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GENDER AND DEVELOPMENT: DIMENSIONS AND STRATEGIES – INTRODUCTION AND OVERVIEW

Himanshu Sekhar, Rout and Prasant Kumar, Panda (2007): GENDER AND DEVELOPMENT: DIMENSIONS AND STRATEGIES – INTRODUCTION AND OVERVIEW. Published in: (2007): pp. 1-24.

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Abstract

Achieving Gender parity has become a great concern for the world today. It is considered as a part of development strategy in many countries. When all people- both men and women have equal access to services and resources, enjoy equal rights, and get equal opportunity to develop capabilities without any bias or preferences , then the development of the country would be faster. It strengthens countries' abilities to grow, to reduce poverty, and to govern effectively. Despite considerable efforts in advocacy, creation of awareness, different strategies and programmes, Gender discrimination remains pervasive in many dimensions of life-worldwide. Though the nature and magnitude of the discrimination vary from country to country, in no part of the world gender parity is completely achieved in legal, social and economic fronts. Gender gaps are widespread in access to and control of resources, in economic opportunities, in power, and political voice. Women are still exploited, discriminated, and subject to harassment and violence. Again in the current years the focus has been changed from women empowerment to gender development. The former is a mean but not all for gender parity. In this perspective an edited volume covering the various dimensions and strategies of gender development is highly imperative. Rural women are mainly employed in agriculture-its allied activities and agro-based enterprises. There exists a glaring gender bias in terms of ownership , nature of works assigned, wages payment ,freedom in choice of work. Though the women contribute a significant proportion of agricultural production, they are discriminated, ill-paid and their role is largely neglected. There is a need for an appropriate legal-institutional frame work, change of societal attitude, and supported mechanization of agriculture on the need of lessening drudgery activities and work-stress for women, in reducing gender disparity in agriculture sector and sustainable development. Similarly the women, nearly half of the total population, are lagging behind in access to the existing health care and educational opportunities in the country. A proper level of awareness and conducive environment need to be developed for this. Promotion of health, education and an appropriate level of awareness will largely contribute to women development and facilitate them to enjoy their right. More over provision of employment and economic empowerment of women can be considered as one of the important dimensions of gender development. Formation of Self Help Group among poor women those are unable to access market individually, on their own capacity and provision of micro credit financing to them are great support and help them to start income generating micro enterprises and get rid of poverty. This not only helps to empower women but also provides them economic and social justice. This is an initiative to address these issues and draw the attention of the policy makers and planners.

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