Perceptions of Empowerment: A study of Muslim women living in the greater Cape Town Metropole

This thesis is a small scale in depth exploration into the perceptions of power held by eight Muslim women residing in the Cape Town Metropole area. Using a Qualitative
Feminist approach the study aimed to explore and shed light on the multiple ways in which Muslim women negotiate, construct and co-construct agency, power and
authority in their everyday lives. This study also sought to explore whether Muslim
women who appear independent or empowered actually feel in control of their own lives; and how their ability to make choices is mediated by intersecting identities such as
race, class, age, etc. The research highlights a number of emergent themes in which discussion of the womenÀŸs views around education, finance, reproductive
responsibilities, patriarchy, etc. takes place and also explores the ways in which the women contest and resist traditional cultural norms in their everyday experiences.
Furthermore this study also sought to create a space where the researcher focused and refocused her gaze on the theoretical and epistemological aspects of her chosen
method of enquiry in order to interrogate its merits and limits. Upon reflection the researcher also acknowledges that, similar to the participants, she also holds
contradictory views on some of the issues discussed.

Women and Politics in a Plural Society: The case of Mauritius

This research is a socio-historical study of women and politics in the Indian Ocean Island of Mauritius. It traces the historical evolution of womenâs political engagement in social and womenâs movements as well as in the formal political institutions. The backdrop to this study was my interest in the field of women and politics and concern on womenâs marginal presence in the Mauritian parliament since women obtained the right to vote and stand for election in 1947, and until recently, the stark silences on this issue in the country. Mauritius experienced sustained democracy following independence and gained a solid reputation in terms of its stable democratic regime and economic success. Despite these achievements, the Mauritian democracy is deficient with regard to womenâs representation at the highest level of decision-making, in parliament. Moreover, the absence of documentation on this topic has rendered the scope of this study broad. In this thesis I primarily draw on the postcolonial feminist writings to study womenâs political activism in social and womenâs movements. With regard to womenâs participation in formal politics, I look at democratic contexts which resemble the Mauritian political system. From the body of literature on womenâs movement politics, I draw on the concepts of womenâs interests, autonomy and female solidarity. I analyse the interests of the main womenâs organisations, the type and existence of autonomy in the operations of womenâs organisations. I also discuss the issue of female solidarity, especially the formation of strategic feminist alliances between womenâs groups to form a strong lobby. The postcolonial literature also emphasises the emergence of feminism and womenâs political engagement in the context
of national liberation movements, which makes the Mauritian case study interesting given the absence of a nationalist spirit at independence. As such, the Mauritian case study has the potential to contribute to the theorisation in the field of âwomen and politicsâ, especially in multicultural contexts, which is currently an emerging research area. On the issue of women in formal politics, the main concept investigated is that of participation. I analyse the factors which make womenâs political participation possible in Mauritius, which is an interesting case study given the communal nature of Mauritian politics. I also employ the concept of intersectionality to investigate womenâs political engagement in movements and formal political structures. Here I question whether womenâs multiple identities impact upon their political participation and activities of the womenâs movement. Women and Politics in a Plural Society: The Case of Mauritius ii My study asks when and in what contexts did women engage in politics, both in social and womenâs movements and in political parties? What are the womenâs organisations that make up the womenâs movement? Do womenâs organisations function autonomously? Have womenâs organisations formed strategic feminist alliances between themselves and with women politicians? Is there any collaboration between the Ministry of Womenâs Rights, Child Development and Family Welfare and womenâs organisations? Has this ministry had any impact on the womenâs movement and its ability to form a strong lobby? What factors affect womenâs participation and presence in the formal political institutions? What is the impact of the conservative and patriarchal culture on womenâs political participation?
Does the heavy influence of religion and ethnicity on Mauritian politics affect womenâs chances of nomination as an electoral candidate? Qualitative methods including life histories and semi-structured interviews were the primary research tools employed to collect data for this research. Targeted respondents included women politicians and leaders of womenâs organisations. Documentary sources such as the press, parliamentary hansards, reports of NGOs and the Ministry of Women, historical texts and academic writings on Mauritius were also consulted. The findings show that women have a long history of political engagement since colonial times in social and womenâs movements and also in political parties. Womenâs intersectional identities played a determining factor as to which women were able to join formal politics and which womenâs group one was a member. Class, religion and ethnicity were key factors which slotted women into separate groups. As such, female solidarity was not a reality during that time. Womenâs organisations function with different levels of autonomy. Semi-autonomous and feminist womenâs organisations appeared from the late 1970s. In the absence of a nationalist struggle, it was the class struggle and the rise of movement politics that led to the surge of feminism in Mauritius. The key focus of these feminist bodies was on womenâs strategic needs and they formed strategic feminist alliances to fight for womenâs rights. Although some womenâs organisations had links with political parties, they were able to pursue a feminist agenda with to the support of the UN and its international treaties on women. The data thus shows that external funding and support are crucial to enable womenâs organisations to operate autonomously and to pursue a
feminist agenda. Autonomous womenâs organisations have experienced difficulties in terms of sustainability, especially since the state body, the Ministry of Womenâs Rights, Child Development and Family Welfare also competes for donor funding. This Ministry is also a threat to the autonomous Women and Politics in a Plural Society: The Case of Mauritius iii functioning of womenâs organisations as it has taken over the role of the representative organisation for Mauritian women and hinders the formation of strategic alliances between womenâs organisations. Solidarity between the different womenâs groups is therefore currently lacking, which weakens the womenâs movement and lobby and hinders womenâs political participation and parliamentary presence. Womenâs lack of autonomy to pursue feminist political activism and intersectional identities, especially pressure to conform to conservative notions of respective femininity are the main factors which have hindered women from forming strategic feminist alliances. The data also highlights the fact that Mauritian women have been left out of the key political debates of the country. Political institutions are male dominated and function with a male bias which often alienates women. The religious and ethnic and patriarchal lobbies are much stronger than the womenâs lobby, which marginalise womenâs political participation. The women who do join political parties are not able to exert any form of âautonomyâ and pursue a feminist agenda. This has weakened the ability of women politicians to form strategic feminist alliances across political parties and lobby for womenâs rights in the political arena. Hence, in Mauritius, womenâs lack of autonomy and the lack of solidarity between women in the
political arena are the principal impediments to womenâs enhanced political participation and the formation of a strong womenâs lobby. There is a need for women to organise strategically and look beyond their intersectional identities in order to exert greater autonomy in the political sphere

Shemurenga: The Zimbabwean Women’s movement 1995- 2000

In 2001 the question was posed as to whether Zimbabwe had a women’s movement. The author found herself asking instead whether given the current national context, what form and shape does a movement have to take in order to survive and deal with the challenges it faces while seizing opportunities to further the struggle for gender justice? Thus her aim became twofold, to capture the herstory of women’s organising in Zimbabwe in the period 1995 À“ 2000 and through this process I sought to develop an analytical understanding, to theorise the movement and its understanding of itself as ‘weak’.

May 6, 2013 Themes: Feminism Programs: Book | Gender and Media Diversity Centre (GMDC)

La communication, un langage de femmes

Il faudra bien s’y faire Messieurs: la communication semble davantage un langage de femmes que d’hommes. La plupart des chargées de communication nouvellement recrutées sont des femmes.

Subverting political power: Gender Analysis of the 2004 legislative elections in Mozambique

The legislative elections held towards the end of 2004 were a result of the introduction of a democratic system in Mozambique. The multi-party context did not only widen voters’ choices in the election of executive and legislative powers, but also created new and diverse possibilities for citizens’ participation. Democracy in itself permits the multiplication and diversification of choices and of political inclusion. Democracy is therefore crucial for the introduction of a new range of problems into the political debate, guaranteeing plurality and a diversity of voices and ways of thinking.

Changing their world: concepts and practices of women’s movements

This 2nd edition of Changing their World clarifies our concept of movements, especially feminist movements, by analyzing the experiences of strong and vibrant women’s movements in different parts of the world, to understand how they evolved, strategized, and made an impact.
In addition to the original 10 case studies, this second edition presents a revised conceptual framework and analysis, as well as featuring summaries of 4 new case studies documented between 2009 and 2010. These new case studies focus specifically on the movements of sex workers in Southwestern India, of lesbian women living in conditions of poverty in the Philippines, of the global disabled women’s movement-in-the-making, and of the women’s peace movement in war-torn Sudan.The 4 case studies give visibility to diverse expressions of women’s organizing whose movement building experiences that have traditionally not been part of mainstream women’s movements.
Sharing and understanding the experiences of these women and the emergent movements enriched and sharpened the conceptual framework presented in the first edition-as one that explicitly links organizational strengthening process to movement building from a feminist perspective.

Towards a future without fundamentalisms: Analyzing religious fundamentalist strategies and feminist responses

By presenting a cross-regional, cross-religion synthesis of religious fundamentalist strategies and feminist
strategies, this report hopes to enable more effective resistance and challenge to fundamentalisms by women’s
rights activists and their allies in other movements. The synthesis points to areas where a shared, transnational
feminist response may be most effective, and it identifies common challenges to effective feminist strategizing
on religious fundamentalisms. It hopes to help strengthen feminist solidarity by creating greater awareness
of each other’s contexts and strategies, and it hopes to inspire and enliven local initiatives by sharing examples
of resistance from a range of different contexts.

March 25, 2013 Themes: Feminism | Religion Programs: Book | GMDC Research & Publication Types

Feminist tour of Amsterdam

A package containing information on the Dutch institute for gender equality and women’s history with information on women and finance, the history of the women’s movement in the Netherlands, the library and archive, international cooperation and the Emancipation Monitor, plus gifts

CSW 57: NGO wish list – Give us the space, give us the money

New York, March 14: Each year the issue of space and access for civil society attending the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) continues to be a contentious one. It is becoming increasingly difficult to enter official sessions and side events. When one manages to overcome the exclusionary red tape, the space is far too limited to accommodate some 6000 NGOs registered to attend CSW in New York.

Women’s rights organisations are still managing to “move mountainsÀ with much less space but also with much less money since funding for gender equality is quickly dwindling. Sadly, these organisations actually have to justify why it makes good business sense to fund gender equality.

Panellists highlighted this at a CSW parallel event convened by the Association of Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) on 9th March called Successful strategies and funding mechanisms to eradicate violence against women: Women moving mountains.

IPS Gender and Development Glossary: A tool for Journalists and Writers

The third edition of the IPS-Inter Press Service Gender and Development Glossary offers journalists and writers a guide for picking their way through the sometimes tricky terrain of gender media and development and the use of gender -related terms and language in media . It has glossary section that takes users through the meaning and nuances of 141 key terms in gender and development and a list of troublesome terms and alternatives that are useful in newsrooms and other publication venues.