This practitioner research, carried out by women’s empowerment organisation FAMM Indonesia, brings the voices of young women – a group consistently excluded from decision-making spaces about the allocation of local government resources – into the conversation about social accountability. Barriers to young (especially unmarried) women’s participation in public spaces include the prevailing view that doing so violates social norms, young women’s often low level of education, and family expectations. Many young women have internalised their marginalisation and lack the confidence to participate in community forums.
This paper describes participatory action research carried out in partnership with eight grassroots Indonesian women’s NGOs. Preliminary focus group discussions laid the foundation for a series of movement-building initiative workshops to strengthen rural young women’s leadership capacity, encourage critical awareness and develop their roles as community organisers. Young women’s social engagement can generate criticism and backlash, which may lead to their losing interest in public forums. As well as empowering participation in formal meetings, the research suggests that young women can overcome closed spaces through building on informal relationships and collaborations. And young women’s involvement in producing creative content (print, audio and multimedia) for use in community organising is used to strengthen their self-esteem and abilities.
The paper ends with a reflective conversation between Niken Lestari of FAMM and Francesca Feruglio of MAVC. They discuss the kind of capacity-building needed to enable young women to overcome barriers to their engagement in local governance spaces, and thus fulfil their own declared potential to contribute much more to the development of their communities.
Turning the Tide: The role of collective action for addressing structural and gender-based violence in South Africa
The case study discussed in this Evidence Report explores the value and limitations of collective action in challenging the community, political, social and economic institutions that reinforce harmful masculinities and gender norms related to sexual and gender based violence (SGBV). As such, the concept of structural violence is used to locate SGBV in a social, economic and political context that draws histories of entrenched inequalities in South Africa into the present. The research findings reinforce a relational and constructed understanding of gender emphasising that gender norms can be reconfigured and positively transformed. It is argued that this transformation can be catalysed through networked and multidimensional strategies of collective action that engage the personal agency of men and women and their interpersonal relationships at multiple levels and across boundaries of social class, race and gender. This collectivity needs to be conscious of and engaged with the structural inequalities that deeply influence trajectories of change. Citizens and civil society must work with the institutions – political, religious, social and economic – that reinforce structural violence in order to ensure their accountability in ending SGBV.
MASVAW Movement Mapping Report: Movement Mapping and Critical Freflection with Activists of the Men's Action to Stop Violence Against Women (MASVAW) Campaign, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, August 2014
Engaging men and boys in addressing gender-based violence has grown in attention over the past 20 years. However, the emerging field predominantly focuses on the issues as a problem of individuals, neglecting the role of the institutions and policies that shape norms of gender inequality and perpetuate violent power asymmetries between men and women in people’s everyday lives (Cornwall, Edström and Grieg 2011).
Men’s engagement in addressing GBV has therefore tended to be relatively depoliticised, focusing predominantly on individuals’ attitude and behaviour change, and less on accountability of the structures that uphold patriarchal power relations and male supremacy, such as macroeconomic policies and the governance cultures of many formal and informal institutions.
This movement mapping report thus introduces a collaborative research project between the Centre for Health and Social Justice (CHSJ), India, their local activist partners in the Men’s Action to Stop Violence Against Women (MASVAW) campaign and the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) to explore the effectiveness of men’s collective action in addressing GBV. CHSJ is working across India on the issue of mobilising men to transform discriminatory norms into those based on equity, equality and gender justice to ensure the fundamental human rights of all people.
The research is premised on the notion that challenging patriarchy and working towards gender equality must include working with men and boys to understand their privileges as well as the co-option, coercion and subjugation that they also face within a patriarchal system. In turn, we aim to improve understanding and knowledge of the changing roles of men in addressing GBV and how and why collective action holds possibilities as an effective strategy to support this in the Indian context. This research is exploring the actors, strategies, challenges, collaborations and pathways for future engagement of the MASVAW campaign that works across the state of Uttar Pradesh.
This toolkit draws on the experience of the use of participatory tools within an evaluation context. Focused on the feminist ethic of listening to the voices of women whilst also locating a framework to analyse the power relations within which women's lives are embedded, the Toolkit lays out how one may use tools such as body mapping and resource mapping, amongst several others, in feminist evaluations.
Women the world over are being prevented from engaging in politics. Women’s political leadership of any sort is a rarity and a career in politics rarer still. We have, however, begun to understand what it takes to create an enabling environment for women’s political participation.
In this pioneering collection, writers from Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East are brought together for the first time to talk explicitly about women’s participation in the political scene across the global South. Answering such questions as how women can get political apprenticeship opportunities, how these opportunities translate into the pursuit of a political career, and how these pursuits then influence the kind of political platform women advocate once in power, Women in Politics is essential reading for anyone interested in what it means to engage politically.
The economic and political empowerment of women continues to be a central focus for development agencies worldwide; access to medical care, education and employment, as well as women’s reproductive rights, remain key factors effecting women’s autonomy. This book explores what women are doing to change their own personal circumstances, and it provides an in-depth analysis of collective action and institutionalized mechanisms aimed at changing structural relations.
This book is a collection of analytical narratives of what has happened to feminist voice, a key pathway to women’s empowerment. These narratives depart from the existing debate on women’s political engagement in formal institutions to examine feminist activism for building and sustaining constituencies through raising, negotiating and legitimizing women’s voice under different contexts.
Bringing together the reflections and experiences of feminist researchers and activists in South Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America, this unique volume explores how various global trends, such as the development of transnational linkages, the rise of conservative forces, the NGOization of feminist movements, and an increase in the power of donors, have created opportunities and challenges for feminist voice and activism.
This first issue in the Voice for Change series is focused on members of the transgender, sex worker and homosexual communities who are often left out of the development processes because of the stigma attached to their identities. It takes the reader through a series of narratives that are often unheard by those that frame policies and implement programmes. Why do they face discrimination? How do they cope with it? When have they succeeded and when have they failed? It is the result of a series of engagements with these groups and attempts to amplify voices of communities on issues underlying these questions.