To What Extent Have the Nations of the Third World Modernized?

To what extent have the nations of the Third World modernized?

The two areas I will be discussing are India and Africa. I will be discussing the role of women, education, political, and economic changes in society.

“India created a new constitution that included social justice, equality of status, opportunity, and fraternity. All citizens of the country were protected from discrimination on the grounds of religion belief, race, caste, gender, or place of birth”. (Duiker 276)

To combat rural poverty, Gandhi “nationalized banks, provided loans to peasants on easy terms, built low-cost housing, distributed land to the landless, and introduced electoral reforms to enfranchise the poor”. (Duiker 273, 274)

In India, women were encouraged to attend school and enter the labor market. There were some negative results regarding women in society. There was a high mortality rate among girls compared to boys. One–quarter of the female children born in India die before the age of 15 as a result of neglect or even infanticide. Others are aborted before birth after gender-detection examinations. Some women die of mistreatment at the hands of their husband or of other members of his family. (Duiker 279)

The role of women in society was a significant change that occurred in Southeast Asia. In general, women in the region have historically faced fewer restrictions on their activities and enjoyed a higher status than women elsewhere in Asia. Nevertheless, they were not the equal of men in every respect. With independence, Southeast Asian women gained new rights. Virtually all of the constitutions adopted by the newly independent states granted women full legal and political rights, including the right to work. Today, women have increased opportunities for education and have entered careers previously reserved for men. Women have become more active in politics, and as we have seen, some have served as heads of state. (Duiker 288)

Africa had some attempts at modernization which had some success and some failure. In 1963, leaders from 32 African nations created the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in an effort to produce a continental unity that was to excel national boundaries and create a Pan-Africanism based on freedom equality, justice, dignity, unity, and solidarity. (Duiker 294)

Western influence certainly had a lasting impact on Africa as an independent and modernized society. There were beneficial improvements made in education, transportation, communication, sanitation, and medical care. The problem was that these improvements or benefits were not distributed on an equal basis and therefore most Africans experienced little or no improvement in their daily lives. (Duiker 293) Women were provided more freedoms in many countries including the right to vote, own property and become involved in politics (Duiker 303).

Some African nations have tried changes with only negative results: socialism in Tanzania, capitalism in Kenya, and even Marxism in Angola and Ethiopia. (Duiker 298) Because of poor soil, little rainfall, and limited resources, Tanzania has had little growth and has experienced continued rural and urban poverty. Many of Kenya's problems have been attributed to a constant population growth, disputes between ethnic groups, and riots. Numerous revolts have caused a great amount of economic disappointment and failure in these two African nations. (Duiker 298)

However, South Africa has prospered in the evolution from colonialism to a free nation. “Africa’s greatest success story is in South Africa” (Duiker 298) because of “fertile land and a solid industrial base, South Africa remains the wealthiest and most industrialized state in Africa”. (Duiker 299)