This book is the fruit of an innovative project designed to expand the boundaries of our understanding of women’s contribution to development and the obstacles they face to participating and receiving full benefit from it. It began as part of the Household, Gender and Age programme of the United Nations University, under the leadership of Eleonora Masini. A series of consultations initiated by Elise Boulding took place in Tokyo in 1979, Oslo in 1980, and Dartmouth, New Hampshire, in 1981. These were followed up by Eleonora Masini in meetings in Rome in 1981 and 1982. By this time the fundamental framework and focus of the research was established and in 1982 attention turned to identifying locations and researchers in different regions. This led to a series of national studies based on a common motivation and methodology. The studies varied according to the resources available and the specific problems, but they were linked by a common purpose and for that reason represent comparative research at its best.
The Division for the Advancement of Women of the United Nations Office at Vienna joined the project in its final stages. During a visit to Vienna at the cud of 1989 Elise Boulding suggested that assistance was needed to prepare the case-studies for publication and more popular dissemination. The question of the impact of change on women and households was one that the Division was researching more thoroughly as part of its policy analysis work in the context of the implementation of the Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women, so it had experience to contribute to the project Using resources of the Trust Fund for the Monitoring, Review, and Appraisal of the Strategies the Division provided the services of consultant Susan Stratigos to edit the material and assist with the Division’s chapter.
The study itself deals in an innovative way with some of the key microeconomic and micro-social aspects of advancement of women: the sharing of responsibilities and power within the household, the cumulative effect of both discrimination and its elimination on cohorts of women. By both its findings and its methodology, it should open Up new areas for thought, research, and action in the effort to achieve equality and equity between women and men.