A Coming of Age? Re-Conceptualising Gender and Development in Urban Botswana

Feminist research has debated whether gender and development discourse should be reconceptualized to include both women and men as gendered beings. While the arguments for and against such a reconceptualization are now fairly well established in the theoretical realm, empirically grounded work that has explored the sheer complexity of integrating men into what has hitherto largely been a women-only discourse is much more recent. Drawing upon in-depth interviews with NGO activists, government officials and focus group discussions with mixed groups of men in Gaborone, Botswana, this article explores the case for the inclusion of men in localized gender and development discourse, policies and programmes. The research evidence presented here is contradictory, suggesting both the potential for a marginalization of women’s rights if men are embraced and the necessity of integrating men so as to further the struggle to achieve gender equality. The article concludes by arguing that, while the case for the reconceptualization of gender and development may not be clear-cut in Botswana, there is a need to start to think about how male identities can be problematized and how men can be usefully included into gender and development studies. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]

Title: A Coming of Age? Re-Conceptualising Gender and Development in Urban Botswana
Author: Datta, Kavita
Year: 2004
Periodical: Journal of Southern African Studies
Volume: 30
Issue: 2
Period: June
Pages: 251-268
Language: English
Geographic term: Botswana
External link: https://www.jstor.org/stable/4133835
Abstract: Feminist research has debated whether gender and development discourse should be reconceptualized to include both women and men as gendered beings. While the arguments for and against such a reconceptualization are now fairly well established in the theoretical realm, empirically grounded work that has explored the sheer complexity of integrating men into what has hitherto largely been a women-only discourse is much more recent. Drawing upon in-depth interviews with NGO activists, government officials and focus group discussions with mixed groups of men in Gaborone, Botswana, this article explores the case for the inclusion of men in localized gender and development discourse, policies and programmes. The research evidence presented here is contradictory, suggesting both the potential for a marginalization of women’s rights if men are embraced and the necessity of integrating men so as to further the struggle to achieve gender equality. The article concludes by arguing that, while the case for the reconceptualization of gender and development may not be clear-cut in Botswana, there is a need to start to think about how male identities can be problematized and how men can be usefully included into gender and development studies. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]