Feminist Epistemology and the Foundations of Gender Sensitivity
Prof. Nancy Lundgren’s presentation was organised around; (a) background to issues of gender inequalities (b) outline of major paradigms and (c) how to relate these competing paradigms to feminist theoretical positions. In explaining the background, Prof. Nancy Lundgren mentioned that the problem is that women do not have equal power, equal representation, equal visibility and equal access to resources. She also quoted Awumbila (2001) in the important Tsikata volume on Gender Training in Ghana, as saying that “Gender disparities are prevalent in Ghana and closing the gender gap and enhancing women’s participation in development (or in the academy) is essential not only for building a just society, but is also a pre-requisite for achieving political, social, economic, cultural and environmental security among people on a sustainable basis”. She explained materialism, idealism and postmodernism as the major paradigms influencing the various feminist positions. In relating the paradigms to feminist theoretical positions, Prof. Nancy Lundgren, highlighted that the contrasting assumptions underpinning the various paradigms position the liberal feminist, radical feminist and African feminists differently. The variations/debates are structured around the root cause of the injustice women suffer and also the strategies to adopt in attempt to mitigate the problem. In her concluding remarks, Prof. Nancy Lundgren explained that the solution is not just a matter of adding women and stirring but rather a transformative agenda. She added that there is the need to promote equity, fairness and justice for women until we do not need to talk about women any more.
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