Sue Charlton, Jana Everett and Kathleen Staudt, Women, the State and Development (1989), pp. 1-19, 177-190.

_Summary: _ Book takes a statist look at development through the lens of feminist theory. Examines different ways that the state can affect gender interests, and how women interact with the state.  Easier to have a quick look over the notes than to summarize.

 

 

==Introduction==

* State focused, feminist theory informed, examination of development

* Seeks to provide a gender-sensitive approach to states and development

* Emphasis on the public-private dichotomy

 

=== Perspectives on States ===

* State can be seen as

** Government (liberal-pluralist perspective)

** Ruling Class (Marxist perspective)

** Bureaucratic, coercive, and legal order (Statist perspective)

** A Normative Order

* Liberal Pluralist

** Politics is largely a matter of allocation in response to citizen demands or inputs

** Gender (and class) does not structure politics in any significant way

** State is blind to gender – women are potentially equal competitors

* Marxist

** State preserves the coherence of capitalist society

** Engels was interested in how the control of female labor sustains both family and state power

** Feminists in the Marxist tradition have not provided much understanding of other issues raised by women

* Statist

** Studies in this book fit more comfortably here

** “the assumption of relative state autonomy is the only way to integrate gender into analysis without casting women as merely one more pressure group or pushing gender far into the background of class relations” (5)

** “Institutionalized male privilege exists independently of the dominant class, and it means that women occupy a different, and subordinate, role in intergroup competition (when it exists).” (5)

 

 

=== States and Development ===

* The process of development is inseperable from the process of state development

* Critical question for women is the degree to which state enhancement serves their interests, and this answer depends both on a definition of interests and the characteristics of states as they develop at different times and places

 

=== Feminist Theory and the State ===

* Examination of the state is new to feminist theory

* How do we define women’s interests?

** _Strategic gender interests_ – derived deductively from the analysis of women’s subordination and the formulation of strategic objectives to overcome that subordination

** _Practical gender interests_ – arise from the concrete conditions of women’s location within the gender division of labor and respond to immediately perceived needs

** Importantly, these interests may at times conflict

* Current feminist analyses of the state have certain shortcomings

** Tend to be reductionist and one-dimensional

** Instrumental accounts associate the state with rule by men, so have trouble with female leaders

** Insufficient attention to the relationship of gender and other forms of structural inequality

** Theorizing has tended to be ethnocentric, focused primarily on the liberal democratic welfare states

 

=== States and Gender ===

* Feminist analyses must recognize historical variation in order to appreciate the relationship b/w states and gender

* The links between states and gender exist at three levels

** That of elites who occupy the official positions of the state

** That of state action and the intended and unintended consequences of state policies for strategic and practical gender interests

** Most complex level, and most crucial for women, is the collectivity of norms, laws, ideologies, and patterns of action that shape the meaning of politics and the nature of political discourse

 

==== State Officials ====

* Analysts note the absence of women in positions of state power

* Here, emphasis is on the conditions within society that prevent women from achieving positions of prominence within state structures

* However, because these studies emerge from pluralistic assumptions, they tell us little about the gender-based distinctions that are insitutionalized and legitimzed in the very construction of the state bureaucratic and legal order.

* Without this kind of gender focus, we cannot effectively discuss whether or how more women in public office affect the fundamental nature and policies of the state.

* Should be a fundamental focus for two reasons

** In third world states, institutions may be more open to change, and educated women are well placed to occupy strategic positions

** As the number of educated women grows, so does the insistence that they play a more prominent role in policy making on development issues

 

==== State Policies and Institutions ====

* State actions provide the clearest link to gender concerns, for here we can see state policies that benefit and disadvantage women

 

==== State Definition of Policies ====

* States affect policies in two ways:

** States may be sites of autonomous official action

** The organizational structures of states indirectly influence the meanings and methods of politics for all groups in society

* We need to know more about the particular nature of male power institutionalized in the state, how state power reinforces and legitimizes the economic, political, and sexual subordination of women, and finally, what strategies are open to women to alter this subordination.

 

==Conclusion==

* State-gender relations form one dimension of state-society relations interconnected with other dimensions

* Key questions:

** What roles have states played in the maintenance and/or transformation of gender relations?

** How have women responded to the imposition and/or expansion of the state?

** What have been the consequences for women’s practical and strategic gender interests of women’s responses to state imposition and/or expansion?

 

=== State Roles in Gender Relations ===

* For the most part, the state has reinforced or increased female subordination

* Three levels of state activity that impact gender relations

** The strategies of state elites

** The policies enacted and institutions constructed

** The political discourse and practice shaped by state institutions and ideologies

* Each level contributes to gender inequality, but at each level there is some potential for action

* Modern states’ increased capacity for penetration into the private sphere poses the threat of increased control of women but also ‘engenders’ the political

 

=== Women’s Responses to State Imposition and Expansion ===

* Women’s responses can be classified as either

** Seeking disengagement from the state

** Seeking engagement with the state

*** Seeking Access

*** Seeking Transformation

* Four strategies of disengagement

** Suffer-manage

** Insulation

** Escape

** Reactive Collective Action

* In terms of engagement

** State expansion provides potential resources for women

** It has also been extremely problematic for women

** Variations across states provide different opportunity spaces for women to attept to realize interests through engagement with the state

 

=== Consequences ===

* Five alternative outcomes for women that could follow from women’s attempts at dis/engagement with the state

** Autonomy from the state

** Repression by the state

** Co-optation by the state

** Incorporation into the state

** Transformation of the state

*** Three possible paths

**** Insider Path: Women gain access to the state in order to transform it

**** Outsider Path: Women confront and challenge the state in order to transform it

**** Autonomy Path: Women develop alternative decentralized models of political economy apart from the state system.’,’utf-8’