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In: Changing perceptions: writings on gender and development, edited by Tina Wallace with Candida March. Oxford, England, Oxfam, 1991. 141-8.In this essay in a book of writings on gender and development, the author relates her experience as the first Woman Project Officer hired by the Oxfam West India office in 1984. The previously all-male staff decided to hire a woman with development experience to tackle gender issues and to attempt to involve women in development programs, especially in decision-making processes. The strategy used was to create structures which would enable women to form groups and, eventually, to define their own development activity priorities and needs. This strategy failed, largely because it was not relevant to the position of the women in their society. It became apparent, however, that women's development must be integrated in all aspects of Oxfam's work at the organizational, office, and program levels. In 1985, therefore, a group of women project officers formed a group called Action for Gender Relations Asia (AGRA) to work toward this goal. AGRA first concentrated on the organization of Oxfam and its staff but found its abilities limited by the fact that it was comprised solely of Oxfam staff. Studies of the impacts of various projects on women have been undertaken to develop awareness of appropriate strategies. The shift in strategy required that, instead of forming separate women's groups, women be incorporated in development efforts. These attempts were blocked by patriarchal male leaders. Thus, women were appointed as organizers of women's development. Since many of these women were inexperienced, the patriarchal set-up was reinforced. Also, whereas most of the development programs had economic goals, the work with the women emphasized conscientization and organization, which was difficult for some group leaders and staff members to accept. These attempts are part of a process of change that is constantly evolving. It is hoped that what was learned from them will contribute to an understanding of gender issues.