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Modern Women in a Modern State

Public Discourse in Interwar Yugoslavia on the Status of Women in Turkey (1923–1939)

Anđelko Vlašić

European countries of the period. 23 The Yugoslav media overwhelmingly agreed that “the biggest reform [during the early republican period] was implemented in the issue of women’s rights [and that] between the former Turkish woman and the Turkish woman of

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Women’s Rights and Sovereignty/Autonomy

Negotiating Gender in Indigenous Justice Spaces

Shannon Speed, María Teresa Sierra, Lynn Stephen, Jessica Johnson, and Heike Schaumberg

In recent years in both the United States and Latin America, indigenous peoples have taken increasing control over local justice, creating indigenous courts and asserting more autonomy in the administration of justice in their tribes, regions, or communities. New justice spaces, such as the Chickasaw District Courts in Oklahoma and the Zapatista Good Governance Councils in Chiapas, work to resolve conflict based largely on indigenous ‘customs and traditions.’ Many of the cases brought before these local legal bodies are domestic cases that directly involve issues of gender, women’s rights and culture. Yet the relationship between ‘indigenous traditions’ and women’s rights has been a fraught one. This forum article considers how these courts emerged in the context of neoliberalism and whether they provide new venues for indigenous women to pursue their rights and to challenge gendered social norms or practices that they find oppressive.

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The Making of Modern Afghanistan

Reconstruction, Transnational Governance and Gender Politics in the New Islamic Republic

Julie Billaud

This article seeks to characterise the nature of the post-Taliban 'reconstruction' project in Afghanistan through an analysis of observations and interviews collected in the Ministry of Women's Affairs (MoWA) in 2007. Based on a case study of a 'gender empowerment' training programme administered by the MoWA and funded by an international aid agency, I underline some intricacies in the relationships that are built in development encounters. I argue that the current efforts to include gender issues in politics are part of a broader cultural project aimed at setting up the conditions of possibility for the creation of a modern Afghan state. I show how reconstruction does not simply consist in the formation of a bureaucratic apparatus based on Western models of liberal democracies but primarily involves cultural and symbolic production.

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Follow the Afghan War

Methods, Interpretations, Imagination

Irene Kucera

Anthropological research in war-torn countries like Afghanistan is dangerous and therefore often impossible. There are various constraints, both general and specific, that often hinder an anthropologist from going out into the field. This is not a new problem for social anthropology, but it is increasingly preoccupying the discipline. Thus, a 'distance approach' needs to be developed for studying the ethnography of the Afghan war. This article proposes one methodological possibility for approaching the Afghan war from other perspectives. This method involves extensive reading in and analysis of various written works and the critical examination of web sites and other media, in combination with fieldwork in Europe and Central Asia. In order to demonstrate this approach, the discourse on women's rights will be discussed.

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Sanaz Nasirpour

, a wide range of websites and blogs related to women’s issues have been created outside Iran. They have provided a new space for women’s rights activists and feminists to express and discuss taboo topics, that would be challenging and difficult to

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A Bridge Across the Mediterranean

Nafissa Sid Cara and the Politics of Emancipation during the Algerian War

Elise Franklin

Algerian women’s rights to vote, to a safe marriage, and to an education, legislation that promoted women’s rights writ large. Though these rights were only granted in 1958 when Algerian women became full citizens of France, Sid Cara used her role as

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Handover Bodies in a Feminist Frame

Two Hong Kong Women Filmmakers’ Perspectives on Sex after 1997

Gina Marchetti

enjoy greater liberty, they still struggle to realize their erotic desires. Freedom of sexual expression and political rights of free speech, assembly, and public access cannot be separated from one another. Human rights, women’s rights, and sexual

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Esther Hertzog

In this essay, I refer to two documentaries demonstrating some common features of male violence against women in the Jewish and Palestinian societies in Israel. Abeer Zaibak Haddad’s film about ‘honor killing’ illustrates the profound threat on girls’ and women’s physical safety. Yael Katzir’s film is about Jewish women’s struggle for religious rights. It is argued that being subjugated to patriarchal control, both Arab and Jewish women are denied fundamental rights. This understanding implies that, despite basic differences in socio-economic conditions and civil rights, women’s oppression is present in cultures that are perceived as ‘modern’ and ‘advanced’ just like in those that are perceived as the opposite. Both films point to the failure of the state to ensure women’s rights and safety and to women’s compliance to men’s oppression.

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Divorce as Process, Botswana Style

Customary Courts, Gender Activism and Legal Pluralism in Historical Perspective

Pnina Werbner and Richard Werbner

This article aims to unravel the complex negotiations surrounding property settlements and custody in cases of divorce in customary courts in Botswana today in the light of an earlier legacy of penalising divorce initiators. It argues that women’s attempts to get their husbands to initiate divorce proceedings can entangle women in lengthy negotiations and ultimately frustrate the aim of achieving a divorce. Repeated court hearings can last for years, we show. At the same time, in Botswana’s statutory courts today, an equal division of property irrespective of the causes of marital breakdown has become established practice. In the article, we aim to show that customary laws regarding property settlement in divorce have indeed changed, gradually adjusting to notions of equity in women’s rights in marriage, in response to a wider ideological, critical movement, even though chiefs or headmen presiding over customary courts do not always explicitly acknowledge this change.

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Fashioning Women's Citizenship

Contemporary Paradoxes

Katalin Fábián

Christien van den Anker and Jeroen Doomernik, eds., Trafficking and Women’s Rights, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006, 256 pp., $74.95 (hb), ISBN 10-1-4039-4995-6; ISBN 13-978-1-4039-4995-0.

Audrey Guichon, Christien van den Anker and Irina Novikova, eds., Women’s Social Rights and Entitlements, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006, 255 pp., $74.95 (hb), ISBN 10-1-4039- 4992-1; ISBN 13-978-1-4039-4992-9.

Sirkku K. Hellsten, Anne Maria Holli and Krassimira Daskalova, eds., Women’s Citizenship and Political Rights, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006, 240 pp., $79.95 (hb), ISBN 10-1-4039-4994-8; ISBN 13-978-14-039-4994-3.

Jasmina Lukić, Joanna Regulska and Darja Zavirsek, eds., Women and Citizenship in Central and Eastern Europe, Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2006, 319 pp., $114.95 (hb), ISBN 10-0-7546-4662-9; ISBN 13-978-0-7546-4662-4.

Heather Widdows, Itziar Alkorta Idiakez and Aitziber Emaldi Cirión, eds., Women’s Reproductive Rights, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006, 264 pp., $79.95 (hb), ISBN 10-1-4039-4993-X; ISBN 13-978-1-4039-4993-6.