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Economies

Murder in Juárez: Gender, Sexual Violence, and the Global Assembly Line

Citation:

Livingston, Jessica. 2004. "Murder in Juárez: Gender, Sexual Violence, and the Global Assembly Line." Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies 25 (1): 59-76.

Author: Jessica Livingston

Keywords: globalization, sexual violence, war on drugs

Topics: Economies, Gender, Gender-Based Violence, Sexual Violence, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, Trafficking, Drug Trafficking Regions: Americas, North America Countries: Mexico

Year: 2004

Female Drug Smugglers on the U.S.-Mexico Border: Gender, Crime, and Empowerment

Citation:

Campbell, Howard. 2008. "Female Drug Smugglers on the U-S.-Mexico Border: Gender, Crime, and Empowerment." Anthropological Quarterly 81 (1): 233-67.

Author: Howard Campbell

Abstract:

Women's involvement in drug trafficking in recent years has expanded dramatically. Yet there are few studies of female drug smugglers, the causes of female involvement in smuggling, and the impact of smuggling on women's lives specifically. In this article, I provide in-depth ethnographic interviews and observations of a broad spectrum of female drug smugglers on the U.S. Mexico border. Moving beyond stereotypes, I examine how drug trafficking affects women's relationships with men and their position in society. Economic and cultural factors strongly shape women's involvement in drug smuggling and the effects of smuggling on their lives, but these factors and effects vary significantly, depending on women's social class position and place within drug organizations. High-level female drug smugglers may be attracted to the power and mystique of drug trafficking and may achieve a relative independence from male dominance. Middle-level women in smuggling organizations obtain less freedom vis-á-vis men but may manipulate gender stereotypes to their advantage in the smuggling world. Low-level mules also perform (or subvert) traditional gender roles as a smuggling strategy, but receive less economic benefit and less power, though in some cases some independence from male domestic control. A fourth category of women do not smuggle drugs but are negatively impacted by the male smugglers with whom they are associated. I argue that drug smuggling frequently leads to female victimization, especially at the lowest and middle levels of drug trafficking organizations. However, it is also, in the case of high-level and some low-level and middle-level smugglers, a vehicle for female empowerment.

Keywords: war on drugs, patriarchy, shadow economies

Topics: Economies, Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Trafficking, Drug Trafficking Regions: Americas, North America Countries: Mexico, United States of America

Year: 2008

Refugee and Internally Displaced Women: A Development Perspective

Citation:

Cohen, Roberta. 1995. Refugee and Internally Displaced Women: A Development Perspective. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution.

Author: Roberta Cohen

Abstract:

This paper examines the actual experience of refugee and displaced women in light of the need for their greater integration into development-oriented programs for refugees, displaced persons and returnees. It looks at women’s access to basic services, their role in planning and delivering emergency assistance, their opportunities for economic self-reliance, and their role in reconstructing their home countries after they repatriate. It identifies the obstacles impeding their full integration into economic and social programs and recommends steps to overcome these barriers. It recommends the greater involvement of development agencies and multilateral development banks in programs for refugees and displaced persons, and in particular in efforts to make refugee and displaced women self-sustaining.

Keywords: female refugees, humanitarian aid, reconstruction, resettlement

Annotation:

Quotes:

“Providing development-based assistance to internally displaced persons caught up in conflict situations is an even more difficult challenge...much more could be done to assist the internally displaced to become self-reliant...UNIFEM has developed several low-budget projects for war-torn countries that include the provision of seeds and tools and income-earning activities for refugee and displaced women.” (5)

“The ability of refugee and displaced women to sustain themselves in [reintegration] largely depends on the extent to which they are included in reconstruction and development programs and have been trained sufficiently to participate in them; and whether sufficient international relief and development assistance is made available.” (27)

Topics: Development, Displacement & Migration, IDPs, Refugees, Economies, Gender, Women, Humanitarian Assistance, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction

Year: 1995

Southeast Asian Refugee Women and Depression: A Nursing Intervention

Citation:

Fox, P.G., J.M. Cowell, A.C. Montgomery, and M.A. Willgerodt. 1998. "Southeast Asian Refugee Women and Depression: A Nursing Intervention." The International Journal of Psychiatric Nursing Research 4 (1): 423-32.

Authors: P.G. Fox, J.M. Cowell, A.C. Montgomery, M.A. Willgerodt

Abstract:

Globally, conflicts continue to result in large numbers of refugees and displaced persons, the majority are women. At present, there is scant literature on the mental health status of refugee women following resettlement in countries that grant asylum. We do know that adaptation following migration is a complex cultural, psychological and social process. Some studies have suggested a high prevalence of depression symptoms related to premigration and post-migration experiences. The purpose of this paper will be to describe the mental health status of Southeast Asian (S.E.A.) refugee women in the United States, before home visit interventions by school nurses and bilingual teachers, and at 10, 20 and 33 weeks following the intervention. A comparison group of S.E.A. refugee women, who did not receive the intervention, were evaluated for mental health status on two occasions ten weeks apart. The identified needs and problems identified by the women, the interventions implemented by the school nurses and the success of the interventions will also be discussed. The underlying problem for the majority of women was poverty and social isolation. The study demonstrates that indeed, refugee women in the U.S., are experiencing needs and problems related to basic survival issues in multiple areas of their lives. The findings suggest that home visit interventions by nurses may be a valuable means of reducing depression in S.E.A. refugee women.

Keywords: female refugees, depression, mental health, counseling

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Refugees, Economies, Poverty, Gender, Women, Health, Mental Health Regions: Americas, North America, Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: United States of America

Year: 1998

The Impact of Male Labor Migration on Women in Botswana

Citation:

Brown, Barbara. 1983. "The Impact of Male Labor Migration on Women in Botswana." African Affairs 82 (328): 367-88.

Author: Barbara Brown

Abstract:

In recent years scholars have become increasingly concerned with the role women  play in society. Researchers  studying women in the Third World have focused particularly on the impact of  development on the social and economic role of women. However, there continue to be large gaps in our understanding of women in the development process. One such gap is the impact of labor migration on women. Labor migration is a common phenomenon today both within the Third World and between it and the industrialized countries. Yet, while numerous scholars have analyzed who migrates and  what causes the migration, there has been little in-depth study of the effect  of this migration on women. Most of the existing literature assumes that migration is a rational response to a  given range of resources and choices and that, as such, the family as a unit, including the women members, benefits from such migration. This view, however,  oversimplifies the situation.  The evidence shows that high male outmigration has led to a modification in the structure of family life and has transformed women's social and economic position to their detriment.

Keywords: labor migration, gender transformation

Annotation:

  • In her article, Brown examines that ways in which male outmigration from Botswana alters gender relations. She argues that as men migrate out of the country, development slows, and the decrease in human capital leaves women with the burden of agricultural reproduction at very little pay. Brown notes that gender is disregarded by many researchers in the field, and she focuses her study on the extent to which gender plays into the process of capital accumulation in Botswana. She concludes that migrancy entails changes in family roles that are detrimental to women.

  • Brown uses South Africa to briefly illustrate the effect that migration has historically had on the country’s economic system, explaining how rural dwellers were forced into wage labor in order to increase human capital. She proceeds to draw a parallel between this and the situation in Botswana, as the economy in Botswana has shifted from subsistence to commercial agriculture as a result of labor migration. In her study, she focuses on the impact of migration on women, specifically. She argues that as a result of male outmigration, women have become more isolated in their marriage and family positions and their social and economic situation has also changed for the worse. 

  • Because of the high levels of outmigration in Botswana, Brown argues, marriage is now delayed until a later age, which means that women oftentimes bear children before marriage and act as single parents. These single mothers face a variety of financial issues, including the fact that they are oftentimes denied child support. This forces women to turn to their immediate family for economic assistance; however, as individualism becomes more highly valued in society, family support becomes less reliable. Research shows that “households headed by single mothers are significantly poorer than male-headed households” (376), largely because women have fewer resources for farming (i.e. access to cattle) than men do. Brown also considers the effect of female outmigration on gender roles. Many unmarried mothers will leave their children with their own parents and search for work elsewhere, allowing her to earn more money.

  • In her conclusion, Brown writes that most of the new economic opportunities in Botswana go to men rather than women, making women dependent on men financially. As Botswana transitioned to a capitalist economy, the society became dependent on migrant labor. This increase in migration changed family ties and economic relationships, even leader to a “feminization of poverty” (387), as women are less easily able to access the resources needed to prosper economically.

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Migration, Economies, Poverty, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Households, Livelihoods Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Botswana

Year: 1983

Reconstructing Gender: Iraqi Women Between Dictatorship, War, Sanctions and Occupation

Citation:

Al-Ali, Nadje. 2005. "Reconstructing Gender: Iraqi Women Between Dictatorship, War, Sanctions and Occupation." Third World Quarterly 26 (4-5): 739-58.

Author: Nadje Al-Ali

Abstract:

This article explores the role of Iraqi women in reconstruction processes by contextualizing the current situation with respect to changing gender ideologies and relations over the past three decades. Before discussing the Iraqi case specifically, I provide a brief theoretical background about the significance of gender in reconstruction as well as nation-building processes. A historical background aims to shed light on the changing gender ideologies and relations during the regime of Saddam Hussein. The article focuses particularly on the impacts of the early developmental-modernist discourses of the state and the impacts of war (Iran-Iraq war 1980-88, Gulf wars 1991, 2003) as well as on the comprehensive economic sanctions regime (1990-2003). The latter involved wider social changes affecting women and gender relations but also society at large because of the impoverishment of the well educated middle- class, wide-scale unemployment, an economic crisis and a shift towards more conservative values and morals. It is against this historical background that contemporary developments related to ongoing conflict, occupation and political transition affect women and gender relations.

Keywords: post-conflict reconstruction, S1325, women's political participation, governance, nation-building, reconstruction, economics, political transition

Annotation:

Al-Ali begins by calling attention to the struggles that Iraqi women have faced in spite of the country’s recent process of democratization. While UN Resolution 1325 calls for the incorporation of gender concerns into the reconstruction process, foreign occupation and the unstable interim government (as of 2005, when this article was written) have prevented the internalization of gender-conscious values among the Iraqi populace. In her article, Al-Ali first explores the significant of gender in the reconstruction process and then turns to post-war Iraq as a case study.

In her section on gender and post-conflict periods, Al-Ali explains that post-war situations often elicit violence against women. In post-war Iraq, for example, the levels of violence (particularly against women) were actually greater following the period of militarized conflict. When violence is no longer institutionalized, women lack the political space to challenge gender relations that they had during wartime; thus, the safety and well-being of women is often ignored in the post-conflict period. Al-Ali proceeds to explain how women have been excluded from post-conflict reconstruction processes. While women strive to make their voices heard through engagement with NGOs, these organizations are often discounted by male-dominated society. SCR 1325 is also ignored in many Muslim societies, as it is viewed as an imposition of Western culture and values, especially in US-occupied Iraq.

Al-Ali provides a historical context through which to analyze the situation of Iraqi women before the 1990s. She explains that early Baathist policies in the 1970s fostered women’s rights as part of the regime’s effort for national indoctrination, and as men went off to fight during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War, women took over their positions in the workforce. The economic sanctions imposed on Iraqi society in the 1990s, however, adversely affected women, as it led to a breakdown of the welfare state and pushed women back into their traditional roles as mothers and housewives.

The war has had a drastic impact on gender roles within the household in ways that are detrimental to women. The economic and political issues that have resulted from the war have strained relationships between husbands and wives, leading to increased divorce rates and levels of domestic abuse against women. Due to the high fatality levels among male soldiers, women left without husbands have been forced to run female-headed households, which has presented women with degrees of responsibility with which they often cannot cope.

The increased levels of religiosity in post-war Iraq have also contributed to a culture that puts social limitations on women. Girls have become increasingly worried about their reputation, and the number of honor killings has increased since the start of the war. Additionally, economic hardships have forced women into prostitution, which has led to greater incentives to impose conservative regulations on women’s behavior.

In regard to women’s political participation in the post-war period, Al-Ali explains that the number of women’s organizations has been increasing since 2003, and women have become mobilized around the issues of replacing the personal status law with a more conservative law, as well as the issue of drafting a quota for women’s representation in political office. Recently, however, women’s organizations have been hindered by the country’s severe security situation, which has prevented women from leaving their houses and running for elections in 2005. Gender-specific threats and violence have posed a particular barrier to gender equality in Iraq, according to Human Rights Watch.

Ultimately, Al-Ali presents a bleak picture of the ways in which war, sanctions, and occupation have negatively impacted Iraqi women. Her vision of the future is no less pessimistic; she doubts whether the women’s political representation quota of 25% will be fulfilled, and she points to the worsening humanitarian situation for women in particular. In order to improve the situation for Iraqi women, she advocates  the mainstreaming of gender into all aspects of post-conflict reconstruction, which would involve the incorporation of women into government as well as economic and judiciary processes. Because she attributes the failure of gender equality largely to its association with Western values, she writes that rather than encourage a feminist approach to reconstruction, emphases should be placed on education and other areas that would necessarily improve the status of women.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Economies, Poverty, Education, Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equity, Governance, Post-conflict Governance, Households, Justice, Transitional Justice, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Political Participation, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Religion, Rights, Women's Rights Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Iraq

Year: 2005

Rebuilding Social Capital in Post-Conflict Regions: Women's Village Banking in Ayucucho, Peru and in Highland Guatemala

Citation:

Bebbington, Denise Humphreys, and Arelis Gómez. 2006. "Rebuilding Social Capital in Post-Conflict Regions: Women's Village Banking in Ayucucho, Peru and in Highland Guatemala." In Microfinance: Perils and Propsects, edited by Jude L. Fernando, 112-132. London: Routledge.

Authors: Denis Humphreys Bebbington, Arelis Gómez

Abstract:

In this chapter we will use examples from two village banking programs, in post-conflict Ayacucho, Peru (with FINCA Peru) and in Highland Guatemala (with the NGO FAFIDESS), to illustrate how the provision of financial services contributed to the rebuilding of such social capital. The experiences of group managed lending schemes, such as the village banks promoted by FINCA International, and traditional rotating savings and credit associations known as ROSCAs, suggest that there is indeed an important relationship between the social dynamic of the group and favorable financial outcomes. Our findings indicate that the more members trust each other, the better able they are to engage in mutual risk-taking and reap the benefits.

Keywords: reconstruction

Annotation:

“The [Foundation for Community Assistance] methodology, based upon principles of self-help and self-management, primarily targets poor women in urban and semi-urban settings...participants are self-selected and may often be friends, neighbors, or relatives and programs often have selection criteria which might include: preference for mothers with children, permanent residence in the community, reputation for honesty, and hard work.” (Bebbington, 114)

“By virtue of their social isolation, poor women are difficult clients to recruit...Situations of conflict pose special problems, particularly when the result is a larger number of war widows...Encouraging members to articulate their personal hardships and dreams is at the center of FINCA’s social empowerment strategy for women...Beyond the emotional appeal of this approach, it helps isolated women extend their social networks with important impacts.” (Bebbington, 119)

“NGOs that are both knowledgeable of the region and sensitive to their clients’ needs will be better able to look for synergism that will enhance benefits to their clients. They will understand the dimensions of the client’s poverty and vulnerability.” (Bebbington, 119)

“However this newly discovered economic power has shifted roles within families often resulting in increased conflict within the family, particularly with spouses, but also with children and other family members.” (Bebbington, 125)

Topics: Class, Development, Economies, Gender, Women, NGOs, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction Regions: Americas, Central America, South America Countries: Guatemala, Peru

Year: 2006

Post-Conflict Mozambique: Women's Special Situation, Population Issues and Gender Perspectives: to be Integrated into Skills Training and Employment

Citation:

Baden, Sally. 1997. Post-Conflict Mozambique: Women's Special Situation, Population Issues and Gender Perspectives: to be Integrated into Skills Training and Employment. Geneva: International Labor Organization.

Author: Sally Baden

Topics: Economies, Gender, Women, Livelihoods, Militarized livelihoods, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Mozambique

Year: 1997

Women, War and Peace: The War We Are Living

New Directions

"New Directions is award-winning documentarian Joanne Burke's series about women's empowerment in developing countries.

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