Handbook on Development and Social Change
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Handbook on Development and Social Change

Edited by G. H. Fagan and Ronaldo Munck

This Handbook provides an accessible critical review of the complex issues surrounding development and social change today. With chapters from recognized experts, examining economic, political and social aspects, and covering key topics and developing regions, it goes beyond current theory and sets out the debates which will shape an approach better suited to the modern world.
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Chapter 20: Gender equality and the discursive landscape of nongovernmental action in development: the inevitable failure of international NGOs to represent the interests of women?

Fenella Porter


This chapter identifies how a set of UK-based international development organisations (with all their internal complexities) understand and address gender equality in their practice, and the implications this has for the discursive landscape in which they operate. The chapter combines analysis of the literature on development NGOs and development aid and gender, with empirical illustrations of how policy and practice on gender equality in four large UK-based international development NGOs has been influenced by the discursive landscape in which they operate. Critical examination of the discursive landscape of non-governmental action is particularly relevant at this time, as development policy-making and practice is shifting in response to the increasing influence and power of other (non-governmental) actors such as private foundations, large consultancy companies, businesses and corporate retail organisations, who are having a significant impact on the development landscape, and particularly on the way in which women’s interests and issues are represented.

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