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Women's Rights

The Protection of the Environment: A Gendered Analysis


Yoshida, Keina. 2020. “The Protection of the Environment: A Gendered Analysis.” Goettingen Journal of International Law 10 (1): 283-305.

Author: Keina Yoshida


This article addresses the International Law Commission’s Draft Principles on the Protection of the Environment in Relation to Armed Conflicts. The main argument presented is that any principles on the protection of the environment – pre-conflict, during conflict, and post-conflict – should be complementary to and inclusive of both the Women, Peace and Security agenda and Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Diccimination Against Women as part of a holistic and integrated approach to environmental protection. The erasure of the specific women’s human rights instruments, including Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Diccimination Against Women, cannot be legitimized on the basis that mentioning gender equality or the right to nondiscrimination is redundant given that other more general instruments have been cited or that considering them is too controversial. Their inclusion as part of the underlying international human rights framework is vital.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Rights, Human Rights, Women's Rights, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS

Year: 2020

Ways to Come, Ways to Leave: Gender, Mobility, and Il/Legality among Ethiopian Domestic Workers in Yemen


De Regt, Marina. 2010. “Ways to Come, Ways to Leave: Gender, Mobility, and Il/Legality among Ethiopian Domestic Workers in Yemen.” Gender & Society 24 (2): 237–60.


Author: Marina De Regt


Based on anthropological fieldwork in Yemen, this article examines the relationship between gender, mobility, and il/legality in the lives of Ethiopian domestic workers. Studies about migrant domestic workers in the Middle East often focus on abuse and exploitation, making a plea for the regulation of women’s legal status. Yet legal migration does not automatically mean that women gain more rights and become more mobile; regulation may also entail more control. The relationship between method of entry and legal status is not fixed, and the boundaries between legality and illegality are often blurred, with women moving in and out of il/legality and legal organizations following illegal practices, and vice versa. Gendered state policies and practices also affect women’s space for maneuvering, and attempts at regulation may further restrict rather than increase their mobility.

Keywords: international relations, transnational relations, migration, work, occupation

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Migration, Gender, Women, Rights, Women's Rights Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Yemen

Year: 2010

A Challenging Agenda for Troubled Times: The Swedish Feminist Foreign Policy


Kouvo, Sari. 2020. “A Challenging Agenda for Troubled Times: The Swedish Feminist Foreign Policy.” Retfærd 4: 65-88.

Author: Sari Kouvo


In 2014, the Swedish Government declared that it was a feminist government. Foreign Minister Margot Wallström also took the opportunity to announce that Sweden would become the first country in the world to adopt a feminist foreign policy. The feminist banner was raised at a time when Europe, including Sweden, was grappling with what has come to be called the migration crisis and a rise in violent extremism across ideological, political and religious boundaries, and when the world seemed to be shifting further into conflict mode. This is also a time when notions of feminism and gender equality are as furiously promoted as they are contested. The aim of this article is first, to situate the Swedish Feminist Foreign Policy in the broader context of Swedish equality politics and foreign policy. Second, to discuss how the term feminism used in the policy and what the overall contents of the policy are. Third, to problematize the policy through two examples focusing on the one hand on the challenge of a braver politics and on the other hand on the in-built tension between Sweden’s Feminist Foreign Policy and the Swedish trade and defence interests and in particular Swedish arms trade. The article focuses on developments during the first government term, 2014–2018, but it will also touch upon the developments during the second government term, 2019–2022. The article shows that the Policy has made a difference. It has raised awareness and built knowledge of women’s rights and equality within the Ministry and helped ensure that these issues are systematically integrated into much of foreign policy. The fact that the Policy has continued after the elections and is now being taken forward for another government term has helped institutionalise the policy and may also have increased international interest. 

Topics: Feminisms, Feminist Foreign Policy, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Rights, Women's Rights, Weapons /Arms Regions: Europe, Nordic states, Northern Europe Countries: Sweden

Year: 2020

Gender and Foreign Policy in the Clinton Administration


Garner, Karen. 2013. Gender and Foreign Policy in the Clinton Administration. Boulder, Colorado: FirstForumPress.

Author: Karen Garner


Though recent US government attention to global women's rights and empowerment is often presented as a new phenomenon, Karen Garner argues that nearly two decades ago the Clinton administration broke barriers to challenge women's unequal status vis-à-vis men around the world and to incorporate their needs into US foreign policy and aid programs. Garner draws on a wide range of primary sources, including interviews with government officials and feminist activists who worked with the administration, present a persuasive account of the emergence, evolution, and legacy of US global gender policy in the 1990s. (Summary from Lynne Rienner Publishers) 

Topics: Feminisms, Feminist Foreign Policy, Gender, Women, Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Americas, North America Countries: United States of America

Year: 2013

Researching the Margins: Feminist Critical Policy Analysis


Marshall, Catherine. 1999. “Researching the Margins: Feminist Critical Policy Analysis.” Educational Policy 13 (1): 59–76.  

Author: Catherine Marshall


The powerful define the mainstream policy problems and determine the appropriate concerns for research in education. Those in power have operated for years from a male-normed paradigm. As a result, the needs and contributions of women have been marginalized. This article uses frameworks from the politics of knowledge and discourse to analyze ways in which gender research has been controlled and depoliticized. It identifies ignored feminist research and then poses challenges to researchers. 

Topics: Feminisms, Feminist Foreign Policy, Gender, Gender Analysis, Women, Rights, Women's Rights

Year: 1999

Feminist Principles in Global Affairs: Undiplomatic Practice


Goetz, Anne Marie. 2021. “Feminist Principles in Global Affairs: Undiplomatic Practice”. In The Future of Global Affairs, edited by C. Ankersen, and W.P.S. Sidhu, 149-173. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan.

Author: Anne Marie Goetz


Feminist analysis of international relations has been a significant disruptor, revealing that the defense of ‘national sovereignty’ has allowed states to protect patriarchal preferences, not only blocking women’s rights but contributing to some of the most destructive features of national and international decision-making such as conflict-propensity. Efforts to institutionalize gender equality domestically and internationally have been troubled by the need to work with patriarchal states to build capacities to challenge male dominance. The recent emergence of feminist foreign policy (FFP) shows it may be possible to institutionalize feminist principles in international relations in ways that challenge the use of ‘national sovereignty’ as an excuse for discrimination against women. But for FFP to deliver a significant course correction in international affairs, its practitioners must accept that ending diplomatic silence on abuses of women has costs. It can bring diplomatic isolation or trigger domestic protest since it may make transnational business arrangements, including arms deals, contingent on respect for women’s rights. 

Topics: Feminisms, Feminist Foreign Policy, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Patriarchy, Rights, Women's Rights

Year: 2021

Aborting Global Women’s Rights: The Boundaries of Women’s Representation in American Foreign Policy


Angevine, Sara. 2020. "Aborting Global Women's Rights: The Boundaries of Women's Representation in American Foreign Policy". Politics & Gender. doi:10.1017/S1743923X20000112.

Author: Sara Angevine


American foreign policy has expanded in recent years to address issues that affect women and girls worldwide, global women’s rights, yet there has been minimal investigation into how these representative claims for women worldwide are formed and the substantive U.S. commitment. Is this a reflection of a growing American feminist foreign policy or symbolic rhetoric for domestic audiences? To better understand the representation of global women’s rights in American foreign policy, I analyze the political context behind three widely supported American foreign policy bills focusing on women that were introduced during the 111th Congress (2009–10). Each of these bills failed to become statute. Drawing from qualitative comparative case study analysis, I show how antiabortion politics constrain the legislative success of any American foreign policy legislation that focuses on women, regardless of relevance. This suggests that foreign women’s bodies are a terrain for U.S. legislators to advance abortion policy objectives with minimal electoral constraint. Although advancing women’s rights furthers broader U.S. foreign policy objectives, such as preventing terrorism and growing market economies, domestic abortion politics shape the boundaries of how global women’s rights are represented in American foreign policy.

Keywords: women, foreign policy, global women's rights, Congress, representation, feminist foreign policy, gender, abortion, foreign policy analysis

Topics: Feminisms, Feminist Foreign Policy, Gender, Women, Health, Reproductive Health, Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Americas, North America Countries: United States of America

Year: 2020

Women, Gender, and Human Rights


Ali, Nada Mustafa. 2018. “Women, Gender, and Human Rights.” In Interdisciplinary Approaches to Human Rights: History, Politics, Practice, edited by Rajini Srikanth and Elora Halim Chowdhury. Abingdon: Routledge.

Author: Nada Mustafa Ali


This chapter serves three functions. First, it informs readers and invites them to think critically about the relevance of international human rights treaties such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) to local struggles to achieve gender equality and women’s human rights settings. The chapter also engages a question I have been grappling with for over two decades: How do we research, write, study, and/or advocate on women’s human rights and gender equality, especially in Global South settings, without reproducing “single story” and “victim-savage-savior” narratives? Without othering women and communities facing human rights abuses, social exclusion, and gender inequality? How do we avoid the trap of ethnocentricism? While such questions are relevant to research and activism on a broad range of issues, including gender-based violence, rape in war, economic marginalization, and political exclusion, I will draw on discussions around female genital mutilation (FGC/M). Focusing on Sudan, I turn to the work of scholars and writers such as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Chandra T. Mohanty, and Makau Mutua; and on my research, pedagogy, and activism in engaging this and other questions. I argue that international treaties like CEDAW may constitute important starting points and frameworks that women’s organizations and activists in countries like Sudan may draw upon when advocating for women’s social, economic, and political rights. However, it is important to recognize the limitations inherent in such frameworks. It is crucial that our research and advocacy do not contribute to reinforcing negative stereotypes about women and communities. It is also important to learn from experiences elsewhere, and to avoid the pitfalls associated with transnational feminist organizing.

Topics: Gender-Based Violence, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Rights, Human Rights, Women's Rights

Year: 2018

Land, Labour and Gendered Livelihoods in a 'Peasant' and a 'Settler' Economy


Amanor-Wilks, Dede-Esi. 2009. “Land, Labour and Gendered Livelihoods in a 'Peasant' and a 'Settler' Economy. Feminist Africa 12: 31-50.

Author: Dede-Esi Amanor-Wilks


“Africa historically has been land-abundant and labour-scarce. The situation in Africa contrasts with that in Asia, which has historically been labour-abundant and land-scarce. And it means that until relatively recently, land scarcity was not a major problem for African producers. In spite of this, we can surmise that access to land for women, or more crucially control over land, has been an issue for as long as patriarchy has existed. This is because labour applied to land creates capital; therefore land is a crucial source of power, whereas patriarchy is essentially the monopolisation of power by men. Yet there exists a perception that women in West Africa have more secure land rights than do women in East and Southern Africa. This article seeks explanations for this perception, from a framework of the peasant-settler dichotomy in Africa. While there is a growing literature on women’s land rights in Africa that makes no distinction between the former “peasant” and “settler” colonies, in African historiography generally, a major distinction has been drawn between them. We thus have separate literatures on “peasant” and “settler” economies of Africa that rarely speak to each other, and comparative African studies rarely cross the peasant-settler divide (Amanor-Wilks, 2006 and forthcoming). The main difference between “peasant” (or “peasant export”) and “settler” colonies is that in the former, land remained in the hands of African producers, who dominated local and export agricultural production. In the settler colonies by contrast, prime lands were expropriated to European settlers, who competed directly with Africans in both food and export production. Alongside the question of differential gender access to land across the peasant-settler divide, this article considers two sets of questions on which there is division in the literature on land tenure and gender justice. Is customary law harmful to women’s land rights or should it be codified to protect women’s land rights? Is access to land for women “negotiated”, or are access and control products more of social conflict? The hypothesis of this article is that the assumption that access is negotiated works best in conditions of relative land abundance and that in conditions of scarcity, it is social conflict that produces change.” (Amanor-Wilks 2009, 31-2).

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Land Tenure, Rights, Land Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, East Africa, Southern Africa, West Africa

Year: 2009

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


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