Date of Degree
Maria Laura Lagos
This thesis examines the impact of a gender specific Swiss development project on Andean artisans women who struggle to intensify their craft production in the face of an increasing subsistence crisis characteristic among rural small producers around the globe. The selection of a project which has proven sustainable over a number of years allowed the author to conduct fieldwork in three different settings (1992-1995): among two hundred artisan women from eleven rural communities in Ecuador's Azuay province, who embroider table linen and apparel for export; among Ecuadorian and expatriate Swiss development specialists in Quito and Cuenca; and, to a limited extent, with policy makers and programmers at the headquarters of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation in Berne. The thesis analyzes how European gender stereotypes contravene the stated project goal to slow down rural emigration and interfere with the transfer of grassroots management skills. Research with development agents shows that gender and their cultural as well as geographic distance to "aid receiving" populations influence how well local needs are assessed. The Swiss case reveals that development agency staff are active in policy making; a lack of knowledge about current social science debates partly accounts for shortcomings in gender specific programming. Swiss foreign policy past and present is examined to expose the links between a nation's internal situation and development programming, which is influenced by kind and degree of colonial and neo-colonial activities of the donor nation.
Grunenfelder-Elliker, Barbara, ""To Sew or To Sow?” European Gender Images and Development in Rural Ecuador" (1998). CUNY Academic Works.