(Dis) empowerment?: A study on the influence of discourses on gender in the lives of rural Zambian women

Type Thesis or Dissertation - Master of Philosophy
Title (Dis) empowerment?: A study on the influence of discourses on gender in the lives of rural Zambian women
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2013
URL https://www.duo.uio.no/handle/10852/38761
This study focuses on discourses on gender that are disseminated by Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). These discourses about gender have been contrasted with how gender is lived and experienced in rural Zambian women s daily lives. The main aim of the study is to consider what type of influence the different discourses on gender have on rural women s practices when it comes to gender roles. The study has highlighted the experiences of rural women living in Zambia s Eastern Province. It reveals the ways in which NGOs contribute to promoting gender equality and also their strategies for reaching out to women. The study was focused on local NGOs that work with women issues in Zambia. Development and discourse theory has been used to analyse the relationship of NGO discourses on gender and the lived experience of participants. The study has also a focus on the impact of the economic status of the women in question, especially with regards to their basic needs, such as food, money and basic material possessions. The findings of the study show that NGO discourses have both positive and negative influences on the lives of poor rural women living in the Eastern Province of Zambia. Some participants looked at the NGO discourses as disempowering women and upsetting local cultural landscape. While on the other hand, some participants felt to be very empowered by the arrival of NGOs in the midst of their socio-economic problems. The research further claims that the NGO discourses are not rightly accepted by the locals without encountering any bottlenecks in the implementation phase. Some of the NGO gender discourses have been opposed by local women because their local gender discourses have a bearing in their lives than the new and `foreign` NGO gender discourses. This situation calls for a more contextual consideration of diverse societies and may direct future research.

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