Gender Balance

Peacebuilding Through a Gender Lens and the Challenges of Implementation in Rwanda and Côte d'Ivoire


Hudson, Heidi. 2009. “Peacebuilding Through a Gender Lens and the Challenges of Implementation in Rwanda and Cote d'Ivoire.” Security Studies 18 (2): 287–318.

Author: Heidi Hudson


With the hypothesis in mind that discrimination against women increases the likelihood that a state will experience internal conflict, this article contends that considering gender is a key part of an effective peacebuilding process. Evidence gathered by studying peacebuilding from a feminist perspective, such as in Rwanda and Cote d’Ivoire, can be used to reconceptualize the peace agenda in more inclusive and responsible ways. Following from this, the article argues that a culturally contextual gender analysis is a key tool, both for feminist theory of peacebuilding and the practice of implementing a gender perspective, in all peace work. Using the tools of African feminisms to study African conflicts, this contribution warns against “adding women” without recognizing their agency, emphasizes the need for an organized women’s movement, and suggests directions for the implementation of international laws concerning women’s empowerment at the local level. The article concludes by suggesting that implementation of these ideas in practice is dependent on the way in which African feminists employ mainstreaming, inclusionary, and transformational strategies within a culturally sensitive context of indigenous peacebuilding processes.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Feminisms, Gender, Gender Analysis, Women, Gender Balance, Gender Mainstreaming, Gendered Power Relations, Genocide, Governance, Indigenous, Peace Processes, Peacebuilding, Post-Conflict Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, West Africa Countries: Côte D'Ivoire, Rwanda

Year: 2009

Women and Weapons: Redressing the Gender Gap: A Danish Response


Nielsen, Jenny. 2014. "Women and Weapons: Redressing the Gender Gap: A Danish Response." Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 70 (5): 17-20.

Author: Jenny Nielsen


In nuclear war, women would suffer at least as much as men. But women tend to be underrepresented in fieldssuch as high-level politics, diplomacy, military affairs, and science and technologythat bear on nuclear policy. Authors from four countriesSalma Malik of Pakistan (2014), Polina Sinovets of Ukraine (2014), Reshmi Kazi of India (2014), and Jenny Nielsen of Denmarkdiscuss how women might gain greater influence on nuclear weapons policy and how their empowerment might affect disarmament and nonproliferation efforts.

Keywords: Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, disarmament, gender, International Atomic Energy Agency, nonproliferation, nuclear weapons, nuclear weapons policy, Rebecca Johnson, Rose Gottemoeller, women

Topics: Gender, Women, Gender Balance, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Weapons /Arms, Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Regions: Europe, Nordic states, Northern Europe Countries: Denmark

Year: 2014

(Re-)Gendering Integration: Unintentional and Unanticipated Gender Outcomes of European Union Policy


MacRae, Heather. 2013. “(Re-)Gendering Integration: Unintentional and Unanticipated Gender Outcomes of European Union Policy.” Women’s Studies International Forum 39 (July): 3–11. 

Author: Heather MacRae


Equality between men and women has been a central tenet of the European Union institutions since their beginnings. However, the gender project has been wrought with difficulties. As this special issue highlights, there are fundamental contradictions in approaches to gender equality both within and among policies which contribute to unintentional gendered outcomes. This introductory article has two aims. First, it is intended as a means of setting up and contextualizing the articles in this special issue. Second, this article seeks to highlight and evaluate existing strategies of gender mainstreaming as well as some of the less well-known tools of gender equality which are available to policy makers. The difficulties with gender mainstreaming suggest that these tools may be incompatible with the overall project of European integration. In particular, it is noted that if the gender project is not adequately entrenched, neo-liberal policies can produce and reproduce new gender inequalities, thus rendering mainstreaming efforts not only ineffective, but even counterproductive. While neither this article nor the special issue as a whole can offer specific conclusions about best practices, we hope that this issue will add to the dialogue on how to best ensure gender equality in the EU.

Topics: Gender, Gender Roles, Gender Analysis, Gender Balance, Gender Mainstreaming, Gendered Power Relations, International Organizations Regions: Europe

Year: 2013

Gender Differences in Self-Reported Evacuation Experiences - Analysis of the City Assisted Evacuation Program During Hurricane Gustav


Jenkins, Pamela, John L. Renne, and John Kiefer. 2009. “Gender Differences in Self-Reported Evacuation Experiences - Analysis of the City Assisted Evacuation Program During Hurricane Gustav.” In Women’s Issues in Transportation - Summary of the 4th International Conference. Vol. 2. Irvine, California: Transportation Research Board.

Authors: Pamela Jenkins, John L. Renne, John Kiefer


The landfall of Hurricane Gustav in 2008 set in motion the New Orleans, Louisiana, City Assisted Evacuation Plan (CAEP), one of the largest publicly assisted evacuations in American history. The gendered response to the Hurricane Gustav evacuation is placed in the aftermath of the evacuations of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Findings from two sets of data, including interviews with Katrina evacuees, suggest that significant gender-based differences exist in evacuation experiences. Women have significantly less access to a reliable vehicle for self-evacuation, making them more dependent on a viable CAEP. Women are also significantly more likely to depend on non family entities such as social service agencies for enrollment in CAEP. Overrepresentation of female heads of households in vulnerable communities makes lack of adequate finances a significant barrier to evacuation. While almost three- quarters of the CAEP participants for Gustav were satisfied with CAEP, women were significantly more likely to report dissatisfaction. 

Topics: Environment, Environmental Disasters, Gender, Gender Roles, Gender Balance, Infrastructure, Transportation Regions: Americas, Caribbean countries Countries: Cuba

Year: 2009

Gender Quotas: A Key to Equality?: A Case Study of Iraq and Afghanistan.


Dahlerup, Drude, and Anja Taarup Nordlund. 2004. Gender Quotas: A Key to Equality? : A Case Study of Iraq and Afghanistan. Stockholm University.

Authors: Drude Dahlerup, Anja Taarup Nordlund

Topics: Gender, Women, Men, Gender Balance, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality Regions: Africa, MENA, Asia, Middle East, South Asia Countries: Afghanistan, Iraq

Year: 2004

New Steering Methods in Regional Policy — Transforming the Alliance of ‘State Feminism'


Hedlund, Gun, and Malin Lindberg. 2012. “New Steering Methods in Regional Policy — Transforming the Alliance of ‘State Feminism.’” Women’s Studies International Forum 35 (3): 166–72. doi:10.1016/j.wsif.2012.03.005.

Authors: Gun Hedlund, Malin Lindberg


In this article, the theory of ‘state feminism’ is applied on the area of regional development policy, supplementing existing research about state–citizen relationships in northern and southern Europe. Based on Swedish data, it is argued that the former alliance between the women's movement and the welfare state has been transformed as a result of new steering methods in regional development policy in a way that is best understood as a paradox. This paradox includes both stronger and weaker relations. The public support to Women Resource Centres (WRCs) in Sweden is used as an example of ‘state feminism’. The ability of the WRCs to affect policy has changed over time, however, due to the adoption of new steering methods based on networks and market-orientation in Swedish regional development policy. The conclusions induce further development of ‘state feminism’ theory, making it more up-to-date with the prevalent interaction between women's movements and European welfare states.

Topics: Gender, Women, Femininity/ies, Gender Balance, Gendered Power Relations, Governance, Political Participation Regions: Europe, Nordic states, Northern Europe Countries: Sweden

Year: 2012

Conceptions of Female Political Representation - Perspectives of Rwandan Female Representatives


Coffé, Hilde. 2012. “Conceptions of Female Political Representation - Perspectives of Rwandan Female Representatives.” Women’s Studies International Forum 35 (4): 286–97. doi:10.1016/j.wsif.2012.05.004.

Author: Hilde Coffé


An increasing amount of research has investigated the number of female representatives in national Parliaments (descriptive representation) and the effect on both policy output (substantive representation) and women's political participation and trust (symbolic representation). Little research exists, however, on how female representatives themselves think about female political representation and no study has empirically investigated their conceptions of female political representation. Using Q methodology, this explorative one case study investigates the conceptions of female political representation held by female representatives in the Rwandan Parliament, which is the most gender-equal Parliament in the world. On the basis of our analysis, three groups of female representatives emerged, each with a unique conception of female political representation: female representatives focusing on (a) symbolic and descriptive representations; (b) symbolic representation and power; and (c) substantive representation. These conceptions matter because they are crucial to our understanding of female representatives' actual behavior.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Ethnic/Communal Wars, Gender, Women, Gender Balance, Gendered Power Relations, Governance, Quotas, Post-Conflict Governance, Political Participation, Post-Conflict Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa Countries: Rwanda

Year: 2012

Migrant Women’s Transnationalism: Family Patterns and Policies: Migrant Women’s Transnationalism


Pajnik, Mojca, and Veronika Bajt. 2012. “Migrant Women’s Transnationalism: Family Patterns and Policies: Migrant Women’s Transnationalism.” International Migration 50 (5): 153–68. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2435.2010.00613.x.

Authors: Mojca Pajnik, Veronika Bajt


Whereas current policies on migration and integration are beginning to recognise family reunion as one of the most legitimate reasons for acceptance by a host society, they in most cases still do not account for the growing trend of feminisation of migration, and even rarely do they address specific migrants’ needs. As currently constituted, the integration bills envision a one-way process that places migrants into a position where they cannot question, but only accept and fulfil the predetermined requirements of integration plans. But who are the women that migrate, what influence do their transnational experiences have on their families, and how do migration policies envision the reality of increasing transnationalism? This paper focuses on biographical interviews with migrant women in Slovenia as a valuable method to question current integration measurements, applied here to explore female migrants’ experiences in transnational family life and social networks. A gender sensitive approach is applied that critically evaluates the specificities of family reunification policies, which define women migrants as dependent family members. We discuss life trajectories of women migrants, focusing the debate on their own experiences in and with family life. This new empirical material is used to theorise gaps in contemporary migration research. Women migrants’ own reflections of transnational family ties show a great variety of experiences and their narratives are a unique window into motivational, political, as well as legal dimensions of migration.

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Migration, Gender, Gender Roles, Gender Analysis, Gender Balance, Gendered Power Relations, Nationalism

Year: 2012

Gender-Specific Migration from Eastern to Western Germany: Where Have All the Young Women Gone?: Gender-Specific Migration from Eastern to Western Germany


Kröhnert, Steffen, and Sebastian Vollmer. 2012. “Gender-Specific Migration from Eastern to Western Germany: Where Have All the Young Women Gone?: Gender-Specific Migration from Eastern to Western Germany.” International Migration 50 (5): 95–112. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2435.2012.00750.x.

Authors: Steffen Kröhnert, Sebastian Vollmer


With the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, open migration from East to West Germany became possible. Between 1989 and 2007, roughly 10 percent of the East’s population at the time of reunification migrated from east to west. The emigrants were predominantly young and female. This selective migration pattern led to a tremendous deficit of females in the 18–29 year old age group in eastern Germany. Overall, the sex ratio in that age group is as low as 89 females per 100 males in the east. In some rural counties, the sex ratio is 80 females per 100 males. We find that excess female emigration at the county level is associated with gender disparities in educational attainment that favour women, a labour market structure that favours men and the lower availability of potential partners with similar levels of education in eastern Germany.

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Migration, Education, Gender, Women, Gender Balance Regions: Europe, Central Europe Countries: Germany

Year: 2012

Can Women Break Through? Women in Municipalities: Lebanon in Comparative Perspective


Sbaity Kassem, Fatima. 2012. “Can Women Break Through? Women in Municipalities: Lebanon in Comparative Perspective.” Women’s Studies International Forum 35 (4): 233–55. doi:10.1016/j.wsif.2012.04.002.

Author: Fatima Sbaity Kassem


Gender inequality is a pervasive global phenomenon, particularly in the political sphere. Previous scholarship sought explanations for the low female representation in countries' development levels, political regimes and/or electoral systems. Some scholars searched for answers within societies' religious and cultural value systems or political culture. These arguments, singularly or combined, can explain the pattern and predict broadly female representation across countries of different income levels and political systems. However, they overlook observed variations in middle-income countries and cannot explain the presence of overachievers and underachievers. They also fail to explain variations within societies of the same religious family, or across political parties within the same country. Previous explanations do not fully account for observed variations in women's political participation, which begs for additional explanation, one that examines the primary institutional vehicles for individual advancement in the political world – political parties – and highlights the factors that determine parties’ support for women's leadership and nomination to public office.

My work on women in politics departs from prior scholarship in that it explains variations in women's leadership and nomination to public office by looking at party-level variation in religiosity across countries and political parties. Parties are the main vehicles for recruiting, selecting, and promoting women. They are gatekeepers for nominating them to public office. However, different parties offer women different opportunities. For instance, most of the five Nordic countries have social democratic parties with high shares of female legislators, indicating the important role they play in advancing women and nominating them to public office. Thus, not only do parties offer a plausible explanation for variations in female representation, but also in providing an answer to why are some parties superior to others in advancing women's political career.

Party variation in religiosity is the missing link in this body of research. I have argued elsewhere that as party religiosity increases, women's leadership falls within parties’ internal decision-making bodies. Party religiosity, as distinct from individual religiosity, is the extent to which religious goals penetrate political platforms. The qualitative and quantitative findings of in-depth research conducted in Lebanon, as a focused single country case-study, are robust and support the theory of party variation in religiosity and women's leadership. Further, in a separate and additional cross-national quantitative study using multiple cases, the theory is found to travel, hence allowing for generalizations and predictions. It is tested on 330 parties across 26 countries in the three continents of Asia, Africa and Europe: 13 Arab countries, seven non-Arab Muslim-majority countries, and five European countries with Christian democratic parties plus Israel, the only Jewish state in the world.1 This permitted studying the influence of three world religions (Islam, Christianity and Judaism) on women's political leadership.

In this article, I take the extra mile and extend the theory of party variation in religiosity from women's leadership within parties’ inner structures to the logical ‘outcome’ of nominating women for public office. I move the research beyond the institutional party-level to the national and local levels of analyses and explore religiosity as the main explanatory variable for female party nominations to parliaments and municipalities. Other party-level characteristics of import to women's nominations include democratic practices and pluralism in membership.  The main research question posed in this paper is whether municipalities – compared to parliaments – constitute a breakthrough for women in politics. Lebanon serves as a useful a case-study with its multiparty system. A single country case-study makes it possible to investigate variations in female nominations within a controlled socio-political environment, while holding constant the potential influence of the political regime and electoral system. Nonetheless, the findings of field research in Lebanon support the focus on party religiosity as an explanatory variable for female nominations. It also reveals quite different dynamics governing female nominations for municipal as opposed to parliamentary elections. These findings point to a potential breakthrough for women seeking a career in politics.

This article is organized in three sections with an introduction, summary and concluding remarks. The introductory part covers the theoretical background motivating the main research question and lays out the variables and hypotheses to be tested. Section A examines patterns of female candidacy for parliaments. Section B focuses on women in municipalities in comparative perspective to parliaments. In Section C, I estimate a regression model for female nominations to parliaments and another one for municipalities. The findings support the theory of party variation in religiosity to explain variations in female nominations for municipalities. However, it is not borne out for parliaments. The concluding remarks highlight the main findings and provide supporting evidence that municipalities may very well constitute a breakthrough for women, if they choose a career in politics. Thus, responding positively to the main research question that this article poses: “Women in municipalities: Can women break through?”

Topics: Gender, Women, Gender Balance, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Governance, Post-Conflict Governance, Political Participation, Religion Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Lebanon

Year: 2012


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