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Ester Boserup's book Women's role in economic development marked an important step in understanding the position of women in developing economies. Her book, along with the work of feminists writing at the same time, marked the start of a range of activities, such as projects focused on women, that aimed at removing the economic exclusion of women. These activities were named Women in Development. These activities came to be seen as too narrowly focused on women and the focus started shifting towards Gender and Development and then to gender mainstreaming in 1995. In this paper first discusses the activities that were promoted by WID, GAD and gender mainstreaming following Boserup's book. The paper also focuses on the foundations of gender planning tools and on conceptual issues that are integral to understanding of gender issues today. The paper aims to provide some answers to questions being asked and suggests ways forward. In particular it advocates that more attention be given to gender analysis and its analytical frameworks and to the meaning of gender equity and empowerment in analyses in which gender is not an isolated category and investments in women are not justified solely on economic grounds.


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