The Gendered Burden of Development in Nicaragua

  • Neumann P
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Abstract

The recent political "left turn" in Latin America has led to an increased emphasis on social policy and poverty alleviation programs aimed at women. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork and interviews in a rural village in Nicaragua, I argue that one of the consequences of such programs is an increase in women's daily workload, which I call the gendered burden of development. By exploiting women's unpaid community care labor, these non-governmental organizations (NGO) and state-led programs entrench established gender roles and responsibilities. Furthermore, through their selective interventions, these programs reinforce the neoliberal ideal of self-sufficiency in women's everyday lives, contributing to the formation of a particular kind of developmental subject who assumes responsibility for her own hardships. Although these programs have produced some tangible improvements in women's lives, they ultimately do little to alter the structural conditions affecting the precariousness of women's survival.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Nicaragua
  • care
  • development
  • neoliberalism
  • participation

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Authors

  • Pamela J. Neumann

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