Mainstreaming women in development? : a gender analysis of the United Nations Development Programme in South Africa.

Rippenaar-Joseph, Trunette (2009-12)

Thesis (DPhil (Political Science))--University of Stellenbosch, 2009.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Gender Mainstreaming (GM) was popularised as an approach to advance gender equality at the United Nations (UN) World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995. Since then it has been adopted by the UN and international development organisations as the approach to integrate women and gender issues into development. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), a major international development organisation, claims a strong policy commitment to GM. As such, it is an important organisation to study for its GM implementation to establish what lessons can be learnt from its practice. Because it is an international organisation, the study has implications for global GM as well as for SA. This thesis examines mainstreaming women and gender in development in the UNDP Country Office in South Africa (UNDP/SA). It explores the gap between Gender Mainstreaming policy and practice, through discursive analysis of UNDP policy documents and reports, as well as an analysis of qualitative interview data and participatory approaches. The study focuses on the organisational challenges facing institutions trying to mainstream gender, particularly in the South African context. It puts forward a proposal for improving GM by combining organisational development and feminist theory. Through the proposal, which focuses on a broad transformation process within which to frame GM implementation, the thesis aims to contribute towards advancing gender equality through GM in South Africa and elsewhere. Development was initially gender-blind until the early 1970s. Since then, development organisations have moved women and gender onto the development agenda through various approaches. The major approaches have been Women in Development (WID), Gender and Development (GAD) and Empowerment. The current approach, Gender Mainstreaming (GM), is about moving women and gender issues from the margin to the centre of development organisations and their practice. While being an improvement on the earlier approaches, GM still faces a number of challenges for successful implementation in development organisations such as the UNDP. This qualitative study interrogates the GM policy discourse of the UNDP/SA, and finds a serious gap between its policy discourse and practice. This gap is evident not only in the UNDP/SA, but also in one of its funded projects, the Capacity Building Project for the Office on the Status of Women. GM fails to make an impact because of factors such as lack of training, absence of political will from senior managers in development organisations (and in government), and lack of resources. It is also clear that GM cannot occur in the absence of a broad organisational transformation process. To address the challenges facing GM, I propose a model for implementation with a special focus on the deep structure of organisations that exposes the masculinist roots of gender inequality. What is essential for this model to succeed is that GM implementation should be framed within a broader organisational transformation process, based on organisational development and feminist theory.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Geslagshoofstroming het gewildheid verwerf as ‘n benadering om geslagsgelykheid te bevorder by die Verenigde Nasies (VN) se Wêreld Konferensie oor Vroue in Beijing in 1995. Daarna is dit deur die VN en internasionale ontwikkelingsorganisasies aanvaar as die benadering om vroue en geslagskwessies te integreer in ontwikkeling. Die Verenigde Nasies Ontwikkelings Program (VNOP), ‘n vername internasionale ontwikkelingsorganisasie, maak aanspraak op ‘n sterk toewyding aan Geslagshoofstroming as beleid. Die VNOP is dus ‘n belangrike organisasie om te bestudeer vir sy Geslagshoofstroming implementering om vas te stel watter lesse ons kan leer. Die studie het implikasies nie net vir Suid-Afrika nie, maar ook globaal omdat die VNOP ‘n internasionale organisasie is. Die tesis ondersoek die hoofstroming van vroue en geslag in ontwikkeling in die VNOP Kantoor in Suid-Afrika (VNOP/SA). Dit verken die gaping tussen Geslagshoofstroming beleid en praktyk deur middel van ‘n diskoers analise van VNOP beleids-dokumente en verslae, en ‘n analise van data verkry deur kwalitatiewe onderhoude. Die studie fokus op die organisatoriese uitdagings vir die instellings wat Geslagshoofstroming probeer implementeer, veral in die Suid-Afrikaanse konteks. Dit stel ‘n kombinasie van organisatoriese ontwikkeling en feministiese teorie voor om Geslagshoofstroming te bevorder. Die tesis streef daarna, deur die voorstel wat fokus op Geslagshoofstroming as deel van ‘n breë transformasie proses, om by te dra tot die bevordering van geslagsgelykheid in Suid-Afrika en elders. Ontwikkeling was aanvanklik geslagsblind tot met die vroeë 1970s. Sedertdien het ontwikkelingsorganisasies vroue en geslagskwessies op die agenda geplaas deur verskeie benaderings. Die vernaamste benaderings was Vroue in Ontwikkeling (WID), Geslag en Ontwikkeling (GAD), en Bemagtiging (Empowerment). Die huidige benadering, Geslagshoofstroming, het ten doel om vroue en geslagskwessies vanaf die kantlyn te beweeg tot in die kernpunt van ontwikkelings-organisasies en hulle praktyke. Alhoewel dit ‘n verbetering op die vorige benaderings is, staar Geslagshoofstroming implementering nog ‘n aantal uitdagings in die gesig in ontwikkelingsorganisasies soos die VNOP. Die kwalitatiewe studie interrogeer die Geslagshoofstromings diskoers van die VNOP/SA en vind ‘n ernstige gaping tussen sy beleidsdiskoers en praktyk. Hierdie gaping is sigbaar nie net in die VNOP/SA nie, maar ook in een van sy befondsde projekte, die Kapasiteitsbou Projek vir die Kantoor vir die Status van Vroue. Geslagshoofstroming maak nie impak nie as gevolg van faktore soos ‘n gebrek aan opleiding, die afwesigheid van politieke wilskrag by senior bestuurders in ontwikkelingsorganisasies (en in die regering), en ‘n gebrek aan hulpbronne. Dit is ook duidelik dat Geslagshoofstroming nie kan plaasvind in die afwesigheid van ‘n breë organisatoriese transformasie proses nie. Om die uitdagings vir Geslagshoofstroming aan te spreek, stel ek ‘n implementeringsmodel voor met ‘n spesiale fokus op die diep struktuur van organisasies wat die maskulinistiese oorsprong van geslagsongelykheid blootlê. Noodsaaklik vir die sukses van die model, is die kontekstualisering van Geslagshoofstroming in breë organisatoriese transformasie, gebaseer op ‘n kombinasie van feministiese en organisatoriese ontwikkelingsteorie.

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