The elusive agenda: mainstreaming women in development
Pakistan Development Review 35(4 Pt 2): 825-832
The first part of this essay on mainstreaming women in development outlines the hard-won achievements of the women's movement in the past 20 years and acknowledges that the movement has failed to gain its fundamental objectives of transforming social and gender relations and creating a just and equal world. Considering the central question of why progress has been so elusive for women, the essay notes that the agenda the movement articulated challenged male power and privilege and called for investment in women that would require reallocation of existing resources or finding additional sources of revenue. Because women are differentiated by class, race, and nation, it is difficult to shape women into a powerful political constituency. Thus, the women's movement should adopt an agenda-setting approach and take a consistent stand on a core agenda. The next part of the essay describes some of the changes that a shift from an integrationist to an agenda-setting approach will entail and notes that this approach will require: 1) women to play a proactive leadership role and to clearly articulate a core agenda, 2) the strategic positioning of gender concerns in a period of change, 3) strengthening women's groups and networks, 4) using a new communication strategy to expand support, 5) developing context-specific concepts and analytical tools, and 6) building institutional capacities of aid recipients. The final section of essay notes that agenda-setting will raise awareness of the need to promote the equitable sharing of responsibilities in institutions such as families, communities, national governments, and global institutions.