Displaying items 1 - 15 of 84 in total
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    Advocating For Abortion Access: Lessons And Challenges, IDS Bulletin, 39.3

    This article reflects on the lessons learnt about strategies for increasing access to abortion from an 11 country comparative policy analysis known as the Johannesburg Initiative. It reflects on the value of learning and sharing strategic thinking while remembering that opportunities for litigation, policy change, shifts in programming, or even changing public opinion are often place and time specific, so that what leads to victory in one place cannot necessarily be repeated in another. The task is to build the evidence, the legal and health system capacity, the engagement with the public and policymakers to be able to take advantage of windows of opportunity as they arise. The article also suggests that while many gains have been made in winning a broader base of support for the idea of sexual and reproductive rights internationally, there is an urgent need to reinvigorate this movement, particularly through greater leadership, organisational and strategic engagement by activists from developing countries. …

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    Afghan Values or Women's Rights? Gendered Narratives about Continuity and Change in Urban Afghanistan, IDS Working Paper 387

    There is considerable debate about the extent to which gender equality and womens’ rights are universal values. This debate has been particularly heated in Afghanistan where the violation of women’s rights by the Taliban regime was one justification used by the US and its allies for their invasion of the country. There is, however, very little research on how ordinary Afghan women view their lives and their place within a highly patriarchal society and how their views might fit into these debates. This paper explores these issues using in-depth qualitative interviews with 12 Hazara women and their husbands in Kabul. …

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    Challenging Empowerment

    McFadden argues that societies in the South have been approached from a particular research gaze that is derived from a liberal epistemology that focuses on the individual; it simplifies women’s lives and is both methodologically and politically inadequate and deeply problematic. Empowerment as a notion is, too, embedded in liberal and neo-liberal worldviews and is ideologically flawed. With this liberal and neo-liberal development discourse in mind, McFadden looks at empowerment, MDGs, gender and human rights, and citizenship, entitlement and rights and analyses how they are embedded in this ideology. …

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    Changing Narratives Of Sexuality Concept Paper, Pathways Working Paper 4

    This concept paper focuses on the politics of sexuality. Its focus is on the normative construction of heterosexuality in mainstream narratives of sexuality produced by institutions such as the media, the law, religion and the development industry; by cultural arenas such as popular music and soap operas, as well as for counter narratives produced by women themselves. Foregrounding concepts of heterosexualty, sexuality and gender, the paper explores the connections between them and connections to norms that reinforce compulsory heterosexuality and male supremacy, and the implications for the workings of power and privilege. Narratives of sexuality serve both to affirm and also to challenge these norms. …

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    Communicating Empowerment: Countering The Cardboard Woman

    Tessa Lewin draws on the work done by the Pathways of Women’s Empowerment Research and Communications Consortium from 2007 to date. She explores both the broad approach to communicating empowerment and highlights the work of various projects undertaken. …

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    Contextualising The Economic Pathways Of Women's Empowerment

    Women’s paid work has featured in the development literature for two main reasons. The instrumental reason relates to its potential to contribute to make a variety of development goals, from poverty reduction to human development to economic growth. The intrinsic reason is its potential to transform the lives of women and girls by addressing gender inequalities on a wide variety of fronts. However in both cases, paid work is most likely to achieve this potential if it empowers women; since it is women’s capacity to exercise voice and influence in the key arenas of their lives that provides the impetus for change. …

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    Could Watching Porn Increase Our Expectations Of (Safe) Pleasure? An Exploration Of Some Promising Harm Reduction Practices

    This chapter explores how pornography can eroticize safer and less gender normative sex. The authors point out that pornography is a huge industry, and one of the most important sources of information on sexuality for young people in many countries. They discuss the prevalence and importance of porn as a conduit for sex education before describing ways in which the pleasure industry is challenging norms to create pornography that is positive. They advocate a harm-reduction approach where the harm is not ended, but its negative effects are mitigated, and cite examples of porn that erotizes safer sex with actors using female and male condoms. …

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    Critical Perspectives On Empowerment

    In this article, Petchesky questions the definition of empowerment, asking who is doing the empowerment and based on what agenda. She addresses disempowerment created by structural militarization, self-determined self-empowerment, and stresses the need for a nuanced and contextualized sense of gender to address power and change, as well as the need to go beyond gender and break the divides between people and nature and North and South. …

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    Cultural Values or Universal Rights? Women's Narratives of Compliance and Contestation in Urban Afghanistan

    There has been an ideological tug-of-war over women's place in Afghan society from the early years of the twentieth century between the modernising tendencies of its urban-based elite and the forces of conservatism represented by the Islamic ulema (religious leaders). Following the US-led invasion and the international donor community's subsequent efforts to “develop” the country, this struggle has acquired a new lease of life. Current debates reproduce the now familiar divide between cultural values and universal rights that characterises the wider feminist literature. While Afghan voices have been part of this debate, they tend to be drawn from more educated and politicised groups. …

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    Desires Denied: Sexual Pleasure In The Context Of HIV

    Writing as a woman living with HIV, Alice Welbourn focuses on the forced asexuality that is often foisted on women when they are diagnosed with HIV. She argues that a focus on sexual rights and pleasure can enhance our analysis of the ways in which legal, religious and medical discourses can reinforce fear of women’s unfettered sexuality. Welbourn’s chapter offers a poignant reminder of the extent to which HIV positive women experience the pain of forced retirement from sexual pleasure. Welbourn describes how positive women’s pleasurable sexual experiences are constrained by the grief of a positive diagnosis; like trauma or rape, she argues, this can lead to forced asexuality which denies women their rights to their own autonomy with regard to their sexual and reproductive pleasure. …

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    Economics, Assets And Empowerment

    Grown discusses her work on the Gender Analysis Programme on Economics at American University and its connection between teaching and research. She elaborates on her project with colleagues to conduct a household survey to gather sex- disaggregated information on physical and financial asset ownership and control, and to develop for designers and implementers of household surveys a parsimonious set of questions that can be added to every single household survey. The survey will show that this information can be collected at low cost and that it is important for public policy. She hopes that the survey will show that women own more assets than is commonly perceived to be the case, although ownership on its own is not enough for true empowerment. …

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    Editorial Introduction - Islam, Culture And Women, Inter-Asia Cultural Studies 12.2

    This article introduces an issue of writing on the ways in which religion enters cultural and social life. The papers in this issue concentrate on the way that Islam impacts on the everyday aspects of the lives of people in Muslim societies or communities where Islam plays a part. This issue emerged from a panel presentation on ‘Women Negotiating Islam’, about how women cope with the ways that religion enters their lives, and brings out the cultural aspects behind women’s negotiations of the positions made available to them and their struggle to carve their own spaces. The issue aims to show how women, culture and religion form a difficult and complex terrain in which our political and social lives are lived. …

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    Emancipation And Its Failures

    In this reflection on ‘empowerment’, Taylor looks at how development proponents have instrumentalised women’s role in development and poverty reduction, arguing that development should be about access to rights and freedoms. She points out that empowerment as a concept needs to be rethought – that real change needs to start with a democracy and human rights culture, a foundation of equal access to all the amenities of public life. Women’s visibility in work and politics is good, but is not the structural change that is needed because it doesn’t address power. She looks at human development as a valuable approach for women’s empowerment, and argues that the realization of women’s human rights into reality is necessary for empowerment. …

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    Empowerment: A Journey Not A Destination, Final Synthesis Report

    The final synthesis report of Pathways of Women's Empowerment (Pathways) - an international research and communications programme that has focused for the five years from 2006-2011 on understanding and influencing efforts to bring about positive change in women's lives. After an introduction to the themes of the research the report details 12 key research messages with cross references to the many international research projects undertaken by Pathways. Key resources and very detailed references follow. …

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    Empowerment And Transgender

    In this article, Schwenke reflects on women’s empowerment from a trans perspective, arguing for the need to include morals in development discourse and to navigate and be guided by moral values in order to think critically and reflectively, and to make a persuasive justification based on moral sensibilities allows us to evaluate our priorities, confront the status quo, and expand our human agency. Empowerment is rooted in societal acceptance of variant gender identities, and transformation of empowerment begins with a change in gender assumptions – a dialogue in which trans people have a unique perspective and can be extremely valuable. She stresses the importance of ‘human’ in human development and as a precursor to women’s empowerment. …