Family as a Trap

Loreley Garcia
Silvana Sousa Nascimento
Eduardo S. Sousa
Josilene Ribeiro

Abstract: This study evaluates the extent to which women-focused development projects promote change of gender relations in the rural area, contributing to the larger social change. The research developed in the Cariris region of Paraíba, in reform agrarian settlements and agro-villages. Here the “Dom Helder Camara Project” (PDHC), of the Brazilian Ministry of Agrarian Development, has been implemented with feminist NGO management partners, to promote autonomy among women, and to guarantee income-generating alternatives in for the area. The strategy was shaped by the Gender and Development/GAD politics of the 1990s, and the region studied exhibits paradox and dilemma in relation to the success of GAD based policies.
Key words: Gender, empowerment, development projects, agrarian reform settlements, Cariris


In this paper are presented the research results obtained observing the success of women’s development projects seeking to guarantee equity in gender relations and their reformation in the rural area of the Cariris, state of Paraíba (Brazil).The crucial questions are: Do development projects such as the “Projeto Dom Helder Câmara” (PDHC), feminist NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations), partnership entities, and public institutions, effectively influence the traditional gender relations and generate new attitudes and social change? Does participation in the projects promote new attitudes? Are there evidences of change in the division of labor? Does the change of gender roles provoke new conflicts, and how are they dealt with? Do these actions have the capacity to produce new rural area characters that generate new cultural patterns, and new attitudes to influence the community?
Moreover, do they promote fissures in daily life or in individual lives? Do they have the power of generating ruptures that lead to...