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Female Well-Being

Female Well-Being

Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban | Janet Mancini Billson


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This global survey starts from the assumption that the significant transformations in women's lives deserve to be fully documented and interpreted. Janet Mancini Billson and Carlyn Fluehr-Lobban tackle the complexities of social change by using data from countries in every world region to illustrate the most critical challenges that women faced during the last century - challenges that are also likely to shape the 21st century. Global knowledge and feminism dovetailed in the 20th century, fed by international air travel, telecommunications, the internet, and a growing awareness that solving female oppression would improve the lot of all humankind. The authors therefore adopt a strong international, comparative, cross-cultural, and feminist framework that uncovers the fundamental processes that promote, sustain, or degrade the female condition. At the heart of Female Well-Being are case studies written by country teams of scholars, educators, and policy analysts, in Canada, The United States, Colombia, Iceland, the United Kingdom, Croatia, Japan, Bangladesh, Thailand, South Africa, and Sudan. Female well-being is measured by analysing trends in infant mortality, maternal mortality, literacy, life expectancy, education, work, income, family structure, and political power. These trends are contextualised in the light of the century's major events, legislative initiatives, social policies, and leadership, to illustrate the processes that enhance, sustain, or detract from the female condition. This book will be a critical resource for academics, development experts and policy analysts.
Janet Mancini Billson PhD is the director of Group Dimensions International, Barrington, Rhode Island, and a visiting professor at George Washington University, Washington, DC. Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban is professor of anthropology and women's studies at Rhode Island College, Providence, Rhode Island.
'The volume makes an important contribution to the goal that of crafting a vibrant and successful women's movement. It will be of interest to students of gender and development, and to development workers and policy makers seeking to make a comparative analysis of women's well-being.' Catherine Locke, University of East Anglia

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
Contents v
Acknowledgements ix
Preface xiii
Part\r one | Introduction 1
1 | The twentieth century as a transformative time for women 3
The fate of female well-being 3
The uneven patterns of social change 4
Assessment of female well-being as of 2000 5
A comparative case study approach 8
Comparative analysis of the case study countries 10
A road map for this book 21
References\r 21
2 | The complexities of defining female well-being 23
The complexities of well-being 23
International efforts to improve female well-being 32
Eliminating discrimination against women: CEDAW 34
Globalization versus local networks 39
The ‘gender differential’ 41
References\r 42
3 | A critique of social change theories 45
The weakness of existing theories of social change 45
Modernization theory 47
Contributions of ‘second wave’ feminist scholars 52
Globalization and feminist theories 54
References\r 61
Part two | Case studies\r 65
4 | Women in Bangladesh: a journey in stages 67
Status of women in the constitution of Bangladesh 67
A demographic portrait of Bangladeshi women 67
Family status and structure 71
Women’s economic participation 76
Literacy and education 80
Political, educational and cultural leadership 85
Towards gender equality 89
References\r 90
5 | Women in Canada: a century of struggle 94
A demographic portrait of Canadian women 94
Family status and structure 98
Violence against women 102
Economic participation 108
Literacy and education 112
Political, educational and cultural leadership 117
Towards the future 126
Note 127
References\r 127
6 | Women in Colombia: ‘you forge your path as you walk’ 133
The historical context 133
The political context 134
The social context 135
A demographic portrait of Colombian women 135
Family status and structure 140
Violence against women 142
Literacy and education 144
Economic participation 145
Political, educational and cultural leadership 148
Towards gender equality 153
References\r 155
7 | Women in Croatia: continuity and change 159
The geo-political complexities of Croatia 160
A demographic portrait of Croatian women 161
Family status and structure 165
Women’s economic participation 167
Literacy and education 169
Political, educational and cultural leadership 172
Towards gender equality 179
References\r 179
8 | Women in Iceland: strong women – myths and contradictions 181
From settlement to independence 181
The historical legacy of Icelandic women 182
A demographic portrait of Icelandic women 183
Family status and structure 185
Economic participation 188
Literacy and education 193
Political, educational and cultural leadership 196
Towards gender equality 200
Note 202
References\r 202
9 | Women in Japan: change and resistance to change \r 207
The twentieth-century framework in Japan 207
A demographic portrait of Japanese women 208
Family status and structure 211
Violence against women 216
Economic participation 219
Literacy and education 223
Editors and contributors 415
Index 420