The role of women in development has been an area of cogent debates not only in social contexts across cultures but also in the media. Between 1950 and 1960, Women were only viewed as housewives and mothers within development policies and programs. Their economic activities and contributions were brushed off and overtly regarded.
A myriad of people from a wide spectrum of professions and diverse backgrounds have used media to express contrasting views on the place taken by women in enhancing social, economic, political, and other aspects of development. This paper vividly shows the approaches used by anthropologists, people from other professions, and ordinary citizens in utilizing media to address the role of women in development. There are many people apart from anthropologists who have expressed their views using different media on the issue of women in development. This paper discusses some of the issues in detail.
Legislators, in most of their views, tie women and development according to mutual respect when giving work opportunities. They use the media to argue that an equal partnership between men and women is necessary for development. Women need support through mutual respect, mutual trust, mutual caring, and understanding among the members of the society (Hiebert par.3).
In their view, conservative men and women bloggers still maintain the view that in mainstreaming women in development, reference should be made to the stipulations of gender roles. This approach requires women to perform tasks that are culturally feminine. Such tasks include family care and nursing. They should not engage in administrative duties.
Administrators, scholars, and women advocacy groups have spoken extensively in radio stations on the role of women in development. They have firmly insisted that women play a very crucial role in the development of the economy (Young, 59). They agree that though women are the main actors in achieving development, they still experience discrimination in job placement. They argue that their male counterparts do not recognize their efforts. Women advocates have not considered other factors that define the way society treats women. They do not fully understand the social exchange that underlies women in development (Hiebert par. 13).
Religious leaders are also part of this discussion. They mostly use the media to compel women to stick to biblical gender roles. They advise women to submit to their husbands. According to Christian writers, women should not be political leaders (Young, 60). In the army, they are less likely to be commanders. The reason is that the majority of the societal and cultural notions hold that men should be the sole decision-makers, especially during critical times such as war and response to an emergency. Their view is mostly restricted to religious books and other religious principles (Hiebert par. 9).
Musicians have also made remarkable contributions in adding more insight into the role women have played in the development process. People can have insight into the role of women in development through songs such as “what a man can do; a woman can do so” by P. Square. They believe that women can work and immensely contribute to the development of the country.
Applied Anthropologists’ Perspective on the Role of Women in Development
Applied anthropologists will be more critical when reporting on women in development. They will apply assumptions and models of development in their explanations. An applied anthropologist utilizing the Modernization Theory is likely to argue that gender equality and women empowerments are human rights and important aspects in the development of any country.
In this ideological directive, anthropologists ask themselves questions such as “what are the repercussions of failing to integrate women in development?” They give extensive insights into what women do within society. For example, they can develop documentary films on the role of women in development and help give a view that contrasts other professionals’ standpoints on the same issue.
On the same note, anthropologists are likely to employ the comparative approach when talking about women in development. In this approach, they study various cultures and try to understand the contribution of women in social, economic, political, and other aspects of development (Paiement 200).
Furthermore, anthropologists can employ multiple complementary models when writing on women in development. In this perspective, they probe all the aspects of humanity. Thus, they can deduce specific roles that both genders can handle (Reed 18). Using this model, they can properly understand humanity (Lamphere, 440). Subsequently, they will be in a position to give in-depth perspectives on women in development without bias and cultural inclinations through the media.
They can argue that people are not alone: their thoughts and behavior often lead to the production of material artifacts or good tools. They can compare men to birds and monkeys in explaining the importance of unity, togetherness, and teamwork between men and women in the achievement of development goals (Bodley 293). They can only achieve this objective by understanding the fundamental nature of cultural differences.
Lastly, anthropologists seek massive conclusions to complex problems by employing teamwork. Teamwork helps them assess the role of women in development using media, even in primitive cultures. Consequently, they give better insights into the role of women in development.
The discussion above shows that anthropologists can address the issues of women in development. They analyze cultures and fabrications of society and reveal the best methods for developing them. Therefore, anthropologists improve the political, social, and economic affairs of the society.
Bodley, John. The Price of Progress. Victims of Progress. Mayfield: Mayfield Publishing Company, 1990: 292-299. Print.
Hiebert, Paul. Anthropological Points of View 2014. Web.
Lamphere, Louise. “The Convergence of Applied, Practicing, and Public Anthropology in the 21st Century.” Human Organization, 63.4 (2004): 431-441. Print.
Paiement, Jason. “Anthropology and Development.” Napa Bulletin, 27.1 (2007): 196- 223. Print.
Reed, Michael. “Nine Contemporary Anthropological Work Roles.” Napa Bulletin, 17.1 (n.d.): 11-27. Print.
Young, Philip. “Practicing Anthropology from within the Academy: Combining Careers.” Napa Bulletin, 29.1 (2008): 56-69. Print.