Gender and Practice: Knowledge, Policy, Organizations: Volume 28

Cover of Gender and Practice: Knowledge, Policy, Organizations

Table of contents

(14 chapters)

Prelims

Pages i-xiv
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Abstract

Departing from an online interactive Gender Café on the topic of Knowledge Management (KM), jointly hosted by a UN agency and the Society of Gender Professionals, this chapter seeks to provide gender practitioners and others with practical examples of how to “gender” KM in international development. Through analyzing the travel of feminist ideas into the field of KM with inspiration from Barbara Czarniawska’s and Bernard Joerge’s (1996) theory of the travel of ideas, the chapter explores the spaces, limits, and future possibilities for the inclusion of feminist perspectives. The ideas and practical examples of how to do so provided in this chapter originated during the café, by the participants and panellists. The online Gender Café temporarily created a space for feminist perspectives. The data demonstrate how feminist perspectives were translated into issues of inclusion, the body, listening methodologies, practicing reflection, and the importance to one’s work of scrutinizing underlying values. However, for the feminist perspective to be given continuous space and material sustainability developing into an acknowledged part of KM, further actions are needed. The chapter also reflects on future assemblies of gender practitioners, gender scholars and activists, recognizing the struggles often faced by them. The chapter discusses strategies of how a collective organizing of “outside–inside” gender practitioners might push the internal work of implementing feminist perspectives forward.

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Part I: Knowledge

Abstract

Departing from an online interactive Gender Café on the topic of Knowledge Management (KM), jointly hosted by a UN agency and the Society of Gender Professionals, this chapter seeks to provide gender practitioners and others with practical examples of how to “gender” KM in international development. Through analyzing the travel of feminist ideas into the field of KM with inspiration from Barbara Czarniawska’s and Bernard Joerge’s (1996) theory of the travel of ideas, the chapter explores the spaces, limits, and future possibilities for the inclusion of feminist perspectives. The ideas and practical examples of how to do so provided in this chapter originated during the café, by the participants and panellists. The online Gender Café temporarily created a space for feminist perspectives. The data demonstrate how feminist perspectives were translated into issues of inclusion, the body, listening methodologies, practicing reflection, and the importance to one’s work of scrutinizing underlying values. However, for the feminist perspective to be given continuous space and material sustainability developing into an acknowledged part of KM, further actions are needed. The chapter also reflects on future assemblies of gender practitioners, gender scholars and activists, recognizing the struggles often faced by them. The chapter discusses strategies of how a collective organizing of “outside–inside” gender practitioners might push the internal work of implementing feminist perspectives forward.

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This chapter presents the findings from an exploratory mixed-methods study that examined the significance of social location(s) and intersectionality in shaping the opportunities and experiences of an international sample of individuals engaging in education consulting work. Educational consulting is a growing field, attracting entrepreneurial professionals from practitioner and academic communities around the world (Gunter & Mills, 2017); however, very little research exists on this diverse and diffused group of workers. The research sought to answer two questions: (a) What is the influence of social identity and social position(s) on education consulting opportunities and experiences? (b) What benefits and challenges do educational development consultants experience in their work? Insights from feminist intersectionality theory (Crenshaw, 1989, 1991) and theories concerning implicit bias (Williams, 2014) guide the analysis and discussion. The central argument made, based on the findings from the online survey and interviews with consultants, is that identity and social positioning are significant factors shaping who secures contracts and the nature and value of such experiences for individuals’ personal and professional development, as well as their professional contributions and impact overall. The findings clearly suggest that identity and social position are believed to be influential as enabling and constraining factors on education consultants work experiences. While geographic location emerged as pivotal in shaping who had access to consulting opportunities, intersections with socioeconomic status, class, ethnicity, and age were thought by participants to either further marginalize them or enhance their consulting opportunities and experiences.

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Women’s economic empowerment (WEE) has become a crucial part of national and international policy-making agendas in the last decades. It has also developed into a field of study and knowledge production promoted and advanced by international organizations and some academic centers. Through the formulation and implementation of programs, these organizations seek to promote such empowerment. Evaluation is a crucial part of the process, assessing the results of interventions in local, regional and national settings. This book chapter aims to critically discuss the role of subjective measurement and the importance of context in these evaluations. Specifically, the status of subjective measurement, their implementation through qualitative methods and how they contribute to understanding context. Firstly, the author offers a brief reflection on the emergence of the subject as a goal and a field. Secondly, the author succinctly discusses a theoretical framework on power, (dis)empowerment and gender relations. In the third section, the author examines three reports that contribute significantly to the current debate on WEE through empirical studies, reviews and analysis. In the discussion section, the author focuses on three points that are used to connect those reports, highlighting their differences and contributions. The final remarks reflect on the importance and advantages of including subjective measurement and the significance of context in our pursuit of ending gender inequality.

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This study uses the social relations framework to explore gender norms and relations surrounding banana production and banana bunchy top disease (BBTD) containment in six pilot communities in Cameroon and Nigeria. The objective of the study is to understand how gender norms and relations shape and influence access to information and benefit-sharing of productive resources among men and women banana farmers and implications for banana production recovery in the BBTD-affected regions and disease management.

Twelve, sex-disaggregated focus group discussions with 120 farmers (78 women and 42 men banana farmers) and 24 key informants were conducted. Data on banana production, access to and decision-making rights over productive resources and social and gender norms influencing adoption were collected. Data were analyzed using a systematic content analysis approach. Results show inequalities stemming from inherent gender and social norms related to access to and decision making over productive resources limiting especially women farmers’ ability to effectively engage in training programs that could lead to adoption of recommendations and technologies. Opportunities to effectively participate in training activities were influenced by gender norms related to household decision making, gender-based labor division and multiple household tasks.

Interventions and strategies to contain the spread of BBTD should consider gender-based constraints and opportunities embedded in the communities for optimal results. Social and gender differentiations that impede women should be addressed for inclusive participation. Failure to address harmful norms and gender differentiation in the underlying social structures will benefit one group of people in the community over another.

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Part II: Policy

Abstract

Gender inequality remains very strong in developing countries. Efforts are however made by actors involved in development projects to contribute to reducing these inequalities. Using observations coming from field experiences and a specific case for which some sex-disaggregated data are available, the author offers some lessons learned to practitioners. More specifically, this chapter questions the different phases of the project cycle, in particular the planning, monitoring and evaluation mechanisms regarding their role in considering gender. The chapter focuses on the relevance of initial gender diagnostics which allow identifying what needs to be addressed to reduce gender inequalities and proposing adequate solutions in specific cultural contexts. The author then provides some guidelines concerning operational arrangements necessary for effectively monitoring aspects related to the inclusion of women in development projects. This includes the design and implementation of a gender strategy, the designation of a dedicated focal point, the systematic planning and monitoring of sex-disaggregated data, the provision of staff skilled in gender issues, and the presence of a gender balance in project teams and support staff. The chapter emphasizes that it is essential to analyze the differential impacts that the development project may have on men and women; this is rarely done. Experience has shown that development can increase inequality due in particular to initial gender differences. Finally, the chapter recommends that to compensate for differences in initial opportunities and capacities, support for women in the budget should be strengthened.

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Investments in gender training for agricultural researchers have not attained expected outcomes, bringing into question the efficacy of training approaches used. New approaches for transformative gender training need to draw on lessons learned from previous courses. This chapter analyses short gender training courses identified using a scoping methodology. Selected courses offered between 2005 and 2015 for scientists in Eastern Africa were critiqued against a theoretical framework for transformative gender training. Also shared is a training model (Gender Responsive Researchers Equipped for Agricultural Transformation course) that addresses gaps in previous courses. The chapter identifies critical lessons for facilitating transformative gender training for non-gender research practitioners which include the need for inter-disciplinary grounding in the disciplines of gender and agriculture, having a phased course delivery and the value of continuous technical support during and after training. Gender training models should also allow for the deepening of gender awareness and consciousness by providing safe spaces for personal reflections on the root causes of gender inequalities and for the questioning of the internalized norms and biases.

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Abstract

Population censuses collect socio-demographic and economic information regularly and in an institutionalized manner. The decision of what topics to include in their questionnaires reflects political priorities, but also it is a materialization of symbolic power (Bourdieu, 1991; Loveman, 2005). Gender practices – including budgeting, policy-making, implementation and monitoring of programs – depend significantly on census results. Understanding the institutional dynamics of public statistics sheds light on structural obstacles to exercise gender rights. To study this phenomenon, the authors look at the last century of the Brazilian and Ecuadorian censuses. The research provides a better understanding about the process of including or rejecting questions related to gender, specifically the arguments used in the process of selecting questions. Brazil and Ecuador were chosen because of the different profiles of each of their statistical institutions. The Brazilian institute, IBGE, is a larger, stable and semi-autonomous statistical office; Brazil has conducted population censuses since the nineteenth century. The Ecuadorian institute, INEC, is a smaller and more politically dependent statistical office; it has conducted population censuses since 1950.

Using archival analysis within the questionnaires and interviewing key demographers, activists and statisticians in both countries, the authors argue that the presence or absence of gender questions in the Brazilian and Ecuadorian censuses is historically and politically contingent. In contrast to the dominant narrative that suggests that changes in the vision of public statistics is correlated with the modernization of the state, it appears that the statistical visibility of gender issues in each society does not follow a linear path.

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Since the 1986 initiation of Vietnam’s Đổi Mới economic policies designed to increase national Gross Domestic Product and increase international market competitiveness, the country has undergone drastic changes in infrastructure, industrialization levels, market practices and standards of living. These changes are creating an abundance of unprecedented transformations among the many ethnic minority groups, who are used as a source of tourism revenue due to their unique cultural customs, clothing, and languages that differ from Vietnam’s majority ethnic group, the Kinh. Yet, while these groups are being exoticized for their rich cultural history and practices, they are simultaneously being required to discard many traditional livelihood methods and practices in order to keep up with the swiftly changing economy and social space. Despite these ethnic minority communities being presented as the main attraction in many areas, unequal economic and social distribution compared to areas mainly composed of Kinh can be seen. Similar findings have been discovered across other ethnically diverse areas of the country. Despite flourishing tourism to the region and steady rates of regional growth in gross domestic product, a gender analysis reveals the inequalities that undergird the system. This chapter confirms the impact of tourism on development when gender is not mainstreamed into development planning and implementation.

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Part III: Organizations

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This chapter outlines the successful development of a women’s initiative from a grass roots organization to a firmly established institution within our medical school. Championed by a group of dedicated women leaders, the mission of the Alliance for Women in Medicine and Science (AWIMS) is to provide a supportive forum to promote honest discussion and positive change in the realms of gender equity, career advancement, work-life balance, and community service, and to champion professional development and promotion of women in medicine and science. What started as an informal gathering within Southern Illinois University (SIU) School of Medicine’s Department of Medicine in 2015, led by Dr Vidhya Prakash, first morphed into a robust, vital organization called Women in Medicine that contributed meaningfully to SIU Medicine and to the community before it broadened its focus to women in medicine and science and expanded its reach to the entire SIU system. In January of 2018, the initiative was firmly institutionalized as AWIMS, an organization open to ALL members of the SIU community. AWIMS seeks to advance women’s rights through various initiatives. This chapter is co-authored by AWIMS director Dr Vidhya Prakash, and Dr Anne Scheer, a qualitative sociologist in the medical school’s Department of Population Science and Policy, who hopes to help tell the story of AWIMS and translate the Alliance’s successful development process into a narrative accessible to other professionals interested in creating innovations to promote women’s interests in traditionally male-dominated professional settings.

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The Society of Gender Professionals is a new international association of gender practitioners, academics, and activists dedicated to promoting feminist action and applied research, and raising the profile of gender expertise around the world. The organization’s start-up team relied on feminist and sociological research and theory to develop its organizational policies and practices. Throughout the start-up process, the team documented approaches, challenges, and lessons learned in meeting minutes, video recordings, email conversations, feedback surveys, and personal reflections in order to investigate and learn from efforts to put feminist organizational theory into practice. This paper seeks to review the theories that guided the founding of the Society of Gender Professionals and shares the challenges, reflections, and lessons learned in the process of building an organization that seeks to deconstruct privilege and hierarchies and promote inclusivity across a diverse membership. By publishing these experiences, the organization aims to contribute to the broader literature around cultivating feminist organizations so that others may learn from the complexities and considerations addressed, and further advance their own feminist organizational efforts.

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The annual sessions of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women offer many opportunities for feminist social change despite challenges of access and space. Commission sessions focus on producing an outcome document, the Agreed Conclusions, that sets global norms for governmental behavior toward women and girls. Feminist advocates can influence the norms-setting process through written and oral statements, side events, briefings, and direct communications with UN member states. In addition to official meetings that are open to non-governmental organizations with accreditation to the United Nations, a parallel conference of events takes place that is open to all. The parallel conference allows feminist advocates to raise issues such as violence against women, make connections to understand the dynamics of gender inequality, promote feminist language, and learn to use UN tools to advance the well-being of women and girls. In the ferment of discussion and interaction, a global feminist collective consciousness is formed, nurtured, and promulgated. This paper will discuss the feminist origins of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, practices of Commission sessions, and limitations to non-governmental participation in the Commission negotiating process. It will offer suggestions for a more democratic United Nations that opens up sessions to feminist advocates and expands space available for Commission and non-governmental events.

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Index

Pages 219-227
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Cover of Gender and Practice: Knowledge, Policy, Organizations
DOI
10.1108/S1529-2126201928
Publication date
2019-11-22
Book series
Advances in Gender Research
Editors
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
ISBN
978-1-83867-388-8
Book series ISSN
1529-2126