Women, Development and Empowerment: A Pacific Feminist Perspective
In the Third World, women's advancement has mainly been in the context of “development”. Women's development and women's advancement have been linked to the provision of basic needs such as water, food, energy, housing and so on, which are the subject of development plans and strategies. It is easy to understand why overall development goals are linked to women's advancement, because governments are struggling to attain these development goals for everybody. But in this kind of context, particular concerns about women's status and women's conditions often take second place. Many women are familiar with the sort of arguments presented by political leaders or government leaders, in response to pressure for special attention to be paid to the concerns of women. This difficulty of gaining particular attention for women's advancement in the Third World is also a problem in traditional societies, which are concerned with resisting Western influence, even though “development”, to a large extent, has in fact meant Third World countries following development strategies promoted by Western countries and their economies. The page 68 fact that women in the Pacific are questioning development is not a contradiction since development patterns in the region are largely defined by our relationship to development patterns defined by the West.