Challenging the Neoliberal Development Paradigm: Women’s Experiences and Narratives in Guyana and Guatemala

Thursday, April 18, 2013 - 22:00

The rhetoric of development is often deployed as a means of legitimizing neoliberal projects. This event examines the ways that neoliberalism, as a set of policies and a governing logic, has differential impacts on the lives of women in the global South, examining two specific cases.

Michelle Baobala (MA Candidate Development Studies, York University) will address the disjuncture between the Millennium Development Goals’ (MDG) rhetoric of gender equality, implementation on the ground and the lived realities of urban Guyanese women. The MDG’s are significant, as the global framework by which the international donor community adheres, underpinned by a neoliberalizing logic.

Stacey Gomez (MA Candidate Development Studies, York University) will share the struggle of Maya women in defense of territory in San Juan Sacatepéquez, Guatemala. Since 2006, the Movement of the 12 Communities has been contesting a project entailing resource extraction and cement production, the initiative of Guatemalan company Cementos Progreso, allied with transnational capital. She will discuss the ways Maya women’s lives have changed since 2006, as well as their participation in resistance efforts. In Guatemala, mining, as well as other megaprojects are touted as forms of development, often meeting resistance from communities who contest this vision.

Their presentations will highlight alternative understandings of development, different conceptions of solidarity, and transformation of research into change. After brief presentations, there will be time for a question and answer period, as well as a discussion.

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