Beyond Naivety - Women, Gender Inequality, and Participatory Development


Mayoux, L. 1995. “Beyond Naivety - Women, Gender Inequality, and Participatory Development.” Development and Change 26: 235-258.

Author: L. Mayoux


In recent years, participatory development has become an established orthodoxy among development agencies across the political spectrum; at the same time, the importance of consulting with and recruiting women has been highlighted in most discussions of participatory strategies. Drawing on the author's own research and a range of secondary sources, this article focuses on gender aspects of participatory projects. The evidence suggests that gender inequalities in resources, time availability and power, influence the activities, priorities and framework of participatory projects just as much as 'top-down' development and market activities. Contrary to the view of a number of writers and activists on participatory development, increasing the numbers of women involved in participatory projects cannot, therefore, be seen as a soft alternative to specific attention to change in gender inequality. Meeting the demands of poor women in the South will require not only local participatory projects, but a linking with wider movements for change in the national and international development agenda.

Topics: Civil Society, Development, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality

Year: 1995

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