Gender Balance

War, Resisting the West and Women's Labor: Toward an Understanding of Arab Exceptionalism


Angrist, Michele. 2012. “War, Resisting the West, and Women’s Labor: Toward an Understanding of Arab Exceptionalism.” Politics & Gender 8 (01): 51–82. doi:10.1017/S1743923X12000074.

Author: Michele Angrist


Countries with Muslim-majority populations often are viewed as places where women are particularly oppressed. To a degree, this perception reflects reality. Fish (2002) demonstrates that, relative to Catholic countries, Muslim countries are associated with larger male–female literacy gaps, higher male–female population sex ratios (which can reflect poorer treatment of females), and lower scores on the United Nations Development Program's (UNDP's) Gender Empowerment Measure, which focuses on political participation, economic influence, and income. Looking at the developing world, Cherif (2010) finds that Muslim countries are associated with inheritance and nationality laws that are discriminatory toward women. Some suggest that Islam itself is responsible for limitations on women's economic, political, and social freedoms. Whether referring to the substance of Islamic (shari'a) law, which treats men and women differently, or to the ways in which politicians defer to conservative interpretations of shari'a law in order to build and/or consolidate their legitimacy, or to contemporary regimes' need to appease (or at least not inflame) important Islamist constituencies who favor a subordinate role for women, many accounts of gender inequality in Muslim countries assert that “prevailing interpretations of Islamic law . . . and the attitudes it informs” are a key culprit (Cherif 2010, 1145).

Topics: Armed Conflict, Economies, Economic Inequality, Gender, Women, Gender Balance, Political Participation, Religion Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, West Africa, Asia, Central Asia, Middle East, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Europe, Baltic states, Balkans, South Caucasus

Year: 2012

Nada's Revolution

"A coming of age story in the wake of the Arab Spring, NADA’S REVOLUTION is an intimate portrait of a young, post-revolution Egyptian woman fighting for her freedom and independence in a society caught between old traditions and modernization. Amidst the political turmoil that has paralyzed Egypt for almost three years, we follow Nada’s struggle to establish herself as an independent woman and theater professional as she sets out to make her old dream come true: to work with children’s theater.

Interdependent Preferences, Militarism, and Child Gender


Urbatsch, R. “Interdependent Preferences, Militarism, and Child Gender.” International Studies Quarterly 53, no. 1 (March 1, 2009): 1–21. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2478.2008.01521.x.

Author: R. Urbatsch


Selection effects make it difficult to determine whether concern for other people genuinely affects individuals’ policy preferences. Child gender provides a conveniently exogenous means of exploring the issue, especially in contexts such as military policy where girls and boys face different risks; in many countries male children are disproportionately likely to become soldiers and thus bear the costs of militarism. This creates divergent effects: those in households with girls generally prefer more hawkish foreign policies than do members of households with boys. Data from the 2004 American National Election Study confirm these intuitions, both in general statements of policy preference and in evaluating the net costs of the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Child Soldiers, Female Combatants, Male Combatants, Gender, Girls, Boys, Gender Balance, Elections, Households Regions: Americas, North America Countries: United States of America

Year: 2009

Gender, Conflict, and the Militarization of Climate Change Policy


Nagel, Joane. 2015. “Gender, Conflict, and the Militarization of Climate Change Policy.” Peace Review 27 (2): 202–8. doi:10.1080/10402659.2015.1037629.


Author: Joane Nagel


The article suggests that mandating gender parity in climate change research funding may be a way to refocus research questions from large-scale planetary intervention or militarized responses. Topics discussed include research finding that including women in environmental decision-making makes a difference in policy outcomes. Also mentioned is the creation of more gender-balanced structures as a first step toward taking on the challenge of climate change.

Topics: Environment, Gender, Gender Balance, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarization

Year: 2015

Women's Potential in Dealing with Natural Disasters: A Case Study from Sri Lanka


Jayarathne, Saranga Subhashini. “Women’s Potential in Dealing with Natural Disasters: A Case Study from Sri Lanka.” Asian Journal of Women’s Studies 20, no. 1 (January 1, 2014): 125–36. doi:10.1080/12259276.2014.11666175.

Author: Saranga Subhashini Jayarathne


Disaster is gender indifferent but its impact is usually gender differentiated. The 2004 Tsunami statistics show that male survivors in Sri Lanka outnumbered female survivors. The notion of women being the “weaker sex’ gives them limited space for learning physical skills that are deemed vital for surviving disasters. Their knowledge and experience regarding the environment is always undermined. This further limits and discourages them from contributing towards disaster management. Women should be incorporated at every level in the disaster management cycle. Women-centered public awareness and skills training can help increase women and children's disaster preparedness and equip them with the skills necessary to overcome disasters. Women's participation in national-level decision-making is also a necessity. A gender-blind disaster management system can only worsen the impact of disasters, especially for women and girls. This paper challenges the depiction of women as mere victims of disasters, while attempting to point out the vital nexus between women's untapped potential and disaster management.

Keywords: disasters, vulnerability, women, untapped potential

Topics: Environment, Environmental Disasters, Gender, Women, Girls, Gender Roles, Gender Analysis, Gender Balance, Gender Mainstreaming, Gendered Power Relations, Governance Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Sri Lanka

Year: 2014

The 2005 Kashmir Earthquake: A Perspective on Women's Experiences


Hamilton, Jennifer Parker, and Sarah J. Halvorson. 2007. “The 2005 Kashmir Earthquake: A Perspective on Women’s Experiences.” Mountain Research and Development 27 (4): 296–301.

Authors: Jennifer Parker Hamilton, Sarah J. Halvorson


The 2005 Kashmir Earthquake is illustrative of the intensity and scope associated with catastrophic earthquake disasters in mountainous regions. The experience of the immediate aftermath, relief and recovery, and community reconstruction underscores how this event impacted mountain women, particularly in their roles in rescue and relief efforts and in rebuilding households and communities. A situational analysis was undertaken in order to document and make recommendations for the significant challenges and concerns facing women earthquake survivors in 3 of the valleys most proximate to the epicenter. Earthquake planning and mitigation strategies in northern Pakistan and elsewhere need to focus on reducing women's vulnerability and increasing their resilience, while fostering feasible interventions to reduce disaster risk across the population. We propose that the main elements should include pre-disaster vulnerability assessments; the support of women's access to resources and science-based earthquake education; active roles for women in relief, rehabilitation, and rebuilding efforts; and gender training among all disaster relief and emergency services.

Topics: Environment, Environmental Disasters, Gender, Women, Gender Balance, Gender Mainstreaming Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: India, Pakistan

Year: 2007

Female Peacekeepers and Gender Balancing: Token Gestures or Informed Policymaking?


Karim, Sabrina, and Kyle Beardsley. 2013. “Female Peacekeepers and Gender Balancing: Token Gestures or Informed Policymaking?” International
Interactions 39 (4): 461–88.


Authors: Sabrina Karim, Kyle Beardsley


Since the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 1325 (2000), which is referenced in most of the mandates for peacekeeping authorizations and renewals as of its adoption, UN peacekeeping forces have begun a process of gender balancing. While we have seen an increase in the numbers of female peacekeepers during the decade 2000–2010 and variation in the distribution patterns of female military personnel, we do not know if female military peacekeepers are deploying to areas that are safest or to areas with the greatest need for gender-balanced international involvement. Because the decision-making authority in the allocation of peacekeeping forces rests with the troop-contributing countries, which might not have bought into the gender balancing and mainstreaming initiatives mandated by the UN Security Council, we propose and find evidence that female military personnel tend to deploy to areas where there is least risk. They tend not to deploy where they may be most needed—where sexual violence and gender equity has been a major problem—and we find only a modest effect of having specific language in the mandates related to gender issues.

Keywords: gender balance, peacekeeping, UNSCR 1325, women, peace, and Security

Topics: Gender, Women, Gender Balance, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Peacekeeping, Peace Processes, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS, UNSCR 1325

Year: 2013

Quotas For Women in Elected Legislatures: Do They Really Empower Women?


Tinker, Irene. 2004. “Quotas For Women in Elected Legislatures: Do They Really Empower Women?” Women’s Studies International Forum 27 (5–6): 531–46. doi:10.1016/j.wsif.2004.09.008. 

Author: Irene Tinker


The demand for 30% reservations for women in electoral bodies has escalated in the last decade and has produced significant increases in women legislators in many countries. Those campaigning for quotas anticipated a change in government policies and priorities and an increased influence of women in decision-making. Such a shift in power depends both on the types of party systems and of electoral systems, issues widely overlooked. Utilizing proportional representation (PR) with a fixed party list system will certainly increase the number of women elected; but women selected must be party loyalists. Studies suggest their impact on policy is limited. Reservations in countries using the single-member constituency system require legal change. Women leaders of civil society organizations are more likely to win elections under the single-constituency system and thus have greater influence on policy. Many obstacles remain for women to be effective in all these male-dominated chambers.

Topics: Civil Society, Democracy / Democratization, Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Gender Balance, Gendered Power Relations, Governance, Quotas, Political Participation

Year: 2004

Women in Peace Politics


Banerjee, Paula. 2008. Women in Peace Politics. New Delhi: SAGE Publications.

Author: Paula Banerjee


"Women in Peace Politics explores the role of women as agents and visionaries of peace in South Asia. Peace is redefined to include in its fold the attempt by women to be a part of the peace making process, reworking the structural inequalities faced by them and their struggle against all forms of oppression. This volume, the third in the series of the South Asia Peace Studies, deals with the myriad dimensions of peace as practised by South Asian women over a period of time. It chronicles the lives of "ordinary" women—their transformative role in peace and an attempt to create a space of their own. Their peace activism is examined in the historical context of their participation in national liberation movements since the early twentieth century. The articles in the collection adopt a new approach to understanding peace—as a desire to end repression that cuts across caste, class, race and gender and an effort on the part of women to transform their position in society."

Topics: Caste, Class, Conflict Prevention, Gender, Women, Gender Balance, Gendered Power Relations, Peacebuilding, Peace Processes, Political Participation, Race, Security, Human Security Regions: Asia, South Asia

Year: 2008

Gender Quotas, the Politics of Presence, and the Feminist Project: What Does the Indian Experience Tell Us?


Kudva, Neema, and Misra Kajri. 2008. “Gender Quotas, the Politics of Presence, and the Feminist Project: What Does the Indian Experience Tell Us?” Signs 34 (1): 49–73.

Authors: Neema Kudva, Misra Kajri

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Gender Balance, Governance, Quotas, Political Participation Regions: Asia Countries: India

Year: 2008


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