Article of Note

October 1st, 2015

Women after the Tsunami: Impact, Empowerment and Changes in Post-disaster Situations of Sri Lanka and Aceh, Indonesia

RAJWby Ruwani Renuka and Eka Srimulyani

December 26, 2004 will always be remembered by communities in the Indian Ocean region when the tsunami tidal wave swept away the coastal areas of several countries in the region. Among others, Aceh—one of the provinces of Indonesia—and Sri Lanka had the most tragic devastation and had a major death toll. Indeed, the disaster changed several aspects of people’s lives and their livelihood activities. This study focuses on how the disaster and post-disaster recovery and development affected women’s lives. It examines the situation of women in the post-disaster situation in Ache and Sri Lanka and how they gained resilience and rebuilt their lives. It also looks at how development intervention programs affected the societies, particularly women.

Asian Journal of Women’s Studies 21(2):192-210, 2015. (not open access)

Org Spotlight: MULYD

September 28th, 2015

Mujeres Lucha y Derechos Para Todas A.C.


ujeres-Lucha-y-Derechos-Para-Todas-A.C.-MULYD2Mujeres Lucha y Derechos Para Todas A.C. (MULYD), “Women, Struggle, and Rights for Everyone,” is the first organized group led by indigenous women in the Mexican state of Mexico, located in the south-central region of the country, focused mainly on working with the indigenous Mazahua women of that region.

Overall, there is a disproportionate level of violence against indigenous women than women overall in Mexico, MULYD says, while at the same time there is a lack of educational programming and support groups or frameworks for those women to turn to for help.

The group’s mission is to contribute to the knowledge and acknowledgement of women’s human rights by developing community leaders who promote and spread effective and appropriate information, particularly on sexual and reproductive rights to other women so that they may fully exercise their rights. The group is looking to grow the movement by educating and creating leaders to strengthen and perpetuate the movement, leaders say.

Currently, MULYD has organized 26 community alliances in five cities in the state, a figure they are looking to double in two years. The organization is also affiliated with the National Council of Indigenous Women and Human Rights Defenders Network of Mexico, more nationally organized human rights groups, to lobby for policy changes at the federal level.

Article of Note

September 25th, 2015

Forced Migration in the United Kingdom: Women’s Journeys to Escape Domestic Violence

by Janet Christine Bowstead

This article examines a process of forced migration within the United Kingdom: that of women (often with children) escaping violence within relationships. Studies of internal migration in the UK have rarely examined forced migration or emphasised gendered processes, and studies of migration and relationship breakdown have under-recognised abuse in forcing migration decisions. This study used administrative, survey and interview data to identify and explore processes at a range of scales, from individual to national. The empirical analysis reveals that there are high rates of forced residential mobility within many local authorities as well as migration across local authority boundaries, with over 18 000 journeys a year by women to access formal services in England. The migration is distinctive from other internal migration in the UK because of its gendered and forced nature: women are relocating to escape violence and had not otherwise intended to migrate. Journeys are therefore typically focused on trying to minimise disruption either by staying as local as they can, but avoiding friends, family and known locations, or by travelling to a similar type of place to the one left. The primary concern is safety, and journeys are often complex and segmented into multiple stages over time and space. However, despite such disruption at the individual scale, the journeys do not aggregate into net migration flows at the local or national scale and the overall process is one of spatial churn. The multi-scale analysis of this research reveals the turbulence beneath the surface, and highlights a forced migration process which had previously remained invisible to studies of internal migration in the UK.

Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers. 40(3):307-320, 2015. (not open access}


Cartoonist’s depiction of defunding Planned Parenthood

September 22nd, 2015
Editorial Cartoon by Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune

Sexual assault: it’s time to end the culture of victim blaming

September 21st, 2015

by staff contributor Camry Haskins


From left, Prof Barbara Miller, Prof Aisling Swaine, PhD candidate Shweta Krishnan

On Wednesday, September 16, GGP hosted a back-to-back film screening focused on issues of rape and sexual assault. The films, India’s Daughter and The Hunting Ground, both highlighted specific incidents of rape, while also discussing the societal problems surrounding sexual assault as a whole. The event ended with an open discussion of the documentaries, the issues they highlighted, and what still needs to be done. Panelists included: Barbara Miller, Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Global Gender Program; Aisling Swaine, Professor of Practice in International Affairs; and Shweta Krishnan, PhD student in anthropology.

India’s Daughter is a film that came out after the 2012 rape and murder of a 23 year old medical student in Delhi. The film tells her story through interviews and news clips. The vast gender discrepancies are evident in the way that the sexual assault defense lawyers blatantly criminalize and demean the victim. Equating her choice to leave the house in the evening with a male friend to a spoiled flower left in the gutter. One of her convicted murderers in also interviewed and the nonchalant way that he describes the incident is chilling. His lack of remorse can be seen in his description of events and his belief that he is no different from many others.

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Article of Note

September 19th, 2015

Invigorating Democracy in Turkey: The Agency of Organized Islamist Women

by Hürcan Aslı Aksoy

PAGThe Islamist Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, AKP) came to power in 2002 with the promise of consolidating democracy and strengthening civil society to further Turkey’s bid to join the European Union.To this end, in its first term in the parliament (2002–2007), the AKP implemented a set of political reforms that lifted the restrictions on political and civil rights such as the freedom of assembly, associations, and expression and improved the rule of law (Kubicek 2005; Müftüler-Baç 2005). The AKP, as it has promised in its election campaigns, also engaged civil society into policy-making processes. In the initial years of the AKP, diverse civil society actors gathered on broad civil society platforms and worked with the AKP government to consolidate Turkish democracy (Keyman 2010; Kubicek 2005). Although the Islamist segments of civil society began to integrate into the secular political sphere and to voice their demands more freely, Islamist women’s civil society organizations (CSOs) have not fully benefited from this transforming political atmosphere under the AKP.

Politics & Gender 11(1):146-170, 2015. (not open access)

Org Spotlight: The Light and Leadership Initiative

September 17th, 2015

The Light and Leadership Initiative

lliThe mission of The Light and Leadership Initiative is to respond to the needs of the women in the Ate-Vitarte district of Lima, Peru in their struggle out of poverty by improving the availability and quality of education offered to women and children.

Lara DeVries, founder of LLI, first went to Peru in 2007. After meeting with locals in Huaycan, Lara returned to the United States, graduated college, and began work on forming Light and Leadership. In 2008, LLI was officially formed and recognized as a US 501(c)3 nonprofit. In May of the following year, LLI began operating programs in Huaycan, Peru.

Through workshops and classes, women are empowered to better care for themselves and their families by improving both their physical and emotional well being, as well as advancing their skills in the workforce. Children are offered similar opportunities and learn the value of education and respect for one’s community. The organization’s core belief is that  the women and children of the Ate-Vitarte district will become positive leaders for change through love, support, and education.

Elliott students in the field

September 14th, 2015

Timor-Leste:  Youth and women’s empowerment through the arts

Monica de Pinto Ribeiro Hancke
MA Candidate, International Development Studies, Gender concentration

Monica (second from the left) with the Drama team

Monica (second from the left) with the Drama team

For most people, Timor-Leste is an un-heard-of country in the middle of a far-off sea someplace completely unimaginable in their daily lives. It only rings a bell in if you describe its turbulent history of Portuguese colonialism, brutal Indonesian occupation and its to-the-death struggle for independence. For me, it is a country and a people I have heard about since my childhood: two of my uncles were deployed there as Portuguese soldiers in the 1970s and have since shared their stories with the family at every possible opportunity. My Portuguese mother was also committed to teaching me about Portuguese history, and our “mighty empire,” as a way of connecting me to her culture, the one she aspired I would identify with too despite my third-culture upbringing. To her credit, to some extent, it worked! 

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World Bank report highlights gender disparity in global laws

September 10th, 2015

by staff contributor Lesli Davis


women-biz-law-main-promo-v2On September 9, the World Bank Group released the fourth iteration of its report, Women, Business, and the Law 2016. The report, which examines laws that impede women’s economic advancement, found that 90 percent of monitored economies have at least one law that discriminates against women, with Saudi Arabia topping the charts at 29 laws. Only 18 of the 173 countries monitored were found to be free of laws that negatively affect women.

According to Kaushik Basu, World Bank Chief Economist and Senior Vice President, the report is a “quiet document,” which “presents information and you must take action.” He charged countries to put in place laws that close the gender gap, not just because it is good for economies, but because gender equality in itself is important.

Augusto Lopez-Claros, Director of the World Bank’s Global Indicators Group, noted that the team found correlations with other indicators of gender equality. For instance, in countries where there are restrictions on the type of job women can hold, the wage gap between men and women is 12 percent higher.  The report also found that women’s life expectancy is likely to be higher where they are legally protected from domestic violence. Specifically, in countries where domestic violence laws are in place, women are 15 percent more likely to live to 65 years of age.

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Article of Note

September 10th, 2015

Women’s Economic Empowerment and Formal Income: Sri Lankan Export Processing Zones (EPZs) and Their Impact on Gender Perceptions of Empowerment

by Peter Hancock, Geoff Carastathis, Jonathan Georgiou, and Max Oliveira

norwegian_journal_geographyWomen workers in Export Processing Zones (EPZs) in Sri Lanka are often exposed to harsh working conditions and a range of negative social experiences due to their perceived low social status. Research has demonstrated that they experience both empowerment and disempowerment as a result of formal employment. The authors explore the differences between female Sri Lankan EPZ workers who felt empowered (n = 2196) and those who did not (n = 107), and investigate factors that contribute to empowerment. The analysis reveals a significant difference between the two groups of workers: empowered women had a longer history of employment service, saved significantly more money, and contributed much less to their family than non-empowered women. There were no significant differences in social experiences between the groups. However, the work-related variables used to investigate reported influential factors in empowerment demonstrated that as savings increased so too did the likelihood of empowerment. Conversely, as the proportion of the contribution to the family income increased, the odds of reporting empowerment decreased. The findings suggest that work factors may not be the most important in the establishment of and/or reporting empowerment but rather earnings management and contribution to household appear to be a more significant determining factor.

Norwegian Journal of Geography 68(5):291-300, 2014 (not open access)