chapter  5
20 Pages

Nicaraguan women, resistance, and the politics of aid

ByJasbir K. Puar

Globally, women’s needs have not always been met by development models; Nicaraguan women are no exception. It is not my intention to provide a history of development policies here; however a brief synopsis is useful for the purposes of this chapter.1 Generally it can be said that until recently, ‘Third World’ women as producers have been invisible in development studies,2 reflecting an assumption that men (not women) are first, workers,3 and second, primarily the heads of households. Divides between the public as male domain and the private as female are therefore created.4 Trends towards ‘integrating women in development’ have resulted in efforts such as the United Nations Decade for the Advancement of Women (1975-85). These measures have generally been where women have been ‘added-on’ while structural problems remain unaddressed. For example the WID (Women in Development) approach assumes that women should not be left to use their time unproductively and that the problem revolves around women’s lack of participation in a system of development strategies which is thought to be otherwise beneficial to the poor.5 These tendencies to isolate women from the larger picture of development issues have had significant repercussions: land reforms have frequently reduced women’s control over land, ignoring traditional use rights, and women’s workloads in fuel gathering and water collection have tended to increase with development, to name but a few examples (Sen and Grown 1987: 34-5).