“Educating Women for Development”
An Essay by Evelina M. Orteza y Miranda
Ma. Cristina I. Caintic
The author summarizes and comments on the philosophical musings of Professor Evelina Orteza, Professor Emeritus of the University of Calgary, on the phrase “educating women for development”.
Keywords: Educating Women, Development, Education of the Person
Professor Orteza raises the question whether the expression ‘educating women for development ‘ is clear right at the start of the essay. She points out the vagueness and ambiguity of the expression by asking these questions: Why is education used as a means for securing such an end? Is there a relationship between education and development? (p. 271). To answer these questions, first she explicates the meaning of each of the two terms and came up with a commonality in change as a necessary part of the meaning of both words. Since using the two terms together would be redundant, she points out that there is something central to the concept ‘development’ that distinguishes it from ‘education’.
The author points out another area of ambiguity with the question ‘whose development? Their (women’s) development as individuals or for the development of their country?’ In this regard, she argues that the adequate expression should be ‘training women for development’ since education, strictly speaking, does not have predetermined/specified ends, unlike training which is connected with specific skills, activities and ends (p. 272).
Professor Orteza further finds the expression interesting in that women are identified to be in need of training for development and wonders whether men ought to be trained for the same end (p. 273).
Although the author has started to clarify the terms ‘education’ and development’ in the Introduction, she states that her task in this essay is to clarify the meaning of the two terms and rid ‘development’ of misunderstandings in order to establish clarity in the expression ‘educating women for development’.
Misunderstandings of the Concept ‘Development’
Several definitions are presented by the author to point out that ‘development’ is one of those concepts that does not respond to a strict definition (pp. 274-275):
“ a process of moving toward, rather than arriving at, a state that in general characterizes certain countries we agree among ourselves to call ‘more developed” (Lauchlin, 1978)
“…covering the entire gamut of changes by which a social system moves away ...toward some conditions regarded as humanely better”
“ development embraces the abolition of all human ills and the solution of all problems” (United Nations Declaration)
All of the above are dismissed by Professor Orteza as value statements ,and not definitions. In the absence of a public agreement on what constitutes ‘development’, the author proposes a set of conditions/criteria to judge whether or not a given use of the term is valid.
The Necessary Conditions of ‘Development’
There are two functions of ‘development’: descriptive and evaluative. The descriptive or empirical aspect of the term describes what changes are occurring, what stages have been passed through, etc. The evaluative aspect judges whether or not development is what is going on and is what ought to be going on, and in the right and approved manner . Both functions depend on formal conditions of ‘development’: existing structures, sequential stages (irreversible), and end-state (p. 277). According to the author, it is necessary to involve all these conditions when talking about ‘development’, although not in identical ways, given its application to various contexts.
One such context is of biology/botany wherein the concept of stages is necessary for development . However, it is not always applicable to contexts of human development....