Gender awareness in Japan International Cooperation Agency's development assistance : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Philosophy in Development Studies, Massey University

Thumbnail Image
Open Access Location
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Massey University
In the past, development efforts have failed to bring about genuine women's development which concerns both women's well-being and their status in the Third World. In order to achieve women's development, thorough understanding of the causes of women's underdevelopment, sound conceptualisation of women and development and strategies to bring about women's development are required. States and development agencies have specific perception on women and conceptualise women and development in various ways. From the different concepts we could expect different outcomes. In this research I look at implications of Japan International Cooperation Agency's women in development policy concerning women's development in the Third World. In the first part of this research, I discuss concepts and strategies for women's development. The earlier thought on women and development, emerged in 1970s, attributes failure of past development efforts bringing about women's development, to preconceptions policymakers and planners have about women's roles in their families communities and nations. However, women's issues and women's projects were often continued to be marginalised within the development efforts which is informed by the perspective. Another perspective identified women's subordination to men as the fundamental cause of women's disadvantages they face. Strategies for women's development are suggested based on the perspective problematising women's subordination in this research. The strategies must involve the improvement of women's immediate conditions and the change of unequal gender relations. Women's needs to achieve their well-being and ones derived from their tasks need to be identified and addressed. It is recognised that improvement of women's status is necessary to achieve their well-being. Women's needs could be addressed through both women specific projects and mainstream projects. In order to alter women's subordination to men transformative intervention was suggested. The transformative intervention seeks to address women's interests in transforming gender relations in a project addressing women's material needs. Moreover, in order for women to become agents of their development and to alter power within gender relations, women's self­ empowerment process must be encouraged. Self-empowerment is regarded as complementary to the strategies. Self-empowerment includes conscientisation about oppressive structure, and mobilisation of women to meet their own needs. JICA concerns about women's participation in development projects, identification of gender division of labour and improvement of women's well-being in the Third World. However, JICA's concept of Women in Development is grounded on the perspective advocated in 1970s and is not informed by the failures of attempts made during 1970s and 1980s. JICA fails to problematise unequal gender relations and to develop strategies to transform gender relations. Hence, self-empowerment and transformative intervention are not recognised. JICA also lacks awareness toward marginalisation of women's issues and women's projects in development operation. Women's subordination in planning procedures reflects in the number of WID-related projects implemented and the kinds of needs addressed through development projects.
Developing countries, Japanese Economic assistance, Women in development, Women's rights, Sex discrimination against women, Kokusai Kyōryoku Jigyōdan