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Constitutions

Religious Revivalism, Human Rights Activism and the Struggle for Women's Rights in Nigeria

Citation:

Abdullah, Hussaina J. 2000. "Religious Revivalism, Human Rights Activism and the Struggle for Women's Rights in Nigeria." In Beyond Rights Talk and Culture Talk: Comparative Essays on Political Rights and Culture, edited by Mahmood Mamdani, 96-120. Cape Town: David Philip Publishers.

Author: Hussaina J. Abdullah

Annotation:

Summary:
“Within the context of economic crisis, structural adjustment and political authoritarianism which have characterized Nigeria since the 1980s there has been a growth of human rights and civil liberties activism, together with a process of religious revivalism and a rising and institutionalized "State" feminism. From their different positions, the various associations have either shown total disregard for women's rights issues or proved incapable of dealing with them. The struggles of activist women's organizations, such as Women in Nigeria (WIN), which emerged in 1983, have involved the articulation of strategies for responding to the de-politicizing thrust and consequences of "State" feminism/"femocracy", whilst simultaneously attempting to tap potentially positive elements from the process for the benefit of Nigerian women. At another level, they have entailed the broadening of the campaign for women's rights with regard to issues of legal and constitutional reform. International networking has also been employed to advance the interests of Nigerian women, especially as they pertain to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Furthermore, there has been an attempt by some women's groups, such as the Federation of Muslim Women's Associations in Nigeria (FOMWAN), to use the idiom of religion and contestations over doctrinal interpretation to press the case for reforms. However, the struggles of Nigerian women for change still have to contend with resilient patriarchal structures, which aspects of religious revivalism have tended to reinforce and which the explosion of human rights activism has, so far, been insufficient to challenge significantly” (Abdullah 2000, 162-3).

Topics: Economies, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Governance, Constitutions, Religion, Rights, Human Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Nigeria

Year: 2000

Sex and World Peace

Citation:

Hudson, Valerie M., Bonnie Ballif-Spanvill, Mary Caprioli, and Chad F. Emmett. 2012. Sex and World Peace. New York: Columbia University Press.

Authors: Valerie M. Hudson, Bonnie Ballif-Spanvill, Mary Caprioli, Chad F. Emmett

Annotation:

Summary:
Sex and World Peace unsettles a variety of assumptions in political and security discourse, demonstrating that the security of women is a vital factor in the security of the state and its incidence of conflict and war. The authors compare micro-level gender violence and macro-level state peacefulness in global settings, supporting their findings with detailed analyses and color maps. Harnessing an immense amount of data, they call attention to discrepancies between national laws protecting women and the enforcement of those laws, and they note the adverse effects on state security of abnormal sex ratios favoring males, the practice of polygamy, and inequitable realities in family law, among other gendered aggressions. The authors find that the treatment of women informs human interaction at all levels of society. Their research challenges conventional definitions of security and democracy and shows that the treatment of gender, played out on the world stage, informs the true clash of civilizations. In terms of resolving these injustices, the authors examine top-down and bottom-up approaches to healing wounds of violence against women, as well as ways to rectify inequalities in family law and the lack of parity in decision-making councils. Emphasizing the importance of an R2PW, or state responsibility to protect women, they mount a solid campaign against women's systemic insecurity, which effectively unravels the security of all. (Summary from Columbia University Press)
 
Table of Contents
1. Roots of National and International Interests
2. What Is There to See
3. When We Do See the Global Picture
4. The Heart of the Matter: The Security of Women and the Security of States
5. Wings of National and International Relations
6. Wings of National and International Relations 
7. Taking Wing 

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Conflict Prevention, Domestic Violence, Gender, Gendered Discourses, Gender Balance, Gender-Based Violence, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, peace and security, Governance, Constitutions, Quotas, Political Participation, Rights, Reproductive Rights, Women's Rights, Sexual Violence, Violence, Weapons /Arms

Year: 2012

Religious Power, the State, Women's Rights, and Family Law

Citation:

Htun, Mala, and S. Laurel Weldon. 2015. “Religious Power, the State, Women’s Rights, and Family Law.” Politics & Gender 11 (03): 451–77. doi:10.1017/S1743923X15000239.

Authors: Mala Htun, S. Laurel Weldon

Abstract:

Family law is an essential dimension of women's citizenship in the modern state. The rights established in family law shape women's agency and autonomy; they also regulate access to basic resources—such as land, income, and education—that determine a citizen's ability to earn a living independently, among other life chances (Agarwal 1994; Deere and León 2001; Kabeer 1994; Okin 1989; World Bank 2012). Yet family law is a notorious site of sex inequality, historically and in the present. Equal rights enjoyed by women in national constitutions are often contradicted by family and civil codes that subordinate women to the decisions of their husbands and fathers. In the early 21st century, family law in a significant number of countries discriminated against women, denying them the rights held by men and contributing to their disadvantaged social positions.

Topics: Citizenship, Women, Gender Equality/Inequality, Constitutions, Religion, Women's Rights

Year: 2015

Women as a Sign of the New? Appointments to South Africa's Constitutional Court since 1994

Citation:

Johnson, Rachel E. 2014. “Women as a Sign of the New? Appointments to South Africa’s Constitutional Court since 1994.” Politics & Gender 10 (04): 595–621. doi:10.1017/S1743923X14000439.

Author: Rachel E. Johnson

Abstract:

The aim of the article is to develop our understanding of the role bodies play in processes of institutional change. It does so through developing an approach to the politics of institutional newness that highlights the way in which raced and gendered bodies can become entangled with claims to, or judgements of, “being new.” These questions are explored through South Africa's Constitutional Court, newly established as part of South Africa's transition to democracy in the 1990s and at the center of the broader claims being made about the creation of a new democratic, nonracial, and non-sexist South Africa. Focusing on judicial appointments to the Constitutional Court since 1994, the article draws attention to the ways in which historically excluded bodies, women and black men, have been included into this new space within the judiciary. It is argued that exploring the ways in which institutions lay claim to “being new” through the bodies of historically excluded groups is important for our understanding of the dynamics of institutional change being constituted.

Topics: Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Constitutions, Elections, Post-conflict Governance, Political Participation Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: South Africa

Year: 2014

Where do Women Stand? New Evidence on the Presence and Absence of Gender Equality in the World's Constitutions

Citation:

Cassola, Adèle, Amy Raub, Danielle Foley, and Jody Heymann. 2014. “Where Do Women Stand? New Evidence on the Presence and Absence of Gender Equality in the World’s Constitutions.” Politics & Gender 10 (02): 200–235. doi:10.1017/S1743923X1400004X.

Authors: Adèle Cassola, Amy Raub, Danielle Foley, Jody Heymann

Abstract:

In countries around the world, constitutional protections of women's rights have provided a legal foundation to combat discriminatory laws, customs, and actions and a catalyst for advances in gender equality. This article draws on newly available data from 191 countries to analyze women's constitutional rights across the spheres of general equality and nondiscrimination, political participation, social and economic rights, family life, and customary and religious law. We examined how gender-specific and universal protections differed according to a constitution's year of adoption and last amendment, and identified regional patterns that persisted across all decades. Women were explicitly guaranteed general equality or nondiscrimination in 81% of constitutions, some aspect of political equality in 32%, marital equality in 27%, some aspect of work equality in 26%, and equal educational rights in 9% of constitutions. Protection of women's rights increased substantially between 1980 and 2011. As of June 2011, however, no constitution in the Middle East and North Africa guaranteed gender-specific protection in education, work, or marriage, and there were no guarantees of marital equality in South Asian constitutions. Of the constitutions that protected some aspect of gender equality, 5% stated that customary or religious laws could prevail over constitutional provisions.

Topics: Gender Equality/Inequality, Constitutions, Post-conflict Governance, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, North Africa, Asia, Middle East, South Asia

Year: 2014

Women's Movements and Constitution Making after Civil Unrest and Conflict in Africa: The Cases of Kenya and Somalia

Citation:

Tripp, Aili Mari. 2016. “Women’s Movements and Constitution Making after Civil Unrest and Conflict in Africa: The Cases of Kenya and Somalia.” Politics & Gender 12 (01): 78–106. doi:10.1017/S1743923X16000015.

Author: Aili Mari Tripp

Abstract:

As numerous conflicts have come to an end in Africa over the past two decades, women's movements have sought to advance a women's rights agenda through peace accords; through constitutional, legislative, and electoral reforms; as well as through the introduction of gender quotas. This article focuses the impact women's movements have had in shaping constitutions after periods of turmoil, particularly in areas of equality, customary law, antidiscrimination, violence against women, quotas, and citizenship rights. It demonstrates how countries that have come out of major civil conflict and violent upheaval in Africa after the mid-1990s—but especially after 2000—have made more constitutional changes with respect to women's rights than other African countries. The second part of the article provides two examples of how women's movements influenced constitutional changes pertaining to gender equality as well as the difficulties they encountered, particularly with respect to the international community.

Topics: Civil Society, Women, Gender Equality/Inequality, Constitutions, Quotas, Post-conflict Governance, Post-Conflict, Women's Rights, Violence Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Kenya, Somalia

Year: 2016

Feminist Legal Method and the Study of Institutions

Citation:

O’Rourke, Catherine. 2014. “Feminist Legal Method and the Study of Institutions.” Politics & Gender 10 (04): 691–97. doi:10.1017/S1743923X14000506.

Author: Catherine O'Rourke

Abstract:

Consistent with feminist scholarship more broadly, feminist legal methodology is more clearly unified by a common objective—revealing and challenging the role of law in exacerbating women's inequality—than specific methods per se. Nevertheless, common methods and approaches to the feminist legal study of institutions can be discerned. This brief intervention will focus on describing these common methods and approaches, explaining how they differ from feminist political science, and conclude with some reflections on how feminist legal studies might enrich feminist political science study of institutions in order to inform strategies for change.

Topics: Feminisms, Gender Analysis, Constitutions, International Law, International Human Rights, Justice, Post-Conflict

Year: 2014

Legislating Gender-Based Violence in Post-Conflict Africa

Citation:

Tripp, Aili Mari. 2010. “Legislating Gender-Based Violence in Post-Conflict Africa.” Journal of Peacebuilding & Development 5 (3): 7–20. doi:10.1080/15423166.2010.981435347428.

Author: Aili Mari Tripp

Abstract:

Much of the literature on post-conflict Africa has focused either on the backlash against women's rights or referred very generally to new openings for gender-related policy in particular countries. A closer look at developments across the continent shows that the steady demise of a significant number of major conflicts in Africa since the mid-1980s and especially after 2000 has been accompanied by a new focus on women's representation and woman-friendly legislation and policy. This article focuses on the adoption of gender-based violence legislation, which has not to date been examined cross-nationally. It argues that post-conflict countries have adopted legislation pertaining to gender-based violence at significantly higher rates than in other countries. The article shows how this is related to the legacy of conflict. The pressures to address GBV have come from 1) women's movements, 2) changing international norms and practices reflected in programmatic shifts within international bodies like the United Nations and among foreign donors, and 3) changing opportunity structures such as the holding of peace talks or rewriting of constitutions, which allowed women to push their agenda.

Topics: Civil Society, Gender, Women, Gender-Based Violence, Governance, Constitutions, International Organizations, Justice, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Human Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa

Year: 2010

The End of Queer (as We Knew It): Globalization and the Making of a Gay-Friendly South Africa

Citation:

Oswin, Natalie. 2007. “The End of Queer (as We Knew It): Globalization and the Making of a Gay-Friendly South Africa.” Gender, Place & Culture 14 (1): 93–110. doi:10.1080/09663690601122358.

Author: Natalie Oswin

Abstract:

In J. K. Gibson-Graham's The End of Capitalism (as we knew it), the authors (Julie Graham and Katherine Gibson) provocatively deploy queer theory to further their project of telling non-capitalist stories of globalization. In short, they reject the narrative that globalization is always and only penetrative in the hope that global capital will ‘lose its erection’ and ‘other openings’ in the body of capitalism can be considered. I adopt their strategy of looking at stories of globalization. But, while they are concerned with the homophobia of economic theorizing, I consider the gay-friendly discourse of post-apartheid South Africa. Recent expressions of official tolerance by various nation-states around the globe have been dismissed as the mere appropriation of difference by hegemonic forces. Against such interpretations, I look at the ways in which the inclusion of ‘sexual orientation’ in post-apartheid South Africa's constitutional Equality Clause can instead be read as a queer globalization. Based on this reading, I problematize the presumption that queer globalizations take place beyond the realm of the hegemonic and point to the need for queer theorists to think through the political ramifications of homosexuality's repositioning as saviour rather than scapegoat of certain nation-states.

Keywords: globalization, queer theory, South Africa, post-apartheid, homosexuality

Topics: Civil Society, Democracy / Democratization, Gender, Women, Gendered Discourses, Globalization, Governance, Constitutions, LGBTQ, Post-Conflict, Sexuality Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: South Africa

Year: 2007

Women’s Political Participation and Economic Empowerment in Post-Conflict Countries

Citation:

Sow, Ndeye. 2012. ‘Women’s Political Participation and Economic Empowerment in Post-Conflict Countries: Lessons from the Great Lakes Region in Africa’. London: International Alert. http://www.international-alert.org/resources/publications/womens-political-participation-and-economic-empowerment-post-conflict.

Author: Ndeye Sow

Topics: Gender, Women, Masculinity/ies, Gender Analysis, Gender Budgeting, Gender Mainstreaming, Governance, Constitutions, Quotas, Elections, Post-conflict Governance, Peace Processes, Political Economies, Political Participation, Post-Conflict Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa Countries: Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Uganda

Year: 2012

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