Question wisani Social Sciences

Gender and international development

Why is gender a developmental issue?

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Answer Expert #25425

The term gender is used to refer to the existence of socially constructed gender roles within society, which encompass the ‘behaviours, attitudes and personality traits’ that are stereotypically associated with a person’s sex (Platnik and Kollyoumdijan 2011 p. 340). These social constructions are embedded within society, regardless of the increasing evidence which indicates that such gender roles are not ‘acquired as a matter of biological destiny’ (Weiten et al 2009 p. 348).

Furthermore, it is suggested that the stereotypical perceptions of gender can further perpetuate the inequalities faced as a direct result of this. Schaefer (2013) states that the continued oppression of women on an international level should be perceived as being a direct violation and exploitation of the individual’s human rights, and that there is a significant need to address gender inequity on a global scale and as a developmental issue. Momson (2010) suggests that within his, gender and the strive towards gender equality is now perceived as being a critical area of concern and that countries should ensure that they are committed to working towards reducing this disparity. This is further reiterated by Haynes (2005 p. 22) who highlights that fact that the World Bank now explicitly proclaims gender to be a developmental issue, stating that this is a direct response to the continued pressure from women’s organisations across the world.


Haynes, J. (2005). Palgrave advances in development studies. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Momsen, J. (2010). Gender and development. London: Routledge.

Platnik R and Kollyoumdjian H. (2011) Introduction to Sociology 9th edition Belmont: Wadsworth Cengage Learning

Schaefer R., (2013) ‘Sociology: A Brief Introduction’ 10th Edition, McGraw Hill Publishers: New York

Weiten W, Dunn D, & Hammer E (2009) Psychology Applied to Modern Life: Adjustment in the 21st Century’ 10th Edition Belmont: Wadsworth Cengage Learning