Gendered Power Relations

Embodying Transition: FGC, Displacement, and Gender-Making for Sudanese in Cairo


Fábos, Anita Häusermann. 2001. "Embodying Transition: FGC, Displacement, and Gender-Making for Sudanese in Cairo." Feminist Review 69: 90-110.

Author: Anita Häusermann Fábos


In this article I analyze both generalized propriety as a boundary marker of Sudanese identity in Cairo, and gendered attitudes toward morality and female genital cutting (FGC) as a fundamental aspect of that boundary. Sudanese have been profoundly affected by the ongoing political crisis in their home country, by the displacement triggered by political and economic collapse, and by their deteriorating legal and social status in Egypt. The dramatic changes in the circumstances of Sudanese residence in Cairo have challenged the cultural norm of gender complementarity as men 'stay at home' for want of work while women seek and find new opportunities for themselves. This unstable situation has led Sudanese to place more emphasis on 'proper' ways of behaving and being, an assertion that helps define the ethnic boundaries of the Sudanese community in Cairo. I demonstrate the inconsistencies between discourse and reality through ethnographic data while analyzing how Sudanese have found new ways of asserting their identity and resisting the practice of FGC.

Keywords: displacement, gender making, gendered identity, female genital cutting


In her article, Fabos seeks to answer the question of which FGC (female genital cutting) practices have persisted among the Muslim population in Sudan despite social and political change in the region. She analyzes the situation of Sudanese women who have migrated to Cairo (mainly due to the civil war in Sudan), exploring the implications of changing gender norms brought about by their displacement and using FGCs as a boundary marker for the Sudanese ethnic identity in Cairo. She argues that Sudanese attitudes toward FGC have shifted in recent years, as Sudanese migrants to Cairo have used the practice to distinguish themselves from Egyptian natives. The experience of displacement had altered both gender relations and propriety norms, leading to new conflicts between men and women involving sexuality and morality.

Because of the increased levels of migration among Sudanese to Cairo due to the ongoing crisis in Sudan, Sudanese social ideals and traditions are being challenged in a new way. The mass migration of Sudanese to Cairo is leading to deteriorating household structures and financial situations, which necessitates a shift in gender roles and relations. For example, the concept of gender “complementarity,” which is based upon the notion that the husband should earn the household income while the mother rears the children, is not conducive to the situation of the Sudanese populations in Cairo, where the traditional family structure is often dismantled.

Fabos also addresses the way in which conceptions of modesty among the Sudanese population have changed as a result of migration to Cairo. In an attempt to preserve their values, the displaced Sudanese in Cairo often characterize Egyptians as immodest, including the failure to practice FGC into this definition of immodesty. These gender ideals that link modesty with sexual propriety and other traditional Arab values informs the social interactions of Sudanese men and women in Cairo.

Because morality and sexual propriety are considered endemic to a Sudanese woman’s gendered identity, FGC represents the embodiment of these cultural ideals. FGC is therefore seen as a rite of passage for Sudanese women; however, it is rejected by many Sudanese women who deny a correlation between their morality and their sexual behavior. While it may be expected that instances of FGC would increase among the Sudanese populations in Cairo in an effort to assert their conservative identity, it has been prevented by dissent among displaced Sudanese women who refuse to subject their daughters to the torture of the practice.

Fabos concludes by reiterating the fact the gendered attitudes toward FGC are an intrinsic part of the conception of propriety that marks Sudanese identity in Cairo. As Sudanese communities are resisting the practice of FGC today, they are finding new ways of asserting their identity in foreign cities such as Cairo.

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Migration, Ethnicity, Gender, Women, Girls, Gender Roles, Gender-Based Violence, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Hierarchies, Households, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Sexuality Regions: Africa, MENA, East Africa, Asia, Middle East Countries: Egypt, Sudan

Year: 2001

Gender Roles and Cultural Continuity in the Asian Indian Immigrant Community in the US


Das Dasgupta, Shamita. 1998. "Gender Roles and Cultural Continuity in the Asian Indian Immigrant Community in the US." Sex Roles 38 (11-12): 953-74.

Author: Shamita Das Dasgupta


Ethnic identity is a part of positive self-concept that consciously anchors an individual to a particular ethnic group. Central to this identity is a sense of belonging, as well as a commitment to the group's values, beliefs, behaviors, conventions, and customs. This study focuses on the Asian Indian community in the U.S. to investigate their concerns with the continuity of ethnic identity via maintenance of traditional culture. Intergenerational synchrony in two specific values, attitudes toward women and dating, were examined as indicators of successful transmission of culture and identity. Forty-six educated, middle class Indian immigrant families, the majority of whom were foreign born and Hindus, participated in this study by responding to three questionnaires: Attitude Toward Women Scale, Dating Scale, and IPAT Anxiety Scale. Although the results show a strong similarity between parents and children on target attitudes, distinct intergenerational and gender asymmetries emerged. The conscious attempt to preserve certain critical attitudes, values, and behaviors characteristic of the group was labeled “judicious biculturalism,” an expression of active involvement on the immigrants' part to control the course of their own acculturation. The study has implications for women's status within the Asian Indian community.

Keywords: gender roles, immigration, gender transformation

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Migration, Ethnicity, Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Households Regions: Americas, North America, Asia, South Asia Countries: India, United States of America

Year: 1998

Gender Balance and the Meanings of Women in Governance in Post-Genocide Rwanda


Burnet, Jennie. 2008. "Gender Balance and the Meanings of Women in Governance in Post-Genocide Rwanda." African Affairs 107 (428): 361-86.

Author: Jennie Burnet


Across Africa, many countries have taken initiatives to increase the participation and representation of women in governance. Yet it is unclear what meaning these initiatives have in authoritarian, single-party states like Rwanda. Since seizing power in 1994, the Rwandan Patriotic Front has taken many steps to increase the participation of women in politics such as creating a Ministry of Gender, organizing women’s councils at all levels of government, and instituting an electoral system with reserved seats for women in the national parliament. This article explores the dramatic increase in women’s participation in public life and representation in governance and the increasing authoritarianism of the Rwandan state under the guise of ‘democratization’. The increased political participation of women in Rwanda represents a paradox in the short term: as their participation has increased, women’s ability to influence policy-making has decreased. In the long term, however, increased female representation in government could prepare the path for their meaningful participation in a genuine democracy because of a transformation in political subjectivity.


Keywords: post-conflict governance, post-conflict reconstruction, women's political participation


In her article, Burnet examines the increased percentage of women in positions of political leadership in Rwanda in the years following the 1994 genocide. Before the 1994 civil war, women had seldom held positions in the nation’s parliament. Between 1994 and 2003, however, the number of women in Rwanda’s government increased dramatically as a result of President Kagame’s effort to integrate women into the post-conflict reconstruction process. While the Rwandan Patriotic Front imposed quotas that made Rwanda the country with the highest percentage of women in its government in 2003, this gender equality on the political level did not implicate genuine female empowerment. Rather, the RPF’s introduction of women into positions of political leadership served to cover up the party’s authoritarianism and human right’s abuses as well as a way to gain praise from the international community.

In the years following the genocide, not only did women’s political representation skyrocket, but the number of women’s organizations also increased dramatically. Scholars cite four main reasons for the proliferation of women’s organizations: the extreme crisis that women faced following the genocide, the history of women’s grassroots organizations in the country, economic aid from the international community, and the Rwandan government’s policies. The RPF’s ideology also played into the drastic increase in women’s NGOs’s in the late 1990s. Burnet explains that RPF saw civil society as an intrinsic part of the state; thus, the regime encouraged the development of local organizations that promoted the stated goals of the national government.

The congruence between women in civil society and in government was affirmed in 1999 when the government passed “the Inheritance Law,” which gave women the legal right to inherit property, among other benefits, such as paid employment and contract rights; however, this promotion of women’s rights did not entail democratic values in the country’s politics. Members of the national government continued to be appointed by RPF leaders rather than elected by the public. In addressing the question of why, if the country was not a true democracy, the regime allowed the Inheritance Law to pass, Burnet writes that the RPF saw the legislation as a necessary step in protecting the rights of genocide widows and that the women’s NGOs that had formed worked in cohesion to manipulate the state and support the policy.  The major presence of women in Rwanda’s government also allowed female decision-makers to influence government policy. In analyzing the success of women in passing the legislation, Burnet concludes that “limited forms of democratic participation are possible under an authoritarian government” (378).

In the latter half of her article, Burnet assesses the situation of women in Rwanda today, arguing that it has not improved despite the participation of women in the nation’s governance. She writes that the women’s movement in Rwanda has been set back because the leaders of women’s NGOs have abandoned their civil society work to take government positions, leaving the organizations with weak leadership. Additionally, women’s organizations have not been able to rally around a single issue, which has undercut the unity of the women’s movement. Increased female participation in government has also had other negative consequences. Leaders of women’s NGOs in Rwanda view female politicians in the RPF as traitors to the women’s movement, which has weakened the cooperation between civil society and the state in promoting women’s rights, and some argue that the RPF has also carried out female-friendly policies merely as a way to further its own political agenda.

Burnet concludes that while women in Rwanda may not immediately benefit from the political and legal rights granted to them by the RPF, advancements in gender equality may develop in the long-term. As Rwanda’s culture continues to develop, women’s identities will change, affording them greater agency as an accumulation of their political, legal, and social rights. The incorporation of women into Rwanda’s government has changed public perceptions of women positively, paving the way for freedom in other areas of their lives. Post-genocide reconstruction has also necessitated the active participation of women in infrastructure projects, farming tasks, and other household and government roles. Thus, while the genocide confronted women with the difficulty of handling these new tasks without the help of their deceased male counterparts, it entailed a complete disruption of conventional gender relations, which provided offered women an opportunity for more robust political and social roles.

Topics: Civil Society, Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Governance, NGOs, Peacebuilding, Peace Processes, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Rights, Women's Rights, Security Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa Countries: Rwanda

Year: 2008

The Impact of Male Labor Migration on Women in Botswana


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

Author: Barbara Brown


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


  • 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

Migration and the Transformation of Gender Roles and Hierarchies in Yucatan


Bever, Sandra Weinstein. 2002. "Migration and the Transformation of Gender Roles and Hierarchies in Yucatan." Urban Anthropology and Studies of Cultural Systems and World Economic Development 31 (2): 199-230.

Author: Sandra Weinstein Bever


This study explores how gender relations and gender roles have been modified as a result of temporary male outmigration in a Yucatec Maya community. To understand the changes in gender relations brought about by migration the author provides a comparative analysis between migrant and non-migrant households. Moreover, the author examines intra-household gender relations and reveals how gender roles and gender ideologies are contested, reinforced and renegotiated in migrant and non-migrant households. One way to explore intra-household relations is by documenting the extent of control that men and women have over household expenses. A closer look at patterns of income allocation within migrant and non-migrant households illustrates how husbands and wives negotiate decision-making in the household and how intra-household gender hierarchies are established.  The findings suggest that while there may be obvious transformations in gender roles, gender ideology continues to be strongly defended by both men and women in this Yucatec Maya community.

Keywords: migration, gender transformation


  • In her article, Bever argues that male outmigration impacts intra-household gender roles in the Yucatec Maya community of Sudzal, in which migration activity generates 43% of the city’s income. She looks at data from 1997-1998 from both migrant and non-migrant households in order to gather information on their comparative household decision-making, gender roles, gender ideology, and gender relations.
  • In Maya communities, men are seen as the primary economic provider in the household. Because of the high levels of labor migration among men today, however, women have begun to enter the workforce in order to supplement their husbands’ income. The increase in women’s involvement in the labor force has led to a shift in gender roles that conflicts with traditional gender ideology. In her study, Bever finds that the division of labor among husbands and wives is much more equal in migrant households than non-migrant households. The majority of wives in both migrant and non-migrant households maintain, however, that their husbands’ work is the most important economic activity.
  • In her section entitled “Patterns of income allocation in migrant and non-migrant households,” Bever assesses the socioeconomic impact of temporary labor migration on the household and on gender relations. She distinguishes between “pooling households,” in which the incomes of husbands and wives are combined and the husbands control the family’s budget, and non-pooling households, in which the husband’s earnings are the sole contribution to the household’s budget. While women do contribute financially to the household in these pooling households, traditional gender ideologies still prevent women from realizing their roles as household providers. Generally, women who decide to earn an income without their husbands’ consent do so out of desperation, and this oftentimes creates tension in these husband-wife relationships, as they are seen as challenging their husbands’ authority.
  • Bever turns to a comparison between women in migrant and non-migrant households, arguing that while women in migrant households have more of an opportunity (and necessity) to enter the workforce and provide for their families, oftentimes, they would rather fulfill the role of caretaker and housewife than produce an income. She also finds that young migrant wives feel more pressure to obey their husbands and stay at home than do older migrant wives since they have not yet earned the respect of their husbands and they rely on their husbands to provide enough financially for their children. This supports her argument that when women do challenge their husband’s economic authority, it is usually out of pragmatism and necessity rather than a desire to change gender ideologies. Bever concludes that while the gender roles of Yucatec Mayan women are changing, traditional gender ideology continues to be upheld.

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Migration, Gender, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Hierarchies Regions: Americas, North America Countries: Mexico

Year: 2002

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


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


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


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

Gay Rights in Uganda: Seeking to Overturn Uganda's Anti-Sodomy Laws


Hollander, Michael. 2009. "Gay Rights in Uganda: Seeking to Overturn Uganda's Anti-Sodomy Laws." Virginia Journal of International Law 50: 219-66.

Author: Michael Hollander


Sections of the Ugandan Penal Code criminalizing sodomy were imposed during colonial rule, but have been fully integrated into Ugandan social norms and culture.  This article argues for a national and international framework that together might lead to the repeal of discriminatory legislation.  However, it cautions that changes to the law must be coupled with changes in the cultural, public, and religious perceptions of homosexuality which are deeply entrenched at this time.

This essay presents a comprehensive legal argument for overturning the anti-sodomy laws (as documented in Sections 145, 146, and 148 of the Uganda Penal Code Act) that have been adopted by the Ugandan government during the post-colonial era. Hollander uses “both a national constitutional framework and an international framework that includes treaties, other international agreements, and a developing international consensus that persecution of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or intersex (LGBTI) individuals is a human rights violation” in presenting his argument.

Keywords: human rights, law

Topics: Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Hierarchies, Governance, Constitutions, International Law, LGBTQ, Religion, Rights, Human Rights, Sexuality Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Uganda

Year: 2009

Rape, Love and War - Personal or Political?


Ericsson, Kjersti. 2011. "Rape, Love and WarPersonal or Political?" Theoretical Criminology 15 (1): 67-82.

Author: Kjersti Ericsson


This article discusses how war rapes and consensual sexual relationships with enemy soldiers are framed and understood, with special emphasis on the consequences for the women involved. It [examines] war rapes in Bosnia-Herzegovina during the Balkan war and Danish and Norwegian women's sexual relationships with German occupant soldiers during the Second World War. I argue that the conception of women's sexuality as national property is central to understanding the attitudes towards both categories of women. To preserve their dignity, war rape victims may profit from a collective, political discourse. Women having had consensual relationships [with] enemy soldiers, however, have to extricate themselves from the collective and political discourse and interpret what happened to them as strictly personal.

Keywords: war rape, coping strategies, nation, sexuality, victim


Uses empirical research that has been done in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Denmark, Norway (latter countries in the post-WWII era). (Ericsson 67-70)


"Rape used as a weapon of war demonstrates that women in one sense are objects of men's transactions in this context: they are not violated as individual women, but as the nation's women: the attack on their sexuality is an affront to the national collective of men." (71)

"Despite this, not even war rape victims in Bosnia-Herzegovina could escape the suspicion that they might have been implicated in their own violation." (73)

"The stories of the Norwegian war children make one wonder: how will the mothers of children conceived through war rapes deal with questions from their sons and daughters when they want to know who their father is?" (76)

"To put it very shortly: relief for the rape victims lies in framing themselves as part of the collective, while for someone with consensual relations it lies in framing themselves as individuals." (77)

"Skjelsbæk mentions a fatwa issued by the imam of Sarajevo in 1994, a fatwa that both she and several of her interviewees deem very important.  In the fatwa, the imam declared that Bosnian women who had been subjected to sexual violence ought to be looked upon as war heroes.  The message that war rape victims were to be considered war heroes, and not least the source of this message, a religious authority, made this alternative conception a possible resource, both to individual women that had experienced rape, and for therapeutic work with rape victims." (77)

"On the other hand, if rape is understood mainly in a gendered frame of reference, the woman feels her female identity as damaged, and shame, guilt, and silence is the result." (78)

"However, if solidarity with raped women is made contingent upon a strong identification with the ethnic group, the woman as an autonomous individual may be seen as less important.  Even if the rape victim, through the ethnic interpretation, may escape being constructed as a woman of questionable morals, or as 'damaged goods' as Skjelsbæk  points out, other aspects of patriarchal patterns may nevertheless assert themselves….Some of the health workers interviewed by Skjelsbæk  also feel that there has been an increase in violence against women in post-war Bosnia-Herzegovina.  If this holds true, it fits with a conception of woman's body belonging to her ethnic or national group in the patriarchal sense, an ownership that is threatened in war and may have to be reinforced in post-war times.  If there has really been a backlash, this may perhaps be a manifestation of the sinister side of the notion linking a woman's body very strongly to her ethnic group." (79)


Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Ethnicity, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Security, Sexual Violence, Rape, SV against Women, Sexuality Regions: Europe, Balkans, Eastern Europe, Nordic states, Northern Europe Countries: Bosnia & Herzegovina, Denmark, Norway

Year: 2011

The Other Half of Gender: Men's Issues in Development


Bannon, Ian, & Maria Correia. 2006. The Other Half of Gender: Men's Issues in Development. Washington, DC: World Bank Group.

Authors: Ian Bannon, Maria Correia


This book is an attempt to bring the gender and development debate full circle-from a much-needed focus on empowering women to a more comprehensive gender framework that considers gender as a system that affects both women and men. The chapters in this book explore definitions of masculinity and male identities in a variety of social contexts, drawing from experiences in Latin America, the Caribbean and sub-Saharan Africa. It draws on a slowly emerging realization that attaining the vision of gender equality will be difficult, if not impossible, without changing the ways in which masculinities are defined and acted upon. Although changing male gender norms will be a difficult and slow process, we must begin by understanding how versions of masculinities are defined and acted upon. (WorldCat)

Keywords: development, gender norms

Topics: Development, Gender, Women, Men, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, Southern Africa, West Africa, Americas, Caribbean countries, Central America, South America

Year: 2006

Weapon of War

"In no other country has sexual violence matched the scale of brutality reached in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). During nearly two decades of conflicts between rebels and government forces, an estimated 150,000 Congolese women and girls fell victim to mass rape. That figure continues to rise. 


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