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PI3549 Gender Lectures Dr Claire Heristchi

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1 PI3549 Gender Lectures Dr Claire Heristchi

2 Gender: a political problem? Gender: the social construction of masculinity and femininity Tendency to associate gender issues solely to sociology, or a ghetto of womens studies gender dimensions purport to political participation, the law, social movements, war, development, human rights… Social construction of gender is not politically neutral, but hierarchical Power is gendered through patriarchy

3 Thinking Gender Politically Feminisms roots comes from philosophy intellectually (Wollstonecraft, JS Mill) Best understood as praxis: ideas evolved through political and social movements Power exercised by men through lack of education, lack of well-paid work opportunities, marriage, inequality before the law, no political participation - gender equality framed through the prism of freedom, choices… Questioning of false consciousness of femininity whereby women demean their own potential and police each other morally (the power of gossip)

4 The First Wave Typically associated with the Suffragist movement in the early 20th C. In UK: Emmeline Pankhursts Womens Social and Political Union (WSPU) lobbied for voting rights Protest movement involved in petitions, demonstrations, fire-bombing… Met with derision, political manipulation, violence, imprisonment, force feeding for hunger strikers On hold during WWI, but winning a partial victory in 1918 (graduates, well off, homeowners over 30…) Equal voting rights only secured in 1928. Some male members

5 The Second Wave: Womens Lib! (1960s-1980s) Movement becomes more clearly socio-political: pay, work rights, maternity pay as core to gender equality Spreads to the politicisation of the private sphere: reproductive rights, sexual violence, sex and relationships Closer focus on the politicisation of women rather than convincing men to change Changing society before political structures can follow? Most young feminists are university educated and again focus on political protest, education… Some radical groups in late 1960s/1970s will preach divorce, separation and the end of heterosexuality… In the UK: sex education through Cosmopolitan, local projects focusing on sexual violence, peace camp in Greenham

6 The Third Wave: Feminisms and Subjectivities From 1990s, challenge to alleged white middle class educated monopoly on feminism Exponential growth in diversity of groups and positions E.g. Black feminism of bell hooks marries class, race and gender for an understanding of a subaltern subjectivity Feminism becomes more responsive to variety of womens experiences, but loses its appeal as a movement Moves away from traditional concerns of equality and toward the celebration of difference both within the movement, and between genders Questions some of the legacies of equality as a goal: open doors are only for middle class women who act like men? Feminism become internationalised, but it also means questioning the assumptions of what emancipation means

7 Should we care about feminism in 2007? Most young women would not call themselves feminist…But they consider gender equality normal, and so do most young men Susan Faludis Backlash: image of man-hating, unglamourous feminists have made a new generation renounce feminism? Is feminism a victim of its successes? Loss of the idea of a feminist consciousness uniting women to one cause Have the goals of gender equality been reached?

8 Feminism and Political Analysis Is the question of gender limited to womens rights? Complexity in the notion of rights leading to a more complex discourse on human emancipation E.g. development of sexual orientation equality struggle, queer theory Can gender be divided from other issues of political oppression? Can we function outside discourse? I.e. is research in politics and IR gender neutral? Saying that gender is only sociological is convenient, but false Issues pertain to what is discussed, and what is omitted Is feminism a global issue? E.g. womens trafficking

9 Key Areas of Research for Gender Scholars in IR The study of womens oppression on a global scale, and transnational effects Political and economic rights, health and Family planning Changes in public policy and international mechanisms: inclusion of womens agendas women as leaders? Women as agents of social change: e.g. peace- building groups. Gendered meanings and identity: masculinities and power/violence

10 Gender and Development in the Age of Globalization Globalization is structurally complex and multi-layered Feminist IR scholars challenge exclusive focus on formal spaces of globalization (institutions, capital production, macro-analysis) Brings together an analysis on productive and reproductive economies women as economic and social agents, but also as subjects in the international polity Women are much more likely to suffer from poverty than men International sex economy Brings together an analysis of the global and the local Most female actors in IR work on local projects of empowerment and economic development Critique the policies and ideologies underlying globalization - esp. liberal capitalism

11 Gendered Wars Security is not gender neutral: The preoccupation of security with the nation state denies gendered experience Security priorities do not protect women civilians: War rape policies in Bosnia, genocide and sexual violence in Darfur Masculinity conditions men towards valuing violence a means to resolve conflict War-making is a largely gendered practice – exclusion/harassment Caricature of Private Jessica Lynchs experience to serve political purposes Symbolism of war and weapons is Hyper-Masculine But does this mean that women are more peaceful? No single feminist position on war, armament, WMD etc. Mobile identities and caricatured knowledge of men and womens proper place in war and peace?

12 Interrogating Security through Gender Rape (in war and peace) links feminist analysis with security studies War Rape is an individual crime and a collective security issue ( reinforcing national and gendered identities) Feminist analysis: insecurity is physical, violent, expected, repeated and silenced. Political economy of womens trafficking for the sex industry Driven by demand in wealthy states for cheap sexual labour Rationalisation of the globalisation of sexual slavery of poor women But is this simply an economic issue or a security issue?

13 In Conclusion Gender studies, driven by feminism, has highlighted womens experience of the political The legacy of feminism is mixed and partial… But gender is more than a factor: its narrative of human experience reshapes the way we look at core issues such as security and development Gender is always a political issue, and politics is always gendered.

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