Has Development Been Anti-Women
Gender equality, equality between men and women, entails the concept that all human beings, both men and women, are free to develop their personal abilities and since choices without the limitations set by stereotypes, rigid gender roles and political and other prejudices. Gender equality means that the different behaviour, aspirations and needs of women and Men are considered, valued and favoured equally. It does not mean that women and men have to become the same, but that their rights, responsibilities and opportunities will not depend on whether they are born male or female. Gender equity means fairness of treatment for women and men, according to their respective needs. This may include equal treatment or treatment that is different but which is considered equivalent in terms of rights, benefits, obligations and opportunities.
One of the most crucial issues that face the women’s question today is the relationship between larger political processes, the idea of justice and the role of women. There is no confusion today that the agency of women has to be there in their own well-being and that the women’s well-being is something on which even male’s well-being depends. This close relationship has been reflected in the very high human development indicators from several states in India, like Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Tamilnadu, etc., where a general improvement in the conditions of health of women have led to the general improvement of the health of both male child and female child.
However, the political processes are extremely and quite crudely male-centred. Thus, another vicious circle presents itself. To make the political processes and spaces attuned to . the female presence also, institutions of male dominance, ownership patterns, decision including monopoly, etc., have to be weakened. Here one key component, one agrees, is a democracy where the voting rights give the ultimate decision-making power to women. ‘ No wonder that in many a country it is the women who are in the forefront of movement to bring democracy in that country because existentially one can see that it is the democracy which is the greatest guarantee of women’s well being, and independence. As Amartya Sen has pointed out, “freedom in one area fosters freedom in other areas as well”. Development is seen as Ihc only way possible to bring out a positive change in the status of women and change gendered exploitation. Indian developmental experience has been a shining example of this. What is now referred to as Nehruvian vision is based on the development. In India, for example, the time of independence the political equality between men and women was considered as a matter that was settled. Thus it was only economic equality that was sought after. Despite criticism, development has improved the condition of women a lot.