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The Intersection of Gender and Social Class in Disaster: Balancing Resilience and Vulnerability


Fordham, Maureen. 1999. “The Intersection of Gender and Social Class in Disaster: Balancing Resilience and Vulnerability.” International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters 17 (1): 15–36.

Author: Maureen Fordham


Those who experience disaster are widely regarded as an undifferentiated group, labeled "victims."  In the immediate crisis period, it is difficult for professionals to differentiate, except crudely, between varying levels of need and still carry out urgent duties and responsibilities. However, it soon becomes apparent that some are hit harder than others and that disasters are not the great levelers they are sometimes considered to be. Close examination reveals complex variations within, and not just between, social groups broadly understood as middle- and working- class. This paper examines the intersection of gender and social class in two major flood events and argues for a more nuanced appreciation of these factors, at both the conceptual and the practical level, to be incorporated throughout the disaster process.

Topics: Class, Environment, Environmental Disasters, Gender, Women

Year: 1999

Lost Boys, Invisible Girls: Stories of Sudanese Marriages across Borders


Grabska, Katarzyna. 2010. “Lost Boys, Invisible Girls: Stories of Sudanese Marriages across Borders.” Gender, Place & Culture 17 (4): 479–97. doi:10.1080/0966369X.2010.485839.

Author: Katarzyna Grabska


Forced migration challenges and changes gender relations. The transnational activities of refugees resettled in the West create gender asymmetries among those who stay behind. This article explores the transnational marriages of young southern Sudanese women (‘invisible girls’), who either stayed in Sudan or remained in refugee camps in Kenya, to Sudanese men who were resettled to America, Canada or Australia (‘lost boys’). Incorporating gender as a relational category into the analysis of transnational practices that migrants and refugees engage in is important. The article argues that there is a need to put feminist analysis at the centre of transnational processes resulting from (forced) migration. It looks at the connections between different geographical locations, the impacts of the migration of young refugee men on bridewealth and marriage negotiations and the gender consequences for young women, men and their families. It is argued that transnational activities, such as marriage, contest, reconfigure and reinforce the culturally inscribed gender norms and practices in and across places. Transnational marriage results in ambiguous benefits for women (and men) in accessing greater freedoms. Anthropological analyses of marriage need a geographical focus on the transnational fields in which they occur. The article seeks to deepen understanding of the nuanced gendered consequences of transnationalism. It shows how gender analysis of actions taken across different locations can contribute to the theorisation of transnational studies of refugees and migrants.

Keywords: transnational marriage, transnationalism, refugee displacement, gender, Sudan, migration

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Class, Displacement & Migration, Migration, Refugees, Refugee/IDP Camps, Economies, Gender, Women, Gender Analysis, Households Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Sudan

Year: 2010

Spatial Agendas for Decision-Making in Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh: The Influence of Place, Class and Caste on Women’s Role in Environmental Management


Jewitt, Sarah, and Kathleen Baker. 2011. “Spatial Agendas for Decision-Making in Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh: The Influence of Place, Class and Caste on Women’s Role in Environmental Management.” In Gendered Geographies: Space and Place in South Asia. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Authors: Sarah Jewitt, Kathleen Baker

Topics: Caste, Class, Environment, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Political Participation Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: India

Year: 2011

Globalization and Third World Women: Exploitation, Coping and Resistance


Lindio-McGovern, Ligaya, and Isidor Wallimann, eds. 2009. Globalization and Third World Women: Exploitation, Coping and Resistance. Burlington, VT: Routledge.

Authors: Ligaya Lindio-McGovern, Isidor Wallimann


Adopting the notion of 'third world' as a political as well as a geographical category, this volume analyzes marginalized women's experiences of globalization. It unravels the intersections of race, culture, ethnicity, nationality and class which have shaped the position of these women in the global political economy, their cultural and their national history. In addition to a thematically structured and highly informative investigation, the authors offer an exploration of the policy implications which are commonly neglected in mainstream literature. The result is a must have volume for sociological academics, social policy experts and professionals working within non-governmental organizations.


Topics: Armed Conflict, Class, Democracy / Democratization, Development, Economies, Ethnicity, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Globalization, Political Economies, Post-Conflict, Religion

Year: 2009

Gender and Economics in Muslim Communities: A Critical Feminist and Postcolonial Analysis


Kongar, Ebru, Jennifer C. Olmsted, and Elora Shehabuddin. 2014. “Gender and Economics in Muslim Communities: A Critical Feminist and Postcolonial Analysis.” Feminist Economics 20 (4): 1–32. doi:10.1080/13545701.2014.982141.

Authors: Ebru Kongar, Jennifer C. Olmsted, Elora Shehabuddin


This contribution seeks to delineate the broad contours of a transnational, anti-imperial feminist perspective on gender and economics in Muslim communities by bringing together feminist analyses of Orientalist tropes, development discourses and policies, and macro- and microeconomic trends. The goal is to facilitate conversations among scholars who have tended to work within their respective disciplinary and methodological silos despite shared interests. This approach pays special attention to intersectionality, historicity, and structural constraints by focusing on the diversity of the experiences of women and men by religion, location, citizenship, class, age, ethnicity, race, marital status, and other factors. It recognizes the complex relationships between the economic, political, cultural, and religious spheres and the role of local and transnational histories, economies, and politics in shaping people's lives. Finally, it emphasizes that openness to different methodological approaches can shed clearer light on the question of how various structural factors shape women's economic realities.

Keywords: Islam, economic development, feminist economics, orientalism, neoliberalism

Topics: Age, Class, Economies, Feminist Economics, Ethnicity, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Men, Race, Religion

Year: 2014

Gender, Globalization, and Violence: Postcolonial Conflict Zones


Ponzanesi, Sandra. 2014. Gender, Globalization, and Violence: Postcolonial Conflict Zones. Routledge.


Author: Sandra Ponzanesi


"This wide-ranging collection of essays elaborates on some of the most pressing issues in contemporary postcolonial society in their transition from conflict and contestation to dialogue and resolution. It explores from new angles questions of violent conflict, forced migration, trafficking and deportation, human rights, citizenship, transitional justice and cosmopolitanism. The volume focuses more specifically on the gendering of violence from a postcolonial perspective as it analyses unique cases that disrupt traditional visions of violence by including the history of empire and colony, and its legacies that continue to influence present-day configurations of gender, race, nationality, class and sexuality. Part One maps out the gendered and racialized contours of conflict zones, from war zones, prisons and refugee camps to peacekeeping missions and humanitarian aid, reframing the field and establishing connections between colonial legacies and postcolonial dynamics. Part Two explores how these conflict zones are played out not just outside but also within Europe, demonstrating that multicultural Europe is fraught with different legacies of violence and postcolonial melancholia. Part Three gives an idea of the kind of future that can be offered to post-conflict societies, defined as contact zones, by exploring opportunities for dialogue, restoration and reconciliation that can be envisaged from a gendered and postcolonial perspective through alternative feminist practices and the work of art and their redemptive power in mobilizing social change or increasing national healing processes. Though strongly anchored in postcolonial critique, the chapters draw from a range of traditions and expertise, including conflict studies, gender theory, visual studies, (new) media theory, sociology, race theory, international security studies and religion studies." (From WorldCat)

Topics: Armed Conflict, Citizenship, Class, Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Displacement & Migration, Forced Migration, Refugee/IDP Camps, Gender, Globalization, Humanitarian Assistance, Justice, Transitional Justice, Peacekeeping, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Race, Religion, Sexuality, Trafficking, Violence Regions: Europe

Year: 2014

Sexual Violence in Sierra Leone’s Civil War: ‘Virgination’, Rape, and Marriage


Marks, Zoe. 2014. “Sexual Violence in Sierra Leone’s Civil War: ‘Virgination’, Rape, and Marriage.” African Affairs 113 (450): 67–87. doi:10.1093/afraf/adt070.


Author: Zoe Marks


Rape and sexual violence loom large in the study of civil war in Africa. Sierra Leone has been one of the most prominent cases for establishing rape as a ‘weapon of war,' yet little is known about how sexual violence was understood by commanders or combatants within the Revolutionary United Front (RUF). Mainstream analyses of armed groups and civil war rarely engage with gender dynamics, despite their centrality to war making, power, and violence; and research that does focus on sexual violence tends to overlook the complex internal dynamics of the groups responsible. This article examines the internal gender dynamics of the RUF from the perspective of male and female members in seeking to understand the perpetration of sexual violence. It shows that both formal and informal laws and power structures existed to regulate gender relations and control sexual behaviour within the group. It identifies four categories of women – non-wives, unprotected wives, protected wives, and senior women – and shows that women's interests and experiences of sexual violence were not homogeneous, but were instead shaped by their status within the group. In this way, sexual violence, examined in social context, provides an entry point for understanding how power, protection, and access to resources are brokered in rebellion.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Class, Combatants, Gender-Based Violence, Sexual Violence, Rape, SV against women Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Sierra Leone

Year: 2014

Victims of Time, Warriors for Change: Chilean Women in a Global, Neoliberal Society


Clark, Evelyn A. 2013. Victims of Time, Warriors for Change: Chilean Women in a Global, Neoliberal Society. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Author: Evelyn A. Clark


This book explores how women in the Chilean workforce and social activists describe and understand globalization and neoliberalism and their impact on their nation and the lives of Chilean women. By examining national policies, quantitative measures of development, and how various women in the labor force and political and community organizations perceive and live within the Chilean economy, Clark shows the dynamic relationship between national and international policies and gender inequality and women's empowerment. In addition to historic and contemporary data analysis on Chile's economic commitment to neoliberalism since the 1970s, Clark discusses how women have gained in neoliberal Chile through wage labor and how that has impacted their relationships within the home and within their communities. In addition to working full time, these women were committed to full-time activism to promote equality and provide a backlash against neoliberal economic policies. Overall, therefore, globalization and neoliberalism have had a profound impact on women in Chilean society. On the one hand, opportunities have been opened for many women, but, on the other, limitations and suffering have been imposed on just as many, if not more. An unfortunate consequence of these processes is that class differences among women have been exacerbated. In particular, most women have become Victims of Time. Still, many women remain Warriors for Change whose political and social activism provide hope for a better Chile.
(Cambridge Scholars Publishing)

Topics: Civil Society, Class, Democracy / Democratization, Development, Economies, Economic Inequality, Gender, Women, Globalization, Political Participation, Post-Conflict Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Chile

Year: 2013

Where Women are Leaders: The SEWA Movement in India


Rose, Kalima. 1992. Where Women Are Leaders: The SEWA Movement in India. Zed Books Ltd. 

Author: Kalima Rose


"Where Women are Leaders is a narrative history of the Self-Employed Women's Association (SEWA) the 40,000-strong union of India's poorest women which has increasingly become an inspiration to and living example of a new development model relevant to low-income women worldwide. SEWA's unique organizing tactics focus on the poorest and most vulnerable women in Indian society - those who are self-employed or working in the informal sector and who have been marginalized by mainstream development strategies.
Ela Bhatt, SEWA's founder and inspiration for two decades, and other long-standing members and organizers reveal the process of organizing for social change. Small inputs, SEWA's experience shows, can bring about significant socio-economic changes; and a strategy of combining union organizing with the formation of cooperatives, supported by childcare and health services as well as access to credit through a women's bank, can transform the lives of even the very poorest women.
This work traces SEWA's work from its initial organizing of women around basic wage and credit issues to its subsequence research and lobbying activists on larger development policy questions and its current national and international influence on employment and resource strategy. It integrates accounts of the exploitation, abuse and brutality unorganized women experience at the hands of the 'bosses', traders and the police, with interviews with the women responsible for the creative organizing SEWA has done; and analysis of the models SEWA has developed to serve its members both in Ahmedabad, where it first started, and elsewhere in the country." (Zed Books)

Topics: Class, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Hierarchies, Violence Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: India

Year: 1992

'They Have Embraced a Different Behaviour': Transactional Sex and Family Dynamics in Eastern Congo's Conflict


Maclin, Beth, Jocelyn Kelly, Justin Kabanga, and Michael VanRooyen. 2015. “'They Have Embraced a Different Behaviour’: Transactional Sex and Family Dynamics in Eastern Congo’s Conflict.” Culture, Health & Sexuality 17 (1): 119-31. 

Authors: Beth Maclin, Jocelyn Kelly, Justin Kabang, Michael VanRooyen


The decades-long conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has resulted in major changes to local economies, strained social networks and insecurity. This environment forces many to pursue unconventional and, at times, socially stigmatised avenues for income. This paper explores the ways in which individuals in eastern DRC engage in, and are affected by, the commoditisation of sex within the context of decades of violent conflict. Focus group discussions conducted with men and women in 2009–2010 highlight how the war in the region has placed individuals, particularly women, in dire economic circumstances, while also changing their roles within families. In the face of severe poverty, women and girls may choose to engage in transactional sex in order to support themselves and their families. Discussants detailed how engaging in transactional sex due to an economic imperative has nonetheless damaged women’s relationships with family members between spouses as well as parents and their children through breach of trust and failure to provide. These focus group discussions elucidate how transactional sex is both a symptom of, and a catalyst for, changes within family dynamics in eastern DRC.

Keywords: family dynamics, transactional sex, conflict, DRC

Topics: Civil Society, Class, Economies, Economic Inequality, Poverty, Gender, Women, Households, Livelihoods, Sexual livelihoods, Sexual Violence, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, Sexuality Regions: Africa, Central Africa Countries: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Year: 2014


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