Women's Empowerment and Development in Nepal: Multiple Discourse Analysis
Satyal Banskota, Shiba
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This dissertation develops on a transnational feminist approach to discourse analysis to examine different feminist approaches, gender issues and their integration into development paradigms in the context of Nepal. The dissertation uses Foucault's insights to analyze dynamics of power, knowledge and the production and integration of women in the development discourse. It analyzes the dynamic interactions between different development actors and the ways it has impacted women in Nepal. It seeks to outline challenges in development discourses, document and discuss various approaches and their implications on women's lives as well as provide an understanding of critical perspectives and inter-relationships between feminist theory and development programs and policies. There are ongoing three distinct themes; the first is concerned with the central theme of my research that is, how development becomes a discourse? The second theme is concerned with the foundations and application of feminist conceptions in development paradigm, and the challenges embedded in the approaches aimed at improving the lives of women in the Third World. Although, feminist perspectives have contributed to some important theoretical and practical insights on developmental issues facing women, there is a need to understand what leads to its impasse. What could be the reason for the inability of broad policy ambitions to be transformed into sustained and consistent practice? This will then lead to the interpretation of how different approaches and policies have been translated into the development context more specifically in Nepal. The research focuses not merely on the problem of gradual decrease of policy intentions and insights, as programs move from policy statements to policy implementation, and practice, of a particular project or program to match their particular goals, but widespread, general and consistent inability or a failure of a policy to be turned into corresponding practice. The third and final theme is concerned specifically with the issue of 'women's empowerment' and 'gender mainstreaming' and how they have been conceptualized to impact Third World's Women's lives and why despite the incorporation of feminists thinking in these approaches, they are not able to transform women's life. To look into these issues, attempt was made to understand how these approaches were understood within the realms of international organizations and utilized in their policy objectives and goals. The research intends to highlight the specific context of gender policy to practice interface.