The relations between women and men - their traditional rights to use or own land, to disposition of cash income and other resources, and their obligations to provide food and other necessities for the family members - are important aspectsof the way in which any society organizes itself. In third world countries gender roles are different from those in western countries. This reality is of untmost interest for development plicy makers, planners and project designers from donor countries. More often than not, development projects, sponsored and implemented by western organizations, reflect ethnocentric biases about the sexual division of labour, rights and responsibilites, based on standards from the donor country. Too many projects have failed or not had the intended beneficial effect on those in need, because they were administered with very little insight into gender relations. This volume deals with the importance of gender relations in crucial areas of development such as agriculture, employment, housing, transport, health and household management, and it underlines the necessity of having statistical materials that realistically reflect gender differentials.
Gender relations most often work in the direction of the surbordination of women. Quite often the advantages of development go to men in the form of increased earmings or labour saving techiques, whilst for women development can mean an increased and unremunerated workload. Development goals will only be reached by securing the active involvement of women as well as mrn, since the role of women is indispensible for sustainable development. Furthermore, development is a human centred process, where people are both the ends and the means. Economic growth, fiscal policy, exchange rate management is no more than the means to achieve the fundamental objective of improving human welfare.