Home Institution

University of Richmond

Publication Date

Spring 2006

Program Name

Brazil: Culture, Development, and Social Justice


This study presents the unique approach of Casa da Mulher do Nordeste to rural women’s empowerment and sustainable development. Their approach focuses on three main areas: 1) raising collective consciousness about unequal gender relations; 2) providing technical skills and assistance to in the areas of production and commercialization; 3) providing institutional support to the networks created in the occupation of economic and political spaces. CASA intimately links women’s empowerment to movements of agroecology and economic solidarity, thus extending the vision of equality between women and men to equality between human beings and the Earth—an ultimate definition of sustainable development. Their founding ideology for both women’s empowerment and sustainable development is feminism. Accurate and readily available information regarding the reality of local communities suffering the effects of exclusionary capitalist globalization and their innovative strategies of resistance is crucial in out ability to better comprehend complicated intersections between local, national and global processes and how to make these relationships more sustainable. In documenting the actions and perceptions of a native NGO and rural women in Pajeú, Pernambuco, Northeastern Brazil, I hope to offer a holistic analysis of these women’s strategies for resistance, with the end goals of valorizing their unique ways of producing and practicing alternative forms of knowledge, and ultimately contribue to the decentering of discourse on feminist and development theory as it is present in development practice.


Economics | Growth and Development | Inequality and Stratification


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