Women, Development, and the UN
A Sixty-Year Quest for Equality and Justice
Publication Year: 2005
"Devaki Jain opens the doors of the United Nations and shows how it has changed the female half of the world -- and vice versa. Women, Development, and the UN is a book that every global citizen, government leader, journalist, academic, and self-respecting woman should read." -- Gloria Steinem
"Devaki Jain's book nurtures your optimism in this terrible war-torn decade by describing how women succeeded in empowering both themselves and the United Nations to work toward a global leadership inspired by human dignity." -- Fatema Mernissi
In Women, Development, and the UN, internationally noted development economist and activist Devaki Jain traces the ways in which women have enriched the work of the United Nations from the time of its founding in 1945. Synthesizing insights from the extensive literature on women and development and from her own broad experience, Jain reviews the evolution of the UN's programs aimed at benefiting the women of developing nations and the impact of women's ideas about rights, equality, and social justice on UN thinking and practice regarding development. Jain presents this history from the perspective of the southern hemisphere, which recognizes that development issues often look different when viewed from the standpoint of countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The book highlights the contributions of the four global women's conferences in Mexico City, Copenhagen, Nairobi, and Beijing in raising awareness, building confidence, spreading ideas, and creating alliances. The history that Jain chronicles reveals both the achievements of committed networks of women in partnership with the UN and the urgent work remaining to bring equality and justice to the world and its women.
Published by: Indiana University Press
Boxes and Tables
Series Editors' Foreword
It is surprising that there is no comprehensive history of the United Nations family of organizations. True, a few of the UN funds and specialized agencies have or are in the process of writing their institutional histories. But this is a mostly recent endeavor and, indeed, it is no more than should be expected of all public organizations...
It was nearly 150 years ago when Mary Ann Evans penned the redoubtable line: “The happiest women, like the happiest nations, have no history.” That view may or may not be correct: Evans was writing under the adopted name of George Eliot in a world in...
The historical journey this volume has taken us on has been a revelation to us. We have come full circle—from skepticism of, if not downright scoffing at, the UN to a true admiration of its value, and when we dedicate it to this hoary institution, it is now with the sincerity of knowledge. For giving us this learning, this enrichment...
List of Abbreviations
Introduction: Women, Development and Equality: History as Inclusive Dialogue
The full story of how and what the women of the world contributed to ideas about rights, equality, and development within the UN remains largely untold— it is usually collapsed with the more common narrative of the UN’s historical institutional... achievements in the areas of women’s rights and women’s emancipation. Over...
1. Setting the Stage for Equality, 1945-1965
The United Nations rose—like the proverbial phoenix—out of the ashes of World War II. Its creation was an attempt to garner international involvement in the preservation of global security. Its acceptance as a global forum with an extraordinarily variegated membership enjoying equal voting power was a celebration... of the possible
2. Inscribing Development into Rights, 1966-1975
The UN’s First Development Decade (1960–1970) was based on the hypothesis that injections of capital into the economies of developing countries would “trickle down” to those placed low in the economic scale. The International Development Strategy (IDS) devised for the Second Development Decade (1970– 1980) redefined the...
3. Questioning Development Paradigms, 1976-1985
During the period 1976–1985, tensions between the East and the West, the two ideological blocs that dominated the global landscape, were intense. The playing out of this adversarial politics in the UN stimulated the emergence of a lively third bloc that did not get swept into either camp but carved out its own trajectory. The...
4. Development as if Women Mattered, 1986-1995
The decade 1986–1995 was one of unusual turbulence. From the early 1980s, laissez-faire policies and “free market” capitalism were prescribed as panaceas for the ills of development by a range of advocates that included Margaret Thatcher in Britain, Ronald Reagan in the United States, and institutions such as the World...
5. Lessons from the UN's Sixth Decade, 1996-2005
By the turn of the century, the harsh impact of structural adjustment policies had greatly increased inequality around the globe. The convergence of militarization, globalization, and conservatism has dealt a blow to the progress that was made at the UN on the social justice front and changed political ...
About the Author
Devaki Jain is a development economist and activist. She graduated in economics from Oxford University and has taught at Delhi University. Her academic research and advocacy, influenced largely by Gandhian philosophy, have focused on issues of equity, democratic decentralization, people-centered development,and women’s rights. She has been an active member of the local, national, and...
About the United Nations Intellectual History Project
Ideas and concepts are a main driving force in human progress, and they are arguably the most important contribution of the United Nations. Yet there has been little historical study of the origins and evolution of the history of economic and...