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4668 - Gendered development; women, state and social change. The case of Mazahua region (San Felipe del Progreso, Estado de México).

Women and gender-related issues have been the central target of state development policies in Mexico since early 1970s. The paper analyzes the gender dimension of social change and development programs in a local context. It is based on the results of a fieldwork (participant observation and in-depth interviews with elements of life-stories with women and men) carried out in July 2011 and February 2012 in Asociación Civil/Centro Comunitario Pjoxte A.C. ‘Ayuda Mutua ’ in Rancheria La Soledad and San Lucas in Mazahua Region of Estado de M é xico.  

The studied area is characterized by various and often contradictory factors and processes: urbanization and rapid modernization and on the other hand the presence and persistence of social marginalization and poverty especially of native communities. It results in both increasing rate of migration (to Mexican cities as well as to the U.S.) and long-term presence of state-led development programs in the region.  

In my presentation I focus on the effects of various ‘developmental’ activities targeted at women: state-led poverty alleviation programs (e.g. Oportunidades), programs led by NGOs (e.g. Pro Mazahua), as well as grass root initiatives (cooperatives). I am interested in the scale and nature of their impact on local processes of social change, in particular their (in)ability to increase female empowerment and (re)negotiate vernacular, indigenous gender contract in Mazahua communities.        

Keywords: gender, development, social change, Mazahua, Mexico

Author: Hryciuk, Renata Ewa (Warsaw University, Poland / Polen)

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