Sexual Livelihoods

Extractive Industries as Sites of Supernormal Profits and Supernormal Patriarchy


Bradshaw, Sarah, Brian Linneker, and Lisa Overton. 2017. “Extractive Industries as Sites of Supernormal Profits and Supernormal Patriarchy?” Gender & Development 25 (3): 439–54. 

Authors: Sarah Bradshaw, Brian Linneker, Lisa Overton


This article considers how patriarchal power relations between men and women are produced and reproduced within extractive industries, and examines the idea that the ‘supernormal profits’ to be made there encourage the development of ‘supernormal patriarchy’. By looking at the sites where extraction takes place and relationships between men and women within these sites, we show the extreme and exaggerated gender roles and relations that are found here. We nuance this account by highlighting the need to recognise that patriarchal power is not felt equally by all women and men. Exploring the different roles women adopt in the extractives context we demonstrate the fluidity of women’s identities as workers, ‘whores’, and wives with a focus on transactional sex. The article demonstrates the importance of not seeing women merely as victims of patriarchal relations, or making assumptions about how these relations operate, or the form they take. Better understanding of the range of gender roles adopted in the extractives and the supernormal patriarchal relations that produce and reproduce these is needed by policymakers. This will enable them to promote gender equality and natural resource justice, as part of an agenda to redistribute wealth gains from natural resource extraction.

El presente artículo examina cómo son producidas y reproducidas las  relaciones de poder patriarcales entre hombres y mujeres al interior de las industrias extractivas. Además, analiza la idea de que las “utilidades
extraordinarias” que se producen allí constituyen un aliciente para el desarrollo de un “patriarcado extraordinario”. Observando los sitios en que se realiza la extracción y las relaciones entre hombres y mujeres que se establecen en los mismos, los autores dan cuenta de los roles y las relaciones de género extremos y exagerados que pueden encontrarse en estos lugares. Por otra parte, matizan estos hallazgos y destacan la necesidad de reconocer que el poder patriarcal no es experimentado de la misma manera por las mujeres que por los hombres. Al examinar los distintos roles adoptados por las mujeres en el contexto extractivo, los autores muestran la fluidez que exhiben las identidades de las mujeres como trabajadoras, como “prostitutas” y como esposas, centrándose en el sexo transaccional. El artículo señala la importancia que reviste no ver a las mujeres solo como víctimas de relaciones patriarcales, no formular supuestos sobre cómo operan estas relaciones, y no definir su forma. Por ello, los formuladores de políticas deben comprender mejor la variedad exhibida por los roles de género presentes en la industria extractiva y las relaciones patriarcales extraordinarias que se producen y reproducen a partir de los mismos. De esta manera podrán promover la igualdad de género y la justicia en torno a los recursos naturales como parte de una agenda orientada a distribuir las ganancias producidas por su extracción.

Cet article traite de la manière dont les rapports de force patriarcaux entre les hommes et les femmes sont produits et reproduits au sein des industries extractives, et examine par ailleurs l’idée selon laquelle
les « bénéfices supranormaux » qui peuvent y être réalisés encouragent le développement d’un « patriarcat supernormal ». En se penchant sur les sites dans lesquels a lieu l’extraction et sur les rapports entre les hommes et les femmes dans ces sites, nous mettons en évidence les rôles de genre extrêmes et exagérés et les relations que l’on y observe. Pour nuancer ce compte rendu, nous mettons en relief la nécessité de reconnaître le fait que le pouvoir patriarcal n’est pas ressenti en même mesure par toutes les femmes et tous les hommes. Nous examinons les différents rôles qu’assument les femmes dans le contexte extractif pour mettre en évidence la fluidité des identités des femmes comme travailleuses, « putains » et épouses, en nous concentrant sur les rapports sexuels transactionnels. Cet article montre combien il est important de ne pas voir les femmes comme seulement des victimes des rapports patriarcaux, ou de faire des suppositions sur la manière dont ces rapports fonctionnent, ou la forme qu’ils prennent. Il faut que les personnes chargées de formuler les politiques comprennent mieux la variété de rôles sexo-spécifiques adoptés dans les industries extractives et les rapports patriarcaux supranormaux qui produisent et reproduisent ces rôles. Ils pourront ainsi promouvoir l’égalité entre les sexes et la justice en matière de ressources naturelles, dans le cadre d’un programme de redistribution de l’augmentation des richesses tirées de l’extraction des ressources naturelles.

Keywords: extractive industries, gender inequality, supernormal profit, supernormal patriarchy

Topics: Economies, Extractive Industries, Gender, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Patriarchy, Livelihoods, Sexual Livelihoods Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Tanzania

Year: 2017

Narrations and Practices of Mobility and Immobility in the Maintenance of Gender Dualisms


Boyer, Kate, Robyn Mayes, and Barbara Pini. 2017. “Narrations and Practices of Mobility and Immobility in the Maintenance of Gender Dualisms.” Mobilities 12 (6): 847–60. 

Authors: Kate Boyer, Robyn Mayers, Barbara Pini


This paper analyses the role of practices and representations of mobility in supporting particular kinds of gender orders. While scholarship has shown the various ways women are materially and symbolically ‘fixed’ in place, less attention has been paid to how discourses and practices of mobility interface with systems of gender differentiation more broadly. This work is based on a robust empirical base of 55 interviews, 90 h of participant observation and an analysis of museum displays in Kalgoorile, Western Australia, an iconic frontier mining town selected for this investigation as a site of strongly bifurcated gender discourses. Analysing our field data through the lens of feminist theory which problematizes gender binaries, we argue that while some narrations of gender mobilities serve to reinforce gender binaries, lived practices of movement can also destabilise (idealised) notions of gendered movement. This paper extends conceptual work by advancing understanding about the role of mobility within systems of gender differentiation, showing how lived practices of mobility are just as likely to challenge idealised patterns of gendered movement as they are to reinforce these patterns.

Keywords: mobility, sex work, skin-work, gender binaries, mining, Kalgoorlie Australia

Topics: Gender, Gendered Discourses, Women, Livelihoods, Sexual Livelihoods Regions: Oceania Countries: Australia

Year: 2017

The Role of Gender in the Extractive Industries


Macdonald, Catherine. 2017. “The Role of Gender in the Extractive Industries.” Working Paper 2017/52 United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research, Helsinki.

Author: Catherine Macdonald


In recognizing that women’s participation and gender equity is a precondition for the achievement of acceptable development outcomes, extractives industry companies are increasingly making public commitments to integrating gender equality, inclusion, and women’s economic empowerment into aspects of their operations.

This paper reviews recent literature on gender and the extractives industries and then considers the following questions that emerged from the scholarship. How is gender understood in the extractives sector and has this changed over time? What are the gendered impacts of the extractives industries? Are women passive victims of the sector rather than active participants or even resisters to industrial expansion? What is the nature of extractives-associated sex-work and gender-based violence in various settings?

In addition, the paper presents available information on women’s participation in the extractives industry, both formal and informal, and how these differ, and evaluates industry efforts towards achieving improved gender balance and equity in the sector. (Summary from UN WIDER)

Topics: Development, Extractive Industries, Gender, Women, Gender-Based Violence, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Livelihoods, Sexual Livelihoods

Year: 2017

Eco-Sufficiency and Global Justice: Women Write Political Ecology


Salleh, Ariel, ed. 2009. Eco-Sufficiency and Global Justice: Women Write Political Ecology. New York: Pluto Press.

Author: Ariel Salleh, ed.


As the twenty-first century faces a crisis of democracy and sustainability, this book brings women academics and alternative globalisation activists into conversation.
Through studies of global neoliberalism, ecological debt, climate change, and the ongoing devaluation of reproductive and subsistence labour, these uncompromising essays by women thinkers expose the limits of current scholarship in political economy, ecological economics, and sustainability science. (Summary from Pluto Books)

Table of Contents:
1. The Devaluation of Women’s Labour
Silvia Federici

2. Who is the ‘He’ of He Who Decides in Economic Discourse?
Ewa Charkiewicz

3. The Diversity Matrix: Relationship and Complexity
Susan Hawthorne

4. Development for Some is Violence for Others
Nalini Nayak

5. Nuclearised Bodies and Militarised Space
Zohl de Ishtar

6. Women and Deliberative Water Management
Andrea Moraes and Ellie Perkins

7. Mainstreaming Trade and Millennium Development Goals?
Gig Francisco and Peggy Antrobus

8. Policy and the Measure of Woman
Marilyn Waring

9. Feminist Ecological Economics in Theory and Practice
Sabine U. O’Hara

10. Who Pays for Kyoto Protocol? Selling Oxygen and Selling Sex
Ana Isla

11. How Global Warming is Gendered
Meike Spitzner

12. Women and the Abuja Declaration for Energy Sovereignty
Leigh Brownhill and Terisa E. Turner

13. Ecofeminist Political Economy and the Politics of Money
Mary Mellor

14. Saving Women: Saving the Commons
Leo Podlashuc

15. From Eco-Sufficiency to Global Justice
Ariel Salleh

Topics: Development, Environment, Climate Change, Feminisms, Ecofeminism, Feminist Political Ecology, Feminist Political Economy, Globalization, Infrastructure, Energy, Water & Sanitation, Livelihoods, Sexual Livelihoods

Year: 2009

Covid-19 and Feminism in the Global South: Challenges, Initiatives and Dilemmas


Al-Ali, Nadje. 2020. "Covid-19 and Feminism in the Global South: Challenges, Initiatives and Dilemmas."' European Journal of Women's Studies: 1-15. doi: 10.1177/1350506820943617. 

Author: Nadje Al-Ali


The article addresses the gendered implications of Covid-19 in the Global South by paying attention to the intersectional pre-existing inequalities that have given rise to specific risks and vulnerabilities. It explores various aspects of the pandemic-induced ‘crisis of social reproduction’ that affects women as the main caregivers as well as addressing the drastic increase of various forms of gender-based violence. Both, in addition to growing poverty and severely limited access to resources and health services, are particularly devastating in marginalized and vulnerable communities in the Global South. The article looks at specific regions and countries to illustrate wider challenges faced by LGBTQ populations, ethnic minorities, domestic workers, migrants and sex workers. Against the background of these gendered intersectional challenges, the article then moves to discuss feminist initiatives and mobilizations to deal with the crisis in specific local contexts as well as nationally, regionally and transnationally. It concludes by highlighting a number of visions, tensions and dilemmas faced by feminists in the Global South that will need to be taken into consideration in terms of transnational feminist solidarities.


Keywords: Africa, Asia, Covid-19 pandemic, crisis in social reproduction, Global South feminism, accumulation by dispossession, middle east, transnational feminism

Topics: Domestic Violence, Ethnicity, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gender-Based Violence, Health, Intersectionality, LGBTQ, Livelihoods, Sexual Livelihoods Regions: Africa, MENA, Americas, Caribbean countries, Central America, South America, Asia, Middle East

Year: 2020

Sexual Violence, Masculinity, and Agency in Post-Surrender Japan, 1945


Kramm, Robert. 2019. "Sexual Violence, Masculinity, and Agency in Post-Surrender Japan, 1945." Journal of Women's History 31 (1): 62-85.

Author: Robert Kramm


In the immediate post-surrender period in late summer 1945, thousands of American servicemen entered Japan. Despite Japanese authorities’ tactical planning of a “female floodwall” with brothels and other recreational facilities to distract the occupiers from the Japanese population, especially from Japanese women, and the occupiers’ demonstration of military power, the first physical encounter of occupiers and occupied in the “militarized peace” of occupied Japan was nevertheless accompanied by violence—sexual violence in particular. Contrary to the often-portrayed peaceful image of the American occupation of Japan, this article highlights sex and violence as significant markers for the asymmetrical power relations during the occupation period. It analyzes the arena of sexual violence in which Japanese police officers and administrators, as well as Japanese civilians, struggled to prevent and control, but also to articulate and instrumentalize, the occupiers’ sexual assaults.

Topics: Gender, Women, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Masculinism, Livelihoods, Sexual Livelihoods, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Post-Conflict, Sexual Violence, Violence Regions: Asia, East Asia Countries: Japan

Year: 2019

Land of the Unconquerable: The Lives of Contemporary Afghan Women


Heath, Jennifer, and Ashraf Zahedi, eds. 2011. Land of the Unconquerable: The Lives of Contemporary Afghan Women. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Authors: Jennifer Heath, Ashraf Zahedi


Reaching beyond sensational headlines, Land of the Unconquerable at last offers a three-dimensional portrait of Afghan women. In a series of wide-ranging, deeply reflective essays, accomplished scholars, humanitarian workers, politicians, and journalists—most with extended experience inside Afghanistan—examine the realities of life for women in both urban and rural settings. They address topics including food security, sex work, health, marriage, education, poetry, politics, prisoners, and community development. Eschewing stereotypes about the burqa, the contributors focus instead on women’s empowerment and agency, and their struggles for peace and justice in the face of a brutal ongoing war. A fuller picture of Afghanistan’s women past and present emerges, leading to social policy suggestions and pragmatic solutions for a peaceful future. (Summary from University of California Press)
Table of Contents:
Jennifer Heath
1. The Politics of Zan from Amanullah to Karzai: Lessons for Improving Afghan Women’s Status
Shireen Khan Burki
2. Between Covered and Covert: Traditions, Stereotypes, and Afghan Women’s Agency
Margaret A. Mills
3. Centuries of Threat, Centuries of Resistance: The Lessons of Afghan Women’s Resilience
Anne E. Brodsky
4. Don’t Say What, Who, and When, Say How: Community Development and Women
Wahid Omar
5. Afghanistan Blues: Seeing Beyond the Burqa on YouTube
Dinah Zeiger
6. Women’s Political Presence: A Path to Promoting Gender Interests?
Anna Larson
7. Voices of Parliamentarians: Four Women MPs Share Their Thoughts
Massouda Jalal, Malalai Joya, Fawzia Koofi, and Azita Rafat
8. Nothing Left to Lose: Women in Prison
Lizette Potgieter
9. Selling Sex in Afghanistan: Portraits of Sex Workers in Kabul
Alisa Tang
10. Between Choice and Force: Marriage Practices in Afghanistan
Deborah J. Smith
11. The Hidden War against Women: Health Care in Afghanistan
Sima Samar
12. Challenges to Cripple the Spirit: A Midwife’s Experiences
Pamela Chandler
13. Women with Disabilities: Recollections from Across the Decades
Mary MacMakin
14. A Question of Access: Women and Food Security
Elizabeth Stites
15. Psychological Impacts of War: Human Rights and Mental Health
Nahid Aziz
16. Mending Afghanistan Stitch by Stitch: How Traditional Crafts and Social Organization Advance Afghan Women
Rachel Lehr
17. Rural Women’s Livelihood: Their Position in the Agrarian Economy
Jo Grace and Adam Pain
18. Chadari Politics: Translating Perceptions into Policy and Practice
Lina Abirafeh
19. When the Picture Does Not Fit the Frame: Engaging Afghan Men in Women’s Empowerment
Ashraf Zahedi
20. Empowering Women through Education: Recipe for Success
Sakena Yacoobi
21. From Both Sides of the Mic: Women and the Media
Aunohita Mojumdar
22. Painting Their Way into the Public World: Women and the Visual Arts
Lauryn Oates
23. A Hidden Discourse: Afghanistan’s Women Poets
Zuzanna Olszewska
24. Hopes and Dreams: Interviews with Young Afghans
Amina Kator

Topics: Armed Conflict, Conflict, Gender, Women, Health, Livelihoods, Sexual Livelihoods, Security, Food Security Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Afghanistan

Year: 2011

Globalisation Masculinities, Empire Building and Forced Prostitution: A Critical Analysis of the Gendered Impact of the Neoliberal Economic Agenda in Post-Invasion/Occupation Iraq


Banwell, Stacy. 2015. “Globalisation Masculinities, Empire Building and Forced Prostitution: A Critical Analysis of the Gendered Impact of the Neoliberal Economic Agenda in Post-Invasion/Occupation Iraq.” Third World Quarterly 36 (4): 705–22.

Author: Stacy Banwell


Adopting a transnational feminist lens and using a political economy approach, this article addresses both the direct and indirect consequences of the 2003 war in Iraq, specifically the impact on civilian women. Pre-war security and gender relations in Iraq will be compared with the situation post-invasion/occupation. The article examines the globalised processes of capitalism, neoliberalism and neo-colonialism and their impact on the political, social and economic infrastructure in Iraq. Particular attention will be paid to illicit and informal economies: coping, combat and criminal. The 2003 Iraq war was fought using masculinities of empire, post-colonialism and neoliberalism. Using the example of forced prostitution, the article will argue that these globalisation masculinities – specifically the privatisation agenda of the West and its illegal economic occupation – have resulted in women either being forced into the illicit (coping) economy as a means of survival, or trafficked for sexual slavery by profit-seeking criminal networks who exploit the informal economy in a post-invasion/occupation Iraq. 

Keywords: globalisation masculinities, post-colonialism, neoliberalism, gender-based violence, transnational feminism, political economy

Topics: Armed Conflict, Occupation, Economies, Informal Economies, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Globalization, Infrastructure, Livelihoods, Sexual Livelihoods, Political Economies, Security, Trafficking, Sex Trafficking Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Iraq

Year: 2015

Women at Risk: Gender and AIDS in Africa


Seidel, Gill. 1993. "Women at Risk: Gender and AIDS in Africa." Disasters 17 (2): 133-42.

Author: Gill Seidel


AIDS in Africa is a gender, development and rights issue involving power and differential access to resources. The risk situations for women stressed in development contexts of war, destabilization and displacement, and the many contexts of transactional sex, are poorly understood by policy makers and the medical community. The dominant epidemiological paradigm has focused on female 'prostitutes' in a number of African cities. The limitations of this approach are discussed, as are the different contextualized meanings of sexual exchange. The importance of women's experience of sexually transmitted diseases and HIV and their perceptions of risk are stressed, as is the need for non-judgmental services linked to primary and comprehensive health care. Most health promotion messages construct an image of women as prostitutes, or seek to mobilize women as carers and educators of families and communities.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Development, Displacement & Migration, Gender, Women, Health, HIV/AIDS, Livelihoods, Sexual Livelihoods, Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa

Year: 1993

Historical Perspectives on Industrial Development, Mining, and Prostitution


Laite, Julia Ann. 2009. “Historical Perspectives on Industrial Development, Mining, and Prostitution.” The Historical Journal 52 (3): 739–61.

Author: Julia Ann Laite


Prostitution has been linked by many historians and social commentators to the industrial development and capitalism of the modern age, and there is no better example of this than the prostitution that developed in mining regions from the mid-nineteenth century. Using research on mining-related prostitution, and other social histories of mining communities where prostitution inevitably forms apart, large or small, of the historian's analysis of the mining region, this article will review, contrast, and compare prostitution in various mining contexts, in different national and colonial settings. From the American and Canadian gold rushes in the mid-and late nineteenth century, to the more established mining frontiers of the later North American West, to the corporate mining towns of Chile in the interwaryears, to the copper and gold mines of southern Africa and Kenya in the first half of the twentieth century, commercial sex was present and prominent as the mining industry and mining communities developed. Challenging the simplistic images and stereotypes of prostitution that are popularly associated with the American mining frontier, historians have shown that prostitution's place in mining communities, and its connection to industrial development, was as complex as it was pervasive and enduring.

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Extractive Industries, Gender, Women, Governance, Livelihoods, Sexual Livelihoods, Multi-National Corporations Regions: Africa, East Africa, Southern Africa, Americas, North America, South America Countries: Canada, Chile, Kenya, South Africa, United States of America

Year: 2009


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