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

Recent Submissions

  • Social Construction of Female Infertility: A Qualitative Study of Women with Female Factor Infertility Diagnosis

    Shade Iwelumor, Oluwakami; Suraya Syed Jamaludin, Shariffa; Seun Babatunde, Kunle (Virtual Commons - Bridgewater State University, 2022-06-01)
    Infertility, though a global reproductive problem, is uniquely constructed within different socio-cultural contexts. This study explored the social construction of the meaning of infertility among women by focusing on a sample of married women with female factor infertility diagnoses experiencing primary infertility in Kwara South, Nigeria. The study adopted a qualitative approach. Nine women were recruited through the snowball sampling technique. Data were collected through semi-structured in-depth interviews and analyzed using thematic analysis with Atlas.ti 8. The findings are presented in three themes: ‘when delay becomes a problem,’ ‘confirming suspicion,’ and ‘defining the situation.’ By exploring the perceptions of infertile women about infertility, one would debunk some dominant constructions about infertility and comprehend the world of infertile women better. Understanding this could also go a long way in shaping policies and programs to empower childless women and manage infertility.
  • Cultural Autonomy as Impregnable Armour: Locating Black Feminist Autoethnography in Gloria Naylor's Mama Day

    Vats, Adishree; Kumar, Anurag (Virtual Commons - Bridgewater State University, 2022-06-01)
    The present paper argues that Gloria Naylor's Mama Day (1988) embodies Black Feminist Autoethnography that critiques and commemorates her spectacular art of constructing cultural-autonomy within the marginal sphere of Willow Springs, permitting the inhabitants, especially the women of the island, to shield their individual identities, as well as combat the hegemonic pseudo power-structure. By eliminating the conventions of white contemporary bureaus, and alternatively putting up rational sets of credence, ethics, and practices, the novel embellishes the rhetorical manufacturing of cultural-autonomy, ultimately encapsulating the ethical-cum-mythical undertakings of the Black America. This effectuation of their own ethical reservoirs by these resistive cultures eventually helps in defending their distinctiveness and autonomy, in order to give a substitutive formulation to their standpoints, as well as to provide the associates of the white hegemonic power structure with an insightful critical assessment of their own ethnicity. Further, the paper bluntly negates the conjecture of ethnographic convictions, and relentlessly confronts the colonizing supremacy of objectified fractional truths because objectivity as well as aloofness vis-a-vis the field setting ultimately results in a failure to gather any information and statistics worth examining, as offered through the prototypical narrative of Reema's Boy and George. Instead, using autoethnographic subjectification as an arsenal tool, the chapter contemplates over the magnitude of fabricating cultural-autonomy that empowers the quintessential women characters of Willow Springs, like Mama Day, Sapphira Wade, and Cocoa, to defy the etiquettes of an obsolete universalism, and to construct their distinct standpoints.
  • Understanding Women’s English Writings as a Paradigm of Resistance

    Ali Shah, Mudassir; Riaz, Humaira (Virtual Commons - Bridgewater State University, 2022-06-01)
    Women face numerous political, economic, cultural, and religious barriers in the world. To remove the barriers, fight for survival, and pave their way for development, women show resistance in politics, legislation, literature, theatre, songs, marches, art, sports, movies, and seminars. The previous studies have explored patriarchy as the best reason for women's resistance to fight against male-domination, ideological divisions, policies, traditions and cultures, and religion to claim their individual identity and equality. The present study demonstrates the role of literature in awakening society and explores how writing helps in resistance and maintains the struggle of liberation for the vulnerable section of the society. It uses textual analysis to explore resistance in the writing of women from Pakistan, England, and Ireland - namely Bernardine Evaristo, Marian Keyes, and Uzma Aslam Khan. It considers English language fiction narratives as a writing tool and a ‘paradigm of resistance’ to society, religion, politics, patriarchy, and class. The study contributes to the emancipation of women in patriarchal societies by resisting the forces, which work to suppress women. Women's writings are strong tools of survival and resistance in male-dominant societies. Women must write in different languages to voice against injustice, inequality, and violence in the world.
  • Our Fluttering Stranger

    Balaa, Luma (Virtual Commons - Bridgewater State University, 2022-06-01)
    Currently, Lebanon is undergoing dire economic and political crises, in addition to, the August 4, 2020, Port explosion, and the worldwide Corona Virus pandemic. The country is badly in debt and a third of its population is suffering from extreme poverty. More specifically, in the past year, the country has been suffering from a shortage of fuel. To express her anger at the high rate of pollution, the narrator wrote a poem describing how the Lebanese have been living in the dark because the government can no longer supply electricity. All citizens are obliged to pay another bill for private generators. The narrator was inspired by Coleridge's poem Frost at Midnight, in which the soot, the fluttering stranger, is romantically described coming out of the fireplace; for Coleridge soot is a symbol of domestic tranquility, companionship, and deep thought. The narrator creates her version of Lebanese soot in Our Fluttering Stranger.
  • Folk Song “Hua’er” in Northwest China: “Younger Sisters” and the Gender Relationship

    Rui, Ma (Virtual Commons - Bridgewater State University, 2022-06-01)
    Chinese folk songs remain largely unheard-of outside China. The broad purpose of this essay is to bring one peculiar form of folk songs that is commonly circulated in Northwest China—Hua’er—into the spotlight. The essay attempts to reveal four types of female images as observed in romantic Hua’er, which is followed by an analysis of the gender relationship mirrored from the images and characterized by male-dominated hierarchy. Additionally, two ideas are offered as interpretation on the construction of the gender hierarchy. One is the impacts of Islam and Tibetan Buddhism which are two principal religions in Northwest China; the other is the joint force generated when they are each combined with Chinese Confucianism. Though Hua’er has been listed into the Intangible Culture Heritage of UNESCO for more than a decade, the scholarship on it remains limited and new perspectives have yet to be explored. I believe this article makes a contribution in this regard by taking the gender perspective which is presently rare in Hua’er study.
  • Book Review: Women in the Kurdish Movement: Mothers, Comrades and Goddesses

    Acik, Necla (Virtual Commons - Bridgewater State University, 2022-06-01)
  • Gender Perspective on Tourism's Influence on the Local Community: A Literature Review

    Abellan Calvet, Nuria; Arcos-Pumarola, Jordi; Encinar-Prat, Laia (Virtual Commons - Bridgewater State University, 2022-06-01)
    The tourism industry integrates multiple actors interrelated through a variety of dynamics and characteristics. To address this complexity, tourism studies integrate different disciplines and perspectives in order to comprehend the tourism phenomenon. One of the main topics of tourism studies has been its impact on local communities. The conjunction of these research lines with the gender perspective discloses how tourism interrelates with the host territory's particular gender dynamics. In this context, the present study aims to explore and analyse the current state of academic research on tourism's influence on the local community from a gender perspective. In this way, we explore the main research topics and outline possible future lines of research on this topic. The study is based on a literature review of academic articles from the platform Scopus. Seventy-eight articles between 2011 and 2019 were analysed through inductive analysis. Three main topics emerged for considering tourism’s impact on local communities from a gender perspective: the changes provoked by tourism on the physical environment, the social environment, and the production environment in which the activity occurs.
  • The Persistence of Gender-blind Phenomena in Indian Science Academia

    Shukla, Tanu; Das, Madhurima; Singh Nirban, Virendra (Virtual Commons - Bridgewater State University, 2022-06-01)
    Using the theoretical tool of gender-blind sexism, an extension of Bonilla Silva’s (2003) color-blind racism, the current study explores the key determinants which are responsible for discrimination of women in science disciplines in Indian higher education. We argue that gender-blind sexism demonstrates how gender discrimination operates as institutional tools to discriminate between men and women in science fields. Although the science stream proclaims gender neutrality/blindness, it ultimately disfavors women over men. This study with the aid of extensive in-depth face-to-face interviews, aims to recognize the pattern accountable for women’s reduced progress in the sciences. Against the backdrop of the recently framed National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, by the Government of India, this intensive qualitative study identifies certain crucial dimensions responsible for gender discrimination and diminishing participation of females in Indian academia, especially in the sciences. With several institutional policies that have been in place to mitigate challenges in overt sexist patterns in the workplace, the analysis still confirms the existence of a perceivable organizational barrier, which hinders the rise of women faculty members. We infer that gender discrimination operates through covert mechanisms of gender-blindness and such practices are normalized institutionally as a brand-new form of sexism.
  • Book Review: The Reckless Kind

    Mishra, Ragini (Virtual Commons - Bridgewater State University, 2022-06-01)
  • Decoding the Internet Trolls and their Implications on Female YouTubers

    Salian, Tanaya; Ghosh, Munmun (Virtual Commons - Bridgewater State University, 2022-06-01)
    YouTube was one of the first platforms fuelling every layperson's dream to get a taste of stardom. Standing true to its promise, it exposed everyone to content creation and every aspect of fame that comes with content creation. The good, the bad, and the ugly side of the online platform involve the trolls and hate comments on the online platforms. It was eventually noticed that the trolling phenomena are shaping up biasedly and follow gender inequality recently. The online trolls are severe and ugly, especially for female content creators. The comments were harsh, demeaning and sometimes vindictive. Looking at this aspect of gender-specific trolling, the study aimed to explore and understand the trolling and nature of the trolls that female YouTubers encounter day-to-day. A qualitative approach was used to comprehend the argument. In-depth interviews were conducted with female content creators on YouTube. The YouTubers considered for the study were first selected by reviewing their content and their number of followers. Later they were connected individually to participate in the study. A total of fifteen female YouTubers were interviewed across different genres of beauty, lifestyle, entertainment and art. The study further dissected these female Youtubers' trolling and backlash experiences and their effect on their content output. These YouTubers have been actively using the tools provided by the platform to block out the negativity from their channels. At the same time, they have realised that it may not be easy to cut the hate comments and trolls out entirely. The conversation highlighted the impact and severity of trolls and their efforts to refocus their energies and attention on improving and creating better quality. The study will act as a reference point for future feminist scholars across disciplines and further explore online trolling phenomena.
  • "Abayomi, we are the revolution": Women's Rights and Samba at Rio de Janeiro

    Dürks Cassol, Paula (Virtual Commons - Bridgewater State University, 2022-06-01)
    The advent of the feminist movement in the twentieth century made it possible for socially organized women to begin seeking for the recognition of their rights and the change of gender roles which were socially built. Women’s rights started to be recognized as a human right. However, criteria of race and class have always been relevant, and have provided privileged positions for white women in the pursuit and attainment of rights, while black women continue to be stigmatized, remaining in the base of the social pyramid. In this regard, this paper questions: What is the relation between feminism and the cultural manifestation of samba in Rio de Janeiro in the conquering of women’s emancipation these days? This study investigates the relationship between feminism and samba from the Discourse Analysis of the samba lyrics "Abayomi", composed by the women from the ÉPreta project, released in their album in 2017. It seeks to identify the knowledge about human rights produced from the emancipatory cultural processes led by black women samba singers, who use the samba sung and composed by them as a tool for emancipation in human rights and for democracy today. Monica Graciela Zoppi-Fontana’s work was used as a theoretical reference. In her studies, the author analyzes the discourse from the categories of the French matrix Discourse Analysis, but she adds the categories of gender and race, especially when discussing the place from where these women speak and how these bodies’ markers, gender and race, provide a determining context in their discourses.
  • Women and Brains Go Together: Mapping Sophia Kovalevsky’s Animus in Alice Munro’s ‘Too Much Happiness’.

    Karkun, Suparna; Kumar Tiwari, Anoop (Virtual Commons - Bridgewater State University, 2022-06-01)
    Women and brains have always been an epicentre of intrigue and controversy delineating that women must use brains in dimensions that have been predestined for them by misogynists. An intelligent woman is often marginalized as unfeminine and hoydenish capable of threatening the heteropatriarchy thereby rendering it impotent. Several pioneering works on gender identity and equality began to be written in the eighteen and nineteenth century drawing attention of the intelligentsia as well as the common folk equally, towards this burning issue. Feminist reforms were initiated as a result of the untiring endeavour of writers and critics throughout the world. The first wave of feminism was a signal for the society to revoke the existing patriarchal norms and it was strengthened further by the second and third wave of feminism with formidable writers, activists and revolutionists who fought a long drawn battle to equip women with their share of rights. Women’s continued and persistent struggle against patriarchy the world over has led to society’s much needed changed perspectives towards women and their intellect. Women have proved the concocted saying “women and brains do not go together” false with their sheer grit and persistent determination. Reverberating similar deliverance, this paper investigates Alice Munro’s biography of the renowned first ever female mathematics professor Sophia Kovalevsky in her short story ‘Too Much Happiness’ with the archetypal lens of Carl Jung. Sophia, the protagonist in the story is a woman with an extraordinary intellect, a mathematician and a novelist with a rare fascinating power to conquer the world. In times when most women are compulsorily confined to the kitchen, she dares it all to make it to the University of Stockholm in Sweden and challenge the myth that a woman has less of an intellect than man. She is aware of the animus in her which is the so called male domain of a women’s psyche and represents the logical thinking faculty in a woman. This paper aims at tracing the renowned Swiss psychologist Carl Jung’s archetype of the animus in Alice Munro’s portrayal of Sophia, to discern her psyche and to analyse and interpret how her animus affects her life and career as an intellectual in the old school patriarchal world.
  • Colonial Hotspots: Reflecting on My Conditional Citizenship as a ‘Coloured’ [Woman] in Post-Apartheid South Africa

    Arendse, Danille (Virtual Commons - Bridgewater State University, 2022-06-01)
    The prevailing geopolitical situation has perpetuated epistemic and ontological violence against the citizens of Africa. This indicates that geopolitics have an impact on socio-spatial relations and human interactions that may affect the citizenship of oppressed persons. This paper contains reflections on the conditional citizenship of the author, who is legally identified as a Coloured [woman] in post-Apartheid South Africa. The racial classification Coloured [women], which was created during Apartheid, remains a divisive racial category in post-Apartheid South Africa, one that preserves stereotypes and negative connotations. The author draws the reader’s attention to her geographical location as a specific site of silencing and oppression that has served the reproduction of colonial and Apartheid ideology. Since her location has facilitated subjugation and created conditional citizenship, both of which render Coloured [women] vulnerable to dehumanizing, this specific location is identified as a ‘colonial hotspot’ in emphasis of how colonial and Apartheid epistemes are embedded in present-day socio-spatial relations. Moreover, as a Coloured [woman] in this colonial hotspot, her gender remains silent. The objective of this paper is to emphasize the importance of decolonizing colonial hotspots and warn that failing to devote attention to these phenomena may lead to the recolonizing of socio-spatial relations.
  • Book Review: Anti-gender Politics in the Populist Moment

    Unal, Didem (Virtual Commons - Bridgewater State University, 2022-06-01)
  • The Devadasi System: An Exploitation of Women and Children in the name of God and Culture

    Deane, Tameshnie (Virtual Commons - Bridgewater State University, 2022-06-01)
    This article looks at an ancient tradition of India called devadasis, which literally means “servant of God”. It requires girls as young as four years to be ‘married’ or ‘dedicated’ to a temple deity. Once a revered practice, over time the traditions evolved allowing women and children to become sexually exploited in the name of God. Looking at the reasons for the difficulty in combating this issue, this paper will first analyse its practices through a historical lense. Secondly, the extent of this exploitative practice will be discussed, and a major objective will be to explore the cultural underpinnings of a practice that permits the sexual exploitation of minors under the guise of religion which leads to sexual servitude and trafficking. This paper analyses the reasons for its continued practice and will conclude with some recommendations for improving the status of these vulnerable persons.
  • The Transformation of the Social Imaginary on Women’s Sexuality in Indonesian Literature from the New Order to Reformasi Eras

    Udasmoro, Wening; Saktiningrum, Nur (Virtual Commons - Bridgewater State University, 2022-06-01)
    In this research, we explored the social imaginary that relates to women’s sexuality based on the writings of several prominent Indonesian female authors. We argue that the social imaginary is not only a social construction but also a construct created through an individual’s active participation. Historically, the social imaginary in Indonesia has been tied to nationalism; however, it has gradually shifted toward the individual perspective. In particular, this study examined the construction of the social imaginary in Indonesia by comparing and differentiating literary works created under two political regimes: the authoritarian New Order regime (1968–1998) and the more democratic Reformasi regime (1999–present), wherein individuals—especially women—were given more space and liberty to participate in the construction of the social imaginary of their sexuality. This study focused primarily on two important research questions. First, how has the social imaginary of women's sexuality, as contested by Indonesian women authors in their literary works, changed from the New Order era to the Reformasi era? And second, how has the re-emergence of religious, political, and social powers during the Reformasi era contributed to authors’ contestations of women’s sexuality? The content analysis of selected literary works revealed that the social imaginary of women’s sexuality changed alongside the changes in Indonesia’s political regimes. During the New Order era, the social imaginary was controlled by the hegemonic power of the State. In the early period of Suharto’s rule, women authors were co-opted by the State’s power, whereas its later years were marked by the struggles of women authors against his authoritarian government. The Reformasi era gave way for liberty in women’s discussions of their sexuality, but this freedom was found to be temporary, its ephemerality compounded by new, religiously oriented conservative powers’ attempts to push back against the new wave of self-expressive women authors and restore women’s position to one of suppression and subordination.
  • Violence Against Media Personas: A Comparative Study of Women Journalists in Pakistan and England

    Iqbal, Iqra (Virtual Commons - Bridgewater State University, 2022-06-01)
    Gender is a critical tool for studying power dynamics within various organisations. The primary objective of this study is to examine how gender-targeted assault against females has increased in the profession of journalism. Below is a comprehensive picture of the extent of dangerous situations to which many women working in news media of England and Pakistan were subjected to. This research presents the insidious coercion endured by female journalists and considers how these incidents affect their ability to conduct their work on a professional level in the media industries of each country. It is important to note that the objective of this study is not to assess the number of women journalists who experienced these incidents, but rather to gauge the nature and frequency of these types of violations. The research is drawn from feminist theory, specifically, social feminist perspectives comprising discrimination of various levels in workplace with regards to gender. The data is collected using quantitative survey research techniques through purposive sampling utilising the snowball approach. Questionnaires were distributed amongst 50 women journalists from Pakistan and England. This research emphasises the consequences of psychological, verbal, technological, physical and sexual abuse as experienced by female media correspondents. The outcomes highlighted the cumulative proportions of incidents of various forms of violence experienced by these women.
  • The Traumatic Effect of the Japanese War on Women in Rani Manicka’s Selected Novels

    Ayaicha, Somia; Mani, Manimangai; Ewan Bin Awang, Mohamed; Khelifa Chelihi, Rania (Virtual Commons - Bridgewater State University, 2022-06-01)
    The Second World War which lasted from 1939-1945 left a deep dent in the lives of many victims in the world. The four-year Japanese rule in Malaya created a permanent scar in the hearts of the Malayans which lingered on even after many decades. The sufferings of the Malayan people under the inhuman Japanese army are clearly depicted in the two novels selected for this research, Rani Manicka’s The Rice Mother (2002) and The Japanese Lover (2010). The novels are about how women are subjected to the effects of war during the Japanese occupation, the pain of separation from a mother and her child, and the challenges a woman goes through to survive within a community. Manicka has used the Japanese occupation in Malaya as part of the settings for both novels. The characters will be studied under the light of trauma theory to highlight the irreparable damages caused by war on the psyche and the emotions of the characters as portrayed in the two novels. Trauma describes experiences that are emotionally painful and distressing whereby the victims face the inability to cope with life and it leaves behind a fundamental life-altering effect. This study aims to highlight the atrocities of the Japanese army in Malaya by studying the female characters in the selected novels. Secondly, this study will analyze the damages brought by the war to the female characters in the novels using the trauma theory and finally show how the war left a permanent damage in the lives of the female victims. The novelist highlights the injustices done to women in such societies and how they suffer even more after colonization. This double marginalization shatters and traumatizes the female identities. Therefore, this article will further break down the coping mechanisms used by the female characters to survive.
  • Golgotha, Beirut: A Feminist Memoir of the Port Blast

    El Hajj, Sleiman (Virtual Commons - Bridgewater State University, 2022-06-01)
    This partly biographical narrative recounts its narrator’s first-hand, ground-zero experience of the Beirut Port explosion, one of the largest and most destructive in living memory. As the narrator recollects her mother’s distress over the possibility of losing her children post-divorce and her joy at finally obtaining—after a seven-year legal battle—the annulment of an abusive marriage, Beirut Port explodes. The focus shifts to a memorable encounter with another anguished mother who, on the heels of the blast, is hysterical but then completely transformed once reunited with her children. The writer of the memoir culled its material through a number of interviews with the narrator who consented to have her story shared in narrative format, so that the resulting creative nonfiction may contribute to the nascent corpus of gendered writing exploring and interrogating, not only the August 4, 2020 national tragedy in Lebanon, but also the patriarchal system facilitating this calamity.
  • Kerala Needs a Women’s Movement for Breast Cancer: An Exploratory Study on Breast Cancer Awareness in Kerala

    Rajagopal, Sheeja (Virtual Commons - Bridgewater State University, 2022-06-01)
    The incidence of breast cancer is on the rise globally, and the Indian state of Kerala is no exception. Kerala has a vibrant and exciting history of social and political struggles centered on the female breast, as is evidenced by the system of breast tax applicable to lower caste women and the breast cloth revolt. Despite this long history of public attention, the diseased female breast remains an area of silence. In Western countries, the Breast Cancer Movement has played a significant role in bringing awareness on breast cancer. Unlike in the Western world and certain other parts of India, Kerala has not seen a Breast Cancer Movement, and there are no public spaces available for discussion of breast cancer. Research has shown that breast cancer diagnosis and treatment are often delayed in the case of Asian women. This study analyses the personal narratives of women with breast cancer to identify the reasons for this delay which usually affects the survival of women. Several social, economic, and cultural factors that contribute to the delay in diagnosing and treating breast cancer come up in these narratives. The attempt here is to understand breast cancer in the social and cultural context of Kerala. In the light of the evidence shown by my research, I argue that the absence of breast cancer movements or activism is a major cause of the current situation in Kerala. It is essential for a movement organised by women to bring about a radical change in the Kerala scenario concerning women with breast cancer.

View more