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Gender

Smoke and Mirrors: State-Sponsored Feminism in Post-Uprising Egypt

Citation:

Allam, Nermin. 2019. "Smoke and Mirrors: State-Sponsored Feminism in Post-uprising Egypt." Social Research 86 (1): 365-86.

Author: Nermin Allam

Annotation:

Summary:
"In 2012, I carried out my first round of interviews with women in Egypt. I was then studying their experiences in the 2011 uprising that led to the ousting of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. The aura that surrounded the interviews at that time was marked by cautious optimism, hope, and a belief in a better future. This aura, however, was short-lived, and soon came to an end with the resurgence of gender inequality and the failure of democratic transition in Egypt. Themes of despair and disappointment became fundamental features of my interviews in 2014, and more intensely in 2017, as female participants reflected on their experiences and their expectations for change following the uprising. Participants described the sense of feeling "worthless [belā qīmah]," "exhausted [ta'banah]," and "depleted [mu'damah]." However, whenever I asked if that was the end of change and reform, they hastily responded: "Not yet." 
 
Activists often asserted that the experience of collective action had changed them and that "things" cannot return to the "old days." However, as other participants asserted during my interviews and as is still the case at the time of this writing, "things" seem by far worse in comparison to the "old days," which leaves unanswered the question of what has really changed. The answer is that the agenda of women's rights did shift in the evolving political landscape that followed the 2011 Egyptian uprising, specifically with the revival of state feminism under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. 
 
Al-Sisi's regime has sought to contain women's groups through policies of state-sponsored feminism, meaning the different ways in which the regime moves to offer limited advancements in women's rights during periods of economic development (Hatem 1992). In exchange for these limited rights, the regime sanctions independent feminist initiatives while it actually restricts their autonomy (Hatem 1992). Except for the brief period immediately following the uprising, state-sponsored feminism throughout Egypt's modern history has marked and governed gender politics, ostensibly laying essential foundations for improving the lives of women. However, in the absence of a strong independent feminist movement, this foundation was vulnerable to regressive backlash as soon as the political structure changed (Kato 2017). 
 
Unlike the "first lady syndrome" (Elsadda 2011) associated with former Egyptian regimes, characterized by the first lady and her clique intervening on behalf of women's groups and championing women's rights, the president himself, in what I call "al-Sisi Syndrome," has personally taken on that responsibility. His policies have yielded significant developments and advancements but also challenges for women's rights in Egypt, including the populist discourses embraced by the regime to control the agenda of women's rights and to discredit independent feminists. 
 
The backlash against women's rights in Egypt following the 2011 uprising underscores the ways in which state-sponsored feminism as a political opportunity is a "fickle friend" (Tarrow 1998, 89). It constantly shifts and changes and can eventually turn against members that contributed to opening this space and benefited from it. I prefer the term "flickering" to "fickle" because it encompasses the possibility that even if state-sponsored feminism does not outright turn on its members, it nevertheless engenders mixed outcomes anddisappointments. It creates a unique set of opportunities and challenges for the women's movement in Egypt. These opportunities and obstacles condition the development of the movement, the resonance of women's rights discourse, and the access of different women's groups to decision-making and political participation. 
 
The policies of state-sponsored feminism under al-Sisi bear great resemblance to the gender policies of Mubarak's regime yet also entail new articulations. It is fruitful, therefore, to compare the historical and current contours of the policy and examine how the interests, identities, and strategies of different actors changed following the uprising. Doing so reveals the limitations of state-sponsored feminism in renegotiating the relationship between state institutions and civil society organizations. Such analysis also highlights the potential of state feminism to challenge gendered social norms and perceptions among the different segments in the society." (Allam 2019, 365-67)

Topics: Conflict, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Nationalism, Post-Conflict, Political Participation, Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, MENA, North Africa, Middle East Countries: Egypt

Year: 2019

Women and Peace-Building in Iraq

Citation:

Khodary, Yasmin M. 2016. "Women and Peace-Building in Iraq." Peace Review 28, (4): 499-507.

Author: Yasmin M. Khodary

Annotation:

Summary:
This article reviews the literature on women and peace-building, at large, which then moves to illustrating women's roles and initiatives in peace-building in Iraq in particular. In doing so, the author employs a qualitative methodology that combines review of literature and documents with in-depth interviews with four activists and members of Iraqi women civil-society organizations. Based on the literature review and the interviews, the essay draws on a set of lessons learned to strengthen peace-building knowledge and actions.

Topics: Civil Society, Conflict, Gender, Women, International Organizations, Peacebuilding Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Iraq

Year: 2016

Beyond Orientalism: Exploring the Distinctive Feminism of Democratic Confederalism in Rojava

Citation:

Shahvisi, Arianne. 2018. "Beyond Orientalism: Exploring the Distinctive Feminism of Democratic Confederalism in Rojava." Geopolitics: 1-25. doi: 10.1080/14650045.2018.1554564.

Author: Arianne Shahvisi

Abstract:

Women have been central to the revolution in Rojava, leading to widespread interest in the Kurdish women’s movement across Western contexts. Yet Western mass media representations of women combatants tend to be objectifying and superficial, glossing over the unique variety of feminism, known as “jineology,” that is core to the political system of Rojava, which operates according to the ideology of “democratic confederalism.” This paper is intended as a corrective to the inadequate representation of the theory and praxis of the women’s movement in Rojava. It approaches this task by: (a) critiquing the popular representation of women in Rojava, and (b) providing an overview of some of the features of the distinctive feminism that are in operation, with a focus on intersectionality, autonomous spaces, and combatting masculinity.

Topics: Combatants, Female Combatants, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Masculinity/ies, Media Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Syria

Year: 2018

Reconsidering Nationalism and Feminism: the Kurdish Political Movement in Turkey

Citation:

Al‐Ali, Nadje, and Latif Tas. 2018. "Reconsidering Nationalism and Feminism: The Kurdish Political Movement in Turkey." Nations and Nationalism 24 (2): 453-73.

Authors: Nadje Al-Ali, Latif Tas

Abstract:

Feminist scholars have documented with reference to multiple empirical contexts that feminist claims within nationalist movements are often side-lined, constructed as ‘inauthentic’ and frequently discredited for imitating supposedly western notions of gender-based equality. Despite these historical precedents, some feminist scholars have pointed to the positive aspects of nationalist movements, which frequently open up spaces for gender-based claims. Our research is based on the recognition that we cannot discuss and evaluate the fraught relationship in the abstract but that we need to look at the specific historical and empirical contexts and articulations of nationalism and feminism. The specific case study we draw from is the relationship between the Kurdish women’s movement and the wider Kurdish political movement in Turkey. We are exploring the ways that the Kurdish movement in Turkey has politicised Kurdish women’s rights activists and examine how Kurdish women activists have reacted to patriarchal tendencies within the Kurdish movement.

Keywords: ethnic nationalism, feminism, Kurdish women's movement, middle east, PKK, Turkey

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Nationalism Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East, Europe, Southern Europe Countries: Turkey

Year: 2018

Legacies of Violence and the Unfinished Past: Women in Post-Demobilization Colombia and Guatemala

Citation:

Tarnaala, Elisa. 2019. “Legacies of Violence and the Unfinished Past: Women in Post-Demobilization Colombia and Guatemala.” Peacebuilding 7 (1): 103–17.

Author: Elisa Tarnaala

Abstract:

This article examines the historically grounded social acceptance of impunity and the role of unwanted actors in peace and transitional processes. The article argues from a post-demobilization violence perspective that counter-democratic developments, which have historical and global roots, condition peacebuilding and impose important limits on the deepening of inclusion. In Colombia and Guatemala, internationally backed peacebuilding activities occurred in the same regions where the local authorities continued their partnership with criminal and authoritarian actors. Thus, parallel to the shift towards greater political and economic stability at the national level, attacks against human rights activists and environmental activists, intra-community violence, violence against women, prostitution and the trafficking of girls continued at the local level and in some areas increased.

Keywords: Colombia, Guatemala, demobilization, women, violence, historical legacies

Topics: DDR, Democracy / Democratization, Gender, Women, Girls, Gender-Based Violence, Justice, Impunity, Transitional Justice, Peacebuilding, Trafficking, Human Trafficking, Violence Regions: Americas, Central America, South America Countries: Colombia, Guatemala

Year: 2019

Living Maoist Gender Ideology: Experiences of Women Ex-Combatants in Nepal

Citation:

K.C., Luna, and Gemma Van Der Haar. 2019. “Living Maoist Gender Ideology: Experiences of Women Ex-Combatants in Nepal.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 21 (3): 434–53.

Authors: Luna K.C., Gemma Van Der Haar

Abstract:

Studies of women’s participation in civil conflict as armed combatants have attributed diverse motivations to such participation and examined the implications of participation for women’s empowerment in the aftermath. The authors contribute to these studies through an in-depth analysis of female combatants’ struggles for equality and empowerment during and after Nepal’s decade-long Maoist conflict. Scholars have argued that the emphasis of Maoist ideology in Nepal on the emancipation of women and on ending gender discrimination attracted a large number of women to the cause. Based on narratives of Maoist female ex-combatants, the authors investigate women’s engagement with Maoist ideology during and after the conflict. These narratives reveal that despite discourses of gender equality in Nepal’s Maoist struggle, promises around gender equality remain unkept in the period after the war. A reintegration program has offered women ex-combatants few options and has pushed women back into traditional gender roles. Struggles continue in this terrain. Incorporating intersectionality, the paper highlights how women ex-combatants’ gender identities intersect with caste and other social locations to produce diverse challenges for their lives.

Keywords: Maoist armed conflict, gender ideology, empowerment, women ex-combatants, post-conflict Nepal

Topics: Caste, Combatants, Female Combatants, DDR, Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Intersectionality, Post-Conflict Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Nepal

Year: 2019

Gender Relations among Neighbors: a Study of Humanitarian Practices Addressing Syrian Refugees in Lebanon

Citation:

Christiansen, Connie Carøe. 2018. "Gender Relations among Neighbors: A Study of Humanitarian Practices Addressing Syrian Refugees in Lebanon." Paper presented at Pluralism in Emergenc(i)es: Movement, Space and Religious Difference, Amman, December 6-8. 

Author: Connie Carøe Christiansen

Abstract:

The purpose of this paper is to study the perceptions of gender relations among Syrian refugees as presented by employees of selected local NGOs in Lebanon. These NGOs form part of a civil society undergoing changes since the refugee crisis of the Syrian war, and now collaborating with Syrian NGOs, and engaging Syrian refugees in humanitarian projects. Their participation in humanitarian response occurs in Lebanon in several contexts, ranging from handicraft workshops to neighborhood committees, civil society activism and business initiation. Gender relations among Syrians are presented by such NGOs as more patriarchal and harmful for women, but Syrian activists in Lebanon contest this indictment. Nevertheless, these conceptions become a pretext for the approach that refugee women are more vulnerable not only due to the war, but also due to their relations to Syrian men. The paper forms part of a study, which asks what consequences the engagement of Syrian refugees in humanitarian work may have for citizenship transformation– with particular urgency and value for women who are denied equal citizenship with men.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Society, Displacement & Migration, Refugees, Conflict, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Humanitarian Assistance, NGOs Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Syria

Year: 2017

The Jihad Feminist Dynamics of Terrorism and Subordination of Women in the ISIS

Citation:

Makanda, Joseph. 2019. "The Jihad Feminist Dynamics of Terrorism and Subordination of Women in the ISIS." Multidisciplinary Journal of Gender Studies 8 (2): 135-59. 

Author: Joseph Makanda

Abstract:

ENGLISH ABSTRACT:
The increasing embeddedness of the jihad feminist within the Islamic State’s (ISIS) operations is eliciting works on the role of women in terrorism. However, there is yet to be a more constructive analysis that adequately accounts for the luring of Muslim women into the ISIS as a justification of the patriarchal beliefs and oppressive social systems. This paper is among the first attempts to draw on the Jihad Feminism Theory (JFT) to develop a conceptual discourse that explains the causal relationship between jihad feminist fighters and promotion of patriarchal practices and beliefs within the ISIS. Far from standing against any forms of Western feminization- as espoused by the ISIS, the paper argues that jihad feminism has further subverted Muslim women to sedentary roles within the ISIS as a way of sustaining the organisations’ operations and existence.
 
SPANISH ABSTRACT:
La creciente integración de la yihad feminista en las operaciones del Estado Islámico de Irak y Siria (ISIS) está provocando investigaciones sobre el papel de la mujer en el terrorismo. Sin embargo, aún no se ha realizado un análisis más constructivo que responda adecuadamente a la interfaz entre el feminismo yihadista y la subyugación femenina dentro de las operaciones del ISIS. Este documento es uno de los primeros intentos de utilizar la Teoría del feminismo yihad (JFT) para desarrollar un discurso conceptual que explique la relación entre las luchadoras feministas yihad y la promoción de prácticas y creencias patriarcales dentro del grupo ISIS. Lejos de oponerse a cualquier forma de feminización occidental, como defienden las feministas yihad, el artículo sostiene que el feminismo yihad ha subvertido aún más a las mujeres musulmanas a roles sedentarios dentro del ISIS como una forma de sostener las operaciones y la existencia de las organizaciones. Este es un documento cualitativo que se basa en un análisis de escritorio de fuentes secundarias de datos. 

Keywords: feminism, Islam, ISIS, Jihad feminism, terrorism, feminsmo, Feminismo Jihad, terrorismo

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, Conflict, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Non-state Armed Groups Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East

Year: 2019

Everyday Realities of Reintegration: Experiences of Maoist ‘Verified’ Women Ex-Combatants in the Aftermath of War in Nepal

Citation:

K.C., Luna. 2019. “Everyday Realities of Reintegration: Experiences of Maoist ‘Verified’ Women Ex-Combatants in the Aftermath of War in Nepal.” Conflict, Security & Development 19 (5): 453–74.

Author: Luna K.C.

Abstract:

Global studies of women’s experiences in the disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) process have explored its implications for women in the post-war period. Scholars have also already pointed out that ex-combatants in Nepal are facing difficulties in the reintegration period. This paper examines in particular the consequences of the DDR process for so-called Maoist ‘verified’ women ex-combatants, those who were formally acknowledged as former Maoist combatants and have experienced the entire DDR process. The paper asks how they experienced this process and how it shaped their post-conflict options. The paper first problematises the idea of a ‘return to normalcy’ and, second, shows how female ex-combatants suffered multiple forms of marginalisation as they sought to give new shape to their lives. I argue that this is in part due to the lack of a gender-inclusive framework in the DDR policy in Nepal and the failure to take into account the voices of women ex-combatants.

Keywords: verified women ex-combatant, disarmament, demobilisation and integration, Maoist armed conflict, gender equality, post-conflict settings, Nepal

Topics: Combatants, Female Combatants, DDR, Gender, Women, Post-Conflict Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Nepal

Year: 2019

Traumatic Stress Among Sexual and Gender Minority Refugees from the Middle East, North African, and Asia who Fled to the European Union

Citation:

Alessi, Edward J., Sarilee Kahn, Leah Woolner, and Rebecca Van Der Horn. 2018. "Traumatic Stress Among Sexual and Gender Minority Refugees From the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia Who Fled to the European Union." Journal of Traumatic Stress 31 (6): 805-15.

Authors: Edward J. Alessi, Sarilee Kahn, Leah Woolner, Rebecca Van Der Horn

Abstract:

In 2015, more than 600,000 individuals from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan fled to Europe in search of protection. Among the most understudied of this population are individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ). These individuals have not only fled war but also violence due to their sexual and/or gender identities. At the same time, LGBTQ individuals from other parts of the Middle East, Central and South Asia, and North Africa have also fled to Europe to escape persecution. The purpose of this multimethod study was to understand how traumatic stress shaped the experiences of 38 LGBTQ individuals who fled to Austria (n = 19) and the Netherlands (n = 19) from these regions. We assessed participants for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and conducted qualitative interviews to understand their migration experiences. Of the 37 participants assessed for PTSD, 33 (89.2%) reported that their most distressing event occurred prior to migration. For the 24 (64.9%) participants who met criteria for a provisional diagnosis of PTSD, 15 reported that the precipitating event was related to their sexual and/or gender identities and 9 reported that it was related to another type of event (e.g., war). Grounded theory was used to analyze qualitative data. Themes demonstrated that participants encountered targeted violence and abuse throughout migration and upon their arrival in Austria and the Netherlands. Findings indicate that LGBTQ refugees may be vulnerable to ongoing trauma from other refugees and immigration officials. Recommendations for protecting and supporting LGBTQ refugees during humanitarian emergencies are provided.

 

Topics: Armed Conflict, Displacement & Migration, Refugees, Gender, Health, PTSD, Trauma, Humanitarian Assistance, Sexuality, Violence Regions: Africa, MENA, North Africa, Asia, Central Asia, Middle East, South Asia, Europe, Western Europe Countries: Afghanistan, Austria, Iraq, Netherlands, Syria

Year: 2018

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