Gender and Practice: Insights from the Field: Volume 27

Cover of Gender and Practice: Insights from the Field
Subject:

Table of contents

(15 chapters)

Prelims

Pages i-xiii
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Abstract

This introduction provides the history and rationale for this volume on gender and practice. The editors’ broad conception of practice, especially gender practice, and the relationships among education, training, and practice, three sections into which the volume’s chapters are grouped, are outlined. Connections between gender practice and the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals are drawn. Each chapter is then summarized and relationships among them are highlighted.

Part I: Education

Abstract

Feminist leadership and administrative praxis include areas overlooked or devalued by traditional leadership. In this chapter, the authors explore how academic administrators in the United States who self-identify as “feminist” integrate their feminist values into daily praxis, decisions, and implementation – or revision – of institutional policies. The goals of this study are to identify how feminist values inform praxis and how feminist administrators’ praxis produce successful changes. Through in-depth, semi-structured, qualitative interviews with feminist administrators in higher education, the authors find commonalities in feminist values, in how those values shape administrators’ interactions, and how they inform initiatives and policies on which administrators have worked. Feminist administrators rely on values such as transparency, collaboration, inclusivity, empowering others, and being mindful of power and personal biases. These values informed their interactions with faculty, staff, and students as well as formal policies and initiatives, which were infused with feminist principles in their efforts to make academe more just.

Abstract

Education of teachers and students is crucial for the implementation of Uganda’s governmental goals regarding educational gender equity and equality and the achievement of United Nations Strategic Development Goals (SDG), especially Goal #4 relating to education and Goal #5 mandating gender equality. This chapter begins with an overview of the nation, its geography, history and policies with regard to education and gender. This is followed by a discussion of pedagogy and especially gender responsive pedagogy and the barriers to implementing it. The chapter continues with the methods, goals and results of a qualitative study designed to assess the understanding of gender and its practices of the staff and teacher trainees in the School of Education at Makerere University and offers recommendations and conclusions stemming from the study. Most students and staff have basic understandings of concepts such as gender, sex, and sexual harassment, but are unfamiliar with the idea of gender responsive pedagogy. While there are graduate level courses that focus on gender, undergraduate students have limited contact with relevant instructors or coursework. Recommendations take into account that, given the structure of the university and the way prospective teachers are trained, such gender-affirming steps as affirmative action policies, a gender mainstreaming department within the Academic Registrar’s Office and the presence of a School of Gender and Women Studies at the university have little impact on teacher trainees or their trainers.

Abstract

This chapter examines gender audit as a research method for organizational learning and change in a higher education context in post-Soviet Kazakhstan. This study examined the gender-related practices evident within one key part of the formal curriculum course syllabi. The results of the study provide a first step toward informing gender policy at the university as well as providing sample guidelines for other organizations in the region interested in examining their own policies as they move toward greater gender equality.

Abstract

Teaching about development contains a basic contradiction. The issues are even more stark when we consider that gender disruptions are always a part of the discontinuities in any development process. Students and text books often assume that women are being suppressed and it is a task of development workers to “free” women from “traditional” oppression.

Here the author explores some of the contradictions inevitably part of Development Anthropology. On the one hand, the development worker’s etic vision of problems to be solved by “development” controls discussion in the classroom and the transfer of resources to the field. On the other hand, ordinary villagers’ or urbanites’ emic vision of what is happening in the socio-­cultural system as it faces pressures to “develop” hold sway in field contexts, as well as in their classroom analysis. The author needs to bring the realities of field settings into the pedagogical setting.

Application and pedagogy tend to interpenetrate; there is no clear boundary. Relying on discussions of the pedagogical problems, the author explores some of the discontinuities to be found in a gendered vision of development. The author stresses the problems highlighted by the educational environment in which students frequently first encounter these issues. The ultimate goal of this study is to make clear that teaching about or engaging in development do not have sharp boundaries and cannot be accomplished within the confines of a value-free paradigm. Every decision in this area involves a meeting of emic and etic visions and the value systems that arise from them.

Part II: Training

Abstract

This chapter examines the role of gender training in the context of gender mainstreaming in Vietnam to illuminate how gender shapes and is shaped through development practice. Through thick description of a week-long gender training designed to mainstream gender into a rural development project, the author examines the role gender and development practitioners play as teacher–trainers in moving gender-mainstreaming policies beyond national development planning and rhetoric to affect local and cultural change. As they teach their students how to “think gender” they transform abstract gender equality policy commitments to fit the needs of different local constituents, who are themselves embedded in a complexity of gender, class, ethnic, age, and urban–rural power relations. In the process, training becomes a key political space, place and process where development subjects are produced, and gender expertise is negotiated. It is where teacher–trainers and their students actively negotiate the meaning of gender, equality, and development. It is a place where power and knowledge are constructed (and contested), and where trainers and trainees make visible their own political commitments and intentions as “insiders” and “outsiders” to the development process. As a result, training serves as an important site of engagement and contestation over the cultural and political meaning of gender mainstreaming, gender equality, and development in Vietnam, and as such has become an important space for feminist activism.

Abstract

The negative effects of gender disparities on nutrition outcomes for women and children are well documented. Gender analyses are often used at the start of projects to capture contextual factors contributing to persisting inequalities and malnutrition but there is a dearth of information about processes for applying findings to program designs and activities at the implementation level. The authors describe a three-phase process used by Helen Keller International (HKI) in 2015–2016 for a nutrition-sensitive program called Family Farms for the Future in rural Cambodia that included: (1) a community-based gender assessment; (2) a workshop to interpret findings from the assessment; and (3) a strategy to incorporate gender-relevant findings into program activities. The gender analysis used qualitative methods involving 32 participatory group activities and 20 individual interviews with men, women, and elders in the program communities. Findings and insights gained from this analysis revealed persistent and different gender disparities and perceptions from each respondent group regarding the reasons for the inequalities. A workshop organized to share the gender analysis findings with program implementers generated ideas and strategies for incorporating and translating findings into program activities. This three-phase process was crucial not only to reveal and understand barriers to socio-economic empowerment of women, but also to obtain buy-in from program implementers and to encourage use of their insights to translate findings into practical strategies and activities to address gender disparities that may influence nutrition and health outcomes of women and children.

Abstract

This chapter documents how the process of grassroots community organizing through a family-focused model of local contestation liberates participants, mainly Black and immigrant Latina mothers in Chicago, from the constraints of individualization. While much philanthropic and academic interest focuses on the policy and quantitative “impacts” and “outcomes” of local social movements, the current study looks to local organizers to better understand their experiences and how they construct meaning through their participation. In-depth interviews and participant observations show how leaders gained collective purpose and voice through family-focused collective action. Community Organizing and Family Issues, a non-profit organizing institution, supported and propelled participants (leaders) to organize locally to create change in their communities, while it also facilitated conversions in self-perceptions. Leaders often discovered a sense of capacity, which contested gendered, raced, and classed oppression and self-doubt. Through the process of community organizing, leaders exercised power and dignity, facets that for the women in this study, were often ignored and devalued in society. These understudied social effects of collective action help us to better understand how marginalized women experience local social movements that cannot be quantified to fit narrow measures of movement “impacts” and “outcomes.”

Part III: Practice

Abstract

It is estimated that approximately 3,000 women develop obstetric fistula, leading to unhealthy pregnancy, early and prolonged labor, and in some cases stillbirth in Tanzania every year. Fistula often compounds the vulnerability of the women who are victims of a poor health facility, early marriage, and other gender gaps.

In this chapter, the author explores the extra-medical causes of fistula in remote locations (Pwani Region) of Tanzania from a practitioner’s perspective. The author considers the stories of four women who experienced fistula. The author interviewed the women over a period of five years between 2013 and 2018. Using narrative analysis, the author examined the interviews.

The narrative analysis indicates that fistula is a product of a gender biased social system that favors men, ultimately limits women’s freedom, stifling their development. Importantly, the main value of this analysis is to promote awareness that aside from medical treatment, social interventions are required to reconstruct the social belief system and eliminate the stigma associated with obstetric fistula. A list of social interventions that proactively manage the incidence of fistula and help integrate affected women back into the society sustainably is recommended.

Abstract

The purpose of this chapter is to highlight the issue of sex trafficking – internationally, in the United States, and particularly in Florida – and the needed services for victims to promote recovery and increase the likelihood of success in redefining themselves and creating a new life. The vast majority of victims are women and children, especially those from vulnerable popu­lations. While much attention has been given to addressing the needs of minors, few programs and services focus specifically on the needs of adult women. This chapter will feature the work of Selah Freedom, a national anti-sex trafficking organization headquartered in southwest Florida dedicated to serving women 18 and over. In particular, the emphasis will be on their long-term services, which offer a comprehensive approach to the treatment of trauma and rehabilitation and have proven successful in removing women from “the life.”

Abstract

The chapter presents a critical look at the importance and impact of funding priorities for women’s empowerment programs (specifically those that target violence against women or VAW) in a state that has been declared “developed” by the government. The location of research is Gujarat, India, a “model state” with official reports of zero VAW incidents. Based on seven years of research experience in the state, and drawing from a range of qualitative data resulting from interviews and participant observations, findings suggest that social and cultural changes require decades and generations of support, as progress in these areas is slower compared to the achievement of economic goals. These programs are often dependent on donor funds, and the impact of empowerment is often not fully realized before funding runs out, as government and international funding agencies are no longer prioritizing gender equality programs in Gujarat due to its “developed” status. Local women’s organizations now depend on grants that result from corporate social responsibility. These funds, like all resources from funding agencies, come with their own dictates on how the money is to be used (sanitation; education; health vs. tackling VAW), leaving the organizations’ goals of ending gender inequality compromised. The impact of lack of funds is greater in the programs that focus on ending VAW, compared to the ones that focus on economic empowerment.

Abstract

In recent years, non-governmental organizations across the globe aim to improve women’s leadership in adapting to the environmental challenges brought on by climate change. Many of these activities involve outreach and network building and, in the process, seek to establish protocols for specific projects and interventions. In this chapter, the authors review the history of development funding, and then present and analyze a different model, a pilot project based in Nepal that encourages monetary contributions from outside of the country to support women’s work in climate change adaptation and mitigation as a result of deforestation. The W+™ Standard is a certification label that endorses projects that socially and economically empower women and improve the environment. It was developed to measure and quantify women’s work in these areas to enable them to receive monetary benefits from promoting biogas cook stoves. Below, the authors assess the economic and social benefits and drawbacks of this model and complement our critique with interview data from the creator of the W+ Standard, and climate change leader, Jeannette Gurung. The authors conclude by giving recommendations for program monitoring and evaluation that can be applied to projects in similar areas.

Abstract

This chapter presents the author’s experiences over a 47-year career as a feminist applied sociologist at Educational Testing Service (ETS), a private non-profit research and testing company. The author presents early experiences that influenced her to become a feminist and a sociologist; her reactions to graduate school, the culture of academia, and her choice to leave before finishing her PhD to become an applied sociologist; the author’s early work in the ETS research department which included graduate school and gender-related publications; and the substantial part of author’s career as an applied sociologist and administrator in ETS’s corporate side. ETS’s founding with the mission to expand educational opportunities with fair, well-designed tests, and to further social science knowledge laid the groundwork for a corporate culture characterized by values of fairness, respect for individuals and diversity, and integrity. The ETS Standards for Quality and Fairness, along with annual reviews of testing programs for following these measurement standards, supported cultural norms, attitudes, and behaviors related to fairness. The multifaceted concept of fairness has been key not only to the author’s experience within the corporate culture but to the wide variety of responsibilities that the author had during her career.

Index

Pages 219-225
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Cover of Gender and Practice: Insights from the Field
DOI
10.1108/S1529-2126201927
Publication date
2019-09-30
Book series
Advances in Gender Research
Editors
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
ISBN
978-1-83867-383-3
eISBN
978-1-83867-383-3
Book series ISSN
1529-2126