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Political Participation

Producing Homonormativity in Neoliberal South Africa: Recognition, Redistribution, and the Equality Project


Oswin, Natalie. 2007. “Producing Homonormativity in Neoliberal South Africa: Recognition, Redistribution, and the Equality Project.” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 32 (3): 649–69. 

Author: Natalie Oswin

Keywords: homosexuality, homonormativity, neoliberalism, South Africa, LGBTQ+


"When the NCGLE came into being, it opted to pursue a politics of strategic essentialism that ignored the ways in which class, race, and gender issues are inevitably intertwined with sexuality. Thus, it deepened community schisms along these lines and made its self- imposed task of building a strong, cohesive gay and lesbian movement in the postapartheid era that much more difficult. I suggest that its subsequent flawed attempts to bridge a politics of recognition with a meaningful politics of redistribution should not be read as a failure to address the needs of 'poor, black gays and lesbians'. Rather, it should be read as the only possible outcome. The NCGLE/EP did not manage to shake off the yoke of the binary that divides South Africa’s gay and lesbian community into haves and have-nots because it played a role in producing this binary. By serving as a euphemism for community in South African gay and lesbian political discourse, this figure offered a way for the NCGLE/EP to make itself relevant to its intended audience while molding that audience into a cohesive group. The 'poor, black gay and lesbian' is a caricature that played a starring role in the NCGLE/EP’s performance of recognition and redistribution. This figure is the product of the overlay of divisions within the gay and lesbian community onto the strategy of the organization that exacerbated them” (Oswin 2007, 666).

Topics: Intersectionality, LGBTQ, Political Participation Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: South Africa

Year: 2007

Women Building Resilient Cities in the Context of Climate Change: Lessons from Freetown, Sierra Leone


Kellogg, Molly. 2020. Women Building Resilient Cities in the Context of Climate Change: Lessons from Freetown, Sierra Leone. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security.

Author: Molly Kellogg


United Nations Security Council Resolution 2242 recognized climate change as an important consideration for the peace and security of women and girls. Women – marginalized in economic, political, and social spheres in many contexts – have even fewer available resources to cope with climate-related disasters as they face unique and often disproportionate risks.

Yet despite the challenges posed by climate change and gender inequality, evidence shows that women are actively contributing to building resilient cities. In urban contexts, women are carving paths to inclusion across multiple levels of local governance and helping communities become safer and more prepared to cope with disasters.

Field work in Freetown, Sierra Leone, reveals that women engaged in local governance are leading the charge for resilience building. This report distinguishes two key modes of engagement: formal representation, and community-based organizations or civil society networks. Local government shapes how residents experience risk, through providing services such as water or waste management, or planning future land use. In informal settlements, where local government is less reliable, informal structures of organizing can help build resilience, as through designing community-based early warning systems or forming savings cooperatives that allow households to bounce back after a disaster. Interventions from NGOs can fill gaps in service delivery and help link community-based initiative to government planning.

While the gender narrative for climate-related risks in urban areas has focused on women’s vulnerabilities, this report illustrates that women are also making important contributions to building resilient cities. Its findings point to five key recommendations for policy-makers and development practitioners to empower the voices and actions of women in local governance:

  • Invest in community-based organizations in informal settlement communities.
  • Promote collaboration between formal and informal governance bodies.
  • Design projects that are climate-responsive and gender-responsive.
  • Amplify the voices – and actions – of women change agents.
  • Conduct gender-responsive data collection in informal settlements.

Topics: Civil Society, Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Women, Governance, Infrastructure, Political Participation Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Sierra Leone

Year: 2020

Feminist Participatory Action Research as a Tool for Climate Justice


Godden, Naomi Joy, Pam Macnish, Trimita Chakma, and Kavita Naidu. 2020. “Feminist Participatory Action Research as a Tool for Climate Justice.” Gender & Development 28 (3): 593–615.

Authors: Naomi Joy Godden, Pam Macnish, Trimita Chakma, Kavita Naidu


The Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD) uses Feminist Participatory Action Research (FPAR) to strengthen grassroots women’s movements to advocate for an alternative development model – the ‘Feminist Fossil Fuel Free Future’ (5Fs) – to ensure new, gender-just, economic, political, and social relationships in a world free from climate injustices. Grassroots women of the global South face the extreme impacts of climate change resulting in reinforced and exacerbated inequalities driven by a patriarchal capitalist economy. APWLD’s Climate Justice-FPAR 2017–2019 (CJ-FPAR) supported young women researchers across Asia to lead grassroots research to expose the disproportionate impacts of climate change on women to demand climate justice. The programme evaluation found that CJ-FPAR proved highly successful as a feminist political tool in enhancing grassroots women’s activism through capacity building, producing new knowledge, tools and resources, undertaking impactful advocacy, and strengthening the movements’ architecture. We argue that FPAR is a useful methodology for grassroots feminist climate justice activists to collectively document lived experiences of climate change and strengthen women’s movements to engage in strategic activism and advocacy for rights-based policy change.


Le Forum Asie-Pacifique sur les femmes, le droit et le développement (APWLD) emploie la Recherche-action participative féministe (RAPF) pour renforcer les mouvements de femmes au niveau de la base populaire et les aider à préconiser un modèle de développement alternatif — l’avenir féministe sans combustibles fossiles (Feminist Fossil Fuel Free Future — 5Fs) — pour garantir de nouvelles relations économiques, politiques et sociales équitables entre les sexes dans un monde libre d’injustices face au changement climatique. Les femmes de la base populaire de l’hémisphère Sud sont confrontées aux impacts extrêmes du changement climatique, ce qui entraîne des inégalités renforcées et exacerbées, impulsées par une économie capitaliste patriarcale. Le programme de l’APWLD Climate Justice-FPAR (CJ-FPAR) (Justice climat-RAPF) 2017-2019 a aidé des jeunes chercheuses des quatre coins de l’Asie à mener des recherches au niveau de la base populaire pour mettre en évidence les impacts disproportionnés du changement climatique sur les femmes afin d’exiger la justice en matière de climat. L’évaluation du programme a constaté que CJ-FPAR s’est révélé extrêmement efficace en tant qu’outil féministe pour renforcer l’activisme des femmes au niveau de la base populaire grâce au renforcement des capacités, à la production de nouveaux outils, connaissances et ressources, à la réalisation d’activités de plaidoyer à fort impact et au renforcement de l’architecture des mouvements. Nous soutenons que la RAPF est une méthodologie utile pour les activistes féministes de la base populaire qui luttent pour la justice en matière de climat leur permettant de documenter collectivement les expériences vécues du changement climatique et de renforcer les mouvements de femmes pour qu’ils puissent prendre part à un activisme et un plaidoyer stratégiques en vue de changements de politiques basés sur les droits.


El Foro de Asia y el Pacífico sobre la Mujer, el Derecho y el Desarrollo (APWLD) utiliza la Investigación de Acción Participativa Feminista (FPAR) para fortalecer movimientos de base de mujeres. Su objetivo es abogar por un modelo de desarrollo alternativo —el "Futuro Feminista Libre de Combustibles Fósiles" (5Fs en inglés)— que garantice nuevas relaciones económicas, políticas y sociales justas desde el punto de vista del género en un mundo libre de injusticias climáticas. Las mujeres de base del Sur Global enfrentan impactos extremos vinculados al cambio climático, lo que provoca el reforzamiento y exacerbación de las desigualdades impulsadas por una economía capitalista patriarcal. El programa de justicia climática del APWLD (CJFPAR) 2017-2019 apoyó a jóvenes investigadoras de toda Asia para que dirigieran estudios de base orientadas a exhibir los efectos desproporcionados que el cambio climático tiene en las mujeres, y que ello permitiera exigir justicia climática. Al evaluarse el programa, se determinó que CJ-FPAR fue muy exitoso como instrumento político feminista, pues potencia el activismo de las mujeres a nivel de base fomentando sus capacidades, la producción de nuevos conocimientos, instrumentos y recursos, así como la realización de actividades de incidencia eficaces y el fortalecimiento de la estructura de los movimientos. Sostenemos que el FPAR es una metodología útil para que las activistas feministas de base en pro de la justicia climática documenten colectivamente sus vivencias relacionadas con el cambio climático y fortalezcan los movimientos de mujeres a fin de que participen en el activismo estratégico y la incidencia a favor de un cambio de políticas basado en los derechos.

Keywords: climate justice, feminist participatory action research, women's human rights, Asia, feminist activism, social movements

Topics: Environment, Climate Change, Feminisms, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Justice, Political Participation, Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Asia

Year: 2020

Intersectionality and Collective Action: Visioning a Feminist Green New Deal in the US


Daniel, Tara, and Mara Dolan. 2020. “Intersectionality and Collective Action: Visioning a Feminist Green New Deal in the US.” Gender & Development 28 (3): 515–33.

Authors: Tara Daniel, Mara Dolan


In the wake of the introduction of the Resolution for a Green New Deal to the US House of Representatives in 2019, feminist climate justice activists and organisers initiated and cultivated the Feminist Coalition for a Green New Deal. The Coalition advances an intersectional feminist analysis as part of the national conversation about the Green Deal, which entails elucidating and enacting processes for coalition-formation and creating shared values, principles, and policy positions. This article shares insights from interviews with five Coalition members about the relevance of the Coalition’s creation, operating processes, and key outcomes –namely the principles for a Feminist Green New Deal – for communities, advocates, and policymakers, particularly in this moment of reckoning with a global pandemic. Their reflections illustrate their fervent dedication to the feminist tool of intersectional analysis, their proposals for an alternative economy centred on principles of care and regeneration as the essential scaffolding for a Feminist Green New Deal, and their commitment to the power of collective action as the most effective means of movement building. The responses also demonstrate the interconnectedness of feminist climate advocacy with feminist development critiques, the essentiality of a comprehensive reframing of governments’ general policy processes and aims, and the criticality of movement building that is intentional and responsive.


Au lendemain de l’introduction de la Résolution pour une Nouvelle donne verte auprès de la Chambre des représentants des États-Unis en 2019, les activistes et organisateurs féministes de la justice climatique aux États-Unis ont initié et cultivé la Coalition féministe pour une Nouvelle donne verte (Feminist Coalititon for a Green New Deal). Cette coalition met en avant une analyse féministe intersectionnelle comme élément de cette conversation nationale, qui suppose l’éclaircissement et la promulgation de processus de formation de coalitions et la création de valeurs, principes et positions de politiques communs. Cet article propose des aperçus tirés d’entretiens avec cinq membres de la coalition sur la pertinence de la création, des processus d’opération et des résultats clés de la coalition - c’est-à-dire les principes d’une Nouvelle donne verte féministe - pour les communautés, les défenseurs et les décideurs, a fortiori alors même que nous sommes confrontés à une pandémie mondiale. Leurs réflexions illustrent leur fervent dévouement envers l’outil féministe de l’analyse intersectionnelle, leurs propositions concernant une économie alternative axée sur les principes des soins et de la régénération comme échafaudage essentiel pour une Nouvelle donne verte féministe, et leur engagement en faveur du pouvoir de l’action collective comme moyen le plus efficace de bâtir un mouvement. Les réponses démontrent également l’interconnectivité des activités de plaidoyer féministes en matière de climat et des critiques féministes du développement, le caractère essentiel d’une reformulation
complète des processus et objectifs de politique générale des gouvernements, et l’importance critique d’une construction de mouvements intentionnelle et réactive.


Una vez que la Resolución para un Nuevo Trato Verde fue introducida en la Cámara de Representantes de los Estados Unidos en 2019, activistas y organizadoras feministas en torno a la justicia climática de este país dieron inicio y cultivaron la Coalición Feminista para un Nuevo Trato Verde. Como parte de esta conversación nacional, dicha Coalición realizó un análisis feminista intersectorial, cuyo propósito apuntaba a elucidar y promulgar procesos para la formación de coaliciones, así como a crear valores, principios y propiciar posiciones políticas compartidos. En el presente artículo se examinan ideas surgidas de entrevistas realizadas con cinco miembros de la coalición respecto a la relevancia que asignan a su creación, sus procesos operativos y sus resultados clave —es decir, los principios para un Nuevo Acuerdo Verde Feminista— orientados a comunidades, defensores y responsables encargados de la formulación de políticas, sobre todo en un momento en que, debido a la pandemia mundial, se experimenta una nueva realidad. Sus reflexiones dan cuenta del uso que hacen de la herramienta feminista llamada análisis interseccional y de su ferviente dedicación a impulsar sus propuestas en pos de una economía alternativa centrada en los principios de cuidado y regeneración. Estos elementos resultan esenciales para construir el andamiaje básico de un Nuevo Acuerdo Verde Feminista, a lo que se suma su compromiso de impulsar el poder de la acción colectiva como el medio más eficaz para fortalecer el movimiento. Asimismo, las respuestas suscitadas en las entrevistas revelan la interconexión existente entre la incidencia feminista en torno al clima y las críticas feministas del desarrollo, la necesidad de un replanteamiento integral de los procesos y los objetivos de política general de los gobiernos, y la importancia crítica implícita en el hecho de que la construcción de movimientos sea intencional y responda a las necesidades de este periodo crítico.

Keywords: gender equality, feminism, feminist analysis, intersectionality, movement building, collective action, climate change, Green New Deal

Topics: Economies, Care Economies, Feminist Economics, Environment, Climate Change, Feminisms, Gender, Gender Analysis, Intersectionality, Political Participation Regions: Americas, North America Countries: United States of America

Year: 2020

Pacific Women in Climate Change Negotiations


Carter, George, and Elise Howard. 2020. “Pacific Women in Climate Change Negotiations.” Small States & Territories 3 (2): 303–18.

Authors: George Carter, Elise Howard


The contribution of Pacific women to climate negotiations is underacknowledged. Women may have limited roles as heads of delegations or the face of climate negotiations, yet behind the scenes they often play proactive leadership roles either as technical negotiators or coalition coordinators. Using a global talanoa methodology, the article traces the role of Pacific women in climate negotiations, with a focus on the Paris Climate Conference 2015. It finds that women take on leadership roles that have the potential to disrupt stereotypical gendered divisions of expertise. It also highlights how further in-depth research is required to ascertain whether the leadership space created by climate change negotiations can transform gender relations writ large. These counter narratives contribute to feminist research by highlighting that Pacific women are not passive victims of climate change.

Keywords: gender, climate negotiations, Pacific, Global talanoa, Paris Climate Conference

Topics: Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Hierarchies, Political Participation Regions: Oceania

Year: 2020

Assessing Gender Responsiveness of Forest Policies in India


Tyagi, Niharika, and Smriti Das. 2018. “Assessing Gender Responsiveness of Forest Policies in India”. Forest Policy and Economics 92: 160–68. 

Authors: Niharika Tyagi, Smriti Das


Gender Research spread over the last three decades in South Asia has positioned gender as an imperative in forest policy and practice. Policy attempts have been made to improve women's participation in forest governance at the local level. However, this has had insignificant effect on women's inclusion in forestry as it neglected the structural problems of power and inequity. This paper examines how forest policy has attended to gender concerns in India. It maps the gender trajectory within policy positions and identifies the gap in policy and research. It provides an analytical framework to analyse the Gender Responsiveness of forest policies. The framework helps classifying post-independence forest policies as Gender Blind, Gender Aware and Gender Responsive, based on the gender specific provisions. Analysis indicates that except for few provisions in the FRA, 2006, none of the forest policies appear to be categorically Gender Responsive. This could possibly be because of the limited engagement with structural issues; and, failure to design enabling institutions. Finally, our findings suggest that forest policies need to be grounded in a more nuanced understanding of gender relations and gender roles for sustainable socio-ecological outcomes.

Keywords: Forest policy, gender responsive, gender needs, content, discourse analysis

Topics: Gender, Gender Roles, Gendered Discourses, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Political Participation Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: India

Year: 2018

Women’s Experiences of Peacebuilding in Violence-Affected Communities in Kenya


Mueller-Hirth, Natascha. 2019. “Women’s Experiences of Peacebuilding in Violence-Affected Communities in Kenya.” Third World Quarterly 40 (1): 163–79.

Author: Natascha Mueller-Hirth


Despite the attention to gender and conflict in empirical positivist peace research, and the interest in local agency in recent peacebuilding literature, women’s understandings and lived experiences of peacebuilding are not necessarily well accounted for. This article, drawing on interviews, focus groups and observation research with 57 female victims/ survivors of post-election violence in Kenya, provides an ethnographic study of women’s largely informal peacebuilding activities, ranging from mediation and dialogue to economic empowerment. It analyses women’s constructions and ways of making sense of being peacebuilders, demonstrating that, while participants employed dominant gender frames, they exerted considerable transformative agency in their communities. It argues that their ‘gendered responsibility for peace’ at community level is simultaneously empowering and disempowering. The research aims to increase understanding of the gendered nature of peacebuilding and the ways in which women exercise peacebuilding agency through a focus on their own voices and lived experiences.

Keywords: gender, peacebuilding, women, Kenya, political violence, post-election violence

Topics: Gender, Gender Analysis, Women, Governance, Elections, Peacebuilding, Political Participation Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Kenya

Year: 2019

Surviving Juntas (Together): Lessons of Resilience of Indigenous Quechua Women in the Aftermath of Conflict in Peru


Suarez, Eliana Barrios. 2015. “Surviving Juntas (Together): Lessons of Resilience of Indigenous Quechua Women in the Aftermath of Conflict in Peru.” Intervention 13 (1): 6-18.

Author: Eliana Barrios Suarez


Research into survivors of war has largely focused on suffering, rather than on the resilience, of survivors. This paper presents a cross-sectional survey that examined the factors contributing to the resilience of indigenous Quechua women (n = 151) in the aftermath of Peruvian armed conflict (1980-2000). Regular participation in civic associations, and the migratory status of returnees after the conflict, were associated with higher resilience. In contrast, low levels of education, unpaid occupations and experience of sexual violence during the conflict were all associated with lower resilience. These findings suggest that social policies that revitalise civic society and reduce gender inequalities within education and employment are crucial to enhance women's resilience in post war zones. In this study, the resilience of Quechua women, in particular their association with political activism, offers an unambiguous example of courage and active resistance to extreme adversity.

Keywords: Peru, Quechua women, resilience

Topics: Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Indigenous, Political Participation, Post-Conflict Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Peru

Year: 2015

Islamist Women’s Feminist Subjectivities in (R)Evolution: The Egyptian Muslim Sisterhood in the Aftermath of the Arab Uprisings


Biagini, Erika. 2020. “Islamist Women’s Feminist Subjectivities in (R)Evolution: The Egyptian Muslim Sisterhood in the Aftermath of the Arab Uprisings.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 22 (3): 382–402.

Author: Erika Biagini


This article draws attention to a young generation of Islamist women activists and to how these women have reacted to the patriarchal tendencies of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) movement following the January 25, 2011 revolution in Egypt. Although women’s support was central to the ability of Islamists to win power, after the uprising Islamists failed to grant women significant political rights and autonomy. While the existing literature on gender and nationalism demonstrates that practical gains for women are frequently sidelined by their movements in a post-revolutionary era, there is increasing recognition of the need to examine the relationship between feminism and nationalism in relation to the particular context in which this evolves. This article substantiates this claim with new evidence. Based on a feminist ethnographic study of the Muslim Sisterhood, the female members of the Egyptian MB movement, conducted in Cairo between 2013 and 2018, the article demonstrates that a new gender politics has emerged among Islamist women activists as a result of their engagement in revolutionary struggle. This gender politics has explicit feminist overtones, which have become evident as women begin to challenge men’s position of privilege within the sphere of the family.

Keywords: Egypt, Muslim Brotherhood, Arab Uprisings, Islamist women, feminism, activism, Subjectivity

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Nationalism, Political Participation, Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, MENA, North Africa, Middle East Countries: Egypt

Year: 2020

Enacting Intersectional Multilayered Citizenship: Kurdish Women’s Politics


Erel, Umut, and Necla Acik. 2020. “Enacting Intersectional Multilayered Citizenship: Kurdish Women’s Politics.” Gender, Place & Culture 27 (4): 479–501.

Authors: Umut Erel, Necla Acik


Focusing on the institutional aspects of the Kurdish women’s movement in Turkey since the 1990s the article shows how it established a consciousness within the Kurdish national movement that gender equality is a cornerstone of democracy and ethnic rights. We frame this through theories of enacting intersectional multilayered citizenship and identify three key interventions: autonomous women’s assemblies, women’s quotas in pro-Kurdish rights parties and the cochair system where all elected positions within the pro- Kurdish parties are jointly occupied by a male and female. These have achieved a better representation of women in formal politics, rendered gender equality and sexual violence legitimate subjects of politics and contributed to establishing an aspiration for a more dialogic political ethos. While the women’s movement’s close affiliation with the Kurdish national movement has been highly effective, it also in part circumscribes gender roles to fit its agendas.

Keywords: gender politics, Kurds, Kurdish national movement, Co-chair system, middle east, women's movement, women's quota, women's political representation

Topics: Citizenship, Ethnicity, Gender, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Governance, Quotas, Political Participation, Rights, Women's Rights Regions: MENA, Asia, Europe, Southern Europe Countries: Turkey

Year: 2020


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