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The Journey of a Southern Feminist

The Journey of a Southern Feminist

First Edition

April 2018 | 300 pages | SAGE YODA Press

This book is a collection of Devaki Jain’s writings and lectures related to the women’s movement in India and interventions in policy and fact base drawn from that experience. A journey of over six decades, it presents important interventions in the design of national and international development policy.

Beginning with a fascinating account of Jain’s own evolution into a feminist, each chapter starts with an introductory note locating it in her own professional journey. The initial chapters of the book underline an important fact—better understood now but a radical intervention when Jain wrote it—that women’s reasoning and the ideas that emerge from their lived experience need to be converted into macro frameworks of development. The later chapters champion the role of local power, in economic planning led by women, in healing inequalities. They also pose a feminist challenge to inherited knowledge usually created and argued for by men. In her most recent work, Jain reiterates that poor women’s struggles, strategies and needs should inform development strategy at the local level. At a global level, she talks of how women and their networks in the South are offering ideas on rethinking development.

Introduction: The Birthing of a Feminist and Her Journey
Development as if Women Mattered: Can Women Build a New Paradigm?
Advances in Feminist Theory: An Indian Perspective
The Leadership Gap: A Challenge to Feminists
Minds, Not Bodies: Expanding the Notion of Gender in Development
Indigenising Feminism
Challenges for Women in India in the New Millennium
Globalism and Localism: Negotiating Feminist Space
Women’s Participation in the History of Ideas and the Reconstruction of Knowledge
Feminist Networks, People’s Movements and Alliances: Learning from the Ground
To Be or Not to Be: Problems in Locating Women in Public Policy
What Is Wrong with Economics? Can the Aam Aurat Redefine Economic Reasoning?
The First Challengers: The Feminists of the South
The Evolution of Ideas: A Feminist’s Reflections on the Partnership with the UN System
Looking Back at the South Commission

This inspiring book challenges mainstream ideas about development, held in both the global South and the global North, arguing that we must learn from the lives of low income women to reconstruct ideas about how economies function and what economic policies should be adopted at local, national and international levels. It should be read by everyone concerned to reduce inequality and end poverty

Diane Elson,
Emeritus Professor, University of Essex

Decades ago Devaki Jain highlighted the significance of unpaid and unrecognised women’s work—which is now being recognised the world over as critical for economic analysis. This valuable collection of some of her important contributions shows how much she has innovated to expand analytical and empirical approaches in many other areas, in ways that will continue to be useful far into the future.

Jayati Ghosh,
Professor of Economics, Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University

I am a long-standing admirer of the work and life of Devaki Jain, one of the most respected and influential Southern voices in promoting the advancement of women and gender equality. The unique combination of Devaki’s political nous, economic brilliance and grassroots activism, has made her the voice of the unheard and disadvantaged women in developing countries. Through her work as an active member of the global women’s movement, as co-founder of many institutions such as Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN) and as a member of the erstwhile South Commission, she has fought tirelessly for Southern women’s rights and brought visibility to their economic and social marginalisation. I am thrilled that Devaki’s important contributions are now to be collated and published in two volumes by Yoda Press. Part one, Journey of a Southern Feminist, will give the reader an insight into how Devaki brought into the public spotlight the conditions and contributions of women at the lower end of the global economy, and how and why she attached such importance to designing programmes generated from the characteristics of the Southern hemisphere. A must read for any feminist, development economist and activist.

Winnie Byanyima,
Executive Director, Oxfam International

‘Decades ago Devaki Jain highlighted the significance of unpaid and unrecognised women’s work. This valuable collection of [Devaki Jain’s] important contributions shows how much she has innovated to expand analytical and empirical approaches in many other areas.’

Jayati Ghosh,
Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

“These volumes, easily accessible to an international audience, complement Jain’s already extensive publications and should be read and appreciated in concert …. (She) is intuitively intersectional, emphasizing the dialectic between diversity and unity.” 

Feminist Economics, 24 May 2020

“These two books are remarkable contributions by a veteran feminist economist with an experience that spans the early period of India’s independence, forays into socialism and globalization and marks the unfolding of the women’s movement through these periods. These books are a must-read for all women’s studies.”

Indian Journal of Gender Studies, Vol. 27, Issue 2

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ISBN: 9789352806218

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