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Women and Democratization Conceptualizing Gender Relations in Transition Politics


Waylen, Georgina. 1994. “Women and Democratization Conceptualizing Gender Relations in Transition Politics.” World Politics 46 (3): 327–54. doi:10.2307/2950685.

Author: Georgina Waylen


This article examines the impact of gender relations on democratization. It considers a number of key questions: what role do women's movements play in the transition to democratic rule and what impact does a return to competitive electoral politics have on women and women's movements. The starting point is a critique of the existing literature on democratization. That literature cannot provide a satisfactory analysis of the role of women in transition politics because of the narrow definitions of democracy used and the top-down focus of much of it. The article then develops a gendered analysis through a comparison of the different processes of transition in Latin America and Central and Eastern Europe. It highlights the significance of the relationship between civil society and the state and the existence of “political space.”

Topics: Democracy / Democratization, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Governance, Elections, Political Participation Regions: Americas, Caribbean countries, Central America, North America, South America, Europe, Central Europe, Eastern Europe

Year: 1994

How is White Supremacy Embodied? Sexualized Racial Violence at Abu Ghraib


Razack, Sherene. 2005. “How Is White Supremacy Embodied? Sexualized Racial Violence at Abu Ghraib.” Canadian Journal of Women and the Law 17 (2): 341–63.

Author: Sherene Razack


The violence inflicted on Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib, by both male and female American and British soldiers, was very clearly sexualized. A pyramid of naked male prisoners forced to simulate sodomy conveyed graphically that the project of empire, the West's domination of the non-West, requires strong infusions of a violent heterosexuality and patriarchy. This article explores what we can learn from Abu Ghraib about how empire is embodied and how it comes into existence through multiple systems of domination. In the first part, I discuss the role of visual practices and the making of racial hierarchies a consideration made necessary by the 1,800 photos of torture. In the second part, I consider the violence as a ritual that enables white men to achieve a sense of mastery over the racial other, at the same time that it provides a sexualized intimacy forbidden in white supremacy and patriarchy. In the third part of this article, I consider the role of white women at Abu Ghraib, arguing that it is as members of their race that we can best grasp white women's participation in the violence—a participation that facilitates the same mastery and gendered intimacy afforded to white men who engage in racial violence. In the conclusion, I consider the regime of racial terror in evidence at Abu Ghraib and other places, focusing on terror as a "trade in mythologies" that organizes the way that bodies come to express the racial arrangements of empire.

Keywords: political prisoners, prisons, race, heterosexuality, patriarchy, torture, sexual violence

Topics: Combatants, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Race, Sexual Violence, Female Perpetrators, Male Perpetrators, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, SV against men, SV against women, Sexuality Regions: MENA, Americas, North America, Asia, Middle East Countries: Iraq, United States of America

Year: 2005

Trickle-down or Rising Tide? Lessons on Mainstreaming Gender Policy from Colombia and South Africa


Beall, Jo. 2002. “Trickle-down or Rising Tide? Lessons on Mainstreaming Gender Policy from Colombia and South Africa.” Social Policy & Administration 32 (5): 513–34.

Author: Jo Beall


As a result of the United Nations Decade for Women (1976-1985) many member states of the United Nations in the South put in place some form of national macinery for the advancement of women. This paper considers that process, identifying three main phases. The first was heavily overlaid by the agendas of international development agencies and coincided with efforts to advance a "women in development" or WID agenda within international development cooperation. The second, explored here in relation to Colombia, saw a shift towards attempts to institutionalize gender awareness in development policy, the so-called "gender and development" or GAD approach. Against this background, the later South African experience is evaluated. It is argued that this potentially represents a third and distinguishable phase in the establishment of national machineries. Here structures were set up in the context of less aid dependence than many other countries and as a result of a process that was largely internally driven. Nevertheless, South Africa enjoyed tremendous support from international women's networks and lessons were learnt from past experience alsewhere, both positive and negative. The South African approach to advancing gender equality is arguably the most progressive to be found anywhere. What remains to be seen is whether it will be possible to implement, given the persistence of poverty and inequality nationally and South Africa's increasing identification with international neo-liberal agendas. 

Keywords: women, gender development policy, Columbia, South Africa

Topics: Development, Economies, Poverty, Gender, Women, Gender Mainstreaming, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, International Organizations Regions: Africa, Southern Africa, Americas, South America Countries: Colombia, South Africa

Year: 2002

Operation Princess in Rio de Janeiro: Policing ‘Sex Trafficking’, Strengthening Worker Citizenship, and the Urban Geopolitics of Security in Brazil


Amar, Paul. 2009. “Operation Princess in Rio de Janeiro: Policing ‘Sex Trafficking’, Strengthening Worker Citizenship, and the Urban Geopolitics of Security in Brazil.” Security Dialogue 40 (4-5): 513-41.

Author: Paul Amar


This article develops new insights into the gendered insecurities of the neoliberal state in Latin America by exploring the militarization of public security in Rio de Janeiro during 2003-08 around campaigns to stop the 'trafficking' of sex workers. Findings illuminate the intersection of three neoliberal governance logics: (1) a moralistic humanitarian-rescue agenda promoted by evangelical populists and police groups; (2) a juridical 'law and rights' logic promoted by justice-sector actors and human-rights NGOS; (3) a worker-empowerment logic articulated by the governing Workers' Party (PT) in alliance with social-justice movements, police reformers, and prostitutes' rights groups. Gender and race analyses map the antagonisms between these three logics of neoliberal governance, and how their incommensurabilities generate crisis in the arena of security policy. By exploring Brazil's fraught efforts to attain the status of 'human security superpower' through these interventions, the article challenges the view that the reordering of security politics in the global south is inevitably linked to desecularization, disempowerment, and militarization.

Keywords: security, gender, human trafficking, race, Brazil

Topics: Gender, Women, Governance, Livelihoods, Sexual livelihoods, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarization, Race, Security, Human Security, Trafficking, Sex Trafficking Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Brazil

Year: 2009

Hurricane Mitch: Women’s Needs and Contributions


Buvinic, Mayra. 1999. Hurricane Mitch: Women’s Needs and Contributions. Washington, DC: Women in Development Program Unit, Inter-American Development Bank.

Author: Mayra Buvinic


This report examines evidence from post-Mitch Central America and disasters in other parts of the world to identify the ways disasters affect women and to highlight women’s participation in prevention, relief, rehabilitation, and reconstruction efforts. It attempts to fill a void in the knowledge regarding people’s responses to disasters in the region, by exploring the gender dimension and providing general guidelines for integrating a gender perspective in effective disaster management. The report was prepared for and presented at the meeting of the Consultative Group for the Reconstruction and Transformation of Central America which took place in Stockholm, Sweden, May 25-27, 1999. It is based on a technical meeting attended by international and government agencies and NGOs which was held in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, May 6-7, 1999.

Topics: Environmental Disasters, Gender, Women, Humanitarian Assistance Regions: Americas, Central America

Year: 1999

Making Up for War: Sexuality and Citizenship in Wartime Culture


Delano, Page Dougherty. 2000. “Making Up for War: Sexuality and Citizenship in Wartime Culture.” Feminist Studies 26 (1): 33–68.

Author: Page Dougherty Delano

Topics: Armed Conflict, Citizenship, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Masculinity/ies, Femininity/ies, Sexuality Regions: Americas, North America Countries: United States of America

Year: 2000

What Women Do: Gendered Labor in the Red River Valley Flood


Enarson, Elaine. 2001. “What Women Do: Gendered Labor in the Red River Valley Flood.” Environmental Hazards 3: 1–18.

Author: Elaine Enarson


  • Drawing on narrative accounts from 115 informants in 14 group interviews, the paper explores women's disaster work at home, in the workplace, and in the community. A typology of ten forms of disaster work was developed to analyze the findings and encourage comparative research. Women's physical and socioemotional work in the household materially contributed to mitigation and reconstruction. Women were also “backstage” emergency responders in their professional roles in female-dominated occupations. These activities led some to collective and individual protest of social inequities arising during the flood. The findings were used to develop practical guidelines for more inclusive emergency planning and practice.

Topics: Environment, Environmental Disasters, Gender, Women, Households, Humanitarian Assistance, Livelihoods Regions: Americas, North America Countries: United States of America

Year: 2001

Gender Patterns in Flood Evacuation: A Case Study in Canada’s Red River Valley


Enarson, Elaine, and Joseph Scanlon. 1999. “Gender Patterns in Flood Evacuation: A Case Study in Canada’s Red River Valley.” Applied Behavioral Science Review 7 (2): 103–24.

Authors: Elaine Enarson, Joseph Scanlon


The authors look at the 1998 Red River Valley flood and subsequent evacuations in order to put disaster mitigation in a gendered framework. They argue that natural disasters are gendered experiences, in which longstanding gender roles become more rigid; this leads to specific experiences and responsibilities for men and women. Women traditionally perform less noticeable, domestically-based work, while men are given the spotlight through their “valiant,” more physical contributions. This can lead to inequalities and male empowerment over women. Enarson and Scanlon conclude by stressing ten points for future gender-focused research, the results of which could help communities to better care for and to better represent men, women, and children during disaster recovery.

Topics: Environmental Disasters, Gender, Women, Gender Equality/Inequality, Humanitarian Assistance Regions: Americas, North America Countries: Canada

Year: 1999

Socio-Economic Impacts of Natural Disasters: A Gender Analysis


Bradshaw, Sarah. 2004. Socio-Economic Impacts of Natural Disasters: A Gender Analysis. 32. Santiago, Chile: United Nations - Women and Development Unit. 

Author: Sarah Bradshaw


This paper analyses the socio-economic effects of hurricane Mitch using a gender approach and proposes new analysis indicators for crisis situations that may better reflect women’s disadvantageous position relative to men. The first section of the document discusses key concepts used in gender and disaster analysis, in the context of the region and hurricane Mitch. The following section examines the direct and indirect impacts, and looks at how they have affected women, as well as the responses to Mitch at three levels: first, that of individuals and their strategies for coping with the crisis; second, the actions of governments and the coordinated bodies of civil society; and third, reconstruction initiatives carried out by national and international organizations. The final section attempts to draw together the salient points and challenges suggested by the analysis. It also offers some recommendations for integrating this approach into future emergency and reconstruction scenarios and for reducing women’s current vulnerability.

Topics: Environment, Environmental Disasters, Gender, Women, Gender Analysis, Humanitarian Assistance, International Organizations Regions: Americas, Central America Countries: El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua

Year: 2004

War Propaganda and the (Ab)uses of Women: Media Constructions of the Jessica Lynch Story


Kumar, Deepa. 2004. “War Propaganda and the (Ab)uses of Women: Media Constructions of the Jessica Lynch Story.” Feminist Media Studies 4 (3): 297-313.

Author: Deepa Kumar


The "rescue" of Private Jessica Lynch was one of the most extensively covered events of the 2003 US-led war on Iraq. In the 14 days after her rescue, Lynch drew 919 references in major newspapers. In contrast, General Tommy Franks, who ran the war, got 639 references, and Dick Cheney got 549 (Christopher Hanson 2003). The coverage of the Lynch story continued well into the year and far outstripped that devoted to any other captured or rescued prisoners of war (POWs), making Lynch a household name. This article studies how the Jessica Lynch story was constructed. I examine the conditions under which women in the military become visible and how their stories are told, both by the media and the military. The military, a quintessential patriarchal institution, relies on the construction of a soldier in specifically masculinist terms. While women have always been a part of the military, their presence has been systematically marginalized. Their role has typically been as "camp followers," i.e., service and maintenance workers, rather than those involved in active combat. Lynch stands out as one among a handful of women who have come to symbolize the presence of women in the US army. Yet, this is not a step fonward for women. Instead, the Lynch rescue narrative, I argue, served to forward the aims of war propaganda. The story of the "dramatic" rescue of a young, vulnerable woman, at a time when the war was not going well for the US, acted as the means by which a controversial war could be talked about in emotional rather than rational terms. Furthermore, constructed as hero. Lynch became a symbol of the West's "enlightened" attitude towards women, justifying the argument that the US was "liberating" the people of Iraq. In short, the Lynch story, far from putting forward an image of women's strength and autonomy, reveals yet another mechanism by which they are strategically used to win support for war.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Masculinism, Media, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries Regions: Americas, North America Countries: United States of America

Year: 2004


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