Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Loving to Straighten Out Development: Sexuality and ‘Ethnodevelopment’ in the World Bank’s Ecuadorian Lending

By Kate Bedford


Gender staff in the World Bank -- the world's largest and most influential development institution -- have a policy problem. Having prioritised efforts to get women into paid employment as the "cure-all" for gender inequality they must deal with the work that women already do -- the unpaid labour of caring, socialisation, and human needs fulfilment. This article explores the most prominent policy solution enacted by the Bank to this tension between paid and unpaid work: the restructuring of normative heterosexuality to encourage a two-partner model of love and labour wherein women work more and men care better. Through a case study of Bank gender lending in Ecuador I argue that staff are trying to (re)forge normative arrangements of intimacy, a policy preference that remains invisible unless sexuality is taken seriously as a category of analysis in development studies. Specifically, I focus on four themes that emerge from the attempt to restructure heteronormativity in the loan: (1) the definition of good gender analysis as requiring complementary sharing and dichotomous sex; (2) the Bank's attempt to inculcate limited rationality in women such that they operate as better workers while retaining altruistic attachments to loved ones; (3) the Bank's attempt to inculcate better loving in men, such that they pick up the slack of caring labour when their (partially) rational wives move into productive work, and; (4) the invocation of a racialised hierarchy resting on the extent to which communities approximate ideals of sharing monogamous partnership. Aside from providing clear evidence that the world's largest development institution is involved in micro-processes of sexuality adjustment alongside macro-processes of economic restructuring, I also critique the Bank's sexualised policy interventions and suggest that they warrant contestation

Topics: K
Publisher: Springer Verlag
Year: 2005
OAI identifier:

Suggested articles


  1. (1996). A Straight Playing Field or Queering the Pitch? Centering Sexuality in Social Policy’’, Feminist Review 54 (autumn doi
  2. (1999). An American Obsession: Science, Medicine, and Homosexuality in Modern Society (Chicago: doi
  3. (2002). Andean Entrepreneurs: Otavalo Merchants and Musicians in the Global Arena (Austin: doi
  4. (1995). Are More Indian: Ethnicity and Gender in a Community near Cuzco’’,
  5. (2001). Ba´sico Y Orientador Sobre El Tema Ge´nero
  6. (2004). Basic Data on Ecuador Website World Bank doi
  7. (1994). Body Can Be a Citizen: The Politics of Law, doi
  8. (1996). Confronting Crisis: A Summary of Household Responses to Poverty and Vulnerability doi
  9. (1999). Constructing Economic Space: The World Bank and the Making of Homo Oeconomicus’’, Millennium: doi
  10. (2000). Contesting Global Governance: Multilateral Economic Institutions and Global Social Movements (Cambridge: doi
  11. (2004). Crude Chronicles: Indigenous Politics, Multinational Oil, and Neoliberalism in Ecuador (Durham: doi
  12. (2002). de Cierre del Proyecto de Desarrollo de los Pueblos Indı´genas y Negros del Ecuador
  13. Ecuador Country Assistance Strategy (Washington D.C.: World Bank, doi
  14. (2000). Ecuador Gender Review: Issues and Recommendations. A World Bank Country Study (Washington D.C.: World Bank,
  15. (2004). Ecuador Poverty Assessment (Washington D.C.: World Bank, doi
  16. (1998). Ecuador: Structural Adjustment and Indigenous and Environmentalist Resistance’’, in The Struggle for Accountability: The World Bank, NGOs, and Grassroots Movements,
  17. (2005). Empowering Women, Domesticating Men, and Resolving the Social Reproduction Dilemma: The World Bank’s Employment Policies
  18. (2005). Empowering Women, Domesticating Men, and Resolving the Social Reproduction Dilemma: The World Bank’s Employment Policies in Ecuador and Beyond
  19. (1995). Encountering Development: The Making and Unmaking of the Third World (Princeton: doi
  20. (2001). Engendering Development through Gender Equality in Rights, Resources, doi
  21. (2002). Estudio De Caso En El Pueblo Afro-Ecuatoriano De San Lorenzo – Esmereldas
  22. (2002). Estudio De Caso En El Pueblo Kichwa De Toacazo-Cotopaxi (Quito: Programa de Ge´ nero y Patrimonio Cultural,
  23. (2002). Estudio De Impacto Del Programa De Caja Solidarias Implementadas Por El Proyecto P.R.O.D.E.P.I.N.E. En Pueblos Y Nacionalidades Del Ecuador
  24. (2002). Estudios De Caso Sobre El Impacto De La Perspectiva De Ge´nero En La Planificacio´n Participativa Aplicada AlDesarrollo Local En PueblosYNacionalidades: Plan De Accio´n Para Incorporar El Enfoque De Ge´nero En Los Planes De Desarrollo Local
  25. (2002). From Peasant Struggles to Indian Resistance: The Ecuadorian Andes in the late Twentieth Century (Norman: doi
  26. (1992). From Servitude to Service Work: doi
  27. (2002). Gender Dimensions of Vulnerability to Exogenous Shocks: The Case of Ecuador’’,
  28. (1995). Gender Issues in World Bank Lending (Washington D.C.: World Bank, doi
  29. (1996). Gender-Aware Analysis and Development Economics’’, doi
  30. (1920). Gendered Compromises: Political Cultures and the State in Chile, doi
  31. (2002). Hablando de Sexualidad con Adolescentes Indı´genas: Escuelas del Sistema Intercultural Bilingu¨e Imbabura (Otavalo: Jambi Huasi,
  32. (2001). Herramientas Metodogicas De Diagnostico Para Implementar Un Enfoque De Equidad Entre Hombres Y Mujeres.
  33. (1997). Household Responses to Poverty and Vulnerability Volume 1: Confronting Crisis in Cisne Dos, doi
  34. (1988). If Women Counted: A New Feminist Economics (San Francisco: Harper and Row, doi
  35. Indigenous and AfroEcuadorian People’s Development Project: Implementation Completion Report (Washington D.C.: World Bank, 2003b) Report Number 25361, loan number 4277/P269.
  36. Indigenous and AfroEcuadorian People’s Development Project: Project Information Document (Washington D.C.: World Bank,
  37. (2001). Informe Del Taller Sobre Conceptos Ba´sicos Y Herramietas (Sic) Metodogicas De Ge´nero, Regionales Amazonia Norte Y Sur
  38. (2001). Introduccı´ on’’,
  39. (2003). Introduction: Discarding Manly Dichotomies in Latin America’’, doi
  40. (1994). Kent Academic Repository – Published version available in
  41. (2004). Linking Movement and Electoral Politics: Ecuador’s Indigenous Movement and the Rise of Pachakutik’’, doi
  42. (1989). Lords of Poverty: The Power, Prestige, doi
  43. (1999). Mainstreaming Gender and Development in the World Bank: Progress and Recommendations (Washington D.C.: World Bank, doi
  44. (2002). Mainstreaming Gender in Global Governance’’, doi
  45. (2000). Memoria Del Taller De Polı´ticas Pu´blicas Y Equidad Entre Hombres Y Mujeres, Peguche
  46. (2002). Memoria Del Taller De Sensibilizacio´n De Ge´nero Y Equidad; Comite´ De Desarrollo Local De Guamote
  47. (1994). Mortgaging Women’s Lives: Feminist Critiques of Structural Adjustment (London: doi
  48. (1995). Power in Struggle: Feminism, Sexuality and the State (Buckingham: doi
  49. (2000). Queer Liberalism?’’, American Political Science Review, doi
  50. (1995). Race and the Education of Desire: Foucault’s History of Sexuality and the Colonial Order of Things (Durham: doi
  51. (2003). Racist Stereotypes and the Embodiment of Blackness: Some Narratives of Female Sexuality in Quito’’,
  52. (1996). Remaking the Nation: Place, Identity and Politics doi
  53. (1999). Reproducing the State doi
  54. (2002). Rewriting (Global) Political Economy as Reproductive, Productive, and Virtual (Foucauldian) doi
  55. Second Indigenous and AfroEcuadorian People’s Development Project: Project Information Document (World Bank: Washington
  56. (2003). Seguimiento a Cajas Solidarias Tipo a, Regional Sierra Centro. Subcomponente De Servicios Financieros Rurales: Programa De Cajas Solidarias
  57. (2002). Seis Estudios De Caso Sobre Identidades Y Roles De Ge´nero En Las Nacionalidades Y Pueblos Del Ecuador: Estudio De Caso Sobre El Pueblo Chachi – Fecche, Norte De Esmereldas
  58. (2000). Sexing the Body: Gender Politics and the Construction of Sexuality doi
  59. (2004). State Building, State Dismantling, and Financial Crises in Ecuador’’,
  60. (1990). STRAIGHTEN OUT DEVELOPMENT 319 Laqueur, T., Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud (Cambridge: doi
  61. STRAIGHTEN OUT DEVELOPMENT 321 World Bank., Indigenous and AfroEcuadorian People’s Development Project: Project Appraisal Document (Washington D.C.: World Bank, 1997a) Report number: 17212. Loan number 4277/P269.
  62. (2000). Summary: Technical Assistance Funding Proposal for Japan PHRD Fund (Spring
  63. (1991). Symbolic Counterhegemony among the Ecuadorian Shuar’’,
  64. (2002). The Cunning of Recognition: Indigenous Alterities and the Making of Australian Multiculturalism (Durham: doi
  65. (1996). The End of Capitalism (as We Knew It): A Feminist Critique of Political Economy (Basil Blackwell: Cambridge, doi
  66. (1996). The Gendering of Ethnicity in the Ecuadorian Andres: Native Women’s Self-Fashioning in the Urban Marketplace’’,
  67. (2004). The Intimate Economies of Bangkok: Tomboys, Tycoons, and Avon Ladies in the Global City (Berkeley: doi
  68. (1999). The Native Leisure Class: Consumption And Cultural Creativity in the Andes (Chicago: doi
  69. (2001). The Politicization of Marriage in Contemporary American Public Policy: The Defense of Marriage Act and the Personal Responsibility Act’’, doi
  70. (1998). The Struggle for Accountability: The World Bank, NGOs, and Grassroots Movements
  71. (1998). The Two-Headed Household: Gender and Rural Development in the Ecuadorian Andes (Pittsburgh: doi
  72. (1999). The World Bank at the Millennium’’, doi
  73. (1982). The World Bank: A Critical Analysis (New York: Monthly Review Press,
  74. (2004). The World’s Banker: A Story of Failed States, doi
  75. (2000). Transnational Peasants: Migrations, Networks, and Ethnicity in Andean Ecuador (Baltimore: doi
  76. (1990). Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (New York: Kent Academic Repository – Published version available in
  77. (1994). Who Pays for the Kids? Gender and the Structures of Constraint doi
  78. (2000). Why Is Development Work So Straight?

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.