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Feminist Theory in Context: Then and Now

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Srilatha Batliwala's presentation 'Feminist Theory in Context: Then and Now' traces changes in feminist theory from the 70's to the present day and looks at G@W's framework for assessing change in the …

Srilatha Batliwala's presentation 'Feminist Theory in Context: Then and Now' traces changes in feminist theory from the 70's to the present day and looks at G@W's framework for assessing change in the roots of gender inequality.


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  • 1. Feminist(theory(in(context(–(then( and(now!( Srilatha(Batliwala( Scholar(Associate( Bridging(Knowledge(&(Prac<ce( AWID(( (Associa<on(for(Women’s(Rights(in(Development)( 20/09/13(SBatliwala(1(
  • 2. Feminist(Theory(of(Change(–(( preOBeijing((late(70s(t0(early(90s)( • Patriarchy(and(the(social(construc<on(of(gender(as(the( root$cause$of$gender$inequality$ • Consciousness$raising,(and(moving(from(women(as( vic<ms(or(beneficiaries(to(women$as$agents$of$change,( architects(and(leaders(of(social(transforma<on((i.e.,(from( WID,(WAD(&(GAD(to(women’s(empowerment)( • BECAUSE(we(knew(that(systems(can(easily(isolate,( neutralize,(coopt,(or(expel(individual(or(small(groups(of( women(who(try(to(push(for(change,(we(believed(it(was( vital(to$mobilize$large$masses$of$women,(to(build( collec<ve(power(and(organize$strong$movements$to( frame(new(agendas(and(lead(the(change(process( 20/09/13(SBatliwala(2(
  • 3. What(did(we(mean(( by((movement?( An$organized$set$of$people$vested$ in$making$a$change$in$their$ situa<on$(“the$cons<tuents”)$$ pursuing$a$common$poli<cal$ agenda$through$collec<ve$ac<on.(( SBatliwala 320/09/13(
  • 4. Feminist(preOBeijing(TOC(–(cont’d( • Advocacy(and(mobiliza<ons(to(advance$formal$ equality,(crea<ng(enabling(policy(and(legal( frameworks(at(the(na<onal(and(global(levels( • Increasing(representa<on$of$women$in$decisionB making,(especially(poli<cal(bodies(at(local(and( na<onal(levels(( • Challenging(and(engendering$other$social$ movements(–(human(rights,(economic(jus<ce,( environment,(labor,(peace,(health,(educa<on( • Demanding(the(mainstreaming$of$gender$in( na<onal(and(interna<onal(development(and(aid( machinery( ( 20/09/13(SBatliwala(4(
  • 5. This(TOC(was(based(on(a( par<cular(understanding(of(the( construc<on(of(gender(power( that(evolved…(( 20/09/13(SBatliwala(5(
  • 6. Human( Resources( Material( Resources( Intangible( Resources( Knowledge( Resources( Ideologies(Social(Rules(Ins<tu<ons( Gender&/& Social&Power& Structure& Violence( Threat(of(Violence( Access(/( control(over( Access(/( control(over( The(Dynamic(of(( Social(Power( 20/09/13(SBatliwala(6(
  • 7. The(G@W(framework(for(assessing(change(in(( the(roots(of(gender(inequality(( Individual& Systemic&& Informal&Formal&& Consciousness(/( (Internalized( agtudes,(selfO esteem)( Individual(access( to(rights(&,( resources( Cultural(/(social(( norm(structures( Laws,(policies,( resource( alloca<ons( Community& 7(20/09/13(SBatliwala(
  • 8. What’s(changed(in(the(new(context( Internal:( • Deepening(understanding(of( power(–(hidden,(invisible( “agenda(segng”(power( • Disrup<on(of(our(binary( concept(of(gender,(other( gender(iden<<es( • Greater(understanding( “Intersec<onality”(( • “NGOOiza<on”( • Emergence(of(new( movements,(new(ways(of( organizing,(challenges(from( other(movements( • External:( • Magic(bullets(extrac<ng( pieces(of(our(transforma<ve( strategies( • Defunding(of(women’s( empowerment(/( transforma<ve(approaches,( “results(orienta<on”( • Fa<gue(with(gender( • New(nonOstate(actors(in( development(( • Backlash,(where(disrup<on( means(holding(the(line( (20/09/13(SBatliwala(8(
  • 9. Donella(Meadows,(in(“Leverage( Points”(said:(( • “(Folks(who(do(systems(analysis(have(a(great((belief(in( ‘leverage(points.’(These(are(places(within(a(complex(system( (a(corpora<on,(an(economy,(a(living(body,(a(city,(an( ecosystem)(where(a(small(shio(in(one(thing(can(produce(big( changes(in(everything.( • “This(idea(is(not(unique(to(systems(analysis—it’s(embedded( in(legend.(The(silver(bullet,(the(trimtab,(the(miracle(cure,( the(secret(passage,(the(magic(password,(the(single(hero(or( villain(who(turns(the(<de(of(history.(The(nearly(effortless( way(to(cut(through(or(leap(over(huge(obstacles.(We(not( only(want(to(believe(that(there(are(leverage(points,(we( want(to(know(where(they(are(and(how(to(get(our(hands(on( them.(Leverage(points(are(points(of(power.”( Donella(Meadows,(“Leverage(Points(–(Places(to(Intervene(in(a(System”,((The( Sustainability(Ins<tute,(1998( 20/09/13(SBatliwala(9(
  • 10. How(valid(is(the(feminist( movement(approach(today?( Does(it(s<ll(“disrupt”?( Some(evidence(from(AWID’s(analysis( of(the(aggregate(impact(of(the(MDG3( Fund(grants…( 20/09/13(SBatliwala(10(
  • 11. The(collec<ve(impact(of(the(MDG3( Fund(grants( • Almost(225$million$people$reached(with(new( awareness(of(women’s(rights( • Over(65.5$million$grassroots$women$reached(with( awareness(of(their(rights( • Over(230,000$ac<vists$were(provided(tools(and(skills(to( support(women’s(asser<on(of(their(rights( • Over(105,000$women’s$organiza<ons$were( strengthened(/(provided(greater(capacity(and(tools( • Nearly(3,700$women’s$organiza<ons$were(provided( new(or(more(resources(to(strengthen(or(expand(their( work,(especially(at(grassroots(level( 11(20/09/13(SBatliwala(
  • 12. • 38$Local$governments$and$45$na<onal$governments$were( influenced(and(to(reOassess,(strengthen,(and(improve( their(gender(equality(policies,(programs(and(outcomes( • 14$other$interna<onal$and$regional$human$rights$/$ women’s$rights$ins<tu<ons$and$mechanisms(were( influenced(to(beser(advance(women’s(rights( (Interna<onal(Criminal(Court,(Inter(American(Court(of( Human(Rights(,(CEDAW(Commisee,(OECD(DAC,( Organiza<on(of(Arab(States,(SADEC,(etc.,etc.),(including(a( new(interna<onal(rights(instrument(O(the(ILO(Conven<on( 189(on(Domes<c(Work(O(was(approved( • 45$groundbreaking$new$tools$and$innova<ons$developed( for(building(awareness,(assessing(and(improving( government(policies,(programs(and(services,((12(20/09/13(SBatliwala(
  • 13. 13( Karama:(prevented(the( passage(of(a(more( restric<ve(personal(status( law(in(Syria,(supported(by( the(survey(of(public( agtudes(showing(support( for(a(more(liberal(personal( status(code( Disrup<on:(dealing(with(backlash,(( holding(the(line( JASS/AWID/OTHERS:( Strengthened(visibility(of( growing(violence(against( WHRDs,(built(a(regional( coali<on,(and(contributed( to(greater(visibility(/( more(effec<ve(protec<on( AWDF:(Mobilised(to( resist(nega<ve(legisla<on( and(policy(O(such(as(the( An<(Homosexuality(Bill( in(Uganda,(the(Indecent( Dressing(Bill(in(Nigeria( FCAM&/&PARTNERS:(held( back(an(ini<a<ve(to( penalize(emergency( contracep<ve(pills(in( Guatemala.(( 20/09/13(SBatliwala(
  • 14. How(gender(power(was(impacted((N=34)( 14( Individual( Systemic(( Informal(Formal(( Consciousness(/( Internalized( agtudes,(selfO esteem( Access(to(&( control(over( resources(/( services( Cultural(/(social( norms,(beliefs,( prac<ces( Laws,(policies,( resource( alloca<ons( Community( 20/09/13(SBatliwala(
  • 15. Natureofshiftsinindividualconsciousness/ self-confidence/awarenessofrights(N=32)( 15(0(10(20(30(40(50(60(70(80(90(100( Women's(greater(decision(making( ability( Change(in(agtudes(towards( women(/(women's(issues( Increased(confidence,(selfOesteem,( selfOcare,(healing( Women's(increased(voice(and( par<cipa<on( Increased(par<cipa<on(in( leadership(&(advocacy( Increased(awareness(/(knowledge( of(gender(discrimina<on( 9& 17& 18& 21& 21& 22& 28& 53& 56& 66& 66& 69& No.( %( 20/09/13(SBatliwala(
  • 16. Nature(of(shios(in(socioOcultural(norms( and(prac<ces((N=30)( 16( 0(10(20(30(40(50(60(70(80(90( Other(social(/(cultural(shios( Space(created(for(discussing(and( challenging(gender(stereotypes( Media(sensi<vity(and(use(of(media(to( discuss(gender(issues( Posi<ve(shios(in(community(agtudes(and( ac<on(on(women's(issues( Increased(public((awareness,(empathy,(&( support(for(women's(rights( 6& 8& 10& 19& 20& 20& 27& 33& 63& 67& No.( %( 20/09/13(SBatliwala(
  • 17. Nature(of(shios(in(individual(access(to( resources(&(rights((N=29)( 17(0(20(40(60(80(100( Other(shios(in(the(individual(domain( Increased(awareness(of(available( services/resources( Increased(access(to(resources,(secure( livelihoods(&(economic(opportuni<es(( Greater(voice/poli<cal(par<cipa<on/( role(in(decision(making( Stronger(manifesta<ons(of(leadership( Visible(increase(in(access(to/asser<on( of(rights( 6( 10( 11( 12( 15( 19( 21& 34& 38& 41& 52& 66& No( %( 20/09/13(SBatliwala(
  • 18. Nature(of(shios(in(formal(laws,(policies( &(resource(alloca<ons((N=26)( 18( 0(20(40(60(80(100( Beser(evidence(generated(to(inform( future(advocacy( Improved(implementa<on(of(laws,( policies(&(services( Increased(resource(alloca<ons(for( women( Recogni<on(by(governments(/( mul<laterals(ins<tu<ons(of(importance( of(women's(rights(( Stronger(laws/policies/quotas/ ins<tu<ons(for(women( 6( 7( 7( 8( 18( 23& 27& 27& 31& 69& No.( %( 20/09/13(SBatliwala(
  • 19. In(“”The(age(of(endings,(Paul( Kingsnorth(says:(( ( • “If(I(were(a(scien<st,(I(might(say(we(were(living(in(an(age(of( entropy…..(Wherever(you(choose(to(look,(old(certain<es(and( old(reali<es(appear(to(be(dissolving…(Human(endings(too…(( • “All(of(these(changes(are(caused(by(one(phenomenon:(a( burgeoning(human(economy(that(serves(a(global(consumer( society(in(which(desire(poses(as(need(and(all(needs(are(there( to(be(met.(Blame(who(you(like(for(this(situa<on:(…(it(doesn’t( really(maser.(The(age(of(endings,(the(age(of(accelera<on,(is(at( hand,(and(each(of(us(is(strung(out(in(its(web.( Paul(Kingsnorth,(“The(Age(of(Endings”,(Transforma<on,(openDemocracy,( hsp://www.opendemocracy.net/transforma<on/paulOkingsnorth/ageOofOendings,(August(2013( 20/09/13(SBatliwala(19(
  • 20. Kingsnorth(concludes:( • “The(myth(of(progress(is(encircled(by(a(set(of(….(subOmyths:( the(ability(to(access(truth(through(objec<ve(science;(a(faith( in(advanced(technology;(the(assump<on(of(reason’s( superiority(over(intui<on;(and(a(belief(in(the(supremacy(of( the(human(species(over(the(rest(of(life(….( • “These(are(our(stories.(Now(they(are(killing(us(–(and(not( just(us.(The(age(of(endings(is(a(product(of(misplaced(beliefs,( of(myths(gone(bad….(the(work(of(change(is(too(important( to(be(leo(to(scien<sts,(poli<cal(ac<vists,(poli<cians(and( economists.(( • Rewri<ng(stories(is(the(task(of(the(crea<ve(imagina<on,(….( Perhaps(only(our(poets(can(save(us.”( 20/09/13(SBatliwala(20(
  • 21. Social(/(Gender(Jus<ce(( Movement(Building:( • Processes'that'build'the'collective'power'of' an'organized'constituency'of'excluded,' marginalized,'oppressed'or'invisible'people,' around'a'change'agenda'that'enables''them' to'access'rights'and'resources,'challenge' dominant'ideologies,'and'transform'social' power'relations'in'their'favor…''.' 21'20/09/13(SBatliwala(