Displaying items 1 - 15 of 17 in total
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    An Unholy Trinity: The Church, The State, The Banks And The Challenges For Women Mobilising For Change In Nicaragua

    The paper explores the increasing inter-connectivity of the economic and religious ‘right’ through consideration of recent events in Nicaragua. It examines the policy discourse of the state and the international development banks though consideration of a Conditional Cash Transfer programme and highlights how this draws on notions of family and family values, notions more generally promoted by the Church. It suggests that those that seek to resist the actions of these three actors face a difficult challenge, not least since their own counter-actions continue to be largely un-connected. The discussion highlights how on the one hand women’s movements have tended to focus on the threats to sexual and reproductive rights from neo-conservative forces, while on the other, those that work with women’s groups at the community level have tended to respond to the real economic need of the women that result from neo-liberal policies. …

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    Appropriating 'Gender' And 'Empowerment': The Resignification Of Feminist Ideas In Nigeria's Neoliberal Reform Programme

    This paper focuses on processes involved in the Obasanjo administration’s appropriation of feminist language and meanings in its economic empowerment and development strategy, NEEDS. This appropriation of progressive ideas takes apparently gender neutral forms, through the presentation of the government’s economic and development agenda as partitioned from political practice, as well as forms that are more specifically oriented to the terms ‘gender’ and ‘empowerment’. On both tracks, appropriation involves the erasure of power in the production of altered meanings. I argue that NEEDS works ideologically to manufacture hegemony and the illegitimacy of dissent with regard to the government’s reform programme. …

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    Beyond The Mantra Of Empowerment: Time To Return To Poverty, Violence And Struggle

    The paper will examine some of the critical issues raised by the women's movement in India on the violence experienced by women both within the family and through modes of development initiated by the state in India and the manner in which the state has sought to both counter feminist critiques as well as co-opt them through state initiated policies. It will particularly examine literacy and micro-credit programmes to argue that the rhetoric of empowerment functions as a new 'mantra' which does little to even dent the violence of women's everyday lives especially when they are poor and located on the social margins. …

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    Counting The Cost Of Privatised Provision: Women, Rights And The Neoliberal Health Reforms In Chile

    This paper traces the reshaping of the right to health under neoliberal reforms and considers the new Plan AUGE that has been implemented in the health sector in Chile. The paper highlights how women’s right to health has been challenged by the marketisation of health care services. At the same time the paper demonstrates how a limited notion of women’s health is being promoted, one that notably excludes women’s reproductive rights. The Plan AUGE will improve women’s access to health care services but does little to challenge the underlying gendered assumptions around unpaid work and women’s reproductive rights remain severely restricted. …

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    Gender, Ethnicity And The Illegal 'Other': Women From Myanmar Organizing Women Across Borders

    Migrants and migrant support groups work in a global environment which is increasingly anti-migration, linking migration with encroachment on the employment opportunities of local workers, with bringing in ‘alien’ values and ways of living and, in recent years, with terrorism and issues of national security. Migrant women live in a world where most women are still struggling to be able to exercise their rights, including the basic right to decent and productive work. Poorer migrant women workers work in a global environment which promotes temporary work and places more and more women in what is called the informal economy, a term which allows corporations and employers to evade their responsibilities to their workers but makes little sense to migrant workers who are subject to an intimidating array of rules and regulations, governing all aspects of what they can and cannot do. The only thing that is informal about the lives of poor migrant workers are the conditions under which they work and how they are paid. …

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    Holding It Together In A Crisis: Family Strengthening And Embedding Neoliberalism

    The paper seeks to intervene in debates about the role of crisis in Post Washington Consensus (PWC) policymaking. Gender and, especially, sexuality are largely absent from that debate. My paper asks: What do experiences of crisis reveal about the inter-connections between crisis, gender, and sexuality? In concrete crisis conditions, which common sense groundworks of the present (Nikolas Rose) get unsettled, which get re-entrenched, and what is the role of the development industry in this process? Using policy texts, interviews with Bank policymakers, and fieldwork on a family strengthening loan in Argentina, I argue that the denaturalization of free markets in the PWC is articulated, in part, through the re-naturalization of monogamous heterosexual couplehood. With the injuries of neoliberalism framed as injuries to loving couplehood, the Bank and its allies resolve to (re)generate intimate partnership as defining feature of the post-crisis era, raising crucial questions about the new regimes of heteronormativity under construction in contemporary development practice. …

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    Introduction: Reclaiming Feminism, Gender And Neoliberalism

    Neoliberalism – that ‘grab-bag of ideas based on the fundamentalist notion that markets are self-correcting, allocate resources efficiently and serve the public interest well’, as Stiglitz (2008) puts it – has been a focal point for contestation in development. Feminists have highlighted its deleterious effects on women’s lives and on gender relations. They have drawn attention to the extent to which the institutions promoting neoliberal economic and social policies have undermined a more progressive agenda, as they have come to appropriate words such as ‘empowerment’ and ‘agency’ and eviscerate them of any association with a project of progressive social change. This collection of articles brings together reflections from a diversity of locations on prospects for reclaiming these ideas and using them to reframe and revitalise feminist concepts like ‘agency’ and ‘empowerment’, we argue, we need to return to and reaffirm their ‘liberating’ dimensions, reaffirming their association with forms of collective action that involve resisting and transgressing repressive social norms. …

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    Introduction: Reclaiming Feminism, Gender And Neoliberalism

    Neoliberalism – that ‘grab-bag of ideas based on the fundamentalist notion that markets are self-correcting, allocate resources efficiently and serve the public interest well’, as Stiglitz (2008) puts it – has been a focal point for contestation in development. Feminists have highlighted its deleterious effects on women’s lives and on gender relations. They have drawn attention to the extent to which the institutions promoting neoliberal economic and social policies have undermined a more progressive agenda, as they have come to appropriate words such as ‘empowerment’ and ‘agency’ and eviscerate them of any association with a project of progressive social change. This collection of articles brings together reflections from a diversity of locations on prospects for reclaiming these ideas and using them to reframe and revitalise feminist concepts like ‘agency’ and ‘empowerment’, we argue, we need to return to and reaffirm their ‘liberating’ dimensions, reaffirming their association with forms of collective action that involve resisting and transgressing repressive social norms. …

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    Liberal Vs. Liberating Empowerment: A Latin American Feminist Perspective On Conceptualising Women's Empowerment

    In this paper Cecilia Sardenberg argues that, despite the great diversity in the uses of the term ‘empowerment’, it is possible to distinguish two basic approaches in conceptualising women’s empowerment. The first, identified here as ‘liberal empowerment’, regards women’s empowerment as an instrument for development priorities, be they the eradication of poverty or the building of democracy. Consistent with liberal ideals, the focus in this approach is on individual growth, but in an atomistic perspective on the notion of the rational action of social actors based on individual interests. Moreover, it de-politicizes the process of empowerment by taking ‘power’ out of the equation. …

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    Local Feminism: Between Islamism And Liberal Universalism

    In this paper Islah Jad argues that the spread of universal women’s rights discourse, based on the liberal individual notion of rights, potentially ignores the different contexts in which ‘indigenous’ forms of resistance by feminist movements takes place, and risks sidelining some important knowledge and gains that have been achieved by these movements. In the Palestinian context detaching feminist struggle from the wider context of the emancipatory struggle for national liberation has led to the marginalization of women’s movements and the subordination of their claims for rights to a universal donor agenda. …

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    Reclaiming 'Agency', Reasserting Resistance

    This paper examines how concepts of women’s ‘agency’ have been appropriated and transformed by neo-liberal discourses. Within this framework, the exercise of agency is sought in women’s strategies for survival rather than struggles for transformation, and at the level of the individual rather than the collective. Post-modern preoccupations with the subject and the recognition of ‘difference’ have been incorporated alongside liberal definitions of the ‘rational individual exercising free will’ to pursue and legitimise neo-liberal economic policies involving intensified exploitation of poor women’s labour. Meanwhile the emphasis on women’s agency marginalizes analysis of oppressive structures, and shifts the focus away from patriarchal ideologies. …

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    Reclaiming 'Agency', Reasserting Resistance

    This paper examines how concepts of women’s ‘agency’ have been appropriated and transformed by neo-liberal discourses. Within this framework, the exercise of agency is sought in women’s strategies for survival rather than struggles for transformation, and at the level of the individual rather than the collective. Post-modern preoccupations with the subject and the recognition of ‘difference’ have been incorporated alongside liberal definitions of the ‘rational individual exercising free will’ to pursue and legitimise neo-liberal economic policies involving intensified exploitation of poor women’s labour. Meanwhile the emphasis on women’s agency marginalizes analysis of oppressive structures, and shifts the focus away from patriarchal ideologies. …

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    Reclaiming Feminism: Gender And Neoliberalism

    Even the most devoted believers in the neoliberal paradigm will have had their convictions shaken recently, as the world’s markets have played havoc with their faith. For those who have long questioned the purported benefits of neoliberal economic policies and highlighted their injurious consequences, it comes as little surprise that this 'grab-bag of ideas' is in freefall. The focus of this IDS Bulletin is particularly apposite at a time when much-cherished axioms are being re-inspected and where new possibilities and directions are so badly needed. Contributors add to a growing, vibrant debate about Gender and Development. …

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    Reclaiming Feminism: Gender And Neoliberalism

    Even the most devoted believers in the neoliberal paradigm will have had their convictions shaken recently, as the world’s markets have played havoc with their faith. For those who have long questioned the purported benefits of neoliberal economic policies and highlighted their injurious consequences, it comes as little surprise that this 'grab-bag of ideas' is in freefall. The focus of this IDS Bulletin is particularly apposite at a time when much-cherished axioms are being re-inspected and where new possibilities and directions are so badly needed. Contributors add to a growing, vibrant debate about Gender and Development. …

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    Vulnerabilities Of Feminist Engagement And The Challenge Of Developmentalism In The South: What Alternatives?

    The paper examines the challenge of feminist engagement in the South today. The analysis proceeds from the position that feminist engagement has registered multiple successes with a major break through in the ways in which it has made considerable dents into dominant development discourses. However, I argue, that this very success has created inherent vulnerabilities, with success appearing as a double edged sword whose disintegrative effects are much fiercer and much more anchored, in terms of power regimes. By trying to have a command into the development arena feminism had to reshape itself – even at the basic level of being understood. …