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South Caucasus

Women's Everyday Lives in War and Peace in the South Caucasus

Citation:

Ziemer, Ulrike, ed. 2020. Women's Everyday Lives in War and Peace in the South Caucasus. Palgrave Macmillan.

Author: Ulrike Ziemer

Annotation:

Summary:
This edited volume explores the everyday struggles and challenges of women living in the South Caucasus. The primary aim of the collection is to shift the pre-occupation with geopolitical analysis in the region and to share new empirical research on women and social change. The contributors discuss a broad range of topics, each relating to women’s everyday challenges during periods (past and present) of turbulent transformation and conflict, thus helping make sense of these transformations as well as adding new empirical insights to larger questions on life in the South Caucasus. Part I begins the discussion of women and social change in Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan by examining the contradictions between traditional gender roles and emancipation and how they continue to dictate women’s lives. Part II focuses on women’s experiences of war and conflict in Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia and Nagorny Karabakh, as well as displacement from Abkhazia and Azerbaijan. Part III examines the challenges faced by sexual minorities in Georgia and feminist activism in Azerbaijan.
 
Women's Everyday Lives in War and Peace in the South Caucasus will be of interest to students and scholars across a range of disciplines, including sociology, politics, gender studies and history. (Summary from Palgrave Macmillan)
 
Table of Contents:
Introduction: Women's Everyday Lives in the South Caucasus
Ulrike Ziemer
 
1. Women as Bearers of Modernity and Tradition
Melanie Krebs
 
2. 'Supra is Not for Women': Hospitality Practices as a Lens on Gender and Social Change in Georgia
Costanza Curro
 
3. Women against Authoritarianism: Agency and Political Protest in Armenia
Ulrike Ziemer
 
4. Between Love, Pain and Identity: Armenian Women after World War I
Anna Aleksanyan
 
5. 'We are Strangers among our Own People': Displaced Armenian Women
Shushanik Ghazaryan
 
6. Vulnerability and Resilience: Women's Narratives of Forced Displacement from Abkhazia
Nargiza Arjevanidze
 
7. The Politics of Widowhood in Nagorny Karabakh
Nona Shahnazarian et al
 
8. Invisible Battlefield: How the Politicization of LGBT Issues Affects the Visibility of LBT Women in Georgia
Natia Gvianishvili
 
9. Exploring Two Generations of Women Activists in Azerbaijan: Between Feminism and a Post-Soviet Locality
Yuliya Gureyeva Aliyeva
 
10. Feminism in Azerbaijan: Gender, Community and Nation-Building
Sinead Walsh

Topics: Armed Conflict, Displacement & Migration, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gender Roles, LGBTQ, Sexuality Regions: Asia, Central Asia, Europe, South Caucasus Countries: Georgia

Year: 2020

Gender Based Violence in Georgia: Links Among Conflict, Economic Opportunities, and Services

Citation:

World Bank Group. 2017. Gender Based Violence in Georgia: Links Among Conflict, Economic Opportunities, and Services. Washington D.C.: World Bank Group.

Author: World Bank Group

Abstract:

This report summarizes research undertaken as part of the World Bank State- and Peace-building Fund (SPF) financed grant, Strengthening Capacity for Prevention and Response to Sexual- and Gender-Based Violence in Georgia (GBV). The goal of the grant is to build knowledge and capacity on prevention and response to GBV in Georgia, with a focus on conflict- and displacement-affected populations, economic opportunity and services. The project is part of the World Bank’s global initiative on conflict and Gender-based Violence (GBV). The Global Initiative, financed by the SPF, includes pilot projects across East Asia and the Pacific, Africa, and South Asia (nearly 10 million total in project financing). The aim of the initiative is to increase understanding regarding the development dimensions of GBV and potential areas of enhanced World Bank and development partner programming. While the global initiative supports operational projects in the other regions, the Georgia pilot, representing the Europe and Central Asia Region (ECA), is unique in its focus on deepening knowledge and promoting capacity building. Research was undertaken in Georgia recognizing the country’s legacy of conflict and displacement challenges as well as recent steps taken by the Government of Georgia on gender action and GBV response. Given conflicts in Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions in the 1990s and 2008, Georgia has many conflict-affected people. This includes between 190,000 and 275,000 IDPs, who have been displaced by conflict and make up almost 6 percent of the population, among the highest relative proportions in the world. Also, people living near former conflict zones in Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions continue to experience periodic insecurity and impacts on their living conditions and livelihoods. The research aims to complement existing initiatives by the Government, international partners and the NGO community on GBV in Georgia and to explore openings for additional progress. Specifically, filling research gaps on the potential links between GBV and conflict and internal displacement, economic opportunity, and services.

Topics: Displacement & Migration, IDPs, Development, Conflict, Gender, Gender-Based Violence, International Organizations, Livelihoods, NGOs Regions: Asia, Central Asia, Europe, South Caucasus Countries: Georgia

Year: 2017

Aftermath: Women and Women’s Organizations In Postconflict Societies: The Role of International Assistance

Citation:

Kumar, Krishna. 2001. Aftermath: Women and Women’s Organizations In Postconflict Societies: The Role of International Assistance. 28. U.S. Agency for International Development, Washington, DC.

Author: Krishna Kumar

Annotation:

Summary: 
Since the end of the Cold War, intrastate conflicts have increased worldwide. Poverty, the struggle for scarce resources, declining standards of living, ethnic rivalries and divisions, political repression by authoritarian governments, and rapid social and economic modernization—all these factors contribute to intrastate conflicts. All intrastate conflicts share a set of common characteristics that have major implications for women and gender relations. First, the belligerent parties deliberately inflict violence on civilian populations. Second, the intrastate conflicts displace substantial numbers of people, mostly women and children. Third, women’s participation in war contributes to the redefinition of their identities and traditional roles. Fourth, there is usually a conscious attempt to destroy the supporting civilian infrastructure, leading to increased poverty and starvation. Finally, these conflicts leave among the belligerent groups within the countries a legacy of bitterness, hatred, and anger that is difficult to heal.

Both men and women suffer from such conflicts. This study examines specifically the effects on women in six casestudy countries: Cambodia, Bosnia, El Salvador, Georgia, Guatemala, and Rwanda. It looks as well at the rise of indigenous women’s organizations—their role, their impact, their future. Teams from USAID’s Center for Development Information and Evaluation visited those countries during 1999. They found the effects of war on women to fall into three broad categories: Social and psychological. Women often were traumatized by the conflict. After the hostilities, many feared for their physical safety. During the early phases of postconflict transition, unemployed militia continued to pose a serious threat to the lives and property of women and children. Fear of violence and sexual abuse (rape had actually been used as a tool of war, to subjugate, humiliate, terrorize) often kept women from moving about freely. Abject conditions in many postconflict societies contributed to the growth of prostitution.

Economic. A major problem was lack of property rights. Women were denied ownership of land their dead husbands or parents had owned. Rural women who owned no land or other assets worked as laborers or sharecroppers, at minimal wages. Urban women carved out livings mostly by selling foods and household items. During conflict, women could work in many occupations. As ex-combatants returned to civilian life, though, female workers were the first to lose their jobs.

Political. In the absence of men, all six countries witnessed an expansion of women’s public roles during the conflict. Women volunteered in churches, schools, hospitals, and private charities. They often took charge of political institutions, enhancing their political skills—and raising their expectations.

The conflicts created a ripe environment for the emergence or growth of women’s organizations. For one thing, the wars undermined the traditional social order; women found it easier to take part in public affairs. Moreover, governmental reforms after the wars created political space to launch women’s organizations. Another factor was disillusionment. During or in the immediate aftermath of the wars, women’s expectations of increased political participation had risen. Those expectations were never fully realized. Finally, the readiness of the international community to provide assistance to such organizations contributed to their growth.

In the case-study countries, women’s organizations have been active in virtually all sectors: social, educational, economic, political. They have established health clinics, provided reproductive health care, organized mass vaccination programs. They have carried out programs to generate income and employment for women, emphasizing microcredit and vocational training. They have grappled with domestic violence, prostitution, and the plight of returning refugees and internally displaced women. And they have promoted democracy and human rights, supported social reconciliation, and worked to increase women’s participation in political affairs.

International assistance has been important to the development of women’s organizations—and will be far into the foreseeable future. Beyond financial support, international bodies have helped indigenous women acquire managerial, accounting, and technical skills. International assistance has also helped legitimize women’s organizations, for example by sheltering them from government interference.

Attending the emergence of women’s organizations is an array of obstacles. They are social and cultural, imposed from without, and organizational, imposed from within. Chief among the former is women’s low social status. At the family, community, and national levels, women confront a lack of support for their public activities. Another outside encumbrance is the short-term nature of international assistance, which prevents long-term planning. Chief among internal obstacles is the reluctance of women leaders to delegate authority and to train junior staff for future leadership. There is, moreover, a lack of communication and sharing among organizations.

The six individual CDIE country evaluations yielded a number of recommendations aimed at making assistance to women’s organizations more effective. Among them: 
1. Build on women’s economic and political gains. Because the postconflict era provides an opening to build on the progress made by women during conflict, it makes sense for USAID to continue to capitalize on this opportunity. 
2. Pay greater attention to civilian security. USAID can assume a leadership role in publicizing the problem of civilian security and the need for concerted action to protect women. The Agency can also encourage other organizations to carry out programs that can enhance physical security for women.
3. Make concerted efforts with the rest of the international community to prevent sexual abuse of women. Measures might include protecting witnesses, training international peacekeepers in gender issues, and promoting more women to international judicial posts.
4. Promote microcredit. USAID should support microcredit programs but not ignore their limitations. They are not cures for all economic problems facing women in postconflict societies.
5. Support property rights for women. USAID should continue supporting property-rights reforms affecting women. This should include not only constitutional and legislative reforms but also their effective implementation.
6. Consider multiyear funding. The assurance of assistance for periods longer than 6–9 months will help build institutional capacity and boost staff morale.
7. Promote sustainability of women’s organizations. USAID could provide technical assistance, when necessary, to improve management; consider funding a portion of core costs, in addition to program costs, for a limited period; and help organizations become self-reliant by such means as improving skills in advocacy, fundraising, networking, and coalition.
8. Promote greater women’s participation in elections. USAID should consider steps to encourage political parties to field women candidates and assist women candidates on a nonpartisan basis.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Civil Society, Displacement & Migration, Economies, Poverty, Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Governance, Elections, Health, Trauma, International Organizations, Livelihoods, Political Participation, Rights, Land Rights, Security, Sexual Violence, SV against women, Violence Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, Americas, Central America, Asia, Central Asia, Southeast Asia, Europe, Balkans, Eastern Europe, South Caucasus Countries: Bosnia & Herzegovina, Cambodia, El Salvador, Georgia, Guatemala, Rwanda

Year: 2001

War, Resisting the West and Women's Labor: Toward an Understanding of Arab Exceptionalism

Citation:

Angrist, Michele. 2012. “War, Resisting the West, and Women’s Labor: Toward an Understanding of Arab Exceptionalism.” Politics & Gender 8 (01): 51–82. doi:10.1017/S1743923X12000074.

Author: Michele Angrist

Abstract:

Countries with Muslim-majority populations often are viewed as places where women are particularly oppressed. To a degree, this perception reflects reality. Fish (2002) demonstrates that, relative to Catholic countries, Muslim countries are associated with larger male–female literacy gaps, higher male–female population sex ratios (which can reflect poorer treatment of females), and lower scores on the United Nations Development Program's (UNDP's) Gender Empowerment Measure, which focuses on political participation, economic influence, and income. Looking at the developing world, Cherif (2010) finds that Muslim countries are associated with inheritance and nationality laws that are discriminatory toward women. Some suggest that Islam itself is responsible for limitations on women's economic, political, and social freedoms. Whether referring to the substance of Islamic (shari'a) law, which treats men and women differently, or to the ways in which politicians defer to conservative interpretations of shari'a law in order to build and/or consolidate their legitimacy, or to contemporary regimes' need to appease (or at least not inflame) important Islamist constituencies who favor a subordinate role for women, many accounts of gender inequality in Muslim countries assert that “prevailing interpretations of Islamic law . . . and the attitudes it informs” are a key culprit (Cherif 2010, 1145).

Topics: Armed Conflict, Economies, Economic Inequality, Gender, Women, Gender Balance, Political Participation, Religion Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, West Africa, Asia, Central Asia, Middle East, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Europe, Baltic states, Balkans, South Caucasus

Year: 2012

Genocide and Gender in the Twentieth Century: A Comparative Survey

Citation:

Randall, Amy E. 2015. Genocide and Gender in the Twentieth Century: A Comparative Survey. London: Bloomsbury Academic.

Author: Amy E. Randall

Abstract:

Genocide and Gender in the Twentieth Century brings together a collection of some of the finest genocide studies scholars in North America and Europe to examine gendered discourses, practices and experiences of ethnic cleansing and genocide in the 20th century. It includes essays focusing on the genocide in Rwanda, the Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire, the Holocaust and ethnic cleansing and genocide in the former Yugoslavia.
 
The book looks at how historically- and culturally-specific ideas about reproduction, biology, and ethnic, national, racial and religious identity contributed to the possibility for and the unfolding of genocidal sexual violence, including mass rape. The book also considers how these ideas, in conjunction with discourses of femininity and masculinity, and understandings of female and male identities, contributed to perpetrators' tools and strategies for ethnic cleansing and genocide, as well as victims' experiences of these processes. This is an ideal text for any student looking to further understand the crucial topic of gender in genocide studies.
 
(Bloomsbury Academic)

Topics: Gender, Women, Men, Masculinity/ies, Femininity/ies, Gendered Discourses, Genocide, Sexual Violence, Rape, SV against men Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, Europe, Balkans, South Caucasus Countries: Armenia, Rwanda, Yugoslavia (former)

Year: 2015

Traumatic Masculinities: The Gendered Geographies of Georgian IDPs from Abkhazia

Citation:

Kabachnik, Peter, Magdalena Grabowska, Joanna Regulska, Beth Mitchneck, and Olga V. Mayorova. 2013. “Traumatic Masculinities: The Gendered Geographies of Georgian IDPs from Abkhazia.” Gender, Place & Culture 20 (6): 773–93. 

Authors: Peter Kabachnik, Magdalena Grabowska, Joanna Regulska, Beth Mitchneck, Olga V. Mayorova

Abstract:

Over 200,000 people became internally displaced after several violent conflicts in the early 1990s in Georgia. For many internally displaced persons (IDPs), gender relations have been transformed significantly. This translates to many women taking on the role of breadwinner for their family, which often is accompanied by the process of demasculinization for men. In this article, we examine the construction of masculinities and analyze the gendered processes of displacement and living in post-displacement for Georgian IDPs from Abkhazia. We identify the formation of ‘traumatic masculinities’ as a result of the threats to, though not usurpation of, hegemonic masculinities. Drawing on interviews, we highlight how IDPs conceptualize gender norms and masculinities in Georgia. Despite the disruptions that displacement has brought about, with the subsequent challenges to IDPs' ideal masculine roles, the discourses of hegemonic masculinities still predominate amongst IDPs. We further illustrate this point by identifying two separate gendered discourses of legitimization that attempt to reconcile hegemonic masculinities with the current contexts and circumstances that IDPs face. These new traumatic masculinities do coexist with hegemonic masculinities, although the latter are reformed and redefined as a result of the new contexts and new places within which they are performed.

Keywords: masculinities, displacement, internally displaced persons, trauma, Georgia, Abkhazia

Topics: Displacement & Migration, IDPs, Gender, Women, Masculinity/ies, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Trauma, Livelihoods, Post-Conflict Regions: Asia, Central Asia, Europe, South Caucasus

Year: 2013

Trafficking in Humans Social, Cultural and Political Dimensions

Citation:

Cameron, Sally, and Edward Newman. 2008. Trafficking in Humans Social, Cultural and Political Dimensions. New York: United Nations University Press. 

Authors: Sally Cameron, Edward Newman

Abstract:

Brings social, economic and political elements to the policy discussion as well as strategic interventions regarding the fight against "trafficking" (the recruitment and transportation of human beings through deception and coercion for the purposes of exploitation). Trafficking, generally, occurs from poorer to more prosperous countries and regions; however, it is not necessarily the poorest regions or communities which are most vulnerable to trafficking, and so this volume seeks to identify the factors which explain where and why vulnerability increases. –Publisher's description.

“[This] volume examines the proposition that in this era of globalization, liberal economic forces have resulted in the erosion of state capacity and a weakening of the provision of public goods…A certain alignment of factors may be key to understanding trafficking. The principle focus of this volume is to understand the distinction and dialectical interaction between structural and proximate factors.”

Annotation:

Table of Contents:

1. Introduction: Understanding human trafficking/Edward Newman and Sally Cameron

Part I: Themes:

2. Trafficking in humans: Structural factors/Sally Cameron and Edward Newman
3. Globalization and national sovereignty: From migration to trafficking/ Kinsey Alden Dinan
4. Trafficking of women for prostitution/Sally Cameron
5. Migrant women and the legal politics of anti-trafficking interventions/Ratna Kapur
6. Trafficking in women: The role of transnational organized crime/Phil Williams

Part II: Regional experiences

7. The fight against trafficking in human beings from the European perspective/Helga Konrad
8. Human trafficking in East and South-East Asia: Searching for structural factors/Maruja M. B. Asis
9. Human trafficking in Latin America in the context of international migration/Gabriela Rodríguez Pizarro
10. Human trafficking in South Asia: A focus on Nepal/Renu Rajbhandari
11. Trafficking in persons in the South Caucasus – Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia: New challenges for transitional democracies/Gulnara Shahinian

Quotes:

Recognize that trafficking is gendered

Gender analysis offers increased possibilities to understand the specifics of why certain women are trafficked into certain regions/industries and develop appropriate (often long-term) responses. As a starting point, women are being trafficked from states offering them limited opportunities outside the hard toil and drudgery of the home, the farm and unregulated markets. “Rescuing” women and sending them home does not affect that, and thus will not alter the principal push factors which make women vulnerable to trafficking. At the same time, there is a failure to understand and acknowledge fully the trafficking of men. While there is some writing about men working in exploitative, indentured or slave-like conditions, much of this has not been contextualized within a trafficking framework. Similarly, there must be greater recognition that children are trafficked. For too long the popular image of trafficking victims – young women coerced into prostitution – has influenced policy responses, but this is only a part of the reality.” (16)

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Migration, Refugees, Economies, Poverty, Gender, Livelihoods, Sexual livelihoods, Sexual Violence, Rape, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, Sexual Slavery, Trafficking, Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking Regions: Americas, Central America, Asia, East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Europe, Balkans, South Caucasus Countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Nepal

Year: 2008

Ethnic Conflict and Forced Displacement: Narratives of Azeri IDP and Refugee Women from the Nagorno-Karabakh War

Citation:

Najafizadeh, Mehrangiz. 2013. “Ethnic Conflict and Forced Displacement: Narratives of Azeri IDP and Refugee Women from the Nagorno-Karabakh War.” Journal of International Women’s Studies 14 (1): 161–83.

Author: Mehrangiz Najafizadeh

Abstract:

The region that now constitutes the Republic of Azerbaijan has witnessed a lengthy history of conflict between Azeris and ethnic Armenians living in Azerbaijan. This longstanding conflict has had severe consequences for Azerbaijan, and Azeri women have been especially affected as hundreds of thousands have been forced from their homes and now live as refugees or as internally displaced persons (IDPs). In this article, I examine Armenian-Azeri ethnic conflict and the plight of Azeri IDP/refugee women both in social historical context and through fieldwork that I have been conducting in Azerbaijan. I first establish the broader sociopolitical context by providing a social historical overview of this ethnic conflict, including the Nagorno- Karabakh War, which began in the late 1980s and which has continued under cease-fire since 1994. I then elaborate the qualitative field research that I have been conducting in Azerbaijan to explore issues related to the forced migration of Azeri women who became displaced as a result of this ethnic conflict. Through compiling narratives and oral histories, I provide Azeri refugee and internally displaced women a "voice" and I capture, through their own thoughts and words, the essence of war and of living in displacement, the essence of the difficult and challenging life experiences that they confront and the ways in which they cope with displacement.

Keywords: Azerbaijan, women, refugees, oral history

Topics: Armed Conflict, Ethnic/Communal Wars, Displacement & Migration, IDPs, Refugees, Ethnicity, Gender, Women Regions: Asia, Central Asia, Europe, South Caucasus Countries: Azerbaijan

Year: 2013

Cultural Responses to Changing Gender Patterns of Migration in Georgia

Citation:

Hofmann, Erin Trouth and Cynthia J. Buckley. 2011. “Cultural Responses to Changing Gender Patterns of Migration in Georgia.” International Migration 50 (5): 77-94.

Authors: Erin Trouth Hofmann, Cynthia J. Buckley

Abstract:

In this paper, we explore how individual women cope with the tensions between economic forces encouraging temporary labour migration and cultural norms tying “proper” women to their homes and families. Combining in-depth interviews with returned migrant women in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi with secondary migration data for the region, we illustrate the recent increases in Georgian women’s participation in international labour migration. Deteriorating economic conditions in Georgia leave women with few local opportunities to financially support their families, while institutional changes have altered the accessibility and attractiveness of international destinations, leading to increasing motivations and opportunities for women’s migration. Focusing on the contradictions between growing female migration and persistent adherence to cultural norms stigmatizing migration in Georgia, we explore the cognitive strategies migrant women employ in an attempt to balance internalized perceptions of acceptable gendered behaviour with their migration choices. Two key pathways of adaptation emerge: framing migration as a necessity rather than a choice and stressing the unique and individually exceptional nature of their own migration experience. We posit that these strategies may serve to limit the norm-challenging nature of women’s migration in Georgia. Although migration is often described as an empowering experience for women, if women migrants work to present their migration in a way that fits within the bounds of traditional gender norms, these norms may be strengthened rather than challenged.

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Migration, Economies, Gender, Women, Livelihoods Regions: Asia, Central Asia, Europe, South Caucasus Countries: Georgia

Year: 2011

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