For all societies, the common denominator of gender is female subordination. For women of the Third World, the effects of this position are exacerbated by economic crisis, the legacy of colonialism as well as patriarchal attitudes. Feminist critique has introduced the gender factor to development theory, arguing that the equal distribution of the benefits of economic development can only be achieved through a radical restructuring of the process of development. Now, the universal validity of both gender-neutral development theory and the feminist concepts of the post-industrial world are being questioned. All societies establish a clear-cut division of labour by sex. The traditional work model for women has been housework and childcare. This mould has been broken by women in the developing countries who have worked extensively in both the urban and rural sectors. New economic demands have created new opportunities. Janet Momsen presents ten world-wide case studies, personalised examples of women's lives and coping strategies in the Third World. Her review of policy and practice raises questions about development planning and the empowerment of women. The book concludes with a discussion of the impact of environmental degradation and economic restructuring on women, describing the integral position of women in any solution to the current crises facing the Third World. Women and Development comes as a welcome introductory text in an area where the present literature is concentrated on the advanced and the specialised. The book will be invaluable to students of Development, Geography, Sociology, Economics and Women's Studies and of interest to all concerned for the position of women in the world today.
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