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and P o v e r t y
Edited by Caroline Sweetman

Oxfam Focus on Gender

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Front cover: Members of the Calvay Family Centre, in the East End of Glasgow arrive
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Oxfam (UK and Ireland) 1997

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Editorial 2
Caroline Sweetman

From the South to the North: evolving perspectives on gender and poverty 9
Fatma Alloo and Wendy Harcourt

Gender, race, and the 'underclass': the truth behind the American dream 18
Sara Chamberlain

Power and dignity: women, poverty, and Credit Unions 26

Annette Rimmer

Participation begins at home:

adapting participatory development approaches from Southern contexts 35
Ros David and Yvonne Craig

The street press: homelessness, self-help, and social identity 45

Tessa Swithinbank

Giving women the credit: the Norwich Full Circle Project 52

Ruth Pearson and Erika Watson

Building community capacity: Hull and East Yorkshire PRA network 58

Tilly Sellers

Interview: Helen Carmichael of LEAP Theatre Workshop 61

Resources 64
Compiled by Sara Chamberlain
Further reading 64
Organisations 67
Campaigns 69
Web sites 70
Index to Volume 5 71

'Perhaps for the first time since the 1930s, the experience of the South, for the first time,
phenomena of unemployment and poverty have Gender and Development is devoting an issue
become common to both the developed and to the topic of poverty and gender relations
developing countries' in-various Northern contexts. The authors of
(Bhalla and Lapeyre 1997,421). the articles in this collection were asked to
consider the differences and similarities
While rapid change to the pattern of trade between experiences of poverty as it relates
and industrial production is transforming to gender identity, in different 'Northern'
the global economy and challenging and 'Southern' contexts, and to consider
North-South differences in the way women how sharing perspectives on approaches to
and men experience employment (Hale poverty reduction in these different contexts
1996), Northern governments and non- might be mutually enriching.
governmental organisations (NGOs) are
debating the role of the state in continuing to
provide a welfare safety net1 for all its The 'South in the North'
citizens, and discussing alternative means of As Peggy Antrobus of DAWN (Develop-
working to eradicate poverty and meet basic ment Alternatives with Women for a New
needs. Era) has observed: 'the terms North and
Increasingly, international development South ... need to be examined ... there is a
policy-makers and practitioners are "South" in the North ... and there is a
becoming involved in debates with govern- "North" in the South ... many of us [working
ments and NGOs in the North, about appro- in gender and development] are in fact
priate methods of understanding and members of that class' (Antrobus 1993, 10).
tackling Northern poverty. Until recently, There is a danger that labels such as 'South'
mainstream social policy and practice to and 'North' can, by grouping together
address poverty in the industrialised countries diverse countries and regions, obscure the
(often referred to as 'Northern'), and 'dev- very real differences between them.
elopmenf work which takes place in 'South- If industrialised countries do not form a
ern' countries, have tended to remain con- monolithic TSforth', neither can women living
ceptually distinct from each other, and little in poverty be seen as a homogenous group.
cross-fertilisation has taken place between In particular, discrimination on grounds of
the two disciplines and policy arenas. race and ethnicity interlocks with that based
In line with this new focus on finding on gender, to disadvantage women from
solutions for Northern poverty in the racial minorities.

While Peggy Antrobus used the phrase misconception is that in Northern countries,
'South in the North' to describe all com- the existence of state support means
munities living in poverty, the phrase is also universal provision of basic necessities; thus,
often used to describe those people, living 'true' poverty does not exist in the North
temporarily or permanently in Northern (for a discussion of this and other myths, see
contexts, whose ethnic roots, or nationality, National Food Alliance 1997). In fact, as Sara
are Southern. Many women from Southern Chamberlain's article discusses in the US
contexts work as migrant workers in the context, state welfare payments are far from
North (WIDE 1995); they may experience a adequate to meetg the needs of women, men
sense of isolation, exploitation and marginal- and children living in poverty, and the value
isation from the host society. The experi- of such benefits is rapidly eroding.
ences of women migrant workders will be In addition, as Sara Chamberlain explores
included in articles in the next issue of in her article on North American poverty,
Gender and Development, in March 1998, living in a state where many people are
which focuses on migration. affluent places extreme pressure on poor
people who are stigmatised as being
inadequate and unsuccessful, and whose
Gender, women's poverty, lack of spending power leads to social as
and social exclusion well as economic exclusion. While poverty
may not be life-threatening in most cases in
The concept of 'social exclusion' is becoming the North, gross income inequalities within
well-known in debates in the NGO sector in a society may pressurise poor people into
industrialised countries (Bhalla and Lapeyre making choices between meeting basic
1997). This form of exclusion can be defined needs, and living as a socially-accepted
as the inability to attain a basic standard of member of that society. 'In a modern social
living and participate in the 'major social democracy, with conspicuously wealthy
and occupational institutions of the society sections of the population, people may be
[including] employment, housing, health unwilling to accept... severely limited diets
care, [and] education' (UN 1995, 15). The ... it's not easy eating very low-cost diets
idea of 'social exclusion' is reminiscent of the when you live in a take-away, convenience
concept of women's poverty in gender and culture, with intensive TV advertising...
development theory and practice, which cheap, dull food is socially excluding'
emphasises that poverty does not only have (National Food Alliance 1997,11).
an economic dimension, but is also con- In an environment where many believe
cerned with people's exclusion from social poverty is due to laziness or inadequacy on
and political participation and decision- the part of the poor themselves, countering
making in institutions including the family, such negative imagery is a critical aspect of
the market, and the state (Kabeer 1995). anti-poverty work. In her article, Tessa
Swithinbank discusses street newspapers as
a strategy for addressing the problems faced
Countering stereotypes by men and women living on the streets in
of poverty in the North the UK, Eastern Europe, and South Africa:
vendors can earn a living and establish a
Many people in industrialised and indust- link with wider society, while selling a prod-
rialising countries alike share a perception of uct which educates readers on the causes of
the North as, quite simply, affluent; yet this homelessness and shows that poverty is not
stereotype is as over-simplistic as images of caused by personal moral failing but by
Africans as constantly hungry. A second political, economic and social structures.
4 Gender and Development

Changing employment coming off benefits and gaining employ-

patterns for women and men ment. The Full Circle Project has been
designed after research in the United States
Over the past 25 years, discussions about and with knowledge of credit interventions
equality for women have hinged on access to in Southern countries. Knowledge from
the links between income-earning and these sources indicates the importance of
power relations between women and men, understanding women's activities in
and the division of labour between the sexes entrepreneurship and at home as inter-
within the home (Folbre 1994). Women's linked. In Northern countries, women need
ability to participate in paid employment or to be able to embark on a business venture
income generation outside the home is without losing their right to state welfare
affected by their responsibilities to children support for their families. The Full Circle
and other dependents. Thus, as in the South, Project experience indicates that the welfare
globalisation and liberalisation have a system needs to be adapted to accommo-
different impact on Northern women and date, not hinder, women from taking
on Northern men, according to their roles calculated risks in the first stages of
and social context. For example, while in entrepreneurship.
some situations women are finding they are The role that income generation has in
required to participate more in the work- increasing women's self-confidence and
force, in low-paid precarious jobs, in other sense of power is highlighted in Annette
situations, for example in Spain (which has Rimmer's article focusing on the links
the lowest level of women's economic between provision of credit through
activity in Western Europe), women are the Community Credit Unions, and women's
first to lose their employment as public- empowerment in many aspects of their
spending cuts are imposed (WIDE 1995). lives: their relationships with their marital
partners, within the community, and with
Self-employment and micro-finance external institutions including banks and
Self-employment through the provision of potential employers.
microfinance has been seen in Southern, and
increasingly in Northern, contexts as a poten- Women, caring,rights,and obligations
tial solution to women's under-employment, Cross-cultural discussions about family life
low pay, and job insecurity. The current often depict stereotypes of industrialised
huge international interest in microfinance Northern countries as regions where close
as a 'magic bullet' to end poverty reflects family ties have broken down, and there is a
awareness of the success of large-scale culture which stresses the virtues of
initiatives in the South including that of the individualism. It is true that discussions
Grameen Bank in Bangladesh. about family obligations versus valuing the
As Ruth Pearson and Erika Watson rights of the individual are familiar terrain
highlight in their article on the Full Circle for feminists in the North; yet, for most
project, a micro-finance project for women women in the North, just as for women in
in the east of England, there is a perceived the South, the question is how to balance the
link in the popular imagination between emotional and practical demands of family
poverty, lack of education, and poor employ- members with their own needs and
ment prospects. However, in reality it is the priorities (Elliot 1996). Feminist economists
inability of mothers living in poverty (with have argued that in order to change the
or without partners) to escape the poverty value society places on reproductive work,
trap of low wages and high child-care costs and to release women from the trap of
which typically militates against their poverty or dependency on a male bread-

winner, their work should be valued in focus on perceived family breakdown,

national accounts; and some have argued demonising 'single mothers' and empha-
that women should receive 'wages for sising cultural, rather than political or
housework' (Lewenhak 1992). economic, factors. Focusing on a cultural
Racist and sexist stereotypes are com- explanation for the problems faced by
monly invoked to explain the different women living in poverty, and delinking
attitudes of various communities, families these from the economic and political
and individual people to 'family values' and context, allows policy-makers to deny that
the rights of individuals. In some cases in they should play a role in seeking solutions.
Northern contexts, these stereotypes have In fact, the phrase 'lone motherhood' can
been used by social policy-makers to justify cloak very different economic and social
lack of statutory provision of care for elderly circumstances. For example, in the UK
and disabled people. Such truisms as 'Asian context, while almost one in every three
families look after their own' are used as 'an births occurs outside marriage, half of these
excuse for institutions to provide the black are within the context of co-habitation (Elliot
and migrant community with less support 1996, 22). However, it is undeniable that
than perceived "indigenous" women' social pressures on women to remain in
(European Parliament, 1995,94). marriages in which they are not happy have
weakened in the past 30 years in the North.
'Lone motherhood': Divorce rates are highest in the US and
separating fact from fiction Scandinavia, where one in every two mar-
It is certainly true that household structures riages ends in divorce (UN, 1995, 11).
are changing; in Austria and Germany, at Female-headed households present problems
least one in every three households is single- for the state welfare system since they oblige
person. The Northern stereotype of the it to subsidise and in so doing to
nuclear family, with married parents and recognise the social and economic costs of
loving grandparents who live close by, bringing up children (Folbre 1994).
belies the current proliferation of alternative
family forms (Elliot 1996). Addressing 'male exclusion'
The UN 1995 publication The World's 'Solo parenthood, together with the con-
Women expresses the increased likelihood traction and casualisation of male labour
that children in Northern countries will markets, is evoking fears of men's redundancy
spend at least part of their childhood in a and a growing sense that masculinity is in
lone-parent family as follows: 'tin developed crisis' (Elliot 1996, 220). Changes in employ-
regions] people are marrying later or not at ment and patterns of family life are currently
all, and marriages are less stable. Remarriage obliging social policy-makers in the North to
rates have dropped especially for women address the issues of 'male exclusion' and
and lone-parent families now make up how the loss of the role of breadwinner affects
10-25 per cent of all families' (UN, 1995, xix). men's behaviour in their families and within
However, statistics like this need to be wider society. An example of social policy
used with care; first, they mask a complex work to address problems faced by young
reality which varies from context to context: men is given in the interview in this issue,
in southern parts of Europe where trad- with Helen Carmichael of LEAP, an
itional family ties appear to have remained organisation working on conflict resolution
stronger, for example, Spain and Portugal, and issues of crime among young offenders
the figure is one in seven (UN 1995, 12). predominantly male in the UK context.
Second, such statistics are often cited in In this area of work, international dev-
explanations of the causes of poverty which elopment agencies have an opportunity to
6 Gender and Development

learn in their turn from Northern work and Learning lessons from
research, to identify how best to integrate women's international work
masculinity and male exclusion into the against poverty
GAD approach to development, which has
tended to avoid problematising men and It has been strongly argued by many
masculinity, preferring to focus on women Southern gender and development practi-
as agents of social change and development tioners and activists in the women's move-
(Gender and Development 5:2,1997). ment including Fatma Alloo in her article
with Wendy Harcourt in this issue that
Changing demographics: only when their Northern counterparts gain
old age as a gender issue experience through working on poverty in
A major difference between the Northern their own context can they understand the
and Southern contexts is that most countries commonalities which exist between experi-
in the South have a predominantly youthful ences of poverty in North and South. This
population, whereas Northern societies are first-hand experience cuts through racist and
getting older: in 1990-95,15 countries had a other stereotypes concerning the causes of
life expectancy of 80 years or more for poverty and will lead to a more mature
women and 19 countries are expected to understanding of the work to be done, and
reach that level in 2000-05 (UN 1995, 66). who is most equipped to perform it.
Poverty is particularly likely for older An important issue for women's move-
women in countries with welfare systems ments in countries including Britain has
based on contributions made while in been 'identity politics' in multi-racial
employment, since many women have societies. 'What keeps white women, who
opted out of making regular contributions have done so much work on sexist power
due to caring responsibilities (Elliot 1996). structures and regimes, their mechanisms
Culturally, old age interacts with gender and women's position within them, from an
considerations to create particular diffi- equally energetic and self-critical dialogue
culties for older women in societies which on racism?...we cannot fight for joint goals if
are male-dominated and celebrate youth. we are not aware of our internalised
Post-menopausal women do not tend to oppression and dominance tendencies and
be celebrated for their wisdom as may the guilt they inspire' (WIDE 1995, 50).
happen in non-industrial societies (Sen Alliances between women from South and
1995); post-industrial societies value notions North to fight common causes and symp-
of 'progress', and constantly-evolving toms of poverty need to be built on an
technologies and changes in the workplace acknowledgement of the ways in which
mean that to keep 'up-to-date' is seen as white Northern women have greater power
more important than possessing knowledge and privilege than women from ethnic
based on years of experience. Attitudes to minorities (WIDE 1995).
ageing are a dilemma for feminism, since
stressing the onerous role of caring for old Bringing participatory methods
people, which typically falls to women, leads from the South
to negative stereotyping of older women as Northern social policy work is currently
passive and socially and economically learning from international development
redundant (Sen 1995, Elliot 1996). experience in the field of participatory
research methods. These enable communi-
ties themselves to facilitate processes of
research and identification of concerns in
their own areas. 'People's participation is

both a methodology and a strategic goal of which often involve many different groups
development ... it is an alternative model of people. This complexity has implications
which proposes both to improve people's for South:North learning and cross-fertilisa-
standards of living and to give them a tion on ostensibly similar issues, as the
measure of control over the standards structures through which projects happen
themselves' (Connell 1997, 251). Several differ so radically (Patel 1996). Networks of
articles in this issue discuss participatory organisations and individuals working
methods of action research, used to identify around specific issues are proliferating; Tilly
issues and stimulate community groups into Sellers discusses the Hull and East Yorkshire
designing and enacting solutions. One in PRA Network from the UK in her article in
particular recounts in detail the process of a the Resources section. The implications of
participatory Community Assessment in the such structures are explored by many
UK. Ros David and Yvonne Craig, who researchers into Northern initiatives. For
facilitated the process, observe that 'in many example, in the UK context, the new Single
contexts in the South, poor people them- Regeneration Budget run by government
selves are progressively more involved in requires project proposals which cut across
analysing their own situation and seeking traditional sectoral divides, and 'may result
ways to address their concerns. The process in a more holistic improvement for the urban
of supporting people as they address issues communities concerned' (Peace 1997,252).
of social exclusion, low self-esteem, and Southern and Northern women's organi-
voicelessness, has become central to NGO sations have been involved in lengthy
work.' campaigning, advocacy and joint research.
These activities are based on the under-
Identifying appropriate roles standing that globalisation demands analyses
for different actors and strategies which understand the similar
Debates on learning about Southern experi- causes of poverty worldwide; yet they also,
ences of poverty reduction are taking place crucially, recognise the different ways in
against a backdrop of recognition in many which global trends interlock with regional
Northern contexts that the state must link conditions, to create specific effects.
with other institutions to provide a holistic
strategy to combat poverty. As in inter-
national development, debates in Northern References
social policy circles have highlighted the Antrobus P (1993), Introduction to Young G,
role of civil society, the private sector, and, Samarasinghe V and Kusterer K Women
critically, the NGO ('voluntary') sector. It is at the Center: Development Issues and
particularly important for the state to Practices for the 1990s, Kumarian Press.
promote a climate which is friendly to Beall J (1997), 'Valuing difference and
institutional growth and change: 'voluntary working with diversity in Beall J (ed), A
organisations, it seems, are generally robust City for All: Valuing Difference and Working
and adaptable plants but they do require with Diversity, Zed Books:London
supportive and hospitable environments if Bhalla A and Lapeyre F (1997), 'Social
they are to thrive' (Harris 1997,2). exclusion: towards an analytical and
A key issue for future work is to share operational framework', Development and
learning between those involved in North- Change 28, Blackwell.
ern development work: local authorities, Connell D (1997), 'Participatory develop-
regional government, and voluntary agencies ment: an approach sensitive to class and
(May 1997). Project design, fundraising, and gender', Development in Practice 7:3,
implementation are complex processes Oxfam.
8 Gender and Development

Elliot F N (1996), Gender, Family and Society, Patel S (1997), Teople and Poverty: a look into
Macmillan. community involvement in the process of
European Parliament (1995) Confronting the community regeneration in the UK, sharing
Fortress: Black and Migrant Women in the ideas and practice from working with slum
European Union ed. Subhan A, European communities in India', unpublished, Centre for
Parliament Working Papers Innovation in Voluntary Action/Oxfam UK/I.
Folbre N (1994), Who pays for the kids? Gender Peace S (1997), 'The Single Regeneration
and structures of coMsfrawtf,Routledge. Budget and Urban Planning in Oxford' in
Hale A (1996), 'The deregulated global BeallJ(ed),opcit.
economy: women workers and strategies of Sen K (1995), 'Gender, culture, and later life:
resistance', Gender and Development 43, Oxfam. a dilemma for contemporary feminism',
Harris M (1997) The Jewish Voluntary Sector Gender and Development 3:3, Oxfam.
in the United Kingdom: Its Role and its Future,WIDE 1995 Living and Working: An Illus-
Institute for Jewish Policy Research:London. tration of the Feminisation of Poverty in
Kabeer, N (1995), Reversed Realities, Verso. Europe, ed. Macdonald M, WIDE:Brussels
Lewenhak S The Re-valuation of Women's United Nations, The World's Women 1995:
work, Earthscan:London 1992 Trends and Statistics, UN 1995.
May N (1997) Challenging Assumptions:
Genmder Considerations in Urban Regener-
ation in the United Kingdom, Joseph
Rowntree Foundation. 1 The 'welfare state' has, in many countries
National Food Alliance (1997), Myths About of the North, provided a 'safety nef for all
Food and Low Income, National Food citizens, meeting a list of basic needs (includ-
Alliance. ing food, shelter, health and education).
From the South to the North:
evolving perspectives on gender and poverty
Fatma Alloo and Wendy Harcourt
How do women from the North and women from the South view gender and poverty? What
are the differences and the similarities? In this article, we give our opinions as two women
who have often shared platforms, representing those two identities of 'Southern' and
'Northern'; however, as we explain, we now question such categorisation.

T he terms 'Northern' and 'Southern'

are used in many ways. Perhaps the
most obvious is Northern to refer to
the industrial economies and Southern to
the agricultural-based economies. Implicit in
geographic and cultural boundaries; especi-
ally in the context of globalisation, and debates
on the demise of nation states. The growing
poverty of many people, including women,
is not geographically fixed, nor are the
this definition is Northern countries as reasons for poverty. It is this shift in under-
culturally and economically dominating, standing, and the dynamics which produced
and Southern as economically and culturally such a shift, which we wish to explore.
colonised. Northerners are seen as the rich For the purpose of this article we have
consumers, or the 'military mighty', and tentatively kept to the definitions of North
Southerners as the 'poor exploited': as the and South in their most obvious sense of
puppets caught up in the game. geographical location, and the consequent
Even if there is some truth in these political and economic situation women find
characterisations, such categorisation can themselves facing 'at home'. We should
lead to a gross over-simplification of a very stress that we do not wish to suggest a
complex set of dynamics. Within such a commonality of voices among all women in
polarisation, whole groups of people are the North or in the South! The interest in
forgotten or their identities blurred. Where, poverty and gender, among the women's
for example do the people of the CEEC groups we mention here, grew from differ-
(Central and East European Countries) ent experiences and ideological positions: a
belong? And what about indigenous peoples? liberal rights perspective, socialist feminist
In the same way that feminists question interests, eco-feminism, and cultural fem-
the dualism of men versus women (Harcourt, inism; all of which have adherents in North
1994), we also have to break the dualism of and South.
North versus South and try to see the What we have tried to share is our own
similarities among peoples, which cross experiences as women working with two
10 Gender and Development

different networks which situated them- movement have shifted their perspectives
selves, at least at first, as North and South, on poverty. In telling this tale we show how
but in the process of working together, Northern and Southern women have come
evolved a more dynamic and fluid under- to share their analysis of economics and
standing of the politics of gender and politics, and are working on strategies to
poverty, to the point of questioning the challenge inequality and poverty in all
original identification as Northern and countries, rather than seeing them as phen-
Southern. omena belonging only to the South. Such
We describe the focus on gender and alliances tackle women's particular experi-
poverty of the Northern-based Network ence of poverty based on gender inequality
Women in Development Europe (WIDE) in ways that move beyond the concept of
a network of Northern women working in North or South.
development and gender based largely in
European NGOs and the Southern based
DAWN an international group of women
Moving away from a WID
researchers and activists living and working approach
in the South taking their cue from grassroots
women's groups. In the 1980s, women working in develop-
What follows here describes the discus- ment co-operation, largely in institutions
sions of the last decade between these based or funded in the North, saw poverty
groups of women in the 'North' and 'South' as a chronic problem experienced most
and how over these years, international acutely by women in the South. The best
development organisations and the women's way to 'alleviate' or 'eradicate' poverty was

Discussion at the UN Women's Conference, Beijing, 1995. UN Conferences have provided a valuable
opportunity for women from the North and the South to meet and discuss shared concerns.
Evolving perspectives on gender and poverty 11

to assist women's groups in the South by 1984, developed a complex analysis of

providing information, knowledge, and poverty which stresses that, throughout the
access to economic and technical resources. world, women experience poverty differ-
Northern women brought back observations ently from the men in their group, since
gained from the 'field' to academic, policy- gender inequality mediates the effects of
oriented or solidarity-based fora. Based on economic structural adjustment, crises in the
these observations, the Women in Develop global economy and the environment, the
ment (WID) and Gender and Development growing power of transnational companies,
(GAD) approaches evolved (WIDE Bulletins the domination of the market, the weakening
1991-3, Development 1995.1; Kabeer 1995). of the state, civil unrest, and demand for great-
International development agencies sent er democracy (ibid., DAWN Informs, 1992).
Northern, and some Southern, professionals
to visit communities in need in Southern
countries. Their aim was invariably to work
Redefining gender
with women's groups to assist members to and poverty
become involved in development projects
and programmes which promoted various From these critiques emerged a more
goals. Some were concerned with the dynamic understanding of gender and
'empowerment' of women, while others poverty based on the experience of Southern
merely attempted to alleviate women's women living in poverty (DAWN 1996). The
disproportionately heavy workload. Typical main elements of this new understanding
project focuses were family planning, health, are outlined below.
education, literacy, credit, and water supply
and forestry schemes. Defining poverty as more than economic
Being economically poor does not automati-
cally mean being socially and culturally
An alternative vision to WID deprived; it cannot be assumed that commu-
By the end of the 1980s there was a strong nities who are identified as 'poor' want to
rejection of the idea of poor women as change their situation by adopting different
objects who needed to be observed and then customs, and taking up new forms of employ-
'assisted', while the complex, interlinked ment and ways of living. Nor does it make
factors which were causing their poverty sense to see women's experience of poverty as
were ignored. With a growing sense of. only affected by their gender identity. Women
unease, women living in the North began to hold other aspects of social differentiation, such
question their own role and the whole as disability or ethnicity, in common with the
development process. They were worried men in their community. Thus, their experience
that WID took an instrumental, piecemeal of poverty, and views on how to end it, may be
approach, and failed to take on board much similar in many respects, to those of men.
larger issues which were much more
difficult to change (WIDE Bulletins 1991-3). Gender and other aspects of identity
They joined with Southern feminists who Other aspects of identity, including race,
were highly critical of the WID approach for ethnicity, and class, have to be recognised as
its failure to question fundamentally the cross-cutting gender identity. An under-
nature of development or the unequal standing of identity as made up of many,
power balance between women and men. interlinked aspects should be part of the
Groups of women from the South, including much larger project of questioning the
Development Alternatives with Women for concept of 'development' and North-South
a New Era (DAWN), which was founded in relations.
12 Gender and Development

Rejecting images of passivity The 'lost decade'

This dynamic, highly critical approach to The late 1980s to early 1990s was a period of
development has been particularly concern- uncertainty in international relations. The
ed about the labelling of women as margin- crisis of development was precipitated by
alised victims. It was clear to women in both the fall of the Berlin Wall, the understanding
the South and North that development of the 1980s as a 'lost decade' for develop-
concerns the whole of people's lives, and ment {Development 1989), the decline of the
cannot be conceptualised in terms of projects power of individual states, and the flound-
and programmes. The DAWN analysis and ering of the UN in its uncertain role in a
others see development as having been changing world. Women development
dominated by male ways of thinking, short- activists found themselves taking on issues
term trends, narrow sectoral foci, and racist of global importance: 'cleaning up the mess'
attitudes which conceptualise Southern as one put it (Peggy Antrobus, quoted in
communities as full of grateful, passive WIDE 1991).
recipients of aid who need to be 'taught'. Women working in networks of women's
The agendas of those involved in develop- and feminist organisations, including
ment, including government bodies and Alternative Women in Development (Alt-
NGOs, are far from altruistic; the gains to WID) in the USA and Network Women in
the North from involvement in 'develop- Development Europe (WIDE), built on the
ment' remain largely unacknowledged and global analysis of poverty started in the
unspoken. 1980s by drawing parallels between the
experiences of women in the South, and
women living in poverty in the North
Forming alliances (WIDE Bulletin 1991-3).
North and South

A new dialogue between women from the

Our own experiences
North and the South evolved in the 1990s, An example of this shift in perception, and
facilitated by the opportunities for meeting the implications that it has had for the
provided by the UN Conferences of that international women's movement, can be
decade. The challenge to the idea and seen in the series of dialogues between
practice of 'development' in the South WIDE, DAWN, and the Society of Inter-
both the WID approach, and the subsequent national Development (SID), from 1989-1991.
failure of the GAD approach to address We, the authors of this article Fatma
issues of power meant that women from Alloo as part of the African network of
North and South had found some common DAWN, and Wendy Harcourt through her
ground. Northern women had begun to work with WIDE and SID met in this
revise their position on gender and poverty, turbulent period, when Southern women
adopting 'Southern lenses' (Jain, quoted in were strongly challenging the position of
WIDE Bulletin 1991). Southern women had Northern women in the 'development' of
started to look, if warily, at how to work the South, and Northern women were
strategically in partnership with women in trying to find their place in, and respond to,
the North, to challenge and change the the analysis coming from Southern women.
global development structure which was In discussions we attended, heated debates,
impoverishing women, not only in the both public and private, occurred, as each
South, but worldwide (Oxfam UK/I side defended its position, and gradually
Women's Linking Project; WIDE July 1995). learned not to take sides, but to adjust to the
other's perception.
Evolving perspectives on gender and poverty 13

The need for 'development' Building alliances for joint work

work in the North Through such debates, people shifted their
Some high points (WIDE 1991-2) that we positions; what had formerly been seen as
remember were a DAWN General Assembly two strands of thinking labelled 'Southern'
in 1989, where Northern participants found and 'Northern' began to interweave, form-
themselves on the outside of the discussion ing a solid feminist critique of social policy
about how to tackle regional approaches to and development practice: a model of
development, gender, and poverty; and alternative development. In the process of
divided among themselves on the position they debating these wide-ranging, diverse issues
could take. Some opted for a professional dev- at times quite hotly women have
elopment stance: that they were WID experts determined at what level they can build
in certain regions, and therefore had the alliances for joint work, including collabora-
right to join their Southern colleagues work- tion over publications, policy statements,
ing in the same regions. Others made the lobbying efforts, and meetings.
point that good feminist practice in develop- These shared activities continued during
ment politics should begin at home, and there- the United Nations meetings focusing on
fore Northern practitioners should focus on women's rights, starting from the Earth
work in their own regions. A major discus- Summit in Rio, Brazil, in 1992, and ending
sion among members of the WIDE network with the Fourth UN Women's Conference at
took place, resulting in a revision of WIDE's Beijing, China, in 1995.
strategies of how it could contribute to the
debates on gender and poverty. DAWN
decided not to include Northern women in Our personal perspectives
their General Assemblies in future. The authors have witnessed this shift in
thinking, and in terminology, from 'South'
Recognising the 'South in the North' and 'North' to a mutually-owned inter-
Another significant moment came at a national perspective, which gives a more
WIDE/SID Assembly in 1990, where women holistic understanding of poverty and
from the 'South in the North' challenged gender identity among women living in
their apparent exclusion from the analysis countries in varying stages of industri-
and work of WIDE. These participants had alisation. The next two sections of this article
formed migrant women's groups, which are our personal perspectives.
were struggling for recognition, although, at
the same time, WIDE was asserting the A view from the South: Fatma Alloo
importance of 'Southern' views and ana- The tool women journalists like me have in
lysis! This led WIDE to review its definitions our hands is our pen; through it we can
of North and South, and the position of its have an impact within the media. But in
Northern members on how 'gender and order to achieve an impact not only do we
developmenf work, associated with develop- need to use the pen as a tool, but to organise
ing countries, linked to work to combat the as a group and become part of the women's
poverty of immigrant Southern women 'at movement. Time and effort was spent in
home'. In 1991, there was a WIDE meeting confronting negative images of women, and
in Dublin where indigenous women from portraying our own strong self-images. We
North America were invited to talk about had an impact on society through our cover-
environmental issues. At that meeting, the age of issues like violence against women,
case of the Irish tinkers1 was presented as an reproductive rights, maternity leave, and
experience of development gone wrong. training for women, and our ability to report
on challenging stories.
14 Gender and Development

As this strategy developed, so did our for change at the moment, which comes
views on wider development issues: the from an alliance between the South of the
connection between the macro- and micro- North and the South of the South: women
levels of development, and the impact of the living in poverty in both contexts. For me,
macro-level on our part of the 'South'. For development is ultimately a class issue,
us, conceptualising men as the enemy was because it is based on an awareness of
inconceivable; the central issue for us was poverty and a commitment to fighting it.
poverty, and both men and women experi- We realised that to understand and
enced it. Within that broad context, a major confront poverty throughout the world, we
issue was the way our society has been needed to confront the consumption
made marginal to world development; and patterns of the North. For example, the
the issue within our own society which is issues of environmental degradation, and
most important was violation of women's sustainable development, must be seen as
rights as human beings. dependent on consumption patterns in
Thus began our engagement with the industrialised countries; the blame for
international women's movement. We environmental degradation cannot be
joined it at a high point in the early 1990s placed simply on women of the Third
when many UN Conventions affecting World cutting trees for firewood. Earning
women2 were being passed, and we quickly legitimacy on development issues does not
became enmeshed in it. But the question we result from women from 'developed'
continued to ask was, 'what is our identity? countries going to work and conduct
where are we located in these debates?' research in the 'South'. It requires working
The more we experienced the North, the in, and understanding, our own situation,
more we began to see literally the wherever in the world we live, and using
South in the North, in the form of poverty. this experience to understand development
The more we saw the South in the North, patterns imposed on the South.
the more we began to be impatient with For women from Southern countries, a
feminists from the North who saw poverty parallel understanding is needed: that not
only as a problem which exists 'out there'; everyone in the 'North' is wealthy, and that
who kept telling us, 'we are here to help'! women and men living in poverty in the
We began to understand that the North North are marginalised. To understand the
needs help itself. Within Tanzania Media reasons behind the similar experiences of
Women's Association (TAMWA), we used poor women throughout the world, we have
to take volunteer workers from the North in to understand economic globalisation and
the belief that professionals from the the associated social and political changes.
'developed world' knew more than us and A networking style began to emerge,
could teach us. But we eventually realised involving the formation of deep bonds
that unless Northern feminist volunteers between those in the North who were
came with experience of their own struggles, willing to take on the issues, including
through belonging to a group or an NGO WIDE, and those in the South, like DAWN
which works on women's issues at home, and TAMWA. The Beijing conference and
they had little to offer in our own context. NGO forum in 1995 demonstrated the
A new kind of relationship began to importance of such a partnership.
emerge after that realisation; one of
partnership and solidarity between us and Perspectives from the North:
our colleagues from the North. Confront- Wendy Harcourt
ation gave way to positive interactions, and In 1990 I was working with WIDE and the
an understanding that there is a real force Society for International Development SID-
Evolving perspectives on gender and poverty 15

WID programme. I recall my discomfort, reach of government services; the impact of

and that of other Northern feminists work- the decline of the welfare state on education
ing on gender and poverty in development, and health services as women have to take
with our role as WID or GAD 'experts'. We on more responsibility; the impact of
began at that time to define our political environmental damage on family homes
vision as women living in Europe, and from and quality of life; the growth of
there defined how to engage more appro- unemployment and industrial restructuring;
priately with Southern women's groups. the poverty linked to racism and ageism;
The phrase then, coined by Devaki Jain from and the strategies which women in
the DAWN network in 1991, in an open solidarity with other women are adopting
letter to European women's groups, was to within their communities and through
put on 'Southern lenses', in order to analyse networks which support new forms of living
how gender and poverty issues in the North and employment.
were linked to the development patterns It was on the strength of this study, and
imposed on the South (WIDE Bulletin 1991). the work done on globalisation, trade, and
In understanding women's experience of alternative economics from a European
living in poverty in the North in a more perspective, that WIDE broadened out its
complex and holistic way, we found partnerships with women living and
ourselves redefining poverty and its links to working in the South. (WIDE August 1995,
development patterns imposed on the WIDE March 1995, WIDE December 1996)
South, and resisting the 'blame the victim' Looking back, this refocusing was
view of poverty which we often encounter heralded not only by the direct challenge by
in our societies. To arrive at a meeting of Southern groups such as DAWN and
minds, we all needed to understand poverty migrant women's groups to look at 'the
worldwide as embedded in an inequitable South in the North'. It was also catalysed by
and unjust system, which must be tackled the fear elicited by the shake-up in the world
with both a local and global analysis, order caused by the fall of the Berlin Wall in
regardless of our country context. In this 1989, and worry that the birth of the
analysis we acknowledged power relations European Union in 1992 and the redrafting
based on differences of geography, history, of social policy (including gender-related
race, ethnicity, and age. issues) would see a retraction of some
This process of dialogue to find a shared progressive laws, (for example, legal
analysis sometimes faltered, and some entitlements to maternity leave) in some
women were unconvinced. Some of these national states.
were WID 'experts' from 'developed' In addition, the spate of UN Conferences
countries, who felt that they had a profes- in the 1990s, beginning with the Earth
sional perspective which should not be Summit at Rio, Brazil, in 1992, allowed for
belittled. large-scale networking and alliance-building
In 1993-4, WIDE undertook a study of with Southern women's groups as partners.
women living in poverty in different This refocusing was not easy, as it chal-
countries in Europe, looking at the reasons lenged our sense of identity, and the legiti-
for poverty and how women were facing it macy of our previous work. It forced us to
(WIDE July 1995). In these studies, a new consider how to form alliances, not only with
concept of poverty was defined. The study women in the South, but also with women
looked at the changes in family structure; and other activists in the North and, ultimately,
the growing numbers of single mothers; the to rewrite our own histories and agendas.
hidden poverty of women as they are not Fatma states that Southern women
represented in statistics and are beyond the recognised that Northern women needed
16 Gender and Development

help themselves. I think this statement can European women's environmental groups
be interpreted most usefully to mean not were organising against over-packaging and
just the need to focus on the poverty occur- pollution of rivers, including civil action on
ring among women in the North which products such as nappies and sanitary
exists and is increasing, but also that women napkins.
living in industrialised countries need to The Internet is one of the most powerful
change their way of engaging in political tools we have in helping us to learn about
struggle, to be far more conscious of the each other's contexts, and to work in
links among key development concerns, and solidarity in order to combat the growing
the reasons for global environmental, social impoverishment of women worldwide.
and economic breakdown. Information, Communication and Technology
To take up Fatma's point that redefining (ICT) can change the nature of North-South
the environment and development debate relations and the methods that we have at
meant rejecting the notion that it is a our disposal to tackle gender and poverty.
problem caused by the very poor in the ICT offers a tool that women in an incr-
South squandering the Earth's resources; it easing number of countries can use; it can be
is a much graver problem, of the majority in a medium for political action, creating a
industrialised countries who pursue an powerful identity.
unsustainable way of life (Harcourt 1994). The Internet is a global network which is
'Environment' takes on a new meaning in relatively cheap to use to effectively promote
this sense it is no longer a separate entity women's agendas and to confront and
where nature is divorced from human change other global agendas. The challenge
action, but a complex interactive system that is to enable all women to have access to and
is more difficult to understand than we had to become confident with the medium. Such
realised. In looking at the impact of environ- a strategy will ensure that the growing and
mental degradation on poor women living powerful global communication culture
in the North, we recognised that they shared takes on a much more diverse perspective,
similar problems with women living in responding and interacting to change the
poverty in the South: lack of choice over lives of poor and marginalised women in a
habitat; lack of information on what was positive way.
happening to their environment; lack of
resources to change adverse conditions. Fatma Alloo is currently Director of the NGO
Taking a global perspective does not only Resource Centre Zanzibar. She was founder and
emphasise the interlinkedness of the global Director of TAMWA based in Dar es Salaam,
economy in terms of our different positions and an active member of DAWN since its
within it. It also emphasises the similar inception.
concerns that affect populations worldwide.
Another example was rural women in Wendy Harcourt is Director of Programmes for
Europe farmers in France, Switzerland the Society for International Development,
and also the CEEC. Like women in the Rome, Italy, and Editor of Development. Until
South facing the impact of industrialisation 1995 she was on the Steering Group of WIDE
of agriculture, European women were and editor of the WIDE Bulletin and continues
facing the same problems of isolation, male to support WIDE's work through membership of
migration, and loss of livelihoods upon the the Global Alliance for Alternative Development.
take-over of their farms by big industrial
farming conglomerates, which turned the
land over to mono-crop agriculture. We also
began to be aware of the campaigns which
Evolving perspectives on gender and poverty 17

Notes Development (1995) 'Alternative. Economics

from a Gender Perspective', Guest Editor
1 Tinkers are travelling people who contin- Peggy Antrobus, Development Journal of
ue to live in caravans, supporting them- the Society for International Development,
selves by activities including selling Rome: Italy
goods and mending pots and pans. Harcourt, Wendy (ed) (1994) Feminist
2 Including Agenda 21 from the Earth Summit Perspectives Towards Sustainable Develop-
at Rio in 1992, the Vienna Declaration on ment, London ZED Books.
Human Rights, and the Declaration from Kabeer, Naila, (1995) Reversed Realities,
the Cairo Conference on Population and London: Verso.
Development, 1994. WIDE (1991-3) WIDE Bulletins, Rome:
Society for International Development.
WIDE (March 1995) 'Gender Mapping the
References European Union', Brussels.
Braidotti, Rosi, Ewa Charkiewicz, Sabine Hausler WIDE (July 1995) 'Living and Working: an
and Saskia Wieringa (1994) Women, The illustration of the feminisation of poverty
Environment and Sustainable Development, in Europe', Brussels.
London: ZED Books WIDE (August 1995) Towards Alternative
DAWN (1992-4) DAWN Informs, WAND: Economics from a European Perspective',
Barbados. Brussels.
Development (1989) 'Facing the Challenge: WIDE (December 1996) 'Women and Trade:
debt structural adjustment and world European Strategies for an International
development', Development Journal of the Agenda', Brussels.
Society for International Development,
Rome: Italy.

Gender, race, and the

the truth behind the American Dream
Sara Chamberlain
Although the economy is booming, America has the highest poverty levels in the industrialised
world. This article looks at the way in which welfare policies are influenced by attitudes to
poverty and to poor people, and argues for a different approach based on an accurate analysis of
the causes of poverty.

ccording to most economic indica-

1963 by the United States Department of
tors, America is in great shape. It Agriculture (USDA), and is based on the
has the most powerful economy in assumption that food expenditure consti-
the world, less than 5.5 per cent unemploy- tutes 33 per cent of a family's budget
ment, and negligible inflation. The stock (University of Wisconsin 1995). The official
market has increased by 30 per cent in the poverty level is calculated on the cost of a
last 12 months alone, and corporate minimum diet, multiplied by three to allow
profitability has reached post-war records. for shelter, clothing and other basic neces-
Yet 13.7 per cent of the population, some sities. In 1996, the poverty level was $7,795
36.5 million people, live below the official for one; $10,233 for a family of two; $12,516
poverty line (US Census Bureau, 1997). for a family of three; and $16,036 for a
If the economy is doing so well, why are family of four (US Census Bureau, 1997).
so many Americans poor? Politicians, Most Americans, according to the influ-
academics, policy makers, and charitable ential Gallup Poll, think the official poverty
organisations in America have debated this level income is grossly inadequate. Gallup
question since the 1800s. In general, Poll respondents estimated that a family of
explanations fall into two categories: those four would need 140-160 per cent of the
that blame the welfare state and the poor official poverty level income to meet their
themselves, and those that place responsi- basic needs (ibid). While these figures may
bility on economic factors. seem high compared to poverty lines in
Southern contexts, poverty in America is
real: 20-30 million Americans regularly do
Defining poverty not have enough to eat. As a result, many
Americans are defined as 'poor' if their means-tested federal poverty assistance
incomes fall below an official 'poverty line'. programmes, such as food stamps, do not
The official poverty line was established in use the official poverty line to determine
The truth behind the American Dream 19

eligibility for benefits (University of than their parents. This myth fosters the
Wisconsin, 1995). view that those who remain poor must be
Since 1963, the official poverty threshold personally responsible for their misfortune.
has only been updated for price changes. It 'One of the defining characteristics of
has thus failed to take into account changes American society, which makes it unique
in expenditure patterns, brought on, for among other Western societies is the
example, by dramatic rent increases since emphasis indeed, the reverence for
the 1960s. It also fails to take into account work' (Duerr Berrick, 1995).
income and social security taxes, and The idea that women and men living in
additional expenses relating to child care, poverty have a diminished work ethic is
health, and work. According to a panel est- useful in allowing many more affluent
ablished by the Committee on National Americans to abdicate responsibility for
Statistics of the National Research Council, inequality in society. Poverty is blamed on
in response to a request by the US Congress, the behaviour, attitudes, and values of the
7.4 million 'new' people would slip beneath poor, which create a self-perpetuating
the official poverty line if these expenses 'culture of poverty', setting women, men,
and taxes were taken into account.1 Almost and their children apart from mainstream
half these 'new' poor or 3.6 million society, preventing them from becoming
people would live in families where the successful Americans.
primary earner worked at least 48 hours a
week (University of Wisconsin 1995).
Culture of poverty and the
evolution of the welfare state
Popular explanations for
poverty in America 'Culture of poverty' theories have persisted
in America since the late nineteenth century,
Policy responses to poverty alleviation in when Francis Walker, the head of the US
America are influenced by the ideology Census in 1897, concluded that 'pauperism
underlying explanations for the existence of is largely voluntary... Those who are
poverty. paupers are so far more from character than
from condition. They have the pauper trait;
The American Dream they bear the pauper brand' (quoted in
and the Protestant work ethic Patterson, 1995,21). Attitudes like this had a
Many Americans still believe that if they profound effect on poverty-alleviation
work hard, they will succeed against all policy. In the 1880s and 1890s, charities and
odds. Despite the fact that 31.2 per cent of social workers made efforts to abolish all so-
the American workforce earns wages that called 'hand-outs' to the poor, arguing that
keep it in poverty (Burtless and Mishel 1995) they damaged the work ethic, and recom-
(an increase of almost 10 per cent on 1973 mending 'preventative measures' including
levels), and that 56 per cent of poor Ameri- teaching the poor the 'virtues of self-
cans live in working-poor households (ibid), discipline and the joys of work in poor-
many Americans think poverty is the result houses and orphanages' (ibid, 24).
of a diminished work ethic. The roots of this The Depression of the 1930s challenged
misconception lie in the myth of the 'American these attitudes insofar as consensus was
Dream' (Danziger and Gottschalk, 1995). achieved around the idea that there were
The American Dream promises them that if 'truly deserving' poor, including the
they strive in the land of opportunity, they unemployed, who should receive public
are guaranteed a higher standard of living assistance. However, the idea of the 'dole'
20 Gender and Development

(money paid by the state to the unem- American in the 1800s, 'is that they are
ployed) was still universally condemned. poor ... The differentiating factors are
'Work relief, where the government paid economic rather than moral or religious,
people to work for the state for minimal social rather than personal, accidental and
wages, was preferred, being seen as a way remedial rather than functional' quoted in
of preserving the work ethic while helping Patterson 1995,22)
people in need. At its peak in February 1934, However, in popular mythology and the
President Franklin D. Roosevelt's work- discourse of politicians, in the United States,
relief programme, and other relief pro- racial identity and economic status are
grammes, directly involved 22.2 per cent per tightly intertwined (Newitz and Wray,
cent of the American population (ibid). 1997). The term 'white trash', used to make
Just one year later, however, Roosevelt derogatory reference to poor, rural white
argued that 'continued dependence upon Americans since the 1800s, is an expression
relief induces a spiritual and moral disinte- of this perceived link. It is both a class term
gration fundamentally destructive to the used to distinguish so-called waste or
national fibre. To dole out relief in this way garbage of society from the rich and a
is to administer a narcotic, a subtle destroyer term of racial abuse, distinguishing white
of the human spirit... the government must people in poverty from other groups
and shall quit this business of relief (quoted including Afro-Caribbeans, Hispanics, and
in ibid, 59). The responsibility of central Asians (Newitz and Wray 1997,4).
government for 'general relief was handed 'White trash' is used in 'racialised
to the individual states. contexts where class and race differences
Although the federal government re- become conflated, overlapping rather than
tained financial responsibility for work remaining clear and distincf (John Hartigan
relief, it only agreed to match funds raised Junior, 1997, 47). The term was invented by
by the states to pay for 'categorical assist- black slaves to refer to poor whites. Prior to
ance' to the blind, aged, and dependent slavery, poor white Americans worked on
children. It also asked the employed to the vast plantations of the South. Slavery
contribute to a 'social security' fund that displaced them, forcing them off the land
would help to support them if they became and into poverty. Black slaves used the term
unemployed, and when they eventually 'white trash' to distinguish between these
retired (ibid). At the time, Aid to Dependent poor whites and the affluent plantation
Children (ADC) which has since become owners (ibid).
the largest and most important 'categorical Despite the fact that the term 'white
assistance' programme was mainly trash' originated in a situation of genuine
responsible for the children of divorced or economic hardship and deprivation, it
deserted mothers. ADC was a source of became synonymous with 'poor, drunken,
contention even then, in the aftermath of the criminally minded, sexually perverse
Depression. Like its critics in the 1980s, people' who were considered the 'dregs of
conservatives in the late 1930s thought ADC society' (ibid., 4), and the 'riff-raff of
'encouraged family break ups, and that colonialism' (Dunbar 1997, 76). The term
public money should not be poured into was popularised by eugenicists of the late
broken homes' (ibid, 68). 1800s and early 1900s, who set out to
'demonstrate scientifically that large
Race and poverty in America numbers of rural poor whites were "genetic
defectives'" (Newitz and Wray 1997, 2). The
The only safe generalisation to make about tracing of criminals' genealogies back to
the dependent poor', wrote a progressive supposedly defective sources by the US
The truth behind the American Dream 21

Eugenics Records Office resulted in the have children, so that they can live off the
involuntary sterilisation of large numbers of American taxpayer. Once on welfare, they
rural poor whites in the early years of the are depicted as losing the ability to support
twentieth century (ibid). themselves, or in the case of teenage mothers,
Newitz and Wray think Americans find as never having developed it in the first place.
the term 'white trash' useful, because 'in a These women became addicted to benefits,
country so steeped in the myth of class- just as they would to a drug. According to such
lesness, where we are often at a loss to theories, the underclass consists of dependent,
explain or understand poverty, the white lazy people with bad attitudes and messy
trash stereotype serves as a useful way of family lives: 'demonising people who are
blaming the poor for being poor' (ibid, 4). poor allows us to step away and feel that
somehow those who are poor are not quite
like us' (Hayes Bautista, 1995).
Women, family values, In fact, there is very little evidence that
and the 'underclass' there is such a connection between single-
parent family forms and welfare. Even
As the spectre of impoverished rural whites though the percentage of children living in
faded from the imaginations of middle-class single-parent families rose from 14 to 20 per
Americans, a new scapegoat for poverty cent during the 1960s, the number of
emerged. Again racialised and classed, this children living in families collecting AFDC
new scapegoat was young, urban and black. remained constant at about 12 per cent. In
'Poor and black are virtually synonymous in other words, the trend towards single-
the American mind' (Henwood in Newitz parent families seems to have been less
and Wray, 1997, 177). But for conservative evident among people collecting AFDC than
politicians and the public to dismiss poverty the nation as a whole. In addition, there was
as a 'black problem', is to ignore the no motive to remain single in order to collect
statistics. In 1993, almost half of those living AFDC after 1961, when the benefit had been
below the official poverty line were non- extended to cover two-parent families.
Hispanic whites (ibid). Furthermore, the number of African Ameri-
The mixed racial composition of the can children in welfare families actually
American poor is also ignored in popular decreased by 5 per cent during this period,
stereotyping of the 'underclass' because this discounting the theory that African Ameri-
tends to focus on the perceived behaviour of can women are particularly susceptible to
the poor, rather than on their numbers or the lures of welfare (Duerr Berrick, 1995).
identities. The issue at stake is the perceived Secondly, there is no evidence that AFDC
breakdown of American family values: the payments encourage young women to keep
proliferation of single-parent families and having children so that they can stay on the
illegitimate births, especially among African welfare rolls. According to Jill Duerr Berrick,
Americans in the inner-city slums, which author of Faces of Poverty: Portraits of Women
threatens the moral fibre of the nation. and Children on Welfare, 'a growing body of
evidence suggests that women on welfare
are less likely to have an additional child
The myth of 'welfare mothers' than women who are not on AFDC (Duerr
Conservative ideologues such as Charles Berrick 1995,15). In fact, Duerr Berrick says
Murry, whose book Losing Ground is that 'recent studies have found that women
credited with popularising the notion of an on welfare are more conscientious about
underclass, argue that state benefits such as using contraceptives' (ibid, 15). Raising even
AFDC encourage poor young women to one child on welfare is challenging.
22 Gender and Development

Family budgeting on welfare The economics of poverty

Kathryn J. Edin, an Assistant Professor at The alternative to welfare is low pay and
Rutgers University, states that 'in no state long hours, with little or no opportunity to
do welfare payments lift a family above the obtain good care for children and other
poverty line, and one half of AFDC dependents. Despite brisk economic growth,
recipients have incomes well below half the the last 20 years have been characterised by
poverty standard' (Edin, 1995). Benefit widespread wage deterioration and growing
levels, when adjusted for inflation, have income inequality. According to the US
fallen by 43 per cent since 1970. As always, Census Bureau, income inequality increased
welfare cuts have been fuelled by stereo- by 22.2 per cent between 1968 and 1992
types of lazy, good-for-nothing recipients, (Weinberg 1997). Between 1992 and 1994
who sign on because they simply do not alone, the median wage fell 3.3 per cent, and
want to work. For example, in 1992, California's median family income sunk 6.6 per cent
governor, Pete Wilson, proposed a 25 per below its 1989 level. The median wage has
cent cut in AFDC benefits, arguing that continued to decline since 1995. It is now 4.6
welfare recipients would simply have less per cent below its 1989 level (Teixeira and
money 'for a six pack of beer' (quoted in Rogers, 1996).
Duerr Berrick 1995, 9). It is ironic that two- Declining wages and falling incomes in
thirds of welfare recipients are children, recent years have been responsible for a
who cannot legally work, let alone drink! massive increase in the working poor. In
Because welfare payments are so low in 1992,18 per cent of full-time workers (14 per
most states (as little as $120 per month for a cent of men and 24 per cent of women
family of three in the state of Mississippi in workers) earned less than the official poverty
1994) (Edin 1995), many recipients are level income for a family of four. For example,
forced to supplement their incomes with in 1993 an American employed full-time at
unreported work (ibid). Of the mothers on the minimum wage could expect to earn
welfare interviewed in a recent study, 46 per $8,500 a year (Patterson, 1995,230). This was
cent supplemented their welfare checks a little above the poverty line for a single
with unreported earnings (ibid). Reporting person, below the line for a couple, and
earnings is not possible since benefits would completely inadequate for a family with
be correspondingly reduced. This statistic of only one wage-earner. The largest growth
participation in waged work directly contra- has been among workers earning very low
dicts the popular stereotype of the lazy wages, or less than 75 per cent of the
welfare mother; in fact, it is more common poverty level income (Burtless and Mishel
to find 'welfare mothers' working long and 1995). In 1979, poor people who worked for
hard to survive, including making every very low wages comprised 4.1 per cent of
effort to find work, so that they can escape the working population; in 1989 they were
the humiliation of being dependent on the 13.2 per cent (ibid).2
state. As Sheldon Danziger writes in America Race and gender identities interact to
Unequal, 'if welfare were addictive, we affect the likelihood of individuals being in
would expect a larger fraction of those who very poorly paid work. Although women
get benefits to stay on the rolls as long as are much more likely to earn poverty-level
they legally can. This is not the case at all. wages than men, the largest growth in low-
Most people who go on welfare get off in wage work has occurred among men from
less than two years'. In fact 89 per cent of all ethnic minorities. In 1979, 25.1 per cent of
welfare recipients leave the rolls before they black men earned poverty-level wages,
become ineligible (Danziger 1995,71). while in 1991, 38.6 per cent earned poverty
wages, with most of the increase being in
The truth behind the American Dream 23

the number earning very low wages; how- of the Equal Opportunities Commission
ever, ethnic minority women are still more during the 1980s, believes that women have
likely than ethnic minority men to earn low- little incentive to marry if their prospective
level wages (ibid). husbands are unemployed and destitute,
Between 1981 and 1990 the minimum while men who lack job prospects are in no
wage remained static, while its value, when position to take on the financial responsi-
adjusted for inflation, declined a great deal. bilities of a family (quoted in Patterson 1994,
For example in 1993, the value of the 220). Thus, marriage rates have declined
minimum was over $1.3 less, in inflation- among those most affected by the current
adjusted terms, than it was in 1979 (Burtless economic climate.
and Mishel 1995). The globalisation of As Jill Duerr Berrick observes, in Faces of
capital and manufacturing has reduced the Poverty: Portraits of Women and Children on
power of the unions, which has meant that Welfare, 'as long as children are growing up
there has been little pressure from them to in poverty, where they are reminded each
raise the minimum wage. Weak collective day that they have little to look forward to,
bargaining power has also meant a some girls will continue to choose early
reduction in work-related benefits, such as pregnancy and parenthood. In a world that
health and child care, which has forced regularly denies these girls participation in
many Americans on to welfare (Duerr the mainstream and in which the system
Berrick, 1995). itself is not concerned about how they turn
Finally, some researchers link the out, a baby is regarded as an opportunity for
introduction of new production techniques, self expression' (Duerr Berrick 1995,160). In
and technological change in both the goods- other words, if you have little chance of
producing and service-producing industries finding fulfilling employment, and have
to rising unemployment among the most never had much of anything to call your
disadvantaged section of American society own, a baby may seem your only hope for
(Burtless and Mishel, 1995). For example, achievement and happiness.
technological change has reduced the
demand for low-skilled workers, and
increased the demand for high-skilled Policy implications
workers, which has led to increased If popular explanations of poverty dismiss
competition and unemployment among the millions of Americans as an 'underclass',
low-skilled. It is this variety of facts and beyond hope, then surely it is time for new
statistics, not lax attitudes towards work, concepts, informed by the realities of
that have forced one in ten Americans to American poverty, to be developed. It
collect food stamps and 13 million would appear that American women and
Americans on to welfare. men living in poverty are a racially and
socially diverse population of busy, indust-
rious people, working hard to make ends
Family stereotypes meet and bring up children in a hostile
and economic reality economic environment. The American
Dream has failed them; instead, they are
Many liberal academics and policy makers faced with a choice between poverty-level
blame reduced wages and employment wages with no benefits, or a meagre welfare
opportunities for low-skilled workers for payment and illegal work.
changes in family form, or the so-called Because the American poor are so diverse,
decline in 'family values'. Eleanor Holmes with such different needs and capabilities,
Norton, an African American Chairwoman blanket policies are inappropriate. Policies
24 Gender and Development

that might help single mothers would not be ingly reduced. The current system makes
suitable for factory workers facing redun- liars of welfare recipients who must work to
dancy, or mentally ill people who are not cover their costs. This change would also
offered the support networks they need to help to dispel the misconceptions that welfare
live independently. And within each of mothers are lazy and addicted to benefits.
these categories, many variations exist. The quality of life of many poor
Mothers on welfare are not all the same; Americans would also be improved if
their job skills, levels of training, and health care were extended to cover all poor
responsibilities to their families vary Americans, not just welfare recipients. One
dramatically. 'If women on welfare have of the main reasons why single mothers go
diverse needs, policies and programmes on welfare is because few low-wage jobs
should provide diverse services' (Duerr offer health-care benefits. Between 1989 and
Berrick 1995,147). 1992 the number of Americans without
Yet despite their diversity, two valid health care for some period of time inc-
generalisations can be made about the reased by 4.2 million, to 38.9 million. Aside
American poor: the majority of them are from South Africa, America is the only
women and children; and they are all hurt industrialised nation without a comprehen-
by declining wages and reduced benefits. sive, publicly managed national health
Taking this into consideration, several system (Patterson, 1995, 231). It has been
changes could be made to the existing estimated that the welfare caseload would
welfare system that would greatly benefit drop by 16 per cent if all working women
women and children. Firstly, the duration of had health coverage (Duerr Berrick, 1995,44).
free child-care benefits should be extended. Although extending child care and health
Transitional child-care (TCC) benefits, care, and allowing welfare recipients to
which were recently added to the AFDC supplement their welfare checks with
package when policy makers recognised earnings, would definitely ease the suffering
that prohibitively high child-care costs of many poor families, these will continue to
prevented single mothers from working, are be stop-gap measures only, as long as wages
available to all women on welfare who sign for women continue to decline. 'Any set of
up to the JOBS programme.3 However, TCC reforms that fails to recognise the funda-
is only available to women who leave mental inadequacy of low-wage jobs will
welfare for work completely, and then only simply add further instability to the already
for a one-year period. Jill Deurr Berrick precarious situation of many poor families'
points out that this restriction is not realistic, (Edin 1995,11). Women will have no incent-
because few women find jobs that pay ive to leave welfare if the jobs they can get
enough to get them completely off welfare. are not adequately paid. The Jobs Oppor-
Instead, most women who work part-time tunities and Basic Skills programme (JOBS),
continue receiving a reduced AFDC introduced by several state governments in
payment (ibid). In addition, cutting child 1988, was intended to increase the work
care off completely after one year is not potential of welfare recipients. But it failed
'transitional'. It would be far more useful if because it tended to place recipients in low-
child-care benefits were gradually reduced wage jobs in the service sector.
as a woman's earnings increased, until she The current welfare system is imperfect
was making enough money to pay for child at best. It does not lift women and children
care herself. out of poverty. It forces women to lie about
Welfare mothers would also be greatly their incomes, and does not offer them the
helped if they were allowed to work child care and job training they need to help
without having their benefits correspond- themselves. To quote Jill Duerr Berrick:
The truth behind the American Dream 25

'Welfare will never be removed from the References

public agenda as long as we continue to
tinker with it only at the edges and ignore Burtless, G and Mishel, L (1995) Recent Wage
the real issues of inadequate job prospects, Trends: The Implications for Low-wage
poor education, low wages, and all of Workers, London: Economic Policy Institute.
poverty's attendant problems' (Duerr Danziger, S and Gottschalk, P (1995) America
Berrick 1995,51). Unequal, New York: Russell Foundation
and Harvard University Press..
Sara Chamberlain is the editor of Oxfam UK and Duerr Berrick, J (1995) Faces of Poverty:
Ireland's Web site, and an assistant editor of Portraits of Women and Children on Welfare,
New Internationalist magazine. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Contact: schamberlain@oxfam.org.uk Edin, K J (1995)) The Myths of Dependence and
Self-sufficiency: Women, Welfare, and Low-
waged Work, University of Wisconsin.
Notes Hayes Bautista, D (1995) 'Poverty and the
1 Conversely, if state benefits including underclass: some Latino Uundercurrents'
food stamps, public housing, Medicair in Danziger and Gottschalk.
and welfare were counted as income, 7.4 John Hartigan Junior (1997), 'Name calling'
million people would rise above the in Newitz, A and Wray, M.
poverty line (University of Wisconsin, Hen wood, D (1997) Trash-o-nomicks' , in
1995). Newitz, A and Wray, M.
2 An in-depth explanation of the factors Newitz, A and Wray, M (1997) White Trash:
that have contributed to wage deter- Race and Class in America, London:Routledge.
ioration and increasing inequality in Patterson, J T (1995) America's Struggle
America is beyond the scope of this against Poverty 1900-94, New York:
article. Suffice to say that macro-economic Harvard University Press.
trends, such as the migration of manu- Texeira and Rogers, (1996) Volatile Voters:
facturing jobs abroad, have left large Declining Living Standards and Non-college
numbers of displaced factory workers Educated Whites, Economic Policy Institute.
competing for employment in the service University of Wisconsin (1995) 'Measuring
sector. As a result of increased competi- poverty: a new approach' Focus 17:1,
tion, service-sector wages have dropped University of Wisconsin.
and the number of people earning
poverty-level wages has risen (Burtless
and Mishel, 1995).
3 The Jobs Opportunities and Basic Skills
(JOBS) programme trains and places
welfare recipients in jobs.

Power and dignity:

women, poverty, and Credit Unions
Annette Rimmer
This article looks at poverty amongst black and white women in Britain, and proposes that
Credit Unions (community banks) could lead the way in establishing a feminist anti-poverty
strategy offering not only financial but also socio-political and emotional benefits.

N o apologies are made for the

seemingly over-dramatic title of
the article: it is intended to reflect
the increase in power and confidence that I
witnessed in the women with whom I
about powerlessness, exclusion and loss of
dignity. Yet the lack of adequate income is at its
heart (Archbishop of Canterbury's Com-
mission on Urban Priority Areas, quoted in
Harker and Oppenheim 1996, p7).
worked in a community Credit Union. As The article draws on a participatory
someone with experience of community and research project, initiated in 1989, with a
social work in a variety of settings since the group of black and white women living in
1970's, my discovery of the Credit Union an area of Britain considered to be among
movement gave me hope and inspiration. the poorest 2 per cent of urban areas in
At last, an organisation which extols Western Europe. In order to preserve confid-
women's strengths instead of exploiting entiality, the inner-city community which
them. At last 'a bank with a heart' (Doherty was the focus of my study will be referred to
1981). Little has been written about the as Santon. The area was characterised by
'many social and political advantages and boarded-up shopping precincts, high-rise
the major steps in personal development council flats, and a high incidence of
gained from Credit Union membership' reported crime. The majority of the popu-
(Berthoud and Hinton p.89) and even less lation were members of families headed by
about the particular advantages for lone mothers. The local bank and many
oppressed groups including women. shops had closed, and the only booming
business seemed to be money-lending.
The aims of the project were to raise
The research awareness in the area about Credit Unions,
Poverty is not only about shortage of money. It is and to increase the power of women in the
about rights and relationships; about how peopleexisting Santon Credit Union. This Com-
are treated and how they regard themselves; munity Credit Union, administered from a
Women, poverty and credit unions 27

local Community Centre, had around 200 In comparison to definitions of absolute

members who lived or worked in Santon. poverty with respect to the Majority World
The majority of members were women, but (otherwise known as the South, or 'less-dev-
the chair, vice-chair, treasurer and most eloped world'), where women and men experi-
officers of the Credit Union were white men. ence devastating and life-threatening poverty,
I initiated the project by making contact poverty in Britain needs to be defined in
with a small group of African Caribbean relative terms: 'it is not sufficient to assess
women already using the Community Centre, poverty by absolute standards; nowadays it
and through their networking skills, the must be judged on relative criteria by
group grew quickly. I worked closely with this comparison with the standard of living of
group for a year, and the practical aims were other groups in the community... beneficiaries
decided upon by consensus. The group also must have an income which enables them to
knew from the start that I would be writing participate in the life of the community' (Harker
about it, and about the experience of indi- and Oppenheim 1996, plO). Poverty in the
vidual members, as part of my MA research. UK is experienced disproportionately by
The research was not intended as a women: in Britain today 59 per cent of adults
dispassionate, impartial enquiry, but one supported by income support (government
seeking to influence change. 'To talk of a social security) are women (ibid)
feminist methodology is clearly political,
controversial and implies personal and/ or
political sympathies on the part of the Reduced self-esteem
researcher' (Donnelly 1986, p3). The project and poor mental health
methodology was based upon the principle
that feminist, qualitative enquiry seeks to Economic poverty is linked to social and
give voice to people 'whose everyday political marginalisation, which has effects
histories ... have been condemned to silence' on physical and mental health. Brady, in
(McRobbie 1982, p46). Living in Debt, talks of women having the
main burden of family debts, and reported
that they felt depressed, worried and
Poverty in Britain anxious, suffered from sleepless nights,
The principle underpinning my study is that increased dependency on alcohol and
poverty exists in Britain, 'blight[ing] the antidepressant drugs, thoughts of suicide,
lives of around a quarter of the UK popu- and suicide attempts (Brady, 1984). Mind,
lation, and a third of its children' (Child the British mental health charity, supported
Poverty Action Group, 1993). The European these claims during its 'Stress on Women'
Decency Threshold (poverty line) for a co- Campaign in 1992: '46 million prescriptions
habiting man, woman and two children is 166 of anti-depressants, two-thirds of these
per week, yet the social security benefit for a going to women each year' (Mind, 1992).
family is 115 (Harker and Oppenheim 1996). In line with this, participants in the
From 1979 to 1997, 18 years of Cons- research project confirmed that there is a
ervative government in the UK saw 'a close link between poverty, humiliation and
growth in unemployment, a fall in wage depression:
rates and reductions in the scope and level
of welfare benefits' (Kempson 1996; Pascall / remember once going to this birthday dinner
1986). Some respondents did not claim which said 'food provided' but it wasn't.
income support; they were employed, yet Everybody ordered a hot cooked meal and I only
received less than they would have done had 1.1 remember somebody left a roast potato
had they claimed benefit. and I was dying to eat it. It was so humiliating.
28 Gender and Development

I get the bus after 9.30am because the fare is here I am with his four children and he hasn't
cheaper. Some drivers kick you off even at been shopping with me for seven years. That
9.29am if you don't pay full. This happens to me makes me feel like shit.
all the time even though I've waited half an hour
and I've only got 45p. The thing is, I can feel the
whole queue staring at me and thinking 'another
black trying to dodge her fare'. I feel so put down spending patterns
and I know he'd let me on if I was white.
The research also highlighted gender
differences in attitudes to money. When
Low self-esteem in money is short, women and men have
relationships with men different spending priorities. Pahl illustrates
vividly women's lack of economic strength
Lack of self-esteem in marital relationships within the family (Pahl 1989). Even when
was common among the women. Typical the male partner is earning a significant
comments included: salary, this does not mean his income is
fairly distributed. Even in better-off house-
I feel like crying, and I don't want to talk to no- holds, the woman may have little or no
one. I can't stop in the house when me and him control over money and feel that she is poor.
argue. I don't want to make love or want him to
touch me. Last time he hit me and said, 'you He used to have stupid hobbies like photography
don't keep the house clean, you slut'. He never and he'd buy all these bleeding expensive
says anything good. I starting knitting him a cameras and then he'd be into tropical fish all
jumper, and he says 'you'll never finish that', or things that cost loads of money. He couldn't just
'it'll look stupid'. I feel useless at everything ... have a camera, he'd have to have long lenses and
then he says, 'go out and make friends', and I did short lenses and all that. He always wanted the
at the nursery and the Credit Union, so he says, best even though we couldn't afford it and the
'you're always out, you slag... you never stay in'. kids needed things. I never even had a vacuum
Last time I treated myself was about a year ago, cleaner.
to new shoes which cost 1.99, and a dress for
4.99. He said 'no wonder the money's gone He was really bleeding tight. He always treated
down!' the kids and saw them alright but I would
always be short and worried about the rent and
Many's the time I say to my friend, I'm gonna bills. There was no logic in him, he'd take the
top myself [commit suicide] and she says to me, kids down the road and buy toys when they
'don't be so stupid, what about your kids?' I say, needed clothes ... when I was with him I was
'well, somebody else can look after them', and always skint [had no money], then after I got
she'll go, 'well, you surely don't want his other divorced, I was bleeding loaded [rich]. For those
women to look after them', and I say, 'you gotta years I never had to draw my family allowance.
be joking'. How many people can say that?

He don't take me places because I've got too (It emerged that this respondent's income
many grey hairs, and he says I'm too fat. He likes did not actually increase at all, but after her
girls with lighter skin. divorce, she became the breadwinner and
had total control over the income, which
I hear so many rumours about him having kids was still low.)
with other women. I was told he was shopping in Another less exposed dimension on
Asda with another woman. That hurt because women's poverty is the fact that respon-
Women, poverty and credit unions 29

dents who called themselves 'lone mothers' charge on a loan. Some established 'repu-
actually had partners who occasionally lived table' companies attached to multi-national
with them for two or three days, eating their insurance companies, charge 50 per cent
food, using fuel, and contributing erratically plus; whilst some 'loan sharks' charge up to
to the family income. Some women had state 400 per cent and will resort to violence and
benefits stopped by social security fraud theft in order to make their victims pay.
officers when this happened. Few existing Conventional banks generally charge
texts comment on this ambiguity about the around 20 per cent but most unwaged
security or status of women's relationship people in Britain have no bank account.
with their sexual partners, which undoubt- People living on a low income have access
edly added to both the financial and emotional only to high-interest credit such as those
insecurity of the women I interviewed: mentioned, or catalogue companies, and
pawnbrokers (National Money Advice
I never really know when he'll be stopping the Centre, Birmingham 1989).
night, but when he does come he expects his
dinner on the table with the kids'. Conventional banking services
The organisational culture of banks is one
The fact that poverty forces women to which places profit before the welfare of
acquire skills in financial management was their clients. One Resource Manager of a
recognised by women involved in the branch in the survey area stated: 'we dosed
project. One said: 'women have to be the branch in Santon because it wasn't
financial wizards ... they have to make a feasible. We are interested in people without
meal for five on 2 every day. They are the a vast amount of money, but we are a
best accountants in the world.' The regional business after all, and not social services.' In
Financial Training Officer for Credit Unions line with this, conventional banks ask for
who covered Santon stated: references, insist on a minimum deposit and
generally require the prospective member to
The vast majority of my time is not spent be waged. For many women and men in
teaching accounts and bookkeeping. It is spent poverty, banks did not offer sufficient
trying to convince women they are capable of flexibility in saving to suit the small, erratic
doing the work. They hear the word 'Treasurer', amounts that they were able to save:
and they say 'I can't do that, I'm too thick'. I
wish I had a pound for every time I've said 'you Well, to be honest, I don't have enough money to
can do it, you've brought up three kids and run a put in the bank. I'm lucky if there's a quid [1]
household on income support'. left over, and it costs 60p to get to the bank and
back, so what's the point?

Financial services available They'd laugh at me because I only save 2.50 a

to women in poverty week.

What ways are open to women living in I can't remember the last time I didn't come out
poverty who seek a way out of the trap of crying after visiting the Bank Manager.
economic and social marginalisation?
Women need a banking system which
Money-lenders and 'loan sharks' responds to their daily lives and economic
There is no legislation in Britain to prevent situations, which differ from those of men.
anyone becoming a money-lender, and no Many women have caring responsibilities,
limits upon the amount of interest they can and this constrains their opportunities
30 Gender and Development

to travel outside the immediate neigh- the Credit Union last year I'd have only paid
bourhood: back 213. I'll never go to the loan company again.

My branch closed down about six years ago, and 'Credit Unions are one of the few financial
I'd have to go into town with a double buggy groupings that have thrived during UK
[push-chair for two children]. It was too much recession' (McKillop et al 1995, p48). In
trouble. Britain, growth took place particularly
during the 1980s, after an 'unprecedented
Our research project produced some growth in the use of consumer credit and
profound statements from women about the the widening gap between rich and poor as
androcentric culture of financial systems in a result of high unemployment and growing
our society, for example: wage differentials' (ibid.).
In addition to the individual benefits
They told me I couldn't join because I had no job there are wider economic benefits to
and they asked what my husband did. I told them disadvantaged communities; Credit Unions
I hadn't got one. can slow down economic decline by prev-
enting 'income slippage': since more money
is in circulation in the community, the spiral
Community saving and credit unions of decline in businesses serving the
A Credit Union, simply defined, is a finan- community is slowed. Involvement in a
cial co-operative, a group of people who are Credit Union can also increase awareness of
joined together by a 'common bond', such as other co-operative groups providing a
living in a particular neighbourhood, and service, for example, food co-operatives.
who save and then borrow from the pooled Involvement in a Credit Union can also
savings. The most basic function of the encourage involvement in other community
Credit Union is obviously to provide low- activities. During the project in Santon,
interest credit to people who have not black women began to make greater use of
previously been able to obtain it. other community groups, including self-
Credit Unions seem to be part of a collect- defence classes, a food co-operative, and a
ive response, on the part of people living in toy library, which had previously been used
poverty, to draconian welfare policies and a predominantly by white women. The
low-wage economy. Currently, in the USA, women also organised presentations against
54 million people belong to Credit Unions, loan sharks, on local radio, and in other
while in Canada one in four people belong community groups.
(Berthoud and Hinton 1989).2
It is stated widely on Credit Union
publicity that 'Credit Unions are not about
Women's access to the
profit, but about people' (Berthoud and Credit Union
Hinton 1989/National publicity literature).
Credit Unions emphasise that loans are In the particular Credit Union in the area
given according to the savings record of the studied, access issues were addressed
member. A member can save as little as 50p through cashiers visiting places where
per week, and can generally borrow double women met, including nursery coffee-
or treble the amount saved, at a low rate of mornings, keep-fit classes, bingo sessions,
interest. One participant stated: and residential homes for older people.
Cashiers did business wherever women
I got a loan of 200 from the loan company and were, collecting money and organising loan
spent the year paying back 298. If I'd been in applications during nursery coffee mornings
Women, poverty and credit unions 31

A Credit Union and Advice Centre, in Oxford.

with children playing all around, and and dignity of women, and raise their
visiting disabled women in their homes. The economic and political consciousness whilst
local bingo caller announced that cashiers offering social and emotional support.
were collecting that evening.
However, it was clear that further action Skills acquisition
was needed to free women to participate in Agencies have now been set u p in most
the Credit Union. Facilities needed to be regions in order to develop new Credit Unions
designed at local and national level which and support existing ones.3 In Britain, regional
recognised the different claims on women's agencies provide training staff. For example,
time. One woman stated that, in the absence Santon Credit Union was able to call upon a
of child-care facilities, she was being forced regional Financial Training Officer, in order
to consider leaving the Union. to train the new women members acquired
as a consequence of the project.
Empowering effects When you're raising a family you become
of Credit Unions reticent ... you lose confidence and I think
everyone of us has discovered that we've got
In all UK and Ireland Credit Unions, women talents that were there all the time but never used
are the majority members (information from (Woman member, quoted in Berthoud and
ABCUL and the Irish League of Credit Hinton, 1989).
Unions). Much has been written about the
social, as well as economic, benefits of People have said that they've gone from here to
women joining together for support and jobs they've applied for on the strength of their
collective action (Dominelli and McLeod Credit Union experience ... we are always giving
1989, Donnelly 1986). Yet little has so far references out (ibid).
been written about the non-financial benefits
to women of involvement in Credit Unions. Improved confidence and self-esteem
However, I would argue that such involve- This was first seen within the official
ment can potentially restore the confidence structure of the Credit Union itself. The
32 Gender and Development

project built on the core group's existing I can't explain things very well, but before I
skills and strengths, and their tremendous joined the Credit Union I was miserable as sin
networking ability. Their increase in inde- because I had a few problems. I used to sit at
pendence and confidence soon showed home all day feeling sorry for myself and fat and
itself. The project influenced change in the ugly. Now I've got something to look forward to
constitution of the Credit Union, challenging ... I'm needed here and I'm [very] good at the
male domination at the top; seven months into work I do. Nobody has ever said that before.
our project, 66 new members had joined the
Credit Union, of which 75 per cent were
women. Towards the end of the project, two Changes in close relationships
black women were elected onto the Board of Improved confidence had effects on the
Directors of the Credit Union, which had women's relationships with male partners
previously consisted of white men, and one or husbands:
black woman had gained enough confid-
ence to say she was interested in the assistant The good thing is, I can get a loan for the first
treasurer's role and began training for this. time in my life, without asking him first, and I
A white woman took over the role of secretary. don't have to grovel to a bank manager.

We got voted on the Board of Directors and got I think coming here [the Credit Union] has done
invited to a National Conference in Glasgow. We me the world of good. I hadn't been out socially
stayed in bed and breakfast and went to a dance. for seven years and I was a lap dog at home ...
We felt really important. It was great to get away last Sunday I refused to do the washing up for
from the kids. the first time ever.

We would never have stood up in front of a He hits me about, and having [Credit Union
crowd and spoken before. Now we do it and it savings] there gives me a bit of power because I
doesn't really bother us that much. It develops know that I could up and leave him more easily.
your character as well as all the latent gifts that
come out of people. Ironically, this increased confidence on
the part of women was often perceived as a
...they sat the three of us at a table on the stage threat by their menfolk, and additional
and I was petrified, but I must admit I've never tensions were experienced in close personal
felt so important in all my life [speaking about relationships:
a local church presentation on credit unions].
He told me 'why do you go up there working for
The informal results of the group nothing at that bloody Credit Union when you
working and socialising appeared immense. should be here with the kids?'
One participant reported:
He told me I was no good at anything, and it was
Women in groups can do so much good for each pointless me going for the Board of Directors
other. Last week one woman cried as she told us when I couldn't even add up. I really wanted to
her [man] stayed out until 4.00am most nights. prove him wrong, but he didn't praise me up
Another woman said 'you should be so lucky, even when I did.
mine don't come in till tea-time the next day!'
Then it snowballed and in the end, five or six Whilst there is increasing emphasis in
women were talking through the same problem literature on the empowerment of women,
and how they'd tried to tackle it. The first the pain involved in the process often
woman ended up laughing. remains unacknowledged. Women in our
Women, poverty and credit unions 33

group needed support and sometimes barrier to such projects to be social scepti-
physical protection. Feminist social or cism about ordinary people taking on
community work action cannot be based powerful roles. The project emphasised the
entirely upon increasing personal confid- 'unusual abilities strengths and sustenance
ence and power, but must also involve itself of women to develop and administer credit
in wider campaigns and social action to unions throughout the country' (a respond-
address the wider context. Some women ent). Women living in poverty should not be
needed a safe haven due to increased ten- viewed as victims but as 'strong, responsi-
sions with their partners. Assumptions may ble, self-directed people' (Glendinning and
be made by community development Millar, 1987).
workers about levels of oppression-aware-
ness; the educative role of workers should Annette Rimmer works at the Social Work
not be underestimated. Department, University of Salford, Frederick
This finding is confirmed in research Road, Salford M6 6PU. Fax: 0161 2952100.
which showed that even 'aware men' who
had joined men's groups struggled to accept
women's empowerment: 'we were in favour Notes
of women's independence, but felt threat- 1 I acknowledge that men also live in
ened by it. We wanted to renounce our poverty, but this study focused on the
aggressive role, but felt bound by it' (Tolson poverty ofWomen. I also understand that
cited in Dominelli and McCleod 1989). 'women' afce not a homogeneous group
and are divided by many factors,
particularly race.
Conclusion 2 Credit Unions are said to have begun in
MostMiterature on Credit Unions, here and Germany in 1849, when small farmers
in North America, emphasises mainly the found themselves in debt between sowing
economic benefits of Credit Unions. It and reaping. One farmer suggested that
should be emphasised that the Credit Union they should save together and help each
movement is neither the only, nor the other during hard times. The movement
ultimate, anti-poverty strategy. spread quickly, particularly in North
America, Ireland, the Caribbean, Africa,
What is required as an overall strategy are and Asia. However, this might be a
policies which treat men and women as equal Eurocentric view of Credit Union history,
breadwinners, by increasing womens' labour and most communities throughout the
market qualifications and their job chances, by world have developed some form of
pursuing wage justice for women by increasing community saving in times of hardship;
income support and services for children ... and just one example is 'pardner schemes' in
by laying to rest forever the dangerous myth that Caribbean countries.
dependency protects women. 3 In Britain, these agencies are generally
(Cass in Glendinning and Millar 1987 p.268) associated to the Association of British
Credit Unions, or the National Federation
This paper is a modest feminist addition of Credit Unions, which are funded by
to the literature, which appeals for the local government, fund-raising, and
recognition of how women's social well- contributions from Credit Union bodies
being and financial and organisational skills in other parts\of the world, particularly
are affected by involvement with Credit North America.
Unions, whilst acknowledging their acute
lack of confidence. I consider the biggest
34 Gender and Development

References Glendinning C and Millar, J (eds) (1987)

Women and Poverty in Britain, Sussex
Albee A (1996) 'Beyond banking for the poor: Wheatsheaf.
credit mechanisms and women's empower- Harker and Oppenheim (1996) Poverty: The
menf in Gender and Development 4:3,1996 Facts, Child Poverty Action Group.
Birmingham Qty Council (1990) Poverty Study. Kempson (1996) Life on a Low Income, Joseph
Brady (1984) 'Living in debf in Blamire (ed) Rowntree Foundation.
Dealing with Debt. Birmingham Settlements, McKillop et al (1995) Local Economy, 10(1)
318 Summer Lane (Community organisation). May 1995.
Channel Four TV, UK (1996) The Great, the McRobbie A (1986) The Politics of Feminist
Good and the Dispossessed: a report of the Research: between talk, text and action',
Channel Four Commission on Poverty, Feminist Review 12.
Channel Four, 124 Horseferry Road MIND (1992) Stress on Women.
London SW1 P2TX. Information from Money Advice Centre,
Child Poverty Action Group (1996) Poverty, Birmingham Settlement, Birmingham.
Journal of the Child Poverty Action Group 93. Pascall (1986) Social Policy: A Feminist
Doherty P (1981) Derry Credit Union, Analysis, Tavistock.
(souvenir booklet). Pahl(1989) Money and marriage, Macmillan.
Donnelly A (1986) Feminist Social Work with a Tolson cited in Dominelli,L and McCleod, E
Women's Group, University of East Anglia, UK (1989) Feminist Social Work, Macmillan.

Participation begins at home:

adapting participatory development
approaches from Southern contexts
Ros David and Yvonne Craig
Participatory appraisal methods have been developed in a Southern context to facilitate the
involvement of people in analysing their own situation and seeking solutions to their problems.
This article describes a Community Assessment in the UK, in which participatory methods were
used effectively to support community residents in putting together a plan for local action.

M any development agencies work-

ing in Southern contexts have
come to recognise that the essence
of good development work is the involve-
ment of people in seeking solutions to their
Oxfam UK/I's decision was the recognition
that the North could learn from the South.
Accordingly, Oxfam UK/I's UK-based
programme has supported the exploration
of appropriate analytical and conceptual
own problems. Time and time again, it has 'tools' which promote the participation of
been shown that if people have a stake in, communities.This article will describe an
and feel ownership of, an initiative, it is example of using some participatory
more likely to be both successful and appraisal tools in Great Hollands housing
sustainable. Thus, in many contexts in the estate in Bracknell, England, where over 250
South, poor people themselves are pro- people were involved in a Community
gressively more involved in analysing their Assessment exercise. People from the estate
own situation and seeking ways to address met together over the course of a month to
their concerns. The process of supporting carry out an assessment detailing their
people as they address issues of social perceptions, ideas, and concerns about, and
exclusion, low self-esteem, and voice- aspirations for, the community in which
lessness, has become central to NGO work. they live. From this, with the support of
In 1995t Oxfam UK/I decided to develop outside facilitators, they put together an
its anti-poverty work in Britain. This Action Plan to address these issues.
decision was prompted by the recognition In the article, we examine the process of
that some of the root causes of poverty are this Community Assessment. Like any other
the same in the North as they are in the process, it had its flaws; we explore some of
South, and the fact that poverty is the difficulties we experienced when using
increasingly understood as more than the participatory methodologies developed in
absence of material goods and services the South, in a Northern context. We also
(Watkins 1996). Another factor influencing look at the salutary lessons that can be
36 Gender and Development

learned from this process for work in both intended to be self-contained communities,
hemispheres, lessons which we hope will with housing and industry developed
contribute to the debates of how best to coherently. Bracknell was a town planner's
involve people in a process of participatory dream (Parris and Parris 1981), made up of a
development whether in the North, or number of housing estates which are each
South. Finally, we will try to convey the served by a shopping precinct, church,
positive experience of initiating a process schools, and community centre. Great
which seems likely to take on a life, and Hollands was one of the last estates to be
dynamism, of its own. built, in 1967. Many of the first residents
moved there from the East End of London.
Great Hollands is a thriving housing
Setting the scene estate of around 11,000 people. Despite
Bracknell is situated approximately 36 miles having changed hugely over the years, it has
from London, and lies close to the main retained its white working-class character. It
motorway route linking London with has a low proportion of ethnic minorities (3
Wales. Its economy is flourishing as a result per cent, according to the 1991 census), and
of the presence of 'high-tech' computer a higher than average proportion of
companies and other light industries. unskilled labourers (Babtie Group 1997).
Bracknell was largely built up from the mid- Though it had a relatively bad reputation
1950s onwards, and was one of the 'new during the 1970s, it has changed over the
towns' created after the Second World War years, and people are now very happy to
to provide better living conditions for live there. The positive aspects of living in
people from overcrowded slums in Britain's Great Hollands shone through during the
large conurbations. The new towns were course of the Community Assessment: it has

Residents of Great Hollands working on the Community Assessment.

Adapting participatory development approaches 37

a low crime rate, good schools, and plenty of in favour, though initially a little sceptical, of
green recreational areas. the plan. While many voiced concern about
Despite this, people throughout the estate the size and scope of the task, scepticism
recognise that there are social problems, was tempered by a sense of curiosity.
which they would like to address. Recent In response to the issues outlined above,
statistics reveal pockets of deprivation. they chose Great Hollands as the estate
Great Hollands has the highest proportion where the assessment should take place.
(over 20 per cent) of primary-school children Seven active Forum members volunteered to
receiving free school meals in the Borough help with the assessment;, as one put it, 'we
(Babtie Group 1997). It also has the third high- have wanted to have something to get our
est 'children's support score'1 in the county, teeth into for a while, and this assessment
indicating the likelihood of children being could help us take some positive action'.
taken into state care (Babtie Group 1997). These seven volunteers, plus four CCB staff
and one external consultant made up the
team which facilitated the Community
Methodology Assessment.
The Great Hollands Community Assess- The assessment was carried out during
ment was mainly facilitated by staff from a the month of July 1997. Preparatory work,
small rural development agency, the carried out in June, included meetings with
Community Council of Berkshire (CCB). officers and members of the local Borough
CCB's mission is to work with the disad- Council and local residents' groups, and
vantaged throughout the county. The collection and analysis of secondary liter-
original initiative for the Community Asses- ature. The assessment began with a public
sment project came from the local Borough meeting to launch the idea in the commun-
(Municipal) Council, who recognised the ity. This meeting marked the beginning of
need to increase local people's involvement four intensive weeks of interactions between
in council policy and develop local Forums. different groups and individuals throughout
CCB's success, in early 1997, in securing the Great Hollands estate.
Council funding for a Community Develop In the course of the assessment, a range of
ment Worker (CDW), to work alongside participatory tools were used. These included
local Forums in southern Bracknell, added flow (or contact) diagrams, Venn diagrams,
impetus to the initiative. matrices, oral histories, mapping exercises,
The South Bracknell Neighbourhood well-being ranking, and timelines (see Pretty
Community Forum was set up in 1996 by et al, 1995). Efforts were made to involve a
the Borough Council to ensure greater cross-section of people: young mothers,
involvement of local residents in local single mothers, mothers of children with
government decisions. The Forum meets disabilities, teenage girls, teenage boys,
quarterly to discuss residents' concerns, and minority groups, working men, unemploy-
to develop potential solutions. CCB ed men, single women, and older people. In
reasoned that the only way to develop the total over 250 people participated. By the
role of community fora was to carry out an end of the month, at least one person from
assessment to gain understanding of the each street in Great Hollands had been
priorities of local people. With this in mind, involved. This was felt by the team of
the idea of carrying out a Community facilitators to be an achievement in such a
Assessment, using Participatory Appraisal limited period of time.
methods, was put to the Forum by CCB staff A final 'feedback' or 'validation' meeting
and an external consultant during a meeting marked the end of the intensive part of the
in June. The Forum members were generally assessment. At this meeting, the Forum
38 Gender and Development

Great Hollands, volunteered to meet after

the summer break to begin planning the
next course of action.

The development of
participatory approaches
in the North and South
Participatory approaches have had a long
gestation in international development
work. In the 1970s, a body of rapid rural
appraisal (RRA) methods began to emerge
and coalesce in response to growing
dissatisfaction among development workers
with traditional quantitative research.
During the 1980s, increasing emphasis
began to be placed on the importance of
empowerment and the sustainability of local
action and institutions (Chambers 1997).
Participatory methods facilitate 'real diaglogue' Subsequently, participatory rural appraisal
in the community. (PRA) emerged as a distinct methodology.3
This approach moved away from the
members reported back and discussed the concept of 'outsiders' as researchers learn-
problems identified and potential solutions ing about another culture, and instead
put forward by groups and individuals emphasised their role as facilitators of a
during the assessment. Concerns and community-led process of listening and
suggestions had been divided by the interactive learning; the attitude and self-
facilitating team into five groups: those put critical awareness of the facilitator is of
forward by women and mothers; men and crucial importance.
fathers; younger people; older people; and The participatory methods used in the
professionals (health workers, social South have been developed in the North
workers, police, teachers, youth workers, since the 1980s, when, in Britain as else-
etc) working on the estate. Each group had where, individuals began experimenting
put forward suggestions for a workable plan with approaches developed internationally.
of action,2 which was in three sections: In the North, where the urban context has
tended to be of primary importance in
things that can be done by us and require research and activism around poverty, the
no help from outside; word 'rural' has been dropped, and the term
things that we can do with a little help Participatory Appraisal4 is now generally
(finance, support etc) from outside; used to describe this type of approach.
projects for which we can seek outside An exciting body of literature mainly
help or funding (for example, local unpublished documents the recent
Government grants, or money from the developments of Participatory Appraisal
National Lottery). (PA) approaches in Britain. PA has been
used widely, particularly in the health
At this meeting, a core group of 16 arena, to create a better match between
people, representing various groups in health needs and health provision (see
Adapting participatory development approaches 39

Cornwall 1997, Sellers and Westerby 1996, were delighted with the final, documented
Cresswell 1996). Projects associated with results. Formalising the diagrams from what
mental health, HTV and AIDS are also experi- could only be described as 'scruffy flip-chart
menting with participatory methods (Weaver paper' to A4 overhead transparencies gave
1996). Small groups in Scotland have been the assessment an air of professionalism
experimenting with the use of PA methods which was clearly welcome. Many people
in a variety of settings, including the develop- commented on how much they enjoyed
ment of fishery management strategies, the seeing their ideas legitimised in type. 'Now
analysis of the use of space with groups of we can show our ideas to the local
young people, the development of local authority', said one woman.
Agenda 21 projects, work with housing However, the reactions were not always
associations, and the development of forestry positive. The absence of questionnaires and
policy (Weaver 1996, Jones 1996, Jones: person- armies of surveyors was disappointing for
al communication). Unfortunately, despite some. People in Great Hollands are gener-
these initiatives, there is still a dearth of ana-ally literate, and participatory tools have
lytical information available about PA experi- largely been developed for work in non-literate
ences in the North (Craig and Barahona 1996). communities. In general, middle-aged men,
particularly professional men (both residents
of Great Hollands and those working on the
Reactions to participatory estate) were most likely to be sceptical of the
tools in Great Hollands approach. As one person commented: 'this
is social workers' clap trap [nonsense].'
Despite some difficulties, which we discuss However, questioning the authenticity of
below, the Community Assessment in Great the approach was a healthy reaction. In a
Hollands was a resounding success. Most Northern context it is much more likely that
people particularly the shyer and less arti- sentiments of this kind will be expressed.
culate tended to enjoy both group and indi- The unequal power relations, which often
vidual participatory sessions. During the accompany PRAs in the South, (where
course of the assessment, many people com- external agencies are associated with highly
mented on the amount of information that prized outside funding), often influence
had been generated, the intricacy of the people's compliance. In contrast, our presence
diagrams or matrices, and the way the methods as facilitators in Great Hollands was not
encouraged greater involvement. This was accompanied by any promise of outside
much more interesting than I thought it funding or substantial support. Such
would be', confided one elderly woman; questioning is an indication of the more
'usually community meetings are about us even balance of power between facilitators
all sitting and listening to local politicians.' and community groups. It could be seen as a
The Neighbourhood Forum members necessary prerequisite to a deeper owner-
were so pleased with the process that they ship of the process.
are currently asking CCB for support in Unfortunately, time constraints pre-
carrying out assessments on other estates in vented us from exploring other methods
the area. Forum members have requested and approaches, which might have been
further training in participatory approaches, more acceptable to certain elements in the
and appreciate the way that these methods community. Initial ideas had included the
facilitate 'real dialogue', as one put it, in the use of video cameras, but lack of time pre-
community. vented this. One digression from traditional
Despite some initial scepticism, most participatory approaches was made when a
people who took part in the assessment male member of the facilitating team
40 Gender and Development

wanted to carry out a formal questionnaire debt; isolation (from the community, if you
in his immediate neighbourhood. Another work, and from other people if you don't
brief foray was made into using photo work); lack of extended family; pockets of
collage: teenage girls were given a camera to deprivation; lack of affordable childcare;
document their perception of Great Hollands, lack of local, cheap activities for children of
or, as they put it, 'chilling out [relaxing] on all ages; lack of provision for children with
the estate'. This proved highly successful. special needs; lack of special activity for
women; glass on the children's playground;
difficulty of getting out of Great Hollands;
A gender-balanced approach? dog faeces on the pavements; headlice
The difficulty of involving women in partici- infestation at school; unsafe underpasses;
patory approaches is well-documented in poor provision of non-fiction titles, to help
the development literature: 'the partici- with children's schoolwork, in the library;
pation of women has in all PRAs been the need for tarmacing and effective drain-
limited and discontinuous' (Mosse 1995, age in the car park.
573, in the context of Western India). In the The chief concerns of men and father
context of Scotland, '...in almost every con- (again, in random order) were: personal
text it proved harder, in a short time, to lo- safety of families; vandalism; insufficient
cate and find the time to talk to women, car-parking spaces, and the failure to
especially younger women' (Wallace 1994, delineate parking bays in the squares; the
12). Interestingly, this was not our exper- need for tarmacing and good lighting in the
ience in Great Hollands. Women seemed car park; dog faeces on grass verges and
more interested than men were in finding out recreation areas; difficulty of car access to
how they could get involved in community the recreation ground; failure to prune
action, and played a dominant role in both bushes and trees, especially around lights,
facilitating the work of the Community Assess- and bad lighting in general, particularly in
ment (outnumbering men by eight to three the underpasses, which adds to safety
in the facilitating team), and participating in problems; cycle-paths not directed into town
meetings and discussions. centre; lack of litter bins; 'rat-runs' [short
Many men work away from the estate for cuts taken by motorists] through the estate
long hours, and this was one reason why it making roads unsafe.
was much easier to involve women in the Without wanting to either over-general-
process as they were more likely to be present ise or over-emphasise consensual views, a
on the estate during the day. Arrangements broad distinction can be made between the
were made to meet up with groups and concerns put forward by women and
individuals at times that were mutually mothers in the community, and those put
convenient. Meetings with women tended forward by men and fathers. Women were
to take place during the day (at school generally more concerned with social elements
groups, play groups, at their homes in the of community life, such as debt, isolation,
late afternoon or during a break in their and pockets of deprivation. Women and
working day). Meetings with men (partic- mothers were also typically more worried
ularly working men) were often in the about facilities for their children: both for
evenings and in public areas. Where young children and for the teenagers who
possible, facilitators also tried to involve 'lark about the estate at night'. In contrast,
residents in informal, ad-hoc ways (in the professional men and fathers were mainly
shopping centre, after church, etc). concerned with practical issues, such as car-
The chief concerns of women and parking, cycle paths, street lighting, and
mothers (in random order) were as follows: vandalism. This may be because men found
Adapting participatory development approaches

it easier to talk about practical concerns to1991, quoted in Mosse, 1995) reveals much
which practical solutions could be applied. that is unfortunate about many participatory
It may also be because women more readily processes. The rapidity with which many
interpreted 'community' as meaning the participatory appraisals are carried out
social nexus, rather than the physical environ-
undermines the ability of outside facilitators
ment. Women undoubtedly shared men's to listen (particularly to contradictions and
concerns about practical issues, such as the unexpected), to beflexiblein response to
street lighting, but these were not the firstlocal ideas and, crucially, to allow (and
issues that they chose to discuss. It is indeed encourage) people to become
interesting that no clear distinction can be gradually more involved in the process.
made between the concerns of older men and Lack of time can result in a failure to reveal
older women: both were principally preo- unequal power relations, and different
ccupied with 'the loutish behaviour of youthsperceptions of reality.
today', personal isolation, and fear of crime. Time was an issue in Great Hollands.
Despite working in our own culture, in our
Listening to women in male-dominated own language, and having a thorough
hierarchies understanding of local political structures, it
Although women were heavily involved in took a surprising amount of time to under-
the analysis and in putting together the stand local dynamics, hierarchies, and
action plan, it remains to be seen whether history. We had not come to Great Hollands
women's voices will be heard in the final with money to offer; just the offer of support
analysis. As is so often the case in local to Forum members in carrying out the
politics, Bracknell Forest Borough Council assessment. We needed to build trust quickly,
and Bracknell Town Council are dominated to empathise, to create a bond, and adapt
by men. At some stage, action points from our manner and behaviour according to
each of the five groups will need to be whomever we happened to be speaking.
prioritised and decisions made about taking Indeed, we could not have successfully
issues forward. CCB's previous experience facilitated the assessment if there had not
has shown that women often participate in been a CDW, based in Great Hollands for a
an assessment and initiate action. However, year, to support the process.
ultimately it is councillors mostly male Time was a problem for everyone. Even
who are in control of financial resources. those community members who were keen
to be involved in the assessment found the
commitment difficult to sustain. The Forum
Learning lessons from the team members involved throughout the
work in Bracknell process had to juggle their schedules
continually. Everyone had their own lives to
This brief experience of using participatory lead, with the usual round of parental
methods in Great Hollands threw up a duties, work commitments, and social
number of interesting insights, which are, engagements. They could not be expected to
undoubtedly, as relevant to working in the clear their diaries. While this is all too easy
South as they are to working in the North. to forget in other people's contexts and
While lack of space prevents a fuller cultures, in our own, it is much more
discussion, four learning points stand out: difficult. Each interview or meeting took at
least two hours. In the evening, after a
Time is of the essence working day, two hours is a long time to
The much-quoted remark 'just ask, they give up to a process with an uncertain
know; and they are your friends' (Pottier outcome.
42 Gender and Development

Each context is set in its own political web social and economic gulf between different
Another issue, which is all too often down- sectors of the estate. A 'high well-being'
played or ignored by researchers working in ranking for some implies a good (prof-
other cultures, was the complexity of local essional) job, owner-occupied house, and
politics. Political intrigue was rife in Great plenty of surplus income. For others, this
Hollands during the period of the asses- ranking signified at least one adult in
sment, as recent local elections had resulted employment (probably as an unskilled
in the party previously in control of local worker), a council flat, and eligibility for
government being replaced. Inevitably, state benefits.
policy was rapidly changing as the in- A second point on consensus is that,
coming council began to create its own while participatory approaches encourage
strategy. These political upheavals ine- the exploration of social diversity and
vitably affected the assessment, since the conflicting perspectives, the analysis all too
support of the local council for the outcome often masks heterogeneity. A huge amount
would be crucial to its success. It was vital of information, and a variety of perspec-
that the process did not become hi-jacked by tives, were aired and discussed during the
those with political interests. The assess- course of the assessment. However, in the
ment was also vulnerable to the legacy of final analysis, this information was distilled
past political campaigning; each issue (be it into five perspectives (mothers/women;
roads, lighting or local housing develop- men/fathers; older people; younger people;
ments) had its own party-political 'label', and professionals). The aim of the asses-
since one or other councillor had covered it sment was to produce an action plan, and
in his or her manifesto. this was achieved. Producing a summary is
Steering the assessment through the inherent in every planning process; it is a
political minefield became an aim in itself. prerequisite to practical application. How-
Two factors helped in this: first, the ever, there will always remain a tension
avoidance of too many public fora which between retaining a sense of community
could be dominated by political figures, and diversity, and producing summary reports
secondly the fact that the Forum members for action.
involved in the assessment took an active
role in deftly steering the process away from Adaptation is necessary in a Northern context
party politics, regardless of their many Individuals and institutions throughout
personal political differences. Without this Britain are currently developing a plethora
help, the assessment could have easily been of participatory approaches. The essence of
derailed. good PA listening, self-critical awareness,
encouraging people to take control will
The myth of community consensus never be inappropriate. Many of the reasons
Just as the whole nature of 'community' has why participatory tools are popular in the
been challenged in the development liter- South are equally relevant in the North.
ature, so too should it be scrutinised here. It Participatory methods emphasise listening
became clear, over time, that the Great to people, and giving them the opportunity
Hollands estate is divided both geograph- to analyse their own situation and seek then-
ically and socially. Those who live in Great own course of action. Feeling enthusiastic
Hollands south often protest at their address and positive about taking action inspires
being given as 'Great Hollands', preferring people with energy. (The downside of this,
to call their area by its street name of of course, is that people can feel cheated
Staplehurst. Well-being ranking carried out when change turns out to be more difficult
during the assessment illustrated a huge to bring about than initially anticipated.)
Adapting participatory development approaches 43

Although PA methods are potentially in the South. Contact details: 37 Hayfield Road,
both valuable and appropriate in a Northern Oxford 0X2 6TX. Tel/fax +44 (0)1865 559798.
context, they could further benefit from E-mail: davidccoates@gn.apc.org
adaptation to a new setting, and to meet the
demands (and expectations) in a post- Yvonne Craig works as a Community Develop-
modern age. Other methods could be used ment Worker for the Community Council of
to complement traditional PRA tools. It Berkshire (CCB). For the last two years, she has
would be interesting to experiment with been adapting and using participatory metho-
methods that entail limited time commit- dologies in the Northern context. Contact details:
ment, and give opportunities for creativity, Community Council of Berkshire. Epping House,
such as video and audio tape, drama, and art. 55 Russell Street, Reading RG1 7XG. Tel: +44
(0)118 9612000;fax: +44 (0)118 9612600

Concluding remarks
As always, with the benefit of hindsight, the
process of this specific assessment could 1 The 'children's support score' was
have been improved. More time, more developed by Bebbington and Miles to
training (of the Forum members), greater forecast the likelihood of children being
involvement of more residents - the list admitted into the care of the local author-
could continue. However, despite its flaws, ities. The score is based on a number of
the assessment has already yielded some factors (1991 Census data about single
interesting results. parent families, 4+ children, ethnic group,
Residents from Great Hollands have tenure, overcrowding, age of children,
recently held a well-attended open meeting, receipt of benefits) about the children's
at which they sub-divided into teams to take background which are weighted accord-
forward five tasks. Residents are also ing their importance.
applying for a local council award, to cover 2 Because of lack of space, the concerns and
the initial costs of putting together a local potential solutions put forward by each
newsletter. The Neighbourhood Forum has of these groups are not given in detail.
requested further training from the CCB so They are available in summary form from
that they can carry out assessments in other the CCB.
neighbourhoods. One of the major issues, 3 The evolution and spread of both RRA
which seemed to concern everybody, was and PRA methods are well documented
the state of the community centre. Recent (IIED, 1988-to present).
activity, by a group of residents, has resulted 4 During the 1980s, a distinction between
in a pledge of money and, more importantly, a methods emerged in the North similar to
seat at the table with Borough officers the RRA-PRA split in Southern contexts.
planning the redevelopment of the centre. While Participatory Assessment (PA)
Fortunately, the CCB Community Develop- gave more emphasis to community-based
ment Worker is based in Great Hollands to learning and action, Rapid Participatory
support and encourage the continuing Appraisal (RPA) became more system-
process; in the North just as in the South, atised. RPA is characterised as 'a profes-
follow-up and support is essential for lasting sional-led rapid research approach that
success. aims to furnish health managers with an
understanding of communities' (Corn-
Ros David is an independent consultant. She wall 1997,3).
formerly worked for Oxfam and has widespread
experience of using participatory methodologies
44 Gender and Development

References Jones, C (19%) 'Wallyford, participatory forestry

appraisal', unpublished report to Reaffore-
Babtie group (1997) 'Bracknell Forest needs sting Scotland, Rural Forum and Highlands
profile: Initial results for discussion', and Islands Forum to the Scottish office.
Report for the Babtie group, Bracknell, Mosse, D (1995) 'Authority, gender and
Berkshire, July knowledge: theoretical reflections on
Chambers, Robert (1997) Whose Reality participatory rural appraisal', Economic
Counts: Putting the Last First, ITDG and Political Weekly, 18 March
Publications, London Parris H and J Parris (1981) The Idea of New
Cornwall, A (1997) 'Roundshaw parti- Towns, Bracknell Development Corpor-
cipation well being needs assessment', ation, Bracknell, England
Report for Merton, Sutton and Wands- Pretty, J, Guijt, I, Thompson, J and Scoones, I
worth Special Health Promotion Services, (1995) Participatory Learning and Action: A
April Trainer's Guide, IIED, London
Craig, Y and C Barahona (1996) Perceptions Sellers, T and M Westerby (1996) 'Teenage
of East Berkshire: A Rapid Assessment, facilitators: barriers to improving adolescent
CCB Research and Policy Paper, No 1, sexual health', PLA Notes, IIED, London,
Community Council of Berkshire, February
Reading Wallace, T (1994) 'PRA: Some issues raised
Cresswell, T (1996) 'Participatory appraisal by experience in the North', Paper for
in the UK urban health sector: keeping DSA conference, Lancaster, Sept.
faith with perceived needs', Development Watkins, K (1995) The Oxfam Poverty Report,
in Practice 6:1, February Oxfam, Oxford
IIED (1988) RRA Notes, International Weaver, J (1996) The use of participatory rural
Institute of Environment and Develop- appraisal in the UK A brief overview', report
ment, London (RRA Notes became PLA for the Charities Evaluation Service,
Notes in 1995) December

The street press:

homelessness, self-help, and social identity
Tessa Swithinbank
During the 1990s, the street press movement has spread rapidly throughout the developed
world. The movement is a unique social experiment which tackles the problems of homelessness
through the concept of self-help. Helping homeless, ex-homeless and vulnerably accommodated
people help themselves through the selling of newspapers or magazines can break dependency on
state benefits, and is an alternative to begging.

W hen the feasibility of The Big Issue

initiative was first discussed
between its instigators in the
private sector,1 and a wide range of con-
cerned people (including homeless people
why gender, race, and other aspects of social
identity affect the likelihood of homeless
people choosing to sell street publications as
a strategy for survival or for leaving the streets.

themselves, workers in non-governmental

organisations working on homelessness, repre- The Big Issue initiative
sentatives of local government, and the police), The Big Issue was launched in September 1991,
many said that the idea was unworkable. with capital from The Body Shop Foundation,
The concept aroused intense suspicion, even the charitable arm of a well-known UK-based
among homeless people themselves. The toiletries and cosmetics company, which itself
perspective of many professionals already has a socially responsible business policy.2 It
working on the issue of homelessness was also began with 25 vendors, and a monthly print-run
negative. Their reasoning was two-fold: first, of 30,000 copies, published in English. At
that there were already enough charities and first, the newspaper was sold only in London.
projects caring for the immediate and long-term Word soon spread on the streets, and within
needs of homeless people in the UK; and a few months hundreds of homeless people
second, that such a 'commercial' idea would were selling The Big Issue. On its first anniver-
never catch on. The Big Issue initiative takes an sary the change was made to a fortnightly
empowerment perspective, focusing on publication, and from a newspaper to a maga-
homeless people not simply as social problems, zine format, in response to both consumer
but as contributors to their own future. and vendor preference for this smaller size.
This article surveys the development of Since 1993, it has been published weekly. Three
the initiative, and compares The Big Issue to further regional publications Big Issue
street papers in North, South and Eastern Scotland, Big Issue Cymru (Wales) and Big
Europe, and South Africa. It also discusses Issue in the North have since been launched.
46 Gender and Development

Sustainability and enterprise 'pitch' from which to sell, and they sign a
code of conduct. Around 500 vendors sell in
An important element in the sustainability London on any one day, with a further 3,000
of The Big Issue is its high quality, which in all major UK towns and cities. For some
means that consumers want to buy and read vendors, selling The Big Issue is a central
it on a regular basis. The Big Issue has element of their strategy for making a living;
achieved this through a lively combination for others, it plays a more minor role.
of investigative reporting, campaigning on
issues that affect homeless people, arts news, The social initiative
and celebrity interviews with such people as The social initiative activities provide a support
the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, and system to suit the needs of each vendor, and
the pop star George Michael. create the opportunity for re-integration into
The London edition has an ABC (Audited society. All vendors have access to a range
Bureau of Circulation) sales figure of 149,194 of support services, run by a number of
per week, with the national figure standing teams which differ in detail in each region. In
at over 300,000. Independent readership London, Vendor Services offers housing and
surveys reveal that the average buyer is resettlement, from emergency accommodation
middle-income and under 40, and about 55 to permanent housing with resettlement
per cent of readers are women. The Big Issue support; a Drug and Alcohol Worker offers
is read every week nationally by over a counselling to vendors who are worried about
million people. Sales provide 60 per cent of their drug or alcohol use, and provides a refer-
the magazine's income, and advertising ral service to specialist agencies; and a Vendor
provides the other 40 per cent. Liaison Worker handles day-to-day issues
and suggests services which may be of use.
Outreach teams offer practical and emotional
A holistic approach support to homeless people, both on the streets
to homelessness and at The Big Issue offices. A Vendor Support
Fund gives small grants to vendors who may
Homelessness is not an isolated social issue. need, for example, furniture for a new flat,
It is a direct consequence of social and economicspecial clothing for a new job, or equipment for
pressures on individuals. The recession, training. The Jobs Education and Training Unit
unemployment, lack of affordable accommoda- can help vendors move into the workplace or
tion, mortgage default, marital breakdown, and further education. The unit not only provides
abuse at home are contributory factors to a individual programmes for vendors who want
person's becoming homeless. Although Britain to learn keyboard and computing skills, word
is a 'welfare state', the state benefit system processing or desk top publishing, but also finds
has been drastically cut back over the last and funds places on training and education
decade, making it impossible to do more than courses and offers work experience opportunities,
subsist on government benefit. People who in The Big Issue offices and in other companies.
sleep on the streets only receive a personal
weekly allowance of about 25 (Big Issue unpub- Self-expression and awareness-raising
lished information). The Big Issue initiative A range of creative workshops help home-
responds in a holistic way to homelessness. less people rebuild their self-confidence;
these include writing and drama groups,
Income generation through sales and art, photography, and video workshops.
Vendors buy the magazine for 35p (the price The Big Issue is a forum where homeless
of a pint of milk) and sell it for 80p. They are people can air their views and publish their
given a badge, sales training, allocated a work. The flourishing creative writing group has
Homelessness, self-help and social identity 47

been meeting weekly since the magazine's been a very positive way of counteracting the
launch, providing copy for the two-page sense of invisibility that homeless people exper-
'Street Lights' section in the magazine. ience. Vendors reported that selling has also
increased their self-respect and confidence.
In terms of public education, 77K Big Issue
Impact of The Big Issue has contributed greatly to placing homeless-
At international level, 77K Big Issue was nomi- ness in the forefront of national consciousness.
nated as one of the 100 Urban Best Practices The magazine promotes change in the relation-
at the UN Habitat II Conference in May 1996, ship between the public and homeless people,
reflecting its impact both nationally and inter- through challenging stereotypical attitudes.
nationally on effecting social change. Yet the These attitudes have a strong element of
precise impact of the magazine on the lives of ambiguity: many people, for example, feel
the homeless is difficult to estimate. The initia- sorry for people on the streets, but dislike
tive works with only a minority of the thousands being approached by them for money, and
of UK homeless; selling The Big Issue is not a may perceive them as dirty or lazy (Big Issue
possibility for every homeless person: vendors internal information).
need to be physically and mentally active to be
able to stand on the streets all day.
We have not, so far, kept detailed stat-
istics of the numbers of men and women and social identify
who sell the magazine and take part in
related social activities. Vendors often move Homelessness in the UK is essentially a male
on into jobs or training without informing phenomenon; while national statistics on home-
us, or simply cease selling. There are vendors less applications are not broken down by gender,
who have been selling since The Big Issue evidence can be culled from various research
was launched, but others who do so for only reports (Aldridge 19%). Although homelessness
a few months or weeks. Others may sell for a among women is growing, they tend to find
while, stop, and then start selling again. ways of staying off the streets. Women make
The Big Issue's own definition of success is up the majority of 'hidden homeless': sleeping
to provide an opportunity for people to help on friends' floors, or trapped in insecure and
themselves. Vendors have a variety of expec- overcrowded accommodation, in a double bind
tations; while for some homeless people success of poverty and violent personal relationships.
is securing formal employment, and involve- According to a report by the Sainsbury
ment in The Big Issue is one step towards Centre for Mental Health (December 1996)
this, for others simply selling the paper is a the main differences between homeless men
big personal achievement. In terms of earning and homeless women are:
money, The Big Issue has given homeless
people a legal way of making money, as an The average age of homeless women is
alternative to criminal activities such as lower than men a much higher proportion
begging or theft. The police in various parts are under 25.
of the country have commented that petty Women are more likely to have been
crime has been reduced in inner cities because married, to have had children, and to have
of 77K Big Issue (Big Issue internal information). maintained contact with their families.
Aside from the economic benefits of the Women are more likely to have a history
sales themselves, many sellers stated (in the of family violence, or abusive relation-
Vendors' Survey) that one of the most reward- ships with partners (a 1993 report indicated
ing aspects of selling the magazine is their day- that up to four in ten homeless women
to-day contact with the general public. This has had been sexually abused).
48 Gender and Development

Women are more likely to have been separ- The Big Issue initiative is responding to
ated from their parents before the age of 10. this by attempting to create a more women-
Women are more likely to have stayed on friendly environment at The Big Issue offices,
at school, and to have obtained qualifications with a 'women's drop-in', where women
and work experience. can come during the afternoon to relax and
Women are more likely to have been talk. Women's hostels are also being targeted,
diagnosed as schizophrenic. to encourage more women to sell, and research
Women are much less likely to have is being carried out on how street selling can
problems with alcohol. be made a safe activity for women. More
widely, The Big Issue initiative is also trying
Many of these points were confirmed by to raise awareness of women's homelessness
the results of a survey of 100 Big Issue in order to counter the very male image of
vendors (Dane 1997). homelessness.

Making the street press Promoting re-integration

friendlier to women into society

Is the street press an appropriate strategy to One of the central issues is how to get
address the needs of homeless women? In homeless people to 'move on', back into main-
terms of gender breakdown, 88 per cent of active stream society, and not become dependent
vendors in London are male and 12 per cent on The Big Issue. While selling could potentially
are female. The average age is 34, with two- provide a sustainable income, it should be
thirds between 26 and 45 (Vendors' Survey). regarded more as a 'bridge into the world of
It would be difficult to ascertain why work'. By selling and taking advantage of
women who have once sold The Big Issue the support services, vendors can achieve a
stop selling, as they are not then available degree of stability and begin to make plans
for interview. However, the particular issues for the future. People are encouraged to move
affecting women on the streets indicate the on, but this may take one person a month,
reasons for women's low level of participation. and another five years.
First, the experience of women in the infor- Having established good working relation-
mal sector all over the world is that street- ships with other agencies, The Big Issue
selling is difficult for those with small children initiative is now involved in campaigns, in
to care for (Heyzer 1981). In addition, in the particular through the Homeless Network
UK it is illegal to sell on the streets when (incorporating other UK NGOs working on
accompanied by children aged between five homelessness, including Shelter and Centre-
and sixteen (the ages between which schooling point). Street papers themselves take part in
is compulsory). Few creches are available. campaigning, on issues such as votes for home-
Second, homeless women face specific less people (in the UK, voters must appear
difficulties in relation to violence; many on an electoral register, with a street address).
have experienced domestic violence in the
past, followed by harassment and sexual
threats once they move outside the home,
The street press in other
both on the streets or in hostels. Women countries
who have already experienced domestic
violence do not feel secure about selling on Street papers are a phenomenon of the dev-
the streets, where some have been proposi- eloped world, where the main street activity
tioned or attacked. for marginalised people is begging. North
50 Gender and Development

are likely to suffer from very poor or no self- difficult for homeless people to find a way
esteem. In the view of the social development out of their predicament, because the
co-ordinator, Debi Diamond, this reflects the opportunities for access to appropriate
legacy of decades of oppressive apartheid assistance are so limited' (Avramov 1997).
and the erosion of self-confidence. The main Flaszter was launched in Budapest, Hungary,
challenges for the Cape Town paper have in January 1997, where at least 20,000 people
been to motivate the vendors to progress beyond are homeless, and Ulica was recently launched
the point of generating only enough income in Warsaw, Poland.
for subsistence, and to build their self-esteem. St Petersburg, Russia, has probably the
During the month of April 1997, out of a most acute homelessness problem in Eastern
total of 184 registered vendors, only nine Europe, with at least 50,000 people homeless
were female, but in fact only four of these were (Nochlyezhka, undated). Alcohol poisoning
active. In terms of ethnicity, 34 per cent are Xhosa, and malnutrition, combined with the long and
33 per cent 'coloured' (the South African term brutal winters, are the cause of over 3,000 deaths
for mixed race) and Afrikaans-speaking, and 33 per on the streets each year. The city's street paper,
cent white, speaking either English or Afrikaans. The Depths, was launched in 1994, inspired
These statistics reflect the developing by a copy of The Big Issue which arrived via
impoverishment of white South Africans. Germany at the night shelter and soup
Big Issue Cape Town seeks to challenge and kitchen, (Nochlyezhka). Valeriy Sokolov,
change public perceptions of the role of founder of the shelter and of The Depths, has
homeless people in society. Public antagonism campaigned and won many rights for homeless
still exists towards the homeless, and vendors people, from the local government.
have suffered from abuse. This is compounded Since there is no welfare system in St
by racial overtones between the different Petersburg for those without an 'internal
ethnic groups. Big Issue Cape Town is addressing passport7 (which the homeless do not have),
these issues but as a new business, it will those homeless people who come to the
take time to produce concrete results. shelters are absolutely destitute. The shelter
provides food and then gives people the
Central and Eastern Europe opportunity to earn an income through
The street paper concept is still in its infancy selling the paper. This has had repercussions
in Central and Eastern Europe. The collapse for the paper's economic stability, as many
of communism brought to light previously vendors are unable to buy their copies initially
hidden homelessness in the region. The and the organisation has had to subsidise
communist authorities considered homeless the paper. There are few women vendors.
people criminals and this attitude was shared Freezing winter temperatures also mean that
by the general public. However, things are no vendor can stand out on the street, so this
slowly changing. The causes of homelessness presents additional problems of obtaining
throughout Eastern Europe are myriad: ex- an income in the winter months. They can
prisoners and ex-army people with no stand in the metros, just inside stations.
family to return to; abuse at home; changing The Big Issue Scotland recently formed a
family forms and enforced separation within partnership with The Depths with the help of
extended families, unaffordable accommoda- ODA (now the Department for International
tion, and the low quality of housing stock. A Development) funding. This is an example
recent report exposes the massive scale of of helping to develop projects in Eastern
the housing crisis in the countries of Central Europe by providing technical and financial
and Eastern Europe: 'compared with the help from the West.
situation in the EU, the most striking feature
of housing exclusion ... is that it is far more
Homelessness, self-help and social identity 51

Street papers: the future Dane K (1997) The Big Issue Vendor Survey.
Heyzer C (1981) Women, Subsistence and the
Street papers would not be an appropriate Informal Sector: Towards a Framework of Ana-
strategy for tackling homelessness in every lysis, IDS Discussion Paper 193, University
country. Where the market of the streets is of Sussex.
competitive, or where there is not a high literacy Nochlezhka (publisher) Petersburg in the
rate among consumers, they would not Early 90s: Crazy, Cold, Cruel PO Box 110,
provide a viable source of income for vendors. 191025, St Petersburg, Russia.
They need initial investment, a strong team Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health (1996)
composed of professional journalists and Double Exposure: Addressing the Needs of
those working in the social arena, and they Homeless Women with Mental Illness.
need to be economically sustainable, or they December 1996
will not survive. In addition, the strategy will
be more viable for some homeless people than
others, depending on factors of social identity Useful addresses
including gender and race. Another determinant The International Network of Street Papers
of whether a street paper will succeed is the (INSP) was founded in July 1994. Member-
public attitude to street selling. ship is based on being a signatory of the Street
While street papers are not going to Paper Charter. For information contact:
eradicate homelessness, they enable individ- INSP c / o The Big Issue, 57 Clerkenwell
uals to regain a stake in society, and play a Road, London EC1M 5NP.
large part in raising the profile of homeless- Tel: 171-418-0418. Fax: 171-418-0428.
ness among the public and government
INSP e-mail: insp.lon@bigissue.co.uk
officials. As John Bird, founder of The Big Issue,
observed, the success of street papers is unfor- North American Street Newspapers
tunately built on the tragedy of homelessness. Association Website:
-But the initiative represents hope and http://www.speakeasy.org/nasna
resolve, in place of defeat and despair.
National Coalition for the Homeless, 1612 K
St NW, No 1004, Washington DC 20006,
Tessa Swithinbank is Coordinator of International
USA. Tel: 202-775 1322. Fax: 202-775 1316.
Network of Street Papers and Manager of the Inter-
national Department, The Big Issue, Fleet House,
57 Clerkenwell Road, London EC1M 5NP. Fax: 00
44171418 0428, e-mail: byidon@bigissue.co.uk Notes
1 The chairman of the UK company The
References Body Shop, Gordon Roddick, bought a
Aldridge R (1996) European Observatory: copy of New York's street paper, Street
National Report 1996 for the UK on Youth News (launched in 1989), on a trip to the
Homelessness, FEANTSA, US, and believed that this concept could
Avramov D (1997) Housing Exclusion in Central be developed in the UK.
and Eastern Europe, Federation of National 2 'Socially responsible' is defined here as
Organisations Working with the Home- running a business ethically: a critical
less (FEANTSA), 1 Rue Defacqz, Brussels part of this is avoiding the exploitation of
B-1050, Belgium. Tel: 322-538-6669. people involved in the business as
Fax: 322-539-4174. suppliers, staff or consumers, or polluting
e-mail: 106043.1514@compuserve.com, or endangering the environment.

Giving women the credit:

the Norwich Full Circle Project
Ruth Pearson and Erika Watson
The Full Circle Project is a response by a women's organisation to the dynamics of women's poverty
and economic exclusion in contemporary Britain. The authors emphasise the need for credit provision
for women to be seen as only one part of an integrated strategy for poverty reduction.

evelopment analysts and pract- the Full Circle Project suggests, it can be one
itioners are familiar with the expo- part of an integrated strategy aimed at
nential growth of microcredit and providing options for low-income women
other microfinance strategies targeted at in the North to break through the structures
poor households in both urban and rural of economic and social exclusion which are
communities in the South over the last characteristic of late twentieth-century
decade. Because of the ways in which Britain.
household gender relations are structured,
and especially because of women's role as
guarantor of household subsistence needs, Women and poverty in Britain;
many of these programme are particularly where micro-credit fits in
focused on women, who have proved to be
active participants in such schemes, and In the North, as in Southern economies, the
particularly good loan repayers (Goetz and characteristics of women and low-income
Sen Gupta 1996). Since the Microcredit Summit households are extremely varied, and no
in February 1997, there has been growing single policy approach is appropriate for all.
international clamour to promote credit for There are many factors which have contrib-
small businesses as a strategy to eradicate uted to the feminisation of poverty in the UK
poverty and to 'empower' women, in South over the last 20 years. The erosion of the
and North. The Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, level of real wages,1 particularly at the less
which operates on the basis of group collateral skilled end of the labour market where
and peer pressure, has often been presented as women with children typically cluster, has
a model to be replicated in other contexts. meant that it is difficult for women to re-enter
Credit is not a magic missing link between paid employment after a break for child
poverty and economic sustainability care, at a level at which a single wage will
(Johnson and Rogaly 1997). However, as move her beyond benefit dependency

Gender and Development Vol 5, No. 3, November 1997

The Norwich Full Circle Project 53

(MacFarlane 1997); hence the current pre- economy? The Full Circle Project is an initiative
occupation with welfare-to-work2 paths for which has been developed in response to
single parents. Although women earn 80 per this need by the Women's Employment,
cent of the average male wage, if they get a Enterprise and Training Unit (WEETU), a
job it is more likely to be part-time; a feature women's organisation set up in 1987 to
of the increasing 'flexibility' of the respond to the increasing marginalisation of
contemporary labour market (Balls 1993). women in the local economy in the city of
Twenty years ago, a low-income house- Norwich and the surrounding area in
hold was likely either to have a single wage eastern England. WEETU's aim was to help
coming in, or to have one family member women to adapt to economic change by
who was looking for work, since the value lobbying local and national government, by
of a single wage could lift a household participating in economic planning at the
above poverty level (Gregg and Wadsworth, local level, and by working with statutory
1995). Low-income households were thus training providers to ensure women's needs
either still connected, or potentially able to are reflected at all stages of policy formation
re-connect on receipt of a single wage, with and implementation.
the world of work and other social and Over the years, one of WEETU's most
economic networks. Today, in contrast, single- effective strategies has been to establish
or dual-parent households living on the innovatory services which meet the needs
margins of the mainstream economy are of women, and which point the way to
more likely to be struggling to survive outside policy change to benefit other marginalised
formal employment. This means not only low groups. For instance, a women-focused
income, but concentration in localities and guidance service on training and educational
regions of high levels of social and economic opportunities piloted by WEETU has been
deprivation: poor housing, badly resourced extended and replicated by a range of main-
schools, scarcity of affordable transport and stream providers, including local council
community services, and very limited financial, education departments and Training and
educational, and training opportunities. Enterprise Councils (TECs), and is now a
There are other reasons why women find central part of community level services in
themselves marginalised. Not only single the area. Women who are outside the world
parenthood, but marriage and divorce can also of paid work have a wide range of relevant
result in women becoming detached from skills and experience. A government-
educational, employment, and other services sponsored Unpaid Work project showed
and networks, often despite a previous successful how the skills women develop in the home,
employment or educational history. Migrant and in unpaid community work, are compar-
women, and those from linguistic and ethnic able to those required for National Vocational
minorities, face discrimination in access to Qualifications in four occupational areas.
training and financial services as well as in The Project has developed a system for accred-
employment markets, which frequently fail itation of unpaid work into the NVQ system.
to value their experience and qualifications
gained elsewhere (Macfarlane 1997). It is not
surprising, therefore, that not only are women The Full Circle Project
amongst the most disadvantaged in poor The Full Circle Project is a three-year pilot
communities, but that women who are project to support women who want to set
excluded from mainstream markets are up their own microbusiness. A 'bundle' of
concentrated in poor communities. resources is provided within the framework
What then are the options for women of the project not only credit, but also business
trying to re-connect with the mainstream training, support, and appropriate levels of
54 Gender and Development

help with child care and transport problems. and financial management training and
The project is designed to enhance the economic advice. These circles will comprise four to
opportunities not only of the participants six women, who will jointly assess each
but also of their local communities, by increas- other's loan applications and be collectively
ing local economic activity, adding to local liable for any individual default.
employment, providing positive role models, The lending circles will be responsible,
and building new networks of services. with the support of Enterprise Development
Officers, for establishing their own rules of
The context operation, assessing the feasibility of individual
The project is based in three Norfolk com- businesses, and applying for loans. The loan
munities: a council estate in Norwich, a declining fund will be managed by CAF (the Charities
agricultural community in north Norfolk, Aid Foundation). Loans will be fairly small
and a declining urban industrial area in the (500 or below) initially, but can be stepped
south of the county. up to a maximum of 2000. No credit checks
It is anticipated that about 225 women are made on individuals; instead, as described
will be recruited from these three areas to take above, the group takes on collective responsibility
part in the enterprise training element of Full for repayment and for the possible defaults
Circle. This starts with a pre-training famil- by any individual member. Therefore the
iarisation, an in-depth course entitled 'Is groups will have to assess collectively the
enterprise for me?', and a business-skills training soundness of an individual woman's business
module which includes business planning, plans, and whether she is likely to be a reliable
financial and resource management, and repayer; repayment of a loan will be a pre-
marketing. requisite for others to borrow from the fund.
Those running successful businesses with
Transferring skills to other contexts sound repayment histories will have access
Not everyone is suited to business enterprise. to higher levels of credit; and it is anticipated
Research in the USA leads us to predict that that they will eventually progress to using
only 10 per cent of women initially recruited financial and business services provided by
will pursue the programme to the final stage the existing banking and business advice
of taking a loan and setting up their own systems at the local and regional level.
business. 3 However, the programme has The project is being run alongside another
been designed in line with WEETU's previous WEETU project, the Enterprising Women's
experience, so that skills and information Network, for established! women entrepreneurs,
developed at the pre-enterprise stages of the which provides advice, mentoring, and
programme are transferable to other business contacts for the 'proto-businesses'
economic activities. If a woman chooses to emerging from the Full Circle project.
take up training and educational opportunities
or seek full- or part-time waged employment, Funding
we would regard this as a successful outcome of The implementation of the project has been
the project. The option of obtaining appropriate funded by the European Social Fund and the
level NVQ and other accreditation is built UK National Lottery Charities Board, This
into the planning of the training programmes. follows a developmental period which was
supported by a range of funders, including some
Gaining group access to loans local hinders.4 The Charities Aid Foundation
A woman who opts for self-employment Loan Services have supported the develop-
will become a member of a lending-business ment of the Loan Fund and a number of
circle which will have access to loans for commercial banks are expected to participate in
enterprise start-up expenses, and business the future development of the programme.
The Norwich Full Circle Project 55

Towards sustainability that the government must recognise the

In the context of Southern micro-credit schemes, need to share the risk with participants, and
sustainability has been seen from the institutional should allow for a gradual transition from
point of view and been concerned with rates benefits to independence, so that low-income
of repayment, and whether income generated women can make informed choices about
by fees and interest payment can cover trans- their futures.
action and administrative costs. But, while We are currently in discussions with the
institutional sustainability is an important Department for Education and Employment,
long-term goal, we take a different perspective, and the Department of Social Security, regarding
seeing sustainability in terms of the long- a 'welfare waiver' for women presently
term sustainability of the individual woman living on benefits. This would allow women a
participant and her household; and of WEETU's period of 'enterprise rehearsal', during which
developing relationship with local partners subsistence and other benefit entitlements will be
and participation in policy debates on economic safeguarded. During that time, any surplus
exclusion and strategies for poverty from trading can be re-channelled back into
alleviation at both national and local levels. the business rather than being counted as
income for living expenses. In this way
Livelihood strategies and reducing risk entitlements to income support and
From the point of view of individual women, associated benefits will be protected while
we need to ensure that the risk of investing the new microbusiness is nursed towards
their own time and resources in establishing viability.5
a new business, from what many experts These issues need to be discussed in the
would see as an impossible starting position, context of recognising that for many people
does not threaten the security of their the income from small businesses will for
households. No rational woman would risk some time only partially cover living expenses
the survival of her household members by (called 'income patching' in North America)
jeopardising income support to meet basic but that the long-term benefits of building
needs; therefore, women in low-income up experience in the mainstream economy,
households can only be encouraged to initiate transferable skills, and connections with services
business ventures which offer income streams and resources are positive outcomes; outright
in the future if their families' immediate independence from welfare through self-
security is not threatened. As has been argued supporting business activity should not be
in the context of supporting women's businesses the only measure of success.
in developing countries, low-income house- It is also mistaken to see sustainability for
holds are not all in identical positions, and the project in terms of the ability to cover imple-
policies must be flexible enough to meet the mentation and transaction costs from the
particular circumstances of individuals and interest generated by financial services. The
allow them to pursue micro-enterprises only UK government has already conceded this
when the security of their households has point in an agreement concluded in 1994
been met (Grown and Sebstad 1989). with the Prince's Youth Business Trust (an
We have therefore stressed to government organisation that provides business credit
that support for enterprise start-ups through for disadvantaged young people). Under this
microcredit and training can only form part scheme the Department for Education and
of the new 'welfare to work' packages if Employment grants a payment of 1500 to the
carefully designed to meet the actual situation PYBT for each unemployed participant whose
of low-income women (Pearson 1997). In our business is still trading 15 months after start up;
advocacy role we can make the case that the a payment which helps to meet the running cost
experience of this and other projects indicates of the organisation (Hayday and Locke 1997).
56 Gender and Development

Here, the government has recognised that the transition to using the financial services
sustainability should be understood in terms of of mainstream banks, leaving us to concentrate
successful outcomes for participants, rather on other women wishing to start up
than of covering project costs. businesses.
For WEETU, long-term sustainability
needs to be seen in other ways. We need to
maintain and develop our relationship with
partners in the communities with whom we There has been a much debate about the
work, and in the policy arenas of the region, assumption that credit for women can empower
so that the lessons from our pilot projects them either in economic terms (Mayoux
can be built into to policy options for the 1997) or more widely. Despite the tendency
whole country. For instance, we would like among many donors to see credit as a universal
to see support for new microenterprises as remedy for women's poverty, our interna-
being part of the Government's New Deal tional development experience has made us
for Youth and Long Term Unemployed. We painfully aware of the problems and pitfalls
would argue that any schemes to promote of using credit as a 'one-size-fits-all' approach.
employment at the community level should However, there is another issue which
recognise the need to offer part-time as well arises in this context. The 1997 Microcredit
as full-time work, if women (and others) are Summit organised by RESULTS was hailed
going to be able to re-connect to the world by Northern government spokespersons,
of training and work. including Hillary Clinton, as a global strategy
We need to work with other organisations to for poverty eradication. Development
develop parallel microfinance services in the agencies and experts with experience in the
communities in which we work. In particular South should beware of importing uncritically
we would like to see developments in the models developed and refined in the South
provision of credit for consumption and to the very different context of poverty and
community activities, as well as an extension of social exclusion in the North. Women's
the savings and barter services currently poverty in Northern countries has to be seen
offered by Credit Unions and LETS (Local within the context of structural changes in
Exchange Trading Schemes). labour market supply and demand factors
We need to explore ways in which the and in the relationships between employ-
scale of business credit can be increased, ment and welfare systems. Individual
and members of low-income communities projects have to be designed in the context
enabled to use mainstream banking and of such systems, and involve a dialogue with
financial services. Our project should demon- policy-makers and implementers.
strate to a historically sceptical banking WEETU's Full Circle Project is a response
industry that people on low incomes do not by a women's organisation to the dynamics
necessarily have low prospects and that it is of women's poverty and economic exclusion
worthwhile for banks to develop an appropriate in contemporary Britain. We have developed
range of services for these people. this 'credit-plus' approach on the basis of
However, at the same time an important our experience with women in the local
principle for the Full Circle Project is to economy. The success of the Full Circle
maintain a focus on loans for low-income Project will depend as much on its contribution
groups, and to resist the pressure to move to the reconsideration of the causes and
towards financial sustainability by diversifying dynamics of women's poverty in Britain as
into more profitable, larger loans. Hence the its provision of examples of successful
stress on developing mechanisms through women-run businesses and loan repayments.
which our successful participants can make
The Norwich Full Circle Project 57

Ruth Pearson is a founder Chair of WEETU and the programme and provide the appropriate
Full Circle Steering Committee. She teaches Gender state office with records of the financial
and Development at the School of Development transactions of their business. See for
Studies, University of East Anglia, and the Institute example WSEP 1995 which describes the
ofSociaal Studies at the Hague. regulations for a scheme in the State of Illinois.

Erika Watson is Coordinator of WEETU and

Director of the Full Circle Fund Project. She has
carried out research into the potential of the Grameen Balls, E (1993) 'Danger: Men not at work' in
Bank model for poor communities in the North. Balls, E and Gregg, P, Work and Welfare:
Tackling the Jobs deficit London, Institute
for Public Policy Research.
Notes Goetz, A M and Sen Gupta, R (1996) 'Who lakes
1 Tteal wages' refers to the actual purchasing the credit? Gender, power and control over loan
power of wages, taking into account price use in rural credit programmes in Bangladesh',
inflation. World Development 24:1, pp 45-63.
2 'Welfare-to-work' is a term denoting policy Gregg, P and Wadsworth, J (1995) 'A short
measures to enable people living in poverty history of labour turnover, job tenure and
to move from welfare to income generation. job security, 1975-93', Oxford Review of
3 In May 1997 the authors visited group Economic Policy 11:1.
credit projects in low-income neighbour- Grown, C and Sebstad, J (1989) Introduction:
hoods in Chicago and Boston, and attended towards a wider perspective on women's
the conference of the Association of employmenf World Development 17: 7.
Economic Opportunities at which some Hayday, M and Locke, M (1997) 'Social Invest-
hundreds of microcredit and finance ment and Microfinance'; paper given at
projects in the ISA were represented. the Development Studies Association
4 These include WEETU's core funders, Conference, UEA, Norwich September.
Norwich City Council as well as the Allen MacFarlane, R (1997) Unshackling the Poor: A
Lane Foundation, Oxfam UK/NI, the Complementary Approach to Local Economic
Gulbenkian Foundation, the Rural Develop- Development Joseph Rowntree Foundation,
ment Council and the Norfolk and Waveney York.
Training and Enterprise Council. Mayoux, L (1997) 'Women's empowerment
5 The previous UK government ran a and micro-finance programmes: approaches,
programme under which people were evidence and ways forward'; Draft
paid a small stipend for 12 months (called Overview Paper for Pilot Project: 'Micro
an Enterprise Allowance) whilst they Finance Programmes and Women's
developed their business ideas. This Empowerment: Strategies for Increasing
national scheme was discontinued some Impact' July
years ago. In the United States, since Self- Pearson, R (1997) 'Credit for micro-
Employment Exemption, which became law entrepreneurs: issues relating to policies
in 1992, entrepreneurs are allowed two on welfare to work and local economic
years to build their businesses while still development', mimeo, May, School of
receiving their benefits, though each state Development Studies, UEA, Norwich.
can decide the length and conditions of WSEP (1995) Self-Employment: A Guide for
this exemption. To qualify they have to AFDC Recipients, The Women's Self
participate in a recognised enterprise Employment Project (WSEP) Chicago.

Building community capacity:

Hull and East Yorkshire PRA Network
Tilly Sellers
Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) is a powerful and productive approach which enables
communities to analyse their situation and mobilise for action. In East Yorkshire, PRA training
offered to local people led to the formation of a network of practitioners and community activists.

n 1995, the Department of Public Health Initially administered by University
Medicine at the University of Hull was workers, the PRA Network underwent an
able to offer Participatory Rural App- almost organic growth, moving in a self-
raisal1 (PRA) training to local residents and directed way to meet needs and tackle issues
community-based workers, as part of a local as they came up. Meeting monthly, the first
health authority funded project on teenage focus was on mutual support. Then began
sexual health. A number of those trained the process of acquainting peers, and those
became practitioners in their own communities, in more powerful positions, with the principle
and PRA quickly became recognised as a of community participation, and PRA
powerful approach to both urban and rural techniques. This happened quite quickly, as
social development in the area. A network more work was carried out within
was formed and there was further demand communities, and some (although not all)
for training from local community activists. began to see the usefulness of this approach.
Between the beginning of 1996 and June The Network also served to encourage
1997, over 130 people participated in PRA personal development. The PRA training is
training. The majority were community- accredited through the Open College
based workers, predominantly from the Network. Several people were able to add
voluntary sector, with an increasing number their PRA practice to their CVs, enabling
of requests from residents' groups and from them to obtain jobs, or take further
statutory field workers. Working with education courses. The Network meetings
disadvantaged groups, some 30 community- became a safe, equitable opportunity to
led PRA projects were initiated, covering a share ideas for tools and projects, and
wide range of issues including drugs, eventually became a forum for sharing
violence, service provision, health, the work. It is now acceptable practice for
environment, poverty, and general capacity- people from a variety of backgrounds to
building. form PRA teams, and to collaborate on

Gender and Development Vol 5, No. 3, November 1997

Hull and Easr Yorkshire PRA Network 59

projects. This began on a voluntary basis, To provide free or subsidised PRA facilita-
but more recently some projects have attracted tion where requested by community
funding, and those not in employment can initiatives with an emphasis on com-
sometimes receive payment for their work. munity capacity-building and giving a
As the number of Network members voice to those who traditionally go unheard.
grew, there reached a critical point and a To provide free or subsidised consultation to
recognition that they had become a fairly community groups wishing to carry out
powerful group with a high level of net- participatory projects of their own which
working and collaboration between agencies, combat inequity and deprivation.
and between the voluntary and statutory To provide opportunities for skill sharing
sectors and the community. At this point the and exchange of cultures with PRA
idea of gaining financial support for the practitioners from the South.
Network in its own right was mooted. This
resulted in support from Oxfam's UK Anti- There are many types of PRA projects
Poverty Programme, and in tasks being facilitated by Network members; there is
shared out amongst Network members. The room here to include just one example of a
Network was able to become independent project in progress. After PRA training with
from the University. Training, information residents and workers in one area, a request
and fundraising were given priority (see was received by the Network from residents
below for contacts). A number of successful through a local domestic violence forum. A
funding applications were made for small amount of funding was available, and
different projects, including a three-year they wanted an appraisal of perceptions,
project, working with marginalised young issues and service needs to be carried out on
people in rural areas, which received a grant a particular housing estate. A group of
from the National Lottery Charitable Fund. residents and workers from the estate
Hull Council for Voluntary Service also agreed to participate in PRA training.
arranged to support the PRA training costs Working with diverse groups on the estate,
of resident groups. they will go on to focus their fieldwork on
It was at this point that the Network the causes, and impact, of domestic violence.
identified its shared philosophy (although Network members will then help them to
recognising that this is likely to change as appraise service needs. A review of national
the Network evolves). The emphasis is dearly project work on domestic violence is also
on development rather than on research. being produced by the Network. This is int-
PRA is defined by the Network as: attitudes, ended to stimulate ideas, and to highlight
behaviour and tools to enable a community- examples of good practice. The Domestic
driven process of social, physical and income Violence Forum will assist by linking
regeneration amongst disadvantaged groups. resident's groups to sources of funding
where necessary.
Aims of the Network PRA is a powerful and productive approach,
Aims and objectives of the PRA Netowrk and this is, without doubt, the main reason
currently include: for its swift uptake in disadvantaged areas
of the North. There may, however, be
To provide PRA training locally and nation- additional reasons for its success. Conversely,
ally, with the emphasis on fee payers the limitations and risks of PRA and this
subsidising free training for residents and type of networking are currently unknown,
community groups. and have so far not become apparent in Hull
To provide information about PRA locally and East Yorkshire. A participatory process
and nationally through a central contact. evaluation of the Network is clearly needed,
60 Gender and Development

which may give some indications of the Hull and East Yorkshire
effects and impact of the PRA Network. It PRA Network contacts
may also give some insight into critical
conditions necessary for its replication Information: Linda Tock, Community Focus,
elsewhere. In 1997, further research funding Hull Education Centre, Coronation Road
from the NHS Executive enabled PRA North, Hull HU5 5RL. Tel: 01482 883783
training to be held in Walsall and in Wester
Hailes in Edinburgh, where similar networks Email pranet@comfocus.karoo.co.uk
are beginning to be established.
Training: Paul Spooner, Hull DoC, 154-155
Tilly Sellers can be contacted at the Department Highcourt, Orchard Park, Hull HU6 9YS Tel:
of Public Health Medicine, University of Hull, 01482 854550
HullHU6 7RX.
Tel: 01482 466056 Fax: 01482 441408 Finance: Roger Newton, Rural Community
email: P.Sellers@phm.hull.ac.uk Council for Humber and Wolds, 14 Market
Place, Howden DN14 7BJ. Tel: 01430 430904
Notes Wester Hailes: Lynn Wotherspoon, 10/1
1 PRA is an approach that combines edu- Dumbryden Grove, Edinburgh EH14 2QW.
cation with research and collective action. Tel: 0131 5387028
Participants use mainly visual tools (for
example, mapping and diagramming) to Walsall: Daren Garratt, Eleanor Chell,
enable them to move through a process of WALKWAYS, 44 Littleton Street West,
looking at their current situation, and Walsall, WS2 8EW. Tel: 01922 721805
identifying areas for change. They verify
this information through 'triangulation'
i.e. cross-checking the conclusions References
through using different analytical tools, Chambers, R (1994) The Origins and Practice of
and constant feedback. This process is Participatory Rural Appraisal' World
repeated with a wide range of stakeholder Development Vol. 22, No. 7, pp. 953-969
groups, in order to examine the diversity
of opinion and need within a self-defined
community. Through a process of dialogue,
action is then prioritised, planned, imple-
mented and monitored by participants
themselves (Chambers, 1994).


Helen Carmichael
LEAP Theatre Workshop
Interviewed by Nicky May

Where does the name of your organisation come aimed to deepen its training work in
from? addressing issues of conflict, violence and
In the words of Alec Davison, a member of mediation.
LEAP: 'our name sums up the fact that to
make a leap is a creative act that sparks the What sort of issues facing young men and
resolving of conflict. It is a leap of faith, since women does LEAP's work address?
we leap in the dark. We plunge from the We work with whichever issues young
known of the hurt, to the unknown of how it people bring into our activities working on
may be healed.' conflict. These are often conflicts in personal
relationships, for example, conflicts with
How did LEAP'S work start? their parents, or their brothers and sisters, or
The concept of LEAP Confronting Conflict, conflicts with their children if they are
our conflict-resolution training programme, parents. Sometimes the conflicts involve
evolved from the work of LEAP theatre institutions for example, breaking the
workshop, which was set up in 1987 by rules or bullying at school, or getting into
Leaveners, the Quaker performing arts trouble with the police. Sometimes the
charity. The theatre workshop was initiated conflicts arise out of lack of resources caused
in response to growing youth unemploy- by poverty, unemployment or racism. Our
ment. Its aim was to encourage young emphasis is on seeing young people as
people under pressure to explore the causes creators, problem solvers and leaders.
of and alternatives to conflict, through
drama and theatre. How did you go about designing the anti-conflict
Having toured participatory theatre- training?
workshops nation-wide, performing in The techniques and structure of learning
youth, community, and penal venues, and grew in an original LEAP style, which
established a reputation for its vigorous suggests that young people should welcome
issues-based workshop style, LEAP then the opportunity that conflict brings, even

Gender and Development Vol 5, No. 3, November 1997

62 Gender and Development

though it is also dangerous. Coming to and alongside adults. We focus a lot on

terms with conflict, and using it creatively, working 'youth to youth', and hope to
leads to personal growth. encourage young people who would not
A 60-hour training module was dev- normally volunteer, to join us.
eloped, learning from many other organisa- We provide a range of training courses
tions in the field. This stemmed from action based on our action research for profes-
research in Britain, America, Europe, Australia, sionals in the youth, social, community and
and New Zealand. We developed a theoretical prison services. Courses are led by members
framework, which includes a synthesis of of LEAP'S pool of freelance trainers, who
communication, affirmation, assertiveness, come from drama, education, and youth
anger management, team building, and social work backgrounds. We provide
mediation skills, experienced through information on the models we use through
drama, role play, and enactive group work. training manuals and publications, and
LEAP plays with the concept of fire, to evaluation documents. We also have a cons-
help to analyse the causes and escalation of ultancy/training programme designing
conflict. For young people, fire is a more short courses, mainly one or two days, for
dynamic concept than peace. The training organisations throughout the UK.
team makes accessible to young people a LEAP Islington is a project run in
pattern of practical strategies, and rehearses association with Islington Youth Service in
a 'fire drill', to help both youth workers and London, for volunteers interested in training
young people to cope creatively with in work with young people in conflict. Part-
everyday conflicts. The content of the time training in conflict resolution and
sessions is different in each workshop, as it facilitation skills is offered to 12-16 volun-
arises from the everyday situations of the teers followed by a six-month supported
participants. placement, one evening a week, in a range
In 1992 LEAP published a training manual of local youth clubs.
based on this concept for professional youth Recent peer-education projects in schools
workers, Playing with Fire, and a handbook in the London Boroughs of Tower Hamlets
for those working with young people, and Camden have resulted in two
Fireworks. A pack of discussion posters publications. Tackling Bullying: Conflict
Burning Issues is published by the Resolution with Young People is a manual of
Leaveners Press. materials designed to provide ideas for
activities though which young people aged
What are the objectives of LEAP Confronting twelve years and over can explore the issues
Conflict? involved in bullying behaviour. Promoting
The LEAP Confronting Conflict Project was Positive Behaviour: Activities for Preventing
formed to provide further exploration of Bullying in Primary Schools is a pack for work
conflict, and training, for both professional with children under twelve years.
youth workers and young volunteers Finally, there's the Quarrel Shop, our most
working with young people on the issue, experimental piece of work yet. It is a
and to generate new projects and programme which aims to enable young
programmes of work with young people. people to take responsibility for resolving
their own disputes, to tackle bullying and
Could you describe your current activities? violence for themselves, and make creative
We run our own courses to train young use of the conflicts in their lives. To do this,
volunteers in mediation and conflict mediation skills are taught. This communi-
resolution techniques they will go on to cations process encourages young people to
work in the community, with their peers sort out their problems with someone closer
Interview 63

to their own age. Additional training is given own life stories as our starting point. We
in facilitation, community support, and leader- look at cycles of violence, and the points at
ship. Over the past three years we have run which they could potentially 'step off. We
projects in a variety of youth service venues. start the young men off on a search for
Over the next two years, a young people's medi- changes and encourage the staff to support
ation and conflict-resolution service will be the changes that the prisoners choose to
created. Various projects will also take place make. Short-term evaluation shows that the
in the community, in particular, with the medi- young men enjoy the work; their self-esteem
ation services of north-east London, as well increases, and their tendency to use violence
as youth clubs and at national recognised decreases after taking part. As with any
conferences. changes that we choose to make, they do
need support in the longer term from other
Can you describe LEAP's work with young organisations to keep going with the
offenders* ? positive alternatives they are trying out. We
We are working with HMP (Her Majesty's know we act as a spark for most to try
Prison) Feltham Young Offenders' Institution and something new'.
Remand Centre, with the support of the Sir John
Cass's Foundation, on coping with conflicts and LEAP Confronting Conflict can be contacted at
anger management. We are also developing The LAB, 8 Lennox Road, Finsbury Park,
a training module for use in other Young London N4 3NW, UK.
Offenders' institutions, and for work with Tel: 00 44171 272 5630
young men who are at risk of offending.
We encourage inmates to use their time
on remand to reflect on their lives and make
changes. We run three-day workshops, using 1 Young offenders have been found guilty
drama and role-play, using the participants' of criminal activity

Delegates at The Third Young People and Conflict Conference 1996


compiled by Sara Chamberlain

Women and Poverty in Britain: The 1990s,

edited by Caroline Glendinning and Jane
Millar, Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1992
Books A fully revised and updated edition of the
classic text. It analyses the extent of women's
Poverty: The Facts, Carey Oppenheim and Lisa poverty in a variety of contexts and social
Harker, Child Poverty Action Group, 1996 roles and how women are managing poverty
Poverty: The Facts is a comprehensive and on a daily basis. The most comprehensive
authoritative assessment of poverty in the and up-to-date analysis of the causes, extent
UK. It gives the latest poverty figures for the and consequences of women's poverty in
UK, provides comparative statistics on Britain.
poverty in Europe, and reveals the extent of
income and regional inequalities. Faces of Poverty: Portraits of Women and
Children on Welfare, Jill Duerr Berrick,
The Welfare State: Putting the Record Straight, Oxford University Press, 1995
by Carey Oppenheim, Child Poverty Action Most Americans are insulated from the poor.
Group, 1994 Instead, they are exposed to rhetoric and
This analysis of the welfare state in the UK hyperbole about the excesses of the American
denies government claims that social welfare system. These messages close the
security spending will outpace economic American mind to a full understanding of the
growth in future years. It also covers issues complexity of family poverty. But who are
such as race, homelessness, health and the these poor families? What do we know about
sexual politics of deprivation. how they arrived in such desperate straits?
Living and Working: An Illustration of the
Is poverty their fate for a lifetime or only for
Feminisation of Poverty in Europe, Network
a brief period? In Faces of Poverty, Jill Duerr
Women in Development Europe (WIDE), 1995 Berrick answers these questions as she
A collection of case studies that relate the dispels misconceptions and myths about welfare
feminisation of poverty in Europe to the and the welfare population in America.
failure of the current development model. America's Struggle Against Poverty 1900-1994,
Economic globalisation makes it essential to
James T Patterson, Harvard University Press, 1995
trace the links between women's experi-
In this probing history of twentieth-century
ences all over the world.
American attitudes toward the poor, James
Patterson explores how Americans have

Gender and Development Vol 5, No. 3, November 1997

Resources 65

viewed poverty and what their welfare The Exclusive Society: Citizenship and the Poor,
reformers have tried to do about it. Broad in Ruth Lister, Child Poverty Action Group
its scope, the book is especially pertinent to Ruth Lister argues that poverty excludes
the welfare-reform debate of the 1990s. millions from the full rights of citizenship,
undermining their ability to fulfil either their
Life on a low income, Elaine Kempson,
private or social obligations. She demonstrates
Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 1996. The
that it is impossible to divorce the rights and
Homestead, 40 Water End, York YO3 6LP.
responsibilities which are supposed to unite
Elaine Kempson argues that people living
citizens from the inequalities of power and
on low incomes in the UK are not an under-
resources that divide them.
class, but share the same aspirations as others
in society. This book paints a vivid picture of A Poor Future, Peter Townsend, Lemos and
life on a low income and shows how social, Crane in association with The Friendship
economic, and policy changes could make Group, 1996
that life less difficult. Professor Townsend concisely and accessibly
reveals disturbing new trends in the twin
The Oxfam Poverty Report, Kevin Watkins,
evils of poverty and social polarisation across
Oxfam UK and Ireland, 1995
the globe and in Britain. He proposes a new
Based on case studies and examples from
strategy to stop greater polarisation and
Oxfam's experience in over 70 countries, this
stabilise living standards, which takes into
report examines the causes of poverty and
account global economics. In a mixed economy
conflict. It concludes by proposing some of
greater priority has to be given to innovations
the policy and institutional reforms which
within the public sector as well as the restor-
would lead to an environment where people
ation of the principles of public service.
can act as agents of change to reduce poverty.
Paying for Inequality: The Economic Cost of
The Dynamics of Poverty, James Williams and
Social Injustice, Andrew Glyn and David
Brendan Whelan, Combat Poverty Agency,
Miliban (eds), EPPR/Rivers Oram Press, 1994
1994 . The Bridgewater Centre, Conyngham
Confronts the basic assumption that measures
Road, Islandbridge, Dublin 8.
to promote equality always incur a cost in
Draws on information from large-scale sample
surveys to show that Irish households experi- economic efficiency. In fact, inequality in
ence changes in their poverty status over Britain today is a barrier to economic success.
time, and therefore the notion of a fixed and Includes papers by 15 experts in health,
relatively unchanging stock of households labour economics, education, social policy,
below the poverty line must be revised. taxation and criminology.
Poverty: Answering Back,
bone Parents: Poverty and Public Policy in
Oxfam UK/I and Channel Four
Ireland, Jane Millar, Sandra Leeper, and
Poverty: Answering Back is a collection of
Celia Da vies, Combat Poverty Agency, 1992
testimonies from people living in poverty
By 1989, there were at least 40,000 lone-
around the world. Each story is accompanied
parent families in Ireland, the vast majority
by statistical 'poverty/wealth indicators' for
headed by women. Lone-parent families have a
the particular part of the world, brief
much higher risk of poverty. This study
background information on the causes of the
represents a major contribution to the
relevant form of poverty and some of the
understanding of poverty, as experienced by
agencies involved in relieving it.
lone parents. It examines employment,
maintenance and social welfare in comparison
with provisions in other countries.
66 Gender and Development

Unfair Share: The effects of widening social Recent Wage Trends: The Implications for Low
differences on the welfare of the young, R G Wage Workers, Gary Burtless and Lawrence
Wilkinson, Barnardo's, 1994. Tanner Lane, Mishel, prepared for the Social Science
Barkingside, Ilford, IG61Q6. Research Council Policy Conference on
Wide ranging-analysis covering health, Persistent Urban Poverty, 1993
crime, homelessness, suicide and drug Discusses increasing wage inequality in
abuse in the context of absolute poverty and America during the last two decades, and
relative deprivation. the changes in wage structure that have led
to an increasing number of workers earning
Challenging Assumptions: Gender
low and very low wages.
Considerations in Urban Regeneration in the
United Kingdom, A Report to the Joseph How can they be poor they've all got videos!,
Rowntree Foundation, Nicky May, JRF, 1997 Child Poverty Action Group, 1994
Significant growth in unemployment, Explodes myths about poverty in the UK,
particularly for unskilled labour; the entry including 'There isn't any poverty in the
of women into the formal labour market; the UK', The poor don't want to work, they're
casual, low-paid and part-time jobs, availble lazy and expect wages which are too high',
to women; and changes in family structure 'Benefit levels are adequate to live on'.
have had a major impact on gender
Myths about food and low income,
relations, roles and identities, not just in the
The National Food Alliance, 5-11 Worship
workplace, but within the home and com-
Street, london EC2A 2BH.
munity. This report sets out to understand
Explodes the myths such as: 'This isn't
these changes and identify ways of addressing
Africa. Nobody is going short of food',
the problems of changing gender roles.
'Healthy food isn't expensive', 'If you give
them more money, they just spend it on fags
or the lottery', and 'If they don't eat a
healthy diest it's their own fault.'

The myths of dependence and self-sufficiency:

Women, welfare and low-wage work, Kathryn J.
Edin, Rutgers University
Based on interview data from 214 AFDC
recipients and 165 low-wage workers in four
Newsletter of the Institute of Poverty Research,
US cities.
University of Wisconsin. Publishes research
Welfare that works: the working lives of AFDC into the causes and consequences of poverty
recipients, a report to the Ford Foundation by and social inequality in the United States.
the Institute of Women's Policy Research
Explores the complex realities of work and Poverty Research News
welfare among mothers receiving Aid to The newsletter of the Northwestern University/
Families with Dependent Children in America. University of Chicago Joint Center for
Poverty Research. Frequently covers issues
Rising Tide, Sinking Wages, Lawrence Mishel,
relating to women and poverty in the North.
The American Prospect No 23,1995 Available online at:
Examines why the living standards of the
broad middle class have remained in
continuous decline in the US despite the
robust performance of the economy.
Resources 67

7 Whitechapel Road
London El 1DU
Tel: (44) (0)171 377 0489
UK Fax: (44) (0)171 2471525

Oxfam UK and Ireland Poverty Programme Akina Mama wa Afrika

In 1994 Oxfam began to gather information Works for African women in the UK,
about poverty in the UK. It was clear that Europe and Africa, and is involved with
the number of individuals living in poverty, community development, advocacy and
and the level of inequality, had increased counselling.
substantially since the 1970 as have poor 4 Wild Court,
health, poor housing, homelessness and London WC2B 5AH
unemployment. Oxfam's UK Poverty Program- Tel: (44) (0)171 405 0678
me emphasizes sharing experiences and
Single Parent Action Network
skills from around the world, and seeks to
A national, multi-racial UK organisation run
strengthen social organisations and capacity-
by single parents and set up in 1990 as part
building within groups marginalised by
of the Third European Poverty Programme.
poverty. It also works to influence attitudes
Works to improve policies and practices for
to poverty; address links between race,
single parents and their children in Britain,
poverty and exclusion; and strengthen the
analysis of poverty through the introduction and to support self-help groups in different
of an international perspective. The pro- parts of the country. Workers and volunteers
gramme puts particular emphasis on issues in the network support over 1,000 groups in
of poverty and gender. the UK, and work to change policy and
UK Poverty Programme practice that discriminates against one-
274 Banbury Road, parent families.
Oxford, OX2 7DZ Single Parent Action Network
Tel. (44) (0)1865 311 311 Millpond, Baptist Street,
Easton, Bristol, BS5 OYJ
Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) Food Poverty Network
Aims to promote action for the relief, direct or Provides a regular newsletter, a compre-
indirect, of poverty among UK children and hensive database of food poverty projects,
families. Provides welfare benefits advice regional conferences, and contacts for those
and training for advisers, reaerch into family working in the field.
poverty issues, and public information and National Food Alliance (NFA)
campaigns on children's welfare and rights. 5-11 Worship Street, London EC2A 2BH
CPAG, 4th floor, Tel: (44) (0)171 628 2442
1-5 Bath Street, London EC1V 9PY Fax: (44) (0)171 628 9329
Tel: (44) (0)171 253 3406
Fax: (0)171 490 0561 ATD Fourth World
Aims to break down the ostracism endured
Crisis by the poor and to develop public aware-
A UK national charity for single homeless ness of poverty. Projects include family
people i.e. those with no statutory right to respite stays, street workshops and citizenship
housing. Researches, develops and funds forums in the UK and abroad.
schemes to provide help when most needed, 48 Addington Square
at whatever stage of homelessness, from London SE5 7LB
emergency help on the streets through to Tel: (44) (0)171 703 3231
hostels, permanent housing and resettle- Fax: (44) (0)171 252 4276
ment support.
68 Gender and Development

Barnardo's The Institute for Women's Policy Research

Has 200 services annually working with (IWPR)
26,500 children, young people and families An independent, nonprofit, research organi-
in local communities, helping them tackle sation founded in 1987. IWPR works for
poverty, homelessness, HIV/AIDS and policymakers, scholars, and advocacy groups to
sexual abuse. design, execute, and disseminate research
Tanners Lane, Barkingside, findings on policy issues affecting women
Ilford, Essex 1G61QG and families.
Tel: (44) (0)181 550 8822 1400 20th Street NW, Suite 104, Washington
Fax: (44) (0)181 551 6870 DC 20036.
Family Welfare Association (FWA)
Assists families and individuals to overcome
poverty in tangible ways, providing practical, Western Europe
emotional and financial support. Runs
family and children's centres, provides Network Women in Development Europe
community mental health care and administers (WIDE)
trust funds. Established in 1985, WIDE is composed of
501-505 Kingsland Road, 15 national platforms of women's organis-
London E8 4AU ations and individuals working on inter-
Tel: (44) (0)171 254 6251 national issues. It works to influence Euro-
Fax: (44) (0)171 249 5443 pean and international policies to raise
awareness on gender and development
Low Pay Unit issues among important sectors of opinion
Leading organisation highlighting and in Europe, with the objective of empowering
investigating problems related to poverty. women worldwide. WIDE carries out
Investigates and publicises low pay, poverty specific actions, networking and lobbying
and related issues, stimulates debate and on concrete issues, jointly with women
provides advice and information for employers living in the South, and research on women
and low-paid workers. Lobbies government and poverty in the North.
and MPs, and provides reports and information WIDE, Square Ambiorix, 10
on low-pay issues, as well as a rights service 1040 Brussels Belgium
and training on rights-related issues. Tel. 32-2-732-44-10
27-29 Amwell Street, Fax 32-2-732-19-34
London EC11UN
Tel: (44) (0)171 713 7616
Fax: (44) (0)171 713 7581
North America
The Poverty Alliance
Seeks to combat poverty in Scotland through The Northwestern University / University
the promotion of strategic and collaborative of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research
action. Activities include awareness raising, Supports academic research that focuses on
network development, publications, project the causes of poverty and the effectiveness
development and support, and skills of policies aimed at reducing poverty. Areas
training for community leaders who are of research include: changing labor markets
active in local anti-poverty initatives. and the causes of inequality in the current
162 Buchanan Street, labor market; family functioning and the
Glasgow Gl 211 well-being of children; the impact of concen-
Tel: (44) (0)141 353 0440 trated urban poverty; and the effects of chang-
Fax: (44) (0)141 353 0686 ing policy and new programs. Facilitates the
Resources 69

collection of new data, including state world, by supporting food assistance,

administrative data, that will be critical for treating malnutrition and other consequences of
future advances in poverty research. hunger, and promoting economic indepen-
Northwestern University Institute for Policy dence among people in need. SOS mobilizes
Research industries and individuals to contribute
2046 Sheridan Road their talents and creates community wealth
Evanston, IL 60208 USA to promote lasting change.Telephone 1-800-
Phone: 847-491-4145 969-4767.
Fax: 847-467-2459
The Ontario Coalition Against Poverty
Institute of Poverty Research Seeks to eliminate 'poor-bashing' and
A national, university-based centre for research poverty in Ontario, Canada, and the world.
into the causes and consequences of poverty Also seeks to empower people who are in
and social inequality in the United States. It poverty, to stand up for their rights.
is nonprofit and nonpartisan. Established Global Community Centre:
in 1966 at the University of Wisconsin- Phone: (519) 746-4090
Madison by the US Office of Economic FAX: (519) 746-4096
Opportunity, the Institute's multidisci- E-mail: gccwat@web.net
plinary affiliates have formulated and tested
theories of poverty and inequality, developed
and evaluated social policy alternatives, and
analysed trends in poverty and economic Australia
well-being Taskforce on Poverty
3412 Social Science Building A taskforce on poverty has been established
1180 Observatory Drive by Western Australia's Family and Children's
Madison, WI 53706 USA Services Minister Cheryl Edwardes as part
Telephone Numbers: (608) 262-6358 of the International Year for the Eradication
(608) 265-3119 (FAX) of Poverty, to contribute to Western Australia's
E-mail: evanson@ssc.wisc.edu.. response to IYEP by developing an inno-
vative plan to initiate research, debate and
The Institute for Children and Poverty
action by all sectors of the community.
The Institute for Children and Poverty Central Office East Perth WA 6004 Australia
the research arm of Homes for the Homeless Tel (08) 9222 2555
provides innovative strategies to combat Fax (08) 9222 2776
the impact of homelessness and urban poverty
on the lives of children and their families
through the development of effective public
policy initiatives and the dissemination of
quantitative research findings.
hn4061 handsnet.org
Homes for the Homeless National Dialogue on Poverty campaign
36 Cooper Square, 6th Floor The National Association of Community
New York, NY 10003 USA Action Agencies (NACAA)
Phone: 212-529-5252 A campaign to bring the voices of low-
Fax: 212-529-7698 income citizens into the debate on poverty
in America. Plans include a nationwide
series of local dialogues about poverty its
Share Our Strength
causes and effects as well as ways to combat
Works to alleviate and prevent hunger and
it. Each dialogue will involve people with
poverty in the United States and around the low incomes and other community leaders
70 Gender and Development

in an open discussion about the realities of Handsnet

poverty. The information will be synthesized Linking the human service community on-
into state and regional summaries. line, HandsNet is a national, nonprofit organi-
MACA, sation that promotes information sharing, cross-
2410 Hyde Park Road, Suite B, sector collaboration and advocacy among
Jefferson City, MO 65109, USA individuals and organisations working on a
Tel: (1) (573) 643 2969 broad range of public interest issues, including
poverty. Includes articles, discussion forums
The National Women's March Against and on-line membership information.
Poverty http://www.handsnet.org
A country-wide march for jobs and justice
initiated by the National ActionCommittee Joint Center for Poverty Research
on the Status of Women (NAC) and the (see under organisations)
Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) to raise http://www.spc.uchicago.edu/wwwusr/o
awareness about the impact of federal govern- rgs/pvecen/index.html
ment cuts on women's lives in Canada.
http://www.women.ca/womens- Share our Strength
march/#what (see under organisations)

Institute for Research on Poverty

(see under organisations)
The HungerWeb
The aim of this site is to help eradicate The Coalition For The Homeless
hunger by facilitating the free exchange of The nation's oldest and most progressive
ideas and information on the causes of, and organisation helping homeless men, women,
solutions to, hunger. Contains information, and children. Dedicated to the principle that
made available by the World Hunger Program decent shelter, affordable housing, sufficient
and its partners, as well as links to other sites food, and the chance to work for a living
where relevant information can be found. wage are fundamental rights. Includes
http://www.brown.edu/Departments/Wo information on the organisation's services,
rld_Hunger_Program/ news and events, and how people can help
the homeless.
The Economic Policy Institute http://www.homeless.24x7.com/index.htm
A nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank that
seeks to broaden the public debate about
strategies to achieve a prosperous and fair
economy. Includes academic research
papers on the economic causes of poverty,
as well as a large on-line library.

Index to Volume 5

Alloo, Fatma and Wendy Harcourt, From the Everett, Elizabeth, Women's rights, the
South to the North: evolving perspectives family, and organisational culture: a
on gender and poverty, 5:3, 9 Lesotho case study, 5:1, 54
Bhasin, Kamla, Gender workshops with Goetz, Anne Marie, Managing organisa-
men: experiences and reflections, 5:2, 55 tional change: the 'gendered' organisation
of space and time, 5:1, 17
Bydawell, Moya, AFRA confronts gender
issues: the process of creating a gender Gonzalo Falabella G, New masculinity: a
strategy, 5:1, 43 different route, 5:2, 62
Cardenas, Magda Mateus, Interview, 5:1, 62 Hadjipateras, Angela, Implementing a
Gender Policy in ACORD: strategies,
Carmichael, Helen, Interview, 5:3, 61
constraints, and challenges, 5:1, 28
Chamberlain, Sara, Gender, race, and the
Harcourt, Wendy and Fatma Alloo, From the
'underclass': the truth behind the American
South to the North: evolving perspectives
Dream, 5:3, 18
on gender and poverty, 5:3 9
Chigudu, Hope, Establishing a feminist culture:
Husseini, Randa, Promoting women entrepre-
the experience of Zimbabwe Women's
neurs in Lebanon: the experience of
Resource Centre and Network, 5:1, 35
UNIFEM,5:1, 49
Cornwall, Andrea, Men, masculinity, and
Jewkes, Rachel and Katharine Wood, Violence,
'gender in development', 5:2, 8
rape, and sexual coercion: everyday love
Craig, Yvonne and Ros David, Participation in a South African township, 5:2, 41
begins at home: adapting participatory
Large, Judith, Disintegration conflicts and
development approaches from Southern
the restructuring of masculinity, 5:2, 23
contexts, 5:3 35
Pearson, Ruth and Erika Watson, Giving
David, Ros and Yvonne Craig, participation
women the credit: the Norwich Full
begins at home: adapting participatory
Circle Project, 5:3, 52
development approaches from Southern
contexts, 5:3, 35 Rao, Aruna and Rieky Stuart, Rethinking
organisations: a feminist perspective, 5:1, 10
Engle, Patrice L, the role of men in families:
achieving gender equity and supporting Rimmer, Annette, Power and dignity: women,
children, 5:2, 31 poverty, and Credit Unions, 5:3, 26
72 Gender and Development

Sampath, Niels, 'Crabs in a bucket': re- Listings

forming male identities in Trinidad, 5:2, 47
NGOs, organisations and groups working
Sellers, Tilly, Building community capacity: with men, 5:2, 70
Hull and East Yorkshire PRA Netowrk,
5:3 58 Organisations working on poverty issues,
5:3 67
Sharma, Shalendra D, Making the Human
Development Index (HDI) gender-
sensitive, 5:1, 50 Book Review
Stuart, Rieky and Aruna Rao, Rethinking Catherine Itzin and Janet Newman (eds)
organisations: a feminist perspective, 5:1, 10 Gender, Culture, and Organisational Change:
Swithinbank, Tessa, The street press: Putting Theory into Practice, 5:1, 67
homelessness, self-help, and social
identity, 5:3, 45
Watson, Erika and Ruth Pearson, Giving
women the credit: the Norwich Full
Circle Project, 5:3, 52
White, Sarah C, Men, masculinities, and the
politics of development, 5:2, 14
Wood, Katharine and Rachel Jewkes,
Violence, rape, and sexual coercion:
everyday love in a South African
township, 5:2, 41