The Journal of International Women's Studies is an on-line, open-access, peer reviewed feminist journal that provides a forum for scholars, activists, and students to explore the relationships among theories of gender and sexuality and various forms of organizing and critical practice.


The Globethics library contains articles of Jounral of International Women's Studies as of vol. 1(2001) to current.

Recent Submissions

  • The Russia-Ukraine War: Geopolitical and Gendered Impact on the Greater Middle East

    Olimat, Muhamad S (Virtual Commons - Bridgewater State University, 2023-08-23)
    The Greater Middle Eastern Region is composed of the Levant, the Arab Gulf Region, North Africa, and Central Asia. It represents a geopolitical region and cultural civilization that is at the heart of global affairs. Its geostrategic location made it vulnerable throughout history to political, security, economic, and cultural developments. The region is heavily influenced by the current war in Ukraine, and the aim of this article is to explore its consequences in terms of political implications, security, economic and energy considerations, and socio-cultural impact, with a special attention to the gendered impacts of the war on the region.
  • Surviving Patriarchy: Ukrainian Women and the Russia-Ukraine War

    Al Oraimi, Suaad; Antwi-Boateng, Osman (Virtual Commons - Bridgewater State University, 2023-08-23)
    The conventional narrative about war and women, normalized by patriarchy, is that war is men’s business and that it requires specific masculine characteristics that women do not possess, and as such, women ought to be exempt from direct combat for their own good. So pervasive is this narrative that women are often portrayed in the media coverage of war as hapless and dependent victims in need of rescue and protection. Focusing on the case of Ukrainian women in the ongoing war against Russia, this study debunks the conventional narrative by positing that Ukrainian women have demonstrated agency in the face of unimaginable adversity, serving as diplomats and journalists calling attention to the war, as frontline fighters, as heads of households, and as anti-war activists, among other roles. Further, they have been instrumental in maintaining children’s education and facilitating the delivery of humanitarian aid. This is despite the fact that women have endured political exclusion from the decision-making process on the conduct and end of the war, as well as social exclusion through sexual violence, human trafficking, internal displacement, and refugeehood. Furthermore, they have borne increased economic burdens in the form of energy poverty, food insecurity, unemployment, and poverty. Ignoring the pain, suffering, and diverse sacrifices of Ukrainian women amounts to an insidious form of patriarchy that is bound to further prolong the war and worsen their suffering. Any future negotiations aimed toward ending the war, providing post-war humanitarian assistance, and developing reconstruction plans must involve all parties who fought and bore the brunt of the war, especially women.
  • Impact of the Russia-Ukraine War on Education and International Students

    Al Gharaibeh, Fakir; Ahmad, Ifzal; Malkawi, Rima (Virtual Commons - Bridgewater State University, 2023-08-23)
    This study examines the effect of the Ukraine crisis on the national and international economy, which is intrinsically tied to education, research, and science. As a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the country’s economy plummeted sharply. This displaced many local and international students, teachers, and educators at Ukrainian universities, schools, and institutes, including girls and women. In this paper, we have highlighted the global effort to sustain higher education and accommodate displaced students. We have adopted an exploratory, descriptive analysis of media coverage of the Russia-Ukraine War and other statistical studies and articles generally addressing the impact of the Ukraine crisis on the economy, particularly education, research, and science. Results suggest that immediate and continuous support for Ukrainians and international students is viewed as a necessity tightly linked to the national economy and the global economy.
  • Heed Their Rising Voices: Conflicts and The Politics of Women’s Representations

    Bashri, Maha; Tedam, Prospera (Virtual Commons - Bridgewater State University, 2023-08-23)
    Conflicts and wars have many parallels wherever they occur around the world. For many people worldwide, the media is the most important source of information on these conflicts and their effects on vulnerable groups such as women and children. Women’s experiences in particular mirror the atrocities of war zones. Yet, it is certain women whose stories and voices are amplified the most by the media. The war in Ukraine in comparison to ongoing conflicts in countries such as Afghanistan and Syria garnered more media coverage in a shorter time span. By reporting on some conflicts while neglecting others, and representing vulnerable groups in these selected areas in particular ways, the media influences whose voices get heard and which conflicts are at the forefront. This is especially important in determining the outcome of wars, the amount of global and humanitarian aid vulnerable groups in conflict zones receive, and the success of refugee assimilation in host countries. The following research analyzed studies examining media coverage of Ukrainian, Afghan, and Syrian refugees, particularly women, in the West. The research seeks to unveil the framing patterns found in Western media discourses regarding these refugees, arguing that these frames impact policy and public opinion.
  • The Impact of Sanctions against Russia on Central Eurasia: A New Great Game through a Feminist Lens

    Akchurina, Victoria; Dolidze, Anna (Virtual Commons - Bridgewater State University, 2023-08-23)
    This paper is an attempt to better understand a hard-core security issue through a feminist lens or to grasp a new “Great Game” emerging in central Eurasia by using a feminist understanding of power. The war in Ukraine is considered pivotal to the direction of world history, global order, and the very architecture of the international system. While NATO and Western powers are reluctant to go into a direct military confrontation with Russia over Ukraine, sanctions on Russia have repercussions that extend way beyond Russian borders. Specifically, the former Soviet republics of Central Asia and South Caucasus—which have continued to be almost an integrated part of the extended Russian economy—are experiencing a stronger impact of sanctions than initially planned by the international community. This paper aims to address the unintended consequences of sanctions against Russia on the extended Eurasian space. It claims that sanctions against Russia represent both a trap and an opportunity for the so-called small states in Central Asia and South Caucasus, subjecting them to the patterns of the world hierarchies on one hand and providing the space for maneuver, on the other. A question in focus here is what conditions the so-called small Eurasian actors may need to overcome to remove themselves from Russian dependency. This article relies on the ontology of feminist security studies by focusing on the marginal actors of the Great Game, discovering that resilience is another form of soft power in today’s international relations.
  • Feminist Foreign Policy and the War in Ukraine: Hollow Framework or Rallying Force?

    Chehab, Sara J (Virtual Commons - Bridgewater State University, 2023-08-23)
    This article examines the applicability of Feminist Foreign Policy (FFP) frameworks following the 2022 Russia-Ukraine War. By looking at how Sweden, France, Canada, and Mexico responded to the war in the February 2022 to January 2023 period, the paper seeks to examine whether states’ reactions were in line with their FFP commitments or whether FFP was placed on the backburner in the face of a major threat. While there has not been a common feminist response to the war in Ukraine because states have responded through different means without consistently employing their FFP principles, the article argues that a clear conceptual framework that marries Feminist Foreign Policy with conflict-related considerations is important if FFP is to survive.
  • The War in Ukraine and Inflation Drivers in the GCC: Evidence from Dubai

    Rashad, Ahmed Shoukry; El-Sholkamy, Mona Mostafa; Olimat, Muhamad (Virtual Commons - Bridgewater State University, 2023-08-23)
    The war in Ukraine has led to a surge in commodity prices. Energy and food prices have skyrocketed after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The acceleration in worldwide fuel prices delivered positive fiscal balances to major oil-rich countries, particularly the Gulf states. Nevertheless, the positive current account balances did not leave these countries immune to inflation. This study uses up-to-date inflation numbers to determine the drivers of inflation in the Gulf region by examining the case of Dubai, as one of the most popular cities in the region. The study uses monthly inflation numbers that cover the year 2022 and applies an element-by-element analysis to identify the drivers of the accelerated inflation. Our findings suggest that Dubai’s inflation is mainly driven by the transport component in the consumer basket, while food items had a modest impact on Dubai’s inflation.
  • Asian, African, Middle Eastern, and Women’s Contrarian Views on the Russia-Ukraine War

    Janardhan, Narayanappa (Virtual Commons - Bridgewater State University, 2023-08-23)
    Most reactions to the Russia-Ukraine War, especially in the West, have been critical of Moscow’s aggression and sympathetic to Ukraine. But there is also a view, especially in the East, that the situation is not as black and white as it is made out to be, that there is a gray-area in global affairs related to the conflict. This research article highlights contrarian views from Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, and the reasons for the same. It also examines contrarian women’s perspectives on how underplaying the plight of war-affected women in the Middle East, compared to highlighting the plight of Ukrainian women, is tantamount to hypocrisy. It argues that these contrarian views are partly rooted in ideological moorings and also economic, political, and security concerns. Using empirical data from secondary sources, this article also contends that such reactions do not condone Russia’s belligerence but reflect a growing multipolar global order where strategic ambivalence on global affairs is a new tool to promote strategic autonomy as well as often-ignored human security.
  • Women in the War: A Gendered Analysis of Media Coverage of the Russian-Ukraine War

    Oyeleye, Ayo; Jiang, Shujun (Virtual Commons - Bridgewater State University, 2023-08-23)
    In recent years several commentators have observed the trend of mainstream media ignoring and distorting women’s perspectives and experiences in armed conflicts. Both in the reporting and the wider discourse about conflicts, women tend to be cast less as political actors and more as helpless victims, often paired with children in accounts of war incidents. Carolina Marques de Mesquita (2016), in her study of media coverage of recent wars and conflicts, observed that while major media outlets tend to represent the scale of violence in a conflict through the harm and death inflicted on women, they are otherwise often neglected. This contention sets the backdrop for our study that aims to explore the Russian-Ukraine War from a gendered lens. We examine the coverage of the ongoing conflict in four news outlets to see whether or not they reflect the established pattern of gendered representations of war. Our analysis reveals, by and large, persistence in the pattern of coverage of the war that corroborates the charge that media reportage of conflict tends to underrepresent women and distort their involvement in wars through narrow role characterizations.
  • Peripheral and Gender Perspectives: The Russia-Ukraine War and Africa’s Response and Impact

    Antwi-Boateng, Osman; Al Nuaimi, Mohammed Huwaishel (Virtual Commons - Bridgewater State University, 2023-08-23)
    Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, most African countries avoided open alignment with either Russia or Ukraine, favoring a wait-and-see approach until the situation’s consequences for African households, energy security, and the agricultural sector became more evident. Using the nexus between world systems and dependency theories as an analytical tool, this study examines how African governments have responded to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and how the continent has been affected by the war. This examination is accomplished via a qualitative analysis of primary data such as reports issued by independent international organizations, think tanks, and media houses. Furthermore, the analysis is complemented by secondary sources such as media reports and expert crisis analysis. This study argues that although Africa as a continent and African women in particular, by virtue of occupying the periphery of world politics, have been marginalized in decision-making regarding the war, they have nevertheless been negatively impacted by the war. Lacking agency in world affairs, the continent has responded to the war in a disjointed way without considering the voices and input of African women, who are increasingly bearing the brunt of the global impact of the war. Consequently, Africa, led by patriarchal leadership via the African Union (AU), has struggled to abide by its continental charter principles of noninterference and remain committed to its tradition of nonalignment in international affairs. The continent has not been impervious to the negative impact of the conflict because of its structural dependence on countries in the global core. Politically, the war has resulted in further marginalization of the continent and its women due to the continent’s lack of agency. Economically, the conflict has led to rising energy costs, inflation, and food insecurity, all of which disproportionately affect African women. Socially, the conflict has disrupted the academic life of African students in Ukraine, with women students particularly vulnerable to gender-based violence. The research calls for the inclusion of more African women’s voices in decision-making at the AU, as African women and girls bear the brunt of most global crises such as war.
  • Special Issue Introduction: The Impact of the Russia-Ukraine War on Global and Gender Affairs

    Olimat, Muhamad S; Antwi-Boateng, Osman; Janardhan, Narayanappa (Virtual Commons - Bridgewater State University, 2023-08-23)
  • Inclusions and Exclusions in the Narratives of War: Gulf Arabic Press Coverage of Russia-Ukraine Conflict

    Musa, Muhammed; Mansoori, Ahmed S (Virtual Commons - Bridgewater State University, 2023-08-23)
    Domestic policies of nation-states as well as trends in media development have further consolidated the role of mainstream media in shaping social and political processes related to international conflicts. Deregulation of the media landscape in Gulf countries has seen the side-by-side existence of both government and private media. In the current Russia-Ukraine conflict, the mass media are significantly shaping citizens’ perceptions and understanding within Gulf countries. Similarly, the kind of information disseminated by the media on the conflict plays a role in shaping the behavior of social and political structures within nation-states. While the media alone do not determine government policies, they do shape the circumstances in which policy-making takes place. The media plays a substantial role in setting the agenda for national discourse, which guides policymakers in arriving at certain actions or responses. This study explores the characteristics and trends in the coverage of the Russia-Ukraine conflict among Arabic newspapers in the Gulf countries. The intention of this study is to gain insight into factors influencing the war narratives by different national newspapers in the Gulf region, and how these could shape national responses to the conflict. Furthermore, this study identifies different features of war narratives, the inclusions and exclusions of women in framing news about the conflict, and factors that shape such frames.
  • Hypertrophy as NATO’s Masculinity: Out-of-Area Operations and Enlargements in the Post-Cold War Context

    González-Villa, Carlos; Radeljić, Branislav (Virtual Commons - Bridgewater State University, 2023-08-23)
    The Russian intervention in Ukraine in February 2022 has served as a catalyst or actualizer of a long-standing trend in NATO: that of justifying its existence by its geographical expansion. This is both in organic terms, through the incorporation of new states into its structure, and in operational terms, through the execution of so-called out-of-area operations, and the intensification of its rivalry with Russia. This dynamic, which has been firmly established since the mid-1990s, has been overridden by the growing contradictions between the interests of its members, the successive changes in US administrations, and the transformation of the international system, characterized by an inexorable trend toward multipolarity. Altogether, these factors explain the extent to which NATO is facing a definitive choice. Starting with the implications of the war in Ukraine for NATO, this article provides a historical analysis of this phenomenon, noting the vicissitudes of NATO’s enlargements and operations over the past thirty years, and how these activities have enabled the alliance to weather the successive internal crises it has faced. Ultimately, the authors argue that the war in Ukraine marks the end of this dynamic and of NATO’s masculinist dilemma either to limit its operations to the defense of its members (in line with the collective security clause enshrined in Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty) or to complete pending enlargement processes, thereby endangering international peace and security.
  • Draupadi’s Polyandry: A Study in Feminist Discourse Analysis

    Sharma, Saumya (Virtual Commons - Bridgewater State University, 2023-07-13)
    Draupadi serves as a crucial link between warring characters in the Mahabharata (an ancient Indian Sanskrit epic), particularly through her polyandry. Born of fire, personifying purity, yet bound by a matrimonial covenant, she is caught in a complex marital relationship with five husbands that completely changes her life and also theirs. In consonance with the aims of gyno- criticism, literary depictions of women seek not only to reconstruct but also to critique patriarchal conventions. Drawing on the perspective of feminist critical discourse analysis (Lazar, 2005), with its tools of speech acts, presupposition, vocabulary, and modality, this paper seeks to examine the varied representations of Draupadi in three translated texts of the Mahabharata by Buitenen, Ray, and Divakaruni. The aim of the paper is trifold: to study the construction of Draupadi through the events of her marriage and post-marital occurrences, to examine her power/powerlessness vis-à- vis others, and to explore the othering of her character against the notions of dharma (right conduct or action) in marriage. The analysis reveals that Buitenen’s translation emphasizes destiny and dharma, but it does not provide a voice to Draupadi and constructs her as an embodiment of ideal womanhood. In contrast, Ray and Divakaruni represent Draupadi as expressing emotions, opinions, and judgments of her own self and of others. She appears powerless and oppressed before patriarchal conventions yet reclaims power through her vivid articulations and her questioning of phallocentric norms. Thus, the women writers humanize Draupadi, lending her agency and critiquing misogyny.
  • Reinventing Marginalized Voices: A Study of Volga’s The Liberation of Sita and Yashodhara

    Ruchi, Kumari; Jha, Smita (Virtual Commons - Bridgewater State University, 2023-07-13)
    The corpus of Indian women’s literature has the power to define the borders of community, class, and gender. Challenging the existing patriarchal set-up, writers from all corners of the nation speak not only to subvert the patriarchy but also to claim their authority and bring subdued voices to the fore. In Volga’s gynocentric retellings of the ancient epic “Ramayana,” Volga’s The Liberation of Sita and Yashodhara deconstruct the traditional epic by recentering female characters that were marginalized in the original. The Liberation of Sita and Yashodhara tell the story of Buddha’s wife after his unexpected departure, and they exemplify an active remaking of the past, a revision, and a reinvention of tradition. Thus, the author creates a female collective by representing ancient tradition from alternative points of view and networking with women across ages and generations. This paper interprets the depiction of the female characters in the select texts not merely as exalted figures but as bold voices. The female characters of the epic are victims of patriarchy, yet they are not depicted as mere sufferers. The author has given them a strong voice and dignity, narrating words of wisdom which are the result of their experiences of struggle with pain. Hence, the study shows Volga’s evolved understanding of feminism as more than a simple conflict between men and women, but a larger issue that cannot simply be reduced to binaries.
  • Mothers Born or Produced?: An Analysis of the Mother-Daughter Relationship in Well-Behaved Indian Women

    Agarwal, Shivalika; Kumar, Nagendra (Virtual Commons - Bridgewater State University, 2023-07-13)
    The word motherhood has been used for centuries without thorough examination of what it encompasses. Literature exhibits the changing reality and needs of mothering irrespective of the outcome: imposed motherhood, and institutionalized mothers. Motherhood has been bifurcated in meaning as “the potential relationship of any woman to her powers of reproduction and to children; and the institution, which aims at ensuring that that potential-- and all women--shall remain under male control” (Rich 13). A woman’s biological capacity to bear and nurture a child has been a significant factor in the existence of human life. Another facet of this is the development of the child’s identity while growing up close to the mother. On the one hand, a son gives up or is given up by his mother at a certain age; daughters, on the contrary, have no reason to be given up, and thus the mother-daughter bond is cultivated to be permanent. The paper explores Well-Behaved Indian Women (2020), the debut novel of Saumya Dave, to discover this relationship in three generations of women. The authors examine how motherhood is practiced in the ways a woman is brought up under a certain set of beliefs by her mother, and how she transfers the same set of beliefs to her own daughter. This shift edges towards an inflicted identity that is not one’s own. The daughters and mothers in the novel suffer separation resulting from their conflicted identities and go on journeys of self-analysis to resolve these conflicts. We seek to examine their struggle by highlighting select concepts in motherhood studies.
  • Traversing the Inner Courtyard to the Public Sphere: Exploring Lalithambika Antharjanam’s Short Stories as Narratives of Protest in Early Twentieth Century Kerala

    Hemachandran, Revathy; Vinai, Maya (Virtual Commons - Bridgewater State University, 2023-07-13)
    This essay analyzes women writing about their experience in the changing socio-cultural and political context of the early twentieth century and especially in the face of the global, national, and regional transformations that Kerala underwent. The essay argues that the short stories of Lalithambika Antharjanam subverted the popular representation of antharjanams in the early 20th century as impassive, oppressed, and vulnerable subjects and provided alternative ways to conceptualize an antharjanam as a feminist trailblazer with a strong voice of protest. Her writing exposes her first-hand experiences of gender discrimination practiced in families as related to her caste and family lineage. Thus, her literary expression is one of the first ventures in feminist writing that Malayalam literature witnessed. This article draws on the scholarship of Uma Chakravarti, Nur Yalman, and Michel Foucault, employing their theories on gender, sociology, psychoanalysis, and cultural and anthropological frameworks to explore women’s roles in their respective social groups. Furthermore, the works of Joan Watt and J. Devika are applied in this interpretation of works by women writers in twentieth-century Kerala.
  • Custodianship and Care: Women and Reading in Anita Desai’s Clear Light of Day

    Mahapatra, Aruni (Virtual Commons - Bridgewater State University, 2023-07-13)
    Several scholars have noted how the Indian state has been able to care for women only by placing them in custody of the family or the community, often overseen by male relatives. How do novels by Indian women writers intervene in this difficult social and legal problem? This paper answers this question by integrating feminist scholarship on the place of Indian women in postcolonial India with another scholarly tradition: the ethics of care. Conventionally, these two bodies of writing have not been in direct dialogue. This paper facilitates a conversation by close-reading Anita Desai’s Clear Light of Day, a novel that powerfully describes the struggles of educated women in independent India through a perceptive depiction of the complexities of care. It argues that a postcolonial theory of reading based on care must account for the powerful influence of custodianship in postcolonial India.
  • The Changing Contours of the Indian Public Sphere: Courtesans, Culture, and the British Invasion of Oudh in Kenizé Mourad’s In the City of Gold and Silver

    Kumar, Anurag; Malhotra, Isha; Bali, Rishav (Virtual Commons - Bridgewater State University, 2023-07-13)
    The article explores the role of women in the Indian freedom struggle, particularly Begam Hazarat Mahal of Lucknow through Kenizé Mourad’s In the City of Gold and Silver (2010). The text explicitly and implicitly foregrounds the role of tawaifs (courtesans) in the culture and the literature of the public sphere prior to 1857 or the first Indian freedom struggle. Their participation in the freedom struggle was a response to the British attempt to reduce their role to strictly economic and sexual purposes. The article imbricates the issues of nationalism, gender, and sexuality by mining the invisible contributions of various groups of Indian women throughout the freedom movement. We focus specifically on the case of tawaifs whose status fell from being the epitome of cultural manners to the role of a prostitute, partially because they posed a threat to the British expansion and partially because of the patriarchal setup of the Oudh society. The political significance of numerous women who contributed within the domestic sphere was completely neglected and unrecorded, while those who actively participated risking their lives and honor, such as the courtesans, were demeaned or given labels such as prostitutes. The writers, journalists, and historians who were mostly men ignored their sacrifices and struggles resulting in a scarcity of literature concerning them. The article references the theoretical framework of the public sphere, proposed by Jürgen Habermas in his seminal work, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, and critiques the imposition of European, patriarchal, monolithic, bourgeois notions on the public sphere. The study concludes that apart from the British intervention, the patriarchal and moral stand of successive leaders of the Indian freedom struggle has also been responsible for the non-representation of women in general and tawaifs in particular as freedom fighters.
  • Redrawing the Contours of Nationalist Discourse through the Voices of Courtesans-Turned-Warriors

    Arora, Neha (Virtual Commons - Bridgewater State University, 2023-07-13)
    The last quarter of the twentieth century has seen the emergence of a “cult of pluralism” (Chakrabarty) in the writing of Indian history, thus challenging the standardized narrative of the nation. The hegemonic accounts of India’s struggle for independence, which have failed to acknowledge the involvement of many significant warriors, make the inextricable links between power, history, and representation quite apparent. One such exclusion is that of the tawaifs2 of Awadh.3 This hypocrisy combined with the facade of respectability has eclipsed the contribution of tawaifs, demoting them to singing and dancing girls merely. By looking at the role of Begum Hazrat Mahal in the Revolt of 1857, this paper intends to add another dimension to both the understanding of tawaifs and the historiography of the revolt. It also seeks to question the inclination of historians to focus on the participation of men and ignore women, especially those women from marginalized demographics. The study foregrounds the role of tawaifs in the changing discourses of colonialism and nationalism, with the goal to problematize their invisibility in academic discourse. Kenizé Mourad’s biographical fiction, The City of Gold and Silver, is taken as a case study to focus on the production of counter- narratives. A thorough examination of the various aspects of Begum’s personality calls into question history’s selective representations. Furthermore, by focusing on the Begum’s political life, the paper seeks to correct the false image of Awadh’s tawaifs and kothas4 and to restore the lost voices of the unsung heroines.

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