Why Has Development Neglected Rural Women?. A Review of the by Nici Nelson

By Nici Nelson

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Men have been r e c r u i t e d to modern and urban-based occupations and t h e i r p r o ­ d u c t i v i t y i n the output and marketing of s u r p l u s goods and s e r ­ v i c e s g e n e r a l l y ignore those a c t i v i t i e s performed by women and the s u b s i s t e n c e commodities and s e r v i c e s they produce. What needs t o be i n v e s t i g a t e d i s the e f f e c t of t h i s r e l a t i v e lack of p r o d u c t i v i t y on f a m i l y consumption patterns and c a p i t a l accumu­ lation.

The reluctance to educate g i r l s stems from several f a c t o r s . F i r s t , s i n c e most marriages i n South A s i a are v i r i l o c a l , the education of a g i r l i s a f i n a n c i a l l o s s to her natal f a m i l y . As Anwar pointed out f o r P a k i s t a n , i t i s thought t h a t "boys' education i s an investment, g i r l s ' education i s passed to the husband" (1976: 19). Secondly, a g i r l ' s labour in the house­ hold and i n c h i l d - c a r e may be very important, e s p e c i a l l y i n f a m i l i e s where women have to spend a p o r t i o n of the day i n the fields.

S a t t a r , w r i t i n g about Bangladesh, says t h a t "the amount of free time a woman has depends on her p o s i t i o n w i t h i n the f a m i l y and on i t s economic s t a t u s ; i t was only older women from wealthier homes who reported f r e e time" (1975: 5 2 ) . Thus i t can be seen t h a t women i n South A s i a d i f f e r i n terms of r e g i o n , c l a s s , r e l i g i o n , c a s t e and a g e . As already s t r e s s e d * . What May have been Learned so Far 37 i t i s very d i f f i c u l t t o make g e n e r a l i s a t i o n s about vyomen.

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