Relations of Ruling: A Feminist Critique of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and Violence against Women in the Context of Resource Extraction

Citation:

Simons, Penelope, and Melisa Handl. 2019. "Relations of Ruling: A Feminist Critique of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and Violence against Women in the Context of Resource Extraction." Canadian Journal of Women and the Law 31 (1): 113-50.

Authors: Penelope Simons, Melisa Handl

Abstract:

FRENCH ABSTRACT:
L’extraction des ressources a des conséquences directes et indirectes sur les femmes, et la recherche a démontré que ces conséquences ne sont pas les mêmes pour les hommes. La violence à l’égard des femmes semble avoir des conséquences transversales. Pourtant, les États, les organismes intergouvernementaux, les différents intervenants et les groupes de l’industrie n’en ont pas tenu compte lorsqu’ils ont établi des normes pour minimiser l’effet des activités des entreprises extractives sur les droits de la personne. En utilisant les travaux de Dorothy Smith sur l’ethnographie institutionnelle, et surtout la textualité féministe, le présent article propose une analyse approfondie à plusieurs niveaux, d’un point de vue féministe, du Principes directeurs relatifs aux entreprises et aux droits de l’homme (PDNU), qui constitue l’un des textes centraux visant l’impunité des entreprises quant aux effets nuisibles genrés de leurs activités d’exploitation des ressources, et en particulier, de la violence faite aux femmes. Les auteures se demandent dans quelle mesure le texte du PDNU tient compte des femmes et de leurs intérêts. Pour répondre à cette interrogation, elles examinent la place que donne le texte au savoir et au traitement distinct des femmes par rapport aux activités des États et des entreprises et le situent dans le système juridique international genré issu du néolibéralisme. Elles démontrent ainsi que le PDNU est une méthode pour établir une « relation de pouvoir » déterminant le comportement des États et des entreprises envers les femmes. La structure et la nature des normes issues du texte non seulement ne reconnaissent pas les expériences des femmes et ne protègent pas leurs droits dans le domaine de l’extraction des ressources, mais aident également à perpétuer les structures patriarcales et néolibérales qui oppriment les femmes.
 
ENGLISH ABSTRACT:
Resource extraction has both direct and indirect impacts on women, and research has shown that such impacts are differentiated from those on men. Violence against women appears to be a crosscutting impact. Yet states, intergovernmental organizations, multi-stakeholder initiatives, and industry groups have not taken this into consideration in the formulation of norms meant to address business-related human rights impacts. Drawing on Dorothy Smith’s work on institutional ethnography and, specifically, on feminist textuality, this article provides a close multi-level feminist analysis of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UN Guiding Principles), which are one of the central instruments designed to address corporate impunity for harm caused by business extraction in terms of their ability to address the gendered impacts of resource extraction and, in particular, violence against women. The authors consider the extent to which women and the interests of women are reflected in the text of the UN Guiding Principles, investigate the prioritization of knowledge and the differentiated treatment in the text of women compared to states and business enterprises, and situate the UN Guiding Principles within the neo-liberal gendered international legal system. They argue that UN Guiding Principles are a technology that establishes the “relations of ruling” with respect to state and business behaviour and women, and that the text, structure, and nature of these norms not only fail to acknowledge women’s experiences or to protect women’s rights in the realm of resource extraction but also help to perpetuate the patriarchal and neo-liberal structures that oppress women.

Topics: Environment, Extractive Industries, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gender Analysis, International Law, Justice, Impunity, Rights, Human Rights, Women's Rights, Violence

Year: 2019

© 2019 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at info@genderandsecurity.org.