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Women's Rights

Misogyny in ‘Post-War’ Afghanistan: the Changing Frames of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence


Ahmad, Lida, and Priscyll Anctil Avoice. 2016. “Misogyny in ‘Post-War’ Afghanistan: the Changing Frames of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence.” Journal of Gender Studies 1-16.

Authors: Lida Ahmad, Priscyll Anctil Avoice


Although the US and NATO invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 was ideologically justified under the banner of democracy and women’s rights, the latter issue has been completely forgotten within the public sphere since then. As the war has officially ended in Afghanistan, new forms of misogyny and sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) have arisen. The ‘post-war’ Afghan context presents an institutional normalization of violence, favouring a culture of rape and impunity. The changing frames of violence against women are widely related to the political situation of the country: while public attention is focused on peace agreements, women’s issues are relegated to banalities and depicted as ‘everyday’ news. Meanwhile, new frames of SGBV appear as body part mutilation within marriage, forced prostitution, and increasing domestic violence, partly due to the growing consumption of opium but also to the perpetuation of powerful warlords in state structures. This article draws on gender studies to analyse the current misogynist culture in ‘post-war’ Afghanistan, framing the new forms of violence induced by successive armed conflicts. It relies on interviews conducted in 2013 in Afghanistan; and on secondary sources, mostly taken from the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan and Human Rights Watch reports.

Keywords: Afghanistan, misogyny, sexual and gender-based violence, violence, politics, post-war, local initiatives

Topics: Armed Conflict, Domestic Violence, Gender-Based Violence, Gendered Power Relations, Governance, Post-conflict Governance, Post-Conflict, Rights, Women's Rights, Sexual Violence, Rape, SV against women, Violence Regions: Americas, North America, Asia, South Asia Countries: Afghanistan, United States of America

Year: 2016

Foreign Military Intervention and Women's Rights


Peksen, Dursun. 2001. “Foreign Military Intervention and Women’s Rights.” Journal of Peace Research 48 (4): 455-68. 

Author: Dursun Peksen


A large body of scholarly work has been devoted to the possible consequences of foreign military intervention for the target state. This literature, however, tends to be state-centric and mostly neglects the insight from gender-specific theoretical and empirical perspectives. The purpose of this article is to examine the extent to which military intervention affects women’s rights. It is argued that unilateral interventions are prone to diminishing women’s status by encouraging the persistence or creation of repressive regimes and contributing to political disorder in the target state. If the use of armed forces ever helps or causes no damage to women’s well-being, it will likely be during interventions led by intergovernmental organizations (IGOs). This is because IGO interventions are unlikely to protect or support an authoritarian, patriarchal political system. Furthermore, such multilateral missions will increase international awareness of women’s status along with other human rights issues in the target society, thereby creating more pressure on the government to enforce women’s rights. To empirically substantiate these arguments, three different indicators that tap socio-economic and political aspects of women’s status are used, including the indices of women’s economic, political, and social rights from the Cingranelli-Richards database. The results indicate that while women’s political and economic status suffer most during unilateral US interventions, IGO interventions are likely to have a positive influence on women’s political rights. Non-US unilateral interventions, on the other hand, are unlikely to cause any major change in women’s status. Finally, military interventions in general have no major statistically significant impact on women’s social rights.

Keywords: military conflicts, foreign military intervention, women's rights

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Americas, North America Countries: United States of America

Year: 2001

Making the Invisible Seen: Putting Women's Rights on the Vanuatu's Land Reform Agenda


Naupa, Anna. 2017. "Making the Invisible Seen: Putting Women’s Rights on Vanuatu’s Land Reform Agenda." In Kastom, Property and Ideology: Land Transformations in Melanesia, edited by McDonnell Siobhan, Allen Matthew G., and Filer Colin, 305-26. Acton ACT, Australia: ANU Press. 


Author: Anna Naupa



"While land reform was a key political driver of Vanuatu’s Independence in 1980, land policy reform only recently returned to the political arena in the mid-2000s. Finding the space to raise awareness about women’s land rights in a Vanuatu land reform context is challenged by competing reform priorities, such as redress mechanisms for unscrupulous deals, customary conflict resolution, and anti-corruption measures that had been overlooked for a couple of decades. Predominantly viewed as a male domain, the absence of women is notable in land discussions. Women have been largely invisible in state-managed land decisions, not least due to exclusionary practices by the males who control access to land in the traditional arena. Compounded by the primacy of customary land practice enshrined by Vanuatu’s Constitution and state reinforcement of such gender bias, advocating for women’s land rights—and women’s rights in general—has required culturally and politically strategic approaches to finding a place in the land reform agenda.

"This paper analyses the different strategies used to raise awareness and advocate for the recognition of women’s rights to land in Vanuatu’s policy reform context. Given the cultural context in Vanuatu, it has been necessary to adopt an advocacy model that goes beyond framing the language of rights within accepted socio-cultural constructs, to also address the political-economic dimensions of gendered access to land through identifying male champions, and to combine both upstream (awareness-raising) and downstream (coalition-building) advocacy paths. Future advocacy efforts must include greater engagement by women themselves, not just their advocates, for reform efforts to be sustainable (Naupa, 2017, 306)."

Topics: Gender, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Land grabbing, Rights, Land Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Oceania Countries: Vanuatu

Year: 2017

Honor Thy Sister: Selfhood, Gender, and Agency in Palestinian Culture


Baxter, Diane. 2007. “Honor Thy Sister: Selfhood, Gender, and Agency in Palestinian Culture.” Anthropological Quarterly 80 (3): 737-75.

Author: Diane Baxter


In this article, I examine the ideology of honor among West Bank Palestinians most particularly as it relates to sexuality and gender relations within families. I contend that the iconic Arab and Palestinian subject of the ideal, gendered, connected self—a central concept that undergirds most representations of honor—elides the significance of the individual and obscures the rights and strengths of women and the obligations, vulnerabilities, and anxieties of men. Beyond a critique of representations of honor, subjectivities, and patriarchy, I suggest that ideological-culturally-based explanatory models of behavior favor coherency over ambivalence and untidiness. In terms of honor and the subjectivities that inform it, such explanations have led to an over-reliance on resistance as a method of analyzing "anomalies." I argue that for Palestinian women and men, subjectivity and agency are achieved within and are a reflection of structural, ideological, and experiential configurations, rather than as resistances to them.

Topics: Gender, Gender Analysis, Rights, Women's Rights, Sexuality Regions: Africa, MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Palestine / Occupied Palestinian Territories

Year: 2007

Gender and Agrarian Reforms


Jacobs, Susie. 2013. Gender and Agrarian Reforms. New York: Routledge International Studies of Women and Place.

Author: Susie Jacobs


The redistribution of land has profound implications for women and for gender relations; however, gender issues have been marginalised from theoretical and policy discussions of agrarian reform. This book presents an overview of gender and agrarian reform experiences globally. It also includes case studies from Latin America, Asia, and Africa (WorldCat).



Chapter 1: Theoretical perspectives

Chapter 2: Debates over agrarian reform

Chapter 3: Concepts for a gendered analysis of agrarian reform

Chapter 4: The gendered effects of household models of land reform

Chapter 5: Collectives and decollectivisations

Chapter 6: Gender and agricultural collectives : Soviet-type economies

Chapter 7: China : from collectivisation to the household responsibility system

Chapter 8: Viet Nam : egalitarian land reform

Chapter 9: Household models of reform and alternatives

Chapter 10: Mobilisation and marginalisation : Latin American examples

Chapter 11: Land reforms, customary law, and land titling in sub-Saharan Africa.

Topics: Agriculture, Gender, Women, Men, Gender Roles, Rights, Land Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, Americas, Central America, South America, Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia, Europe Countries: China, Vietnam

Year: 2013

Recent Changes in Women’s Land Rights and Contested Customary Law in South Africa


Claassens, Aninka. 2013. “Recent Changes in Women’s Land Rights and Contested Customary Law in South Africa.” Journal of Agrarian Change 13 (1): 71–92. doi:10.1111/joac.12007.

Author: Aninka Claassens


This paper discusses the phenomenon of single women claiming, and acquiring, residential sites in the former homelands since the end of apartheid in 1994, against the backdrop of steadily declining marriage rates. It argues that the transition to democracy changed the balance of power within which ‘living customary law’ is negotiated at the local level, and emboldened women. The changes are put at risk by controversial traditional leadership laws enacted since 2003. These restore the power of definition to chiefs, and reassert constructs of customary law that obscure the dynamics of the changes under way. I suggest that the ‘changes’ may, in part, reflect the re-emergence of pre-existing repertoires that were suppressed by official customary law. The paper contrasts the Constitutional Court's inclusive approach to ‘living customary law’ and the legislative process, with the autocratic approach of the new laws, one of which has already been struck down by the Court.

Topics: Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Rights, Land Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: South Africa

Year: 2013

Religious Power, the State, Women's Rights, and Family Law


Htun, Mala, and S. Laurel Weldon. 2015. “Religious Power, the State, Women’s Rights, and Family Law.” Politics & Gender 11 (03): 451–77. doi:10.1017/S1743923X15000239.

Authors: Mala Htun, S. Laurel Weldon


Family law is an essential dimension of women's citizenship in the modern state. The rights established in family law shape women's agency and autonomy; they also regulate access to basic resources—such as land, income, and education—that determine a citizen's ability to earn a living independently, among other life chances (Agarwal 1994; Deere and León 2001; Kabeer 1994; Okin 1989; World Bank 2012). Yet family law is a notorious site of sex inequality, historically and in the present. Equal rights enjoyed by women in national constitutions are often contradicted by family and civil codes that subordinate women to the decisions of their husbands and fathers. In the early 21st century, family law in a significant number of countries discriminated against women, denying them the rights held by men and contributing to their disadvantaged social positions.

Topics: Citizenship, Women, Gender Equality/Inequality, Constitutions, Religion, Women's Rights

Year: 2015

Gender in Transitional Justice


Buckley-Zistel, Susanne, and Ruth Stanley, eds. 2011. Gender in Transitional Justice. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Authors: Susanne Buckley-Zistel, Ruth Stanley


"'Based on original empirical research, this book explores retributive and gender justice, the potentials and limits of agency, and the correlation of transitional justice and social change through case studies of current dynamics in post-violence countries such Rwanda, South Africa, Cambodia, East Timor, Columbia, Chile and Germany.'--Publisher's website" (WorldCat).


Table of Contents:

Introduction: gender in transitional justice / S. Buckley-Zistel & M. Zolkos  

Retributive justice and gender justice. The role of the ICC in transitional gender justice: capacity and limitations / L. Chappell

Gendered under-enforcement in the transitional justice context / F.D. Ní Aoláin

Neglected crimes: the challenge of raising sexual and gender-based crimes before the extraordinary chambers in the courts of Cambodia / S. Studzinsky

Transitional justice and social change. Continuities of violence against women in South Africa: the limitations of transitional justice / R. Sigsworth & N. Valji

Transitioning to what? transitional justice and gendered citizenship in Chile and Colombia / C.O'Rourke

Potentials and limits of agency. Asserting their presence! women's quest for transitional justice in post-genocide Rwanda / R. Mageza-Barthel

How sexuality changes agency: gay men, Jews, and transitional justice A.von Wahl  

Politics of justice and reconciliation. Gender-inclusivity in transitional justice strategies: women in Timor-Leste / E. Porter

Frau Mata Hari on trial: seduction, espionage and gendered abjection in reunifying Germany / M. Zolkos

Transitions to justice / N. Dhawan.

Topics: Gender Analysis, Transitional Justice, Post-Conflict, Human Rights, Women's Rights

Year: 2011

Violence, Human Rights, and Piety: Cosmopolitanism Versus Virtuous Exclusion in Response to Atrocity


Turner, Bryan S. "Violence, human rights, and piety : cosmopolitanism versus virtuous exclusion in response to atrocity." In The Religious in Responses to Mass Atrocity: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, eds Thomas Brudholm and Thomas Cushman (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009).

Author: Bryan S. Turner

Topics: Religion, Human Rights, Women's Rights, Violence

Year: 2009

These Spaces in Between: The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission and Its Role in Transitional Justice


Sajjad, Tazreena. 2009. “These Spaces in Between: The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission and Its Role in Transitional Justice.” International Journal of Transitional Justice 3 (3): 424–44. doi:10.1093/ijtj/ijp020.

Author: Tazreena Sajjad


National human rights institutions (NHRIs) play an instrumental role in defining the human rights culture of their respective countries through their monitoring function, auditing laws, instituting human rights education and making recommendations to governments to improve human rights conditions. In countries that have experienced large-scale human rights atrocities, NHRI mandates sometimes include working to establish processes to seek accountability for war crimes. The involvement in transitional justice matters raises a new set of challenges for these institutions regarding their independence, their role in creating space for local voices and their capacity to serve as a bridge between the government and national and international actors. Using as a case study the experience of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), the author identifies several key areas within which this particular NHRI has had to negotiate the tensions between the political and the legal, and the local and the international. A close examination of each of these areas reveals the common challenges NHRIs face in taking on a transitional justice mandate, as well as the particular strengths and limitations of the AIHRC and its creativity and resolve in working in extremely difficult circumstances to seek accountability for the past.

Topics: Impunity, Transitional Justice, Post-Conflict, Rights, Human Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Afghanistan

Year: 2009


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