This article looks at challenges faced by development practitioners addressing issues of gender and culture. False assumptions undermine such work: that oppressed women are passive; that people never question state religion and that ‘culture’ and ‘religion’ are interchangeable terms; and that cultural norms remain stagnant. Practitioners should instead take advantage of the ever-changing nature of cultural practices. ‘Insiders’ who question gender roles are accused of betraying their own culture / religion / tradition and of destroying family life. ‘Outsiders’ are open to charges of insensitivity or Western imposition. This article explores these problems.
This article is hosted by our co-publisher Taylor & Francis. For the full table of contents for this and previous issues of this journal, please visit the Gender and Development website.
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