Iyer, Shruti (Virtual Commons - Bridgewater State University, 2016-02-20)
This paper examines the critique of what has been termed as “governance feminism” and analyses its conceptual utility with reference to the legal reform process undertaken in India in the aftermath of the Delhi anti-rape demonstrations of late 2012-early 2013. Governance feminism refers to the process by which feminists influence institutional decisions and policy, and critiques of governance feminism focus on its tendency to maintain an equivalence between womanhood and victimhood, and its blindness to unintended consequences of feminist legal reform. This paper will reflect on the critiques that have been made of governance feminist interaction with the state, and examine their exportability to the Indian context, with reference to Indian feminist engagement with the Justice Verma Committee (JVC) that was set up to make recommendations to the criminal law. I will go on to argue that the critiques that have been made of governance feminist intervention in the West have limited exportability to the Indian context. The insights of the governance feminist critique remain invaluable, and the methodological emphasis that it places on unintended consequences are of relevance to Indian feminists who (like any feminist movement) do not operate as a monolithic movement, but are constantly negotiating unstable political categories and identities. However, this paper will pay attention to the fact that where the Indian feminist movement was self-critical in its recommendations for legal reform, they were largely unsuccessful in having them reflected in the Ordinance and Act later passed. In the light of this, it will argue that while the governance feminist critique tends to espouse taking a break from feminism to account for other justice projects, the Indian feminist’s experience suggests that feminists may be better off taking a break from the state.
Sirimanne, Chand R. (Virtual Commons - Bridgewater State University, 2016-11-13)
The increasing influence and relevance of Buddhism in a global society have given rise to a vibrant and evolving movement, particularly in the West, loosely called Socially Engaged Buddhism. Today many look to Buddhism for an answer to one of the most crucial issues of all time—eradicating discrimination against women. There is general agreement that Buddhism does not have a reformist agenda or an explicit feminist theory. This paper explores this issue from a Theravāda Buddhist perspective using the scriptures as well as recent work by Western scholars conceding that there are deep seated patriarchal and even misogynistic elements reflected in the ambivalence towards women in the Pāli Canon and bias in the socio-cultural and institutionalized practices that persist to date in Theravāda Buddhist countries. However, Buddha’s acceptance of a female monastic order and above all his unequivocal affirmation of their equality in intellectual and spiritual abilities in achieving the highest goals clearly establish a positive stance. This paper also contends that while social and legal reforms are essential, it is meditation that ultimately uproots the innate conditioning of both the oppressors and the oppressed as the Dhamma at its pristine and transformative core is genderless.
Garwood, Eliza (Virtual Commons - Bridgewater State University, 2016-02-20)
This paper seeks to highlight the often overlooked interconnectivity of the cultural sphere and the economic sphere, particularly focusing on same-sex reproductive law and neoliberalism. Using The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008, specifically highlighting its implications for same-sex couples, this examination demonstrates the way that policy and legislation frequently echo normative ways of being, encouraging the “good”, productive neoliberal citizen and/or family. This article is informed by Foucault’s notions of governmentality and biopower, problematising this limiting legislation, arguing that it is grounded on an internalised ideal of the traditional family, discouraging more transgressive or creative family formations. Specifically, I challenge the way that this legislation privileges marriage, the two parent model and bolsters the binary constructions of heterosexual/homosexual and male/female. Consequently, despite being celebrated as a victory for same-sex couples, The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 reaffirms the hierarchy of non-heterosexual identities, allowing only those who follow the hetero/homonormative ideal to legitimately access reproductive services.
Escudero-Alías, Maite (Virtual Commons - Bridgewater State University, 2016-01-22)
Haitian American feminist and lesbian activist MilDred Gerestant has become one of the most acclaimed gender performers who best illustrates the malleability of gender, race and sexuality in the reconstruction of black queer identities. Drawing on interdisciplinary theoretical frameworks like trauma studies, queer theory and affect theory, my contribution analyses MilDred’s gender performances as creative attempts to surpass negative affects often attached to minority identities. By exploring the affect of shame as a productive enactment of transformation and hope, rather than as a source of numbness and suffering, this article aims to offer an alternative epistemological paradigm of feminist feeling and thinking, thus challenging mainstream discourses of identity and affective normalcy.
Siordia, Carlos (Virtual Commons - Bridgewater State University, 2016-07-31)
Family and religious ideologies may influence gender role attitudes in the United States, where gender inequality persists. Research suggests that family and religious ideologies shape beliefs of how men and women should behave—where gender egalitarianism is lowest amongst those with strong family orientations and/or strong patriarchal religious ideologies. This article investigated if and how family and religious ideologies are related to gender role attitudes by using cross-sectional data from the Longitudinal Study of Generations (n=1,615; mean age=50; 61% female; 32% racial minorities). Results indicate a direct relationship between gender role ideology and the following: religious ideology and familism. Because gender equality is important, future studies should investigate the causal mechanisms by which religious ideologies and familistic beliefs influence social stratification through gender role attitudes.
Singh, Trishala (Virtual Commons - Bridgewater State University, 2016-11-13)
B.R. Ambedkar, the architect of the Indian Constitution, once stated that the measure of progress of a community is the degree of progress achieved by its women. Financial independence and education are two of the most essential sources of women’s progress and empowerment. However, the process of achieving financial independence is often plagued with sexual harassment in the workplace, experienced by most women. This paper is an attempt to analyze the definition and components of sexual harassment, its extent and types. It analyzes the existing Constitutional and legal framework in India for prevention of sexual harassment in the workplaces in India through landmark judicial pronouncements and the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, 2013.
Ikeora, May (Virtual Commons - Bridgewater State University, 2016-01-22)
This article examines the role that African Traditional Religion (ATR) plays in giving ammunition to human trafficking, a role that serves as an emerging perspective in the understanding and critical engagement with this subject area. Elements within African traditional religion, popularly and often wrongfully termed ‘Juju’, proffer a method of control often used by certain traffickers to keep their victims in perpetual bondage. The data used in this article was derived from extensive fieldwork in Nigeria and the United Kingdom (UK) where forty-six (46) anti-trafficking stakeholders including victims were interviewed. The data indicates that this control mechanism was present in several cases of human trafficking from Nigeria, serving to impede effective investigations and the prosecution of traffickers. Consequently the protection of victims has also been obstructed. This article hence asserts that trafficking should also be understood from the perspective of the belief system of victims, one rooted in ATR rather than being attributed to brainwashing. It is also pertinent that policymakers and practitioners understand this emerging perspective if appropriate and sustainable anti-trafficking measures are to be fashioned to stem the tide.
Lipi, Rahima K. (Virtual Commons - Bridgewater State University, 2016-11-13)
Modern microcredit, as a tool for economic and social development, emerged with the assumption that it would promote women’s empowerment. Some researchers have found that microcredit has had a significant amount of success. However, some of these supportive studies have also ignored the subjective history of the participants. A second critical view of microcredit presents the practice as a Western World notion which exploits women as a tool of the market economy in order to gain profit, arguing that it has failed to provide an alternative to women’s vulnerability and survival. This article focuses on the drawbacks of both approaches. This research is based on sampling and in-depth interviews conducted by the author, using a semi-structured questionnaire. This methodological choice allowed the author to adopt a subjective view within the studied phenomenon, and to understand the social world associated with that phenomenon. The aim of this methodological choice was to apply an on-going awareness and assessment on the process and findings of the research. Furthermore, the methodological choices allowed the participants to express their own definitions of dignity and empowerment in their lives, and the way they have negotiated their personal lives between perceived meanings, and the assumptive meanings of empowerment through the microcredit programs they utilized. The results demonstrated that family life coupled with financial progress was the first and foremost meaning of dignity for all the participants. Additional definitions for dignity in life also emerged. After experiencing the microcredit program handled by the Grameen Bank, the results of a positive experience using microcredit increased their feelings of dignity as they had defined it. The remaining participants experienced microcredit with feelings of risk, stress, shame, marginalization, vulnerability, and other challenges. Recommendations advocate for skill-based interventions and/or the creation of alternative ways to promote participants notions of dignity and empowerment.
This paper analyses the impact of commercial cardamom farming on the livelihoods of women, revisiting the concept of the “feminization of poverty”. For the analysis of cash crop farming in Eastern Nepal, both quantitative and qualitative approaches have been used. A quantitative survey was conducted in 513 households in Ilam district between November and December 2015 followed by qualitative data collection. A literature review on the feminization of poverty and cash crop farming has also been included. A descriptive data analysis has been conducted from the perspective of the feminization of poverty against the background of cash crop farming. The paper concludes that women of different ethnic backgrounds engaged in commercial cardamom farming have been able to improve their livelihoods, spend on their children’s education, their family’s health and invest in savings. For marginalized communities the impact is even more pronounced, as women have been able to step out of poverty. The high return from cardamom farming has changed the livelihood trajectories of these women. Engagement in cash crop farming has empowered women financially and socially through their visible participation in savings and community groups. This study also opens up pathways for further studies on issues of sustainable cardamom farming and its impact on women’s livelihoods, particularly focusing on women and poverty. This study addresses that in developing or under-developed countries reliant on agriculture, their economic development can be improved if women’s economic and social conditions are understood and facilitated through policies inline with sustainable cash crop farming.
Gabai, Sara (Virtual Commons - Bridgewater State University, 2016-11-13)
Zines are self- published, non-commercial magazines that range in size, form and genre, and that tackle the most disparate issues including stories from everyday life. While academia has been reluctant to bring zines within the classroom due to their non-academic layout, multitude of styles, broken grammar, strong tones and content, this paper explains what brings zines into existence and how the latter give girls and women a chance to produce and write culture while creating new spaces of resistance. It will also investigate the politics of writing, the contradictions in grrrl zines, and their potential in displacing the boundaries of socially established conventions about language and authorship. Mary Louise Pratt’s (1991) theory of the ‘Arts of the contact zone’ will be used to investigate how auto-ethnography, transculturation, critique, collaboration, bilingualism, mediation, parody, denunciation and vernacular expressions are incorporated in the zine MOON ROOT, AN EXPLORATION OF ASIAN WOMYN’S BODIES, which explores the diverse bodily experiences of women, gender queer and trans people of Asian descent living diaspora.
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