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South Caucasus

War, Resisting the West and Women's Labor: Toward an Understanding of Arab Exceptionalism


Angrist, Michele. 2012. “War, Resisting the West, and Women’s Labor: Toward an Understanding of Arab Exceptionalism.” Politics & Gender 8 (01): 51–82. doi:10.1017/S1743923X12000074.

Author: Michele Angrist


Countries with Muslim-majority populations often are viewed as places where women are particularly oppressed. To a degree, this perception reflects reality. Fish (2002) demonstrates that, relative to Catholic countries, Muslim countries are associated with larger male–female literacy gaps, higher male–female population sex ratios (which can reflect poorer treatment of females), and lower scores on the United Nations Development Program's (UNDP's) Gender Empowerment Measure, which focuses on political participation, economic influence, and income. Looking at the developing world, Cherif (2010) finds that Muslim countries are associated with inheritance and nationality laws that are discriminatory toward women. Some suggest that Islam itself is responsible for limitations on women's economic, political, and social freedoms. Whether referring to the substance of Islamic (shari'a) law, which treats men and women differently, or to the ways in which politicians defer to conservative interpretations of shari'a law in order to build and/or consolidate their legitimacy, or to contemporary regimes' need to appease (or at least not inflame) important Islamist constituencies who favor a subordinate role for women, many accounts of gender inequality in Muslim countries assert that “prevailing interpretations of Islamic law . . . and the attitudes it informs” are a key culprit (Cherif 2010, 1145).

Topics: Armed Conflict, Economies, Economic Inequality, Gender, Women, Gender Balance, Political Participation, Religion Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, West Africa, Asia, Central Asia, Middle East, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Europe, Baltic states, Balkans, South Caucasus

Year: 2012

Genocide and Gender in the Twentieth Century: A Comparative Survey


Randall, Amy E. 2015. Genocide and Gender in the Twentieth Century: A Comparative Survey. London: Bloomsbury Academic.

Author: Amy E. Randall


Genocide and Gender in the Twentieth Century brings together a collection of some of the finest genocide studies scholars in North America and Europe to examine gendered discourses, practices and experiences of ethnic cleansing and genocide in the 20th century. It includes essays focusing on the genocide in Rwanda, the Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire, the Holocaust and ethnic cleansing and genocide in the former Yugoslavia.
The book looks at how historically- and culturally-specific ideas about reproduction, biology, and ethnic, national, racial and religious identity contributed to the possibility for and the unfolding of genocidal sexual violence, including mass rape. The book also considers how these ideas, in conjunction with discourses of femininity and masculinity, and understandings of female and male identities, contributed to perpetrators' tools and strategies for ethnic cleansing and genocide, as well as victims' experiences of these processes. This is an ideal text for any student looking to further understand the crucial topic of gender in genocide studies.
(Bloomsbury Academic)

Topics: Gender, Women, Men, Masculinity/ies, Femininity/ies, Gendered Discourses, Genocide, Sexual Violence, Rape, SV against men Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, Europe, Balkans, South Caucasus Countries: Armenia, Rwanda, Yugoslavia (former)

Year: 2015

Traumatic Masculinities: The Gendered Geographies of Georgian IDPs from Abkhazia


Kabachnik, Peter, Magdalena Grabowska, Joanna Regulska, Beth Mitchneck, and Olga V. Mayorova. 2013. “Traumatic Masculinities: The Gendered Geographies of Georgian IDPs from Abkhazia.” Gender, Place & Culture 20 (6): 773–93. 

Authors: Peter Kabachnik, Magdalena Grabowska, Joanna Regulska, Beth Mitchneck, Olga V. Mayorova


Over 200,000 people became internally displaced after several violent conflicts in the early 1990s in Georgia. For many internally displaced persons (IDPs), gender relations have been transformed significantly. This translates to many women taking on the role of breadwinner for their family, which often is accompanied by the process of demasculinization for men. In this article, we examine the construction of masculinities and analyze the gendered processes of displacement and living in post-displacement for Georgian IDPs from Abkhazia. We identify the formation of ‘traumatic masculinities’ as a result of the threats to, though not usurpation of, hegemonic masculinities. Drawing on interviews, we highlight how IDPs conceptualize gender norms and masculinities in Georgia. Despite the disruptions that displacement has brought about, with the subsequent challenges to IDPs' ideal masculine roles, the discourses of hegemonic masculinities still predominate amongst IDPs. We further illustrate this point by identifying two separate gendered discourses of legitimization that attempt to reconcile hegemonic masculinities with the current contexts and circumstances that IDPs face. These new traumatic masculinities do coexist with hegemonic masculinities, although the latter are reformed and redefined as a result of the new contexts and new places within which they are performed.

Keywords: masculinities, displacement, internally displaced persons, trauma, Georgia, Abkhazia

Topics: Displacement & Migration, IDPs, Gender, Women, Masculinity/ies, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Trauma, Livelihoods, Post-Conflict Regions: Asia, Central Asia, Europe, South Caucasus

Year: 2013

Trafficking in Humans Social, Cultural and Political Dimensions


Cameron, Sally, and Edward Newman. 2008. Trafficking in Humans Social, Cultural and Political Dimensions. New York: United Nations University Press. 

Authors: Sally Cameron, Edward Newman


Brings social, economic and political elements to the policy discussion as well as strategic interventions regarding the fight against "trafficking" (the recruitment and transportation of human beings through deception and coercion for the purposes of exploitation). Trafficking, generally, occurs from poorer to more prosperous countries and regions; however, it is not necessarily the poorest regions or communities which are most vulnerable to trafficking, and so this volume seeks to identify the factors which explain where and why vulnerability increases. –Publisher's description.

“[This] volume examines the proposition that in this era of globalization, liberal economic forces have resulted in the erosion of state capacity and a weakening of the provision of public goods…A certain alignment of factors may be key to understanding trafficking. The principle focus of this volume is to understand the distinction and dialectical interaction between structural and proximate factors.”


Table of Contents:

1. Introduction: Understanding human trafficking/Edward Newman and Sally Cameron

Part I: Themes:

2. Trafficking in humans: Structural factors/Sally Cameron and Edward Newman
3. Globalization and national sovereignty: From migration to trafficking/ Kinsey Alden Dinan
4. Trafficking of women for prostitution/Sally Cameron
5. Migrant women and the legal politics of anti-trafficking interventions/Ratna Kapur
6. Trafficking in women: The role of transnational organized crime/Phil Williams

Part II: Regional experiences

7. The fight against trafficking in human beings from the European perspective/Helga Konrad
8. Human trafficking in East and South-East Asia: Searching for structural factors/Maruja M. B. Asis
9. Human trafficking in Latin America in the context of international migration/Gabriela Rodríguez Pizarro
10. Human trafficking in South Asia: A focus on Nepal/Renu Rajbhandari
11. Trafficking in persons in the South Caucasus – Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia: New challenges for transitional democracies/Gulnara Shahinian


Recognize that trafficking is gendered

Gender analysis offers increased possibilities to understand the specifics of why certain women are trafficked into certain regions/industries and develop appropriate (often long-term) responses. As a starting point, women are being trafficked from states offering them limited opportunities outside the hard toil and drudgery of the home, the farm and unregulated markets. “Rescuing” women and sending them home does not affect that, and thus will not alter the principal push factors which make women vulnerable to trafficking. At the same time, there is a failure to understand and acknowledge fully the trafficking of men. While there is some writing about men working in exploitative, indentured or slave-like conditions, much of this has not been contextualized within a trafficking framework. Similarly, there must be greater recognition that children are trafficked. For too long the popular image of trafficking victims – young women coerced into prostitution – has influenced policy responses, but this is only a part of the reality.” (16)

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Migration, Refugees, Economies, Poverty, Gender, Livelihoods, Sexual livelihoods, Sexual Violence, Rape, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, Sexual Slavery, Trafficking, Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking Regions: Americas, Central America, Asia, East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Europe, Balkans, South Caucasus Countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Nepal

Year: 2008

Ethnic Conflict and Forced Displacement: Narratives of Azeri IDP and Refugee Women from the Nagorno-Karabakh War


Najafizadeh, Mehrangiz. 2013. “Ethnic Conflict and Forced Displacement: Narratives of Azeri IDP and Refugee Women from the Nagorno-Karabakh War.” Journal of International Women’s Studies 14 (1): 161–83.

Author: Mehrangiz Najafizadeh


The region that now constitutes the Republic of Azerbaijan has witnessed a lengthy history of conflict between Azeris and ethnic Armenians living in Azerbaijan. This longstanding conflict has had severe consequences for Azerbaijan, and Azeri women have been especially affected as hundreds of thousands have been forced from their homes and now live as refugees or as internally displaced persons (IDPs). In this article, I examine Armenian-Azeri ethnic conflict and the plight of Azeri IDP/refugee women both in social historical context and through fieldwork that I have been conducting in Azerbaijan. I first establish the broader sociopolitical context by providing a social historical overview of this ethnic conflict, including the Nagorno- Karabakh War, which began in the late 1980s and which has continued under cease-fire since 1994. I then elaborate the qualitative field research that I have been conducting in Azerbaijan to explore issues related to the forced migration of Azeri women who became displaced as a result of this ethnic conflict. Through compiling narratives and oral histories, I provide Azeri refugee and internally displaced women a "voice" and I capture, through their own thoughts and words, the essence of war and of living in displacement, the essence of the difficult and challenging life experiences that they confront and the ways in which they cope with displacement.

Keywords: Azerbaijan, women, refugees, oral history

Topics: Armed Conflict, Ethnic/Communal Wars, Displacement & Migration, IDPs, Refugees, Ethnicity, Gender, Women Regions: Asia, Central Asia, Europe, South Caucasus Countries: Azerbaijan

Year: 2013

Cultural Responses to Changing Gender Patterns of Migration in Georgia


Hofmann, Erin Trouth and Cynthia J. Buckley. 2011. “Cultural Responses to Changing Gender Patterns of Migration in Georgia.” International Migration 50 (5): 77-94.

Authors: Erin Trouth Hofmann, Cynthia J. Buckley


In this paper, we explore how individual women cope with the tensions between economic forces encouraging temporary labour migration and cultural norms tying “proper” women to their homes and families. Combining in-depth interviews with returned migrant women in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi with secondary migration data for the region, we illustrate the recent increases in Georgian women’s participation in international labour migration. Deteriorating economic conditions in Georgia leave women with few local opportunities to financially support their families, while institutional changes have altered the accessibility and attractiveness of international destinations, leading to increasing motivations and opportunities for women’s migration. Focusing on the contradictions between growing female migration and persistent adherence to cultural norms stigmatizing migration in Georgia, we explore the cognitive strategies migrant women employ in an attempt to balance internalized perceptions of acceptable gendered behaviour with their migration choices. Two key pathways of adaptation emerge: framing migration as a necessity rather than a choice and stressing the unique and individually exceptional nature of their own migration experience. We posit that these strategies may serve to limit the norm-challenging nature of women’s migration in Georgia. Although migration is often described as an empowering experience for women, if women migrants work to present their migration in a way that fits within the bounds of traditional gender norms, these norms may be strengthened rather than challenged.

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Migration, Economies, Gender, Women, Livelihoods Regions: Asia, Central Asia, Europe, South Caucasus Countries: Georgia

Year: 2011

Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health in Post-Socialist Georgia: Does Internal Displacement Matter?


Buckley, Cynthia J., and Khatuna Doliashvili. 2008. “Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health in Post-Socialist Georgia: Does Internal Displacement Matter?” International Family Planning Perspectives 34 (1): 21–29.

Authors: Cynthia J. Buckley, Khatuna Doliashvili


Persons displaced by armed conflicts, natural disasters or other events are at increased risk for health problems. The Republic of Georgia has a substantial population of internally displaced women who may face elevated risks of STIs and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).

Topics: Displacement & Migration, IDPs, Gender, Women, Health, Reproductive Health Regions: Europe, South Caucasus Countries: Georgia

Year: 2008

Stable Instability of Displaced People in Western Georgia: A Food-Security and Gender Survey after Five Years


Vivero Pol, Jose Luis. 1999. “Stable Instability of Displaced People in Western Georgia: A Food-Security and Gender Survey after Five Years.” Journal of Refugee Studies 12 (4): 349-66.

Author: Jose Luis Vivero Pol


The Caucasus is one of the most troubled hotspots in the world, with the Georgian—Abkhazian conflict already lasting seven years. In conflict between 1992 and 1998, more than 100,000 people have been displaced to western Georgia, many of them twice. The paper examines the way this exile has severely affected their gender roles in production activities, with the collapse of the Soviet Union exacerbating the situation. Displaced women have increasingly become main household income earners working in petty trade and agriculture, while displaced men have a reduced role and an apathetic response to the situation. The paper examines the main food sources, concluding that there is no lack of food availability or food access, and highlighting the importance of the kinship network between the host and displaced community. Finally guidelines for future programmes are suggested, with a recommendation to include projects targeting men.

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Gender, Gender Roles, Households, Livelihoods Regions: Asia, Central Asia, Europe, South Caucasus Countries: Georgia

Year: 1999

En-Gendering Civil Society and Democracy-Building: The Anti-Domestic Violence Campaign in Armenia


Ishkanian, Armine. 2007. “En-Gendering Civil Society and Democracy-Building: The Anti-Domestic Violence Campaign in Armenia.” Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State and Society 14 (4): 488–525.

Author: Armine Ishkanian


This article examines how women's non-governmental organizations (NGOs) were targeted as an important component of the democracy building and civil society promotion programs of the post-socialist period. In particular, it focuses on NGO organizing around the issue of domestic violence in Armenia. It argues that the framing of the problem along with the proposed solutions led to civil society resistance to and critique of the anti-domestic violence campaign. It considers both the causes and the implications of this resistance on organizing around domestic violence as well as the responses and adaptations of the NGOs involved in the campaign.

Topics: Civil Society, Democracy / Democratization, Domestic Violence, Gender, Women, NGOs Regions: Europe, South Caucasus Countries: Armenia

Year: 2007


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