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Gendered Power Relations

Swedish Feminist Foreign Policy in the Making: Ethics, Politics, and Gender

Citation:

Aggestam, Karin, and Annika Bergman-Rosamond. 2016. “Swedish Feminist Foreign Policy in the Making: Ethics, Politics, and Gender.” Ethics & International Affairs 30 (3): 323–34. 

Authors: Karin Aggestam, Annika Bergman-Rosamond

Annotation:

Summary: 
"In this essay, we argue that the launching of a “feminist” foreign policy is distinct for two reasons. First, by adopting the “f-word” it elevates politics from a broadly consensual orientation of gender mainstreaming toward more controversial politics, and specifically toward those that explicitly seek to renegotiate and challenge power hierarchies and gendered institutions that hitherto defined global institutions and foreign and security policies. As Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström has noted, “It’s time to become a little braver in foreign policy. I think feminism is a good term. It is about standing against the systematic and global subordination of women.” Second, it contains a normative reorientation of foreign policy that is guided by an ethically informed framework based on broad cosmopolitan norms of global justice and peace. The content of Sweden’s feminist foreign policy is still in the making, and is currently focused on incremental change in two areas: (1) international agenda-setting through a gender-sensitive lens that allows for the reframing and mobilization of international policy action; and (2) normative entrepreneurship, which is guided by an ethically informed framework of cosmopolitanism and human rights that seeks to shape global developments in a gender-sensitive direction" (Aggestam and Bergman-Rosamond 2016, 323). 
 

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Gender Mainstreaming, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Hierarchies, International Organizations, Justice, Rights, Human Rights

Year: 2016

Contested Encounters: Toward a Twenty-First-Century African Feminist Ethnography

Citation:

Makana, Selina. 2018. "Contested Encounters: Toward a Twenty-First-Century African Feminist Ethnography." Meridians 17 (2): 361-75.

Author: Selina Makana

Abstract:

This essay reflects upon both the predicaments and the promises of feminist ethnography in contemporary Africa from the position of an African feminist researcher. Two key questions guide the analysis: What are productive ways to respond to feminist critiques of representing the African woman “other”? What are the promises, if any, of African feminist ethnography documenting the histories of women on the continent? This essay argues that African feminist ethnography is a productive methodology that helps to highlight knowledge production about women’s lives in their specific sociopolitical, ethnolinguistic, religious, and economic contexts. To highlight the significance and limits of reflexivity and the idiosyncrasies of ethnographic research, this essay calls for a different way of naming the encounters between researchers and their participants. It therefore proposes naming this energy the ebb and flow of fieldwork research because this metaphor helps to destabilize and move beyond the rigid binaries of insider/outsider that have traditionally characterized power relations in fieldwork.

Topics: Ethnicity, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gender Analysis, Gendered Power Relations, intersectionality, Race, Religion Regions: Africa

Year: 2018

Saving Nigerian Girls: A Critical Reflection on Girl-Saving Campaigns in the Colonial and Neoliberal Eras

Citation:

George, Abosede. 2018. "Saving Nigerian Girls: A Critical Reflection on Girl-Saving Campaigns in the Colonial and Neoliberal Eras." Meridians 17 (2): 309-24.

Author: Abosede George

Abstract:

This essay discusses girl-saving campaigns in Nigerian history, focusing on the two that have been most extensively documented: the girl hawker project of the early twentieth century, which climaxed with the 1943 passage of the first hawking ban in Nigeria, and the #BringBackOurGirls campaign, which started in 2014 and is still ongoing. Though separated by time and space, in order to inspire salvationist impulses in their respective audiences both campaigns have relied on a gendered notion of imperilment that centers the image of the youthful female body threatened by sexual violence from male aggressors. Yet through its reliance on certain restrictions, gendered and otherwise, the portrait of the vulnerable girl that campaigners outline inadvertently prompts disidentifications as well.

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Gender, Girls, Gender Analysis, Gendered Power Relations, Sexual Violence, Male Perpetrators, SV against women Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Nigeria

Year: 2018

Gender Inequality and Internal Conflict

Citation:

Forsberg, Erika, and Louise Olsson. 2016. “Gender Inequality and Internal Conflict.” Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics. https://doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780190228637.013.34.

Authors: Erika Forsberg, Louise Olsson

Keywords: gender, gender inequality, civil war, intrastate armed conflict, gender norms, positivism, masculinity, femininity, empirical international relations theory

Annotation:

Summary: 
Prior research has found robust support for a relationship between gender inequality and civil war. These results all point in the same direction; countries that display lower levels of gender equality are more likely to become involved in civil conflict, and violence is likely to be even more severe, than in countries where women have a higher status. But what does gender inequality mean in this area of research? And how does research explain why we see this effect on civil war? To explore this, we start with reviewing existing definitions and measurements of gender inequality, noting that the concept has several dimensions. We then proceed to outline several clusters of explanations of how gender inequality could be related to civil war while more equal societies are better able to prevent violent conflict, as described in previous research. It is clear that existing misconceptions that gender inequality primarily involves the role of women are clouding the fact that it clearly speaks to much broader societal developments which play central roles in civil war. We conclude by identifying some remaining lacunas and directions for future research.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Violence

Year: 2016

Securing the 'Gender Legitimacy' of the UN Security Council: Prising Gender from Its Historical Moorings

Citation:

Otto, Dianne. 2004. “Securing the 'Gender Legitimacy' of the UN Security Council: Prising Gender from Its Historical Moorings.” Legal Studies Research Paper 92, Faculty of Law, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne.

Author: Dianne Otto

Abstract:

Recent feminist efforts to engage with the UN Security Council might well be dismissed as a futile attempt to employ the master's tools to dismantle the master's house. That these efforts have born fruit, was evidenced by the Council's unanimous adoption of Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security in October 2000. Since its adoption, the Resolution has been the focus of continuing engagement between women's peace advocates and the Council. 
 
The Resolution can be understood as one of a range of measures adopted by the Council in an effort to tackle its legitimacy deficit; specifically, its gender legitimacy. While the Resolution's promotion of the increased involvement of women in decision-making opens the possibility of clawing back some of the ground lost to military ways of thinking, and legitimating emancipatory understandings of peace based on gender equality and social justice, it also runs the risk of lending a renewed legitimacy to the old ways of getting things done, just as women's participation in the colonial civilizing mission helped to make imperialism possible.  
 
The examples of Afghanistan and East Timor, reveal that there has been slow but measured progress towards increasing the participation of women in formal decision-making processes, and that the progress that has been made has depended in large part on the extensive mobilization of local and trans-national women's peace networks. At the same time, most Afghan and East Timorese women were unaffected by the increased formal participation of women, as they faced heightened levels of gendered violence and economic insecurity. This experience confirms the need use the Resolution to move beyond issues of participation, important as they are, to changing the militarized and imperial gender stereotypes that have played such a central role in maintaining militarism and the secondary status of women. Only then will the Council's deficit in gender legitimacy be reversed in an emancipatory way. (Abstract from Social Sciences Research Network) 

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Feminisms, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, peace and security, International Organizations, Militarism, Political Participation, Security, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS, UNSCR 1325 Regions: Asia, South Asia, Oceania Countries: Afghanistan, Timor-Leste

Year: 2004

Security Sector Reform and the Paradoxical Tension between Local Ownership and Gender Equality

Citation:

Gordon, Eleanor, Anthony Cleland Welch, and Emmicki Roos. 2015. “Security Sector Reform and the Paradoxical Tension between Local Ownership and Gender Equality.” Stability: International Journal of Security and Development 4 (1).

Authors: Eleanor Gordon, Anthony Cleland Welch, Emmicki Roos

Abstract:

This article analyses the tension or conflict that can exist between the principles of local ownership and gender equality that guide Security Sector Reform (SSR) programmes when gender discrimination and patriarchal values characterise the local environment (and ‘locals’ do not value gender equality). In these situations, international actors may be reluctant to advocate gender equality, regarding it as imposing culturally alien values and potentially destabilising to the SSR process. It is argued, however, that the tension between local ownership and gender equality is deceptive and merely serves to protect the power of dominant groups and disempower the marginalised, often serving to disguise the power relations at play in post-conflict environments and avoid addressing the security needs of those who are often at most risk. The paper concludes that rather than a tension existing between the two principles, in fact, local ownership without gender equality is meaningless. Moreover, failing to promote gender equality undermines the extent to which SSR programmes result in security and justice sector institutions that are representative of and responsive to the needs of both men and women. It can also perpetuate structural inequalities and conflict dynamics and, ultimately, limit the success of SSR and broader peacebuilding processes.

Topics: Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Gender Equality/Inequality, Justice, Peacebuilding, Post-Conflict, Security, Security Sector Reform

Year: 2015

Margins, Silences, and Bottom Rungs: How to Overcome the Underestimation of Power in the Study of International Relations

Citation:

Enloe, Cynthia. 2004. “Margins, Silences, and Bottom Rungs: How to Overcome the Underestimation of Power in the Study of International Relations.” In The Curious Feminist: Searching for Women in a New Age of Empire, 19–42. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Author: Cynthia Enloe

Annotation:

Summary: 
When I think about what it is that seems so unrealistic (yes, that loaded term) in most formal analyses of international politics, what strikes me is how far their authors are willing to go in underestimating the amounts and varieties of power it takes to form and sustain any given set of relationships between states. This conclusion, of course, rings oddly. So many analysts, after all, profess to be interested chiefly in power – who has it, how they got it, what they try to do with it. Their profession notwithstanding, I believe that by concentrating so single-mindedly on what is referred to euphemistically as the ‘centre’, scores of analysts have produced a naive portrait of how international politics really (there's that tricky concept again) work.
 
No individual or social group finds themselves on the ‘margins’ of any web of relationships – a football league, an industry, an empire, a military alliance, a state – without some other individual or group having accumulated enough power to create the ‘centre’ somewhere else. Beyond its creation, too, there is the yearly and daily business of maintaining the margin where it currently is and the centre where it now is. It is harder for those at the alleged centre to hear the hopes, fears and explanations of those on the margins, not because of physical distance – the margin may be two blocks from the White House, four stops on the Paris metro from the Quai d'Orsay – but because it takes resources and access to be ‘heard’ when and where it matters. (Summary from Cambridge University Press)

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Gender Roles, Gender Analysis, Gendered Discourses, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy

Year: 2004

Gender and the Role of Women in Colombia’s Peace Process

Citation:

Bouvier, Virginia M. 2016. Gender and the Role of Women in Colombia’s Peace Process. New York: UN Women.

Author: Virginia M. Bouvier

Abstract:

The promises and visions articulated in United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 and subsequent UN resolutions and position papers that recognize the connection between gender equity and women’s participation in all aspects of peace processes and peacebuilding on the one hand, and international peace and security on the other, have not been fulfilled. Nonetheless, these resolutions have opened the way for advocacy that has had some successes in specific contexts. Colombia offers one such case.
 
Through desk research, literature review, and personal interviews, this paper provides an overview of the Colombian internal armed conflict and the peace process currently underway to transform it. It begins with an historical overview of the conflict, and then explores some of its gender dimensions. It analyzes the differential impact of the internal armed conflict on the lives of women and men, LBGTI persons, and boys, girls and adolescents, as well as the intersectionality between multiple components of identity, including gender, class, age, ethnicity, and region. The paper then turns to the peace process. It explores the roles of women in preparing the ground for a political solution to Colombia’s internal armed conflict. It considers women’s official, semi-official, and unofficial roles at, around, and outside the peace talks that were launched in late 2012 between the Colombian government and the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC-EP). This paper underscores the essentially gendered nature of both war and peace. It assesses shifting gender roles and ideologies, and the ways that they intersect with a peace process and transitions in a post-Accord period, particularly in relation to issues of transitional justice. Finally, my paper explores how greater consideration of gendered dynamics, as well as increased participation of women in the peace process and all commissions and bodies created to implement peace accords, will better equip Colombia to address the challenges ahead and will help ensure a more sustainable peace. 

Topics: Age, Armed Conflict, Class, Ethnicity, Gender, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equity, peace and security, International Organizations, Peacebuilding, Peace Processes, Security, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS, UNSCR 1325 Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2016

Gender, Human Security and the United Nations: Security Language as a Political Framework for Women

Citation:

Hudson, Natalie Florea. 2009. Gender, Human Security and the United Nations: Security Language as a Political Framework for Women. New York: Routledge.

Author: Natalia Florea Hudson

Annotation:

Summary: 
This book examines the relationship between women, gender and the international security agenda, exploring the meaning of security in terms of discourse and practice, as well as the larger goals and strategies of the global women's movement.
 
Today, many complex global problems are being located within the security logic. From the environment to HIV/AIDS, state and non-state actors have made a practice out of securitizing issues that are not conventionally seen as such. As most prominently demonstrated by the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2001), activists for women's rights have increasingly framed women's rights and gender inequality as security issues in an attempt to gain access to the international security agenda, particularly in the context of the United Nations. This book explores the nature and implications of the use of security language as a political framework for women, tracing and analyzing the organizational dynamics of women's activism in the United Nations system and how women have come to embrace and been impacted by the security framework, globally and locally. The book argues that, from a feminist and human security perspective, efforts to engender the security discourse have had both a broadening and limiting effect, highlighting reasons to be sceptical of securitization as an inherently beneficial strategy.
 
Four cases studies are used to develop the core themes: (1) the campaign to implement UN Security Council Resolution 1325; (2) the strategies utilized by those advocating women's issues in the security arena compared to those advocating for children; (3) the organizational development of the UN Development Fund for Women and how it has come to securitize women; and (4) the activity of the UN Peacebuilding Commission and its challenges in gendering its security approach.
 
The work will be of interest to students of critical security, gender studies, international organizations and international relations in general. (Summary from Routledge)

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, peace and security, International Organizations, Peacebuilding, Rights, Women's Rights, Security, Human Security, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS, UNSCR 1325

Year: 2009

When Are States Hypermasculine?

Citation:

Maruska, Jennifer Heeg. 2010. “When Are States Hypermasculine?” In Gender and International Security: Feminist Perspectives, edited by Laura Sjoberg, 235-55. Oxon: Routledge.

Author: Jennifer Heeg Maruska

Annotation:

Summary: 
"By using gender as a theoretical tool, I will demonstrate how American hegemonic masculinity—or a significant subsection of it—became hypermasculine in the days, months, and years following September 11, 2001. This development is key to understanding how the war Iraq was sold to and bought by the American people. The consequences of this hypermasculinity include popular support for the March 2003 invasion of Iraq as well as the re-election of President George W. Bush in 2004. In this chapter, I will elaborate the concepts of hegemonic masculinity and hypermasculinity, based on previous theorizing (largely by R. W. Connell and Charlotte Hooper). I will then apply these principles to the post-9/11 era, suggesting that both the Bush administration (the agent) and American mainstream culture itself (the structure) contributed to the invasion of Iraq. By applying a gender-sensitive lens, and putting hypermasculinity into a historical context, both the decision to invade Iraq and the popular support such an idea received will be made much clearer" (Maruska 2010, 236).

Topics: Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gender Analysis, Gendered Discourses, Gendered Power Relations, Security Regions: Americas, North America, Asia, Middle East Countries: Iraq, United States of America

Year: 2010

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