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Involvement without Influence?: Theoretical and Organisational Premises for Women´s Empowerment in Development Programmes
Södertörn University, School of Life Sciences.
2011 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The objective of the thesis is to discuss how the theoretical and organisational premises of the gender approaches of development programmes affect their possibilities to empower women and to enhance gender equality. This will be done through a study of the gender approaches of six development programmes for democratic and economic governance in the water and sanitation sector located in Angola, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico, Paraguay and Philippines respectively. The programmes strive towards the achievement of the UN Millennium Development Goals and are financed by the Spanish Millennium Development Goals Achievement Fund. The programmes‟ gender approaches are defined as: the way the programmes interpret the concepts of women‟s empowerment and gender equality; the way they incorporate the concepts into their programme design and organisational structure, and; the activities and strategies implemented to enhance women‟s empowerment and gender equality in the programme areas. The analysis of the gender approaches of the programmes will be centred on the five theoretical assumptions which together state that a) a gender approach based on a collective postulation, with; b) adequate mechanisms for women‟s influence and; c) a purposeful involvement of men, backed-up by; d) adequate resource and responsibility allocation, and; e) a gender integrated design enabling evaluation and monitoring, is more probable to empower women. The main findings of the thesis are that: 1) all of the six gender approaches of the programmes are fundamentally individualistic and driven by efficiency rationales; 2) women‟s possible influence is generally limited and partial because of inadequate scope of participatory spaces; 3) men are not considered in any of the gender approaches; 4) the responsibility allocation for gender issues is the most important organisational feature for the implementation of the approaches, but it is weak in the majority of the programmes; 5) the integration of gender in the programme design and the funding mechanisms appear to not affect the implementation directly. Based on the results of the thesis it is concluded that both the theoretical and organisational premises of the gender approaches create small possibilities for the programmes to empower women and to enhance gender equality. The results also point to what appears to be fundamental structural weaknesses in the present gender interpretation, integration and implementation of international development agencies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. , 87 p.
Keyword [en]
Women‟s empowerment, development programmes, gender approach, collectivity, bottom-up influence, involvement of men, resource and responsibility allocation, integration
National Category
Political Science Environmental Sciences Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Gender Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-14486OAI: diva2:469858
External cooperation
UNDP Water Governance Facility at SIWI (Stockholm International Water Institute)
Subject / course
Political Science
Social and Behavioural Science, Law
Available from: 2011-12-28 Created: 2011-12-27 Last updated: 2011-12-28Bibliographically approved

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Cortobius Fredriksson, Moa
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