Gender Myths and Feminist Fables

The Struggle for Interpretive Power in Gender and Development

by Andrea Cornwall, Elizabeth Harrison,

This collection brings together leading feminist thinkers who examine the struggles for interpretive power which underlies international development.
  • Questions why the insights from years of feminist gender and development research are so often turned into ‘gender myths’ and ‘feminist fables’: women are more likely to care for the environment; are better at working together; are less corrupt; have a seemingly infinite capacity to survive
  • Explores how bowdlerized and impoverished representations of gender relations have simultaneously come to be embedded in development policy and practice
  • Traces the ways in which language and images of development are related to practice and provides a nuanced account of the politics of knowledge production
  • Argues that struggles for interpretive power are not only important for our own sake, but also for the implications they have for women’s lives worldwide
  • An informed analysis of how ‘gender’ has been transformed in its transfer into development policy and how many authors are now revisiting and reflecting on their earlier work
  • Wiley; February 2009
  • ISBN 9781444306682
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF format
  • Title: Gender Myths and Feminist Fables
  • Author: Andrea Cornwall (ed.); Elizabeth Harrison (ed.); Ann Whitehead (ed.)
  • Imprint: Wiley-Blackwell

About The Author

Andrea Cornwall is a Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex, where she works on the politics of participation, sexualities and development, masculinities and women’s empowerment. She is Director of the DFID-funded Research Programme Consortium Pathways of Women’s Empowerment.

Elizabeth Harrison
is an anthropologist at the University of Sussex. Her work has been broadly within the anthropology of development, with a particular interest in institutional dynamics and in the deployment of policies for gender justice. She has conducted research primarily in sub-Saharan Africa and, more recently, in Europe.

Ann Whitehead
teaches anthropology and gender and development at the University of Sussex. She has written extensively within the fields of gender and development, feminist anthropology and the anthropology of rural Ghana.