Abstract: How can indigenous medicine be incorporated into a health system prediceated on the authoritative knowledge of biomedicine? This paper explores a case study where the Ministry of Health in Solola, Guatemala, which has one of the highest rates of maternal mortality in the country, has instructed a select group of indigenous, traditional midwives on how to teach other indigenous midwives about danger signs and referral during a difficult birth. While the program is quite progressive in its attempts to build a "culturally appropriate" health system, the author argues that it ultimately does not go far enough. The author demonstrates how ideas about "diversity" are deployed as a means of seeming to accommodate indigenous health practices and knowledge without fundamentally challenging the validity of the biomedical model, propogating an exchange of ideas, or building diversity into public health policy.
Abstract: Each group within a society develops strategies that it uses to push and maintain its position. African women have always had important resonsibilities including those of sustaining their families and maintaining a measure of equilibrium within society itself. In traditional societies, African women strategized to maintain a level of economic freedom by institutionalizing trading and craft production as a right and sought other creative ways to ensure their survival and well being within the confines of unequal inheritance laws. This paper presents the specific example of woman-to-woman marriage, which is practiced in several African societies. These cultures allow a woman to marry another woman in the name of her dead husband or son in order to beget male offspring who ensure that the woman and her daughters retain their share of communally owned property. I argue that the relationship between the women engaged in such marriages is social and not sexual. I chose the fictional format because of its ability to reach and appeal to a wider audience and also because of the flexibility it permits in touching on issues which conventional reports do not customarily accommodate.
Abstract: Farmers traditionally receive agricultural information from government ministries of agriculture or extension offices. Although women constitute a sizable and growing percentage of the agricultural workforce worldwide, they are generally ignored in extension programs (Jiggins, 1986). Several factors contribute to this ignorance, including: government policies, cultural constraints, extension's focus on resource rich, often male farmers, and women's lack of formal education (Chaney and Lewis, 1985; Spens, 1986). Rural women in Central America comprise a growing underclass of widows, single mothers, and female children with almost no rights to land, and minimal access to credit, new technologies, or extension services. This study examines issues surrounding women's access to agricultural information, and ways to improve their access. The final discussion recommends ways organizations can improve their outreach to rural women using suggestions generated in the research.
Abstract: Over the last decade or so, development agencies have added a strategic program area known as "democracy" to the definition of development assistance. Many of these programs are aimed at facilitating a country's transition to a democratic state but few have dealt consistently or even minimally with the issue of women's participation in the electoral and political process. With a primary focus on Africa, this paper reviews common forms of discrimination against and subordination of women and argues that the social-cultural environment and legal framework in which women exercise their individual rights have a tremendous impact on their opportunities to participate fully in politics and the economy. It reviews and discusses various mechanisms for women to participate meaningfully in the political process and lays out an action agenda which proposes that donor agencies monitor the effectiveness of instruments of women's empowerment, e.g. quota systems and regional fora for discussion among and on women in the political process.
Abstract: This paper is about Peruvian feminists, about whom little is known. Three grass-roots feminist organizations are discussed: Manuela Ramos, Peru Mujer, and Flora Tristan. Their goals include the mobilization of women, the development of their independence, and the improvement of their children's lives. Toward these ends, they work to establish women's awareness of family planning, to develop their organizational skills, and to increase their skills so that they may move out of poverty.
Abstract: This paper focuses on barriers to effective integration of rural women in national development. It specifically examines the problems created by the invisibility of women's work, the unavailability of loan and credits, illiteracy, vocational skills, and the strength of tradition and culture. The paper suggests introducing appropriate technology in order to facilitate the integration of Nigerian rural women in national development.
Abstract: This paper reviews techological innovations which would improve the productive efficiency of rural women in Nigeria. Constraints to the successful introduction of these technologies are discussed, with recommendations for how they may be effectively implemented. It is suggested that while rural women are actively and directly involved in Nigerian development, the limitations of available technology and education have prevented them from making their most effective contribution to national development.
Abstract: This paper discusses health-related issues which are relevant to refugee populations in general and, in some instances, to Afghan women in particular. The World Health Organization's classic definition of health as a "state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, not merely the absence of disease and infirmity" (Mead 1953:28) is used as an organizing framework to address these issues, such as compromised health associated with inadequate sanitation and poor nutrition, increased psychological risks associated with the Islamization movement, the boredom and melancholia associated with life in exile, competition for scarce resources from both other refugees as well as the local population, animosity and suspicion emanating from inter-tribal and inter-ethnic conflict, direct attacks on refugee villages in border areas, and a climate of insecurity which is linked to an uncertain future in terms of the likelihood of returning home. In the conclusion, suggestions for development programming are offered.
Abstract: This paper focuses on the life history of a Mexican marketing woman. It explores her narrative as a story, or collection of stories, and seeks to understand her conceptions of gender, mother-daughter relations, and sexual and spiritual economies. The author makes a case that wrath, or coraje, forms part of a feminie ontology of suffering and despair that are not passive and resigned but embedded in sujectivity and agency. This particular Mexican woman's story is set within a theoretical discussion of the problematics of Western feminist representations of Third World women, and constitutes a renewed effort to revalue, in these times of races for theory, the concrete, narrative, storytelling form of discourse as a means of understanding and constructing social knowledge.
Abstract: This paper addresses the question of how to achieve a better understanding of what development projects ought to be doing, if they are to operationalize the overall goal of improving the status of women in Africa. The paper uses seven "dimensions" of women's participation in development in order to discuss the author's preliminary research findings on the overall pattern of inadequacy in development projects in Zambia. It is suggested that these seven dimensions may provide the basic framework for understanding workable starting points and moving toward strategies of action for the increased participation of women in development.
Abstract: This paper draws from a specific ethnographic example to elucidate the connections among gender, sexuality, eroticism, and work, and argues for a method of analysis encompassing both the symbolic and the economic. Symbolic meanings embodied in sexuality cannot be reduced to the gendered economics of production and reproduction, yet neither can production and reproduction be explained away or ignored completely by a symbolic approach. In the Commonwealth of Dominica in the West Indies, men's work and sexuality are linguistically marked and conceptualized as highly differentiated. Women's sexuality and work, on the other hand, are unmarked and undetermined. Parallel meanings are attached to work and to sexuality, and these parallel meanings inform an economic and symbolic system in which women's power over their own bodies and economies is undermined.
TO INTEGRATE OR NOT TO INTEGRATE? IS THAT THE QUESTION:
THE FRANCOPHONE EXPERIENCE IN INTEGRATING FAMILY PLANNING WITH MATERNAL
AND CHILD HEALTH
by James Wolff, Sylvia Vriesendorp, and Ben Hanafi
WID Forum XVI, January 1990
Abstract: In 1987 the Family Planning Management Training Project, and AID-funded project implemented by Management Sciences for Health, formed a consultant group consisting of family planning program directors from seven countries in Francophone Africa: Burkina Faso, Mali, Morocco, Rwanda, Senegal, Tunisia, and Zaire, as well as a representative from the Pan-African Insitute of Development in the Cameroon.
These leaders identified management problems associated with integrating family planning into existing maternal and child health and primary health care services as their number one problem. A year later these directors invited their maternal and child health or primary health care counterparts from their Ministries of Health to participate in a two week seminar on the integration of family planning and maternal and child health services. Their conclusions and recommendations are reported in this paper.
Abstract: Many of the women in Anita Desai's works are involved in the reconstruction of tradition. On one level, they attempt to reconstruct their own personal past histories and family traditions. They constantly retell and recreate their past. On another, more important level, they chose to or are forced to destroy and then reassemble, reconstruct, the overwhelming traditions they have inherited as women from their culture. This paper focuses on the women in Desai's novels Clear Light of Day and Fire on the Mountain. Bimla, the protagonist of Clear Light of Day, constructs and reconstructs her life using the fragments of her past and the recognition of love which like time and memory destroys, preserves, and renovates. Bimla's courage and willingness to change are compared to the rigidity and lack of compassion of Nanda Kaul, the protagonist of Fire on the Mountain. Bimla is an active participant in a twentieth century reenactment of an ancient drama in which she acknowledges and reconstructs her personal and socio-religions traditions. The women in Fire on the Mountain are haunted and finally destroyed by their inability to either understand, fulfill, or reconstruct the traditional ideals of the renunciation of the self and of detached action.
Abstract: Violence against women - including rape, wife assault, and genital mutilation - is one of the most widespread yet least recognized health and human rights problems in the world. No other phenomenon, save perhaps alcoholism, crosscuts all cultures and affects every socioeconomic group within each society. Accurate statistics are rare, but the data that are available hint at the magnitude of the problem. Specific cultural customs, such as dowry, bridewealth, and female circumcision exacerbate the issue. The article concludes with a call to action at the local, national and international levels.
Abstract: The study focuses on male migrants in Bombay City from the village of Sugao, 150 miles away. The author emphasizes the high cost paid by the women left behind, the harshness of life in Bombay, and the deterioration of some aspects of the physical quality of life in Sugao. Actually, employment in Bombay provides material gains. There is a high human cost because of families being separated for long periods. An important alternative is rural development, which also may bring in new problems, for the village social structure is entrenched and in many respects outmoded.
Abstract: This paper presents a comprehensive set of data on urban sex ratios in Subsaharan Africa. Up to four censuses are reported for 29 countries. Substantial deviations form parity - indicating sex selectivity in urban migration - are common. A substantial preponderance of men in the urban population characterizes several African countries. However, contrary to the generalization commonly made about Subsaharan Africa, women predominate in the urban population of several other countries. The causes for these variations are explored, the strong trend toward a more balanced composition of the urban population being related to changing patterns of migration.
Abstract: Delivery of health care and distribution of nutritional supplements in Zumbagua, a rural parish of highland Ecuador, provide some of the few occasions in which indigenous farm women of the area come into contact with urban professional women. The structure of these encounters, and the conflicting expectations brought to them by both sides, militate against effective delivery of services. Ultimately, each group characterizes the program as a failure for which the other is to blame; racial, cultural, and class prejudices are reinforced in the process. This paper examines one such encounter and discusses the linguistic, social, and cultural barriers which impede the program, both in its primary goal of improving rural health and in its secondary purpose of encouraging the integration of indigenous groups into the national society.
Abstract: Using data from the 1983-83 Annual Sample Survey of Agriculture, this paper compares male- and female-headed small-holder households in Malawi's eight agricultural development districts. Despite variation from district to district, female-headed households are shown to have less land and labor and lower incomes than male-headed ones. Those households belonging to farm clubs, including those that are female-headed, are shown to be more successful economically and more likely to be able to provide adequate food for household members. Farm and nonfarm alternative sources of income are discussed and their probability of improving the prospects of female-headed households is evaluated.
Abstract: Female genital operations remain common in southern Nigeria, yet the age at which the operations are performed, as well as the extent of and reasons for the surgery differ widely among neighboring groups. An analysis of questionnaire survey data from 342 adults (158 females and 184 males) in homogeneous, rural communities reveals differing perceptions of the procedure between males and females among Bini, Esan, Etsakb, Ijaw, Ukwuani, and Urhobo ethnic groups. Varied knowledge of and attitudes toward the practice focus particularly on health, sexuality, and reproduction. Male attitudes toward marriage of unexcised females show more tolerance than do female attitudes toward marriage of uncircumcised males. Understanding these beliefs may be useful in designing programs to reduce or eliminate female genital operations.
Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to assess the feminist consciousness of Indian movies. Feminist consciousness is defined here as an awareness of women as victims of social oppression because of the forces of patriarchy. The extent to which Indian films articulate the issues and concerns of women as a group was also examined. Of a random sample of 45 films, 15 (approximately 33.3%) were retained for analysis because of their overt pro-women stand. It must be mentioned here that, because of the peculiarities of the market, there is a strong possibility that the sample of Hindi film videotapes available in the U.S. is biased. The high percentage of pro-women films in the larger sample may be a reflection of this bias. Two broad thematic categories under which all the films could be classified, emerged during analysis. The classifications were mutually exclusive; many of the films showed a mixture of the two themes. In the first category were firms that mainly described the existing state of affairs. The films in the second group were different in that they overtly demanded women's rights and just treatment in society. The first set of films dealt mainly with exploitations of women, sexual or otherwise, in different spheres of society. The second set, on the other hand, voiced women's right to choose and their right to a separate identity and to psychological as well as economic freedom. With one exception, all the films shied away from taking an uncompromising stand. The women who dared to revolt against the system were, by the end of the film, either relegated to a life of loneliness and anguish or forced to compromise in some way or other. There was a distinct difference in the types of treatment women of different socioeconomic strata received in the movies.
Abstract: This research documents some of the differences in economic status, household and farm size, household labor use, and extension visits between female-headed and nuclear family households in Zambia. On the average, the female-headed households in this sample had fewer members than the nuclear family households, farmed approximately half the acreage, and generated only 31% of the total value of crop production. In addition, fewer of the female-headed households were visited by extension agents and those that were visited less frequently than nuclear family households. Although the female-headed households earned more from selling fruits, vegetables, fish, and home-brewed beer than the nuclear family households, their net cash income was still only 38% that of nuclear family households. This all points to the need to develop policies specifically aimed at breaking the cycle of poverty of rural, female-headed households.
Abstract: This paper examines the mandate given to the International Development Research Centre (Ottawa) by Act of the Canadian Parliament and the policy guidelines and objectives through which the Centre, under the direction of its President and international Board of Governors, supports research and helps develop research capacity, as part of Canada's contribution to development. The role of the Division of Health Sciences in international health activities is described in this context, with note made of Centre activities related to women and development.
Abstract: The series, Working Papers on Women in International Development, produced by the Office of WID at Michigan State University, is now almost four years old and has published 82 papers. This paper looks at this rather disparate body of work as a whole and attempts to draw out its relevance to development policy, planning, and practice. Although these papers document, in very concrete terms, the substance and context of women's lives, they do not always directly address issues of development nor do they present specific recommendations. Nevertheless, the body of research, taken in summary, implies two broad strategy directions that can be extrapolated. These we term consensual strategies and conflictive strategies. We argue that, although the programs suggested by consensual strategies are crucial in the short term for the survival of poor women and their families, such efforts are not substitutes for the structural changes required to achieve genuine social and economic equity.
Abstract: The 1973 Percy Amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act made the integration of women mandatory in US-aided development activities. This paper examines US-assisted projects in India, in particular the content and objectives of public health delivery systems in Haryana, North India, to determine the extent to which the Percy Amendment has influenced research in Indian during the summer of 1983. The data base includes extensive interviews with USAID officials in India, Indians working with USAID, Indian professionals in the field, and the "targets" of public health - the people in rural Haryana. Personal observations from visiting subcenters that administer public health in rural Haryana are combined with the information derived from interviews to show how bureaucratic politics, cultural bias, and an environment of scarcity work together to modify the intent of the Amendment. The paper argues that, in the case of public health, women's integration into development activities is solely for the purposes of family planning. For example, no attention is paid to health problems associated with women's work in agriculture or with women in the postmenopause stage. This focus on women only as childbearers reflects the cultural bias shared by the US and Indian policymakers and offers yet another example of women being seen as instruments rather than beneficiaries of development.
Abstract: Japanese television is a woman's world. Its prime viewers are housewives, whose taste and needs shape commercials and drama programs. Recently, a daily drama serial known as Television Novel aired in the women's hour early in the morning for one year has achieved international fame, and its heroine has come to represent a collective self-image of the Japanese as a humble survivor. This paper surveys the Japanese television programming, culminating in the maturing of women's drama.
Abstract: The US Agency for International Development (USAID) promotes strengthening developing countries' capacity to remove the health barriers to achieving human and economic development as a key component of its assistance program. The USAID Strategy emphasizes (1) priority focus on a basic package of proven, cost-effective technologies delivered in primary health care programs; (2) increased bio-medical and applied research; and (3) development of countries' human resource and institutional capability.
Abstract: This paper seeks to examine the impact of modernization on child rearing as traditional settings, customs, and ideologies adjust to a new or rapidly changing environment. Included in this study are two groups living in Israel, Kurdish and Yemenite Jews, who are adjusting to the same environment in very different ways. Their different backgrounds and traditions help them to adapt to different aspects of modern Israeli society, and part of this adaptation is the incorporation of Western knowledge to support traditional customs. This paper shows these two groups using new ideologies to justify traditional customs in child rearing, each arriving at quite distinct results.