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    What is different about women's organizations?

    Yasmin T

    In: Getting institutions right for women in development, edited by Anne Marie Goetz. London, England, Zed Books, 1997. 199-211.

    Women's organizations have problems handling leadership and the power that comes with it, like any other organization. However, this should not detract from the many positive features of Saptagram's management approach and organizational culture from the perspective of empowering both women staff and beneficiaries. The factors which make Saptagram one of the largest and most successful women's organizations in Bangladesh lie in its emphasis on addressing women's practical and strategic needs. But these factors need not be restricted only to Saptagram. Its management practices, the working conditions, investment in women both in terms of money and time are factors which can be incorporated into existing management practices because Saptagram has proved that it is possible to run a large and successful programme on principles which are not male-oriented. Saptagram's path has not been smooth nor straight for it had to fight battles on many fronts. But that is what it takes to work with women because one is constantly challenging the values which are repressive of and oppressive to women. While NGOs believe in change through development programmes, essentially most organizations fear to challenge the status quo where it concerns women. It is not possible to work for holistic development without involving women at every level of decision-making and leadership, without looking into women's practical and strategic needs and without believing in women. In the final analysis, it takes courage and commitment to work with women. (excerpt)
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