Women Centred Development Initiatives: Facilitating or Hindering Empowerment


  • Kamleshwer Lohana et al., 1Assistant Professor, Mehran University Institute of Science, Technology, and Development (MUISTD), MUET Jamshoro




Gender, Disempowerment, Neo-liberalism


Organizations like the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank (WB), USAID, DFID, are the leading organizations in social development. Others indicate that organizations like WB and other transnational agencies are not supposed to support any change and they fail to embrace the political process and social movements which can be sensitization forces in communities. Some authors have often identified that the concepts and achievements of gender struggles are sidelined by neo-liberal institutions. In this article, it will be argued that women may be being used as instruments in the process of their own disempowerment and this situation is caused by the neo-liberal economic reform and religious fundamentalism. A case study of the Indian women-centered development project of micro-credit, initiated by government and implemented by local NGOs is also discussed. Through a critical analysis of feminism and realities of the development project which promotes it, penetrating insights of its inequalities will be discerned. Further, it will be argued that under a flourishing patriarchal society, it will also draw attention to the rebellion by elected women representatives which have led to a flourishing new concept of women’s citizenship under a burgeoning neo-liberalism and fundamentalism. In this article, how international organizations can report and misrepresent the facts and figures, and set development goals which are beyond expectations, will be identified. In addition, ethnographic aspects such as gender-power relations and existing pathways to women’s empowerment in India will be highlighted. Additionally, initiatives will be recommended that may help to achieve equitable gender goals and gender mainstreaming.