Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Women, Peace, Security, and Development Bibliography update

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014
Image source: United Nations Development Fund for Women

Image source: United Nations Development Fund for Women

In April, the Global Gender Program’s Women, Peace, Security, and Development Bibliography grew to nearly 2,500 sources. Newly added sources include:

We continue to improve the quality of listing on the database by adding more relevant descriptors and identifying whether sources are open access (OA) or not open access (NOA.)

Please feel free to suggest additional sources by sending an email to: 1325bib.ggp@gmail.com.

Event recap: Religion, gender, and Muslim political presentation in Europe

Thursday, April 24th, 2014
Rafaela Dancygier, Princeton University

Rafaela Dancygier, Princeton University

By student contributor Andrew Elliott

Rafaela Dancygier, an assistant professor of politics at Princeton University, has been exploring domestic consequences of international immigration, the political incorporation and electoral representation of immigrant-origin minorities, and the determinants of ethnic conflict. On April 11, she spoke on Religious Parity in regards to Muslim Political Representation in Europe for  the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at the Elliott School of International Affairs, describing her research on  the inclusion of ethno-religious minorities in European political parties, particularly Muslims.

She began by describing the typical consequences of including ethno-religious minorities in the European political sphere, concluding that parties usually include Muslims when the immigrant population has sufficiently assimilated and has adopted liberal values or when Muslim groups can deliver pivotal votes. She  noted that recently, parties are focusing on attaining the votes of Muslims residing in dense, urban areas to boost the likelihood of a successful election. “The Muslim vote”, according to Dancygier, is a reference that is used similar to the way that “an African-American vote” or “a female vote” exists in the United States today.

The Muslim bloc, now a sizable minority in many European countries, has become a prized possession for both leftist and rightist parties. The easiest way for these parties to garner this generalized vote, is by placing Muslim figures on municipal election ballots. Interestingly enough, recently, an increasing number of Muslim females have made their way onto ballots.

While there has been a rise of Muslim females in domestic politics in Europe, men have long been and still are the preferred choice as political parties consider Muslim men better able to win over the rest of the community based on a “who knows who” platform. And although the rising number of Muslim females involved appears optimistic for gender equality, many female Muslims have been seen on rightist ballots, a method used by parties to preserve traditional, conservative values, and thus does not necessarily signal greater gender equality. According to Dancygier, this situation is comparable to that of Sarah Palin and the GOP in the U.S.

Dancygier examined religious and gender parity in four European nations: the U.K., Austria, Belgium, and Germany. She found that most attacks against immigrant communities have been increasingly under the pretext of how these ethno-religious minorities are perceived to treat women in their communities.

Dancygier’s research is  innovative and relevant to the present political scene in Europe, especially surrounding the rise of right-wing anti-immigration policies in many liberal nations throughout Europe. She hopes that women will run for political office on their free will, and that ethno-religious minorities can vote based on candidate of choice and will not be pressured to vote for candidates within their community, religious bloc, or gender.

Andrew Elliott is an Elliott School undergraduate student majoring in international affairs with concentrations in international development and a regional concentration in Asia. With interests in Southeast Asia and urban planning, he aspires to someday work and conduct research in these regions.

DC event: African Diaspora and Development

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

African Diaspora and Development

When: Saturday, April 12th, from 2:30 – 6 pm

Where: Embassy of Cote d’Ivoire (2424 Massachusetts Avenue, NW), Washington DC
Maison D’Oeuvres Pour Le Developpment Economique et Du Leadership Pour la Cote D’Ivoire and the Consortium of African Diaspora in the United States (CADUS) invites you and your colleagues to attend a forum on “African Diaspora and Development Partnerships.”  Ambassador Amina Salum Ali, the African Union’s Permanent Representative to Washington, will be the keynote speaker for this event.

Please RSVP to Janet Kah Le Guil at <jnetkah@kahleguil.org>

Org Spotlight: Kachin Women’s Association Thailand

Monday, March 24th, 2014

Kachin Women’s Association Thailand

The Kachin Women’s Association Thailand formed in 1999 in response to the social, economic and military exploitation of the various minority ethnic groups, including the Kachin of northern Burma, at the hands of the Burmese military government. For decades, the Kachin’s resources have been extracted by the government without sharing the benefits back to the people. Due to aggravated mismanagement of the region, many Kachin people have left their country, often settling in Thailand. KWAT seeks to organize and unite Kachin women in Thailand in order to collectively achieve positive change and empowerment for Kachin women and children in Thailand and abroad. KWAT aims to eliminate discrimination, empower women’s decision-making and political participation from a local to international level, and provide opportunities for all Kachin children to reach their potential. Current projects include research, capacity-building, anti-trafficking, health, and migrant worker justice. Overall, KWAT envisions a world where Kachin women are empowered, educated and equal.

Interview with Aisling Swaine for International Women’s Day

Friday, March 21st, 2014
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Professor Swaine discussed the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda, specifically UN Resolution 1325.

Professor Aisling Swaine was recently interviewed by the Elliott School of International Affairs in honor of International Women’s Day. Professor Swaine joined GW this January after working on issues of security and development for nearly 15 years, both at the international level and in conflict-affected states in Africa and South East Asia. At GW, Professor Swaine teaches and researches on gender and armed conflict; the women, peace and security agenda; global gender equality policy; violence against women related to armed conflict; and gender and humanitarian action.

In her interview, Professor Swaine discussed the Women, Peace and Security Agenda (WPS) at length. This discussion includes the evolution and expansion of the agenda through the passage of UN Resolution 1325 and subsequent resolutions, the significance of the agenda, and its impact thus far. She also discussed a variety of topics influencing gender equality globally, such as the importance of involving both men and women in gender equality policy and programs, practices for addressing gender-based violence after conflict, and the impact of gender equality on development.

GW event: Stopping Violence Against Women

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

brysk_alisonStopping Violence Against Women: Women’s Rights as Human Rights

When: April 17 | 11am-12pm
Who: Global Gender Program
Where: Elliott School of International Affairs
Lindner Family Commons, Room 602
1957 E St NW Washington, DC 20052

Alison Brysk, Fellow, Global Women’s Leadership Initiative, Wilson Center and Mellichamp Chair in Global Governance, Professor, University of California Santa Barbara

Violence against women kills and maims more people than any war, and is estimated to affect one out of three women worldwide–yet it has only recently been recognized as a human rights problem. What can the framework adopted since the 1993 Vienna Conference, “women’s rights are human rights,” teach us about how to mobilize to stop violence against women? A generation of research on the politics of human rights campaigns suggest the importance of transnational action, framing, information politics, and the specific challenges of “private wrongs” committed by non-state actors. This talk will survey a global panorama of campaigns, with a focus on sexual violence in India.

RSVP here.

Addressing gender equality and gender-based crimes at the International Criminal Court

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

Guest post by GW professor Aisling Swaine

The Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) of the International Criminal Court in The Hague,  has released for consultation its new Draft Policy Paper on Sexual and Gender Based Crimes (Draft Policy Paper).

The Draft Policy Paper is a welcome initiative from the OTP.  It provides a platform from which the OTP can contribute to furthering the application of International Criminal Law in ways that are both sensitive and responsive to a gendered understanding of international crimes.

The International Criminal Court. Source: The Telegraph

The International Criminal Court. Source: The Telegraph

If tailored to the needs of males, females, transgendered and inter-sex individuals of variant ages and intersectional characteristics, the full implementation of the Draft Policy Paper has the potential to ensure that a safe and holistic approach is taken to the prosecution of these crimes.

Dr. Catherine O’Rourke (Transitional Justice Institute, University of Ulster), Professor Fionnuala ní Aoláin (Transitional Justice Institute, University of Ulster and School of Law, Minnesota University) and I wrote  a response to the draft policy.

In our submission to the OTP, we highlighted the following:

  • The Draft Policy Paper appears to take an ‘integrationist’ approach to addressing gender in its work.  Our paper highlights that the integrationist approach does little to address the gendered assumptions and relations that inform why and how variant gendered identities may require specific tailored approaches.  We recommend that the Draft Policy Paper adopts Gender Mainstreaming as its approach.  As per UN Policy (ECOSOC Agreed Conclusions, 1997/2), Gender Mainstreaming, when fully implemented enables a transformative approach.  In the case of the OTP, this would mean that investigation and prosecution of sexual crimes would be based on an approach that uses gender analysis to address exclusions and the particularities of stigma, as well as the experiences of sexual violence on the basis of gender norms, which all  would be into taken account in ways that transform inequalities.
  • (more…)

Event report: Urbanization, conflict, and gender

Friday, February 28th, 2014

By student contributor Andrew Elliott

Urbanization and Insecurity: Crowding, Conflict, and Gender event. Source: Andrew Elliott.

Crowding, Conflict, and Gender event. Source: Andrew Elliott.

On February 18, the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Studies in Washington, D.C., held a panel event titled Urbanization and Insecurity: Crowding, Conflict, and Gender.

In a world where global urbanization is occurring at an unprecedented rate, modern cities are challenged by several consequences. One of these challenges has only recently began to be brought into the spotlight: the issue of gender based violence created by contemporary urbanization.

Three panelists discussed their research and the problems that connect the concepts of urban livelihood and gender based violence. All three panelists agreed with the centrical idea that up until recently there has been an ‘invisibility of gender based violence in cities.’ Their research takes this abstract concept of invisibility and exposes the inequalities exacerbated by the urban scene in the developing world.

Dr. Alfred O. Omenya. Source: University of Nairobi.

Alfred Omenya/University of Nairobi.

Alfred Omenya, a principal researcher at Eco-Build Africa, is also a professor and head of the School of Architecture and the Built Environment at the Technical University of Kenya. He conducted a study comparing gender based violence in four urban centers in the developing world; these being: Nairobi, Patna (India), Dili (East Timor), and Santiago (Chile). His study took an interesting turn of events as he originally sought to utilize Santiago as a counterexample proving that gender based violence was mostly found in lower income communities.

However, he found that even among those with a higher socio-economic status, gender-based violence was taking place at a frightening level. His findings suggested that when dividing everyday life events into occurring either in the public realm or private life, people only pay attention to what happens in the public realm. Omenya suggested that men feel like they have “ownership” over the violence that goes on in their property. Omenya cites three principal causes for why gender based violence has been invisible for so long: firstly that politically, women are excluded from roles of power in many developing nations, secondly, the high poverty rates amongst a majority of the population, and lastly, that for a long time there has been an inadequate consideration of what gender based violence really is, and up until recently most violence has been classified as being normal.

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Org Spotlight: Commission for Gender Equality

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Commission for Gender Equality

CGE logo

The Commission for Gender Equality is an independent institution created  by the Constitution of South Africa.  The purpose of the Commission is to advance, promote, and protect gender equality in South Africa through undertaking research, public education, policy development, legislative initiatives, effective monitoring and litigation. The goals of the Commission are to demystify gender oppression, revise  gender relations, and  promote the substantive improvement in the quality and life experiences of the disadvantaged gender in society. Based in South Africa, the Commission’s vision is to establish a society free from gender oppression and all forms of inequality.

Gender and Disaster: Where Are the Anthropologists?

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

By guest contributor Judy Mason

Anthropologists study disasters, but unlike scholars from other disciplines, they do not seem to study gender [1] issues which arise during disasters. Some themes which anthropologists have addressed are those related to aid and relief and those related to memorials to victims of disasters. In this bibliographic essay I will examine the fact there is extensive research from other disciplines which considers issues of gender and how they affect disaster preparedness, response, and recovery, and argue that anthropologists could make valuable contributions to this body of literature.

Anthropologists and Disaster

Anthropologists have extensively studied memorials and artifacts of memory. One article discussed the role of retrieving and restoring photographs after a disaster in Japan (Nakamura, 2012); these photographs were used as a way to both remember the victims and to celebrate the strength of the survivors. Another discussed and compared memorials to victims and survivors of earthquakes and tsunamis in Gujarat, India, and Sri Lanka (Simpson and De Alwis, 2008).

Aid agencies and relief efforts are also a popular topic for anthropologists. Some researchers have studied the cultural sensitivity of aid workers; some have examined the motives of aid agencies and the fact that competition can arise among them because of the need to be seen to be doing good in order to attract donations (Fisker-Nielsen, 2012; Nygaard-Christensen, 2011; Stirrat, 2006), as well as the role of publicity in generating donations (Beatty, 2005; Samuels, 2013). One author discussed the different goals of scientific researchers during the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010, contrasting the work of university researchers interested in furthering their knowledge with that of government scientists concerned with mitigating the effects of the spill (Bond, 2013).

Stirrat was one of the few anthropologists whose article discussed (briefly) the effects of gender in a post-disaster situation. In an article devoted mainly to competition between aid agencies, he noted that men were apparently more able to escape the tsunami than were women and children so that more women and children died. This led to the unusual situation where aid workers had to deal with single parent families in which the parent was a male; they were more used to working with families headed by a single woman (2006:12). Another group of researchers which included one anthropologist (Balgos et al., 2012) conducted research into the situation of warias in Indonesia after a volcanic eruption, showing an awareness of gender identities other than male and female. They argued that the warias are a marginalized group whose needs should be considered, but that warias are also able to contribute to relief efforts. Dovil (2013) analyzed data obtained immediately after Hurricane Katrina pertaining to the role of gender in disaster preparedness and response and found that gender is generally not a significant predictor of response to disaster warnings.

Gender and Disaster – Studies from Other Disciplines

Sociologists and other social scientists have extensively studied gender as it relates to disaster response and recovery. A number of studies have found that not enough attention is given to gender in relation to disasters (Benelli et al., 2012; Hazeleger 2013) and have discussed how this could be rectified. Other researchers have examined the effects of gender disparities in relation to particular disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis in various parts of the world (Juran, 2012; Saito, 2012). Dhungel and Ojha (2012) gave an overview of a specific program of Oxfam in Nepal which aims to empower women to take an active role in disaster preparedness and response.

A number of researchers have studied relief and aid organizations and how they relate to the people among whom they are working (Carpenter 2003; De La Puente 2011; Grabska 2011; Henrici 2010; Scharffscher 2011). These researchers tend to agree that aid organizations are beginning to recognize that gender is a salient feature in disaster response and preparedness, but that they do not always get it right in the field for various reasons including lack of understanding of cultural mores or not being fluent in the local language/s.

Gender and Hurricane Katrina

Research on gender in relation to Hurricane Katrina reveals many aspects of the effects of gender on disaster response and recovery. Enarson (2012), focusing on women, examined the various ways gender affects disaster preparedness and recovery. She also details many ways in which women can be empowered and are already working to help themselves become more resilient. Other researchers homed in on particular issues of gender which surfaced during and after Katrina. Some found that some stereotypically gendered behavior can be carried to extremes in reaction to a disaster and that relief workers should take gender differences into account (Harris, 2011; Macomber et al., 2011). These researchers included gender-based violence during and after Hurricane Katrina in their research, finding that there was an increase in such violence in the aftermath of this disaster. Others examined what happened to pregnant and lactating women during and after Katrina, because both of these processes can be severely affected by a natural disaster (Harville et al., 2009).

Another field of research was related to gendered humor expressed on souvenir t-shirts after Hurricane Katrina (Macomber et al., 2011). It was the authors’ contention that sexist and sexualized humor against women was used as a way to reassert masculine power in the face of a “female” hurricane which forcibly snatched that power away. The writers found that humor based on Hurricane Andrew was a lot less vitriolic, possibly because this hurricane had been gendered male by its name. One researcher who could have addressed gender in his study was Beaudoin (2011), whose paper on addictive behaviors among African Americans after Hurricane Katrina omitted any distinctions between men and women.

The role of gender in disaster survival and recovery is a potentially rich seam of inquiry which appears to have been neglected by anthropologists. Researchers of various disciplines have studied the relationship of gender to disaster survival and recovery, and the literature I have discussed relating to Hurricane Katrina exemplifies this. However, studies by anthropologists in this area seem not to have been done. From the literature I have reviewed, it is apparent that many if not most cultures have concepts of gender differences, and anthropologists could fruitfully follow this line of questioning in order to contribute to public policies related to disaster preparedness and response. (more…)