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Gender Economics

Gender and Development: Theoretical, Empirical, and Practical Approaches edited by Lourdes Beneria and Savitri Bisnath (The International Library of Critical Writings in Economics: Edward Elgar) This two-volume set brings together a selection of the most significant contributions to the field of gender and development. The key emphasis is on economic analysis, with some articles informed by an interdisciplinary approach. The volumes cover a variety of topics, including conceptual and methodological questions, statistical accounting of women's work, issues related to the family, households and caring labor, poverty, employment and labor markets, structural adjustment policies and social change. The collection will be useful for economists as well as for other social scientists interested in the field of development, women's work, labor markets, and feminist economics.

Although the volumes are addressed to an academic audience interested in development issues in general and gender and development in particular, they will also be of interest to government agencies, international organizations, NGOs and other institutions and individuals working on development, policy making and action from a gender perspective.

Excerpt from the introduction:

The agency of women as a force for change is one of the most neglected aspects of the development literature.

The unfolding of the field of gender and development during the past three decades is often viewed as having its roots in the publication of Ester Boserup's book Woman's Role in Economic Development (1970). Although anthropologists such as Eleanor Leacock, June Nash and Helen Safa had dealt earlier with issues of development and women, Boserup was the first economist to focus on the ways in which economic development had affected women differently from men - marginalizing women from mainstream development processes. Her main contribution was to challenge the conventional view that economic growth and modernization in Third World countries had necessarily benefited women - from colonial times on. A Danish economist with an extensive professional work experience with different institutions within the United Nations system, Boserup was a pioneer in introducing many of the themes that prevailed in the work of many researchers during the 1970s and beyond. Based on her empirical work in Africa, Asia and Latin America, her analysis focused on the reasons behind women's marginalization, and it dealt with other important issues -such as the analysis of male and female farming systems, gender-related patterns of rural/urban migration, the underestimation of women's economic activities and their concentration in unpaid work in the household and in subsistence production, women's education, and others.

Boserup's prior work on the impact of demographic change on economic growth had been well received by the (predominantly male) establishment in development circles. However, these same circles paid scant attention to her new book, which nevertheless became a success over the years. Nourished by the growing international women's movement, the interest in many of the topics discussed by Boserup intensified and expanded in different directions. Although her work was criticized for its conventional theoretical framework and absence. of a feminist perspective,` her analysis and conclusions have continued to inspire researchers and policy makers over the years while inviting them to search for new answers to old questions. This is illustrated by the extent to which several articles in this collection are framed around issues initially raised by Boserup, such as with Harriss-White's contribution in Volume II, first published in 1998, which pays explicit attention to Boserup. Although to a lesser extent, other articles, such as Palmer's (1977), Tinker's (1990) and Elson's (1999)-all in Volume I-also show different ways in which her work has been influential. In this sense, it can be said that before Boserup, development work (theoretical and practical) was largely a male bastion and focused on men. This has changed drastically, as the articles in this collection illustrate.

During the 1970s and early 1980s, two different approaches resulted from this Boserup ­inspired effort. The first, often derived directly from her work, was represented by the WID or `women in development' approach which focused on an effort to `integrate women in development'. It was advocated by Boserup herself as a direct conclusion from her discussion of women's marginalization from development processes. The assumption was that women's unequal condition relative to men was a consequence of their exclusion from the new sources of economic growth, employment, increasing productivity, and income generated by the modern sector. Thus, the primary focus of WID policy was to integrate women in these processes, for example by increasing female labor force participation and facilitating it through different means such as training and educational programs. Over the years, this approach was associated with many of the efforts sponsored by government agencies dealing with aid and development as well as with work carried out in international organizations. In contrast, the 'women and development' or WAD approach questioned the development model itself. Proponents of this approach argued that women's marginalization and gender inequality were due not only to women's socialization and subordinate position at different social levels but from the development model itself. This analysis was informed by the Marxist and socialist approaches of the period, which saw capitalist development as instrumental in creating economic and social inequalities to which gender inequalities were partially linked. This approach is illustrated by different authors in this collection. The main objective of the WAD approach was not so much to integrate women in development as to transform the development model itself so as to eliminate the intrinsic social inequalities that led to women's subordinate location in society, including inequalities within the household and the labor market. This approach was promoted particularly by scholars who were constrained, in Tinker's words, 'neither by the existing government systems nor by agency bureaucracies ...', but it had an influence on practitioners as well, beyond the more academic context in which it was debated.

In the 1980s, the renaming of the field as `gender and development' (GAD), which is now a commonly used expression, reflected the many theoretical changes taking place in the study of women, particularly the introduction of the notion of `gender' as pertaining to the social constructions defining men and women, masculinity and femininity, and reflecting the roles and socio-political relations that inform and shape their interaction at all levels of society. As commonly understood, gender refers to the large variety of social and cultural norms that shape the relations between the sexes. As initially formulated by Joan Scott, `gender' was a term offered by those who claimed that women's scholarship would fundamentally transform disciplinary paradigms. One reason she saw for this transformation was that `information about women is necessarily information about men, that one implies the study of the other'. Scott argued that this would lead to a better understanding of structural, cultural and ideological factors involving relations between the sexes and cutting across traditional concepts of class and other social divisions. Her analysis responded to the winds of post-structuralism and post­modernism that pressed the need to transcend prior `grand theory' approaches. As a result, gender analysis became more focused on the different aspects of power relations and less on structural factors. It also stressed notions of `difference' among women rather than essentialist versions of equality and commonality.

The increasingly more sophisticated body of feminist theory that developed during the 1980s linked the various disciplines and resulted in trends towards some degree of conceptual convergence between different feminist approaches.' The influence of post-modernism on feminist analysis tended to privilege the analyses of 'discourse' and of the experiential over that of the material, or, as some authors put it, the interest in `words' rather than 'things', which had a profound impact not only in the humanities but also in the social sciences. In the field of economics, these currents were less influential than in other social sciences. More specifically, for feminist economists working within a WID or GAD context, the emphasis on development required a continuous effort to focus not only on the material and the economic but also on what an economist has called the `nuts and bolts of economics', derived from the need for not only describing and theorizing but also for providing solutions to the problems of everyday life as they relate to development and gender. This implied dealing with both theory and policy, and it led to work in the areas of micro- and macroeconomics, and political economy, including the analysis of labor markets, women's access to resources such as land and education, and the gender dimensions of structural adjustment policies. In particular, over the years the household has been the locus of many studies that have transformed areas of research - from the division of labor in paid and unpaid activities to our understanding of migration and of women's participation in the informal sector. These are some of the basic themes discussed by the gender and development literature in these volumes.

Despite the importance that `gender' has taken as an analytical category in development work, much remains to be done to take this notion seriously, i.e., taking its whole meaning as pertaining to men and women rather than to women alone. Failure to do so while focusing on women only has resulted in partial visions of gender differences and divisions, and often in a relegation of women's issues to a separate sphere of analysis and action. Although this has been necessary in order to counterbalance the neglect and invisibility of women in the past, it tends to show an incomplete picture of gender differences in development and of their interaction. It can also lead to too narrow approaches at the practical level of policy and action.

The articles in this collection reflect some of the basic themes that, over the years, responded to the need for empirical, theoretical, methodological and practical analysis that gradually appeared in the field of gender and development. Although, by mandate, the collection includes articles predominantly grounded in the field of economics, an effort has been made to reflect the interdisciplinary character of the field. The articles have been reprinted chronologically in each of the different sections and themes within the field, i.e., according to publication dates. Without being exhaustive, the different articles and themes illustrate the variety of underlying interests and approaches used. By mandate also, the list includes a `comprehensive collection' of `influential articles in the field. However, space limitations do not allow us to do justice to the extensive work that has appeared over the years.

The following discusses some of the basic themes reflected in the two volumes. Volume I

Parts I and II

First, this collection reflects the many conceptual and methodological contributions made towards the engendering of development studies - as illustrated by the articles in Parts I and II. These contributions can be classified as falling into various categories. Most of them represent critiques of existing development theories, either pointing out their irrelevance from a women's perspective or emphasizing the need to introduce a feminist lens. Others represent additions to on-going development work, whether conceptual or practical. Benerfa and Sen (1982), for example, focus on Boserup's contributions while providing a critique of her approach. Similarly,

Palmer's discussion (1977) of the basic needs approach to development provides a summary and a critique - from a gender perspective - of the concerns that were prevalent among development circles during the 1970s. And Tinker (1990) presents an excellent summary of the different approaches used in the earlier period, with a discussion of the differences between scholars, practitioners and advocates. A third category includes new theoretical formulations going beyond existing conceptualizations, such as with Folbre's emphasis (1986) on the need to re-conceptualize household economics and Elson's analysis (1999) of gender-aware development economics. Finally, the field has made much progress in methodological work, permitting greater sophistication in information gathering, including statistical series and data analysis. The contributions by Moser (1989), Kabeer (1992), and Bardhan/Klasen (1999) in Part II focus on the analysis of how planning, cost-benefit analysis, and development indicators such as UNDP's human development indices have incorporated a focus on gender. Lastly, Elson (1993) emphasizes the need for a gender-aware analysis of development economics.

Taken together, these articles illustrate how gender has been integrated into development thinking in a central and comprehensive way, even though much remains to be done towards completing this task. Theoretically, the field of gender and development has tended to be critical of neoclassical formulations. In particular, models based on Western individualism contrast with the reality of many cultural patterns and values prevalent in non-Western societies. In this sense, many of the articles in this collection grapple with the task of how to best describe and theorize development from a gender perspective while suggesting avenues for economic and social change responsive to the needs of women in different societies.

Part III

Second, a good proportion of these articles are illustrative of the effort to increase women's visibility in development processes - in terms of their contribution and social roles - as well as in research, action and policy. The 1970s saw an initial effort to describe, mostly at the micro level, the location of women in society and their participation in economic and social life. This resulted in studies of the gender division of labor in different areas and regions, including rural/urban differences, women's participation in subsistence activities, the household and the labor market. This set the stage for comparative work across countries, but it also prepared the agenda for the improvement of more systematic statistical information and data collection on women's economic activities. Efforts to analyze the underestimation of women's economic activities and to measure accurately their work have continued since the early 1980s. As the articles in Part III reveal, this work has become increasingly more sophisticated, both theoretically and methodologically. In particular, these articles reflect the important progress made during the last two decades towards more accurate and systematic ways of accounting for women's work, particularly the unpaid work carried out in subsistence economies and domestic production across countries. Both Dixon (1982) and Ironmonger (1996) address questions associated with the 'counting' of women's work and with the estimation of its product; Floro (1995) discusses the issue of work intensity and its implication for measure­ment, and Beneria (1999) provides an overview of the progress made in this area. The articles show how this progress has combined work at the theoretical, methodological and practical levels; although illustrative, they are not all-inclusive of the extensive work in this area. In particular, they do not reflect sufficiently the extent to which this effort has benefited from work carried out by international organizations - such as the international Labor Office and other United Nations agencies - as well as by national governments, individual researchers and policy makers. Although much remains to be done, the progress reported in these articles represents a tribute to the questions raised by the international women's movement regarding the need to recognize and measure women's work, as well as its contribution to family and social welfare.

Part IV

Third, the body of work focusing on family, welfare and development reflected in Part IV provides many illustrations of the prevalent critique of neoclassical models of the family, both in general and as they apply to developing countries in particular. At the general level, these critiques begin with the unrealistic and simplistic assumptions of the models that do not reflect the variety of ways in which families and households function across cultures and societies. More specifically, they point out the inability of these models to capture the in­equalities and conflicts that constitute an integral part of gender relations within households. As A. Sen (1983) notes in his article in this section, 'evidence of inequality within the family is widespread across the world, but in the poorer countries sex bias can be very strong even in such elementary matters as survival, nutrition, health and literacy.' Yet neoclassical models fail to capture these inequalities and therefore are unable to deal with these realities and with the tensions in gender relations that they generate. Likewise, in her analysis of agricultural households in Africa, Koopman (1991) shows the extent to which the assumption of an undifferentiated unit of production and consumption results in 'a distorted image of the rural household', with important implications that can negatively affect the design of policy and action. The empirical work presented in these articles illustrates the various ways in which households function under different institutional settings and cultural forms across the continents.

An emphasis in these articles, as illustrated in the contributions by Aslanbeigui and Summerfield (1989), Katz (1991) and Wolf (1990), is on breaking the myth of the 'harmonious household' assumed in conventional models. The objective is to better understand the unequal gender relations imbedded in family arrangements while moving, as called for in Folbre's 1988 article, towards a new paradigm of household economics. In this sense, the use of bargaining models represented an important theoretical (and practical) step towards a better understanding of household dynamics. Initially introduced by A. Sen with the notion that the family is a unit of 'cooperative conflicts', it has been widely used by many authors who have added to it a stronger feminist component and specificity with regards to the factors affecting women's bargaining power. Agarwal's article (1997), for example, contains an excellent feminist analysis of the bargaining approach, rich in empirical insights and practical implica­tions. The result has been a more 'politicized' and 'feminist' conceptualization of the household based on the dynamics of unequal gender relations, and often tied to institutional and structural factors that affect intro-household distribution of resources. In the more feminist formulations, the notion of the social construction of gender has been emphasized as key to explaining gender inequalities. In many ways, the notion of cooperative conflicts in bargaining models transcends the dichotomies associated with either a view of the family as a harmonious unit (the neoclassical view) or as a source of unity and survival for the working class family (the Marxian view) or a view focusing on the family as a source of conflict and struggle (a more skewed feminist view than the bargaining model).

Part V

Fourth, the field of gender and development has generated an extensive body of work on policy, action, women's empowerment, and institutional and social change. These are the themes analyzed in Part V A key question in this work is how social change is conceptualized and operationalized. At one level, there has been much work in the area of development practice. Project implementation has been an important element in WID circles and international organizations, given their strong involvement at the practical level of assistance and financial aid to developing countries. A large proportion of these projects take place without question­ing existing institutions, i.e., they are designed to improve the conditions of women within a limited framework of social change. As such, they are constrained by the conditions imposed through the institutional framework within which they operate. Buvinic's classic article (1986) about the misbehavior of income-generating projects in the Third World, reprinted in Part V, analyzes some of the problems associated with their implementation. These problems underline the projects' limited transformative power for women, in fact suffering from the prevalence of interventions with a welfarist approach and reducing women to passive recipients of aid instead of improving their capacity for survival, autonomy, self-sufficiency and human development. However, this does not mean that positive change for women cannot take place without basic institutional changes. The extent to which this can take place is the focus of discussion in these articles, which highlights different perspectives on women's empower­ment. At the conceptual level, Baden and Goetz (1998) point out the various ways in which the notion of 'gender' was interpreted from different aspects of the political spectrum at the Beijing/ 95 conference, with clear practical implications for policy and action. In the same way, Ela Bhatt's focus (1989) on self-employed women, highlights some of the practical implications and possibilities for organizing and empowering women. Finally, Kabeer's discussion (1999) illustrates the difficulties involved in any attempt to evaluate and measure progress for women.

Volume II           Part 1

Fifth, a different theme reflected in Volume II focuses on women :c access to resources, not just through wage employment, which is the focus of Part II, but also in terms of other key factors that facilitate this access, such as property rights, credit, and household distribution of labor time, education, technology and other resources. Part I focuses on agricultural produc­tion - which still concentrates the largest number of women in many countries - and draws connections between access to resources and poverty. An important message here is the significant difference that a gender perspective has made in our understanding of peasant economies, agricultural production, and the dynamics of development and of poverty eradica­tion. Deere (1995), for example, points out that, 'gender analysis has challenged and enriched many of the standard assumptions and concepts utilized in the analysis of Third World peasantries', including our understanding of rural social differentiation, 'by demonstrating that attention to the different activities of men and women does make a difference'. Similarly, using a case study of farm-households in Malaysia, Hart (1992) offers an interesting analysis of the importance of analyzing the gender dimensions of labor conflict and technological change in order to best understand the farm-household economy.

In addition, the articles in these sections highlight the connections between poverty and limited access to resources, whether it be land (Agarwal, 1986) or credit (Goetz and Gupta, 1996). In this respect, it is important to distinguish, as some of these authors do, between access and control over resources, since the first does not necessarily guarantee the second. Access to land, including land ownership, capital, technology and training, is a key factor in enabling women to receive their share of income and accumulated surplus. However, access must be accompanied by control so as to guarantee that women have the necessary degree of autonomy to deal with poverty affecting them and their families in the short and long run. The extensive literature on gender and poverty that has appeared during the past few years has reinforced several basic points made in these articles. First, there is a need to give special consideration to poverty as experienced by women, while at the same time viewing it as an integral part of overall distributional mechanisms and policies. Second, the articles point out that gender subordination is not just a poverty issue; as elaborated by Jackson (1998) it can not be dealt with by focusing solely on poverty reduction/elimination; it also requires a focus on gender-related power inequalities and on women's dependency and lack of autonomy. Finally, a gender-aware analysis of poverty needs to be open to the fact that men's links to poverty are an important part of the equation, including the fact that, in some cases, men can be poorer than women.'

Part II

Sixth, the relatively large number of articles in Part II, on employment and labor markets, reflects both the importance of this topic and the very extensive research in this area. In parti­cular, the feminization of the international labor force has been analyzed extensively, both with or without a feminist perspective. Since the early 1980s, this body of literature has had a strong focus on the important role of female labor in export-oriented production and on the key employment of women by large multinational corporations. The literature has addressed the analysis of employment conditions, wages, the role of export promotion as a source of female employment as well as the role of women in providing a low wage, relatively skilled labor force (at least in many cases). One conclusion is that female labor has been crucial for labor intensive and export-oriented industries in developing countries and very significant for economic development in many cases." Feminist analysis of these issues has emphasized the ways in which social constructions of gender in different cultures, be it in South East Asia, Mauritius, or the maquiladora industry in the US-Mexico border, informs women's roles in paid production, and the ways in which they are integrated in the labor market, including the different levels of informalized work such as the case of home-based workers.

As reflected throughout the articles in this section, there are at least four aspects to the analysis of the feminization of the labor force. The first emphasizes the extent and conditions of women's incorporation in the industrial work force, particularly in areas of export pro­cessing industrialization processes, but also at other levels of the labor market, such as the informal sector and other low wage productive processes. The contributions by Wong (1981), Lim (1983), Hein (1986), Pyle and Dawson (1990) and Pearson (1991) illustrate this type of analysis. The second focuses on the significance of feminization, not only to document the substantial increases in women's labor force participation across countries but as part of the trends towards labor market deregulation, flexibilization, and informalization that have pre­vailed since the 1970s as a result of neoliberal policies, trade liberalization, and the competitive pressures of globalization. In particular, the articles by Cagatay and Berik (1990), Wood (1991) and Standing (1999) illustrate this approach. The third focuses on gender segregation in employment, as illustrated by Arriagada (1994) for Latin America, and the extent to which feminization of the labor force has been accompanied by a decrease in the degree of gender­related labor market segregation in some countries." Finally, there is the question of the extent to which women's employment in export-led industrialization processes has improved women's condition, including their wages and working conditions. A review of the literature on this issue leads to the conclusion that it is not possible to generalize across countries since the answer depends on the macro context and other conditions under which women's employment takes place. Lim, for example, argues that multinational employment can be beneficial for women. Her conclusions are more applicable to the growth of the South East Asian economies, at least until the Asian crisis, when women workers benefited from a situa­tion of full or near full employment. However, the same cannot be said for example for the maquiladora region in the US-Mexico border, as Pearson's article illustrates, where working conditions have not improved and in some cases have deteriorated.

Part III

Seventh, the 1980s also saw a shift of concerns, quickly reflected in the literature, from micro to macro aspects of gender and development. This is the focus of the articles in Part III. The adoption of structural adjustment policies (SAPs) by many countries throughout the decade, mostly as a consequence of debt crises, was instrumental in this shift. By the time of the Nairobi's UN International Women's Conference in 1985, it had become clear that these policies, although assumed to be neutral with respect to their impact on different social groups, had a gender bias and were particularly harsh on women. This became clearer as the number of countries adopting SAPS in Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa and Asia increased throughout the 1980s and 1990s and as the negative effects of adjustment on households and on women in particular were documented. Poverty increased in many countries and, although SAPS have created specially difficult problems of survival for poor households, others sectors of the population have been negatively affected as well. Belt tightening, with its different dimensions including reduced growth, government budget cuts, the deterioration of social services, and reduced real incomes and living standards for a large proportion of the popu­lation, led to the incorporation of many women in the paid labor force as well as to the intensification of domestic work. Cagatay and Osler (1995), using cross country data for 1985 and 1990, provide an empirical analysis of these links. Although, as the article by Haddad et al. (1995) illustrates, some authors have remained cautious about the extent to which women have carried a disproportionate burden of the adjustment in SAPs, few will question the accumulated evidence documenting many instances of women's disadvantages in the process of adjustment. The contribution by Floro and Shaeffer (1998) illustrates the ways in which the policies associated with SAPs had a differentiated impact by gender in the Philippines and Zambia, and Beneiia (1999) provides a summary of the mechanism through which SAPS generate these impacts.

As a result of these efforts, feminist economists have emphasized the extent to which macroeconomic policies are not necessarily neutral with respect to gender - resulting in a ground-breaking effort to engender macroeconomic analysis and models, an effort still in progress. The contributions by Elson (1995) and Darity (1995) illustrate how the effort of inserting gender as an analytical category in modeling macro policies and their expected effects is not only possible but imperative if we are to deal with the gender biases introduced through macro policies. Similarly, another path-breaking effort still in process is the more recent effort to analyze the gender dimensions of trade. In this sense, the field of gender and development has taken a lead in the incorporation of these issues into feminist and economic analysis. However, there is a danger in these efforts; while the models represent a step forward in the ability to formalize the connections between policy instruments and their gendered effects, the mathematical formulations at the same time freeze these linkages and are quite unable to incorporate the dynamics of gender relations, including relationships of power, in a meaningful way. In this sense, if not well understood and complemented with more qualitative insights regarding gender relations, they would generate a type of expertise that, although very useful, would be insufficient from the perspective of feminist analysis,

Part IV

Eighth, a more recent contribution to the literature on gender and development has dealt with ` issues related to gender and markets. This is the subject of Part IV. The articles highlight specific aspects of how globalization, liberalization, and the turn towards neoliberal development models across the globe can affect women and men differently. Feminists have often pointed out that the market can have contradictory effects on women; it can open up emancipatory forces, increase women's autonomy, and expand women's choices as well as create new areas of gender subordination and inequality. In this sense, the articles in this section raise some of the fundamental questions that need to be explored in terms of gender and markets. One is the way in which gender analysis enriches our discussion of markets as institutions. For example Harriss-White's inter­esting discussion (1998) of markets illustrates how they are `highly gendered complexes' in which gender divisions take different forms depending on a variety of local factors. Using empirical work from West Africa and South Asia, she argues that market liberalization can lead to a process of masculinization in trading, increasing male domination, and, contrary to conventional wisdom, lower 'productive' as well as `adaptive' efficiency, Thus, the results of more integrated markets derived from liberalization can be ambiguous and need to be subject to scrutiny before assuming their positive effects - in general and more specifically for women. Likewise, G. Sen's article (1996) in this section raises questions about gender and the state, not just in terms of the latter's control over markets but also over other types of policies affecting women, such as privatization, decentralization, community development, governance and accountability. Finally, Cagatay's article (1996) introduces a gender perspective to the complex debates on international labor standards, a subject that requires further work, particularly in view of emerging debates on the role of the WTO, the ILO and regional trading blocks regarding workers' rights.

Part V

Finally, beyond what is discussed in Volume I, Part V, regarding empowerment strategies for women, Part V in Volume II focuses on more fundamental institutional and political change and its capacity to generate progress for women. Here it is important to differentiate between institutional change taking place within a given socio-political development model - such as agrarian reforms in capitalist countries -and the more fundamental transformations represented by systemic shifts, such as the transition from a capitalist to a socialist regime or vice-versa. The articles in this section provide illustrations of each of these cases. Taken together, they underline several basic points. First, they highlight the importance for state policy to take women's special interests and needs into consideration in a differentiated and central way. As Deere's analysis (1985) of agrarian reforms in Latin America shows, most of these reforms have benefited men only, largely because `households' have been designated as the beneficiaries of the reforms under the assumption that men and women can benefit equally. Wiegersma's article (1991) shows that this has been the case for non-capitalist economies as well, such as Vietnam, indicating that unequal gender relations are perpetuated by reforms that do not take women's special conditions into consideration. Second, the need to differentiate between access and control over resources re-emerges here: for women, as mentioned earlier, access to property does not guarantee control over it, thus creating obstacles for their advancement and well­being. Agarwal's article (1994) provides much reinforcement to this argument. Third, women's organizations and collective actions have proved to be crucial for the promotion of social change responsive to women's oppression and women's needs, while at the same time creating the conditions towards more egalitarian gender relations. This is the case for both rural and urban settings. Lind's analysis (1997) of women's community action in urban areas illustrates how women have been very important to deal with the urgent needs of daily life and local community needs. Other articles in this volume, such as Hart's in Part I, also emphasize the importance of women's organizations, independent from men's, that can represent un­ambiguously women's special interests. Fourth, the transition from socialist to capitalist institutions in Eastern Europe and other formerly socialist countries has resulted in clearly differentiated patterns of disadvantage for women. This has raised questions about the need for women to combine their traditional strategies of democratic, decentralized, and local organizing with more centralized forms of political action linked more directly with government power and decision making at the national level. The contributions by Meurs (1998) and Moghadam (2000) provide interesting details regarding these issues. Finally, the articles in this section show the importance of combining two types of policies for social change. On the one hand there are policies that focus on the transformation of unequal gender relations so as to achieve greater equality between men and women. On the other, there are policies that focus on economic change and the promotion of development aimed at eliminating poverty and dealing with class and other inequalities. The gender and development field has made a significant contribution towards visualizing and implementing 'imagined communities' incorporating these goals, but the task is far from finished. This collection should provide an incentive to continue this important work.

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