Race, Gender and "Difference": Representations of "Third World Women" in International Development

Christiana Abraham

Abstract


Abstract

This paper analyses images of international development through a study of the ways in which development representations produce and circulate differencewith respect to women and the developing world. Through both overt and subtle narratives, representations of women as “different,” “distant” and “other” construct both the object and subject of development. The paper discusses the process by which racialization operates in development through gender as a signifying practice. Based on a doctoral study of communication materials of Women in Development (WID) images produced by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the paper analyses images of women of the developing world in communication materials attached to major campaigns during the Women in Development (WID) period. WID represents an important legacy of today’s prevalent images of women in development. The paper situates this legacy within the colonial roots of development and its representations, which include historical constructions of the "third world woman" that intricately reproduce a range of colonial images and practices. Images of "third world women" have become development’s most eminent symbol, yet many continue to communicate static and predictable views about the developing world.


Keywords


race; racialization; gender; development; colonialism; "third world women"; women in development (WID); canadian international development agency (CIDA); canada

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