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A Continuum of Participation: Rethinking Tamil Women’s Political Participation and Agency in Post-War Sri Lanka

Citation:

Koens, Celeste, and Samanthi J. Gunawardana. 2021. “A Continuum of Participation: Rethinking Tamil Women’s Political Participation and Agency in Post-War Sri Lanka.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 23 (3): 463–84.

Authors: Celeste Koens, Samanthi J. Gunawardana

Abstract:

In post-war contexts, attention is given to women’s participation and barriers to their participation in formal processes (for example, peace talks, economic initiatives, and elections). Yet, women have engaged in various activities to exercise collective and individual agency to impact political participation. This article examines how Tamil women’s political participation in post-war Sri Lanka exists along a continuum, from formal participation within state structures and party politics to informal community participation. Scholarship about Tamil women’s political participation is framed within discourses of “militants,” “ex-combatants,” “political mothers,” or “victims.” Using narrative interviews, we argue that – based on their awareness of unequal gendered power relations, structures, and norms impacting their lives in post-war Sri Lanka – Tamil women in Mannar exercise agency to challenge these constraints and promote a broader transformative political arena. Some women attempt to expand the agency of others and to promote a collective voice through which women can be better represented in politics. Drawing on feminist international relations and gender and development knowledge, this study demonstrates how political agency is constituted within informal arenas, disrupting masculinist assumptions about who is considered a political actor and what counts as political agency by examining the spectrum of political participation in post-war contexts.

Keywords: political participation, Sri Lanka, post-war, gender, Tamil women

Topics: Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Political Participation, Post-Conflict Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Sri Lanka

Year: 2021

The Gender Gap in Voting in Post-Conflict Elections: Evidence from Israel, Mali and Côte D’Ivoire

Citation:

Stockemer, Daniel, and Michael J Wigginton. 2020. “The Gender Gap in Voting in Post-Conflict Elections: Evidence from Israel, Mali and Côte D’Ivoire.” Conflict Management and Peace Science, 1-23. doi: 10.1177/0738894220966577.

Authors: Daniel Stockemer, Michael J. Wigginton

Abstract:

In this article, we first formulate some theoretical expectations about the development of the gender gap in voting in post-conflict situations. Second, we test these expectations on five cases, including two civil wars, the Ivorian Civil War (2011) and the Malian Civil War (2013–2015), and three major international Israeli conflicts, the Yom Kippur War (1973) and the First and Second Lebanon Wars (1982–1985 and 2006). We do so by comparing women’s and men’s turnout before and after a conflict using individual voting data and find that the sum of the nine factors we identify (i.e. duration of war, type of warfare, end of fighting after ceasefire/peace settlement, change in workforce participation, international involvement in the peace process, international development aid, the militarization of politics and female social movement activism) explain changes in the gender gap in voting after the conflict in three of the five cases we study.

Keywords: Gender gap in voting, post-conflict situation

Topics: Gender, Men, Women, Militarization, Political Participation, Post-Conflict Regions: Africa, Asia, Middle East Countries: Côte D'Ivoire, Israel, Mali

Year: 2020

How Women Can Save the Planet

Citation:

Karpf, Anne. 2021. How Women Can Save the Planet. Hurst Publishers.

Author: Anne Karpf

Annotation:

Summary: 
Here’s a perverse truth: from New Orleans to Bangladesh, women—especially poor women of colour—are suffering most from a crisis they have done nothing to cause. Yet where, in environmental policy, are the voices of elderly European women dying in heatwaves? Of African girls dropping out of school due to drought? Our highest-profile climate activists are women and girls; but, at the top table, it’s men deciding the earth’s future.
 
We’re not all in it together—but we could be. Instead of expecting individual women to save the planet, what we need are visionary, global climate policies that are gender-inclusive and promote gender equality.
 
Anne Karpf shines a light on the radical ideas, compelling research and tireless campaigns, led by and for women around the world, that have inspired her to hope. Her conversations with female activists show how we can fight back, with strength in diversity. And, faced with the most urgent catastrophe of our times, she offers a powerful vision: a Green New Deal for Women.

Topics: Environment, Climate Change, Feminisms, Feminist Political Ecology, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality Regions: Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe

Year: 2021

Women and Disasters in South Asia: Survival, Security and Development

Citation:

Roy, Sajal. 2018. “Women and Disasters in South Asia: Survival, Security and Development.” Gender, Place & Culture 25 (2): 315–16.

Author: Sajal Roy

Abstract:

Women and Disasters in South Asia: Survival, Security and Development is an edited collection that investigates primarily how gender and politics are shaping post-disaster reconstruction and development processes in South Asian countries. Most of the disasters included in this collection are profiled in Indian case studies, including the Indian Ocean tsunami as witnessed in Tamil Nadu (2004), the earthquake in Gujarat, (2001), the super cyclone in Odisha (1999), the flood in Bihar (2008), the Cloudburst in Ladakh (2010). A few chapters extend beyond India to examine events such as the floods in Pakistan (2010) and post-tsunami reconstruction in Sri Lanka (ongoing since 2004). The book captures both women’s vulnerabilities and resiliencies in post-disaster setting, demonstrating that women and men experience disasters differently due to the social construction of their socioeconomic positions, gender roles and relationships with government and society.

Topics: Economies, Poverty, Environment, Climate Change, Environmental Disasters, Gender, Men, Women, Post-Conflict Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka

Year: 2018

Engendering Climate Change: Learnings from South Asia

Citation:

Hans, Asha, Nitya Rao, Anjal Prakash, and Amrita Patel, eds. 2021. Engendering Climate Change: Learnings from South Asia. New York & Oxon: Routledge.

Authors: Asha Hans, Nitya Rao, Anjal Prakash, Amrita Patel

Abstract:

This book focuses on the gendered experiences of environmental change across different geographies and social contexts in South Asia and on diverse strategies of adapting to climate variability. The book analyzes how changes in rainfall patterns, floods, droughts, heatwaves and landslides affect those who are directly dependent on the agrarian economy. It examines the socio-economic pressures, including the increase in women’s work burdens both in production and reproduction on gender relations. It also examines coping mechanisms such as male migration and the formation of women’s collectives which create space for agency and change in rigid social relations. The volume looks at perspectives from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal to present the nuances of gender relations across borders along with similarities and differences across geo-graphical, socio-cultural and policy contexts. This book will be of interest to researchers and students of sociology, development, gender, economics, environmental studies and South Asian studies. It will also be useful for policymakers, NGOs and think tanks working in the areas of gender, climate change and development.

Annotation:

Table of Contents:

1. Gender, Climate Change and the Politics of Vulnerability: An Introduction
Nitya Rao, Anjal Prakash, Asha Hans, and Amrita Patel

PART I: Vulnerabilities

2. Vulnerabilities of Rural Women to Climate Extremes: A Case of Semi-Arid Districts in Pakistan
Ayesha Qaisrani and Samavia Batool 

3. Gendered Vulnerabilities in Diaras: Struggles with Floods in the Gandak River Basin in Bihar, India
Pranita Bhushan Udas, Anjal Prakash, and Chanda Gurung Goodrich

4. Of Borewells and Bicycles: The Gendered Nature of Water Access in Karnataka, South India and Its Implications for Local Vulnerability
Chandni Singh

5. Vulnerabilities and Resilience of Local Women Towards Climate Change in the Indus basin
Saqib Shakell Abbasi, Muhammad Zubair Anwar, Nusrat Habib, and Qaiser Khan

6. Climate Change, Gendered Vulnerabilities and Resilience in High Mountain Communities: The Case of Upper Rasuwa in Gandaki River Basin, Hindu Kush Himalayas
Deepak Dorje Tamang and Pranita Bhushan Udas 

PART II: Adaptation and Wellbeing

7. Wells and Well-being in South India: Gender Dimensions of Groundwater Dependence
Divya Susan Solomon and Nitya Rao

8. Gender, Migration and Environmental Change in the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna Delta in Bangladesh
Katharine Vincent, Ricardo Safra de Campos, Attilan N. Lázár, and Anwara Begum

9. Women-Headed Households, Migration and Adaptation to Climate Change in the Mahanadi Delta, India
Sugata Hazra, Amrita Patel, Shouvik Das, Asha Hans, Amit Ghosh, and Jasmine Giri

10. Gender Dynamics and Climate Variability: Mapping the Linkages in the Upper Ganga Basin in Uttarakhand, India
Vani Rijhwani, Divya Sharma, Neha Khandekar, Roshan Rathod, and Mini Govindan 

11. Shaping Gendered Responses to Climate Change in South Asia
Asha Hans, Anjal Prakash, Nitya Rao, and Amrita Patel

Topics: Agriculture, Displacement & Migration, Climate Displacement, Migration, Economies, Environment, Climate Change, Environmental Disasters, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Infrastructure, Water & Sanitation Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Bangladesh, India, Pakistan

Year: 2021

Officialising Strategies: Participatory Processes and Gender in Thailand's Water Resources Sector

Citation:

Resurrección, Bernadette P., Mary Jane Real, and Panadda Pantana. 2004. “Officialising Strategies: Participatory Processes and Gender in Thailand’s Water Resources Sector.” Development in Practice 14 (4): 521–33.

Authors: Bernadette P. Resurrección, Mary Jane Real, Panadda Pantana

Abstract:

This paper examines participatory processes in an Asian Development Bank (ADB) technical assistance package in Thailand's water resource sector. The authors analyse various levels of social interaction in the local community, in meso-level stakeholder consultations, and in opposition to ADB's environment programmes expressed by civil society organisations. While participatory approaches are employed to promote more bottom-up management regimes in water resources, the authors find that local power and gender differences have been overlooked. Evolving institutions of resource governance are constituted by gender, reproducing gender inequalities such as regarding water intended for agricultural use as a 'male' resource. Finally, it is argued that understandings and practices of participation legitimise particular agendas in a politically polarised arena.

Topics: Agriculture, Civil Society, Gender, Gendered Discourses, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Gender Hierarchies, Infrastructure, Water & Sanitation, International Organizations Regions: Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Thailand

Year: 2004

Hashtagging Girlhood: #IAmMalala, #BringBackOurGirls and Gendering Representations of Global Politics

Citation:

Berents, Helen. 2016. “Hashtagging Girlhood: #IAmMalala, #BringBackOurGirls and Gendering Representations of Global Politics.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 18 (4): 513–27.

Author: Helen Berents

Abstract:

This article explores how gendered, racial and youth-ed concepts of girlhood shape the way conflict, violence and the lived experiences of girls in conflict-affected environments are understood globally. In particular, it examines the broader context and effect of social media campaigns that specifically invoke a concept of “girlhood” in their responses to crisis or tragedy. It focuses on two hashtags and their associated social media campaigns: #IAmMalala, started in response to the attempted killing of Pakistani education activist Malala Yousafzai in 2012 by Taliban gunmen, and #BringBackOurGirls, started by Nigerians and adopted globally in response to the kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls by terrorist group Boko Haram. In both instances, understandings of the broader political context are shaped by the focus on girls. Both hashtags also appropriate an experience: claiming to be Malala and claiming the Nigerian girls as ours. Through this exploration, I argue that particular ideals of girlhood are coded within these campaigns, and that these girls’ experiences are appropriated. I critique the limited representations of girlhood that circulate in these discussions, and how these limited representations demonstrate the problematic narrowness of dominant conceptions of girlhood.

Keywords: Girlhood, activism, social media, Malala Yousafzai, Chibok girls

Topics: Age, Youth, Education, Gender, Gendered Discourses, Media, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Non-State Armed Groups, Race, Terrorism, Violence Regions: Africa, West Africa, Asia, South Asia Countries: Nigeria, Pakistan

Year: 2016

Constructing Humanitarian Selves and Refugee Others

Citation:

Olivius, Elisabeth. 2016. “Constructing Humanitarian Selves and Refugee Others.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 18 (2): 270–90.

Author: Elisabeth Olivius

Abstract:

Contributing to ongoing debates about what happens when feminism is institutionalized in global governance, this article examines how gender equality is given meaning and applied in humanitarian aid to refugees, and what the implications are with regard to the production of subjectivities and their positioning in relations of power. Drawing on Foucauldian and postcolonial feminist perspectives, the analysis identifies two main representations of what it means to promote gender equality in refugee situations. Gender equality is represented as a means to aid effectiveness through the strategic mobilization of refugee women's participation, and as a project of development, involving the transformation of “traditional” or “backward” refugee cultures into modern societies. The subject positions that are produced categorically cast refugees as either passive or problematic subjects who need to be rescued, protected, assisted, activated, controlled and reformed through humanitarian interventions, while humanitarian workers are positioned as rational administrators and progressive agents of social transformation. In effect, gender equality is used to sustain power asymmetries in refugee situations and to reproduce global hierarchies.

Keywords: global governance, gender equality, refugees, humanitarian aid, governmentality, postcolonial feminism, Thailand, Bangladesh

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Refugee/IDP Camps, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Governance, Humanitarian Assistance, NGOs Regions: Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Bangladesh, Thailand

Year: 2016

Non-territorial Autonomy and Gender Equality: The Case of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria – Rojava

Citation:

Rosa, Burç. 2020. "Non-territorial Autonomy and Gender Equality: The Case of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria – Rojava." Filozofija i drustvo 31 (3): 319-339.

Author: Burç Rosa

Abstract:

The Kurdish-led autonomous entity called Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (NES) - also known as Rojava - considers women’s liberation an imperative condition for shaping a democratic society. The practice of autonomy in NES shares strong resemblances with Non- Territorial Autonomy (NTA) models; however, it introduces a novelty in the role of women as active agents in building a plurinational democracy. This paper examines (1) the intellectual and political origins of the political role ascribed to women in autonomous administrations and (2) how the practice of autonomy in Rojava has advanced women’s rights by shedding light on both institutional implementation of women’s rights, as well as the creation of (non)-territorial spaces of women’s emancipation within the autonomous model. The argument made is that the conceptual framework of the Rojava model goes beyond the Kurdish question and can be considered an attempt to resolve a democratic deficit of liberal democratic nation-states through bringing together solutions that address the intertwined subordination of minorities and women.

Keywords: women, representation, plurinational democracy, non-territorial autonomy, Kurdish question, Syria, Rojava, minorities

Topics: Armed Conflict, Secessionist Wars, Democracy / Democratization, Governance, Political Participation, Rights, Women's Rights Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Syria

Year: 2020

Kurdish Women as Political Agents: Kurdish Political Movement, Gender Equality, and Women’s Freedom

Citation:

Çağlayan Handan. 2020. "Kurdish Women as Political Agents: Kurdish Political Movement, Gender Equality, and Women’s Freedom." In Women in the Kurdish Movement: Mothers, Comrades, Goddesses. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan.

Author: Handan Çağlayan

Annotation:

The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (Partiya Karkarên Kurdistan, PKK) was founded in 1978 with the goal to establish an independent socialist Kurdistan state. The party has since changed radically ideologically, politically, programmatically, and organizationally. In this process, one of the most significant axes of continuity during the PKK’s history is the principle of gender equality. The PKK’s approach to this offered opportunity spaces for women’s political participation while being simultaneously transformed through their participation. It had already included women members before becoming a political party, similar to the socialist youth organizations of the 1970s. Women, although in small numbers, participated in the PKK’s founding congress in 1978 and remained involved in its subsequent activities.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Ethnic/Communal Wars, Secessionist Wars, Political Participation Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East

Year: 2020

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