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Thinking about "culture": some programme pointers.

Authors
  • Dawit, S
  • Busia, A
Type
Published Article
Journal
Gender and development
Publication Date
Feb 01, 1995
Volume
3
Issue
1
Pages
7–12
Identifiers
PMID: 12159823
Source
Medline
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

This article exhorts development workers to develop an understanding of their own cultural heritage in order to understand how cultural subjectivity influences their work. While not endorsing "cultural relativism," the authors stress that women must work within their own cultures to develop empowerment and combat culturally legitimized practices which are harmful to women. Cultural constructs must be examined in order to understand such issues as the Northern tendency to encourage personal individualism and the Southern tendency to organize along communal lines. Gender identity is also a social construction which calls for a consideration of each situation (or harmful practice) as uniquely based in a given cultural context. General agreement exists, however, that in order to tackle gender oppression, women must be empowered and their status must be improved. Thus development initiatives should support longterm investment in research and programs, illiteracy rates must be decreased, and educational opportunities must be sought in every program. Women's groups must link up to share resources with each other and with traditional nongovernmental organizations. Governments should 1) integrate a gender component into every Ministry; 2) emphasize literacy for girls and women; 3) support local women's initiatives; 4) provide gender-sensitive training for professionals in critical fields; 5) increase attention to the needs of young women; and 6) offer more women visible official posts in public service.

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