Past Events & News

Information on events that occurred within the past year is available under Events & News: Recent Events.

Past Events & News

War Resisters' International
Tuesday, December 15, 2020 to Friday, December 18, 2020

A new article, "Women, War and Climate Change," co-authored by Claire Duncanson and Carol Cohn has been published on War Resisters' International, for The Broken Rifle magazine.


Online Event
Thursday, December 10, 2020
The Minor in Human Rights Fall 2020 Keynote Lecture: 
Achievements, Challenges, and Gaps in the Quest for the Realisation of Human Rights of Women 
Rashida Manjoo 
Professor of Public Law, University of Cape Town, South Africa & former UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women  
 
Remarks by Tashi Lhamu, Human Rights Minor 2020 
 
 
More Information: Womens.Studies@umb.edu 
 
Sponsored by: The Department of Political Science; Honors College; Consortium on Gender, Security and Human Rights; Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy; and Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security and Global Governance

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Originally published on the International Feminist Journal of Politics Blog.

Written by Carol Cohn and Claire Duncanson

The 20th anniversary of UNSCR 1325 in October this year has been an occasion of reflection for feminist peace activists around the world. What has been achieved? What is still to be done? Most agree that the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Agenda is far from meeting its goals of a gender-just sustainable peace. Despite many important interventions analyzing the reasons for lack of progress, here, here, here and here, few of the lamentations focus on what we think is one of the most profound challenges that will shape the realization of the WPS agenda in years to come: the climate crisis.

In our latest article in IFJP “Women, Peace and Security in a changing climate,” we argue that confronting the climate crisis must be understood as both practically and conceptually inextricable from the realization of the WPS agenda. If the goals of the WPS agenda are understood as ensuring women’s human security, ending and preventing wars, and building gender-just, sustainable peace, confronting the climate crisis must be foregrounded in our analyses and action.

How is the Climate Crisis Intrinsically Linked to WPS?

If it was the threat war posed to women’s human security that was at the heart of the WPS agenda, it is now clear that women’s human security – in fact all people’s – will never be attained unless we can also deal with the climate and ecological crises. The staggering impacts these crises will have and have already started to have on food security, livelihoods, health, access to water, and shelter, as well the displacement to which they contribute, make a mockery of the idea of human security. And as we know, all of these impacts have deeply gendered dimensions.  

Even for those who construe the WPS agenda as centered on narrower, traditional understandings of security and warfare, climate breakdown still needs to be confronted, because of the ways it amplifies the well-documented drivers of armed conflict such as poverty, inequalities and economic shocks. Climate change may not directly cause violent conflict, but evidence suggests that climactic conditions in combination and interaction with socio-economic and political factors can intensify it. When, for example, societies cannot fairly distribute resources which climate breakdown has rendered increasingly scarce, such as water, arable lands, and pasturing lands, conditions for violent conflict are ripe. And increased militarization is often the state response, which further entails its own violences.

And finally, when we look at the heart of the WPS agenda, the goal of building gender-just peace that is sustainable, we see that climate disruption creates severe challenges to the project of peacebuilding—so much so that it must transform our understanding of how to build peace. We need to consider not only climate breakdown’s impacts on peacebuilding, but also the ways each decision made as part of peacebuilding will have impacts on climate breakdown and citizens’ ability to cope with it.     

First, there are the many ways that climate breakdown undermines peacebuilding. Building peace requires the provision of jobs and livelihoods, at the same time as climate breakdown destroys the conditions for maintaining traditional livelihoods. Building peace requires addressing issues around land reform and restitution, at the very same time that climate breakdown reduces the quality and quantity of land available for sustaining livelihoods, and contributes to yet more people leaving their homes. Building peace requires dealing with the injuries caused by war as well as the health needs which went unaddressed during war, while climate breakdown puts additional pressure on health services through the rise in infectious diseases.

Second, as if climate breakdown’s effects on peacebuilding were not already enough of a challenge to how we imagine doing successful peacebuilding, WPS advocates will also need to consider the effects of peacebuilding on climate disruption, and on citizen’s resources to cope with it. For example, decisions about postwar economic recovery – e.g., about jobs and livelihoods, land reform, infrastructure – should not only consider the key peacebuilding question of whether they deepen or transform pre-existing inequalities (e.g., do transport infrastructure plans prioritize local level feeder roads, access to markets, healthcare and schools, or only main highways and railways to facilitate large scale resource extraction?). Now, these policy decisions must also be made in light of their effects on climate disruption and must assess whether the proposed solutions will be sustainable as the climate continues to change. 

In the somewhat longer term, the climate crisis not only necessitates a rethink of how to do peacebuilding; it also threatens the entire project of peacebuilding. The almost unimaginably increasing scale of humanitarian crises that will be caused by the climate crisis in the next decades will devastate economies, disrupt our already-unequal systems of meeting basic human needs, and subsume massive amounts of financial, governmental, physical and human resources. Consider the 2020 coronavirus pandemic – itself arguably a product of human’s ecosystem destruction—and the economic losses and social costs it has produced, and the scale of resources that have been required to respond to it. And then add the economic costs and human misery arising from more frequent and intense storms, fires, droughts, and coastal flooding, as well as the loss of arable land and the spread of other infectious diseases. Given the already tremendously inadequate resources and attention given to post-war humanitarian response, peace agreement implementation, and post-war reconstruction, is it realistic to think that the resources required for peacebuilding will not be subsumed by the humanitarian and economic disasters caused by deepening climate and ecological crises?

What’s wrong with current responses to the climate crisis?

When it comes to responses to the climate crisis, as with the quest to build peace, to the extent that women’s activities, knowledge, and solutions ever get acknowledged, it is their local, small scale efforts. While these efforts may at times be recognized, or even glorified in “sustainability savior” discourse, at a wider policy level they are not viewed as significant, not seen as relevant to the scale required to solve the problem – and they are then certainly never funded or invested in at a scale that would, in fact, have a larger impact. The strategy of supporting local, democratically controlled solutions could actually be seen as a large-scale strategy requiring large scale investment; but its associations with women and the “feminine,” along with the associations of centralized, technocratic solutions with the “masculine,” help make it appear ‘self-evident’ that the latter is the most “realistic” path.

In our article, we argue that to survive this climate emergency, we need nothing short of a paradigm shift: a feminist green transformation. In arguing for such a transformation, we are not just making another call for green economies, or green new deals, which are too often market-based approaches that involve the commodification and enclosure of resources and commons, undermining livelihoods, justifying land- and green-grabs and dispossessing local people, especially women food producers. Too often, their attention to gendered power relations and global justice issues is all but non-existent. Instead, we are calling for a restructuring of production, consumption and political–economic relations along truly sustainable pathways, with feminist analysis at the core.

What ways forward for WPS given the context of climate breakdown?

The WPS story – the invention of the WPS agenda, the creation of an architecture meant to actualize it, the fight to get it implemented, and the many inventive ways in which women around the world have found to employ it in their struggles – is in many ways a heroic one. It is also a painfully frustrating one, if you consider the quantities of time, thought, organization, and energy that have been poured into it, in contrast to how little progress there has been in changing the male-dominated war system and the terrible price that women pay for it, and how very far away we are from the goal of gender-just sustainable peace.

But what must be acknowledged, now more than ever, is that this effort has not only been heroic and frustrating, a story in which our goals can be reached if only we can better mobilize to vanquish those who would stand in the way of WPS progress; it is a story that has to change. It is an agenda that has to change, in part because it was, for complex political reasons, limited even in its own time, and in part because it is now utterly inadequate to the time and the crisis in which we live.  

Climate breakdown will multiply and intensify the problems that the WPS agenda aims to solve, it will severely deplete the already anemic resources available to deal with them, and it will rob us of the luxury of time to engage in working for small wins through bureaucratic business as usual. The twentieth anniversary of UNSCR 1325, then, must be seized as a vital opportunity – not only to reflect on the WPS agenda, but also on the ways in which it, and we, are uneasily situated in the current historical moment, and on the urgency of devising new approaches to the challenges to come. Imagine what could happen if even half of the feminist thought, energy, and action that has gone into WPS advocacy were now turned loose on envisioning and effecting the paradigm shifts that are now so desperately needed.

As we argue in our article, and elsewhere, we need to develop a feminist political economic analysis of the transnational actors and processes that threaten the sustainability of both peace and the planet. We need to map routes of intervention in those processes. And we need to articulate policy alternatives based in transformational approaches to our understanding of the nature and purposes of economic activity, and of humans’ relation to the planet. We have been calling this a “Feminist Roadmap for Sustainable Peace”. In this short time we have to envision, promulgate and enact the paradigm shift needed to reverse the current path to climate catastrophe, it is our hope and belief that the Feminist Roadmap for Sustainable Peace can make an important contribution.

Read the full article: Women, Peace and Security in a changing climate

Each blog post gives the views of the individual author(s) based on their published IFJP article. All posts published on ifjpglobal.org remain the intellectual property and copyright of the author or authors.



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Carol Cohn (she/her/hers) is the founding Director of the Consortium on Gender, Security & Human Rights. She works across scholarly, policy, and activist communities to create the multidimensional, feminist gendered analyses that are imperative to finding sustainable and just solutions – not only to wars, but to the structural inequalities and environmental crises that underlie them. Her scholarship has addressed topics such as the gender dimensions of nuclear and national security discourse, gender mainstreaming in international security institutions, gender integration issues in the US military, and the strengths and limitations of the international Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda, and she has published a textbook on Women and Wars (Polity Press). Her current focus is on bringing feminist political economic analysis into both the Sustaining Peace and the WPS agendas through a collaborative international knowledge-building project to create a “Feminist Roadmap for Sustainable Peace” . Recent work in that project includes “Whose Recovery? IFI Prescriptions for Postwar States” co-authored with Claire Duncanson, in the Review of International Political Economy. In honor of the US presidential election, she has published “‘Cocked and Loaded’: Trump and the Gendered Discourse of National Security,” in Language in the Trump Era: Scandals and Emergencies, edited by Janet McIntosh and Norma Mendoza-Denton (Cambridge University Press).

 


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Claire Duncanson (she/her/hers) is a Senior Lecturer in International Relations at the University of Edinburgh. She has published widely on issues relating to gender, peace, and security. Her current work aims to bring a feminist analysis to the political economy of building peace, and she works with Carol Cohn on the “Feminist Roadmap for Sustainable Peace” project.

 Recent publications include Gender and Peacebuilding (Polity Press), “Beyond Liberal vs Liberating: Women’s Economic Empowerment in the United Nations’ Women, Peace and Security Agenda” in the International Feminist Journal of Politics, and (co-authored with Carol Cohn) “Whose Recovery? IFI Prescriptions for Post-War States” in the Review of International Political Economy. She is also an active member of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) and has co-authored with fellow WILPF member Vanessa Farr on the Women, Peace and Security agenda in Afghanistan for Sara Davies and Jacqui True’s Oxford Handbook on Women, Peace, and Security

 


Wednesday, November 25, 2020 to Monday, November 30, 2020

Check out a new article, "Women, Peace and Security in a Changing Climate," written by CGSHR Director, Dr. Carol Cohn and senior research fellow, Dr. Claire Duncanson and published today in the International Feminist Journal of Politics.

The article argues that the effort to get the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda implemented in a series of bureaucratic institutions has pulled the agenda quite far from its original motivating goal of gender-just sustainable peace. The 20th of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 must not only be the occasion to retrain our focus on that goal, but also to acknowledge that the climate crisis creates new challenges to achieving it. However, the climate crisis creates not only challenges for the WPS agenda, but also opportunities. The article argues that the sustainability of peace and of the planet are inextricably linked, and that the realization of the WPS agenda requires transformations to social, political, and, most importantly, economic structures that are precisely the same as the transformations needed to ward off greater climate catastrophe.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Global, racial, and gender justice lens emphasized by trailblazing convening of scholars and activists.

Boston, Mass. (October 22, 2020) – More than 1,000 people from over 30 countries attended the recent “Confronting the Climate Crisis: Feminist Pathways to Just and Sustainable Futures” Virtual Symposium, organized by the Consortium on Gender, Security and Human Rights (CGSHR) at the University of Massachusetts Boston (UMass Boston).

“In order to reverse the current path toward climate catastrophe, we need far more than a transition away from fossil fuels,” said Carol Cohn, CGSHR’s Director. “We need to transform dominant power structures and dominant ways of thinking about humans’ relation to the planet. Further, since there is no entirely local or national solution to the crisis, it requires global action, which means we need to be able to work with each other across differences. Luckily, feminists have long focused on exactly these challenges, and the feminist activists, academics and policy makers in the symposium brought richly diverse approaches to achieving just and sustainable futures.” 

The symposium aimed to call attention not only to the climate crisis, but also to what is at stake in the kinds of “solutions” to it that are proposed. From intersectional feminist critiques of the inequities embedded in mainstream “fixes,” to alternative approaches from feminist political economists and ecologists and indigenous and racial justice activists, the symposium explored the fundamental transformations urgently needed to forestall climate catastrophe. In the face the interlocking crises of climate disruption, COVID-19 and systemic racism, issues of climate justice and the need to transform the dominant global economic model are increasingly on the table. As people across the world mobilize against a simple return to the status quo, the symposium’s feminist approaches highlighted the perspectives of women, indigenous peoples, communities of color, and other marginalized populations as central to forging a bold, transformative vision of how we can live together on this planet.

“We have to think about power,” said Ruth Nyambura, a Feminist Political Ecologist from Kenya at the symposium.  “And we must rethink our relationships with one another to believe strongly, to act clearly, and to build structures that reject the idea that we are disposable – that the Earth and nature, which we are part of, are merely things to be exploited and desecrated.”

“The narrative that we need has to be about more than just avoiding the worst, avoiding ecological collapse,” said Diana Duarte, Director of Policy and Strategic Engagement at MADRE. “This symposium has really uplifted that feminist approaches can supply that narrative that we need. It gives us a hopeful vision: decarbonization not as deprivation, but as a better way of life, where our lives are caring, are collective and in balance, rather than exploited, overworked, and isolated.”

“That's a different way of thinking:…we want to flourish,” said Deborah McGregor, Anishinaabe and a member of the Whitefish River First Nation in Birch Island, Ontario. “How can we actually give to the earth to enable the earth to flourish – as opposed to damage control, which is a lot of the dominant narrative.”

During the final sessions of the symposium, panelists agreed that a diverse array of feminist perspectives from across the globe will be absolutely critical if we are to address the climate crisis in effective, just and sustainable ways.

The Consortium plans to follow this symposium with an international workshop on peacebuilding, gender and the climate crisis. It will host other events in the future to continue to engage with feminists around the world working towards solutions to the climate crisis.  Information about upcoming events will be available here: https://genderandsecurity.org/events-news.

The Virtual Symposium was held from October 7th through October 9th and panelists included:

Seema Arora-Jonsson (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences)
Kiran Asher (UMass Amherst)
Lindsey Bacigal (Indigenous Climate Action)
Shalanda Baker (Northeastern University)
Bridget Burns (WEDO)
Edward Carr (Clark University)
Carol Cohn (Consortium on Gender, Security and Human Rights)
Diana Duarte (MADRE)
Claire Duncanson (University of Edinburgh)
Giovanna Di Chiro (Swarthmore College)
Heidi Gengenbach (UMass Boston)
Betsy Hartmann (Hampshire College)
Maria Ivanova (UMass Boston)
Candace Famiglietti (UMass Boston)
Anne Kuriakose (Climate Investment Funds)
Sherilyn MacGregor (University of Manchester)
Lucy McAllister (Technical University of Munich)
Deborah McGregor (York University)
Anita Nayar (Regions Refocus)
Julie Nelson (UMass Boston)
Ruth Nyambura (Kenyan, Feminist Political Ecologist)
.O (Climate and Social Justice Activist)
Joni Seager (Bentley University)
Jennie Stephens (Northeastern University)
Reverend Mariama White-Hammond (New Roots AME Church)
Mariama Williams (South Centre)
 

Video recordings of the symposium sessions are available at: https://genderandsecurity.org/events-news/confronting-climate-crisis-feminist-pathways-just-and-sustainable-futures.

 

About UMass Boston:

The University of Massachusetts Boston is deeply rooted in the city's history, yet poised to address the challenges of the future. Recognized for innovative research, metropolitan Boston’s public university offers its diverse student population both an intimate learning environment and the rich experience of a great American city. UMass Boston’s colleges and graduate schools serve nearly 16,000 students while engaging local and global constituents through academic programs, research centers, and public service. To learn more, visit www.umb.edu.

About the Consortium:

The Consortium on Gender, Security and Human Rights is based at the University of Massachusetts Boston. We work across scholarly, policy, and activist communities to create the intersectional, feminist analyses that are needed for creating sustainable and just solutions – not only to wars, but to the political, economic and social inequalities and environmental crises that underlie them. To learn more visit www.genderandsecurity.org


Online Event
Wednesday, October 7, 2020 to Friday, October 9, 2020

From October 7-9, 2020, the Consortium on Gender, Security and Human Rights held a virtual symposium, "Confronting the Climate Crisis: Feminist Pathways to Just and Sustainable Futures." All 5 symposium sessions were recorded and are available below, as well as on the Consortium's YouTube channel.

A resource compilation is available here, with listings of articles, reports, projects and organizations that were referenced during panelists’ comments, as well as selected relevant examples of the panelists’ own writing, and resources the panelists recommend for further exploration of feminist approaches to the climate crisis. 

We have released a press release on the symposium, and a full report is forthcoming.

A downloadable and printable PDF of the symposium program is available here
 
This symposium aimed to call attention not only to the climate crisis, but also to what is at stake in the kinds of responses to it that are proposed. Many of the proposed “fixes” are rooted in the same political economic paradigms and worldviews that created the current climate and ecological crises in the first place; they often not only pose great environmental risks themselves, but also threaten to gravely deepen existing gender, racial and global inequalities. However, there are also encouraging signs that many activists and researchers are approaching climate breakdown with a global justice perspective. Our goal is to highlight, among them, the critically important work being done by diverse feminist thinkers, from feminist political economists and ecologists to indigenous and racial justice activists, who outline the sorts of radical solutions that the crisis demands, proposing fundamental shifts in the dominant global economic model. Throughout the event, we explored how intersectional feminist analysis, with an emphasis on global justice, can lead to the fundamental transformations urgently needed to forestall climate catastrophe.

 

AGENDA

Wednesday, October 7th, 9:00AM - 11:30AM (Boston, GMT-4)

Framing the Symposium

  • Carol Cohn, Director, Consortium on Gender, Security and Human Rights

Panel: Feminist Approaches to the Climate Crisis

Moderated by Elora Chowdhury

  • Indigenous Feminism and Challenging the Climate Crisis Narrative, Deborah McGregor, Associate Professor & Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Environmental Justice, York University

Indigenous women have distinct contributions to make to the international dialogue on global environmental/climate crisis while providing a powerful critique of colonialism, race and gendered power relations. This presentation will focus on the contributions that Indigenous feminism theory and practice can make to envision a future in the face of the climate crisis for all life. The questions it will address include: What actions have Indigenous women taken to address their distinct experiences, concerns? What do Indigenous women envision as their future?

  • Toward an Ecofeminist Green New Deal? Reflections on Politics, Process and Prospects, Sherilyn MacGregor, Reader in Environmental Politics, University of Manchester 

This contribution combines an ecofeminist critique of mainstream Green New Deal (GND) discourses and some reflections on what an ecofeminist GND might look like. MacGregor will draw on her involvement in process of drafting a feminist GND for the UK to discuss the politics, process and prospects of finding inclusive, intersectional feminist visions for a climate just and sustainable future.

  • Petro-Bromance: Masculinities Driving the Climate Crisis, Joni Seager, Professor of Global Studies, Bentley University

At just the moment that economic and environmental logics are shifting away from fossil fuels, there is a political mobilization of an increasingly stubborn and irrational attachment to them. How is this political support synergistically tied to conservative, often explicitly misogynist, definitions of manliness?  And how does this “petro-bromance” further drive the policy and cultural phenomenon of climate denial?

  • The Politics and Possibilities of Co-creating Anti-capitalist and Decolonial Feminist Movements for Climate Justice, Ruth Nyambura, Kenyan, Feminist Political Ecologist

What are the possibilities of co-creating transnational ecological-feminist movements that centre the politics and praxis of anti-capitalism and decolonization?

  • Pandemic and Protest as Potential Portal beyond Patriarchy, Reverend Mariama White-Hammond, Founding Pastor of New Roots AME Church, Dorchester, MA 

Rev. Mariama will explore how this moment has exposed the oppression and fragility of our current systems and offered us an opportunity to imagine and build something new. She will focus in on how we have a powerful opening for building an intersectional ecological community that works for both people and planet. 

Thursday, October 8th, 9:00AM - 11:00AM (Boston, GMT-4)

Feminist Critiques of Mainstream “Solutions”

Moderated by Sindiso Mnisi Weeks

  • Climate Non-Negotiables: Not “Something that Markets Can Handle”, Anita Nayar, Director, Regions Refocus

The main policy responses to the global environmental crises have been to turn to market and technological “fixes,” such as carbon trading, agrofuels, nanotechnology, geoengineering and synthetic biology. However, these technologies are no “fix” for today’s multiple social, economic, ecological and political crises; the resulting technocratic-industrial complex is part of the problem, not a pathway to a better future.

  • Rebooting the Scarcity Scare: Population, Conflict and Climate Change, Betsy Hartmann, Professor Emerita of Development Studies, Hampshire College

Today old narratives of population pressures causing poverty, migration, environmental degradation and war are being re-cloaked in the green language of climate change. This development diverts attention from the role of powerful fossil fuel interests, contributes to the resurgence of population control and Far Right ecofascism, and threatens to further militarize climate policy. How can we mount an effective challenge and advance progressive feminist alternatives?

  • Injustices of Solar Geoengineering: A Feminist, Antiracist Perspective on the Ultimate Technological Fix, Jennie Stephens, Director, School of Public Policy & Urban Affairs; Dean’s Professor of Sustainability Science & Policy; Director for Strategic Research Collaborations, Global Resilience Institute, Northeastern University

As the climate crisis has worsened, advocacy for advancing research into solar geoengineering has been steadily increasing. Solar geoengineering research is being advocated by a small group of primarily white men at elite institutions in the Global North, funded largely by billionaires or their philanthropies who are envisioning a militarized approach to controlling the earth’s climate. Researching this climate intervention perpetuates injustices by reinforcing systems that allow the rich and powerful to control conditions for everyone else.

  • Women, E-Waste and Technological Solutions to Climate Change, Lucy McAllister, Postdoctoral Researcher of Sustainability, Technical University of Munich, Center for Energy Markets

The informal disposal of electronic waste unfairly and disproportionately burdens women in less developed countries by affecting their mortality/morbidity, fertility, and the development of their children. As technological solutions to climate change increasingly enter the waste stream, there is a need for greater inclusion and recognition of women waste workers and other disenfranchised groups in forging future climate agreements.

  • Confronting the Climate Crisis: A View From Feminist Economics, Julie Nelson, Professor Emeritus of Economics, University of Massachusetts Boston

Mainstream economics promotes a narrow mindset when it comes to climate, yet many who criticize the mainstream have narrow views as well. What might be possible if we think past the binary of "hard" versus "soft" solutions?

 
Thursday, October 8th, 11:30AM - 1:30PM (Boston, GMT-4)

Gender, Sustainable Development and the Climate Crisis

Moderated by Nada Mustafa Ali

  • More than (Wo)men: Why Intersectionality is Critical for Effective and Just Adaptation, Edward Carr, Director and Professor of the International Development, Community, and Environment Department, Clark University

Most “gender-sensitive” approaches to adaptation project design and implementation rest on binary constructions of gender and identity that can obscure the needs of the most vulnerable, marginalized, and challenged in a given population. Adopting and implementing intersectional approaches to identity is a critical means of identifying and addressing these needs, and thus moving toward just and effective adaptation policy and projects. 

  • Weathering Development on an Empty Stomach: Women Farmers, Climate Precarity, and the Fate of the "Green Revolution" in Mozambique, Heidi Gengenbach, Associate Professor of History, University of Massachusetts Boston

In southern Mozambique, an area defined by increasingly unpredictable and extreme weather events, female farmers are five years into a Western donor-funded scheme to reduce chronic malnutrition by "modernizing" smallholder agriculture. However, the scheme’s failure to involve rural women in project design--and deafness to their agroecologically expert critique of the project once underway--threaten to worsen hunger vulnerability in the very communities the scheme purports to help.

  • Gender Perspectives in UN Climate Processes, Maria Ivanova, Associate Professor of Global Governance and Director of Center for Governance and Sustainability, and Candace Famiglietti, PhD student, Global Governance and Human Security, University of Massachusetts Boston

To what degree and in what ways have people tried to get gender analysis or feminist perspectives into UN climate processes, and what has happened when they tried?  What might be fruitful entry points for researchers and advocates who would like to try to bring these perspectives more centrally into UN climate processes?  

  • Feminist Fears in Gender(ed) Discourses of Sustainable Development and the Environment, Kiran Asher, Professor of Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies, University of Massachusetts Amherst 

Although feminist and environmental justice struggles are interrelated, explicitly political, projects, institutionalized environmental conservation and sustainable development endeavors are often policy-driven, technical projects. Asher draws on long-term fieldwork with Afro-Colombian social movements to explore this disjunction,  tracing the synergies and slippages—in ideas and intent—when feminist-inspired concerns about women and gender are addressed in sustainable development projects.

  • Trade, Climate Change and Gender: Challenges for Development and Social and Gender Equity, Mariama Williams, Programme Coordinator, Sustainable Development, Climate Change and Gender, South Centre

This talk uses a feminist lens to explore the connections between international trade, infrastructure development projects and the extractive economic model that underlies the climate crisis. While work making the interconnections between these topics is at a very early stage, it is clear that there are a number of key challenges and constraints underlying this relationship which rotate around the nature of the “greening” of infrastructure and the continuing reliance on neoliberal economic models that reinforce the drivers of climate change and exacerbate gender inequality.

Friday, October 9th, 9:00AM - 11:00AM (Boston, GMT-4)

Feminist Pathways to Just and Sustainable Futures, Part 1

Moderated by Diana Duarte

  • Engendering Just Transitions: Dilemmas in Climate Policy, Seema Arora-Jonsson, Professor, Rural Development, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

In attempts towards a low‐carbon and climate‐resilient economy, the imperative of just transitions has gained ground in climate policy debates. Climate interventions may be perpetuating inequalities and creating new ones. I will reflect on what justice from a feminist perspective can mean in times of transition? Can active work with social policy enable a just transition?

  • Feminist "Just Transitions" and the Sustainability of Peace, Carol Cohn, Director, Consortium on Gender, Security and Human Rights, and Claire Duncanson, Senior Lecturer in International Relations, University of Edinburgh

Efforts to build sustainable peace after armed conflict, already fraught with failure, will be made increasingly difficult by burgeoning climate and ecological crises.  In what ways does taking these crises seriously change the ways we think about peacebuilding? And could a transition from post-war economic recovery models based on extractivism to models based on regeneration, rooted in feminist conceptions of care and global justice, contribute to a more just, inclusive and sustainable peace?

    • Towards Gender-Transformative Change: Experience of the Climate Investment Funds, Anne Kuriakose, Senior Social Development Specialist, Climate Investment Funds (CIF) 

    Climate change threatens poverty and development gains, with differential impacts for women and men, including indigenous groups, farmers, and migrants. The Climate Investment Funds (CIF) foster transformational change towards climate-resilient, low carbon development in developing countries, and seek to advance gender equality through mitigation and resilience investments that improve women’s asset position, voice, livelihoods, and gender-responsiveness of local and national institutions in climate planning. Case examples from CIF’s portfolio in renewable energy, sustainable forest management, and climate resilience are discussed.

    • Care Not Growth: Rethinking Sustainability, Giovanna Di Chiro, Professor of Environmental Studies, Swarthmore College

    Many feminist critics argue that the corporate-led, privatized, and individualistic “Green Economy” basically serves to sustain global capitalism’s pro-growth agenda while it reproduces and leaves intact deep-rooted colonialist relationships. In the face of the growing crises of poverty, dispossession, and climate disruption, can feminist and anti/de-colonial approaches lead to a more “just transition,” imagining and practicing more just and care-based forms of “sustainability”?

     
    Friday, October 9th, 11:30AM - 1:30PM (Boston, GMT-4)

    Feminist Pathways to Just and Sustainable Futures, Part 2

    Moderated by Claire Duncanson

    • Healing the Land is Healing Ourselves: Indigenous Solutions to Climate Change, Lindsey Bacigal, Communications Director, Indigenous Climate Action

    Climate change and environmental degradation have had adverse effects on Indigenous Peoples all over the world. Indigenous womxn are often acutely affected by these ills, but also drive the resistance against climate change and the systems of oppression that accelerate it. This talk will speak to the leadership of Indigenous womxn in the fight for climate justice, along with profiling Indigenous solutions to the climate crisis. 

    • Towards a Feminist Green New Deal, Bridget Burns, Director, Women’s Environment and Development Organization

    Some say we are living in the decade of the Green New Deal, with unprecedented political and popular momentum for sweeping, ambitious climate justice policies. But what does this look like from a feminist and global justice perspective & how can we build power to influence change?

      • Fertilizing Engagement: Building Trans-Community Collaborations Inspiring and Moving Us toward Climate Justice, .O, Climate and Social Justice Activist in Philadelphia

      .O will share her experience as an activist and community organizer in Philadelphia working in collaboration with faculty, students, and community residents to support and sustain the transformation that is needed at this time in his/herstory for global healing. She will focus on two climate justice organizations, Serenity Soular and Philly Thrive.

      • Revolutionary Power: An Activist's Love Letter to Heal the Planet and Transform Our Energy System, Shalanda Baker, Professor of Law, Public Policy and Urban Affairs, Northeastern University

      Stemming from her work in Mexico, Hawaii and Puerto Rico, Baker will discuss energy policy through the lens of a queer woman of color, arguing that the climate crisis gives us an unprecedented opportunity to reshape the energy system with justice (and love) at the center.

      • Transnational Feminist Analysis: Spotlighting Pitfalls and Pathways on the Road to a Just, Sustainable Future, Diana Duarte, Director of Policy and Strategic Engagement, MADRE

      We need more than new policy prescriptions to chart pathways to sustainable futures: we need entirely new paradigms to shape and evaluate policy. A transnational feminist analysis lights the way to making those vital shifts, revealing for instance that any effective Green New Deal must prioritize global justice, center a gender analysis, and be driven by grassroots leadership from the frontlines of climate breakdown. This talk will share principles and learnings from the Feminist Green New Deal campaign and explore the need for a specifically transnational and global approach to feminist analyses.

       
      A downloadable and printable PDF of the symposium agenda is available here.
       
      Follow the Consortium on Eventbrite for updates about future events.

       

      Acknowledgements:
      The Consortium on Gender, Security and Human Rights is based at the University of Massachusetts Boston, which resides on the ancestral lands of the Massachusett and Pawtucket people. We acknowledge the violent history of genocide and forced removal from this territory, and we honor and respect the Indigenous peoples still connected to this land. Land acknowledgements are only one small step towards ensuring a culture of respect, truth, and accountability in our community; it is imperative that this acknowledgement develop into action combating the ongoing violence directed towards Indigenous peoples.
       
      This symposium was cosponsored by the University of Massachusetts Boston's College of Liberal Arts Dean's Office; Africana Studies Dept; Anthropology Dept; Conflict Resolution, Human Security and Global Governance Dept; Economics Dept; History Dept; Political Science Dept; Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Dept; Human Rights Minor; the Honors College; the School for Global Inclusion and Social Development; the School for the Environment; the Sustainable Solutions Lab; the Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy; and the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies.
       
      This symposium is part of the Consortium on Gender, Security and Human Rights’ Feminist Roadmap for Sustainable Peace project. Support for the project comes from the Compton Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

      Thursday, October 22, 2020

      See the press release in the UMass Boston Daily News.

      Purchase the book at an indepedent bookstore.

       
      Carol Cohn, founding director of the Consortium on Gender, Security and Human Rights at UMass Boston, was one of 28 scholars worldwide who collaborated to produce the newly released book, Language in the Trump Era: Scandals and Emergencies.
       
      The book explores how President Donald Trump’s language shapes political discourse and influences popular opinion, making it a must-read in the lead up to the November 2020 election. According to the book's authors, Trump’s speech style has sown conflict even as it has powered his meteoric rise; it has repeatedly alarmed people around the world, while exciting his fan-base with his unprecedented rhetorical style, shock-tweeting, and weaponized words.
       
      Cohn’s chapter, “‘Cocked and Loaded’: Trump and the Gendered Discourse of National Security,” builds on her New York Times op-ed, “The Perils of Mixing Masculinity and Missiles.” Cohn argues that ideas about gender shape and distort Trump’s own thinking about national security policy, even while he employs gendered metaphors to gain political assent to those policies. But Cohn also warns that despite Trump’s rhetorical crudeness and his bald need to be seen as a “manly man,” it would be a grievous mistake to comfort ourselves with the thought that he is exceptional.
       
      Instead, she argues, he has merely brought to the surface something that has long been a part of national security thinking among both political elites and the wider public: “the gendered discourse embedded in the ways we talk about war and weapons of mass destruction powerfully influence our understanding of them, or lack thereof.” In other words, the ideas about masculinity and femininity that are embedded in international politics and national security policy matter.
       
      “They mattered before Trump, they matter now, and they will matter after Trump,” she writes.
       
      Language in the Trump Era: Scandals and Emergencies was edited by Janet McIntosh (Brandeis University) and Norma Mendoza-Denton (University of California, Los Angeles) and published by Cambridge University Press.

      Stockholm, Sweden
      Sunday, May 17, 2020 to Wednesday, May 20, 2020

      This three-day, invitation-only workshop, organized with support from the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, will be centered on climate. It will ask, how is it possible to build gender-just sustainable peace in a world facing growing climate and ecological disruption? And why, in face of the urgent need to focus efforts directly on stemming the tide of climate catastrophe, might it be productive to focus our thoughts around gender-just peacebuilding?

      We note that many feminists working on climate change and biodiversity loss outline the sorts of radical solutions that the crises demand, proposing fundamental shifts in the dominant global economic model in order to arrest and address climate breakdown and biodiversity collapse. But very few are thinking about these things in relation to post-war peacebuilding, and the specific challenges and opportunities characterizing war-affected countries as they strive to create sustainable peace. While post-war needs for repair and rebuilding – and thus some kind of economic growth – are great, the economic recovery prescriptions imposed by international financial actors are based in the same extractive economic development model that has long fostered inequalities and environmental destruction. However, the post-war moment, while brief, is also a time of greater fluidity, greater opportunity for the restructuring of political, economic and social life than is otherwise feasible in countries that have not been at war. The workshop will ask if it is possible to take advantage of this window of opportunity to build peace that is gender-just and politically and environmentally sustainable? Can the transformative feminist solutions to the climate and biodiversity emergencies be made applicable to post-war settings, and become a key part of that gender-just peacebuilding? And might the opportunity to apply them in post-war settings contribute to their wider uptake?


      Wednesday, April 8, 2020

      Check out a new article, "Whose Recovery? IFI Prescriptions for Postwar Recovery," written by CGSHR Director, Dr. Carol Cohn, and senior research fellow, Dr. Claire Duncanson and published in a Special Issue on Feminist International Political Economy (IPE) and Post-Conflict of the Review of International Political Economy.

      This article outlines the disjunction between a country’s economic recovery from war and the IFIs’ focus on the recovery of the economic system. Cohn and Duncanson locate the conceptual underpinnings of this chasm in the profoundly gendered assumptions of neoclassical economics. Now, in the midst of the COVID-19 global pandemic, as the IMF, World Bank and other IFIs are rolling out emergency financing, the implications of - and feminist alternatives to - investing in an economic system rather than in human security are more important to examine than ever. 

      The rest of the Special Issue deals with international financial institutions and gendered circuits of violence in post-conflict, ranging from gender budgeting to austerity measures to the role of microfinance. 


      Swedish Defence University, Drottning Kristinas väg 37, Stockholm
      Thursday, March 12, 2020 to Friday, March 13, 2020

      Concept: In general, the versions of "gender" that make their way into policy discourse and practice look, to many feminist academics, quite impoverished. All too often, gender becomes a substitute for women, or sometimes gender equality, and, increasingly for "men too." This may be understandable, in part because the more complex insights and understandings of gender from feminist theory can see difficult to translate into policy terms. This workshop bring together feminist academics who wish to try to tackle this problem, to figure out what it would mean to concretize in policy some more complex ideas – including those that take us beyond gender.

      Participants: Elin Bjarnegård, Carol Cohn (organizer), Claire Duncanson (organizer), Roberta Guerrina (tbc), Toni Haastrup, Annica Kronsell, Swati Parashar, Caitlyn Ryan, Georgian Waylen, Annick Wibben (organizer), Hannah Wright


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