Printer-friendly versionSend by emailPDF version

NGOs

Constructing Humanitarian Selves and Refugee Others

Citation:

Olivius, Elisabeth. 2016. “Constructing Humanitarian Selves and Refugee Others.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 18 (2): 270–90.

Author: Elisabeth Olivius

Abstract:

Contributing to ongoing debates about what happens when feminism is institutionalized in global governance, this article examines how gender equality is given meaning and applied in humanitarian aid to refugees, and what the implications are with regard to the production of subjectivities and their positioning in relations of power. Drawing on Foucauldian and postcolonial feminist perspectives, the analysis identifies two main representations of what it means to promote gender equality in refugee situations. Gender equality is represented as a means to aid effectiveness through the strategic mobilization of refugee women's participation, and as a project of development, involving the transformation of “traditional” or “backward” refugee cultures into modern societies. The subject positions that are produced categorically cast refugees as either passive or problematic subjects who need to be rescued, protected, assisted, activated, controlled and reformed through humanitarian interventions, while humanitarian workers are positioned as rational administrators and progressive agents of social transformation. In effect, gender equality is used to sustain power asymmetries in refugee situations and to reproduce global hierarchies.

Keywords: global governance, gender equality, refugees, humanitarian aid, governmentality, postcolonial feminism, Thailand, Bangladesh

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Refugee/IDP Camps, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Governance, Humanitarian Assistance, NGOs Regions: Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Bangladesh, Thailand

Year: 2016

“Drawing the Line” and Other Small-Scale Resistances: Exploring Agency and Ambiguity in Transnational Feminist and Queer NGOs

Citation:

Liinason, Mia (she/her/hers), 2021. “'Drawing the Line' and Other Small-Scale Resistances: Exploring Agency and Ambiguity in Transnational Feminist and Queer NGOs." International Feminist Journal of Politics 23 (1): 102-124.

Author: Mia Liinason

Abstract:

This article explores the workings of gender expertise inside the institutions of the international governance system as it engages with faith-based actors. Utilizing narratives of gender experts, documentary analysis, and observation, I focus on these experts’ encounters regarding gender equality and women’s rights with religious leaders, religious actors, and conservative governments. Focusing on episodes in which the terms “cultural difference” and “religion” are used synonymously, first, I show how encounters between transnational actors can play a role in hegemonic interpretations of these terms. Second, I explore how powerful actors can become more authoritative in making claims of cultural difference or how the existing distribution of power may be disrupted. I contend that these power relations affect discussions of gender equality. My goal is to contribute to feminist debates by highlighting the ways in which these transnational interactions disrupt assumptions of West versus East. Paying attention to these complex processes can challenge ethnocentric and racist discourses without taking claims of cultural difference at face value.

Keywords: 'feminism', queer, NGOs, transnational, neoliberalism

Topics: Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, International Organizations, Intersectionality, NGOs, Religion, Rights, Women's Rights

Year: 2020

Gender, Energy, and Inequalities: A Capabilities Approach Analysis of Renewable Electrification Projects in Peru

Citation:

Fernández-Baldor, Álvaro, Pau Lillo, and Alejandra Boni. 2015. “Gender, Energy, and Inequalities: A Capabilities Approach Analysis of Renewable Electrification Projects in Peru.” In Sustainable Access to Energy in the Global South: Essential Technologies and Implementation Approaches, edited by Silvia Hostettler, Ashok Gadgil, and Eileen Hazboun, 193-204. Cham: Springer.

Authors: Álvaro Fernández-Baldor, Pau Lillo, Alejandra Boni

Abstract:

Technology, despite being very important, is not the only factor that ensures the success of an intervention. There are many different elements to take into account when planning projects, especially in complex environments such as the least-developed areas of the world. However, development aid interventions have generally been focused on supplying a technological goods or services instead of focusing on people, thus missing out on the project’s potential for social transformation. This paper analyzes four renewable energy-based electrification projects implemented by the nongovernmental organization Practical Action in the rural area of Cajamarca, Peru. Using the Capabilities Approach, the research examines the effect of the projects on the things people value. It confirms that projects provide different benefits to the communities (reducing air pollution caused by candles and kerosene, improving access to communication through television and radio, providing the possibility of night study under appropriate light, etc.), but also detects an expansion of the capabilities in other areas not considered by the nongovernmental organization such as those related to religion, leisure, or community participation. However, the expansion of capabilities is different for men and women. The study reveals the limitations of interventions designed to supply technology, electrification in this particular case, which do not take into account certain elements that can cause the use of technology to contribute unequally to the expansion of people’s capabilities. The research concludes that technological projects can generate inequalities and some recommendations are presented in order to address these issues when planning interventions.

Keywords: real option, gender inequality, Capability Approach, supervisory board, practical action

Topics: Development, Gender, Infrastructure, Energy, NGOs Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Peru

Year: 2015

The Gender Agenda: NGOs and Capitalist Relations in Highland Cambodia

Citation:

Frewer, Tim. 2017. “The Gender Agenda: NGOs and Capitalist Relations in Highland Cambodia.” Critical Asian Studies 49 (2): 163-86. 

Author: Tim Frewer

Abstract:

Cambodia’s mountainous northeastern province of Ratanakiri, which only twenty years ago was home to mainly indigenous minority groups largely focused on subsistence production, has undergone rapid ecological, social, and economic transformation. Deforestation and land alienation in the context of large-scale plantation agriculture, land speculation, and smallholder cash cropping have led to concerns that indigenous communities are being alienated from their land and not benefitting from economic changes. This has resulted in a significant number of NGO and government programs that attempt to protect and “empower” indigenous people, particularly women. This article examines a one-year research project which explored the relationship between indigenous women and land change in two indigenous villages. It discusses how indigenous women as well as Khmer and landless Cham immigrants have dealt with the commoditization of land and labor. It focuses on the differentiated way capitalist relations have pushed men, women, landless laborers, and increasingly wealthy landowners on increasingly divergent life trajectories. Compelled by donors to focus on gender and indigenous women as an object of governance, the NGO that directed this project struggled to keep up with the realities of capitalist relations on the ground.

Keywords: land use change, critical development, frontiers, NGOs, indigeneity

Topics: Gender, Women, Indigenous, NGOs, Rights, Indigenous Rights, Land Rights, Property Rights Regions: Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Cambodia

Year: 2017

Bringing Diversity to Nature: Politicizing Gender, Race and Class in Environmental Organizations?

Citation:

Arora-Jonsson, Seema, and Mia Ågren. 2019. “Bringing Diversity to Nature: Politicizing Gender, Race and Class in Environmental Organizations?” Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space 2: 874–98.

Authors: Seema Arora-Jonsson, Mia Ågren

Abstract:

Environmental organizations play an important role in mainstream debates on nature and in shaping our environments. At a time when environmental NGOs are turning to questions of gender-equality and ethnic diversity, we analyze their possibilities to do so. We argue that attempts at ethnic and cultural diversity in environmental organizations cannot be understood without insight into the conceptualizations of nature and the environment that underpin thinking within the organization. Serious attempts at diversity entail confronting some of the core values on nature-cultures driving the organization as well as understanding the dimensions of power such as class, gender, and race that structure its practices. We study what nature means for one such organization, the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, and the ways in which thinking about nature dictates organizational practice and sets the boundaries of their work with diversity in their projects on outdoor recreation. We base our analysis on official documents and interviews, analyze how “diversity” and “gender-equality” are represented in the material and reflect on the interconnections as well as the different trajectories taken by the two issues. Our study shows that the organization’s understanding of nature is a central and yet undiscussed determinant of their work with diversity that closes down as much as it opens up the space for greater inclusion of minorities. We argue that for environmental organizations wanting to diversity membership, a discussion of what nature means for people and their relationships to each other and nature is vital to any such efforts.

Keywords: diversity, gender, class, environmental organizations, whiteness, environmental justice

Topics: Class, Environment, Ethnicity, Gender, Gender Equality/Inequality, NGOs, Race Regions: Europe, Nordic states, Northern Europe Countries: Sweden

Year: 2019

Gender Mainstreaming of the Security Sector in Bosnia and Herzegovina: From the Policy Papers to Reality

Citation:

Tomić, Ankica. 2015. “Gender Mainstreaming of the Security Sector in Bosnia and Herzegovina: From the Policy Papers to Reality.” Connections 14 (3): 87-102.

Author: Ankica Tomić

Annotation:

Summary:
"Gender mainstreaming of the security sector in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) twenty years ago was perceived as a “foreign” syntagma and proved very difficult to translate into the three official languages (Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian). The challenge was not only translation but also the transposition of that concept into reality. The link between the concept of gender mainstreaming and security sector tasks and responsibilities was a new topic for BiH society as well as globally. As a post-conflict country, in the last twenty years Bosnia and Herzegovina has gone through reforms in different areas such as police, intelligence, justice, etc. Those reforms were intensified in the period from 2003 until 2008 in the framework of the BiH integration process into the European Union and NATO. At that time, neither the BiH political elite nor representatives of the international community were aware of the benefits of the integration of the gender concept in those nor in other reforms in the country. It was women’s organizations that started familiarizing the BiH public with the importance of including and applying the concept of gender in security sector reforms, namely to implement United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security (UNSCR 1325). They first gained financial support from the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and other UN organizations in order to implement different programs and projects. Those efforts, commitments, and the influence of these women’s organizations led to the government at all levels in Bosnia and Herzegovina establishing in 2003 official gender mechanisms such as the Gender Center of Government of Federation, the Gender Center of Government of Republic Srpska and, in 2004, the Gender Equality Agency at the national level. Their establishment came at a crucial moment for the institutionalization of gender mainstreaming in all areas of public and private life in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Only a few years after those gender mechanisms were established they were applied in the drafting of two strategic documents, the Gender Action Plan (GAP) for the period 2006-2013 and an Action Plan for the implementation of UNSCR 1325 in Bosnia and Herzegovina (AP 1325) for a period of three years (2010- 2013). Those two documents were not imposed or drafted externally, which was the case with many other documents in Bosnia and Herzegovina from that period. They were produced by the representatives of BiH institutions together with the representatives of NGOs according to local priorities and needs, an important precondition for local ownership and sustainability of the whole process. Because of this, many were hopeful that enacting these documents would have a real and positive effect on the lives of men, women, and children throughout the country. In this article I first give a brief overview of the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina before those national policy documents were adopted and of the post-adoption period. Second, my intention is to analyze the reasons why the adoption of AP 1325 was perceived as a big success in the country as well as the region and at a global level. Third, because I was personally involved in the implementation of the first AP 1325 on behalf of the Ministry of Security and in the drafting of the second AP 1325, my focus will be on the achievements of the Ministry of Security in the implementation process of AP 1325 as well as my personal experience with gender mainstreaming of the security sector in BiH. Finally, in my conclusion I examine the main lessons learned, current challenges, and present my personal view of how the envisaged goals from the documents can bring meaningful and real change to the daily lives of all people in Bosnia and Herzegovina" (Tomić 2015, 87 -89).

Topics: Civil Society, Gender, Governance, Post-Conflict Governance, NGOs, Post-Conflict, Security Sector Reform, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS, UNSCR 1325 Regions: Europe, Balkans, Eastern Europe Countries: Bosnia & Herzegovina

Year: 2015

Between Despair and Hope: Women and Violence in Contemporary Guyana

Citation:

Trotz, D. Alissa. 2004. “Between Despair and Hope: Women and Violence in Contemporary Guyana.” Small Axe 8 (1): 1–20.

Author: D. Alissa Trotz

Abstract:

The immediate aftermath of the 1997 and 2001 elections in Guyana was marked by violence, most of which targeted members of the Indo-Guyanese community. While far more men than women were directly assaulted in the recent waves of political violence, this essay specifically addresses the violence that women experience as members of racially marked communities and asks three questions: How is gender implicated in racialized electoral violence and community responses to such assaults? How can we account for women's different responses to violence? How might we begin to realistically construct a viable opposition against all forms of violence against women? I begin by outlining some gendered aftereffects of the 1997 and 2001 elections. As a way of making sense of these events, I raise some questions about colonial inheritances and contemporary inequalities in an effort to suggest linkages between pasts and presents, private and public domains. I then explore how women come to symbolize racialized difference, and the investments women themselves may have in such self-other notions, as racialized subjects who are gendered female. The final section draws on the work of Red Thread, a women's organization in Guyana, in an effort to stimulate discussion of antiracist and antiviolence work that centrally acknowledges differences among women. The example is used here not as a final word on the subject but rather as a provisional gesture toward inclusion and conversation.

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Ethnicity, Gender, Women, Governance, Elections, NGOs, Race, Sexual Violence, Rape, SV against Women, Violence Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Guyana

Year: 2004

Of Vulnerability and Coercion: A Study of Sex Trafficking in Assam

Citation:

Ray, Sawmya. 2015. "Of Vulnerability and Coercion: A Study of Sex Trafficking in Assam." Sociological Bulletin 64 (3): 305-24.

Author: Sawmya Ray

Abstract:

This paper discusses the political, economic, and socio-cultural context within which trafficking of women and girls take place for commercial sexual exploitation in Assam. Specifically, it examines the relation between existing gender norms, prevailing conflict, and sex trafficking. It is based on data collected from rescued trafficked women, state and non-state anti-trafficking personnel, and case studies collected from NGOs. It argues that gendered norms intersect with existing political economy factors to doubly disadvantage women vis-à-vis trafficking, both during times of normalcy and conflict.

Keywords: Assam, gender norms, sex trafficking, sex work, violence

Topics: Economies, Conflict, Gender, Women, Girls, NGOs, Sexual Violence, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, Trafficking, Sex Trafficking Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: India

Year: 2015

Gender Mainstreaming and Water Development Projects: Analyzing Unexpected Enviro-Social Impacts in Bolivia, India, and Lesotho

Citation:

Cairns, Maryann R., Cassandra L. Workman, and Indrakshi Tandon. 2017. "Gender Mainstreaming and Water Development Projects: Analyzing Unexpected Enviro-Social Impacts in Bolivia, India, and Lesotho." Gender, Place & Culture 24 (3): 325-42.

Authors: Maryann R. Cairns, Cassandra L. Workman, Indrakshi Tandon

Abstract:

ENGLISH ABSTRACT:
Gender mainstreaming policies and programs, meant to be gender-sensitive or to target gender issues, are increasingly implemented by both governmental and non-governmental actors. However, these projects seem set to continually aim solely at women, despite more than a decade of work encouraging broader scope. Using recent case studies from Bolivia, Lesotho, and India, we address the tensions laden in three major questions about water, gender, and development: (1) Is mandatory inclusion of women in water governance and decision-making effective?, (2) Do water development projects provide equal benefits and burdens for women and men?, and (3) In what ways are water projects and their policies impacting and impacted by gendered enviro-social spaces? By providing triangulated data from ethnographic studies in three distinct local contexts, we are able to pinpoint major cross-cutting themes that serve to highlight and interrogate the gendered impacts of water development projects’ policies: public and private lives, women’s labor expectations, and managing participation. We find that gender mainstreaming endeavors continue to fall short in their aim to equitably include women in their programming and that geographic, environmental, and socio-cultural spaces are intimately related to how these equitability issues play out. We provide practical recommendations on how to address these issues.
 
SPANISH ABSTRACT:
Las políticas y programas de transversalización de género, diseñadas para ser sensibles al género o con objetivos en temas relacionados con éste, se implementan cada vez más tanto por actores gubernamentales como no gubernamentales. Sin embargo, estos proyectos parecen programados para apuntar únicamente y en forma continua a las mujeres, a pesar de más de una década de trabajo alentando un abordaje más abarcativo. Utilizando estudios de caso recientes de Bolivia, Lesoto e India, analizamos las tensiones generadas en tres cuestiones principales acerca del agua, el género y el desarrollo: 1) ¿Es efectiva la obligatoriedad de la incorporación de las mujeres en la gobernanza y la toma de decisiones sobre el agua?, 2) ¿Los proyectos de desarrollo hídrico brindan los mismos beneficios y cargas a las mujeres que a los hombres?, y 3) ¿De qué maneras los proyectos de agua y sus políticas están impactando en los espacios socioambientales generizados, y de qué manera están siendo impactados por éstos? Ofreciendo datos triangulados de estudios etnográficos en tres contextos locales distintos, pudimos identificar importantes temas transversales que sirven para destacar e interrogar los impactos generizados de las políticas de los proyectos de desarrollo hídrico: las vidas públicas y privadas, las expectativas laborales de las mujeres y la administración de la participación. Encontramos que los esfuerzos en pos de una transversalización del género continúan teniendo sus límites en su intento por incluir de forma equitativa a las mujeres en su programación y que los espacios geográficos, ambientales y socioculturales están íntimamente relacionados con la forma en que se desarrollan estos temas de equidad. Brindamos recomendaciones prácticas sobre cómo abordar estos problemas.
 
CHINESE ABSTRACT:
理应对性别敏感或聚焦性别议题的性别主流化政策与方案,正逐渐由政府与非政府行动者实行。尽管十多年来不断鼓励扩大性别主流化的工作范畴,但这些方案似乎持续仅针对女性。我们运用玻利维亚,莱索托与印度的晚近案例研究,应对有关水,性别与发展的三大问题中充满的紧张关系:(1)强制将女性纳入水资源管理与决策是否有效?(2)水资源发展计画是否对男性与女性产生相同的效益与负担?以及(3)水资源计画及其政策以什麽方式影响性别化的环境—社会空间并受其影响?透过提供三个特殊地方脉络的民族志研究的三角交叉数据,我们得以精确定位强调并探问水资源发展计画方案的性别化冲击的主要交错议题:公共与私人生活,女性的劳动期待,以及经营参与。我们发现,性别主流化的努力,持续无法达到公平地将女性纳入计画的目标,而地理、环境和社会文化空间,与这些平等议题如何展开紧密相关。我们对如何应对上述问题提出务实的建议。

Keywords: women, water supply, equity and inclusion, NGOs, development, Mujeres, provisión de agua, equidad e inclusión, ONG, desarrollo, 女性, 水资源供给, 平等与包容, 非政府组织, 发展

Topics: Development, Environment, Gender, Women, Gender Mainstreaming, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equity, Governance, Infrastructure, Water & Sanitation, Livelihoods, NGOs Regions: Africa, Southern Africa, Americas, South America, Asia, South Asia Countries: Bolivia, India, Lesotho

Year: 2017

Women’s Land Rights in Africa: Does Implementation Match Policy?

Citation:

Sulle, Emmanuel, Sue Mbaya, Barbara Codispoti, Josephine Atananga, Bernard Moseti, and Leah Mugehera. 2019. “Women’s Land Rights in Africa: Does Implementation Match Policy?” Paper presented at Conference on Land Policy in Africa, 2019: Winning the fight against Corruption in the Land Sector: Sustainable Pathway for Africa’s Transformation, Abidjan, November 25-29.

Authors: Emmanuel Sulle, Sue Mbaya, Barbara Codispoti, Josephine Atananga, Bernard Moseti, Leah Mugehera

Abstract:

This paper assesses the performance of selected countries in implementing the provisions of women’s land rights instruments such as African Union Framework and Guidelines on Land Policy in Africa and the Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible Governance of Tenure among others. Field research was carried out in seven African countries whereby, in each country a national researcher in collaboration with the collaborating nongovernmental organisation selected three heterogeneous locations which capture the range of situations under which rural women use land. Based on field research results complemented with desk review, the study finds that while statutory laws to protect women land rights are in place in all studied countries, with some differences and, in some cases with existing loopholes, adherence to these laws at the community level remain inadequate. This is particularly evident in terms of equality of rights to inherit land among men and women. Women experience constant threat from clansmen and relatives of their husbands. As also documented elsewhere, in many African communities (although not all), most land-holding systems are male lineage based, with men playing an important decision-making role. Malawi represents a specific case in this regard, as most land-holdings are based on matrilineal systems, but this still is not an automatic guarantee of women having more decision-making power on land. Based on these findings the paper confirms that while impressive steps to address women’s land rights issues have been taken in recent African policies, law enforceability is yet to receive sufficient political backing, due to widespread patriarchal values, limited financial and human resources and last but not least informal rules of the games that are the same drivers of widespread corruption. Patronage, ‘clientage’, illegality and opacity of land transactions find fertile ground in a patriarchal system. Understanding the status, causes and consequences of the de facto ‘unenforceability’ of constitutional and legal provisions in favour of women might shed a light on much broader challenges like those addressed in this conference. Holistic implementation and reforms that 1) address existing loopholes in land laws and regulation, 2) align other sectoral policies, laws and regulations, and 3) use transformative actions to revert patriarchal values in order to bridge the gender gap in property rights, but also to help creating a fairer environment to contribute combating corruption.

Topics: Corruption, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Gender Hierarchies, Land Tenure, Governance, Constitutions, NGOs, Rights, Land Rights, Property Rights Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, Southern Africa, West Africa Countries: Cameroon, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Togo

Year: 2019

Pages

© 2021 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at info@genderandsecurity.org.

Subscribe to RSS - NGOs