This article explores the key factors conditioning the position of women in developing countries and then searches official Catholic social teaching for a response. The first major section of the article explores gender bias as it shapes development efforts in the third world. Findings indicate that substantial progress in developing nations depends on including women in decision-making processes at all levels. Such inclusion requires improved access to resources as a significant element in the elimination of gender bias.
The second section of the article addresses official Catholic social teaching as it pertains to the status of women in society. This section concludes by identifying two significant affirmations in the tradition and three limitations.
A final section challenges the tradition of Catholic social teaching by calling for both the development and adoption of an anthropology that realizes the radical equality and fundamental difference between women and men and a fuller inclusion of women in the very process of developing Catholic social teaching.