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Addressing Rural Gender Issues: A Framework for Leadership and Mobilisation

1. Introduction
Despite the enormous problems of discrimination against women in developing countries, rural development programmes tend to be gender blind. Where gender concerns are recognized, programme are usually more concerned with adapting the programme to the existing pattern of gender relations, rather than using the programme to address issues of gender inequality.

This is a problem area which needs to be better recognized and understood by feminists, as the basis for leadership and action to ensure equal rights for women in rural development programmes.

This paper sets out a series of conceptual frameworks for the better understanding of this problem area, for the analysis of gender issues, and for an understanding of the process of women's empowerment. Armed with such tools, we need no longer sit idly by during the planning and implementation of gender blind development programmes, but may instead take the lead in ensuring that development programmes conform to UN conventions on women's rights. We need to act to bolster the political will to implement gender policies, and to play our part in mobilising the sisterhood for gender oriented development.

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