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Insights Into Challenges of Third World Development

Updated on May 11, 2011

The challenges faced in third world development offer many insights on what roles the government and other factors play in development. Third world countries aren’t underdeveloped simply because of a lack of resources or laziness of society.  Female empowerment plays a major role in development; the rural population suffers more than the urban population; and peasants are often revolutionaries during a period of change.

Female empowerment or lack thereof plays a major role in a country’s economic development. When women aren’t allowed the right to get an education, join the workforce, or participate in political affairs, the economy suffers. Literacy rates are much lower than they could potentially be if women were given more education. When the female literacy rate is relatively low, it can result in a lower GDP because the country is only using half of its population for development. Often women’s rights are suppressed as a result of religion being prominent in politics. For example, certain countries’ religion and politics are tightly wound and as a result, laws have been put in place to keep women from being active in the society.

The rural poor often suffer much more than the urban in third world countries. Rural villagers are less likely to have safe drinking water, electricity, and schools than the urban people. Because the rural poor receive less education, they are often less involved in politics. As a result, many of the political decisions on development are made with an unfair urban bias.

As a result of the neglect faced by rural peasants, they are the ones most likely to revolt, especially during periods of agrarian reform. Rural peasants who own small plots of land used primarily for feeding their families are forced into growing crops for commercial sale. Because of price restrictions on commercial crops, these peasants are often left not only unable to turn a profit but unable to feed their own families anymore as well. Even the more wealthy rural farmers suffer during agrarian reform. They are often forced to use their land for producing commercial crops or their land is seized and redistributed in smaller crops. The peasants most likely to revolt are laborers who work for landlords, poor farmers occupying land illegally, and peasants with access to land that suffer from crop prices.

In conclusion, women and rural peasants often suffer the most in third world countries, even during periods of development. In order for a country to reach democracy, it first has to bridge the gap between men and women and the gap between the rural and the urban. There are two basic steps to bridging these gaps. First, religion must be not be allowed to influence government and political decisions. Second, the neglected groups need to play an equal role in politics so that they have the opportunity to influence decisions that benefit all parties equally.

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