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Successful Girls? Complicating Post-Feminist, Neoliberal Discourses of Educational Achievement and Gender Equality


Ringrose, Jessica. 2007. “Successful Girls? Complicating Post-Feminist, Neoliberal Discourses of Educational Achievement and Gender Equality.” Gender & Education 19 (4): 471–89.

Author: Jessica Ringrose


This paper examines how an ongoing educational panic over failing boys has contributed to a new celebratory discourse about successful girls. Rather than conceive of this shift as an anti-feminist feminist backlash, the paper examines how the successful girl discourse is postfeminist, and how liberal feminist theory has contributed to narrowly conceived, divisive educational debates and policies where boys' disadvantage/success are pitted against girls' disadvantage/success. The paper illustrates that gender-only and gender binary conceptions of educational achievement are easily recuperated into individualizing neo-liberal discourses of educational equality, and consistently conceal how issues of achievement in school are related to issues of class, race, ethnicity, religion, citizenship and location. Some recent media examples that illustrate the intensification of the successful girl discourse are examined. It is argued that the gender and achievement debate fuels a seductive postfeminist discourse of girl power, possibility and choice with massive reach, where girls' educational performance is used as evidence that individual success is attainable and educational policies are working in contexts of globalization, marketization and economic insecurity. The new contradictory work of 'doing' successful femininity, which requires balancing traditional feminine and masculine qualities, is also considered. (Abstract from original)

Topics: Education, Feminisms, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Femininity/ies, Globalization, Privatization

Year: 2007

Neoliberalism with a Feminist Face: Crafting a new Hegemony at the World Bank


Prugl, Elizabeth. 2017. "Neoliberalism with a Feminist Face: Crafting a new Hegemony at the World Bank." Feminist Economics 23 (1): 30-53.

Author: Elizabeth Prugl


Neoliberalism has been discredited as a result of proliferating crises (financial, ecological, care) and mounting inequality. This paper examines the growing research on gender at the World Bank as a site for the construction of a new hegemonic consensus around neoliberalism. Drawing on a computer-assisted inductive analysis of thirty-four Bank publications on gender since 2001, the paper documents Bank efforts to establish a positive relationship between gender equality and growth; shows the expansion of the Bank’s definition of equality as equal opportunity; illustrates how the focus on institutions has enabled engagement with core feminist concerns, such as equality in the family; and traces how incorporating notions of women’s empowerment and agency has made possible a focus on domestic violence. The paper concludes by emphasizing the ambiguous effects of the Bank’s new neoliberalism, which continues to use the market as the arbiter of social values while providing openings for feminist agendas. (Abstract from original)

Keywords: World Bank, neoliberalism, gender equality

Topics: Development, Feminisms, International Financial Institutions, Privatization, Violence

Year: 2017

Feminism, Interrupted? Gender and Development in the Era of ‘Smart Economics'


Calkin, Sydney. 2015. “Feminism, Interrupted? Gender and Development in the Era of ‘Smart Economics.’” Progress in Development Studies 15 (4): 295–307.

Author: Sydney Calkin


This article assesses feminist accounts of co-optation and appropriation in gender and development policy. Today women and girls are the public faces of anti-poverty policy and occupy an important position in the development discourse; however, the ambiguities of the neoliberal gender agenda have provoked an ongoing debate about the extent to which feminist aims and language have been and de-politicized by mainstream institutions. Have feminist aims been co-opted to legitimize anti-feminist policy goals, or does the current visibility of gender issues reflect the success of particular strands of (neo)liberal feminism? I explore these conflicting accounts by examining the current ‘Gender Equality as Smart Economics’ policy agenda, exploring its major themes and institutional form through a focus on two transnational business initiatives. The article concludes that, although accounts of feminism’s cooptation are flawed in their misrepresentation of a diverse and dynamic movement, the transformations wrought by neoliberal-compatible feminisms present troubling challenges for feminists concerned with intersectionality and the links between gender and economic justice. (Abstract from original)

Topics: Development, Feminisms, Multi-national Corporations

Year: 2015

Combat as a Moving Target: Masculinities, the Heroic Soldier Myth, and Normative Martial Violence


Millar, Katharine M. and Joanna Tidy. 2017. “Combat as a Moving Target: Masculinities, the Heroic Soldier Myth, and Normative Martial Violence.” Critical Military Studies 3 (2): 142-60.

Authors: Katharine M. Millar, Joanna Tidy


This article problematizes the conceptualization and use of ‘combat’ within critical scholarship on masculinities, militaries, and war. We trace, firstly, how combat appears as an empirical category within traditional war studies scholarship, describing an ostensibly self-evident physical practice. We then examine how feminist and gender approaches – in contrast – reveal ‘combat’ as a normative imagination of martial violence. This imagination of violence is key to the constitution of the masculine ideal, and normalization of military force, through the heroic soldier myth. We argue, however, that despite this critical impulse, much of feminist and gender analysis exhibits conceptual ‘slippage’: combat is still often treated as a ‘common-sense’ empirical category – a thing that ‘is’ – in masculinities theorizing. This treatment of gendered-imaginary-as- empirics imports a set of normative investments that limit the extent to which the heroic soldier myth, and the political work that it undertakes, can be deconstructed. As a consequence, whilst we know how masculinities are constituted in relation to ‘combat’, we lack the corollary understanding of how masculinities constitute combat, and how the resulting imagination sustains military authority and the broader social acceptance of war. We argue that unpacking these dynamics and addressing this lacuna is key to the articulation of a meaningfully ‘critical’ gender and military studies.

Keywords: combat, military masculinities, critical, soldiers, violence

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Feminisms, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gender Analysis, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarization

Year: 2017

Decolonizing Disaster: A Gender Perspective of Disaster Risk Management in the United States-Affiliated Pacific Islands


Anderson, Cheryl Lea. 2005. “Decolonizing Disaster: A Gender Perspective of Disaster Risk Management in the United States-Affiliated Pacific Islands.” PhD diss., University of Hawai'i.

Author: Cheryl Lea Anderson


This dissertation explores disaster risk management from a gender perspective in the US-affiliated Pacific Islands where several methodologies from feminism, postcolonialism, and disaster research are placed in conversation. This conversation illuminates elements in the design of risk management policies, programs, and projects that create inequities revealed in disaster. Gender analysis becomes tied to understanding local culture, social conditions, and power related to risk management. This research reveals that few women participate in formal risk management organizations, yet women are participants and leaders in informal risk management activities that contribute to disaster mitigation. The overall structure of disasters and disaster management programs has emerged from the dominant political system, and has been overlaid on island communities. The results of this system alienate marginalized voices from the risk management process, devalue women's work, and ultimately result in continuing colonization through disaster management programs and policies. By increasing awareness of the social inequalities in risk management, it will be possible to engage in risk reduction planning with communities that sets up a process of dialogue between the formal and informal risk management sectors. Attention to the roots of disaster and the process of risk management can help build resiliency to deal with crises.

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Environment, Environmental Disasters, Feminisms, Gender, Gender Analysis, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality Regions: Americas, North America, Oceania Countries: United States of America

Year: 2005

Gender Analysis of the Policy Responses to High Oil Prices: A Case Study of South Africa


Fofana, Ismaël. 2015. "Gender Analysis of the Policy Responses to High Oil Prices: A Case Study of South Africa." Feminist Economics 21 (3): 216-40. doi: 10.1080/13545701.2015.1023330 

Author: Ismaël Fofana


The 2007–8 surge in oil prices has created concern about its impacts on poor and vulnerable populations in developing countries. Government management of the energy crisis was shown to be important in reducing adverse impacts. This study uses an applied general equilibrium framework to examine alternative policy and external shocks with the recent surge in oil prices in South Africa through a gender lens. Simulation results show that although the 2007–8 energy crisis contributed to slowing down South African gross domestic product (GDP) growth and reducing employment and earnings, the distributional impact between men and women has been neutral. This neutrality is driven by an increase in capital inflows, which has mitigated the exchange rate depreciation owing to the oil price hike. Without an increase in capital inflows, the crisis would have significantly depreciated the exchange rate and contributed to decreasing women's market opportunities and increasing women's workload as compared to men.

Keywords: energy policy, gender, household economics, Time use

Topics: Economies, Economic Inequality, Poverty, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gender Analysis, Governance, Infrastructure, Energy Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: South Africa

Year: 2015

Motherhood, Mining and Modernity in the Peruvian Highlands from Corporate Development to Social Mobilization


Grieco, Kyra. 2016. “Motherhood, Mining and Modernity in the Peruvian Highlands from Corporate Development to Social Mobilization.” In Negotiating Normativity, 131–46. Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-30984-2_8.

Author: Kyra Grieco


During the last 20 years, extractive activities in Peru have been promoted by national governments as the only viable road to development in the Andes. This paradigm of extractive modernity is increasingly questioned by protest movements who oppose the implementation of new mining projects on the grounds of their social and environmental consequences. In this context, the gendered impacts of mining and mobilization have rarely been addressed, yet women play an increasingly important role both as targets of mining-led or related development programs and as participants in social mobilization against extractive industries. In both cases, women's physical bodies and social role as mothers are at the center of a model of modernity, and to a critique of the ‘other.’This chapter will focus on women as subjects and objects of contested modernity. It shall present results from ethnographic research carried out in the region of Cajamarca, one of the areas of heavy mining investment and the site of intense social conflict since 2000. An overview of the paradigms of modernity will be presented in terms of the role that each of these models assigns to women, through the realm of maternity. The actual experiences of women in this contested terrain, their mediation and resistance to the constraints imposed on them by existing models or modernity, maternity and womanhood will allow us to explore the differences and intersections of competing discourses of modernity. At the same time, we shall focus on the creative agency with which women operate within each one of these discourses, as active subjects in the definition and implementation of their rights. (Summary from Springer Link)

Topics: Development, Extractive Industries, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Gender Analysis, conflict Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Peru

Year: 2016

Frontier Masculinity in the Oil Industry: The Experience of Women Engineers


Miller, Gloria E. 2004. “Frontier Masculinity in the Oil Industry: The Experience of Women Engineers.” Gender, Work & Organization 11 (1): 47–73.

Author: Gloria E. Miller


This study contributes to the empirical evidence in the area of gendered organizations (Martin and Collinson, 2002) and their effects on the women who work in them through an interpretive, ethnographic analysis of the oil industry in Canada, specifically Alberta. The study combines data from interviews with women professionals who have extensive employment experience in the industry, a historical analysis of the industry’s development in the area and the personal contextual experience of the author. It is suggested that there are three primary processes which structure the masculinity of the industry: everyday interactions which exclude women; values and beliefs specific to the dominant occupation of engineering which reinforce gender divisions; and a consciousness derived from the powerful symbols of the frontier myth and the romanticized cowboy hero. In this dense cultural web of masculinities, the strategies that the women developed to survive, and, up to a point, to thrive, are double-edged in that they also reinforced the masculine system, resulting in short-term individual gains and an apparently long-term failure to change the masculine values of the industry.

Keywords: organizational culture, gendered organization, barriers to women managers, women engineers, petroleum industry

Topics: Extractive Industries, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Masculinity/ies, Gender Roles, Gender Analysis Regions: Americas, North America Countries: Canada

Year: 2004

Women, Nature, and Development in Sites of Ecuador’s Petroleum Circuit


Cielo, Cristina, Lisset Coba, and Ivette Vallejo. 2016. “Women, Nature, and Development in Sites of Ecuador’s Petroleum Circuit.” Economic Anthropology 3 (1): 119–32. doi:10.1002/sea2.12049.

Authors: Cristina Cielo, Lisset Coba, Ivette Vallejo


This article argues that the contradictory character of Ecuador’s current development project is made evident through a focus on energy resource management from a feminist ecological perspective. The hydrocarbon exploitation fundamental to these projects transforms women’s roles in social reproduction and production, their relationship with nature, and their dependence on state-institutionalized energy regimes. We examine changes in women’s territorially based work of care at sites in Ecuador’s petroleum circuit. An ethnographic focus on the transformation of women’s daily lives at sites of petroleum exploration, exploitation, and processing in Ecuador reveals an often overlooked dimension of the socioenvironmental conflicts produced by the intensification of national economic insertion into the global energy market. This article thus examines the intersection of state development policies and the gendered construction of subjects of development. The exploitation of natural resources transforms the meanings and values of nature and development, of women’s work of care, and of the participation of these in different energy regimes.

Keywords: care work, ecofeminism, development, petroleum circuit, Ecuadorian Amazon

Topics: Development, Environment, Extractive Industries, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gender Analysis, conflict, Infrastructure, Energy, Political Economies Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Ecuador

Year: 2016

The ‘Un-Womanly’ Attitudes of Women in Mining towards the Environment


Laplonge, Dean. 2017. “The ‘Un-Womanly’ Attitudes of Women in Mining towards the Environment.” The Extractive Industries and Society 4 (2): 304–309. doi:10.1016/j.exis.2017.01.011.

Author: Dean Laplonge


In this paper I explore whether the employment of more women in mining will result in improved environmental management and practices in that industry. The debate about gender in mining regularly includes claims that the employment of more women will help change the industry. These claims rely on essentialist ideas about how women behave, and fail to consider the production of masculinity as the preferred gender for all mining employees. Drawing on the results of a survey which explores the attitudes of women who work in mining towards the environment, I conclude that the sex of employees is not the best indicator of possible change in environmental management and practices in the industry. Women who work in mining do not display a particularly strong or unique connection to the environment which would encourage them to drive change in their workplaces. In conclusion, I suggest that ecofeminism might offer better hope of improved environmental practices in mining; and call for more work to be done to explore how this might work in mining operations.

Keywords: gender, mining, evironment, management

Topics: Environment, Extractive Industries, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Men, Masculinity/ies, Gender Analysis, Gender Balance

Year: 2017


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