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The gender gap in the ownership and control of property is the single most critical contributor to the gender gap in economic well-being, social status, and empowerment'

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  1. Gender issue as a development concern
  2. Women in the context of economic well-being
  3. The social status of women
  4. The empowerment of women
  5. Gender gap in the ownership and control of property
  6. The feminization of poverty
  7. Critics of the assertion

Before the 1970s, women were practically invisible: they were relegated to the family and the domestic world. However since the middle of this same decade, the gender issue has become an increasingly theme within the development concern. Globalization not only affects men but women as well, although in a different way. The United Nation Decade for Women (1976-1985) turned the spotlight on women's lives and the discriminations they were victim to.

The ?Women in Development? (WID) domain emerged as part of this new phenomenon, followed by other approaches. In a general way, gender issues are dealt with by feminists. Different trends can be distinguished within the feminist movement: some seek to deal with women's issues with development whereas others see development as damaging to women's agenda. Thus, feminists have been divided into four major trends: liberal feminists, cultural feminists, socialist feminists and black and Third World feminists.

Gender not only refers to women or men but to the socially defined roles of each sex. So gender and sex must be differentiated: sex is connected with biology whereas gender is seen as a social construction. According to Michael Kevane: ?Gender refers to the constellation of rules and identities that prescribe and proscribe behavior for persons, in their social roles as men and women. These rules and identities may be deliberate or unintended, explicit or implicit, conscious or unconscious? .

It is important to emphasize that gender roles vary from region to region: women and men will play different roles in accordance with their tradition, their history and their culture. Furthermore, cultures evolve, which means that gender evolves too: ?the roles played by men and women are not only determined by culture but by socio-political and economic factors? .

This essay will analyze the following assertion: ?the gender difference in the ownership and control of property is the single most critical contributor to the gender gap in economic well-being, social status, and empowerment?. First and foremost, I will examine the importance of gender issue as a development concern. Then, I will study women in the context of economic well-being, their social status and their empowerment. Afterwards, I will explain the gender gap in the ownership and control of property and why there is a ?feminization of poverty?. Finally, I will conclude with some critics of female assertion.

Tags: women empowerment, gender discrimination, ownership rights

[...] The Empowerment approach aims at transforming the nature of power relations between men and women: ultimate goal of women's empowerment is for women themselves to be the active agents of change in transforming gender relations?[4]. Both men and women need to be looked as active agents of the development process. The empowerment of women requires changes in the division of labor and transformations of the society. Women in the context of economic well-being It is generally recognized that women have to carry double burden of unpaid work in the home, as well as paid work producing goods and services?[5]. [...]


[...] Among many other factors, the feminization of poverty may be caused by changes in family composition or family organization, by inequalities in the access to public services (for example, education and health), by inequalities in social protection, by inequalities in the labor market, and by legal, paralegal and cultural constraints in public life (for example, property rights, justice and political life). These are factors which explain why the gap between men and women in the cycle of poverty continues to widen. [...]


[...] Gender gap in the ownership and control of property While women are more numerous than men and while they perceivably work harder than them, they possess roughly of the land in the world. In some societies, only men can own land. Furthermore, according to some traditions, a woman can't inherit property and her right of ownership is denied. For instance, in some south Asian regions, single women rarely have rights to land; on divorce, widowhood or relocation, the lands and properties are passed on to the sons. [...]

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