Women may feature in visions of global development, yet serious and significant gender gaps remain. I will explore limitations of development through considerations of micro-enterprise programs in South Asia, celebrity attention to girls’ schools in Africa and Afghanistan, and population projects and conferences in Egypt. I will question the narrow articulations of women’s empowerment at the expense of gender dynamics, of privileging communication as a technological tool rather than as a discourse or industry and of development as a neoliberal project without recognition of global political-economic contexts. Critical inquiry may contribute to effective and ethical advocacy by subverting accountability from assessments of projects toward solving problems within a global justice framework.
Karin Gwinn Wilkins is a Professor of Media Studies, Director, Center for Middle Eastern Studies, and Chair, Global Studies Bridging Disciplines Program at the University of Texas at Austin. She holds the John P. McGovern Regents Professorship in Health and Medical Science Communication, and currently serves as Editor-in-Chief of Communication Theory. Wilkins has won numerous awards for her research, service and teaching, and chaired the Intercultural/Development Division of the International Communication Association. Her work addresses scholarship in the fields of development communication, global communication and political engagement. Selected recent works include Communicating Gender and Advocating Accountability in Global Development (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015); Handbook of Development Communication and Social Change (ed., Wiley-Blackwell, 2014); New Agendas in Global Communication (ed., Routledge, 2013), as well as journal publications in Communication Theory; Media, Culture & Society; Communication, Culture & Critique; Journal of Communication; Journal of Middle East Media; International Journal of Communication; Gazette: The International Journal for Communication Studies; and Critical Studies in Media Communication.
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