Journal of Social Sciences

Omission of Men from Gender-Development Theory and Praxis: A Pathway for Addressing the Plights of Women?

Thomas Yeboah, Richard Serbeh and Peter Bembir

DOI : 10.3844/jssp.2015.7.19

Journal of Social Sciences

Volume 11, Issue 1

Pages 7-19


Within the gender-development discourse, there have been widespread concerns in relation to the neglect of women in benefitting from the process and outcomes of development. This has led in part to the proliferation of policy programming designed for women to achieve gender equality while ensuring that women benefit proportionally from development. However the extent to which gender-based interventions will succeed in relation to their aims will depend inter alia on how such programmes view other members (men) of the household. This paper critically examines the consequences of men’s omission from gender-development theory and practice. We draw our discussion on the theoretical and empirical literature by focusing on two gender-based programmes i.e., microfinance schemes and HIV/AIDs interventions that have been implemented widely across the developing world with the aim of transforming gender relations and addressing gender subordination. We argue that in isolating men from gender based development programmes, interventions may fail to tackle the root causes of women’s subordinate position in society. Central to our argument lies the fact that women’s lives are embedded within the wider socio- cultural dynamics and power structures and thus the lack of critical assessment of these elements may act as potential constraining factors hindering the success of these programmes. Besides, though it is undisputed that women have been underprivileged, the insipient emergence of "men in crisis" in development discourse may suggest that policies have not benefited all men either. The paper concludes with recommendations in improving the design of gender based programmes in efforts towards addressing the plight of women.


© 2015 Thomas Yeboah, Richard Serbeh and Peter Bembir. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.