“You Cannot Hold Two Watermelons in One Hand”: Securitizing Gender in Afghanistan and Pakistan

Bina D’Costa

November 10, 2014

Campus Center Room 3550A, UMass Boston

In conflict zones, women's security becomes a highly politicized issue, often in counter-productive ways.  The roles and religious rights of women are highly contested and unsettled issues.  Based on recent fieldwork, this presentation analyses some of these debates within the context of Pakistan and Afghanistan’s security dynamics.  D’Costa will argue that a deliberate focus on the exclusion and limitation of women in Muslim and traditional societies sustains and reinforces the stereotypes of women as silent and silenced actors.  However, while the control of women within and beyond the nexus of patriarchal family-society-state is central to extremist ideologies, women’s vulnerability and insecurity increase in times of conflicts not only from the actions of the religious forces but also from “progressive,” “secular” international “humanitarian” interventions.

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