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The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Necro-Populationism of ‘Climate-Smart’ Agriculture


Shaw, Amanda, and Kalpana Wilson. 2020. “The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Necro-Populationism of ‘Climate-Smart’ Agriculture.” Gender, Place & Culture 27 (3): 370–93.

Authors: Amanda Shaw, Kalpana Wilson


Agricultural and reproductive technologies ostensibly represent opposing poles within discourses on population growth: one aims to ‘feed the world,’ while the other seeks to limit the number of mouths there are to feed. There is, however, an urgent need to critically interrogate new discourses linking population size with climate change and promoting agricultural and reproductive technologies as a means to address associated problems. This article analyses the specific discourses produced by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) in relation to these ‘population technologies’ and ‘climate-smart’ agriculture in particular. Drawing on concepts and approaches developed by Black, postcolonial and Marxist feminists including intersectionality, racial capitalism, social reproduction, and reproductive and environmental justice, we explore how within these discourses, the ‘geo-populationism’ of the BMGF’s climatesmart agriculture initiatives, like the ‘demo-populationism’ of its family planning interventions, mobilises neoliberal notions of empowerment, productivity and innovation. Not only do these populationist discourses reinforce neoliberal framings and policies which extend existing regimes of racialised and gendered socio-spatial inequality, but they also underwrite global capital accumulation through new science and technologies. The BMGF’s representations of its climate-smart agriculture initiatives offer the opportunity to understand how threats of climate change are mobilised to reanimate and repackage the Malthusian disequilibrium between human fertility and agricultural productivity. Drawing upon our readings of these discourses, we critically propose the concept of ‘necro-populationism’ to refer to processes that target racialised and gendered populations for dispossession, toxification, slow death and embodied violence, even while direct accountability for the effects of these changes is dispersed. We also identify a need for further research which will not only trace the ways in which the BMGF’s global policies are materialised, spatialised, reproduced and reoriented by multiple actors in local contexts, but will also recognise and affirm the diverse forms through which these ‘necro-populationist’ processes are disavowed and resisted.

Topics: Agriculture, Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Development, Environment, Climate Change, Feminisms, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Intersectionality, Race, Rights, Reproductive Rights

Year: 2020

Gendered Livelihoods and Social Change in Post-Apartheid South Africa


Keahey, Jennifer. 2018. “Gendered Livelihoods and Social Change in Post-Apartheid South Africa.” Gender, Place & Culture 25 (4): 525–46.

Author: Jennifer Keahey


This article employs gendered livelihoods analysis and participatory methods to examine the politics of development among small-scale rooibos tea farmers in a rural coloured area of southwestern South Africa. Differentiating between sources of conflict and cohesion, I discuss how communities navigated resource scarcity, unstable markets, and shifting relations. While patriarchal dynamics informed livelihoods, with males and elders enjoying greater access than females and young adults, women took advantage of relatively fluid female roles to enter into agriculture and commerce. In contrast, rigid male roles and unattainable expectations of manhood isolated men, engendering destructive behaviors among young men in particular. Communities maintained social cohesion through democratic arrangements, and a politics of identification enabled research participants to relate to differential interests. In addition to providing situated and relational insight into the identitarian aspects of rural development, participatory gendered livelihoods analysis offers a critical means for deconstructing power and decolonizing knowledge.

Keywords: development, gender, identity, postcolonial feminism, social change, South Africa

Topics: Agriculture, Development, Gender, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Livelihoods Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: South Africa

Year: 2018

The Exclusionary Politics of Digital Financial Inclusion: Mobile Money, Gendered Walls


Natile, Serena. 2020. The Exclusionary Politics of Digital Financial Inclusion: Mobile Money, Gendered Walls. Abingdon-on-Thames, UK: Routledge.

Author: Serena Natile


Focusing on Kenya’s path-breaking mobile money project M-Pesa, this book examines and critiques the narratives and institutions of digital financial inclusion as a development strategy for gender equality, arguing for a politics of redistribution to guide future digital financial inclusion projects. 

One of the most-discussed digital financial inclusion projects, M-Pesa facilitates the transfer of money and access to formal financial services via the mobile phone infrastructure and has grown at a phenomenal rate since its launch in 2007 to reach about 80 per cent of the Kenyan population. Through a socio-legal enquiry drawing on feminist political economy, law and development scholarship and postcolonial feminist debate, this book unravels the narratives and institutional arrangements that frame M-Pesa’s success while interrogating the relationship between digital financial inclusion and gender equality in development discourse. Natile argues that M-Pesa is premised on and regulated according to a logic of opportunity rather than a politics of redistribution, favouring the expansion of the mobile money market in preference to contributing to substantive gender equality via a redistribution of the revenue and funding deriving from its development.

 This book will be of particular interest to scholars and students in Global Political Economy, Socio-Legal Studies, Gender Studies, Law & Development, Finance and International Relations. (Summary from Routledge)

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Development, Economies, Feminist Economics, Feminisms, Feminist Political Economy, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Kenya

Year: 2020

Gender, Islam and International Frameworks in Yemen


Saeed, Muna. 2019. "Gender, Islam and International Frameworks in Yemen." Al-Raida Journal 43 (1): 83-92.

Author: Muna Saeed


This paper is intended to explore the intersection of Islam and international frameworks that aim to work on gender development projects in the context of contemporary Yemen. It will examine the opportunities and limitations that may arise when choosing to follow faith-based approaches in order to advocate for women’s human rights and ensure the safety and security of Yemeni women. In particular, I will try to investigate how aligning and contextualizing United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) (UNSCR1325) with Islam is advantageous, or necessary for women’s development in the context of Yemen. To support my research question with concrete examples, I will focus on the discourse of child marriage––a persistent practice in Yemen.

Topics: Development, Gender, Women, Religion, Rights, Human Rights, Women's Rights, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS, UNSCR 1325 Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Yemen

Year: 2019

Caught between the Orientalist–Occidentalist Polemic: Gender Mainstreaming as Feminist Transformation or Neocolonial Subversion?


Clisby, Suzanne, and Enderstein, Athena-Maria. 2017. "Caught between the Orientalist-Occidentalist Polemic: Gender Mainstreaming as Feminist Transformation or Neocolonial Subversion?" International Feminist Journal of Politics 19 (2): 231-46.

Authors: Suzanne Clisby, Athena-Maria Enderstein


Here we provide a critical reading of gender mainstreaming as a potential emancipatory force that has been co-opted within orientalist-occidentalist polemics. This remains a critical period in the "mainstreaming" debate, where feminist reappropriation is necessary to repoliticize the concept and reorient development sector focus from tokenistic inclusivity to social transformation. We consider two sides of the debate. In the first scenario, the requirement for gender mainstreaming in international development discourse has not only failed to address its original feminist goals, but has become (or remained) an extension of orientalist, neocolonial projects to control and "civilize" developing economies. Here, a putative concern for gender equality in development is used as a means to distinguish between the modern, civilized One and the colonial, traditional Other. In the second scenario, gender mainstreaming is held up as all that these "othered" occidentalist forces stand against; an exemplar of the inappropriate imposition of "western" moralistic paradigms in non-western contexts. Ultimately, the co-optation of gendered discourses in development through these orientalist-occidentalist polemics serves to obfuscate the continued depoliticization of mainstreaming. A critical question remains: can gender mainstreaming ever transcend this discursive impasse and reassert its feminist transformatory potential?

Keywords: co-optation, feminism, gender mainstreaming, occidentalism, orientalism

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Development, Economies, Feminisms, Gender, Gender Mainstreaming

Year: 2017

Conflict, Religion and Gender Hegemonies – The Implications for Global Citizenship Education: A Response to Islah Jad’s article


Arnot, Madeline. 2011. “Conflict, Religion and Gender Hegemonies – The Implications for Global Citizenship Education: A Response to Islah Jad’s article.” Ethnicities 11 (3): 373-77.

Author: Madeleine Arnot


"Islah Jad’s account of the Palestinian women’s movement has historical specificity as a result of Palestine’s political history as a transitional/provisional state that has experienced devastating interventions by Israel into its allocated territory, and exceptional levels of international attention. Yet Jad’s account of the Palestinian women’s movement also resonates in an uncannily familiar way with other histo-ries of the women’s movements internationally. In Gramscian terms, there are a variety of forms of hegemonic power and different counter-hegemonic strategies that can affect women’s movements. In this account, male hegemony (inflected by social class, ethnicity and sexuality) plays a crucial role in the interfaces between international hegemony over economic development, and religious hegemony. When women are symbolically constructed as the epitome of the nation, there is more at stake in the liberation of women than just gender politics. Gender is the lens through which we can understand the battles over citizenship, national identity and power (c.f. Fennell and Arnot, 2007).
We are at a critical moment in social science particularly in the North, where we are being called upon to rethink our categories, assumptions, interpretations and agendas to let in the realities of different worlds. Challenging the assumptions of ‘methodological nationalism’ (Beck, 2000), southern feminists from Africa and India have argued that the framing of gender theory in northern contexts has often imposed inappropriate gender categorizations, concepts of motherhood and sexual embodiments, whilst neglecting the different communal cultures, family structures and gender identities found in southern cultures (Fennell and Arnot, 2008).
One aspect of this hegemonic gender theory has been the denial of the role of spirituality and religion; indeed, Jad argues that northern forms of the women’s movement are secular (if not atheist!). Within Jad’s article lies a fundamental issue – how can northern gender theorists understand the role of religious conflict between nations and the religious shaping of the women’s movement within national struggles? I think it is fair to say that gender studies has constructed religions as obstacles to the achievement of gender equality not least because of their enforcement or reinforcement of male superiority and power. As a result, it is hard to envisage religion as anything but an impediment to the advancement of female citizenship.
In this response, I highlight three relevant themes: 1. gender and education in transitional states; 2. the universalism and secularization of human rights; and 3.national gender identities, religion and militarization" (Arnot 2011, 373).

Topics: Citizenship, Class, Development, Conflict, Education, Ethnicity, Feminisms, Gender, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarization, Nationalism, Rights, Human Rights, Religion, Sexuality Regions: Asia, Middle East Countries: Palestine / Occupied Palestinian Territories

Year: 2011

Gender Mainstreaming and Water Development Projects: Analyzing Unexpected Enviro-Social Impacts in Bolivia, India, and Lesotho


Cairns, Maryann R., Cassandra L. Workman, and Indrakshi Tandon. 2017. "Gender Mainstreaming and Water Development Projects: Analyzing Unexpected Enviro-Social Impacts in Bolivia, India, and Lesotho." Gender, Place & Culture 24 (3): 325-42.

Authors: Maryann R. Cairns, Cassandra L. Workman, Indrakshi Tandon


Gender mainstreaming policies and programs, meant to be gender-sensitive or to target gender issues, are increasingly implemented by both governmental and non-governmental actors. However, these projects seem set to continually aim solely at women, despite more than a decade of work encouraging broader scope. Using recent case studies from Bolivia, Lesotho, and India, we address the tensions laden in three major questions about water, gender, and development: (1) Is mandatory inclusion of women in water governance and decision-making effective?, (2) Do water development projects provide equal benefits and burdens for women and men?, and (3) In what ways are water projects and their policies impacting and impacted by gendered enviro-social spaces? By providing triangulated data from ethnographic studies in three distinct local contexts, we are able to pinpoint major cross-cutting themes that serve to highlight and interrogate the gendered impacts of water development projects’ policies: public and private lives, women’s labor expectations, and managing participation. We find that gender mainstreaming endeavors continue to fall short in their aim to equitably include women in their programming and that geographic, environmental, and socio-cultural spaces are intimately related to how these equitability issues play out. We provide practical recommendations on how to address these issues.
Las políticas y programas de transversalización de género, diseñadas para ser sensibles al género o con objetivos en temas relacionados con éste, se implementan cada vez más tanto por actores gubernamentales como no gubernamentales. Sin embargo, estos proyectos parecen programados para apuntar únicamente y en forma continua a las mujeres, a pesar de más de una década de trabajo alentando un abordaje más abarcativo. Utilizando estudios de caso recientes de Bolivia, Lesoto e India, analizamos las tensiones generadas en tres cuestiones principales acerca del agua, el género y el desarrollo: 1) ¿Es efectiva la obligatoriedad de la incorporación de las mujeres en la gobernanza y la toma de decisiones sobre el agua?, 2) ¿Los proyectos de desarrollo hídrico brindan los mismos beneficios y cargas a las mujeres que a los hombres?, y 3) ¿De qué maneras los proyectos de agua y sus políticas están impactando en los espacios socioambientales generizados, y de qué manera están siendo impactados por éstos? Ofreciendo datos triangulados de estudios etnográficos en tres contextos locales distintos, pudimos identificar importantes temas transversales que sirven para destacar e interrogar los impactos generizados de las políticas de los proyectos de desarrollo hídrico: las vidas públicas y privadas, las expectativas laborales de las mujeres y la administración de la participación. Encontramos que los esfuerzos en pos de una transversalización del género continúan teniendo sus límites en su intento por incluir de forma equitativa a las mujeres en su programación y que los espacios geográficos, ambientales y socioculturales están íntimamente relacionados con la forma en que se desarrollan estos temas de equidad. Brindamos recomendaciones prácticas sobre cómo abordar estos problemas.

Keywords: women, water supply, equity and inclusion, NGOs, development, Mujeres, provisión de agua, equidad e inclusión, ONG, desarrollo, 女性, 水资源供给, 平等与包容, 非政府组织, 发展

Topics: Development, Environment, Gender, Women, Gender Mainstreaming, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equity, Governance, Infrastructure, Water & Sanitation, Livelihoods, NGOs Regions: Africa, Southern Africa, Americas, South America, Asia, South Asia Countries: Bolivia, India, Lesotho

Year: 2017

The Gender and Security Agenda: Strategies for the 21st Century


Oudraat, Chantal de Jonge, and Michael E. Brown, eds. 2020. The Gender and Security Agenda: Strategies for the 21st Century. London: Routledge.

Authors: Chantal de Jonge Oudraat, Michael E. Brown


This book examines the gender dimensions of a wide array of national and international security challenges.
The volume examines gender dynamics in ten issue areas in both the traditional and human security sub-fields: armed conflict, post-conflict, terrorism, military organizations, movement of people, development, environment, humanitarian emergencies, human rights, governance. The contributions show how gender affects security and how security problems affect gender issues.
Each chapter also examines a common set of key factors across the issue areas: obstacles to progress, drivers of progress and long-term strategies for progress in the 21st century. The volume develops key scholarship on the gender dimensions of security challenges and thereby provides a foundation for improved strategies and policy directions going forward. The lesson to be drawn from this study is clear: if scholars, policymakers and citizens care about these issues, then they need to think about both security and gender.
This will be of much interest to students of gender studies, security studies, human security and International Relations in general. (Summary from Routledge)
Table of Contents:
1. Gender and Security: Framing the Agenda 
Chantal de Jonge Oudraat and Michael E. Brown
2. Gender and Armed Conflict 
Kathleen Kuehnast
3. Gender and Peacebuilding 
Anne Marie Goetz and Rob Jenkins
4. Gender and Terrorism 
Jeannette Gaudry Haynie
5. Gender and Military Organizations 
Ellen Haring 
6. Gender and Population Movements 
Jane Freedman
7. Gender, Development and Security 
Jeni Klugman
8. Gender and Environmental Security 
Edward R. Carr
9. Gender, Humanitarian Emergencies and Security 
Tamara Nair
10. Gender, Human Rights and Security 
Corey Levine and Sari Kouvo
11. Gender, Governance and Security 
Jacqui True and Sara E. Davies
12. Promoting Gender and Security: Obstacles, Drivers and Strategies 
Chantal de Jonge Oudraat and Michael E. Brown


Topics: Armed Conflict, Development, Environment, Gender, Governance, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Peace and Security, Post-Conflict, Peacebuilding, Rights, Human Rights, Terrorism

Year: 2020

Igualdad de género para el desarrollo territorial: experiencias y desafíos para América Latina


Cortínez, Valentina. 2016. “Igualdad de género para el desarrollo territorial: experiencias y desafíos para América Latina.” Serie documentos de Trabajo 180, Programa Inclusión Social y Desarrollo de RIMISP: Centro Latinoamericano para el Desarrollo Rural, Santiago, Chile.

Author: Valentina Cortínez


El análisis de las dinámicas territoriales desde un enfoque de género, muestra que las oportunidades de las mujeres de participar en el desarrollo de sus territorios y beneficiarse de aquello no se distribuye de manera homogénea al interior de los países, pues no solo se relaciona con sus características, sus activos o dotaciones, sino con factores propios del territorio tales como la estructura productiva, las instituciones formales e informales -que norman la participación de las personas en las distintas esferas-, y los agentes presentes.
Con base en la revisión de literatura, se observa que distintos territorios configuran de manera diferente la participación de las mujeres en los componentes de la dinámica territorial (estructura productiva, instituciones formales e informales, agencia de los actores). Ciertas configuraciones territoriales favorecen o restringen dinámicas de inclusión para las mujeres, las que a su vez abren o cierran oportunidades de desarrollo territorial.
En todos los territorios se observan arraigados estereotipos de género en desmedro del trabajo femenino, su reconocimiento y su valor. Incluso el desarrollo de cierto tipo de industrias en los territorios ha profundizado esta tendencia, cristalizando la división del trabajo para hombres y para mujeres.
Por el contrario, en aquellos territorios en proceso de reconversión productiva, se observan más espacios para la participación económica de las mujeres, oportunidades que han sido aprovechadas por ellas, gracias a su capacidad de agencia. Algunas experiencias dan cuenta que cuando las mujeres han tenido acceso a activos, ya sea crédito, tierra, asesorías u otros, promueven una mayor diversificación de las economías locales, movilizando nuevas oportunidades para los territorios y sus habitantes.
Las políticas de desarrollo territorial que han sido exitosas en aminorar las brechas entre hombres y mujeres se caracterizan por ser flexibles y abiertas a la articulación con los actores locales, especialmente con las organizaciones de mujeres. Emergen de un claro interés de la sociedad civil que encuentra en las instituciones la voluntad y los recursos para potenciarlo.
El texto concluye que para lograr un desarrollo territorial dinámico, inclusivo y sostenible, es necesario reconocer y valorar una gama más amplia de actividades productivas y reproductivas en el territorio, así como a quienes las realizan. Así mismo, ampliar el espectro de actores puede abrir espacio para la mayor participación de las mujeres en el desarrollo de los territorios, haciendo factible promover e incentivar su acceso a los canales de influencia y diálogo, como también a los activos que necesitan para contribuir mejor a este tipo de dinámicas territoriales. 


The analysis of territorial dynamics from a gender approach, shows that women’s opportunities to take part in territorial development and benefit from it, are unevenly distributed within the countries. Due to that, inequality of gender is not only related to women’s characteristics, assets or resource endowments, but also with factors in the territories, such as the productive structure, formal and informal institutions, and agents present in the territory. 


Based on literature review, it has been observed that the participation of women in the components of the territorial dynamics (productive structure, formal and informal institutions, and agency) is configured in different ways in the different territories. Some territorial configurations promote or restrict the dynamics of inclusion for women, and also open or close opportunities for territorial development. 


All countries have ingrained gender stereotypes which undermine the value and recognition of women’s labour. Furthermore,, the development of certain types of industries in the territories, has deepened this trend, solidifying the division of labour between men and women. 


By contrast, in territories which are undergoing/in the process of productive restructuring, more space has been observed for the economic participation of women, who have been able to take the benefits attributed to its agency’s capacity. Some reviewed cases highlight that when women have access to assets, whether credit, land, advice or other, they promote greater diversification of local economies, mobilizing new opportunities for the territories and their inhabitants. 


The territorial development policies that have been successful in reducing the gaps between men and women, are characterized by flexibility and openness to articulation with local actors, especially women's organizations. Also, these successful policies emerge from those institutions which have a clear interest in civil society, and the will and resources to promote it. 


The paper concludes that in order to achieve a dynamic, inclusive and sustainable territorial development, it is necessary to recognize and add value to a broader range of productive and reproductive activities in the territory, as well as those who make them. Likewise, broadening the range of actors can open up space for increased participation of women in the development of territories, making it possible to promote and encourage access to channels of influence and dialogue, as well as the assets they need to better contribute to these types of territorial dynamics. 

Keywords: desarrollo territorial, gênero, políticas de inclusión, estereotipos, capacidad de agencia, políticas de género, territorial development, gender, inclusion policies, stereotypes, agency, gender policies

Topics: Civil Society, Development, Economies, Gender, Women, Livelihoods Regions: Americas, Central America, South America

Year: 2016

Discursive Frictions: The Transitional Justice Paradigm, Land Restitution and Gender in Colombia


Meertens, Donny. 2015. “Discursive Frictions: The Transitional Justice Paradigm, Land Restitution and Gender in Colombia.” Papel Politico 20 (2): 353–81.

Author: Donny Meertens


The transition towards a ‘post-peace agreements’ state of affairs in Colombia creates special scenarios in which a universal model of Transitional Justice policy –in our case that of land restitution– meets with the local. We should understand  the ‘local’ not only in a material sense –as land and territory– but also as a perspective that brings into circulation different discourses on peasant society, family, gender, justice and development. The following text analyzes the (dis) encounters between different gender discourses and practices, for the purpose of assessing the transformative capacity of the law for gender justice. In this analysis we use the concept of frictions through which we hope to better understand complex interactions, hidden conflicts, ambiguous outcomes, and also new possibilities for agency.
En la transición hacia un Estado ‘pos-acuerdos de paz’ en Colombia, se crean unos escenarios particulares en los cuales el modelo universal de la justicia transicional, implementado a través de la política pública, en este caso la de la restitución de tierras, se encuentra con diversos elementos de lo local. Esto es entendido no solo en su acepción material de tierra y territorio, sino como una perspectiva desde la cual se conjugan discursos sobre la sociedad campesina, la familia, el género, la justicia y el desarrollo. En el siguiente texto analizamos los (des)encuentros entre los diferentes discursos de género, con miras a la capacidad transformadora de la Ley de Víctimas y Restitución de Tierras, en materia de justicia de género. Para el análisis se emplea el concepto de fricciones, que nos permitirá ver las interacciones complejas, los conflictos ocultos y los resultados ambiguos, pero también las nuevas posibilidades de agencia.

Keywords: justicia transicional, gênero, política pública, restitución de tierras, transitional justice, gender, public policy, land restitution

Topics: Development, Gender, Gendered Discourses, Justice, Transitional Justice, Rights, Land Rights Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2015


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