You are on page 1of 15

Marxist And Socialist Theories Of Development

Sociology Essay

ANSWER: The Dependency Theory is a direct outgrowth of the Marxist thinking. It

attributes the existence and continuance of under-development. This theory shows the
historical evolution of a highly unequal inter-national capitalist system of rich country- poor
country relationship.

Whether because rich nations are intentionally exploitative or unintentionally neglectful,

the co-existence of rich and poor countries in an international system characterised by
such unequal power relationships lead to the formation of a ‘Centre’ and a ‘Periphery’.
The Centre or the developed countries and the Periphery render the attempts by poor
nations to be self-reliant and independent difficult or sometimes even impossible. Certain
groups in these developed or developing countries, which includes landlords,
entrepreneurs, military leaders, merchants, trade union leaders and salaried officials, who
enjoy political power. High income and social status constitute a small group of elite ruling
class. Their main interest is to uphold the principles of International Capitalist System of
inequality, exploitation and conformity. So, directly or indirectly they serve and are
rewarded by international power groups as national bilateral aid agencies, multinational
corporations (MNCs) and multilateral assistance organizations as World Bank or the
International Monetary Fund (IMF). These agencies mostly face allegations of serving the
capitalist countries and only promoting towards their growth. While the Peripheries or the
less-developed countries remain so because of being subjugated by the bigger powers.
The powerful nations too hardly make any genuine efforts to benefit the wider population
in these periphery countries. This in turn actually leads to the formation of the ‘Under-
developed’ states which are mostly characterised by wide-spread poverty and thus in
case poor living conditions. Thus one of the most powerful statements regarding the
international dependence was made by Theotonio Dos Santos:

"…..Dependence is a conditioning situation in which the economies of one group of

countries are conditioned by the development and expansion of others. A relationship of
inter-dependence between two or more economies and the world trading system
becomes a dependent relationship when some countries can expand through self-
impulsion while others, being in a dependent position can only expand as are reflection of
the expansion of the dominant countries, which may have positive or negative effects on
their immediate development….." (TODARO, 2008)

Thus under-development is a price the Peripheries pay for the development of the
Centres. Thus to be particular, under-development of the periphery countries resulted
from the loss of surplus which was invested for the growth of the centre. Thus we can
view under-development of peripheries as a result of exploitation of the Centres who
mainly had colonies in these countries who expropriated them of all their wealth. Thus
real Development would be achieved by separating the global capitalists from exploiting
the peripheries and building a more autonomous economy.
Thus to provide a remedy for the Dependency Theory what is required is to make the
less-developed Peripheries or Satellite countries free from the clutches of centre and
make them self-sufficient and self-reliant. Firstly it is necessary to detach these countries
from the centres. These countries need to form an Autonomous Economy. By this we
mean that the people in that society do not need to economically rely on the centres but
rather provide an economic backbone from within the country itself. By becoming a free
economy which did not have to depend on the Centre for neither producing nor marketing
its goods would be the first step towards being an autonomous economy. Secondly, trade
between the centre and periphery was another factor contributing towards periphery’s
deterioration. Moreover the most important political and social characteristic of the
countries are inequality and exclusion. Thus trade between a developed country and a
less-developed country only led to the deterioration of the later. Emmanuel has rightly
argued that Trade only makes the poor country poorer and the rich country richer. It is so
because mostly the main beneficiaries of trade are the developed Centres who mostly
reap all the benefits of trade. It was pointed out by Prebisch that prices of products made
in the more technically advanced economies rose more quickly as compared to the
peripheries. The satellite countries export mainly raw materials or primary goods required
by the centres for further production. While the technologically advanced countries buy
these goods at cheaper rates and sell the machine made final products to these
countries at a much higher rate. In a centre-periphery relationship the centre always
benefits by withdrawing surplus from the periphery. Thus they satellites cannot compete
with them and have a deteriorating Terms of Trade (it is the ratio of imports to be
purchased by selling a fixed quantity of exports). This was the case with Latin America
and also Bengal, in India. These economies are characterised by under-development
and poverty as they once provide lifeblood for industrial capitalist and mercantile
development. So we can conclude that the satellite’s growth is limited by its dependent

b) Does dependence theory provide any useful insight for

analyzing the development experience of India and how?
ANSWER: We can very well connect the theory of Dependency theory to India’s history
of under-development. India had once been a very rich state but has been reduced to a
mere periphery for the Western countries since the beginning of colonial rule. But the
process started long before colonization in 15th Century. Till today it serves as a source
of raw material and thus continues it story of being under-developed.

India was a rich store house for spices and silk. Vasco-Da-Gama came to India in 1419 in
this search and thus started the continuation of events. This was followed by invasions by
other countries as well who came as traders and looted India of its wealth. Even in the
colonial times India has served as a store of raw materials. India provided cheap raw
material to the nascent Industrial Revolution growing in England. Not only raw material
but also for capital and served as a large captive market for their goods. During their rule
in our country, many farmers were forced to switch to subsistence farming to commercial
crops such as jute, opium, indigo and coffee. Other than this they also undertook
excessive and atrocious taxing policy especially in Bengal, Bihar and Orissa which
caused widespread devastation. Thus the exploitation of India was fuelled during the
colonial era and is continuing even now. Thus we see India served as a Periphery country
which contributed towards the development of the Centre (western countries).

This trend has been continuing even now. India is still a store house of raw materials. Not
only that now Multinational companies invest in our country and reap the benefits. Our
Government invites these countries to invest in our countries. Government leases out
land to them and sets up Special Economic Zones for them to build industries here.
These companies harness our resources as land, labour and capital and reap benefits for
themselves while our country remains caught in the vicious circle of poverty. Thus again
we see the dependency theory coming into play where India serves as the periphery and
western world as the centre. Trade among the centre and the periphery has always
proved too be harmful for the later and profitable for the centre countries. Trade for India
too has turned to have negative implications on the economy. India’s main exports are
rice, tea, fertilizers, wheat, woven fabrics, textile items, dairy products, vegetables, fruits
and nuts and articles of animal origin. Thus India mainly exports primary products and
secondary products which are used for further production and thus fetch comparatively
less export earning as compared to its import spending. Its major imports include mineral
fuels, mineral oils and products of distillation, iron and steel, nuclear reactors, ships,
aircrafts, spacecrafts and various electronic items. Thus we see that its imports are mainly
final goods or machine- made products which are much higher priced. Other this even
today raw material in the form of minerals as coal, bauxite, copper, iron ore, manganese
ore, diamond, mica and marble are exported to the Developed nations as United states of
America, Japan and United kingdom in enormous quantity. India till now serves as a
source of raw materials for many huge companies. To site an example we can talk of the
textile industry, internationally established companies as Peter England, Van Heusen and
Allen Solly export cheap cotton from India. India grows best quality and cheap cotton as
compared to other countries. This is used to produce the best quality cotton shirts which
are again sold in India at much higher prices. Thus India serves as a periphery for these
centres which reap huge profits while pushing India into a dungeon of poverty.

So Dependency theory serves as a base which analyses India’s development experience.

It describes the centre-periphery relationship and thus describes India’s journey to under-
development as a price it paid for the development of the Centre countries. India is
caught in the vicious circle of poverty with increasing government expenses and
expanding debts. The revenue earned is meagre and thus most of the times meagre to
bridge the immense gap. Thus to escape this cycle our country requires a ‘big-push’ to
deliver it from this cycle and thus pave its way towards development.



ABOUT DEVELOPMENT. s.l.:s.n., pp. 27-38.





Q2.a) Discuss the central features of Marxist theory of

ANSWER- The materialistic concept of history starts from the introduction of the idea of
production means to support and sustain human life. Marx has always been considered
to be ‘materialistic’. Thus he had once remarked, "Money begets power, power begets
power". Marx believed that as all history of society is a history of class struggle which is
regarded to power relation. He thus said the society was strictly divided into two classes-
The Haves and The Have nots. Thus the society had two conflicting classes who had
different self-interest and therefore the richer ones (the Haves) tried to exploit the poor
working class. Thus Marxism viewed development as though a conflicting process of
class struggle. We try and show it through a series of events.

Marxism says that the basic determinant of one’s class was his access to resources. By
resources here we mean the factors of production. We describe it as follows –

PRIMITIVE COMMUNISM - This was the name given by Karl Marx and Friedrich Angels
to the hunter-gather society which was the initial stages of human history. It started soon
after the dawn of humanity. It was a classless society where nobody owned the
resources. Thus there was no sense of property or ownership. It was a society with no
hierarchy and complexity. There was mainly existence of large ‘Tribal Communities’ who
were yet to develop agriculture and depended mainly on hunting and gathering.

MASTER-SLAVE DIALECTIC – Primitive Communism was followed by the stage which

gave rise to the master slave relationship. Gradually the idea of agriculture was
introduced. People started owning land and growing food for their sustenance. So we can
conclude that it was with the advent of agriculture that the sense of property and
ownership was instilled among the people. The one having more ownership and more
access to resources was considered to be at a commanding position. It all depended on
a sense of materialism. With this stage started the ever-existing class division and class
struggle. The ‘masters’ consisted of those privileged sections of the society who had easy
access to resources and owned them. While there existed another unprivileged class
who did not own any resources and were left at the mercy of their rich lords. They formed
the class of the ‘Slaves’. This led to the advent of slavery who were not only exploited
and were supposed to serve their lords but were also sold and bought by their masters.
While the masters owned not only slaves but also land and thus were the ones producing
wealth. It was during this phase that the idea of Democracy and Authoritarianism grew.

FEUDALISM – After the slave society was completely exhausted and they collapsed
there started the Dark Ages in European history which lead to a shift from slavery to
feudalism. This stage was characterised by a growing population and by the formation of
States. There was the class of rich aristocrats which consisted of the rich monarchs,
kings and lords who ruled the state. Thus emerged the capitalist class in the society who
were driven by a profit motive. The concept of slavery was replaced by tenancy. There
was a poorer class of tenants who did not own any factor of production and only had their
labour. This was exploited by the lord for generating their profit.

CAPITALISM – Marx’s bulk of work is related to this stage. He considers this stage of
human development to be the most important. This stage appeared after the bourgeois
revolution when capitalists discarded the Feudal System. The rich Bourgeois class
consisted of the rich stratum of the society who owned one of the most important factors
of production, ‘Capital’. Having an access to capital they also had access to hiring labour
from the poorer sections of the society. Thus this made them the owner of the two factors
of production and thus the ruling class in the society. While the Proletariats, consisting of
the poor working class, who had no wealth at all were the ones who were exploited by
the richer section. A capitalist state was characterised by supporters of laissez-faire
economics which should have no interference from the state. The monarchs where
overthrown and capitalist owned the factors of production. This stage was also
characterised by another important breakthrough in human history- Industrialization.
Industrialization formed the base of the capitalist and it earned them extravagant profits.

Marx defines this approach called the ‘Historical Materialism’, though this term was first
coined by Friedrich Angels. Materialism relates to humans who are the producers and
their production which consists of two main aspects: material and social. The material
concerns mainly with the physical necessities of life which is required for human
sustenance. While the social is the social process by which people co-operate to produce
the things they need. The relation between this two control the process of production and
distribution of products. Thus this above process of Historical Materialism was a centred
on a materialistic perspective which formed the core of Marxist theory of Development.

b) How is Socialism related to and different from Marxism?

ANSWER: Socialism is a term which has its origin in the French Revolution in 1789, long
before Marx brought his Marxian socialism into the picture. The birth of Socialism is
related to the Industrial Revolution. The idea of Socialism sprang up when radicals
complained that the Industrial Revolution had failed to fulfil the ideas of liberty and

The advent of this idea was during 1700s with the advent of the Industrial Revolution
which made drastic changes all over the world. There were changes induced by the
capitalist for fulfilling their profit motives. There was a shift from agriculture based goods
to machine made goods. These were supposed to be cheaper and of a superior quality.
Factories sprung up leading to the generation of immense amount of profit for its owners.
There was sudden lack of jobs for those who were engaged in some activity related to
agriculture. They could not cope up with the machine made goods and thus were thrown
out of the market. While those engaged in factories had to work under inhuman
conditions with very poor wages. This discrepancy made the rich richer and the poor
poorer. This gave birth to the Socialist Ideas very quickly among the impoverished
workers. It was mainly concerned with criticising poverty and inequality arising due to
Industrial revolution. Socialism demanded a change in the society where there would be
small communities who would collectively hold private property instead of it being
concentrated with the capitalists only. Marx called this type of socialism to be ‘Utopian
Socialism’. This was followed by the advent of ‘Scientific Socialism’ as described by

When we talk of Historical Materialism which forms the core of Marxist theories, we talk of
the material concerns of humans which are required for their sustenance. Marx and his
work revolve on the capitalistic form of society. He talked of capitalism being the fourth
stage of human history. It was characterised by class struggle, formation of state,
capitalist exploitation and subjugation of a certain section of the society. Thus there came
a time when this subjugated class of workers gained class consciousness, stood up for
their rights and revolted against the capitalists. This gave rise to the concept of
‘Socialism’, which is supposed to be the fifth stage in Marx’s Stages of history. Marx
called this ‘Scientific Socialism’. In this Marx talked of the formation of a State. He talked
of a Decentralised Planned Economy where rather than market forces, production was
based on scientific planning. There was an idea of common property where the means of
production would be held by the workers rather than being concentrated in the hands of
the capitalist. It concentrated on moving the capital solely from the hands of the
Bourgeois to the Proletariats.

Other than these two broad forms there also exists Libertarian Socialism and Democratic
Socialism. Libertarian Socialism combines worker’s rights and goals to social equality
with classical liberalism. We can call it as a set of philosophies that promote non-
hierarchical and non-bureaucratic society. It addresses a society based on freedom and
equality and which is free from authoritarian control. On the other hand Democratic
Socialism refers to a society where both the economy and the society would be run
democratically and by doing so also cater to the norms of socialism. It can be described
as a form of socialism which invokes reformist or revolutionary path to reach socialism.

So we can say that Socialism is a path of thought that had existed even before Marx had
written about it in his book Communist Manifesto. The sole difference lies in the fact that
according to Marx, Utopian Socialism did not have a logical base and was not scientific in
giving the ownership of the factors of production to a small community. On the other hand
in his Scientific Socialism Marx has based his ideas on a more scientific and logical
understanding as compared to the former. He talked of the formation of a state which
would collectively own and control the factors of production. It would prevent the
concentration of wealth and also lead to Welfare for all. Thus in both ‘Utopian Socialism’
and ‘Scientific Socialism’ the idea of Socialism has been viewed through the same lenses
and both have almost conveyed the same idea to prevent accumulation of wealth in a few
hands but only had been approached differently.

c) Do you agree that Marxism fails to offer a cogent and
feasible blueprint for development and why?
ANSWER: Development can be termed as a certain type of change which delivers the
country from its present state of under-development and paves way for its better future.
Development is synonymous with progress. Marxist Theory of social development has
achieved the greatest success that can be achieved by a scientific theory in this field.
Thus I refuse to agree that Marxism has failed to offer a cogent and feasible blueprint for
development. I try to base my view on the following arguments.

According to Marx human history is a giant spiral which traces the development in
accordance with the productivity of labour in relation to the changing social structure. He
talked of materialism based on economic factors which was necessary for human
sustenance. Marx talked of capitalists who solely owned the factors of production and
thus controlled production. This gave an impetus to growth and thus accelerated the
process of development. Even today we cannot neglect the role of economic factors
which guide human actions and decision making. Thus Marx’s definition of economic
factors and social relations based on these factors holds good even today.

Marx was a firm believer of class differentiation. He talks of the Bourgeois and the
Proletariats who constituted the social structure on those days. The Bourgeois were the
rich capitalist who owned the factors of production. While the Proletariats were the poor
working class. The classification still exists today. There still exists a very rich class who
tend to get richer at the rate of making the poor poorer. The only difference today is that
there exists a huge middle class in between the two extremes.

Coming to Marxian socialism or ‘Scientific Socialism’, it still has some relations with the
type of socialism existing today. In this Marx was against the accumulation of wealth with
only a few hands and rather the concept of a state were introduced which would own the
factors of production. His theory has been extensively active in Lenin’s work and applied
in USSR. Lenin was highly influenced by Marxist views and thus led to the formation of
the world’s first socialist state. He established socialist state by preventing the
accumulation of power and by actually giving away land and power to the workers.
Though in USSR it had ultimately turned out to be a failure, but many other countries
have adapted to not the pure form of socialism as Marx had said but some form of
derived socialism. For attaining development capitalism has been discarded and
countries have adopted to not the pure form Scientific Socialism but rather to some sort
of derived socialism. For example we can talk of India where it has adopted ‘Democratic
Socialism’. So if not totally but still Marx’s socialism holds good.

Marx’s famous lines, "The handmill give a society with the feudal lords; the steam-mill,
society with the industrial capitalists", (SCHAFF, 1960) determines the original scenario
of development too. By this Marx meant that our society depends on whom we confer the
powers of the society. The state and the productive forces determine the mode of

production which in turn becomes the basis of social development. The social and
political superstructures are the determinants of the economic foundations of social














Section2: Feminist Theories of Development

Q3. a) How have scholars discussed and used the term

ANSWER: The origin of the concept of Empowerment of Women dates back to Civil
Rights Movement in USA in 1960. Since then time and again this theory has been
contradicted, considered, debated and modified. But empowerment of women has largely
been spreading and encompassing every field of possible. Many scholars have tried to
explain empowerment through various lenses and given a vivid description of it. We try
and glance through some of those outlooks.

We start with the works of Naila Kabeer who in her paper ‘Resources, Agency,
Achievements: Reflections on the Measurement of Women's Empowerment’ has
conceptualised Empowerment as an active support on behalf of women which build
synergies between feminist goals and official development priorities which has paved
way for mainstream developmental agenda. She has said power to be directly related to
one’s ability to make choices. Firstly she has talked of Resource. She has talked of
human and social resources which expand one’s ability to make choices. It gives
authority to the actors in determining the principle of distribution. Secondly she has talked
of Agency to be a determining factor for empowerment. It consists of the meaning,
motivation and purpose of an individual doing some activity. It makes the decision-making

power more functional. Decision making in the positive sense refers to people’s capacity
to make own life choices and in the negative sense can over-ride the agency of others.
Resource and agency together facilitate the Capability or potential people have for living
their own lives. Thirdly he talks of beings and doings which are particular ways which
govern an individual’s activity. But Naila Kabeer has portrayed another very important
aspect of empowerment: the inequalities in one’s capacity to make choices rather than
the difference in the choices they make govern Empowerment or Disempowerment.
Inequality is a basic functioning which occurs due to prevailing scarcity. This scarcity-
empowerment relation can be viewed in terms of universally valued items as food,
shelter, health and nourishment. But the notion that poverty is the sole reason for
disempowerment is not true. Prosperity might reduce gender inequalities but it too
intensifies social restrictions on women’s ability to make choices. These are some of
Kabeer’s views to describe empowerment.

We also take up another important discussion on women empowerment by Srilatha

Batliwala and Deepa Dhanraj in their article ‘Gender myths that instrumentalize women: a
view from the Indian front line’. In this article they have dealt with some myths related to
women empowerment which actually convert poor women into instruments of neo-liberal
and fundamentalist ideas. The first they have talked about is that women’s access to neo-
liberal economic resources (as credit) leads to their empowerment. Feminist thinkers are
trying to empower the economically weaker women. But on the other hand the
developmental authorities are finding this a good opportunity to invest. Both the state
government and the rural banks began actively Self-Help Groups (SHGs), women
savings and lending. It was so because rural poor women were hard working, honest and
easy to mobilise. But these were done by fundamentalist organizations only to mobilize
women to advance their agendas and interests. Thus the intention was not empowerment
but rather self-interest. The second myth that Batliwala and Dhanraj talk about is that of
access to political power which will promote social and gender equality. It is said that
male domination in politics has destroyed life, humanity and earth itself. But the
transformation in the position and condition will not be achieved by only conferring
powers on women but rather by bringing a political change by facilitating suitable policies,
legislation and enforcement of women’s rights. Glancing into these myths through the
lenses of gender will help dive into the deeper and more fundamental problems and
develop a new kind of female citizen.

Thus based on these views we get an in view of the problems related with empowerment
of women. Empowerment is not something that has to be conferred by some external
force on women but rather they will have to move aside the bindings and have to stop to
considering themselves to be inferior to the opposite sex. We also see some of the views
by scholars which glance through some of the myths and glitches concerned with
empowering women. So empowerment of women has to be looked as removing disparity
and bringing women at par with men.


b) Does ‘empowering’ one gender [say, women], necessarily
‘disempowered’ another gender [say, Men]?
ANSWER: Empowerment means giving the rightful to the disempowered ones and
bringing them at par with others. But that necessarily need not have negative impacts on
some. According to me empowering one gender did not disempowered the other gender.

Many people and movements have said that empowering women would actually
disempower men. But this notion cannot be based on logical reasons and facts. The
Preamble of Our Constitution states, "We, the PEOPLE OF INDIA, have solemnly
resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC
REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens: JUSTICE, LIBERTY, EQUALITY and
FRATERNITY…." (Anon., 2010). Thus we see that even the Preamble of Indian
Constitution talks of Equality. Equality can only be achieved if all its citizens have equal
opportunities, equal status in the society and have equal access to resources and power.
So not giving what is right fully women’s is violating the norms of The Constitution. So
giving women equal opportunities and access to all women and by bringing them at par
with men will actually bring equality and uniformity. Krishna Kumar and Latika Gupta in
their article "What is Missing in Girl’s Empowerment" shows disparity even in education
(where it is supposed to have no discrimination) against girls. In rural India mental blocks
and age old norms are so rigid that it is hard to invade. Even today girls are prevented
from studying. Parents think it futile to educate their daughters or rather educate them
only to be suitable for matrimony. These blocks in itself impede the growth of ‘self’ in
girls. There is not educational deprivation but also in context of fundamental needs as
food and medicine. While these are directed towards the growth and welfare of boys.
Parents and teachers expect more from boys. Even in choice of subjects girls are
supposed to deal with humanities, home-science and language while boys are driven in
serious engagements as Science and maths. Thus at the grass root level there starts
discrimination and disempowerment. But if logically seen providing girls with the same
facilities and treating them equally will not disempower boys in anyway. Providing girls
with better education and giving them equal chances will not snatch away that opportunity
from boys.

In Fiona Leach and Shashikala Sitaram’s article "Microfinance and women’s

empowerment: A lesson from India" they have spoken of economic empowerment of
women. They have talked of giving loans to women for poverty alleviation. Also
microfinance was supposed to act as a catalyst to enhance the economic, social and
political empowerment of women. They have taken up a case study in Karnataka of the
women of Scheduled Caste engaged in Silk reeling industry. The NGO intervention there
with pretty ambitious planed to change these women into successful entrepreneurs. The
program was successful to some extent but these women and their families had
economic and social stability. But this did not lead to the disempowerment of their
husbands who had disbelieved them while beginning this project. When they had started

their own interventions with the help of the NGO and started earning this made
households stable rather than the women controlling the household or enjoying powers.
So giving access to economic power to women does not disempower men.

Also to site another example we look at the political scenario in India. We had a woman
Prime Minister- Indira Gandhi, we had a women President: Pratibha Patil, we have
women Chief Ministers: Mamta Baneerjee in West Bengal, J. Jayalalithaa in Tamil Nadu,
Mayawati in Uttar Pardesh and Sushma Swaraj and Sheila Dikshit in Delhi are to name a
few. Thus we have seen that women had substantial access to political power at all
points of time. But this has not lead to the disempowerment of the opposite sex. When
these women held power they never scraped men of their powers nor did they promote
women empowerment unscrupulously.

Thus we see that empowering women do not generally lead to the disempowerment of
men. Giving women access to economic or political power has never lead to the
disempowerment of the opposite sex. Also it has always been thought that educating
women would give them empower and will lead to the suppression of male. But rather as
it always been said ‘If you educate a women you educate a whole family’ and it makes it
important to educate women. Thus empowering women not only for her own good but for
the benefit of all is necessary. So the above facts establish my argument that
empowering one gender (women) does not lead to disempowerment of the other gender










Q4. a) What does it mean to have a ‘Feminist’ perspective

on Development?
ANSWER: ‘Feminist perspective’ has not always been a part of Developmental models.
Feminist theories are made up of several diverse social theories, political movements and
philosophies. We look into the advent of this perspective.

The Neo-classical Model of development is a market oriented model of development. It

stresses on market owning the ‘factors of production’ (resource, labour, capital) used in
manufacturing and exchange of commodities. It talked of profit motive, self interest, utility
maximising and the intense competition that existed in the market due to this. It was
thought that only Men were supposed to enter in the market. It was said that only man
could handle this competitive nature that prevailed in that market. It was hard to persist
here and thus women were completely absent in this picture of the market. Women were
kept out of the realm of market and any economic activity taking place. It was assumed
that women were supposed to do domestic chores and were thought to be weaker than
the opposite sex and thus would lose her individuality in the market. Women were
thought to be only suitable for household activities and were thought to be unsuitable and
inappropriate for functioning in the market. Because of biological differences she was
thought to be more suitable for only child bearing, child-care and housekeeping. Thus for
a very long time women were kept out of the realm of market. Now a group of Liberal
Feminist and Marxist Feminists came forward with a distinct understanding of feminism
and a contrasting vision. They completely contradicted the view that Neo-Classical
theories had given of women and rather established that a social, political and economic
revolution was needed to change this. They demanded the participation of women in the
market and its proceedings. The role of women and her contributions were ‘invisible’ and
these revolutionaries tried to reformulate the growth theory.

Following this was the introduction of the three terms WID (Women In Development),
WAD (Women And Development) and GAD (Gender And Development) in the realm of
policy formulation and development (PEARSON, n.d.) . WID dealt with including women
in the process of development as both the participator and beneficiaries during the
1970s. WAD on the other hand talked about women integration and challenged the
differences between male and female. They stressed on finding out ways to valorise
women’s unpaid job. While GAD focussed on women’s participation in transforming
development. It talked of the labour intensive export sector and the growth of women
based on that.

But later on it was said that it made empowerment of women it crux rather than
empowering the weaker section of the population. It was said that development should be
seen through multi dimensional lenses which will be for the upliftment for the
unprivileged. It should be for the empowerment for those who had been pushed to the
peripheries and are neglected. Thus a gender analysis was required in the development
paradigm not only for the empowerment of women but rather for the betterment of the
weaker section. Only by analysing development through a multi-dimensional aspect will
bring about Inclusive Growth. Gender is thus about relationship between men and women
with respect to power in a Patriarchal Society where the men are always privileged. But
Feminist perspective a development theory not only aims to empower women but rather
to empower the weaker sex. Mostly in a Patriarchal Society as that prevailing in India
where women are subdued, feminist perspective aims at empowering women being the
weaker section. But it has been a stereotypical notion among all section that feminist
perspective deals with only women but the reality tends to differ.

b) Why is it important to have a feminist perspective on
ANSWER: As already mentioned Neo-classical model looks at development only through
a male centric view. It only considered that male were fit for the market struggle and to
sustain its competition. But any theory of development cannot be complete and all
encompassing until it looks at all the aspects of development. Development should be
seen through multi dimensional lenses which encompasses all the dimensions. Thus
going by the neo-classical theory we do not consider a major section of the society who
contributed in the developmental process.

Firstly women contribute largely in the process of development but in engaging in

household activities too. But her contribution is mostly neglected and not accounted for.
While calculating the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of a country, the work of the unpaid
labour is neglected. Among this a major section is that of the household chores a woman
does. As it accounts for unpaid labour, so this cannot be measured and calculated in the
GDP. This work done by them is considered to be invisible labour. Their contribution is
generally indirect. It has rightly been pointed out that the process of development is not
possible without this. The household chores that women do daily in turn allows the bread-
earner male of the family to go out and work. These include works as housekeeping,
cooking and child-care. The male of the house cannot work if the women fail to do this.
Thus the contribution of the male in the development or income of the country is actually
related to the work her female counterpart does. This is an example of gender inequality
because the work of the male would not be that fruitful without the contribution of her
female counterpart and in spite of that her work is not paid and rather is considered to be
invisible in the developmental process. Thus to bring about a sense of equality we need a
Gender perspective.

Secondly, we can also talk of those women who are engaged in mundane labour. There
is prominent amount of women in our country who are engaged minimal work but without
whom such industry would come to a total halt. For example we can talk of the Shrimp
export industry where a considerable number of women are engaged in just deveining the
shrimp. This is very trivial process of the huge industry. The women engaged in it are
paid a minimal wage and their work is almost not accounted for. But no one considers the
fact that this industry would come to a standstill if these women stop working. The huge
amount of foreign exchange earned by exporting these, barely consider the contribution
of these women in it. Also those women engaged in the bidi-making industry and who do
jst a minimal part of the whole process, as tying the bidis, are not accounted for. But
without this the process will not be completed. Still the contribution of women is not
accounted for and they are paid minimal or almost no wages. To bring about a change in
this whole framework a Feminist perspective is required. It will not only lead to the
empowerment of women but also those who are being subjugated or disempowered.
There are also a large number of children engaged in bidi-making or cracker-making

industry. They being minors are mostly exploited by their workers by making them work
extra and also by not paying them. Giving development a gender dimension will
neutralise these effects and also will make the process of development more inclusive.

Thus Gender perspective to development is neither an alternate development paradigm

nor a method for humanising main stream development activities. But rather including
Feminist Perspective in development gives a way in which policies can be framed by
including all. It views development issues and policies through gender lenses. It tends to
change the way how things are generally seen by changing the nature of gender
identities and roles.

c) What are the consequences of not having this

ANSWER: If we talk of India, where there has been a patriarchal form of society since
time immemorial, then having Feminist lenses for development becomes very crucial.
This process not only intends to reduce disparities but rather equalise the process.
Without the feminist perspective it becomes a very uni-linear model. The inter-cultural
and inter-social nature of development perishes without the feminist perspective which is
required for an inclusive growth.

The neo-classical theory did not think women to be fit for competing and sustaining in the
market. But by neglecting women we exclude one half of the population from the
developmental process. Then how can we justify the idea of an all encompassing
development. We know a huge portion of women population work with no or very minimal
wages in various industries. Their work is not sometimes considered as contributing
toward the economy and thus remains unaccounted for. Women’s work has forever
remained invisible in our society. Their work has never been considered a part of the
developmental process. They constitute the mass of unpaid labour. But without them the
whole of developmental process comes to a standstill. Their work is not even accounted
for in the calculation of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of our country. The work that her
male counterpart does is paid and considered as a contribution to the GDP of the
country. But the fact that he would not have been this efficient if his female counterpart
was not active back home is completely neglected. Thus by excluding gender perspective
we turn away from these issues. Almost half of the population who also contribute for the
development of our country remains neglected.

But Gender perspective in our country has not only empowered or worked for betterment
of women. We can take up the issue of the TATA Nano Controversy in Bengal. The
Government had turned this land into a Special Economic Zone and had seized land from
the poor and unskilled farmers from Singur in West Bengal for building up the TATA Nano
Industry. These were mainly small or marginal farmers or the landless that were basically
illiterate and unskilled. These people lost their land which was their sole asset, their
houses where they had lived for generations and also their means of livelihood. This was
followed by large scale unrest and movements in all of Bengal where the opposition
moved against the Government and its policies. These displaced farmers were promised
to be rehabilitated and to be given a job in the industry. But they were mostly illiterate and
unskilled and thus inappropriate for such jobs. Thus there were huge scale movements
for the weaker and unprivileged section. Thus this is an example of giving development a
development perspective. Without the lenses of gender their voices would have been
unheard and they would have been exploited. Thus feminist perspective modifies the
policies and framework in such a way that it leads to the betterment of the unprivileged.

So without having a gender perspective these kind of changes would not have been
possible. Feminist perspective works for all those who have been neglected, exploited
and deprived. Without this perspective we cannot have multi-dimensional lenses of
development. Feminist perspective adds social and cultural perspective to the process of
development. If we do not consider these minimal steps of social and cultural parameters
then we cannot aim to solve the larger main stream questions. Understanding larger
Gender politics is important not only for women emancipation but for improvement of a
larger section and to answer bigger questions related to development.