviewee in this study as a way of promoting Gods mission to implement a position concerning gender. As these examples show, WVC women obtain a sense of self from their social service work but from within the dominant discourse of the NGO, which sees Christian social development as one that seriously considers ge nder dynamics. In these cases, WVC women built a sense of self by associating, as the dominant discourse of the NGO does, being Christian with employing a gender perspective. Reading the Bible: Finding Gender in My Faith In addition to associating a Christian fa ith with a gender pers pectiv e, WVC more specifically employs the biblical text as a means for conveying the importance of gender in analyses of development. For the organization, the Bible represents the central text of the Christian faith and is considered an integral feature in its orientat ion and work. It is the explicit intent of WVC to proporciona al personal de Visin Mundial un entendimiento integral de los pasajes bblicos claves relacionados con la equidad de gneros(World Vision International 2005). [provide to the personnel of World Vision an integral understanding of the key Biblical passages related to the gender equality.] In this case, the Bible assists in delineating the basic identity of WVC, es pecially how a Christian organization goes about its work. This is particularly the case with regards to promoting a

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141 gender perspective. The biblical basis to gender issues is expl ained by the organization in this manner: Para una ONG cuya identidad, historia y valore s centrales son cristiano s, una base bblica y teolgica es esencial para determinar la pr ioridad, la estrategia y la respuesta en cada nivel de nuestro trabajo diari o. Esto es particularmente ci erto con respecto al gnero (World Vision International 2005). [For an NGO whose central identity, history and values are Christian, a Biblical and theological base is essential to determine the priority, the strategy a nd the answer in every level of our daily work. This is partic ularly certain with respect to gender.] To this end, a primary strategy adopted by WVC is to engage in reflecti ons of biblical texts to better aid professionals understanding of concepts and pursuit of a GAD approach. Accordingly, WVC incorpora reflexiones bblicas con la intencin de ejercitar el alma de una organizacin cristiana de desarrollo, as como tambin las practicas, los conceptos y las herramientas de GAD reconocidas internacionalmente, requ eridas cada vez mas para todos los profesionales de desarrollo (W orld Vision International 2005). [incorporates Biblical reflections with the inte ntion to exercise the "soul" of a Christian organization of development, as well as its practice, the concepts and the tools of GAD recognized internationally, incr easingly required for all pr ofessionals of development.] WVC women similarly incorporat e Biblical reflections. WVC women, however, did not always use the Bible as a context to understand gender. Importantly, this tact ic often started after working and participating in the organizati on, making it clear that WVC womens sense of (religious) self relies on the NGOs very specific use of the Bible to broach the issue of gender. Desde que era pequeita he ledo la Biblia. Mi madre nos hizo leer la Palabra en voz alta antes de ir a dormir. La Biblia es important e para m porque es mi manera de comunicar con Dios cuando estoy confundida o necesito ay uda. No era hasta que trabaje aqu que empec a utilizar la Biblia para entender mejor yo misma como mujer. (Interview 22) [Since I was little I have read the Bible. My mother made us read the Word aloud before going to sleep. The Bible is important to me b ecause it is my way of talking to God when I am confused or need help. It was not until I worked here that I started to use the Bible to understand myself better as a woman.]

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142 Trabajando en Visin Mundial me ha enseado que la Palabra de Dios habla de gnero. Ahora leo la Biblia con esa perspectiva. Como mujer, como cristiana eso es importante porque no se oye mucho de eso en la iglesia. A veces me pongo un poco brava que en la misa no se toca el tema de gnero. Sabe mos que las mujeres son un grupo vulnerable y que Dios requiere la justicia para todos. Pe ro en mi vida personal yo veo la Palabra como hablando de mis condiciones como mujer. (Interview 17) [Working in World Vision has taught me that th e World of God talks about gender. Now I read the Bible with that perspe ctive. As a woman, as a Chris tian that is important because one does not hear very much about that in church At times I get a little angry that in mass gender is not touched upon. We know that wo men are a vulnerable group and that God requires justice for all. But in my pers onal life I see the Word as taking about my conditions as a woman.] Siempre se habla del dinero, de la salud, de la familia en nuestra fe. Pero nunca se habla del gnero y qu dice la Biblia sobre ese tema. Ac si se habl a de gnero en trminos de los principios cristianos. A hora cuando rezo con mis amigas rezo por las relaciones que tenemos con los hombres. Siempre digo, que nuestras relaciones sean justas y sin machismo. Algunas veces me miran un poco rar o, pero como cristiana es importante esos esfuerzos. (Interview 23) [Money, health, and family are always talked ab out in our faith. But gender is never talked about and what the Bible says about the topic. Gender is ta lked about here in terms of Christian principles. Now when I pray with my friends, I pray for the relationships we have with men. I always say, that our re lations be just and without machismo. Sometimes they look at me strange, but as a Christian those efforts are important.] Visin Mundial es muy especial. Hacemos al go que no pasa en muchas organizaciones. Ac usamos la Biblia en nuest ro trabajo diario. Incorporam os la reflexin bblica para analizar gnero. Esto nos prepara como cristi anos y como profesionales. Por eso digo que tenemos un espacio especial, porque unimos nuest ra fe con nuestro trabajo profesional. Eso es necesario porque somos personas integral es. Mi trabajo y vida personal como una mujer cristiana no estn separados. (Interview 16) [World Vision is very special. We do something that does not happen in many organizations. Here we use the Bible in our daily work. We incorporate biblical reflections to analyze gender. This prepares use as Christians and as professionals. For that reason I say that we have a special sp ace, because we unite our faith with our professional job. That is necessary because we are integral people. My job and my personal life as a Christian woman are not separated.] While using the Bible as part of their faith is certainly not a new, WVC women emphasize how the organization has introduced th e idea of placing gender within th e context of the Bible. For some, it was not until they began working in th e NGO did they start an d learn to use the

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143 Bible to understand gender. As they note, this novel approach has shaped their own selves by leading them to better understand myself as a woman, change the focus of prayer with friends to include gender, and at times become angry with the apparent silence in church with respect to gender. For another woman biblical reflections aid in integrating he r own personal life, in particular her Christian faith as a wo man with her professional work. Humble Followers of Jesus: Examining Gendered Selves WVC considers it im portant, however, to make a differentiation between reading the Bible for inspiration and for the purposes of interpreting its passages: Visin Mundial afirma que las Escrituras son para ser interpretadas integral y temticamente, y tambin distingue entre insp iracin e interpretaci n. La inspiracin se relaciona con el impulso divino y reconoce t odo el canon de las Escrituras as como la Palabra de Dios. La interpre tacin es nuestra actividad human a al tratar de discernir la verdad relevada en armona con la totalidad de las Escrituras y bajo la gua del Espritu Santo(World Vision International 2005). [World Vision affirms that the Scriptures are to be interpreted integrally and thematically, and also distinguishes between inspiration and interpretation. Inspirati on is related to the divine impulse and recognizes the entire ca non of the Scriptures as the Word of God. Interpretation is our human activity when tryi ng to discern to the tr uth revealed in harmony with the totality of the Sc riptures and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.] WVC draws this distinction in or der to address the central questi on of whether the Bible is an infallible text. While not denying that the Bible represents the Palabra de Dios (Word of God), WVC maintains that human understa nding is not error-free and can lead to misinterpretations of Biblical passages. Take for example the following organizational statement: Con humildad reconocemos que los cristianos a travs de la historia se han equivocado con la interpretacin en va rias ocasiones y han tenido que a poyarse en la gracia de Dios al volver a rendirse a la autorida d de las Escrituras a la luz de un nuevo entendimiento. As como ahora reconocemos que Coprnico estaba en lo cierto a pesar de que las autoridades de la iglesia lo condenaron y as como Jess tuvo que reprender a Nicodemo, a sus propios discpulos y a los lderes religiosos de la poca por no entender las Escrituras de manera precisa( World Vision Internacional 2005). [With humility we recognize that Christians throughout history have been mistaken with the interpretation in several occas ions and have had to lean on the grace of God when again

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144 surrendering authority of Scriptures to the li ght of a new understandi ng. Just as we now recognize that Copernicus was co rrect despite that th e authorities of th e church condemned him and just as Jesus had to reprimand Nic odemus, his own discip les and the religious leaders of the time for not understandi ng the Scriptures in a precise way. The organization goes on to state what Christia ns must do, given humanki nds fallibility with respect to the Bible: Para ser verdaderamente bblicos, los seguidor es de Jess deben examinar constantemente su fe y su prctica a la luz de las Escrituras (World Vision International 2005). [To be truly Biblical, the followers of Jesu s must examine constantly their faith and practices in light of the Scriptures.] According to WVC, it is our human condition, not God, which suggests the inevitability of interpretation and the constant need to examine ones faith. This is particularly the case for how Christia ns interpret what the Bible has to say about gender: as que nosotros, los seguidores de Jess de hoy da debemos estar dispuestos a reexaminar con humildad nuestras suposiciones sobre lo que Dios nos dice respecto de las relaciones entre los gneros y la reconciliaci n (World Vision International 2005) [so should we, the followers of Christ today be ready to reexamine with humility our suppositions about what God says with resp ect to gender relations and reconciliation.] Interestingly, while the organization talks about the need for Christians in general to examine their assumptions about gender, this suggestion is taken persona lly by WVC women and used to assess their own personal historie s. Specifically, many WVC wome n offered personal, at times painful, accounts of the importance of being hum ble followers of Jesus whose faith is open with regards to gender. Claro, hay diferencias entre cristianos. Por ej emplo, no todos interpreta n la Biblia igual en cmo se deben relacionar los gneros. Eso es algo muy marcado en mi familia con mi padre. Para mi padre la mujer estuvo cread a despus del hombre y por eso debe de estar debajo, por decir algo, del hombre. Yo s que eso no es verdad, porque ac se ensea que la mujer y el hombre son iguales y los dos creados en el imagen de Dios. Hasta hoy mi padre todava cree eso y me trata muchas vece s como una sirviente (pausa). Pero mi experiencia con mi padre me ha causado mucho dol or y he llorado con mi padre, pero l no

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145 entiende. Es parte de una interpretacin de la Biblia que es machista. Pero hay que tener cuidado en cmo interpretamos la Palabr a de Dios, porque somos seres humanos; no somos perfectos como Dios. Como cristianos debemos ser como Jess y no juzgar. (Interview 22) [Of course, there are differences between Christians. For example, not all interpret the Bible the same in how genders should relate. That is somethi ng very specific in my family with my father. For my father woman were created after man and for that reason should be beneath, to put it one way, the man. I know that th at is not true, because here it is taught that women and men are equals and both were created in Gods image. But my experience with my father has caused me a lot of pain a nd I have cried with my father, but he does not understand. It is part of a machista interpretatio n of the Bible. But we have to be cautious in how we interpret the Word of God, because we are human beings; we are not perfect like God. As Christians we should be like Jesus and not judge. Yo me conozco. Cuando hablo con un hombre acto diferente que cuando hablo con una mujer. Es como que (pausa) soy inferior o menos. Dejo que l hable ms y que sus decisiones son las que vamos a promover. Ha ba un tiempo en mi vida que eso no me importaba, pero ahora s. Tengo amigas ac que me han dicho que eso es una ideologa antigua y que ahora los seguidores de Jess estn usando la Palabra de Dios para la liberacin de la mujer. Estoy tratando de cam biar mi perspectiva, pero no es fcil. (Interview 17) [I know myself. When I talk to a man I act diffe rently than when I talk to a woman. It is like (pause) I am inferior or less. I let him speak more and that his decisions are the ones that are followed. There was a time in my life that it did not bother me, but now yes. I have friends here that have told me that that is an old ideology and that now followers of Jesus are using the Word of God to liberate women. I am trying to change my perspective, but it is not easy.] Yo pens que una mujer cristiana tena que servir a su esposo porque el es el rey de la casa. Desde cuando era nia pens que los valores cr istianos eran que el hombre tena voz y la mujer no. Pero eso es una perspectiva ignorante que se trata como absoluto. En Visin Mundial trabajamos la idea que debemos interpretar la Biblia como Jess, para promover la justicia y equidad entre gneros. Estoy hablando con mi marido sobre todo esto. El ha cambiado un poco, pero todava le da dificultad no ver la cas a como el dominio de la mujer. Claro que eso me molesta mucho. El me ama mucho pero cree que los papeles del hombre y de la mujer son diferentes. Y s que no soy la nica ac. Hay muchas mujeres con esposos as. Pero poco a poco vamos abriendo las mentes. (Interview 3) [I thought that a Christian woman had to serv e her husband because he was the king of the house. Since I was a little girl I thought that Christian values were that the man had a voice and the woman did not. But th at is an ignorant perspective that is treated as absolute. In World Vision we work the idea that we shoul d interpret the Bible like Jesus, to promote justice and equality between genders. I am ta lking to my husband about all this. He has changed a bit, but it is still difficult for hi m to not see the home as a womans domain. Of course that bothers me a lot. He loves me very much but things that the roles of men and

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146 women are different. And I know I am not the only one here. There are many women with husbands that this. But little by lit tle we open minds.] These accounts show that WVC women utilize the organizations general call for Christians to examine their views on gender to ex plore their gendered self as it relates to family, friends, and spouses. Particularly noteworthy is how WVC women adopt the dominant discourse of humble followers of Jesus to give their personal histor ies meaning and reveal their gendered nature. By framing their experiences within a Biblical c ontext, WVC women located the origins of their feelings of inferiority and obligat ory servitude to specific interpre tations of the Bible, such as with the creation story in Genesis. In a ddition, WVC women framed their own present-day efforts to encourage more cautious and not absolute interpretations of gender. These efforts were at times directed outwardly to either a parent or spouse, but in one case to herself also to oneself. In all, WVC womens sense of self is bound by the available meanings of what it means to be Christian. This dominant discourse of the NGO was used by WVC women to identify both their sense of purpose in the organization and ho w a focus on gender analysis has affected them personally. In short, WVC women view gender as a transversal th eme in regards to their sense of self in the NGO: it is not only the mission of WVC, but also the p ersonal mission of WVC women as Christian in pursu it of a gender perspective.

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147 CHAPTER 8 DOING CHRISTIAN VALUES AND SELF Interpretive Practice of WVC Women as Christians It was show n how WVC women build a self-identity from the substantive Christian frame available within the orga nization and in so doing reaffirm a sense of collectivity as NGO selves. The purpose here is to examine more closely the active way WVC women narratively produce selves (discursive practic e), in addition to their relianc e on the discourse-in-practice to establish an identity. For as was noted in Chapter 7, WVC women are not only construct selves as women, but equally significan t is that they do so as Christian women by using a primary going concern (i.e., Christian va lues) of their NGO. In an effo rt to study both the substantive and active side of WVC womens framing activity, attention is given to the processes by which they narratively accomplish Christian selves. Consistent with the work of Holstein a nd Gubrium (2000) and Broad (2002) that this study is based on, WVC womens identity work is represented in their efforts to weave together the circumstantial resources of the NGO with their own biographica l particulars. In this way, WVC womens selves are explored as more th an reflections of the NGO culture, but also including historically unique a nd active self-productions. In the following sections, I present how WVC womens selves are prod uced through their Christian talk, which is composed of storying leadership, communal pr ayer, and social support. Leading by Example: Doing Self Through Christian Leadership As was m entioned previously, a central way WVC women co nstruct their selves is by adopting the NGOs dual discourse of a gender perspect ive and Christian princi ples. In short, it is the duty of a Christian to foster a gender pe rspective because an understanding of gender is the alma (soul) of a Christian organization. Indeed, as WVC states:

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148 Una base slida en las dinmicas de gnero que Jess vivi y demost r es esencial para cualquier entendimiento cristiano del gne ro (World Vision In ternational 2005). [A solid base in the "dynamics of gender" that Jesus lived and demonstrated is essential for any Christian understanding of gender.] Much of WVCs reliance on a discourse of Chris tianity to talk about mainstreaming a gender perspective is based on a view of leadership modeled after Jesus lifenamely, leading others by making ones own life an example. Take for ex ample the way WVC descri bes the responsibility of all Christian organizations concerning its leadership in fostering a gender perspective: Las organizaciones cristianas tienen una responsabilidad an mayor de proporcionar liderazgo en esta arena. Los ms altos est ndares de justicia, equidad, dignidad humana y relaciones transformadas arraigad as en nuestra fe nos desaf an constantemente a mejorar nuestros esfuerzos e iluminar el camino para otros. Como cristianos creemos que el hombre y la mujer fueron creados a imagen y semejanza de Dios. La vida y obra de Jess recalcaron esta realidad cuando l desafi las limitaciones y restricciones culturales a las que se enfrentaban las mujeres en los tiem pos del Nuevo Testamento para honrarlas y fortalecerlas. l lo sigue haciendo ho y da (World Vision International 2005). [Christian organizations have a still greater responsibility to provide leadership in this arena. The highest standards of justice, fa irness, human dignity and transformed relations rooted in our faith constantly demand from us to improve our efforts and to illuminate the way for others. As Christian we think that man and woman were created the image and similarity of God. The life and work of Jesus stressed this reality when He defied the cultural limitations and restrictions which the women in the time of the New Testament to honor and fortify them. He continues to do it today.] Here WVC emphasizes that Christ ian organizations have a respons ibility to provide leadership in the way of the life and work of Jesus. Wo rking from within a Christian faith, leadership includes both an understanding that men and women were created of equal value by God and an active stance against the cultural limitations and rest riction to this viewpoint as Jesus is said to have done so in the New Testament. What is impor tant is that in addition to constituting selves through the NGO narrative of Christians for a gender perspective, WVC women also actively craft themselves by doing Christian leadersh ip inside the organi zation. WVC womens identity work represents their efforts to interpretively insert their own biographies into the

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149 discourse of Christian values to narrative stories of model Christian leadership. This interpretive practice is manifest in their relations hip experiences with self and others. One way WVC women produce selv es through Christian leadership is by drawing from their everyday work experience to narrate wh at for them were good and bad Christian leadership examples for promoting a gender pe rspective. Some WVC women, for example, drew distinctions betwee n leadership styles: Hay diferentes estilos de liderazgo que he vi sto aplicado ac. No quiero decir que un lder sea a toda hora autoritario o que a toda hora se a democrtico. Pero si hay situaciones en donde se ve esos estilos de liderazgo. Yo, por ejemplo, tena un jefe que era ms bien autoritario en su estilo de interactuar con mujeres. Una vez mi hija tuvo fiebre pero mi esposo no pudo dejar el trabajo. Pregunt a mi je fe si puedo ir a la escuela a recoger a mi hija. Me dijo que si, pero que tenia que regres ar al trabajo despus de dejarla en la casa. Pero nadie estaba en la casa. Entonces mi esposo tena que salir de su trabajo ese da, porque yo no iba a dejar mi hija sola en la ca sa con fiebre. Ahora, yo se que ese jefe ha dado muchos das libres a hombres que dicen que tienen mucho trabajo en la universidad. Para m, no hubo equidad en este caso. Ac se dice que ser lder signif ica trabajar en la manera que vivi Jess, con justicia. No creo que ser estudiante en la universidad tiene ms valor que ser mama y las responsabilida des que vienen con ese cargo. No soy un lder, pero trato de ser un ejemplo ac para otros para que eso no pase a otra persona. (Interview 15) [There are different styles of l eadership that I have seen applie d here. I do not want to say that a leader is always author itarian or always democratic. But there are situations in which one sees those leadership styles. I, for example, had a boss who was for the most part authoritarian in his style of interacting with women. One time my daughter had a fever but my husband could not leave work. I asked my boss if can go to the school to pick up my daughter. He told mi yes, but that I had to return to work after I left her at home. But no one was at home. So my husband had to leave work that day, because I could not leave my daughter in the house alone with a fever. Now, I know that that boss has given many free days to men that say that th ey have a lot of work from the university. For me, there was no equality in that situation. It is said here that being a leader means working in the way Jesus lived, with justice. I do not think that be ing a university student has more value than being a mother and the respon sibilities that come with that role. I am not a leader, but I try to be an example fo r others so that will not happen to another person.] Mi jefe anterior era una pers ona con estrategias viejas. Pensaba que para hacer las cosas hay que mandar personas con fuerza. Pero esa no es la misin de Jess, que gui sin fuerza, con amor. Esta persona trabaj desd e una perspectiva machista que ve la mujer cmo una secretaria que tiene que hacer todo. Aunque tengo un ttulo profesional, el me mandaba a conseguirle cosas o hacer trabaj os que no tenia nada que ver con migo.

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150 Cuantas noches llor y rec para salir de ese tr abajo. Ese estilo de liderazgo no es bueno y no sigue una direccin para equidad de gnero. (Int erview 10) My previous boss was a person w ith old strategies. He thought that to do things one has to command people with force. But that is no t the mission of Jesus, who guided without force, with love. This person worked from a machista perspective that sees women as secretaries that have to do everything. Although I have a professional title, he would command me to get him things or do jobs th at had nothing to do with me. How many nights did I cry and prayed to get out of that job. That still of leadership is not good and does not follow a direction toward gender equality.] Yo hablo de dos tipos de liderazgo, uno que es sano y otro que no es sano. Ya llevo (numero) aos trabajando en esta organizaci n. Y en ese tiempo he tenido muchos jefes de diferentes niveles y con diferentes estilos de liderazgo. Pero un jefe mi siempre esta en mi mente porque fue una persona extraordin ario, una persona que sigui el modelo de Jess. En vez de mandar en una manera auto ritaria, hablaba con el personal con amor y con flexibilidad. Eso es importante porque no todo el mundo tiene los mismos problemas. Aqu hay muchas madres, pero no siempre se reconoce esa respons abilidad. Cuando yo necesitaba tiempo o ayuda en mantener mis dos jornadas, que son m casa y m profesin, no haba problemas con este jefe. No todos son as, especialmente los hombres que no tienen esa experiencia de ser mama. Pero en ser bueno con migo, yo siempre trabaje hasta mas duro porque as es el camino de Jess. Si alguien te ayuda, t tambin das cuando puedes. Entonces por eso digo que hay difere ntes tipos de lideraz go. Uno es abierto y recproco; es sano. Y el otro es ms auto ritario y con coercin. (Interview 18) [I talk about two types of leadership, one that is healthy and another th at is not healthy. I already have work in this organization for ( number) years. And in that time I have had many bosses in many different levels and with di fferent leadership styles. But one boss of mine is always in my mind because he was an extraordinary person, a person who followed the model of Jesus. Instead of co mmanding in an author itarian way, he spoke with personnel with love and flexibility. Th at is important because not everyone has the same problems. There are many mothers here but that responsibility is not always recognized. When I needed time and help in maintaining by double-sh ift, that are my home and profession, there were no problems with my boss. Not all are that way, especially men who do not have the experience of being a mo ther. But in being good with me, I always worked even harder because that is the road of Jesus. If someone helps you, you also give when you can. For that reason I say that there are different types of leadership. One is open and re ciprocal; it is healthy. And th e other is more authoritarian and with coercion.] As these examples illustrate, WVC women narrate model examples of Christian leadership as following a specific style. What wa s referred to as healthy (sano) leadership is central to the discursive production of WVC wome ns self in the NGO. In this case, each drew from their personal biographies as women a nd mothers to explore their feelings and opinions about what

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151 counts as Christian leadership. Some of the essen tial features of this styl e of leadership include being democratic, fostering an open environment, and showing love and flexibility with all personnel. Of the many dimensions to Christian lead ership mentioned above, the ability to do transformative, participatory l eadership was particularly em phasized by WVC women. As an organization, WVC seeks a transformative visi on with regards to gender relations (World Vision International 2005). Importantly, WVC wo men leadership accounts are geared to both promote the gender discourse of their Christian NGO, but to be a means of doing identity work. The following were some common stories of the significance of transformative leadership as Christians working to establis h a gender perspective. Creo que lo ms importante para un lder es dirigir en una manera para que todo el mundo pueda participar. As es como Jess trato ha sus discpulos. Hay personas aqu que dirigen en esa manera y puedes ver los resultados de esos esfuerzos. Yo tengo un jefe ahora que hace eso. En cada reunin nos pregunta como estamos y que se puede cambiar para que el trabajo sea mas abierto para todos, sean hombre o mujer. La mujer todava est detrs del hombre en participar en las instituciones so ciales. Pero yo como mujer participo, hablo, y pienso aqu. Un lder que promueve eso es vital para una organizacin cristiana que requiere la equidad. Cuando t participas te sientes bueno; quieres tr abajar. Llego a mi oficina alegre y con energa. No todo el mundo tiene esa experiencia, y debemos exigir que todos los lderes hagan ese tipo de liderazgo transformativo. (Interview 4) [I think that the most important thing for a lead er is to direct in a manner so that everyone can participate. That is how Jesus treated his disciples. There are people here who direct in that manner and you can see the results of those efforts. I have a boss now that does that. In everyone meeting he asks us how we are and what can be changed so that the job can be more open for everyone, for men and wo men. Women are still behind men in their participation in social institutions. But as a women I participate, talk, and think here. A leader who promotes that is vital for a Christ ian organization that re quires equality. When you participate you feel good; you want to wor k. I arrive to my office happy and with energy. Not everyone has that experience, a nd we should demand that all leaders do that type of transformative leadership.] Yo estaba a cargo de un grupo ac. Un lder tie ne que promover un mbito en cual todo el mundo se siente bien y puede compartir. Particularmente, un lder tiene que mantener equidad entre los gneros, sino se pierde los talentos necesarios para un trabajo. Djame dar un ejemplo que me gusta mucho, porque refleja la misin de una organizacin cristiana. Cuando yo estaba a cargo de un grupo haba una seora que no hablo mucho.

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152 Todo el mundo deca que ella no le gustaba part icipar en reuniones y cosas as. Entonces yo la invite a mi oficina un da para hablar y me empez ha decir que antes de trabajar en Visin Mundial trabaj para un jefe muy autori tario. Nunca le importaba lo que deca una mujer. Pues as cuando entro en esta organiz acin, ya no tenia nimo. Yo le dije que a mi me importa lo que piensa y que quiero que ella participe mas. Mira, despus de un mes, todo el mundo estaba sorprendido de cuanto habl aba. Por eso digo que el estilo que tiene un lder es central en como personas contribuya n. Ese es mi papel como cristiana ser un ejemplo como Jess, un lder transformativo. (Interview 1) [I was in charge of a group here. A lead er has to promote an environment in which everyone feels good and can participate. Partic ularly, a leader has to maintain equality between genders, if not necessa ry talents for a job are lost. Let me give you an example that I like very much, because it reflects th e mission of a Christian organization. When I was in charge of a group there was a woman th at did not talk much. Everyone said that she did not like to participate in meetings a nd things like that. So I invited here to my office one day to talk and she started to tell me that before working in World Vision she worked for a very authoritarian boss. He ne ver cared about what a woman had to say. So then when she entered this organization, she no longer had any spirit. I told her that it matters to me what she thinks and that I would like her to particip ate more. Look, after a month, everyone was surprised of how much she ta lked. For that reason I say that the style that a leader has is central for how people participate. It is my role as a Christian to be an example like Jesus, a transformative leader.] Yo tengo una posicin de liderazgo y consider o que mi misin como profesional y cmo cristiana es promover encuentros de particip acin. Un encuentro de participacin es uno de transformacin. Es cuando trabajadores pue den hablar abiertamente y sin miedo de sus emociones y frustraciones. Yo he visto mu chas personas en posiciones altas que ni preguntan como estn sus trabaj adores. Yo se eso porque varias personas me han hablado de problemas que tienen con ese tipo de liderazgo. Me afecta porque veo mucho dolor que no tiene que existir. Tambin no es bueno para la organizacin porque entonces las personas no tienen nimo y no quier en trabajar. (Interview 8) [I have a leadership position and I consider my mission as a professional and as a Christian to promote encounters of participation. An encounter of participation is one of transformation. It is when workers can speak openly and without fear of their emotions and frustrations. I have seen many people in high positions that do not even ask how their workers are doing. I know this because various people have talked to be about the problems they have with that type of leadershi p. It affects me because I see a lot of pain that does not have to exist. It is also not good for the orga nization because then people do not have spirit and do no t want to work.] Haba un tiempo que estuve trabajando para un jefe y me trato tan mal que casi me fui de Visin Mundial. No quiero hablar mucho de eso, pero esa experienci a me doli bastante. No pude dormir; no com. M mam estaba ta n preocupada con mi situacin que iba a la iglesia cada da para rezar para mi. Ya l se fue, pero no me olvido. Gracias a Dios, m jefe ahora es muy bueno con migo y me respeta y me trata con amor. Para mi, esa es la misin de una organizacin cristiana, pero no se Parece que m jefe anterior pens que yo,

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153 puede ser porque soy mujer, no mereca valor. Yo se que Jess nunca trato a la mujer as porque no es justo. Cmo cristiana, estoy ms alerta a la situacin de la mujer en el mbito laborar debido a m experiencia cmo mujer en la organizacin. (Interview 5) [There was a time that I was working for a boss a nd he treated me so bad that I almost left World Vision. I do not want to talk too much about it, but that experience hurt me a lot. I could not sleep, I did not eat. My mother was so worried about my situation that she would go to church everyday to pray for me. He now has left, but I do not forget. Thanks to God, my boss now is very good to me and he respects me and treats me with love. For me, that is the mission of a Christian organization, but I do not know. It seems like my previous boss thought that I, maybe because I am a woman, did not deserve value. I know that Jesus never treated women that way because it is not just. As a Christian, I am more alert to the situation of wome n in the context of work b ecause of my experience as a woman in the organization.] Ser un lder no es fcil, y ser un lder bueno es ha sta ms difcil. Lo ms difcil de ser un lder es poder escuchar a la otra persona. Si tu no escuches, nunca vas ha entender y nunca vas ha integral las perspectiv as y experiencias de diferentes personas. Por eso en m departamento siempre nos sentamos para hablar y escuchar la otra persona. Yo no soy lder, pero creo que es m responsabilidad por que nos ensean aqu que as es cmo Jess vivi. Escuchando es cmo uno vive cmo Jess y cmo condicione s de inequidad se cambian. En un sentido todo el mundo en m departamento es un lder, porque nosotros participamos igualmente. (Interview 13) [Being a leader is not easy, and being a good le ader is even more difficult. The most difficult thing of being a leader is being able to listen to the other person. If you do not listen, you will never understand and will neve r be able to integrate the different perspective and experiences of people. For th at reason in my department we always sit down to talk and listen to the other person. I am not a leader, but I think that it is my responsibility because we are taught here that it is that way that Jesus lived. Listening is how one lives like Jesus and how unequal condit ions are changed. In one sense everyone in my department is a leader, because we equally participate.] In these stories, WVC women talk about Christ ian leadership not only as a style, but more importantly as a practical application of the transformative mission set forth by the organization and based on the Biblical accounting of Jesus life. A serious dedication to fostering participation is especially associated with hea lthy Christian leadershi p. Participation involves many things, such as creating a space for people to talk openly, express freely, and listen to one another. But what is notable about the accounts above is how WVC women craft a Christian discourse about gender as part of their identity and do so by drawing from their own personal

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154 experiences with leadership within the organi zation. This was accomplished through the telling of both happy and painful stories. One WVC woman, for example, tells of her current boss who asks us how we are and what can be changed so that the job can be more open for everyone. This is not only a way to articulate a Christian approach to leadership (how Jesus treated his disciples) but also an opportunity to talk about gende r equality in a personal way. She goes on to add that while disparity exists between men and women in terms of their participation in social institutions, in her case as a woman I participate, talk and think here I arrive to my office happy and with energy. This is followed with a recognition th at [n]ot everyone has that experience and a demand that all leaders do that type of transformative leadership. Another WVC women told a similar story, but from the point of view of being in a leadership position. This WVC women noted that a leader has to promote an environment in which everyone feels good and can participate. She recounts the time she lead a group in WVC and the level of participation of a particular work er she oversaw. This employee was said to not talk much and did not like to participate in m eetings and things like that A personal meeting between the WVC group leader and the employee re veled the latters experience with a very authoritarian boss that never cared about what a woman had to say. During the meeting, the WVC group leader expressed that she did care, sayi ng I told her that it matters tome what she thinks. After a month, the employee was described as changing so much that is was a surprise to others who had known her. The telling of transformative leadership stories such as this one shows how WVC women construct a se nse of self that links the dominant NGO discourse Christian values and a gender persp ective to the active iden tity work taking place on

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155 the ground. Indeed, as this WVC woman said, [i]t is my role as a Christian to be an example like Jesus, a transformative leader to maintain equality between genders (emphasis added). In contrast, WVC women also to ld stories that spoke about theirs and others pain and frustration. For one WVC woman, the experience with a previous boss was so painful that she did not wish to talk about any details, but shared that the experien ce affected her ability to sleep and eat, as well as worrying her mother. Si gnificantly, this WVC woman cites the possible origin of the hurtful experience as being related to her previous boss view of women as not deserv[ing] value, and seems to challenge it by sa ying that Jesus never treated women that way because it is not just (Interview 20) Her final comment reveals the integration of both Christian values and a gender perspective for the purposes of her identity as both Christian and a woman: As a Christian, I am more alert to the situation of women in the context of work because of my experience as a woman in the organization. Another WVC woman confirmed the fact that people have painful experiences associated with certain approach to leadership: I know this because various people have talked to me about the problems they have with that type of leadership. It affects me because I see a lot of pain that does not have to exist. These cases illustrate how WVC women cons truct selves by narratively doing Christian leadership. WVC women story both happy and painful accounts from their personal lives to produce Christian selves that work for gender equali ty. Again, they rely on the going narrative of the NGO and unite this discourse with their bi ographical particulars to construct, as one WVC woman said, a practical way that one lives lik e Jesus and unequal conditions are changed. By telling leadership stories that hold resonance in the or ganization, WVC women thus make meaning in a way that constructs distinctly NGO selves.

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156 Gender Reflexivity through Prayer In addition to Christian leadership narratives, W VC women also do Christian values by talking about prayer. By utilizing stories a bout prayer, WVC women further produce themselves as Christians who through their faith actively reflect on gender i ssues, in particular the needs, concerns, and realities of wome n in the organization. As an organization, WVC encourages its personnel to use their faith in order to reflect on gender. In discussing a specific community workshop regarding gender, the organization states: Visin Mundial invita a los participantes a re flexionar sobre la respuesta de Jess a las dinmicas de los gneros en su vida y obra [para] proporciona[ar] entendimientos espirituales, motivacin y resistencia mientras el personal busca las dinmicas de gnero transformadas (World Vi sion International 2005). [World Vision invites the participants to reflect on Jesus response to the dynamics of gender in his life and work [to] provide spir itual understandings, motivation, and resistance while the personnel search for transformed dynamics of gender.] The organization goes on to add that WVC pers onnel should make special efforts to examine gender as it related to their everyday work: [explorar] las conexiones entr e el trabajo diario de una agencia de desarrolloen particular, el de una agencia Cristiana e in ternacional de desarr olloy los asuntos de genero (World Vision International 2005). [explore the connection between the daily work of a development agencyin particular, of a Christian and international agency of developmentand gender issues.] WVC women tell stories of pray er to actively construct reflex ivity in their own lives with regards to gender. Interestingl y, WVC women also remain consis tent with the NGOs discourse that emphases gender reflexivity as part of a Christian organizations mission and daily work. For WVC women, this meant a specific call to reflect on their own organization and work experiences. An important way gender reflexivity is pr oduced is by engaging in group prayer with fellow co-workers before starting the work da y. WVC women give accounts of how the time

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157 and space allotted to pray in the morning with other workers is a central means by which they encounter one another and come to understand how gender impacts peoples lives. In the examples below, group prayer fostered an appr eciation of womens needs and concerns at the workplace. Nosotros aqu oramos antes de empezar el da. Es bueno porque nos ayuda a reflexionar sobre que esta pasando en la vida ma y de otros. Mira, hace unos meses que estbamos orando y m amiga nos dijo que su mama estaba muy enferma, que ya no poda caminar y todo eso. Cuando nos dijo eso ya sabia porque e lla estaba tan cansada durante la semana y le toco un poco de catarro. No es fcil. El la esta casada, pero es la mujer que muchas veces cuida la familia. La mujer es quien cuida los nios cuando estn enfermo y tambin a los abuelitos. Me dio lastima con ella po rque no haba equidad en esa situacin. Ella tena toda la responsabilidad de cuidar a su mam, y claro estaba cansadsima. (Interview 5) [Here we pray before starting the day. It is good because it helps to reflect on what is happening in my life and that of others. L ook, it was several months ago that we were praying and mi friend told us that her mother was very sick, that she could not walk and all that. We she told us that I then knew why she was so tired during the week and she got a little bit of a cold. It is not easy. She is ma rried, but it is the woman that most often cares for the family. It is the woman who cares for the children when they are sick and also the grandparents. I was sad for her because there wa s no equality in that situation. She had all the responsibility of taking care of her mother, and of course she was very tired.] Cada maana oramos en Visin Mundial. Es un espacio que nos da la organizacin para pensar del da nuevo y como vamos a actuar. Yo lo uso tambin como un tiempo para reflexionar sobre mi vida y que esta pa sando con mi familia, con mi esposo, con m trabajo. Haba una vez que m esposo y yo est bamos discutiendo. Ni sabia porque. Pero un da estbamos orando en la maana y una compaera ma pidi la ayuda de Dios porque estaba inundada con trabajo y frustrada. En ese momento realice que yo me senta igual y por eso estaba peleando con mi esposo. El no entenda todo el trabajo y las responsabilidades que tengo, con los hijos, con la casa. Yo estaba frustrada que yo tenia que hacer mas trabajo que el. Aunque hablam os mucho de gnero ac, no lo poda ver en m vida hasta ese momento, cuando todos es tbamos orando. Dios maneja en maneras extraas. (Interview 2) [Every morning we pray in World Vision. It is a space that the organization gives us to think about the new day and how we are going to act. I also use it as a time to reflect on my life and what is happening with my fam ily, with my husband, with my job. There was one time that my husband and I were fighting. I did not know why. But one day we were praying in the morning and a friend of mine asked the help of God because she was inundated with work and frustrated. In that mo ment I realized that I felt the same way and that is why I was fighting with my husba nd. He did not understand all the work and responsibilities that I ha ve, with the children, with the house. I was frustrated that I had to

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158 do more work than him. Although we talk a lo t about gender here, I c ould not see it in my life until this moment, when everyone was praying.] Cuando oramos en la maana siempre trato de pensar en cmo yo, como mujer, puedo avanzar el tema de genero. Digo esto porque somos una organizacin cristiana, pero uno que entiende que genero es central al desarrollo social. Entonces cuando oigo de las problemas o frustraciones de mis compaeras en el trabajo, pido a Dios que les ayude y que me de la fuerza a m para cambiar condi ciones de inequidad. As contribuyo como una persona religiosa a la misin de la organizacin. (Interview 14) [When we pray in the morning I always try to think in how I, as a woman, can promote the theme of gender. I say this because we are a Christian organization, but one that understands gender as central to social development. So when I hear of the problems or frustrations of my co-workers at work, I ask God to help them and to give me the strength to change unequal conditions. That is how I contribute as a religi ous person to the mission of the organization.] Through prayer, WVC women are engaging in acts of reflexivity about gende r within the context of Christian values. As these stories reveal, reflexivity about gender is grounded on theirs and others personal experiences about work and family that were made visible through group prayer. Indeed, as one person noted, it was praying made gender visible in her own life and not so much the organizations emphasis on a gender perspectiv e: Although we talk a lot about gender here [WVC], I could not see it in my life until that mo ment, when everyone was praying. What is thus important is how WVC wome n discursively unite prayer w ith the promotion of a gender perspective. WVC women further practice Christian values by utilizing prayers as a site to exhibit social support for one another. The following examples illustrate how WVC women use prayer for the purpose of creating solidarity within the organization, esp ecially among women. Cuando ests orando en la oficina con otras muje res, se crean ciertos vehculos y se hacen amistades de oficina en que tienes confiancilla para hablar de sus problemas. En mi grupo de amigas particular, nos ayudamos. Decimos a nosotras, cmo te puedo ayudar, yo te acompao, yo te presto. Ayudamos en muc hos sentidos, en tiempo, dinero. Se hacen esos espacios cuando estamos juntas orando, hablando de nuestras vulnerabilidades. (Interview 7)

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159 [When you are praying in the office with othe r women, certain vehicl es are created and workplace friendships are made in which you have confidence to talk about your problems. In my group of friends particul arly, we help one another. We say to one another, how can I help, I will accompany you, I w ill lend you. We help in many ways, in time, money. Those spaces are made when we are praying togeth er, talking about our vulne rabilities.] La experiencia de orar con otros en la maana es algo agradable para m en el sentido que yo no tengo muchas amigas. Es decir son bsicamente de la oficina. Y que no tengo el tiempo para gozar mucho porque soy una mam soltera con mi hija. Estoy en mi casa con mi hija, haciendo tarea, los fines de semana s. Entonces esos espacios me dan esa confianza para hablar con algui en y sentir como parte de una comunidad de mujeres. Yo puedo llamar y decir, Mira me paso estohice tal cosa. Es bueno en ese sentido, en que tienes mujeres que te entienden y en quien puede s compartir y no ir a la s calles. (Interview 11) [The experience of praying with others in the morning is something very pleasing for me in the sense that I do not have many friends. That is to say they are basi cally of the office. And that I do not have the time to enjoy very much because I am a single mother with my daughter. I am in my house with my da ughter, doing homework, on the weekends. So those spaces give me that conf idence to talk with someone an d feel part of a community of women. I can call and say, Look this happened to meI did this. It is good in that sense, in that you have women that unders tand you and in whom you can share and not go to the streets.] Orando como hacemos ac te da la oportunidad de obtener amigas verdaderas. Pues, me siento escudada, cmo apoyada. Hay muchas mu jeres sin nadie que las escucha. No para or soluciones, pero simplemente estar escuch ada, o poner en el conocimiento de alguien ms lo que uno esta experimentando en su vi da. Los retos. Y nosotras normalmente hablamos de esas cosas en la oracin para que el Seor nos ayude en ese tipo de retos que enfrontamos en la vida. (Interview 2) [Praying as we do here gives you the opportunity to have real friends. Well, I feel heard, like supported. There are ma ny women without anyone who wa nt to be heard. Not for solutions, but simply to be heard, or to put in peoples mind more of what one is experiencing in ones life. The challenges. And we normally talk about those things in prayer so that God helps us in those ch allenges that we confront in our lives.] As these examples show, WVC women not only are engaging in prayer to understand the gender dynamics of their co-workers, but use it as a means to create systems of support for one another. Similar to their narrating of Christian leadershi p, prayer establish the conditions under which a single mother and women without anyone can be heard and feel confident to talk about our

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160 vulnerabilities. WVC itself also highlights pray er as a way to reflect on the challenges faced by women: [Esas] actividades permiten al personal reflexi onar sobre lo que la Bi blia dice respecto de las relaciones entre gneros, la discriminacin, la mujer, injusticia y los asuntos culturales en las relaciones entre gneros. El contexto hi strico real de la vida de la mujerilumina la respuesta de Jess a las tradiciones nocivas y a las restricciones culturales enfrentadas por la mujer (World Vision International 2005). [Those activities permit personnel to reflect about what the Bi ble says with respect to gender relations, discrimination, women, injust ice, and the cultural issues in gender relations. The real historical context of the life of womenilluminates the response of Jesus to injurious traditions and the cultural restrictions that wome n confront.] For WVC women, however, prayer ca n not only point to gender in equality but also provide a practical solution to overcome everyday problems associated with money, friendships, and being heard. In other words, through pr ayer WVC women construct an everyday gender perspective within th e organization, one grounded on Christian values. The significance of this practice is further emphasized by the fact that WVC women also discussed the negative consequen ces if this resource was not av ailable. In this case, WVC women point out that the social resources produced through prayer are lacking in stitutionally. One WVC women spoke broadly ab out whether providing social s upport is a central concern or focus of WVC or even could be of any organization: No se si ese apoyo que viene de oraciones seria un objetivo de la organizacin. No se. Porque realmente la organizacin tiene una visin y un comportamiento que regula cmo es. Entonces no se si la or ganizacin o cualquier empresa tendra eso como un objetivo. Porque hay cosas que tambin son muy personal de cada uno que una institucin no puede entender o manifestar. (Interview 1) [I do not know if that support that comes from prayer w ould be the objective of the organization. I do not know. Because in reality the organization has a vision and a way of acting that regulates itself. So then I do not know if the organization or any business would have that as an objective. Because there are things are also very personal for individuals that an institution can not understand or manifest.]

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161 Other WVC women described more explicitly, an d more personally, what would happen if the social resources created through pr ayer were no l onger available: Sin ese apoyo que creamos ac, no se. Yo creo que serian un poco mas largo los das. Es decir, si t no tienes la oportunidad para ha blar con tus amigas y usar su ayuda, entonces seria muy difcil hacer el trabajo. Porque en realidad son ellas, como amigas y mujeres, que te dan el animo y confianza para continua r en tiempos difciles. Ese apoyo es central para todos, pero para mujeres hasta ms. (Interview 11) [Without the support that we create here, I do no t know. I think that the days would be a little longer. That is to say, if you do not have the opportunity to talk with your friends and use their help, then it will be very hard to do ones job. Because in reality it is they, as friends and women, who give you the spirit and confidence to continue in difficult times. That support is important for all, but even more so for women.] Yo creo que s, seria mas difcil trabajar. No se si es por el espacio en cual trabajamos, pero se necesita a veces hablar con alguien y alguien para compartir ceritas experiencias, de quien tu esperas una mirada que no es crit ica sino mas para decir cmo son las cosas. Ese amor que viene de orar con el Seor trae un amor incondicional para cosas complicadas, problemas en el trabajo, y especi almente para las condiciones de la mujer. Entonces contar en esa experiencia si es im portante y lo necesitamos ac. (Interview 24) [I think that yes, it would be more difficult to work. I do not know if it is the space in which we work, but it is at time needed to talk with someone and someone to share certain experiences, from whom you expect a look that is not so much critical but more to say how things are. The love that comes from pray ing with God brings an unconditional love for complicated things, problems at work, and espe cially for womens conditions. So then to count on that experience is important and we need it here.] Without prayer to construct lines of support, th ese accounts point out the va rious difficulties that would likely emerge. Importantly, a lack of so cial support is described as affecting everyone, but especially women. In other words, the support systems produced through prayer are ones that are unique in that they build understanding and confidence by women. In particular, it is the fact that in reality it is the y, as friends and women, who give you the spirit and confidence to continue in difficult times. The fa ct that God [is] present in pray er also allows for all types of problems, such as the conditions of women, to be understood unconditionally. In all, WVC women draw from their positive experiences from communal prayer to imagine the consequences if that resour ce was missing in their lives.

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162 In sum, WVC women create a gender perspectiv e from within the framework of Christian values by constructing themselves through prayer. In this cas e, prayer produces both an awareness of gender dynamics in their own and ot hers lives, and also it establishes practical lines of social support that are used to ove rcome personal hardships. Through prayer WVC women narratively critique the organization. They argue that the institutio n may not view social support as an organizational objecti ve, given the fact that in th e absence of group prayer this social resource would likely not be available. By doing prayer, therefore, WVC women establish identities within WVC that re veal the interplay be tween the narrative reso urces of the NGO and the active production of selves that extend be yond the mere reproduction of the NGOs gender discourse.

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163 CHAPTER 9 DISCUSSION This research underscores the circum scribe d and dynamic aspects of the production of selves. Moreover, this study looks at how selves are constructed within the specific site of a Colombian NGO mainstreaming a gender perspective in to its organizational culture and practice. The preceding chapters include interview data with WVC women and or ganizational material that highlight the self-collective nexus in which id entity work is both situated and in process. Although WVC women draw from the NGOs domi nant discourses (i.e., (mainstreaming a gender perspective and enact ing Christian values) to fashion selves, analyses also indicate that WVC women actively do a gender perspective and moral values through their interpretive practice. In other words, WV C women discursively insert th eir own biographical particulars (e.g., relationship experiences, intersectional location, se lf-perceptions, concer ns, etc.) into the dominant discourses of the NGO to produce iden titiesnamely, Christians working toward a gender perspective. Over the last few decades, there has been a growing interest in the political effects of NGOs across the globe and particul arly in their development appr oaches and practices in Latin America. Since the mid-1980s, Latin Am erican NGOs have been a key place where development funding is channeled, especially intermediary or m ainstream NGOs that interface between (inter)national donor agenci es and local communities and organizations (Carroll 1992). This heightened level of attention has also lead to new debates and concerns about the efficacy of thes e civil society actors to foment social change and development. As many NGOs have become professionalized and more policy oriented in the new neoliberal climate, both the public and schol ars are asking whether this is good or bad for democracy. With regards to NGOs specializing and advancin g a gender perspective, the issue is whether

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164 expertise in gender policy advocacy simultane ously undermines a commitment to more movement (grassroots)-oriented activities that seek to pr omote womens empowerment and transform dominant gender power arrangements (lv arez 1999). As was discussed in Chapter 2, there is a lack of consensus in the literature as to the answer to thes e types of questions (see lvarez 1999; Arellano Lpez and Petras; Barrig 1998; Gill 2000; Lebon 1996, Murdock 2003), with many assessments resulting in broad classifi cations of either good or bad NGO types. At the same time, some scholars have calle d NGO researchers to begin grounding their assessments on the everyday and actual constr aints and affordances under which NGO actors try to do good as they understand and define it. The study here represents an effort in that direction because it examines how WVC wo men construct NGO selves and simultaneously fashion a discourse and set of practices about gender. This chapter provides a discussion of how the interpretive practice of WVC women reveals, as Fisher (1997:439) puts its, stateme nts about the potential of NGOs for fostering democracy, empowerment, and altering gender power st ructures. In short, the identity work of NGO women shows how the doing good question is a dynamic and complex issue, so that value-statements about NGOs must be situated within the historical realities and evolving processes of persons self-ident ities and political pr ojects. In order to accomplish this discussion, this chapter is organized in the following manner. First, I identify how the interpretive practice of WVC women attends to the call to pay attention to womens interpretations and negotiations that inform N GO strategies. Second, I examine the degree to which WVC womens interpretive practice cha llenges or reproduces hegemonic meanings and practices of gender and power. And third, I conclude with a discussion of how understanding

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165 NGOs as discursive sites of iden tity work can further our understanding of the state of NGOs and their overall strategies in important ways. Seeing NGO Selves In this study, an interactive view of the self/collective ne xus was adopted to reveal the reality of NGO selves. Seeing NGO selves involves unraveling the dual process of individuallevel self-construction in collective actionin this case, in an NGO. As was noted in Chapter 3, scholars have cited som e problems in analyzing the interactive dynamics of self and collective movement activity. This issue has been consid ered by Snow and Benford (2000) who argue that it is both the intention and requi rement of social movement an alysis, particularly a framing perspective, to offer a holistic view of collective action that includes the fluid in terplay between self and collective identity. From a framing pe rspective this means not only detailing frame characteristics (what social movement actors say) but also exploring th e active construction of frames (how frames are made). For some time, NSM studies have sought to introduce a discussion of personal issues as part of social movement action. In particular, the scholars associated with this type of work intend to see how a sense of collectivity is garnered from individual identity work, or the everyday processes that produce and sustain collective identities (Friedman and McAdam 1992; Taylor and Whitti er 1992). As Broad (2002:319) points out, a focus on the personal and indivi dual experience has now been extended to collective action studies more generally, since in social movement literature there has emerged an interest in examining the actual relationship among self, id entity, and collectivity between the individual and collective levels of identity. The NGO phenomenon, as a type of collectivity, was similarly approached here, given that [a]mid their wide range of translocal connections, all NGO practices remain discursively constructed through reference to the local. An appreciation for the relationship between self

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166 and collectivity of NGOs was thus achieved by u nderstanding NGOs as a site of interpretive practice (Broad 2002; Broad, Crawley, Foley 2004) These scholars apply the understanding of the construction of subjectivities set forth by Gubrium a nd Holstein (1997, 2000, 2001) to describe selves as an interac tional process of identities bein g both produced and circumscribed by the set of available discursive resources. Ac cording to Gubrium and Holstein (2000), these narrative resources represent the going concerns of an instituti on, such as an NGO. Clearly, the importance of this approach is that NGOs are more than mere entities; they are discursive sites where NGO selves are produced as the inte raction between the crea tion of self and the conditions in place (the NGO). In this study, the NGO known as WVC was exam ined to show the manner in which WVC women rely on the organizations discursive resources to constr uct a sense of self that is congruent with the NGO while at the same time in corporating other meanings into their identities by drawing from their own personal biographies. In particular, I focused on how WVC women constructed gendered NGO selves. This was accomplishe d by first demonstrating how WVCs dominant narratives provided a set of discursive resources that WVC women utilized in making a sense of how the self is gendered. This is wh at Holstein and Gubrium (200) refer to as the discourse-in-practice, or what comprise cond itioning resources in th e identity construction process. I then showed how WVC women accomplish a sense of self through their interpretive efforts. Holstein and Gubrium (2000) refer to this as discursive pr actice, or the way WVC women use their agenic capacity to do self It was illustrated that WVC women draw from WVC s dominant discourse of mainstreaming a gender perspective, often to mai nstream a view of gender into their own lives. As was noted in Chapter 5, WVC women describe d a gender perspective not only as a central

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167 focus of the larger organization, but also as a personal mission due to its transformative qualities to foster sensitivity, conscience, a nd self-appreciation. Othe rs utilized a gender perspective to story thei r life experiences in various social arenas, such as family, friends, and co-workers. The next chapter demonstrated the interpretive pract ice of WVC women who construct NGO selves by doing professional selves and awar eness testimonials. In both cases, WVC women rely on the NGOs goi ng concerns about professiona lization and consciousness raising, but tap into their persona l experiences to provide unique ly individual expressions of these narratives. In a similar vein, Chapters 7 and 8 illustra te additional ways that WVC women construct gendered NGO selves as part of the interp lay between resources of the NGO and their interpretive work. Like their reliance on the do minant discourse of a gender perspective, WVC women also adopt the NGOs prevalent narrative about Christian values. In this case, WVC women mirror the NGOs strategy to explicitly link Christian values with the promotion of a gender perspective. Indeed, WV C women distinctly talked about their being Christian as requiring the advancement of a gender perspect ive. Some others incorporated Biblical reflections about gender into th eir daily lives, both personally and with others. And finally, WVC women drew upon the discourse of being hum ble followers of Jesus to open up further discussion and reflections about ge nder in Christianity, particular ly the Bible. WVC women also demonstrated their identity work in their doi ng Christian leadership and gender reflexivity via prayer. Again, WVC women used their own biog raphies to narrate Ch ristian identities by designating what for them are good and bad examples of Christian leadership. Good forms are those that foster participation and gender e quality. Similarly, their personal experiences of prayer were a means by which WVC created a sp ace to reflect about gender in their own and

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168 others lives, as well as to establish lines of social support to other women. WVC womens identities as NGO selves represented the c onfluence of both NGO discursive conditions and creative interpretive activity. Seeing the Significance of NGO Selves To a large extent, NGOs hold a go-between st atus in develop ment discourse and practice that is based on their capacity to act as bridges th at link local and transloc al activities together. In the case of international intermediary NGOs such as WVC, they are regularly a primary channel through which development funds, pl anning, and implementation are managed and generated (Chambers 1995). Nevertheless, as wa s discussed in Chapter 2, the acceptance of NGOs as legitimate agents within development ag endas has been inextricably tied to their perceived relevance and connection to their loca l constituencies (Edwar ds and Hulme 1996). It is precisely the NGOs unique association with the concept of the local in their valued links with and service to local community interests that distinguishes them from both mega-state programs and laissez-faire market approaches. In short, their commitment to the local remains critical to their legitimacy, esp ecially in development discourse. The heavy emphasis on the local is no doubt related to two other popular development buzzwordsnamely, participation and empowerm ent (Fisher 1995). According to Chambers (1995), development strategies based on top-down a pproaches have for some time been critiqued for not optimizing participation and at times undermining it for not including local actors in the process of planning and organization. At the same time, what counts as participation and empowerment depends on the meanings given to these concepts by different actors. For some, incorporating individuals and co mmunities into current economic markets and political processes appears beneficial, while more radical critic s see new types of dependencies emerging and amounting to no more than a realignment of c ontrol (Ribot 1996). As it relates to NGOs

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169 advancing a gender perspective, concerns have been raised about the competitive gender policy terrain that has arguably changed the relationship of NGOs to it c onstituents. In particular, the pursuit of a gender policy orientat ion is said to establish a technical-advisory relationship between NGOs and their communities that undercuts long term transformative change in gender power relations in favor of, for example, short-te rm training courses or conduct[ing] surveys to assess the poverty levels of female-headed hous eholds and other at risk women (lvarez 1999:197). In terms of their gender advocacy the question seems to be whether NGOs can maintain the delicate balance between movement -oriented, contestatory activities and their expanding technical-advisory relationship (lv arez 1999:197). As lva rez (1999:198) states, the issue is if NGOs can have a hybrid identity that allows for bot h a technical policy approach and more transformative activi ties in their gender advocacy: The movement side of NGO identity is being ch allenged by their cont ractual relationships to States and donors who expect visible, s hort-terms results on gender projects. Such exigencies may undermine NGOs ability to pu rsue more process-oriented forms of feminist cultural-political interventionsuch as consciousness-raising, popular education or other strategies aimed at transforming those gender power relations manifest in the realms of public discourse, culture and daily lifeforms of gendered injustice that defy gender-planning quick fixes. The success of NGO gender advocacy, for lvarez, hinges on their ability to hold a dual-identity (a hybrid one) that allows them to secure a presence within the development field but also promote more movement oriented action that ex tends beyond the visible and quantifiable rubric of neoliberal state policies. In many ways, the issues raised by lvarez regarding the gender advocacy of NGOs mirror the broader doing good question that seems to perpetually crop up. To be sure, when it comes to questions about the efficacy of NGOs, there ar e abundant of studies th at offer responses of both their effectiveness in stimulating local participation and contributing to political empowerment (see Viswanath 1991) and their fail ures to fulfill democratic development

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170 expectations (see Carroll 1992; Farrington and Le wis 1993). Thus NGO literat ure is not short of questions and (often opposing) responses. But wh at some scholars are presently advocating is a different approach to answeri ng these that move us beyond statements about whether or not NGO are actually doing good and to the situated process in which NGO actors actually attempt to do good As Fisher (1997:456) contends, NGOs cannot be understood as a forum in which real people are social and political actors without attention to the micropolitics of these groups. What are needed are i nvestigations that highlight not only the professionaliation of gender advocacy in NGOs, for example, but also how NGO members practically interpret, negotiate, and employ this approach in their everyday. The study of NGO selves presented in this study, one which sees the identity of NGO members as both circumscribed and agenic, alerts us to the local work being done within NGOs. In the case of WVC, this local work in cludes not only producing identities consistent with the NGOs larger policy discourse of gende r advocacy, but also involves a struggle to establish lines of social support, promote democratic leadership models, and raise both personal and social consciousness within the NGO. In highlighting the everyday identity work done by NGO members, NGO selves allow us to better as sess, what lvarez (1999:198) refers to as, NGOs potential to encourage and implement more process-oriented, transformative forms of gender advocacy. Situating the Doing Good Work of NGO Gender Advocacy To the extent that within the present NGO fi eld the discourse about gender is central to how developm ent, power, and democracy are conceptualized and specific gender policy formulated, it is also important to consider how gender discourse is used by an NGO on a practical basis. This is because NGOs use gende r discourse as a practical means to communicate and establish relationships with en tities key to development proce sses, such as the state, funding

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171 bodies, and communities. In this study, it is furt her argued that gender discourse is important beyond the fact that it is increasing ly part of the practical realities of NGOs, but that it is also a way that meanings, values, and practices regard ing gender and development are made, changed, and implemented. In other words, the way ge nder discourse is actu ally appropriated by NGO members is critical to unders tanding whether or not Latin Am erican NGOs can really work with a gender perspective, advocate for al ternative understandings of womens rights, and promote gendered social justice into the 21st century (lvarez 1999:197). In terms of WVC women, it was shown how they talked a gender perspective into being, and also broadened meanings about gender. According to Fisher (1997:457), [o]ne perspective on how [transformative] change can be brought about is contributed by analysts ... inte rested in the connection between personal and social change. Change, Fisher (1997:457) continues, rests on the ability of individuals and associations to challenge the te rms of ... truth and st ruggle to change the limits of what is thinkable. In their work on a social move ment organization, for example, Broad, Crawley, and Foley (2004:522) rely on a similar view when assessing the transformative capacity in organizational members appropriation of social discourses for the purposes of change. These authors refer to Ewick and S ilbeys (1995:222) understanding of subversive and hegemonic narrating, wherein subversive or transformative narratives are ones that make visible and explicit the connection between particular lives and social organization. Hegemonic narratives, on the other hand, represent t hose that accomplish the opposite by emphasizing the individual, obscuring the connections between individuals and the social or ganization of experience, and thus rendering invisible how such experiences are socially constituted. This, in turn, assists the perpetuation of taken-for-granted assumpti ons about social life, reproducing them as

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172 essentially dominant and natural. Using WVC as an illustrative case, this section will consider the extent to which WVC womens interpretive practice (identity work) offer possibilities in the arena of transformative gender advocacy. WVC Women and a Relational View of Gender WVC wom ens interpretive prac tice can be seen as transformative because it reveals how the lived experiences of women are part of how gender is socially orga nized by institutions. Besides expressing a general agreement with the idea that gender is a social phenomenon constituted within relationships WVC women also shar ed stories illustrating how they have come to understand their own pers onal histories in new ways with the aid of a gender perspective lens. This included stories of their childhood ex periences within the family wherein women, not men, were differentially treated and were dispro portionately placed in ch arge of domestic labor due to cultural expectations and economic de pendencies. Others narratives were based on concerns about whether their present marriages we re also based on an unequal share in domestic responsibility. Rather than inherent, individual differen ces between men and women, WVC women emphasized that their unequal treatment in childhood and presently w ithin the family is based on cultural beliefs about what women are supposed to do (Interview 6) and that social structures are the problem that are in favor of men economically (Interview 4). Some WVC women also extende d the use of a gender perspective to understand economic relations between men and women. Specifically the need to have women participating economically in the workforce was cited as im portant because conditions to achieve economic and political power are uneven. As one WVC woman explained, women have not had the same institutional opportunities because wh at is ignore[d] [is] that wo men have given much of their time in other arenas, like the family (Interview 28). This recognition led several WVC women to reflect upon the disproportio nate number of women worki ng within WVC. While WVC

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173 women disagreed as to whether this phenomena was positive (i.e., an organizational attempt to include women) or negative (i.e ., an organizational attempt to segregate women into social service work), there was a general agreement that inequality emerges from the gendered organization of work. Other WVC women took a more critical stance toward their NGO, with some feeling ambiguous about WVCs actual practice of a gender pe rspective and some expressing certainty that the orga nization has not lived up to its gender discourse. According to one WVC woman, the presence of informal ties or friendships made it so that there was no official process to establish t he type of equality that is ta lked about here (Interview 4). In addition, WVC women reveal the social organization of gendered experiences through their narratives about being professionals. The practice of professional work was described as a way that WVC women actually do gender advocacy workby putting into practice the ideas produced by academics. WVC women explained that being professional means acting like a professional, which means working long hours, be ing organized, and caring about details. While this is what it means to be a professional, WV C women explored the relational dynamics of their professional experience. In this case, WVC shared that the respons ibilities associated with being a professional were more often enacted by wome n than men at the workplace. Importantly, the reason given for this was the relations esta blished between men and women and between mothers and sons, which encourage men to rely on women to be organized, sacrifice time, and be alert to details. WVC women drew from their ow n experiences as mothers, noting that mothers are often expected to keep order, unlike fathers. At the same time, the way WVC women interpretively engage gender discourse may also be viewed as reproducing hegemony. Accord ing to lvarez (1999:200) a central difficulty associated with professional gender advocacy is that the weight of the New Gender Policy

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174 Agenda was forcing NGOs to privilege techni cal-advisory activities and to neglect other dimension of movement work so central to femi nist vision of social transformation shared by most NGOers. For one Colombian feminist NGO member, the issue is not being functional as NGOs; it is not good or bad, its just a reality. But we must ask ourselves, functional to an agenda constructed by whom? (quoted in lvarez 1999:200). Retu rning to WVC, WVC women can be understood as at once revealing how their professional e xperiences are gendered but also obscuring their tr uly social character by subtly depi cting women as having to continue being held to different standards. For exampl e, WVC women noted that unless they did not do the work that men fail to do, that the organiza tion would be in chaos: If I did not have everything in order, he [boss] would not know what to do (Interview 10). The same WVC woman also expressed that [i]n one sense, wo men reproduce that, even though it should not be (Interview 10). Silences regarding what can be and is being done about changing this situation may help reconstitute hegemonic gender relations, despite the presence of a critical reflexivity. To the extent that specific prof essional functions are seen as necessary in our profession and men repeatedly take on fewer professional respon sibilities than women do, then transformative change is arguably truncated. Space for Reflexivity For NGOs to m aintain a transformative di mension to their gender advocacy, lvarez (1999:201) argues that it is impor tant to secure more regulari zed public spaces in which [NGO members] could regularly debate and critique The way WVC wome n narrate self through awareness testimonials and use pray er as a space for public reflex ivity presents an example of this type of transformative work. WVC wo men narrated stories of consciousness-raising concerning gender by relying on theirs and others intersectional e xperiences. Many WVC women built awareness about gender inequality ar ound axes of race, class, and age. For WVC

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175 women, self-awareness wa s produced by making visible how thes e categories of difference work to create different and uneven experiences am ong individuals, especially between women. In this case, several WVC women explained that talking about injustice against women is not enough because injustice does not function the same way for all women: Although everyone here knows about injustice, it is not always simple to see Fo r example, a black woman is not the same as a white or mestiza woman. They do not have the same life experiences (Interview 20). For this reason, WVC women not ed that gender equality requir es that women not be treated as a homogenous group: We still need to work mo re on the reality that there is inequality between women (Interview 12). Telling tes timonials was one way WVC women reflected on their own and friends lives and the differen ces in privilege among women, such as in confidence, respect, and opportunities. Beyond moments of personal reflection, WVC wo men also engaged in public forms of reflection. Morning prayer with other workers was a primary way WVC women encounter one another and understand how gender shapes womens lives. In particul ar, WVC women came to hear and know about one anothers needs and con cerns because of the open sharing that takes place during group prayer sessions: when I hear of the problems or frustrations of my coworkers at work, I ask God to help them and to give me strength to change unequal conditions (Interview 14). The use of personal testimonial s and group prayer as a process by which WVC women reflect on the gendered nature of women s lives addresses, what lvarez (1999:201) calls, the imperative for [NGOs] to con tinually evaluate and interrogate. It may be argued, however, that WVC womens use of prayer can also be part of the process of hegemony that obscures the social organization of gendered experiences, since the space for critical reflection is discrete and not officially used by the NGO as a form of gender

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176 advocacy. For example, one of the issues raised by WVC women during pr ayer were the stresses felt from juggling multiple responsibilities, such as work, children, and sick parents. Thus while prayer helped WVC women reflect on these experi ences, it appears that it may also reproduce silences on how economic relations between me n and women have relied on women taking care of the majority of domestic du ties, known as the second-shif t phenomenon, which afford men a variety of psychological and emotional privil eges. Feminist scholars have shown that distinguishing work and family life has been a central means by which the labor done by women in the home is devalued as work and thus gi ven less consideration at the workplace. Yet keeping the awareness of these experiences discrete ly separate from the rest of the working day (i.e., morning prayer and not al l day) may disguise the social organization of gendered work, wherein women face high levels of stress and re sponsibilities that often go unrecognized by the organization. Indeed, as one WVC woman noted, the process of hearing people speak of issues and problems during prayer offered a type of soci al mirror that helped her reflect on the reasons for her own frustrations at wo rk and home: He [husband] did not understand all the work and responsibilities that I ha ve, with the children, with the house. I was frustrated that I had to do more work than him. Although we talk a lot ab out gender here [WVC], I could not see it in my life until this moment, when ev eryone was praying (Interview 14). Thus it seems that WVC womens interpretive work in fashioning personal and public spaces of gender reflection can be seen as both transforming and sustaining he gemonic meanings of gender organization. Revitalizing the Movement Face of NGOs Finally, lvarez (1999:201) point s to the need f or NGOs to devise ways of negotiating collectively not just about reso urces and time-lines for projects, but also to secure long-term programmatic lines of action and set more movement-o riented project priorities In this vein, it is important to consider the way WVC wo men discursively unite prayer with the enactment of a

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177 gender perspective. In particular, prayer not only created a space for critical reflection, but also acted as a practical solution in the form of es tablishing lines of social support to overcome everyday problems women face. In a certain sens e, the type of social support created from prayer encounters were often a response to the lack of institutional s upport experienced by WVC women: I do not know if that support that come s from prayer would be the objective of the organization (Interview 1). WV C women described the connectio ns established from prayer sessions as vehicles in which one can hav e confidence to talk about your problems (Interview 7). Relationships built on solidar ity, especially among wome n, are the outcome. According to one WVC woman, those spaces give me that confidence to talk with someone and feel part of a community of women (Interview 11). Strategies for more collective mobilization were also part of WVC wo mens description of the nature of Christian leadership. Several ke y dimensions to Christian leadership included creating more democratic, participatory, open, and loving work environments for all personnel. According to WVC women, this style of Chri stian leadership was one way to mobilize individuals that were previously marginalized and secure a plac e for their voices. In speaking about a former employee, this previously quoted WVC woman explained it th is way: I told her that it matters to me what she things and that I would like her to partic ipate more. Look, after a month, everyone was surprised of how much she talked It is my role as a Christian to be an example like Jesus, a transfor mative leader (Interview 1). Questions still remain about whether this interpretive work by WVC women helps to revitalize the movement face of NGOs (lvar ez 1999:201) by pursuing more process-oriented ways of transforming gender power relations. One the one hand, emphasizi ng the singular role of a Christian leader to crea te change may detract from how the ability for NGO members to

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178 be able to talk openly, express freely, and fully participate is tied to th e social organization of their experience within the NGO. One WVC woman cl early expressed that in the absence of this type of leader, individuals may face various ha rdships that go unrecognized by the organization itself yet leave them feeling as not deserv[ing] value (Interivew 20). Others confirmed these accounts from what specific co-worke rs have told them with regard s to the painful experiences with bosses. According to Fisher (1997), NGO researcher should continually c onsult the context in which actors construct meaning and practice wh en making assessments about NGOs capacity to reproduce or subvert hegemonic gender relations. As he notes: Power is less a confrontation between two a dversaries that it is a question of government, in which to govern is to st ructure the field of possible actions The relationship of NGOs to this practice of governing is complex. Since NGOs differ radically from one another in nature and composition, it follows that NGOs may emerge from, contribute to, or challenge the moral regulat ion inherent in governing. In practice, specific NGOs may move in either democratic or oligarchic directions, depending on their constituencies and their particular circumstances. NGOs may serve both as extensions of regimes or practice, like development, and as a source of alternat ives to such regimes. The transformative potential of the NGO sector may emerge less from an ordered and c ontrolled participation than from relatively chaotic sets of multiple opportunities and interdependencies (Fisher 1997:458). Because the interpretive practice of WVC women is necessarily based on the specific context it is embedded, it is important to be cautious about it s political import and that of NGOs in general. While WVC women do appropriate ge nder discourse to make visibl e the social organization of gender and inequality in their own and others lives, research ers must be careful in their evaluations about the subversive or hegemonic character of NGO members identity work. Broad, Crawley, and Foley (2004:523) make a sim ilar point regarding the political nature of narratives, noting that the de gree to which narratives can subvert hegemony depends on the social organization of their telli ng and how they reconstitute that social organization. Thus this work follows the suggestion of these authors that questions about whether NGOs are doing

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179 good must be attuned to the interpretive prac tice of NGO members in their appropriation of (gender) discourses and the organi zational context in which such act ivity unfolds. In this way, a better, more historically situated, evaluation of the political impact of the discursive work by and in NGOs can be fostered. This, as Murdock (2 003:525) argues, is a more appropriate way of assessing NGOs because it helps to get away from a moralizing perspe ctive that condemns [NGO] professionals as sell-outs. A focus on practices enables a view of the potentially negative impacts of processes affecting NGOs without condemning the NGOs themselves. What it emphasizes is that NGOs are not fixed, nor are their stra tegies: these shift and transform over time. It is thus suggested that future research should further detail the discursive work by NGO members, such as mainstream NGOs, to show the interrelationship between the local and wider context and how this relationship is part of the production of meanings central to the NGO field. Conclusion This project was an attempt to answer the call being m ade by some NGO scholars to examine more closely what is happening within and through organizations such as NGOs to improve our understanding of NGOs as comple x micropolitical sites (Fisher 1997:450, emphasis added). In particular, these scholars suggest that studies on NGOs should center on their social actors and their own interpretati ons of their experience, and the dialogic constr uction of their social realities (Murdock 2003:525) The point is to begin seei ng NGOs as processes rather than entities (Murdock 2003:525) Borrowing from the works of Broad, Crawley, and Foley (2004) and Gubrium and Holstein (1997, 2000, 2001) a perspective of NGO selves takes the position that subjectivities are re sults of the dual workings of the circumstances in place and interactional activities. According to these author s, identities within NGOs are projects, in that

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180 they are in reference to a plan in the form of the local relevancies of the organization and the interpretation of this plan by social actors (Holstein and Gubrium 2000:104). To this end, this study examined the identity work done within WVC so as to attend to the simultaneous construction of self and of NGO, referred to in this work as the production of NGO selves. Specifically, the way in which WV C women appropriate gender discourse within their NGO illustrates the process by which meanings about gender are produced, configured, and then reconfigured. Importantly, th is type of work attends to th e dual side of framing analysis because it demonstrates not only the substantive frames regarding gender in WVC but also how frames are actually created by WVC women who draw upon their own life experiences to give new meaning to a gender perspect ive. Thus while WVC women re ly on the religious discourse of the organization to justify the adoption of a gender perspective, they also actively do a gender perspective through acts of prayer that establish moments critical reflection and systems of social support. In other words, WVC wo men at once rely on substantive frames (Christian values) but also interpretively appropriate this discourse in accordance to their own needs, feelings, and situations. This reaffirms the original intention of framing analysis to reveal both the substantive frames by which social movement act ors establish an identity and the fact that framing is also an ongoing accomplishment based on the meaning making work of individuals. In short, the case of WVC womens interpretive practi ce illustrates how subjectivities in collective action (NGO) are the product of the intera ction between the self (discursive practice) and collective (conditioning discourses-in-practice). And to the extent that, as Fisher (1997:459) notes, nongovernmental organizations [are] one specific possible form of co llective action then such an approach aids in not ignoring the process side of NGOs and not reducing the collective side of NGO to the individual level.

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181 At heart, this work has highlighted a gap in the NGO literature with regards to gender discourses and power relations at the local and internal level of NGO work. As was discussed in Chapter 2, research on NGOs has done much to cl assify these organizations in terms of their orientations, practices, funding sources, and si ze given their immense diversity. However, studies have paid less attention to the process by which such positions within NGOs are actually constituted. In terms of a gender discourse employed by NGO, Murdoc k (2003:524) argues that this overemphasis on classification has meant mi ssing how positions about gender and power are thought about, worried over, embraced, and nego tiated by various women at various moments and in relation to diverse sets of potential outcomes. Given that both the public and scholarly community continues to ask question about the efficacy of NGO to do good for issues concerning gender and development (e.g., profe ssionalization and gender policy advocacy), the adoption of a process-oriented perspective to NGO work is valuable. For as Murdock (2003:524) adds, such a perspective allo ws us to think about reversibility Although many social movement scholars (and NGO studies) appear to take th e iron law of oligarchy to mean that professionalization is a final, fixed, and irreversible moment, if we pay attention to its human creation, we can see that it is not. In the life of a ny organization there are moments when individuals can create change within it. Investigating the identity work of NGOs not only reveals how NGO actors are engaged in complex dialogue and critique with themselves but also signals potential avenues for renewed debates and practices between NGOs and their constituencies, such as with the state, a neoliberal environment, and communities. It has been the in tention of this study to offer an example of the production of selves in collective actionNGO selvesand thereby reveal just how much room may be available for NGOs to maneuver within the confines of the late modern terrain of local and global gender politi cs (lvarez 1999:200). This proj ect aspires to aid in that venture.

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182 APPENDIX A SPANISH INTERVIEW GUIDE Pensamient os Generales 1) Cmo define usted gnero? a. Piensa que las relaciones del trab ajo son parte de esta definicin? b. Cambia su definicin depe ndiendo en la persona o tipo de relacin en cual estas? 2) Cmo define usted equidad del gnero? a. Piensas que las relaciones del trab ajo son parte de esta definicin? b. Cambia su definicin depe ndiendo en la persona o tipo de relacin en cual estas? c. Piensas que equidad del gnero es importante y porqu? Experiencias en Visin Mundial 3 Cmo usted describira la or ientacin de Visin Mundial h acia la igualdad del gnero? 4) Me puedes hablar sobre sus relaciones con co mpaeros/as en Visin Mundial? Por ejemplo, que sabes de ellos/as (la familia de los trabajadores, las vidas, salud, historia etc.)? a. Lo qu sabes depende en la persona? b. Si es as, porque? 5) Cmo describira usted su comunicac in diaria con otro s en Visin Mundial? 6) Cmo le afecta estando en un contexto pr ofesional, o siendo un profesional, en Visin Mundial? 7) La religin afecta su experiencia diaria en Visin Mundial? Ayuda Social 8) Cmo describira usted el proceso de ayuda social en Vi sin Mundial? Por ejemplo, sientes que tienes individuos en cual puedes hablar sobre preocupaciones, ediciones, o sensaciones que tienes en Visin Mundial? 9) Cuntas veces confas en estas personas para ayuda? a. Piensa que sus experiencias en Visin Mundial seran igual sin estas personas? b. Cmo cambiaran? Por ejemplo, en sus sensaciones, motivacin, comodidad, etc. Estrategias Futuras 10) Cules son algunas soluciones posibles para ayudar el proceso de promover equidad del gnero Visin Mundial? a. Qu trabaja actualmente y porqu? b. Qu tienes gusto ver cambiar? c. Qu no trabaja definitivamente y porqu?

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183 11) Quin debe ser responsable en promover la s estrategias necesarias para la equidad del gnero en Visin Mundial? a. Piensas que cada uno debe compartir en este proceso? b. Por qu? 12) Hay cualquier cosa que no hemos habla do pero piensas que es importante saber?

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184 APPENDIX B ENGLISH INTERVIEW GUIDE General Th oughts 1) How would you define/describe gender? a. Are working relationships part of this definition? b. Does that definition change depending on the type of person or relationship you are in? c. Do you think gender equali ty is important and why? 2) How would you define/describe gender equality? a. Are working relationships part of this definition? b. Does that definition change depending on the type of person or relationship you are in? c. Do you think gender equality is important and why? Experiences at World Vision 3) How would you describe World Visions attitude/orientation towa rd gender equality? 4) Can you tell me about your relationships with fellow workers. For example, what do you know about them (workers family, li ves, health, history, background, etc)? a. Does what you know change depending on the person? b. If so, in what way? 5) How would you describe your everyday communi cation with other workers in World Vision? 6) How does being in a professional context, or being a professional, impact your experience at World Vision? 7) How does religion impact your ever yday experience at World Vision? Social Support 8) How would you describe you sense of social support at World Vision. For example, do you feel confident and comfortable talking to indivi duals about any concerns, issues, or feelings you may have at World Vision? 9) How often do you rely on this person(s) for assistance? a. Do you think your experience at World Vision would be the same without them? b. How would your experience change? For exampl e, feelings, motivation, comfort, etc. Future Strategies 10) What are some possible solutions to better promoting gender equality at World Vision? a. What currently works and why? b. What would you like to see change? c. What would not definitely not work and why?

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185 11) Who do you think should be responsible fo r providing the necessary support for these strategies? a. Do you think everyone should share in this process? b. Why do you say that? 12) Is there anything that we havent talked about that you think is important for me to know?

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201 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Steven L. Arxer is a graduate student at the University of Florida. He received his M.A. from the University of Miami. His presen t interests include gl obalization, new social movements and intersectional theory.