Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 28

Feminism Related Abstracts

28 Colonialism, Health and Women’s Print Culture in South Asia: A Study of Urdu Journals in Colonial India 1900-1930

Authors: Khanday Pervaiz Ahmad

Abstract:

It was in 19th century when the Indian educated class started to reform their socio-religious set up as an imperative to respond to the challenges put forward by the colonial empire. The colonial discourse on India from the very beginning was gendered, as the colonized society was feminized and its ‘effeminate’ character, as opposed to ‘colonial masculinity’ was held to be a justification for its loss of independence. The ‘women health figure’ is prominently in these gender discourses. The women’s health received a much place in the colonial discourse. Lack of health consciousness, illiteracy, and belief in myths, rituals and superstitions were deemed the main factors taken as an indicator of miserable condition of Indian women’s health. As the low position of women caused shame to the natives, reforming the condition of women, its health occupied a major place in their intellectual as well as activist engagements. Magazines (journals) for women began to appear in various Indian languages in the mid to late 19th century with Bengal leading the front. These sources (Magazines) like Harm, Tehzib un Niswan, Saheli, Khatoon etc. are essential for the study of the emergence of an ideology of respectable domesticity in Indian Muslim upper middle class. Similarly for the study of development of Women’s health consciousness, women’s magazines are very essential. These earliest women Urdu magazines were first started by men, and then followed by the women’s own magazines. Various health issues, like pregnancy, child-rearing, menstruation, midwives training, Pardah, and health etc. were discussed at a time when it was impossible to discuss them in public sphere. These women magazines were brave pioneers, expanding the frontiers of women’s roles, and consciousness at a time when those frontiers were severely limited. This paper will try to focus on how women responded to the question of colonial discourse about their bodies. How health consciousness developed among Indian Muslim women and in what way it contributed in the development of feminist consciousness in South Asian Muslim Women community.

Keywords: Feminism, Ashraf class, khatoon, haram women

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27 Feminism and the Nigerian Female Question: A Feminist Appraisal of Zaynab Alkali’s Stillborn

Authors: Ogbu Harry Omilonye

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This paper examines feminism as a literary ideology which attempts to win for women a status of recognition and parity in a male-dominated society like Nigeria. This article deals essentially with the emergence of the ideology and literary personalities behind it. It focuses sharply on Zaynab Alkali’s brand of feminism as demonstrated in the delineation of her female characters vis-à-vis her male characters. The woman’s destiny, this paper believes, lies in her hand, and that true emancipation of women can only be realized through education and hard work.

Keywords: Literature, Feminism, stillborn, literary ideology

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26 A Caged Bird Set Free: The Women Saviors in Fae Myenne Ng's Steer Toward Rock

Authors: Hei Yuen Pak

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Steer Toward Rock, Fae Myenne Ng’s second novel after the National Bestseller Bone, is superficially concluded as a story of pessimism, which underestimates the sophistication of Ng’s portrayal. It is often summarized as a “heartbreaking novel of unrequited love” or “a story of timeless and tragic”; yet, Ng’s novel conveys more than a mere sense of tragedy and heartbreak, but rather an overflowing warmth and optimism. Ng is complimented of “illuminating a part of U.S. history few are aware of”—the false identity established on the paper relationships. Nevertheless, toward the end of the novel, this falsity enlightens the male protagonist, Jack Moon Szeto, of the ultimate realization of the “truthfulness” to himself, with the escort of the female characters. This paper intends to investigate how Ng’s depiction subverts the traditional sex/gender system and also the patriarchal savior stereotype. This paper mainly examines the characterization of and the relations among the four major characters: Jack Moon Szeto, Joice Qwan, Veda Qwan, and Ilin Cheung. By deploying Kate Millett’s, Marilyn French’s, Mary Daly’s feminist theories, the first half of the essay elucidates the power relations between Jack and the three females Joice, Veda, and Ilin in terms of gender and sexuality. After analyzing the relations, Jack, this male caged bird, is set free by the epiphany derived from the three female characters, which is the pivot of the second half. In reference to Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir’s existentialist perspectives, I argue how Jack is transformed from, in Satre’s term, being-for-others to being-for-itself. Hence, the caged bird is free by the women saviors.

Keywords: Feminism, Gender and sexuality, Power Relations, Fae Myenne Ng

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25 Challenging Heteronormativity and Mononormativity in Academia: Incorporating Consensual Non-Monogamy into Psychological Romantic Relationship Research

Authors: Jessica Wood, Serge Desmarais

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There has been recent resurgence in the popular and academic interest of consensual non-monogamous (CNM) relationships- an umbrella term that defines relationships in which each partner has openly agreed to engage in additional romantic and/or sexual relationships outside of their primary partnership. Despite an increase in the academic study of CNM, little psychological attention has been paid to the study of CNM, with the consideration of these relationships commonly occurring within related social science disciplines such as sociology or anthropology. As a discipline, psychology has a history of conducting research in the area of intimate relationships, and psychologists have amassed a wealth of theoretical knowledge in this field. However, historically individuals who engage in "alternative" sexual and romantic behaviours, such as non-heterosexual sex or sex with multiple partners have been pathologized within psychological research. Individuals in CNM relationships or individuals identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or queer have often been excluded from research or “othered” in psychological interpretations of what healthy relationships entail. Thus, our current theoretical understandings of romantic relationships are limited to heterosexual, monogamous relationships. The goal of this presentation is to examine commonly cited components of relationship satisfaction (e.g., commitment, communication) and to critically assess how CNM experiences are presented in, or missing from, the psychological literature on romantic relationships. Additionally, the presentation will also consider how CNM relationships may add to our understanding or enhancement of traditional psychological theories and address issues related to heteronormativity and mononormativity within the discipline. Finally, we will close with a consideration of additional theoretical perspectives that may aid in our understanding of CNM relationships and suggest directions for future research.

Keywords: Gender, Feminism, Heteronormativity, Psychological research, Sexuality, Queer Theory, mononormativity, diverse relationships

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24 The Ra 9262 (Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004) in the Literature Classroom via the Movie ‘Enough’

Authors: Jay Neil Garciso Verano, Peter Rosales Bobiles

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This study tried to integrate RA 9262 in literature through the use of film. It identified RA 9262 provisions reflected in the students’ concepts in their oral participation and written outputs and pointed out different attitudes toward violence against women and respect to women as shaped by the film through their responses. Four Literature 121 (World Literature) classes with more or less similar characteristics participated in this study. The discussion of Paulette Kelly’s I Got Flowers Today took place during the first session while the viewing of the film Enough and discussion of the film followed to enrich and bolster students’ concepts and awareness on violence against women and to introduce RA 9262 provisions. The students’ attitudes toward violence against women and respect to women were lifted from the students’ oral and written responses. The film Enough presented eight provisions from RA 9262 reflected in students’ concepts which centered on the acts of violence against women tarnishing women’s rights and dignity. There were 25 attitudes toward violence against women and respect to women which surfaced, 11 of which are what initiate the acts, seven tell about the results from or effects of violence against women, and another seven exemplify respect to women. With the findings, it can be viewed that RA 9262 can be integrated in a literature course to awaken students’ minds on the prevalent issues on violating women’s rights and dignity. The discussion of Paulette Kelly’s I Got Flowers Today reinforced by the viewing of Enough deduced issues on the violation of women’s rights and dignity, attitudes toward violence against women, and students’ perception with regard respect to women.

Keywords: Literature, Film, Feminism, anti-violence against women, enough

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23 Prophet and Philosopher Mohammed: A Precursor of Feminism

Authors: Mohammad Mozammel Haque

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That feminism is nothing but the name of a belief that women should have the same rights as men needs no telling. The history of modern western feminism is divided into three waves and each is described as dealing with different aspects of the same feminist issues. The first wave refers to the movement of the 19th through early 20th centuries, which dealt mainly with suffrage, working conditions and educational rights for women. The second wave (1960s-1980s) dealt with the inequality of laws and the role of women in society. The third wave (late 1980s-early 2000s) is seen as both a continuation of the second wave and a response to the perceived failures. Mary Wollstonecraft struggled for the emancipation and freedom of the women of Europe, Begum Rokeya brought about revolution for the women of the East and West Bengal, Jeremy Bentham wrote for the independence of women in England. But if feminism refers to the movement of giving women what they deserve, then it won’t be an overstatement to state that Mohammad is the precursor of what we call feminism. This paper investigates the background of official starting of feminism, and also the backdrop of the women of Muhammad’s time. The article, besides showing that this great prophet and philosopher firstly brought about a movement for the education and rights of women and took them out of grave where they were buried alive, also delineates Mohammedan endeavours he attempted to give the women what they ought to have.

Keywords: Education, Equality, Feminism, precursor

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22 Political Economy of Social Movements: The Influence of Capitalism on the Emergence of the Feminist Movement in Ukraine

Authors: Nadiya Didyk

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This thesis deals with the unique history of the emergence of the Ukrainian feminist movement. Ukrainian feminism is still in its making, so the field is under-investigated in general. Nevertheless, the perspective of political economy and the enabling and constraining effects of capitalist dynamics are almost absent from the research on the emergence and the development of the feminist movement in Ukraine. This research was inspired by Hetland and Goodwin’s approach and an attempt to test their approach on the case of the Ukrainian feminist movement. Hetland and Goodwin claim that many scholars tend to neglect political economy from analysis of feminism as a new social movements, namely because such movement are not about class or materialist concerns, and thus have no discernible connection to capitalism. Both scholars, however, point out that there at least four ways in which capitalism has been of high importance for any social movement. Accordingly, the following issues are analysed in this paper: capitalism as the facilitator of the emergence and development of Ukrainian feminism; the influence of class balance in society on the formation of the Ukrainian feminist movement, and the ways in which class divisions within the movement shape its goals and strategies. This paper also focuses on the role of capitalist institutions and free wage labour expansion in shaping collective feminist identities and solidarities. Specific attention is paid to the representativeness of women in the highest echelons in business and politics under the capitalist systems. This study shows that there is a significant hole in the literature regarding the feminist movement in Ukraine and aims to motivate further detailed research.

Keywords: Feminism, Political Economy, hetland, goodwin, new soical movements

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21 Men and Feminism: Social Constructions of Masculinities in Relation to the Feminist Movement

Authors: Leonardo Dias Cruz

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The advent of web 2.0 has enabled users to engage in translocal and transtemporal interactions in which meanings can be constantly (re)constructed. The fluidity of such interactions in the time-space spectrum makes it evident that D/discourses are always in movement and that here-and-now discursive practices are always linked to macro Discourses in social structures. Considering these assumptions, this study aims at exploring the social construction of masculinities in light of feminist D/discourses in online interactions. The data used are a series of comments from readers of articles posted in a website for (projected) male audiences. In order to approach the movable and fluid nature of such interactions, I examine the data through the lens of processes of entextualization, social positioning and indexical cues. The analysis explores the interactions as social arenas in which struggles for the control over entextualization processes are clearly noticeable. Moreover, two main stances are perceived: one that legitimates male’s participation in Feminism and one that rejects such participation.

Keywords: Feminism, Masculinities, Entextualization, positionings

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20 Representation of Female Experiences by Upcoming African Women Writers: A Case Study of Three Post-2000 South African Narratives

Authors: Liberty Takudzwa Nyete

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This paper examines the feminine representation of women’s experiences in relation to womanhood as depicted by selected three South African female authors:. The study examines the challenges, difficulties and strategies used by various female characters’ to deal with situations in a typical apartheid and post-apartheid society. It also explores the way in which gender, race and class discourses are treated in the selected texts. The three authors, born and bred at the peak of the anti-apartheid movement and women’s protest against patriarchy, witnessed the effects of apartheid on both their families and societies at large which could perhaps have influenced their writing. The study is informed by both the feminist and womanist ideologies postulated by different theorists. In particular, the study of Not Woman Enough considers issues of motherhood, womanhood and racism; while that of Shameless focuses on the importance of women’s narration of their own stories, sexuality and racism; and the depiction of sexual violence, class, and women’s roles in the fight against oppression is explored with regard to This Book Betrays My Brother. Thus, the study concludes on the social makeovers that include women in all the spheres of life, such as education and the economy, which were largely dominated by men but are no longer defined by economic status, physical attributes, class nor sexuality.

Keywords: Feminism, Sexual Violence, prostitution, womanism, apartheid, womanhood

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19 Women Presentation and Roles in Arab-Israeli Female Filmmakers Movies

Authors: Mariam Farah

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With the beginning of the 21 century, female Arab directors entered the industry of cinema in Israel. Before their entrance, the Palestinian cinema, directed in Israel and in other places in the world, was defined as political-masculine cinema. The recent research wonders if the entrance of female directors to the Arab-Israeli cinema brings a new, feminist and un- common discourse, just like female directors movies in other cultures. The research also examines which gendered, social and political identities or statements do the Arab female directors reveal in their works, and what do they say about their real life? In order to get answers to the previous questions, the paper conducts a narrative comparative research between movies that was directed by female and male Arab-Israeli directors. The narrative research examines specific categories in each movie such as: main topic, women role, women appearance and women characteristics. The findings show that a new discourse replaces the political-masculine traditional discourse in the Palestinian cinema. Female Arab directors in Israel leave aside the main theme in Palestinian movies: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and replace it with new themes related to women lives and reality. Women in female directors movies are presented within non-traditional, empowering, and feminist identities: independent, strong, and active women.

Keywords: Gender, Feminism, women presentation, women roles

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18 Muslim Women Entrepreneurs in Kerala: Socialist Feminist Insights to Overcome the Hurdles

Authors: Nabilah Haniph

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This paper tries to examine the social and economic conditions of women entrepreneurs from the Muslim community in Kerala. It also tries to explain the problems faced by these entrepreneurs in the light of socialist feminist approach for overcoming these hurdles. The results are presented from a qualitative perspective of research and there is an attempt to merge the results from the study on a critical angle of materialist feminism and thereby prove the superiority of socialist feminism over all other forms of feminism. The analysis of the study is based on data collected from women entrepreneurs from Muslim community in Kerala who run small scale and medium scale business as well as service oriented business all over Kerala. Most of the women entrepreneurs consider themselves to be conventional and God-fearing and domestic women from middle-income or upper-income family and think that they can balance their family and other functions on their own. Most of them understand the problems faced by women in the field of business and they believe that they can solve all these barriers from the socialist feminist perspective. Finally, the paper substantiates why other theories of feminism do not hold good from an Islamic perspective.

Keywords: Feminism, Women Entrepreneurs, Islamic perspective, Kerala Muslim community

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17 Exploring Women's Embodied Experiences of 'the Gaze' in Fitness Cultures

Authors: Amy Clark

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To date, the focus of feminist research surrounding men looking at women, with the analysis of how women make sense of looks between women remains limited and scattered. Drawing upon ethnographic data obtained from an on-going research project, this presentation delves into the embodied experiences of female exercisers within a UK ‘working-class’ gym. By exploring the women’s own accounts of their living, breathing and sensing bodies as they exercise, the researcher attempts to understand how they make sense of the gym space, their embodied selves as well as broader constructions of the gendered body. Utilising a feminist phenomenological approach, this research examines the social-structural position of women in a patriarchal system of gender relations, whilst simultaneously acknowledging and analysing the structural, cultural, and historical forces and location, upon individual lived body experiences and gendered embodiment. The discussion is provided on how the gym can be identified as a sexually objectifying environment, and how women make sense and interpret specific ‘gazes’ encountered within the gym.

Keywords: Sociology, Feminism, Embodiment, gazes

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16 A Philosophical Study of Men's Rights Discourses in Light of Feminism

Authors: Michael Barker

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Men’s rights activists are largely antifeminism. Evaluation of men’s rights discourses, however, shows that men’s rights’ goals would be better achieved by working with feminism. Discussion of men’s rights discourses, though, is prone to confusion because there is no commonly used men’s rights language. In the presentation ‘male sexism’, ‘matriarchy’ and ‘masculism’ will be unpacked as part of a suggested men’s rights language. Once equipped with a men’s rights vocabulary, sustained philosophical assessment of the extent to which several categories of male disadvantages are wrongful will be offered. Following this, conditions that cause each category of male sexism will be discussed. It shall be argued that male sexism is caused more so by matriarchy than by patriarchy or by feminism. In closing, the success at which various methods address the categories of male sexism will be contrasted. Ultimately, it will be shown that male disadvantages are addressed more successfully by methods that work with, than against, feminism.

Keywords: Gender studies, Feminism, patriarchy, men’s rights, male sexism, matriarchy, masculism

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15 Polish Catholic Discourse on Gender Equality in the Face of Social and Cultural Changes in Poland

Authors: Anna Jagielska

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Five years ago, the word ‘gender’ was discussed in Poland exclusively in academic contexts. One year later, it was chosen as the word of the year and omnipresent in the Polish media. The rapid career of this word is due to the involvement of the Polish church hierarchy who strategically brought this term into relation with abortion, pornography and paedophilia. ‘Gender’ is more than a political slogan. It is a symbol of social anxiety and moral panic in Poland which need to be historically considered. The aim of this paper is to present selected rhetorical strategies used by the Polish Catholic clergy who strive to have an impact on the current gender discourse in Poland. In particular, the gender debate, culminated in the pastoral letter of the Bishops' Conference of Poland, will be discussed. The church’s protest against the Council of Europe’s Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence will be analyzed and the recent heated debates in Poland on contraception, abortion, in vitro fertilization, and sex education will be mentioned. To provide explanations on the specificity of Polish gender debates the role of the Catholic Church in the fall of communism in Poland as well as the charismatisation of Polish society by Pope John Paul II will be explained. The social constructions of communism and feminism which are manifested in both written and symbolic contracts on gender equality between the Church and the State will be demonstrated. At the end of the paper, theories about the changing role of religion in society will be applied.

Keywords: Gender, Feminism, Religion, Catholicism, Poland

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14 Reconciling Religion and Feminism: A Case Study of Muslim Women's Rights Activism in India

Authors: Qazi Sarah Rasheed

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Feminism and religion have been regarded as opposing binaries. The reason being that religion is regarded as a tool to legitimize the patriarchal control over women, and therefore, it stands in contrast with the basic feminist principle of gender equity. Hence, the issue of incompatibility between religion and gender parity is often discussed by the feminist as well as secular/liberal discourses, but the feminist discourse has suffered a serious backlash in the recent times for it alienates those women who want to liberate but not at the expense of their religious identity. Though in the Western feminist thought, religion is regarded as a tool of patriarchy that promotes women’s suppression, but for many women, religion can be a source of liberation that advances their rights. The feminists in general, fail to realize that religion, as a social phenomenon may not necessarily promote a series of dogmatic doctrines which are inevitably retrogressive or instinctively status-quoist especially when it comes to the social reforms affecting gender orders. The traditional institution of religion could be instrumental to provide what the women in contemporary situation demand. This paper highlights how the Muslim women in India negotiate and mediate this opposition in an Islamic context. To advance the socio-legal recognition of women’s rights, they question the male privilege and patriarchy in a meaningful way without challenging their Islamic doctrines and try to build a feminist consciousness from within religion.

Keywords: Islam, Feminism, religious identity, Muslim women's rights

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13 Language and the Politics of Feminism through the Lens of Ba’s ‘So Long a Letter’ and Alkali’s ‘The Stillborn’

Authors: Jummai Aliyu Mohammed

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The Sapir-Whorfian hypothesis postulates that the structure of a language determines the way in which species of that language view the world. It also states that the culture of a people finds reflection in their language. Consequently language becomes a vehicle of thought; a channel through which negative stereotypes of women is created and also one through which such images are dispelled. Women are generally portrayed as weaker vessels and inferior to men; a position which draws a counter reaction from women through their writings. In their writings, they attempt to reinvent womanhood and liberate the woman from the hitherto negative light they were portrayed. This position best describes the term feminism which argues that women be given equal rights in all spheres of life as men. This paper attempts to evaluate Ba’s ‘So Long a Letter’ and Alkali’s ‘The Stillborn’ with the view to identify the relationship between language and feminism. In evaluating this relationship, the paper concludes that there are several factors responsible for the variation in the speech pattern of male and female. All of these factors favour the male gender and further condemns the woman to oppression. Although the writers come from two different cultural backgrounds, the works amplify feminism and captured them as apostles of feminism.

Keywords: Language, Politics, Feminism, Sapir-Whorfian hypothesis

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12 Survey of American Women to Promote Social Citizenship among White, African American, and Muslim American Women

Authors: Rachel Turney

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American Woman is a discussion of being a woman in American through the lens of intersectionality, critical race theory, Muslim American identities, and social citizenship. The survey design and resulting paper are based on the researcher’s personal experience studying intersectionality and Muslim American identities through National Endowment for the Humanities. The researcher poses three questions to White, African American, and Muslim American women about female identify in America. Results are coded and analyzed in their meaning in the context of American society. Results show the similarities, primarily the idea of motherhood and fighting in society. Results also examine differences like those related to faith and family identifies in responses. The researcher examines the specific overlap in responses in the context of social citizenship.

Keywords: Muslim Women, Women, Feminism, intersectionality‎

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11 The Hijras of Odisha: A Study of the Self-Identity of the Eunuchs and Their Identification with Stereotypical Feminine Roles

Authors: Purnima Anjali Mohanty, Mousumi Padhi

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Background of the study: In the background of the passage of the Transgender Bill 2016, which is the first such step of formal recognition of the rights of transgender, the Hijras have been recognized under the wider definition of Transgender. Fascinatingly, in the Hindu social context, Hijras have a long social standing during marriages and childbirths. Other than this ironically, they live an ostracized life. The Bill rather than recognizing their unique characteristics and needs, reinforces the societal dualism through a parallelism of their legal rights with rights available to women. Purpose of the paper: The research objective was to probe why and to what extent did they identify themselves with the feminine gender roles. Originality of the paper: In the Indian context, the subject of eunuch has received relatively little attention. Among the studies that exist, there has been a preponderance of studies from the perspective of social exclusion, rights, and physical health. There has been an absence of research studying the self-identity of Hijras from the gender perspective. Methodology: The paper adopts the grounded theory method to investigate and discuss the underlying gender identity of transgenders. Participants in the study were 30 hijras from various parts of Odisha. 4 Focus group discussions were held for collecting data. The participants were approached in their natural habitat. Following the methodological recommendations of the grounded theory, care was taken to select respondents with varying experiences. The recorded discourses were transcribed verbatim. The transcripts were analysed sentence by sentence, and coded. Common themes were identified, and responses were categorized under the themes. Data collected in the latter group discussions were added till saturation of themes. Finally, the themes were put together to prove that despite the demand for recognition as third gender, the eunuchs of Odisha identify themselves with the feminine roles. Findings: The Hijra have their own social structure and norms which are unique and are in contrast with the mainstream culture. These eunuchs live and reside in KOTHIS (house), where the family is led by a matriarch addressed as Maa (mother) with her daughters (the daughters are eunuchs/effeminate men castrated and not castrated). They all dress up as woman, do womanly duties, expect to be considered and recognized as woman and wife and have the behavioral traits of a woman. Looking from the stance of Feminism one argues that when the Hijras identify themselves with the gender woman then on what grounds they are given the recognition as third gender. As self-identified woman; their claim for recognition as third gender falls flat. Significance of the study: Academically it extends the study of understanding of gender identity and psychology of the Hijras in the Indian context. Practically its significance is far reaching. The findings can be used to address legal and social issues with regards to the rights available to the Hijras.

Keywords: Feminism, self-identity, rights, gender perspective, Hijras

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10 Gendered Perspectives on the Understanding of the Politics and the Social Life

Authors: Canan Cetin

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This essay analyses how gendered shaped views influence on our understanding of global politics. To do so, feminism used as a framework theory, thus masculinity is discussed in order to explain the male-dominated international relations (IR) discipline and the differences of reflections on our perspective considering the politics in a broader perspective. Particularly, it is highlighted that the social and cultural structures of societies have also an impact on our views about international relations and politics. From a different perspective, it is aimed that the sociological and cultural impression of the shifted gender perspectives on the political approach of different nations and societies will be examined by drawing on a range of sources. Instead of supporting one feminist theory, this essay engages with all traditions and enriches their arguments. Specifically, the main objective of the essay is hegemonic and plural masculinity on societies. The essay sets things up theoretically by looking at the nature of masculinity – the stage is set to show how this informs our understanding of IR.

Keywords: Politics, Feminism, International affairs, Social Life

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9 Writing the Roaming Female Self: Identity and Romantic Selfhood in Mary Wollstonecraft’s Letters Written during a Short Stay in Sweden, Denmark, and Norway (1796)

Authors: Kalyani Gandhi

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The eighteenth century in Britain saw a great burst of activity in writing (letters, journals, newspapers, essays); often these modes of writing had a public-spirited bent in-step with the prevailing intellectual atmosphere. Mary Wollstonecraft was one of the leading intellectuals of that period who utilized letter writing to convey her thoughts on the exciting political developments of the late eighteenth century. Fusing together her anxieties and concerns about humanity in general and herself in particular, Wollstonecraft’s views of the world around her are filtered through the lens of her subjectivity. Thus, Wollstonecraft’s letters covered a wide range of topics on both the personal and political level (for the two are often entwined in Wollstonecraft’s characteristic style of analysis) such as sentiment, gender, nature, peasantry, the class system, the legal system, political duties and rights of both rulers and subjects, death, immortality, religion, family and education. Therefore, this paper intends to examine the manner in which Wollstonecraft utilizes letter-writing to constitute and develop Romantic self-hood, understand the world around her and illustrate her ideas on the political and social happenings in Europe. The primary text analyzed will be Mary Wollstonecraft's Letters Written During a Short Stay in Sweden, Denmark and Norway (1796) and the analysis of this text will be supplemented by researching 18th-century British letter writing culture, with a special emphasis on the epistolary habits of women. Within this larger framework, this paper intends to examine the manner in which this hybrid of travel and epistolary writing aided Mary Wollstonecraft's expression on Romantic selfhood and how it was complicated by ideas of gender. This paper reveals Wollstonecraft's text to be wrought with anxiety about the world around her and within her; thus, the personal-public nature of the epistolary format particularly suits her characteristic point of view that looks within and without. That is to say, Wollstonecraft’s anxieties about gender and self, are as much about the women she sees in the world around her as much as they are about her young daughter and herself. Wollstonecraft constantly explores and examines this anxiety within the different but interconnected realms of politics, economics, history and society. In fact, it is her complex technique of entwining these aforementioned concerns with a closer look at interpersonal relationships among men and women (she often mentions specific anecdotes and instances) that make Wollstonecraft's Letters so engaging and insightful. Thus, Wollstonecraft’s Letters is an exemplar of British Romantic writing due to the manner in which it explores the bond between the individual and society. Mary Wollstonecraft's nuances this exploration by incorporating her concerns about women and the playing out of gender in society. Thus, Wollstonecraft’s Letters is an invaluable contribution to the field of British Romanticism, particularly as it offers crucial insight on female Romantic writing that can broaden and enrich the current academic understanding of the field.

Keywords: Feminism, travel writing, letters, British romanticism

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8 Spinoza, Law and Gender Equality in Politics

Authors: Debora Caetano Dahas

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In ‘Ethics’ and in ‘A Political Treatise’ Spinoza presents his very influential take on natural law and the principles that guide his philosophical work and observations. Spinoza’s ideas about rationalization, God, and ethical behavior are undeniably relevant to many debates in the field of legal theory. In addition, it is important to note that Spinoza's takes on body, mind, and imagination played an important role in building a certain way of understanding the female figure in western societies and of their differences in regards to the male figure. It is important to emphasize that the constant and insistent presentation of women as inferior and irrational beings corroborates the institutionalization of discriminatory public policies and practices legitimized by the legal system that cooperates with the aggravation of gender inequalities. Therefore, his arguments in relation to women and their nature have been highly criticized, especially by feminist theorists during the second half of the 21st century. The questioning of this traditional philosophy –often phallocentric– and its way of describing women as irrational and less capable than men, as well as the attempt to reformulate postulates and concepts, takes place in such a way as to create a deconstruction of classical concepts. Some of the arguments developed by Spinoza, however, can serve as a basis for elucidating in what way and to what extent the social and political construction of the feminine identity served as a basis for gender inequality. Thus, based on to the observations elaborated by Moira Gantes, the present research addresses the relationship between Spinoza and the feminist demands in the juridical and political spheres, elaborating arguments that corroborate the convergence between his philosophy and feminist critical theory. Finally, this research aims to discuss how the feminists' critics of Spinoza’s writings have deconstructed and rehabilitated his principles and, in doing so, can further help to illustrate the importance of his philosophy –and, consequently, of his notes on Natural Law– in understanding gender equality as a vital part of the effective implementation of democratic debate and inclusive political participation and representation. In doing so, philosophical and legal arguments based on the feminist re-reading of Spinoza’s principles are presented and then used to explain the controversial political reform in Brazil, especially in regards to the applicability of the legislative act known as Law n. 9.504/1997 which establishes that at least 30% of legislative seats must be occupied by women.

Keywords: Politics, Feminism, natural law, Gender equality

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7 Leadership Lessons from Female Executives in the South African Oil Industry

Authors: Anthea Carol Nefdt

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In this article, observations are drawn from a number of interviews conducted with female executives in the South African Oil Industry in 2017. Globally, the oil industry represents one of the most male-dominated organisational structures as well as cultures in the business world. Some of the remarkable women, who hold upper management positions, have not only emerged from the science and finance spheres (equally gendered organisations) but also navigated their way through an aggressive, patriarchal atmosphere of rivalry and competition. We examine various mythology associated with the industry, such as the cowboy myth, the frontier ideology and the queen bee syndrome directed at female executives. One of the themes to emerge from my interviews was the almost unanimous rejection of the ‘glass ceiling’ metaphor favoured by some Feminists. The women of the oil industry rather affirmed a picture of their rise to leadership positions through a strategic labyrinth of challenges and obstacles both in terms of gender and race. This article aims to share the insights of women leaders in a complex industry through both their reflections and a theoretical Feminist lens. The study is located within the South African context and given our historical legacy, it was optimal to use an intersectional approach which would allow issues of race, gender, ethnicity and language to emerge. A qualitative research methodological approach was employed as well as a thematic interpretative analysis to analyse and interpret the data. This research methodology was used precisely because it encourages and acknowledged the experiences women have and places these experiences at the centre of the research. Multiple methods of recruitment of the research participants was utilised. The initial method of recruitment was snowballing sampling, the second method used was purposive sampling. In addition to this, semi-structured interviews gave the participants an opportunity to ask questions, add information and have discussions on issues or aspects of the research area which was of interest to them. One of the key objectives of the study was to investigate if there was a difference in the leadership styles of men and women. Findings show that despite the wealth of literature on the topic, to the contrary some women do not perceive a significant difference in men and women’s leadership style. However other respondents felt that there were some important differences in the experiences of men and women superiors although they hesitated to generalise from these experiences Further findings suggest that although the oil industry provides unique challenges to women as a gendered organization, it also incorporates various progressive initiatives for their advancement.

Keywords: Leadership, Gender, Feminism, petroleum industry

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6 The Construction of Women’s Leadership in the Swedish Armed Forces in the Context of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda

Authors: Sofia Sutera

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Despite the introduction of the Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) Agenda in 2000, thanks to the UNSCR 1325 and subsequent resolutions, and the clear stance of the UN towards the support of increased participation of women in peace and security processes, women’s leadership in this context remains very low. Considering specifically the framework of peacekeeping operations, the aim of this paper is to analyze the way women’s leadership is constructed in the Swedish Armed Forces (SAF). In the context of the WPS Agenda, Sweden has been chosen as a case study because of the relevance of its singular feminist policies (the statement in 2014 from Wallström, previous and current Minister for Foreign Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister, that Sweden is pursuing a feminist foreign policy is a clear example). Moreover, the SAF adopted in 2016 the Handbok Gender. This policy addresses explicitly the gender perspective embraced by the Swedish military institution, a sui-generis organization even in the Scandinavian reality. Indeed, the SAF has assumed a clear commitment to represent its institution as gender aware and gender equal. The theoretical perspective utilized in this research, which focuses specifically on women, is feminism and particularly a feminist constructivist approach, with an institutional focus on the military institution, has been chosen. Taking into account the specificity of the feminist research, the above-mentioned gender policy has been examined by means of a critical discourse analysis (CDA) whose main aim is to investigate the social structures of discourse and the power relationships inherent to it. Thus, CDA appears to be quite relevant in order to understand the construction of women’s leadership in the Handbok Gender. Nevertheless, even in a country which officially identifies as feminist and which is characterized by a peculiar military institution, the conclusions of this analysis revealed that women’s leadership in peacekeeping operations remains very low.

Keywords: Feminism, Women's Leadership, peacekeeping operations, swedish armed forces, UNSCR 1325, WPS agenda

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5 Representation of Woman in Vagina Monologue: A Study of Feminism

Authors: Epata Puji Astuti

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The Vagina Monologue is a play written by Eve Ensler, which is premiered at Off-Broadway, New York, in 1996. This play is quite different from the other play since it talks about the issue of t men's oppression toward women, and it is performed in monologue. The vagina becomes the main symbol of being discussed in the play. What did men do to women's vagina and how women view and treat her vagina reflects men's attitude toward women. Ensler had interviewed 200 women from various backgrounds to get their stories about the vagina. Ensler also has her own story about vagina. For the researcher, it is interesting to analyze how Ensler represented women in the symbol of vagina. What happened toward vagina reflected the reality about what happened toward women. How Ensler voices the issues of women, such as love, birth, rape, sex work, sexual harassment, etc. are interesting to be analyzed. This research tries to reveal how women are represented in the play. To understand about the representation of women, the researcher uses feminism theory. Textual analysis method is used to find out how women struggle for her own life and speak up for herself. Based on the analysis, it can be concluded that Ensler depicted vagina is not as dirty thing, vagina is a noble thing and men should honor it as they honor women. It reflected that women show their power and resistance toward men's oppression.

Keywords: Women, Feminism, Violence, vagina

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4 One Nature under God, and Divisible: Augustine’s “Duality of Man” Applied to the Creation Stories of Genesis

Authors: Elizabeth Latham

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The notion that women were created as innately inferior to men has yet to be expelled completely from the theological system of humankind. This question and the biblical exegesis it requires are of paramount importance to feminist philosophy—after all, the study can bear little fruit if we cannot even agree on equality within the theological roots of humanity. Augustine’s “Duality of Man” gives new context to the two creation stories in Genesis, texts especially relevant given the billions of people worldwide that ascribe to them as philosophical realities. Each creation story describes the origin of human beings and is matched with one of Augustine’s two orders of mankind. The first story describes the absolute origin of the human soul and is paired with Augustine’s notion of the “spiritual order” of a human being: divine and eternal, fulfilling the biblical idea that human beings were created in the image and likeness of God. The second creation story, in contrast, depicts those aspects of humanity that distinguish and separate us from God: doubt, fear, and sin. It also introduces gender as a concept for the first time in the Bible. This story is better matched with Augustine’s idea of the “natural order” of humanity, that by which he believes women, in fact, are inferior. In the synthesis of the two sources, one can see that the natural order and any inferiority that it implies are incidental and not intended in our creation. Gender inequality is introduced with and belongs in the category of human imperfection and to cite the Bible as encouraging it constitutes a gross misunderstanding of scripture. This is easy to see when we divide human nature into “spiritual” and “natural” and look carefully at where scripture falls.

Keywords: Feminism, genesis, Bible, augustine, duality of man

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3 Girls’ Education Policy and Practices in Three Selected Countries of Africa: Feminism, Educational Reform and Cultural Inflections in View

Authors: Endalew Fufa Kufi

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One of the major concerns in educational provision and success determination is access to available opportunities. In that, girls’ access to education has been a point of concern, and more emphasis has come to be at the forefront regarding success. Researches have mostly been held on extremes such as equal access and success, but only a few works deal with process issues related to home and school interplay, issues of progress from lower to higher levels, and spatial conditions related to girls’ education. Hence, this survey assessed experiences in three countries of Africa: Ethiopia, Ghana, and Botswana regarding girls’ education in policy and practice as related to contextual matters in girls’ education. Contextual discourse analysis of qualitative design was used to materialize the study. From each country, five research works held 2010 onwards were purposively selected through criterion-sampling. On the policy aspect, workable documents were looked into. The findings denoted that educational access was of more stretch and generic nature, and the narration was dominated by institutional expectations, not identifying which group should benefit what. The researches largely dealt with either subject-specific dealings or access alone at large. Success studies, by far, dealt with a comparison of girls with boys rather than determinant-related projections. Moreover, the cultural representation of girls’ education had a very minimal part in both policy and researches. From that, it could be found that in-depth scrutiny on the individual, institutional, and leadership determinants of girls’ education would be necessary.

Keywords: Education, Feminism, determinants, girls

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2 A Feminist Approach to the COVID-19 Lockdown Process in Turkey

Authors: Aykut Sigin

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In feminist theory, home is usually regarded as an unsafe place for women to be in, as it continually produces inequalities between men and women, favoring the former, and maintains the patriarchal status quo. The second-wave feminists argued that women need to raise their concerns regarding domestic problems and this eventually led to the emergence of the motto 'the personal is political', pointing out to the fact that the domestic problems one woman experienced were essentially the problems of women in general as the patriarchal ideology manifested itself at home. Although this motto was from the late 1960s, it still holds significance today. In the golden era of the Internet, women could use social media to voice their concerns more easily than ever. Following this line of thought, the aim of this study is to analyze the domestic problems of the women in Turkey during the lockdown caused by COVID-19 through social media as they find themselves at home with their fathers, husbands and/or brothers for longer periods of time than ever before. For this purpose, an investigation of the posts shared under '#EvdeKal' ('StayAtHome') was carried out. The results of the study made it clear that women find the lockdown process to be problematic, that they express their domestic concerns rather freely through social media, and that the inequalities caused by the patriarchal ideology persist in the 21st century.

Keywords: Feminism, home, COVID-19, lockdown

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1 Reconstruction of Womanhood: Narratives of Unmarried Basotho Women in Lesotho

Authors: Neo Mohlabane

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-- Feminists across various contexts have written extensively on the subject of ‘Woman.’ Recently the question of difference; to account for the cultural, ethnic, and racial diversity among women themselves has become a highly contested issue in feminist theories. Tensions have ensued where ‘western feminisms’ have been criticized for bias that is embedded in the objectification of ‘different’ women often regarded as ‘other’; traditional, therefore inferior. Thus, it is argued that womanhood; a set of socially defined attributes appropriate for women, holds different meanings depending on the context in which it is defined. Drawing on decolonial feminist approaches, this qualitative study explored the constructions of ‘womanhood’ from the perspective of unmarried Basotho women in Lesotho, where womanhood is predominantly defined in marital terms. Through the narrated life-stories of twenty unmarried Basotho women, the study revealed that as opposed to the ‘traditional’ definition that accounts for a single attribute woman as ‘wife,’ unmarried Basotho women defined ‘womanhood’ in different ways that deconstructed fixed gendered categories. The women drew meaning from their past personal experiences of childhood to construct and re-construct womanhood in adulthood. By transforming their embodied experiences of hardship and sorrow into valuable constructs with which they self-evaluated as resilient and perseverant, the women constructed a base for self-affirmation as woman. In addition, the women anchored their constructions and reconstructions of woman by transforming the meanings attached to the realms of respectability, sexuality and motherhood. Thus, to the question; what is a Woman? In part, the study concluded that there is no such thing as a ‘unitary’ definition of womanhood, instead Mosotho womanhood has always been and will always be in a state of flux; bearing multiplicity and complexity. This study highlights the need to exercise caution when using western concepts to understand the experiences of women in local African contexts. In order to decolonize feminist scholarship, African feminisms need to re-construct conceptual and theoretical frameworks appropriate for analyzing and understanding gender issues in African contexts.

Keywords: Feminism, decoloniality, womanhood, Lesotho

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