FEMCIT researchers Line Nyhagen and Betarice Halsaa have just published a new book.
Through interviews with Christian and Muslim women in Norway, Spain and the United Kingdom, this book explores intersections between religion, citizenship, gender and feminism.
New article on Conceptualizing lived religious citizenship
FEMCIT researcher and the leader of the Work Package on Ethnic and Religious Citizenship, Line Nyhagen, recently published an article in the Journal “Citizenship Studies.”
This article argues that rights-based definitions of ‘religious citizenship’ giving primacy to status and rights are too narrow, and that feminist approaches to citizenship foregrounding identity, belonging and participation, as well as an ethic of care, provide a more comprehensive understanding of how religious women understand and experience their own ‘religious citizenship’.
The article can be found at the following link:
New PhD thesis to be published in FEMCIT Book Series
Former FEMCIT-researcher, Trine Rogg Korsvik, recently defended her PhD thesis with the title: ‘Pornograhy is the theory and rape is praxis’: Women’s struggle against rape and pornography in France and Norway ca. 1970-1985, at the Faculty of Humanities, University of Oslo.
In her PhD project Korsvik examined how the feminist movement’s fight against sexual violence manifested itself in Norway and France in the selected time period. She studied the political movements through feminist movement’s magazines, newspapers from the period, radio- and TV recordings, and interviews with some of the Norwegian activists.
Some of her findings are summarised in the following article: Burning porn in Norway, fighting rape in France, Kilden.
A revised version of Korsvik’s thesis will be published in the FEMCIT-series Citizenship, Gender and Diversity.
In 2013, two new books have been published in the series:
Beyond Citizenship? Feminism and the Transformation of Belonging (Sasha Roseneil, ed.) and Gender Diversity, Recognition and Citizenship: Towards a Politics of Difference (Sally Hines).
See series homepage for more information: Citizenship, Gender and Diversity, Palgrave Macmillan.
FEMCIT Book Series: Citizenship, Gender and Diversity
FEMCIT findings will be published in the book series “Citizenship, Gender and Diversity” by Palgrave Macmillan.
As of March 2011, five books have been contracted for the series. The first two books in the series will be the FEMCIT Anthology: “Remaking Citizenship in Multicultural Europe: Women’s Movements, Gender and Diversity” (eds. Halsaa, Roseneil, Sümer) and “Majority-Minority Relations in Contemporary Women’s Movements: Strategic Sisterhood” (eds. Nyhagen Predelli & Halsaa).
Information flyer can be uploaded here.
WP1 Political Citizenship
In January 2011, FEMCIT Work Package 1, led by Monica Threlfall at London Metropolitan University, hosted a Discussion and Networking Roundtable on the
theme of Stepping Stones to Political Representation for Ethnic Minority Women.
The event brought together leaders of ethnic minority women’s organisations such as Shakti-Scotland (Mridul Wadhwa), Latin American Women’s Rights Service (Marcela Benedetti), and Cardiff Women’s Aid (Liz Musa), as well as guest speakers Shirley Brown (Liberal Democrat Councilor, Bristol), Denise Headley (Conservative Councillor, Edmonton), Shaun Bailey (Managing-director, MyGeneration youth project), and Seema Malhotra (Director, Fabian Women’s Network) who mapped out their personal political trajectories around the questions: ‘Is there a pathway for women with ethnic minority backgrounds? If so, what are the key stepping stones?’
FEMCIT Partner Drude Dahlerup from Stockholm University and her colleague Lenita Freidenvall, who also work on FEMCIT WP1, participated in the event and
contributed with comparative perspectives.
On February 2, 2011, Monica Threlfall was invited to give a guest lecture in Santiago de Compostela at the Council for Galician Culture, a body of the regional
government of Galicia, Spain. She discussed citizens’ views of the political cultures of relations between parliamentarians and their constituents in Spain, Poland,
Macedonia, and the UK, research undertaken as part of the FEMCIT project. Previous speakers in the series had included Anne Phillips, Chantal Mouffe, and
FEMCIT research cited at the Polish Parliament
In June 2009 the Women’s Congress was held in Warsaw, and the FEMCIT research was cited at the Polish Parliament by Malgorzata Fuszara during the gender parity campaign. Its main goal became the introduction of gender parity for candidates on electoral lists in Poland. The Congress had been organised by a network of women, some of whom are members of women’s NGOs, but the great majority of whom has never been active in such organisations.
Some of these women are active in business organisations or in the academia, while others work as actresses, directors, journalists, hold ministerial offices currently or held such offices in the past. In other words, they are women from a wide range of circles, professions, interests and political options. The Congress, which was preceded by a series of regional conferences, met with great interest. Over 4000 women participated. The activism it sparked has all the characteristics of a broad women’s movement. A decision was made to propose a citizens’ bill on gender parity on electoral candidate lists. Consequently, a social campaign was required, and a drive to collect the 100 000 signatures necessary for the bill to be considered by the Sejm, i.e. the lower parliamentary chamber. During the signature collection drive, participants of the Congress lobbied for a gender parity regulation among politicians. They met with the President, the prime minister, leaders of all parliamentary caucuses and all political parties, Speakers of the Sejm and the Senate, as well as conveners of the legislative committees both in the Sejm and the Senate.
The signature collecting drive was a huge success. More than 150 000 signatures were collected. The action was carried out in public spaces: shopping malls, theatres, museums, etc. As such, it provided an excellent opportunity for a public debate on the subject. The first reading of the bill took place in the Sejm on February 18, 2010. FEMCIT partner Małgorzata Fuszara presented the bill in the Sejm. In the case of citizens’ initiative, the committee that endorses the bill selects a person who will present the bill at a plenary sitting of the parliament (i.e. at the bill’s first reading).
In the debate during the first reading in the Sejm, in the committee debates, as well as during the accompanying radio and television shows, the research results obtained within the FEMCIT project were cited by Professor Fuszara on numerous occasions.
In the course of further work on the bill, the ruling party (Platforma Obywatelska – the Civic Platform) lodged an amendment to replace the gender parity rule (50:50) with a gender quota (no less than 35% of either gender) on electoral candidate lists. The ruling party demanded voting discipline from its members during the vote on the bill. Nonetheless, ten MPs from this party, all male, breached the party discipline and voted against the bill. They were all fined for the breach. In subsequent votes (December 3 in the Sejm, later in December the Senate, and finally January 5 in the Sejm again) the gender quotas were adopted. The law was signed by the President on 31 January 2011.
We can thus proudly declare that FEMCIT research findings were an important resource and have contributed to the implementation of the gender quota in Poland!
Do Women in Europe Enjoy Full Citizenship?
FEMCIT was present during the events held to mark the opening of a
newly-renovated historic London building that has become the
headquarters of the European Commission in the UK and the European
Parliament UK office.
Together with the three main feminist organisations in Britain, The
Fawcett Society (named after the leading suffragist, Milicent
Fawcett) , The Women’s Resource Centre, and the National Alliance of
Women’s Organisations, FEMCIT organised an event entitled “Do Women
in Europe Enjoy Full Citizenship?”.
It was designed so that FEMCIT findings could be disseminated to
women’s organisations and the public, in an ‘official’ setting. Monica
Threlfall (Work Package 1 leader) presented the FEMCIT view of
citizenship and findings on citizens’ gendered preferences for their
political representation across Europe.
All three women’s organisations claimed that women in practice still
lacked too many rights and freedoms, even in the UK, to be able to
enjoy full citizenship. The government is going ahead with an array of
budget cuts that will hurt women the most, despite its legal duty to
carry out a Gender Impact Assessment so as to avoid taking gender-
biased measures. It is also neglecting its legal ‘equality duty’ to
make gender equality come about in practice. If equality laws can be
ignored so easily, women enjoy no real citizenship
Among Grass Roots, Red-stockings and State Feminists: The role of women’s and gender movements in the Nordic Countries
A wider reaching dissemination seminar targeting Nordic countries was arranged by NIKK- Nordic Gender Institute (Solveig Bergman) and Centre for Gender Research (STK) at the University of Oslo (Beatrice Halsaa) on 5 November 2010. The seminar was met with interest, attracting around 60 participants.
Beatrice Halsaa opened the program with a general introduction into the themes and methodology of FEMCIT. This was followed by three papers in the first session:
• Drude Dahlerup (Stockholm University) Why (not) Quotas for Minority Women in Politics in the Nordic Countries?
• Solveig Bergman (NIKK) Child-care Policies, Father’s Leave and Cash-for-Care: The role of women’s movements
• Elisabet Ljunggren & Anne-Jorunn Berg (Norland Research Institute) Earning a Living: Women Minority Entrepreneurs and Economic Citizenship
The external commentator Harriet Silius (Åbo Akademi University) praised FEMCIT researchers for managing to keep such a large project within the EU-project regulations and for the upcoming FEMCIT Book Series to be published by Palgrave Macmillan. She argued that FEMCIT was making an impressive contribution to the development of the citizenship concept with its multi-dimensional approach.
Beret Bråten, PhD research fellow at the Centre for Gender research, University of Oslo,
mentioned that despite the general under-representation of ethnic minorities at all levels, ethnic minority women were better represented than men in Norwegian politics.
The second session consisted of four presentations:
• Tone Hellesund (University of Bergen) Unconventional Lives? On living outside the nuclear family in different European countries
• Line Nyhagen-Predelli (Loughborough University) Recognition, Equality and Participation? Minority Women in women’s movements
• madeleine kenedy-macfoy (University of Oslo) Minority Women’s Organisations in Brussels, London and Oslo: Where does citizenship fit in?
• Michala Hvidt Breengaard (University of Copenhagen) Gender Mainstreaming –Good feminist strategy?
The external commentator Anita Rathore (Chairwoman of the Contact Committee for Immigrants and the Authorities in Norway) emphasized the centrality of focusing on gender and ethnicity simultaneously and underlined the need of carrying the discussion on the vital themes that were presented at this seminar outside the Academia.
The seminar was closed by a speech from Sigríður Dúna Kristmundsdóttir, Ambassador of Iceland in Norway and Professor of Anthropology at the University of Iceland, which was a witty analysis of gender in the world of diplomacy.
Inequalities Are Stronger Than Ever. An Interview with Evelyn Nakano Glenn.
Zuzana Uhde: During my stay in Berkeley I had a pleasure to work with Professor Glenn who kindly consented to give me an interview about her work and her more recent perspective on contemporary challenges with respect to the division of care responsibilities and social organization of care. Her scholarly work was inspiring for our research within FEMCIT in the workpackage 2 on social citizenship as she has been engaged with most of the fundamental concepts we have been dealing with, particularly care, gender, citizenship, class and cultural differences. This interview hopefully reveals a bit of her thought provoking approach and invincible spirit of struggling against injustices in caring relations.
Evelyn Nakano Glenn is a Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies and Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. In addition, she is a founding director of the research Center for Race and Gender at the same university. She was elected President of the American Sociological Association for the academic year 2009-2010.
Her lifelong scholarly research has focused on the dynamics of gender, race and class in processes of exclusion and discrimination. She has fundamentally contributed to the feminist analysis of the co-constitution of gender and racial inequalities which she has applied to her research on racial and gender division of reproductive labor, both paid and unpaid, and production and reproduction of exclusion within American citizenship. She has published several books, including Forced to Care. Coercion and Caregiving in America (2010), Unequal Freedom: How Race and Gender Shaped American Citizenship and Labor (2002) and Issei, Nisei, Warbride: Three Generations of Japanese American Women in Domestic Service (1986). She also co-edited the volume Mothering: Ideology, Experience and Agency (1994) and edited Shades of Difference: Why Skin Color Matters (2009).
Zuzana Uhde: You earned a Ph.D. from the Social Relations Department at Harvard and your dissertation was on experimental social psychology. How did you become interested in gender sociology and in feminist theory? Are there any special events that motivated this shift in interests?
Evelyn Nakano Glenn: You have done a lot of research. The Social Relations Department at Harvard was an attempt to be interdisciplinary. It was the brainchild of Talcott Parsons, Gordon Allport and some other people who wanted to create a relationship between social structure and more individual social psychology. So it incorporated sociology, social psychology, clinical psychology and social anthropology. This was the initial idea, but then there was a disciplinary tension, and subsequently it broke down. My undergraduate work there was in social psychology, but students in our programme got some exposure to the other disciplines through interdisciplinary seminars, and I did take a seminar by Talcott Parsons, who at that time was one of the most eminent American sociologists. But nonetheless I really didn’t go into sociology until after I finished my degree and I got my first job at Boston University. The timing of that was in the early seventies when second-wave feminism was coming to the fore. This was before the development of women’s studies as a field, but there was some ferment going on in various sub-fields like history or sociology, bringing women in who were absent at that point. I started collaborating with a colleague at Boston University, Roslyn Feldberg, and we started doing some research and also teaching in the area of women at work. We started doing studies of women in clerical work which was highly feminized field and we developed notions about how different occupations became feminized and then what are the impacts in terms of wages and status. When we taught the first course, Women at Work, there were almost no materials on women of color, there were maybe a few things on Afro American women but none on Asian American women. So I started doing some oral history interviews with Japanese-American women. I was aware that there was a whole history of domestic service in San Francisco Bay area, where my family is from. My paternal grandmother, I discovered during the course of the study in fact, had been a domestic worker in Alameda, California. So that’s how that whole thing had started. I also got involved in various Marxist feminist groups which grew as a reaction to a male-centred Marxist leftist movement and theory. The jumping-off point was Engels’s work The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State, where he talks about productive and reproductive labor, through which women had gotten marginalized initially in settled agrarianism and ultimately under capitalism. Most of us were doing labor studies and a lot of us were doing research on housework, both paid and unpaid. So in a sense my interest grew out of that movement, part of that was the social movement and part of that was the movement in the academy.
Zuzana Uhde: This leads me to my second question. You have been part of the feminist breakthrough into sociology. Today you are the director of the Center for Race and Gender at UC Berkeley and you are also the elected President of the American Sociological Association. What do you think is the important message of this struggle that contemporary feminists working within the field should keep in mind?
Evelyn Nakano Glenn: That’s a good question. Certainly in terms of my own development, it is the women of color critique of feminism and feminist theory in the humanities as well as the social sciences. I was also part of that whole reaction. I had a fairly solid Marxist feminist orientation, but I also became involved with women of color scholars, particularly a group led by Bonnie Thornton Dill, an African American sociologist who is now the head of the Consortium on Ethnicity, Race and Gender at the University of Maryland, the only other research centre in the USA that focuses on intersections of race and gender, Elizabeth Higginbotham, Cheryl Gilkes, who was my colleague at Boston University, Ruth Zambrana who’s a Puerto Rican, and then myself. Bonnie got The Ford Foundation grant to start meetings, where we basically started by reading novels. The question was how do we do analysis across groups, what do women of color have in common? African American women scholars were studying African American women, Latina scholars were studying Latinas, and Asian American scholars were studying Asian Americans. But we were looking for a comparative basis. We built on people like Robert Blauner, who talks about communalities among black in Afro American Latinos constituting internal colonies in that kind of model. And we were actually pretty early in terms of turning to work on racial formation, race as a social construction as formulated by Michael Omi and Howard Winant.
And this collaborative approach also applies to my engagement in the Center for Race and Gender. The formation of the Center was the result of a movement and the Ethnic Studies strike of 1999 at UC Berkeley. I think basically it’s all the importance of a social movement, it is a collective enterprise; it’s not an individual achievement but rather my involvement in the movement. So I do think that it is always important to keep in mind that whatever progress we have made is because it has been a part of the collective struggle. And I think there is always backsliding. The struggle is never won. For example, sociology as a field has become more feminized. At this point I think over 50% of graduate students in sociology are women. Nevertheless, they are still under-represented, particularly in the so-called top departments such as Berkeley. And I think there is still hostility toward feminism and toward certain types of racial ethnic scholarship, which are seen only as identity politics. In some areas I think there is still a discomfort with sexuality studies. I think there is still a struggle, especially at those so-called elite levels. But, for instance, W. E. B. Du Bois is an example of the idea that sometimes the most influential or later an influential and important work takes place on the margins because the centre tends to be very status quo oriented. Today, W. E. B. Du Bois is an iconic sociologist as well as writer; the major research award in the USA was named after him starting in 2007, although he was never given a teaching position in a white institution. He taught sociology very briefly at Atlanta which is historically a black university. But his scholarship on Black Reconstruction, which put blacks at the centre of the story, was basically trashed in a review in the American Journal of Sociology.
Zuzana Uhde: And what do you still has to be done?
Evelyn Nakano Glenn: I think there is still a tension between more disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches. I think the disciplines are artificial constructions; the disciplines try to carve out certain aspects of social reality. Contrary to Burawoy, I think there is no such division between economics doing the market, political science doing power and the state, and then sociology doing civil society. In fact, I don’t think you can do good ‘sociological work’ without taking into account the market and power. On the contrary, in terms of looking at particularly substantive areas it is much better to have a broader framework. So I think that these disciplinary lines really need to be re-thought. But within the university there are fiefdoms and people fight to maintain those fiefdoms. I think that moment when I was in Social Relations Department was a particular moment historically and has now reverted back to the traditional departments at Harvard.
Zuzana Uhde: Throughout your work you have been elaborating an integrative framework for the intersection of gender and race, which you called the ‘social constructionist approach to gender and race’, taking into account both cultural meanings and material relations arising from gender-racial social structures. How do you understand the co-constitution of gender and race?
Evelyn Nakano Glenn: Actually there is a problem in the vocabulary, in the terms we want to think about it. We used to talk about intersectionality and more recently we have been talking about co-constitution. When it comes to the term intersection it is problematic in the sense that gender and race still sound like independent categories which only come together at some point. And that intersection is usually thought of in relation to understanding the situation, experiences, and lives of woman of color, in other words, only for those whose gender is not male and/or color is not white. I think that co-constitution is a way of trying to say that these categories are never truly independent. They are always constituted together, which is advancement in thinking. The problem is similar to that of the relationship between capitalism and patriarchy for Marxist feminism. And we ended up saying capitalist patriarchy. Or the relationship between sex and gender. Gender is originally a grammatical term, as opposed to sex, and there was an attempt to separate sex and gender, to say that gender was culturally constructed meanings that build on sexual differences. And then there is Judith Butler and other people who come with the notion that sex is also a social construction. There is still a debate going on about what is the relationship between those terms. And with race there was also originally that sort of notion of it as being biological or certainly recognizable physiological differences. But then it was pointed out that race is a social construction rooted or built upon what might be called a physical difference. I think that the usefulness of that idea of social construction is by pointing out that there were always cultural and other meanings functioning as organizing principles within institutions. I think it was a useful idea to talk about race as a central organizing principle of an institution.
So you can talk about gender and race in relation to institutions not just in terms of individuals or individual bodies. So you can have social organizations that incorporate race and gender as a part of their social structure. I think that has been useful in terms of connecting the cultural and material relations – the cultural meaning and also social relations and institutional arrangements, which are much more material relations, both structured around race and gender. I think this notion of co-constitution is trying to get at an even deeper level, saying that they are never totally separate, and for analytic purposes we have to be able to trace the way in which they are together.
Zuzana Uhde: At the beginning of the 1990s you wrote an article about the racial division of reproductive labor, which became a classic in feminist sociology. By way of elaborating the intersection of social history and individual lives to uncover the dynamics of structural forces and human agency you have analyzed the way in which race and gender inequalities are systemically embedded in the structure of modern society. On the example of racial division of reproductive labor you concretized your more general approach to the co-construction of race and gender. Could you please summarize your argument?
Evelyn Nakano Glenn: I think the area of reproductive labor was very productive in terms of thinking about that co-construction of race and gender. It’s an area of work that is clearly gendered and a lot of it was the starting point for the Marxist feminist analysis that I mentioned earlier. But at the same time the Marxist approach was looking at racial divisions of labor and the institutionalization of separate labor markets, which keeps certain types of labor very cheap. And then Marxist feminists tried to bridge the gap between productive and reproductive labor and pointing out the ways in which women’s responsibility for reproductive labor disadvantages them in the labor market and vice versa. So there is a kind of connection between productive and reproductive labor. I thought that the focus was much on the way in which reproductive labor is feminized, but what was missing was explicit recognition of the way in which reproductive labor was also divided through the racial division of reproductive labor just as there was a racial division of the market labor. And that was historically a very important division that in some sense created this interdependence in the lives of white women and women of color, which is also cross-class based. White women were able to fulfill the ideal of ‘angel of the household’ because so many black women were forced to earn a living by hiring themselves out as servants in white households. It’s identifying this historical pattern. I think that was an interesting breakthrough.
I think it’s still relevant in terms of understanding things like the transnational division of labor and the transnational division of reproductive labor where women from the global South perform the reproductive labor in the global North. And very often the idea is that women from the global South are especially suited or talented in providing reproductive labor or care labor because they come from traditional cultures, where women take care of the elders. Certain constructions of Third World femininity are used as a way of justifying or rationalizing this particular arrangement. Historically that’s always been the pattern in the USA, but it’s now becoming the pattern throughout Europe. Each country has particular countries they tend to draw their care workers from, like we draw out from the Philippines and Latin America. And there is another part of it. Domesticity has been reproduced as a part of the private realm and so it mimics family relation. It gets really complicated, just like Afro American women have had other people to take care of their children so that they could go to do domestic work, women migrants who do care work if they have children have to have either relatives or even poor women to take care of their children. So, you know, I think it’s still very relevant, it’s not necessarily this traditional racial relation that has existed in places like the United States of America, but it’s a First-Third world phenomena. And there tends to be lighter and darker people, you know, in that sense.
Zuzana Uhde: Recently you completed a new book entitled Forced to Care: Coercion and Caregiving in America (Harvard University Press, 2010). Could you please expose your line of argument and tell us how it is connected to your previous research?
Evelyn Nakano Glenn: Originally I was interested in a relationship between race and unfree systems of labor like slavery, debt bondage, peonage. And particularly the exploitation of women of color, their caring labor within these contexts. In a plantation system men do field work, sometimes women do too, but women are also recruited into doing domestic labor or other kinds of care labor. And so there are two streams I tried to trace in this book. One is that of unfree labor regimes. The other is the domestic realm, marriage and family relations. Women’s feeling of obligation or social expectation to provide caring labor for parents and so forth is very often spiritualized or stated in terms of the altruistic love. But nonetheless it’s much codified in the law of social policy in the various ways where family members are expected to take care of other family members without pay. And then especially wives do it for their husbands, children and their parents. But basically it was a principle in common law that the women were supposed to provide services, the labor of women completely belonged to the husband, he basically owned it and so he could also contract out for her, her earnings would belong to him. 19th-century reforms, such as the Married Women’s Property Acts and the Married Women’s Earning’s Acts, then led to a conflict with this sort of marital obligation. What happened in that period and really up until the mid-20th century is that earnings and other issues were ruled by courts to not actually affect a man’s whatever right to the wife’s labor.
So this is shown in legal cases of two kinds. The first is where the husband and wife sign a private contract that she takes care of him and in exchange he will leave her this property. You know they sign this contract, if he doesn’t do what he promised and she goes to court, and then the court goes: well, there can’t be any contract because she was obligated by reason of the marriage relationship to provide that labor, so therefore, you know, there is no consideration, OK. And then the other one is where the wife let’s say is injured in an accident or something like that, then, according to the courts, the man, the husband, is the one who has the right to sue for the loss of his wife’s services. Like if she becomes disabled from a paying job he could sue for the loss of her ability or money. But as far as her labor at home is concerned, she is not the party that can sue, he is the one, you know. So some of that has become sort of gender neutral, where wives can sue for a husband’s, the loss of a husband’s services, or whatever. But nonetheless they, you know, all that sort of social politics, like for a long time in England, I’m sure there are other examples, if an elderly person had a daughter who was living nearby, then he was not entitled to home-health services, because the daughter was supposed to provide it for free. Researchers have found that when women talk about caring for a husband or a disabled relative, they express a strong sense of duty or obligation.
In many ways women’s private caring has become intensified with deinstitutionalization as a way to save on health-care costs. In the US there has been a trend to release patients to go home even if they are dependent on respirators or need chemotherapy. The equipment is installed in the home, and a family member has to administer therapy and monitor the equipment. Being responsible for a technology-dependent family member is extremely stressful, requiring constant vigilance. So there’re a lot of ways in which a family’s members are put in the position of having to provide that labor. They may kind of want to do it, but really they have to do it to ensure that their relatives survive.
So one of the central issues for me was the question why is it that caring labor is so devalued, so that when it is done for pay it’s very low pay. And there has been a huge expansion of homecare for humanitarian reasons on the one hand – the disabled or the elderly should be allowed to live in their home instead of being in institutions – and for monetary reasons on the other hand – it’s cheaper if people get cared for in their home than if they’re put in institutions. So there is a convergence of people who advocate for the rights of the elderly and the disabled to live independently and the medical power system saying that it is desirable because it’s a lot cheaper. In the USA there is still a discomfort about mixing an allowance or pay for services and family care. Only individual states like California do allow relatives to be paid out of state funds. However, most disabled people are provided with personal care through the Federal Medicare Program, which does not allow payment to close relatives. They can pay only an outside person, even though a lot of times they can get a relative to provide better care. And then there are people who are doing caring work for pay, who don’t get decent wages and benefits. And usually the way that has been explained is that because it’s in this private sphere of the home it is treated as though it is the same as unpaid labor, you know, and can’t be regulated.
My argument is that the low value of caring labor has grown out of two historical streams: that of marital-family relationships in which wives/mothers/daughters are obligated to provide caring services, and of unfree labor systems that tracked female slaves, colonial subjects, and indentured workers into performing caring labor for others. Today, much paid caring is performed by racial minority women and immigrant women. The devaluation and low pay of these women’s labor needs to be understood as growing out of both historical streams. The fact that it takes place in the private home leads to the conclusion that therefore you don’t have to pay too much, but it is also tied to older notions of unfree labor, where certain groups of devalued people are expected to provide those services or forced to provide those services. So I think to really explain this whole situation with these paid care-givers you have to look at both of those streams.
Zuzana Uhde: The feminist struggle for the recognition of women’s contribution to the well-being of others and the indispensable role of caring activities and homemaking went hand in hand with other feminist agendas along the lines of the famous feminist slogan ‘the personal is political’. The mainstream media present a picture of a working mother who has always a shortage of time as a Pyrrhic victory of the feminist movement. Much less publicly discussed is the fact that this is not at all what feminists have claimed. You are also engaged in the debate about rethinking the concept of care and outlining directions for change with respect to crises in care in modern capitalist societies. What is the cornerstone of your idea of a caring society? What might the ideal care arrangement in our societies look like?
Evelyn Nakano Glenn: I actually wrote the last chapter of my new book on this whole idea. I was looking at this largely within the USA context where everything has been marketized and there is pretty minimal larger societal or state responsibility for providing care. This means that the model is still based on the family.
Usually the focus is on adequate care for those who need it. But the question is who is going to provide it, and that part is often overlooked because it’s treated as a status obligation derived from the family relationship to another person as opposed to the contractual relationship. Basically the idea of choice, that everyone has the right to choose whether or not to provide that care, needs to be part of any solution.
I think therefore that there has to be a notion that people do have a right to care but that it is not necessarily the obligation of particular persons who have a certain standing with that person to provide it. Maybe a lot of people will choose to do it, but the other problem is that if they choose to do it there shouldn’t be a huge penalty. Like giving up their career, their independence, etc. So I think, obviously, a caring society has to provide choice and has to provide adequate compensation in various forms to those who do provide the caring labor. They should be recognized for the societal contribution. In other words, in the USA most welfare benefits or what might be called social citizenship rights derive from paid employment. Equally, caring for somebody should be seen as a sort of fulfillment of the citizenship right, just as being employed. So ultimately care has to become a collective responsibility.
There has been a disability rights movement claiming that people with disabilities should have the care they need to live on their own and that they should have control of their care. So they have fought for the right to get the allowances and to hire the care-givers, hire and fire rather than having the state send somebody over. But again the problem is that it has been put in a market model, the ultimate freedom that they have is as a consumer. But I think there has to be a balance between the choice of care-receivers and that of care-givers. And there have to be certain labor rights standards that would create at least certain minimal conditions for care-givers.
We still have the divide between money and love, but I think that people are certainly capable of holding multiple ideas in their mind and it’s not an either-or choice. Just because you have this sort of paying relationship with somebody doesn’t mean that you don’t also have an affectionate bond with that person. Does being paid mean that the affectionate bond is weakened? Spouses who receive allowances in California say that they see the allowances as recognition that what they do is worthy and a contribution to society, rather than that it’s quid pro quo. (In truth, the payments are quite modest.) The discomfort with allowing payment to family members for providing care is because the market model so dominates societal thinking. As a result, we make an extreme differentiation between the public and the private. The public is seen as competitive sphere with no morals and values. Then the private is seen as altruistic sphere of love where individual needs are recognized. Because of the whole romanticization of the private sphere there is a kind of fierce protection to try to keep the monetary relation out of there. But instead, let’s think about the issue the other way, that some of the ‘private’ morals should also be part of the public realm.
Zuzana Uhde: Let me ask you another question. Today we can say that there was an important democratization of gender roles in Western societies but still we cannot speak about full gender equality. Average women’s salaries are still lower than those of men, it is still women who struggle more to combine family and a professional life, violence against women is still a thorny issue in our societies. Moreover, it seems that what was gained was not for everybody, as there are still huge inequalities along the ethnic-racial and class lines among women. How could you explain the persistence of these inequalities and problematic tendencies despite the efforts of feminist activism within academia and civil society?
Evelyn Nakano Glenn: Obviously we haven’t quite succeeded. These struggles seem to be never over, you are making some gains but then there are some steps back. I think the problem is that larger economic power, power distribution, really hasn’t changed very much. In the last eight years, especially in the United States of America, there has been a huge increase in economic inequality, and there are more people who are outside the whole system, who are not incorporated into either civic or economic life. There is a huge expansion of the prison industrial complex. So I would say that there has been a marginal redistribution, but that those larger inequalities are even stronger than ever. At some level there is marginal equalization along the middle class; women have more access to politics, governmental or state offices, and in terms of capital or finance. In another words, if you look at how much wealth men and women have, there is some progress. But there is still extreme racial and also gender differentiation. Earning differences between blacks and whites have decreased, but there are still huge disparities in wealth, that is, accumulated property. Thus blacks are less able to pass on their socio-economic status to their children and future generations. Women who have wealth tend to have it through family connections. And if you look at who actually controls financing, banking or politics, not much has changed.
Zuzana Uhde: This leads me to my last question. In the light of the contemporary economic and financial crisis, which delegitimizes the neoliberal ideology and sharpens social inequalities generally and also among women, what do you see as a major task for feminist activism and research?
Evelyn Nakano Glenn: That’s a huge question. I mean feminist activism is successful in changing things around the margins and maybe in the university, but it has not penetrated into larger social structures. I think at this point maybe we’ve gained enough understanding and we have enough numbers to be able to tackle different parts of broader issues rather than those just specific to women. I think feminist activism should join other types of movements to get into larger structures, to attack the basic structural issues and systemic economic inequalities. I think that feminism needs to make collaborative efforts with other movements to work on different issues. Those strategic alliances with different movements will differ depending on what particular issue they address. And the feminist movement should make sure that gender and women’s interests are a part of the agenda from the beginning.
Zuzana Uhde: Thank you for your answers.
WP2 – Social Citizenship: Minna Rantalaiho contributes to a new book on Cash For Childcare
In an article in a forthcoming anthology, Minna Rantalaiho from Finland approaches Nordic cash-for-childcare (CFC) policies from a comparative perspective. CFC policies refer to cash transfers for families with small children, typically children under the age of three years. CFC transfers are often observed as a controversial feature in the context of Nordic welfare states. One of the core ideas of CFC transfers has been the support of informal, mostly home-based parental childcare arrangements. By encouraging home-care of children, which belongs to activities that women are involved in considerably more often than men are, CFC transfers are considered not only to strengthen traditional gender roles in families with children but have multiplicative effects on gender equality in a society.
For a long time Finland was the only Nordic country with a CFC policy system. This situation, however, has changed, and since 2008 all the Nordic countries have had a CFC policy – either as a national statutory right of families, as in Finland and Norway, or as a local municipality-level entitlement, as in Sweden, Denmark and Iceland. A common trait in these policies is that they all, leaning politically on the rationale of increased choice for individual care arrangements, establish an alternative support for public services: a cash payment for parents who do not use publicly funded daycare. A closer look to the Nordic CFC policies, however, shows considerable variation in both the national CFC policy designs, and their political rationales.
In her article Rantalaiho explores CFC policies in three Nordic countries, Finland, Norway and Sweden. The differences and similarities between CFC policies are examined from a comparative perspective with the aim of ascertaining whether a common Nordic CFC architecture is discernible. Instead of explaining the emergence or outcomes of CFC policies, her focus is on the policy rationales of CFC in the three case countries. This is done mainly by comparing the current policy entitlements, but also by studying discursive framings of CFC in the process of policymaking.
Minna Rantalaiho: “Rationalities of Cash for Childcare: The Nordic Case”, in Sipilä, Jorma, Repo, Katja and Rissanen, Tapio (eds.) Cash-For-Childcare: The Consequences for Caring Mothers, Cheltenhamn: Edward Elgar. Forthcoming (November 2010).
ESF Exploratory Workshop on Exploring and comparing prostitution policy regimes in Europe (WP5)
In September 2010, FEMCIT participants Isabel Crowhurst (Birkbeck College), Joyce Outshoorn (University of Leiden), along with May-Len Skilbrei (Fafo Institute Norway), convened a three-day workshop on prostitution policies in London, sponsored by the European Science Foundation. Its aim was to assess the state of knowledge in this area and to develop new research objectives.
Eighteen scholars from nine different countries presented case studies of national prostitution regimes, showing how prostitution is constructed and regulated in different ways, the consequences for prostitutes/sex workers, the role of social work and other involved actors. It emerged that there is generally a lack of solid knowledge on the effects of various policy regimes, a paucity of reliable figures and much theoretical confusion around concepts. Future research should focus on these topics, as well as examining the actual implementation of regulation, the role of the police and the role of the media and information campaigns in forming public and political opinion. Moreover, organization of prostitutes and the effects of prostitution policies on prostitutes’ working conditions and their personal lives should feature high on a future research agenda. A steering group has been set up to organize a follow-up meeting to tackle the theoretical and methodological issues.
Joyce Outshoorn, WP5-leader contributes to ‘The Politics of State Feminism’
The summer of 2010 the final study of the Research Network on Gender Politics and the State (RNHS) was published: The Politics of State Feminism. Innovation in Comparative Research.
Informed by contemporary theory on social movements, representation, and the role of institutions, it provides a comparative analysis of the effectiveness of women’s policy agencies and women’s movements in Western democracies. Using a combination of qualitative and quantitative approaches, the book develops a theory of state feminism, showing the conditions for successful strategies to further women’s rights. Empirical basis of the theory is provided by RNGS’s earlier research on crucial feminist issues since the early 1970s, such as political representation, abortion, work, prostitution, and institutional change.
Dorothy McBride and Amy Mazur, The Politics of State Feminism. Innovation in Comparative Research, Philadephia: Temple Univrsity Press, 2010. With contributions by Joni Lovenduski, Joyce Outshoorn, Birgit Sauer and Marila Guadagnini. ISBN 978-1-4399-0207-3.
Religion, gender and citizenship (WP4)
A Summary of Key Findings is now available from research conducted within FEMCIT Work Package 4, ‘Multicultural Citizenship: Intersections between feminism, ethnic identity and religion’.
Based on in-depth interviews with Christian and Muslim women in Norway, Spain, and the UK, the study focused on how women’s religious identities and practices may provide both resources and barriers to citizenship.
Citizenship is viewed by the researchers in a broad sense, referring not only to the status, rights and duties of individuals, but also to their identity, community participation, and sense of belonging. The study found that religion is a flexible resource that women use to support their own identities, beliefs and practice, and that as such religion may have empowering effects. Religion is a resource that creates and provides meaning and a sense of belonging, whilst also stimulating participation both within and outside religious communities. The term ‘religious citizenship’ was new to the research participants, but they thought it made sense to include religion in a citizenship terminology, especially in relation to their sense of belonging to a religious community. The study also examined the participants’ views on gender equality, women’s movements and feminism. While the women’s movements in the three countries are viewed to have had a positive impact on women’s rights and opportunities, some of the interviewees think that the women’s movement and feminists have ‘gone too far’ or are ‘too extreme’.
For the summary of key findings, see ‘Christian and Muslim Women in Norway, Spain and the United Kingdom: A Qualitative Study of Religion, Gender and Citizenship. Summary of Key Findings’, WP 4 Working Paper No. 6, September 2010. The WP4 research team is led by Dr Line Nyhagen Predelli (Loughborough University) and includes Dr Esmeranda Manful (Loughborough University), Professor Beatrice Halsaa (University of Oslo), PhD Candidate and Research Fellow Cecilie Thun (University of Oslo), and Dr Esther Quintero (Spain).
WP4 – presented extracts from their research in Oslo, September 6, 2010
Extracts from the FEMCIT research on ethnic and religious citizenship were presented during a seminar in Oslo September 6th. Cecilie Thun discussed the complex relations between the hijab, being Norwegian and a feminist in contemporary Norway. Her presentation was based on our interviews with Christian and Muslim women.
In her presentation she focused on the Muslim women and how their positioning as both religious minorities and ethnic minorities can be a barrier in their everyday life. However, they also challenge the stereotypical image of Muslim women and argue in favour of women’s rights from a religious point of view.
Beatrice Halsaa discussed our research on the mobilization of ethnic minority women and the relationship between black and white feminism in Norway. Based on a sample of citations, she demonstrated that the relationship was strained from the outset. Black feminists claimed a wider feminist agenda in which anti-racist feminism was included. The response from white Norwegian feminism was weak, and a process of angry accusations and irritated dismissal or lack of comprehension for white privilege followed. Despite examples of cooperation and less strained relations, the conditions for sisterhood are still meager.
More about the event can be found here (in Norwegian).
WP4: Religious citizenship: Women in Christian and Muslim groups in Norway
The Norwegian WP4 report on religious citizenship, based on interviews with 20 women belonging to the Norwegian State Church, the Pentecostals, the Sunni and Shia communities was presented and discussed at a seminar at the University of Oslo on May 11th 2010. The questions addressed the extent to which religion establishes barriers or possibilities for women. What do faith communities – Christian and Muslim – do in relation to gender equality? How do religious women talk about their religious identity, gender equality and feminism? Does the notion of religious citizenship make sense to them?
Synnøve H. Stendal, leader of the Seksjon for diakoni og samfunn i de sentralkirkelige råd gave a talk on the Gender Equality work in the Church of Norway, and Karima Solberg, previously member of the Islamic Council Norway and previous member of the board of the Islamic Association (Det Islamske Forbundet) on Gender equality work within Muslim communities in Norway. Professor Beatrice Halsaa and Phd fellow Cecilie Thun presented an overview of the aims, the research methods and some of the results of the report “Religion, gender and citizenship: A case study of Christian and Muslim women in Norway.” This was followed by comments from professor Jone Salomonsen, professor at the Faculty of Theology, University of Oslo and from Christine M. Jacobsen, senior researcher at IMER (International Migration and Ethnic Relations Research Unit) at the University of Bergen. The well attended seminar ended with an open
discussion among all participants.
In the picutre, from left: Synnøve H. Stendahl; Jone Salomonsen; Christine Jacobsen, Karima Solberg og Cecilie Thun.
WP 3 – new book edited by FEMCIT researchers
WP 3 researchers Anne-Jorunn Berg and Berit Gullikstad, are, together with Anne Britt Flemmen, editors of a new book that has been published in Norway, Likestilte norskheter. Om kjønn og etnisitet.
This book is about today’s multicultural Norway. Equality and ”norwegianness” is investigated. What does it mean to be (gender-) equal in Norway, and how do you become equal? What does it mean to be Norwegian? How are majority- and minority positions created, negotiated and sustained?
These questions are addressed through analysis of family life, work life and politics. The contributors, among others Elisabet Ljunggren and Tone Gunn Kristiansen also from WP3, discuss and investigate how intersectionality can be employed as a methodological tool for analysis of the complex entanglement of sex/gender and “race”/ethnicity.
The book presents various forms of interdisciplinary research in conversation with gender studies, minority and migration studies, second-language research, work-life research and policy analysis. The book is relevant for researchers, teachers and students within many fields and disciplines; anthropology, geography, language science, sociology, race and ethnicity studies, social theory, gender studies, economics, social work and cultural studies.
Parts of the book will be presented at the FEMCIT Open Conference at Birkbeck University of London, in a session that will be chaired by Berit Gullikstad.
WP 4 – Religious women’s views on the women’s movement and feminism
By Line Nyhagen Predelli, WP4 leader
How Christian and Muslim women in Norway, Spain and the United Kingdom talk about and view the women’s movement and feminism is one of the topics currently investigated by FEMCIT Work Package 4. Through qualitative case-studies, researchers in all three countries have interviewed Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran and Pentecostal women from the majority religion (Christianity), and Sunni and Shia women from a minority religion (Islam) within the three countries.
Preliminary findings indicate that the women’s movement and feminism are regarded in many different ways by religious women in Norway, Spain and the United Kingdom, but across the three countries there are many similarities. Most of the interviewed women acknowledge a positive impact from the women’s movement on women’s rights, women’s empowerment, and women’s opportunities, especially in relation to voting rights, leadership positions, education, and labour market participation. However, few of the interviewed women identify with the word ‘feminism’, and many regard feminists as ‘having gone too far’, or as being ‘too extreme’. Such perceptions of the women’s movement are related to the impression many religious women have of the movement as wanting women to either ‘become like men’, to ‘take over from men’, or of it allegedly supporting a notion of female supremacy and superiority.
There are several important lessons to be drawn from our preliminary findings; among them the fact that many religious women support major items on the women’s movement agenda, such as equal rights and opportunities for women and men. However, many religious women do not identify with the concept of ‘feminism’, and many view the women’s movement as too radical. Feminist women’s movement organizations therefore seem to have a challenging task ahead in communicating their agenda to religious women who do not feel that their concerns regarding women’s rights and equality are served well by feminist organizations. Our findings suggest that there is currently an untapped potential to create alliances between religious and secular women in the advocacy of equal rights and opportunities.
Other topics investigated in this part of Work Package 4’s research include a discussion of religious citizenship in relation to status, participation and belonging; how religious women talk about citizenship; and the extent to which religious women present religion as a resource or as a barrier to citizenship as practice.
The WP4 Strand 2 research team is lead by Dr Line Nyhagen Predelli and includes Dr Esmeranda Manful (UK), Dr Esther Quintero (Spain), Professor Beatrice Halsaa (Norway) and PhD student Cecilie Thun (Norway).
WP 6 – published chapters in Greenwood Encyclopedia of LGBT Issues Worldwide
Femcit WP 6 researchers Tone Hellesund and Ana Cristina Santos have recently published chapters about Norway and Portugal, respectively, in the Greenwood Encyclopedia of LGBT Issues Worldwide (Chuck Stewart, ed., 2010, California: Greenwood Press/ ABC Clio).
This 3-volume contributed set gathers information about the status of LGBT people in more than 80 countries. It is organised geographically and it lists information on a range of issues including community, education, employment, government programs, health, law, religion and violence, amongst others.
Hellesund’s chapter, on Norway, and Santos’s chapter, about Portugal, both discuss these issues in relation to their respective countries, adding a final section that includes an outlook for the 21st century, as well as a resource guide with suggested readings and other materials.
WP7 – Gender Mainstreaming 15 years after Beijing; change or de-politization?
Hilda Rømer Christensen, FEMCIT WP 7 researcher, met with end users in Copenhagen, January 11th 2010, with an NGO group and the Danish minister for Equality, and January 25th 2010 with a range of end users from institutions and equality units.
The goal of the meetings was twofold: To present the scope and preliminary outcomes of FEMCIT and to discuss the applications and implications of gender-mainstreaming in advancing gender equality
What kind of gender notions are implicated in Gender Mainstreaming? And how is gender mainstreaming defined: as a concept, methodology, strategy etc?
Can gender mainstreaming be made more inclusive and contain other categories than gender? What are the gains and losses in the idea of equality mainstreaming versus gender mainstreaming?
How do the NGOs/Women’s movements and other agents in Danish and European Equality politics assess gender mainstreaming?
Hilda Rømer Christensen started by giving a brief presentation of FEMCIT, pointing to the broad scope of the project: The connecting of broad and complicated fields of empirical research in topical dimensions of citizenship as well as the transversal aspirations and the addressing of women’s movements in the framework of the multicultural turn. She also presented some of the challenges in current gender mainstreaming related to prevailing models and questions of gender and diversity.
A goal of the meeting was to receive input related to current experiences and practices of gender mainstreaming in Denmark. The participants shared their own experiences and discussed their view on the current use and stage of gender mainstreaming.
In general gender mainstreaming is seen as highly relevant notably in the Danish context, where the implementation of mainstreaming happened together with the introduction of a new institutional structure for gender equality at the governmental level in 1999. Hence the principle of gender mainstreaming was explicitly implemented in the new equality law in 1999 and the principle of gender mainstreaming has been an important guiding principle for the subsequent introduction of the issue as a transversal matter at the governmental level. In Denmark a cross-cutting governmental body for gender mainstreaming has been established in order to advance comprehensive knowledge and commitments Gender mainstreaming has been a continuous priority mentioned in the annual plans of action from the minister for gender equality.
In relation to global developments, The Beijing Platform of Action and the associated idea of gender mainstreaming is still held as a major accomplishment in the recent history of gender equality. The participants, however, revealed different approaches and ideas of gender mainstreaming related to the practical implementation of the strategy where NGOs both agreed with and differed from governmental practices.
Both NGOs, not least the national umbrella association, Council of Women and the governmental Gender Equality Unit agree on the continued importance of the Beijing Platform of Action, of which the gender mainstreaming strategy is a part. The Beijing Platform of Action has proved to be a useful tool for advancing cooperation and for the formation of alliances and for keeping up a joint vision for global gender equality. Yet the Danish key actors do not see any reason why the Beijing Platform should be substituted by a new common vision. Rather the Beijing Platform today acts as a ground towards which progress can be developed worldwide.
Opinions were more divided on the actual implementation of gender mainstreaming. Here the governmental actors argued along the lines of a strict methodological and practice orientated idea of gender mainstreaming, translated into institutional and organisational procedures, which requires a general expertise of gender equality distributed to all civil servants.
Some of the NGOs related to gender research, stressed the need for new knowledge production in the field especially in areas where gender is still not considered in governmental priority and law making processes e.g. in classical areas as tax, salary, domestic infrastructure/local councils and decision-making etc. While the achievements of the government in the field of gender mainstreaming were recognized, the need for a new step forward was also argued, for instance related to advancing the knowledge basis of gender mainstreaming in governmental resorts, such as transport, climate, tax/revenues and research, which so far have been conducted in a gender blind manner. Such priority areas could also provide a solid list of policy recommendations aimed at future political interventions.
The upcoming new institutional model of diversity mainstreaming which is underway in Denmark at the current moment was also seen as promising for opening up new avenues and for new thinking of gender equality. It is seen as important to look to the other Nordic countries for experiences.
It seems as if the governmental framework matters and that diversity mainstreaming might be more promising in the framework of a well financed social democratic governmental approach to gender equality (e.g. Norway) compared to Sweden which has established the new equality unit during recession and in the spirit of a liberal government emphasising individual rights (as demonstrated by Lenita Freidenvall in WP1 of FEMCIT).
The issue of how to define women’s movements was also touched upon. Do for instance the old women’s organisations such as the Council of Women in Denmark represent the women’s movement? Or is it rather the new networks, such as the gender mainstreaming network, consisting of experts, movements/activists and politicians that expose current feminist goals, or both?
From a global perspective it is important that gender mainstreaming has developed a common language and a somehow common horizon, and that global dialogues are now possible within the context of the Beijing Platform and gender mainstreaming. African experiences – notably from Ghana – here points to a different architecture, marked by a high level of mobilisation which is divided or independent from state machineries, where women’s movements tend to be critical towards the state institutions, rather than co-operating as in the Nordic case.
Finally the need for new horizons in the Gender Mainstreaming work was urged for, along with a more dynamic relation with knowledge production. E.g. in the launching of a strategic research programme focused on gender mainstreaming of new areas in relation to governmental resorts/ fields of responsibility.
The participants found the scope of FEMCIT interesting and relevant, and would like to receive the end results. It was appreciated that the FEMCIT project is one of the first major accounts of the effects of women’s movements in a vertical perspective and the effects on “high politics” in a vital range of areas.
- Presentation of FEMCIT and the implications of gender mainstreaming at the NGO network associated with the Danish Ministerial Unit for Gender Equality. Copenhagen. January 11th, 2010. 16.30-18.00. Present: Governmental Unit of Gender Equality, Danish Women’s Council, Kvinfo, Association for Gender Research in Denmark, Society for Gender Equality, The Danish Women’s Society, the Network of Crisis Centres in Denmark/krisecentre i Danmark.
- FEMCIT end user meeting, University of Copenhagen, January 25th, 2010 15.30-17.00. Present: Jytte Larsen, special adviser, Kvinfo, Rebekka Mahler, Research Librarian, Kvinfo, Karen Sjørup, Ass. Prof., Member of the government commission on Salary, RUC, Dinana Madsen, Ph.d. student, ( Project: Gender Mainstreaming in Ghana), Anette Steen Petersen, Special adviser for the Danish Government / Gender Equality Unit on Gender Mainstreamin.
WP 6 – Intimate Citizenship – at “Families in Europe today”
FEMCIT WP6 was recently represented at the international conference Families in Europe today.
The conference was a meeting place between researchers, NGO’s in the field of families, gender equality, lesbian and gay rights, and a variety of policy makers from EC and from different European countries.
The focus of the conference was cultural patterns in marriage and partnership, the legislation in the different EU countries, and the potential gap between culture and legislation.
FEMCIT partner Tone Hellesund spoke about shifting cultural norms and patterns regarding love and marriage, and told about the ongoing research on non-conventional intimacies in FEMCIT WP6.
Hellesund also took part in the panel discussion with the other speakers: Jöelle Milquet, Deputy Vice Minister, Minister of Employment and Equal Opportunities (Belgium); Andrei Tarnea, President of EUNIC Brussels; Maria Szyszkowska, Philosopher and Professor in Law and Philosophy at the Warsaw University; Barbara Stiegler, Head of Department “Women and Gender Research”, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Bonn (Germany), Koray Yilmaz-Günay, project coordinator at GLADT, Berlin; Garbi Schmidt, Senior Researcher at the Danish National Institute for Social Research, Copenhagen; Michael Cashman, Member of European Parliament (United Kingdom); Antonia Mochan, Head of Media, European Commission Representation in the United Kingdom; and Jozef De Witte, Director of Centre for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism.
The conference was organized by EUNIC Brussels in cooperation with the European Economic and Social Committee, Center for Equal opportunities and opposition to Racism, Institut pour légalié des femmes et des hommes, De Vice-Eerste minister – minister Wan Werk en VAN Geljike kansen, and Dialogue Interculturel.
WP 1 – Political Citizenship
Lenita Freidenvall, Drude Dahlerup and Monica Threlfall travelled to Santiago de Chile for the massive International Political Science Association (IPSA) conference, July 12-16 2009.
They all gave papers on FEMCIT research. The highlight was undoubtedly the fact that President Michelle Bachelet – a declared feminist – addressed the conference with a thoughtful reflection of the needs of democracy in Latin America. It was also the 30th Anniversary of the founding of ‘Research Committee 30’ on Gender and Politics, so a special 2-day pre-conference was organised by the Chilean Fundación Mujeres, giving everyone the opportunity to mingle with Chilean women.
Monica Threlfall was a guest plenary speaker at the conference of the Association for Contemporary Iberian Studies (ACIS) in Dublin and presented her findings on People’s preferences for their political representation in Spain, with comparisons to other European countries. (8.09.09)
Monica Threlfall (and Lenita Freidenvall) organised and chaired a well-attended panel at the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) conference in Potsdam, at which the whole WP1 spoke We received good feedback and were glad to have attracted other papers to the panel entitled Beyond ‘presence’: new perspectives on women’s representation. (10-12.09.09)
WP 1 – Political Citizenship – Drude Dahlerup
Drude Dahlerup spoke on ‘The use of different gender quotas in Arab politics’ at the iKNOWpolitics conference in Amman, Jordan, October 27-28, 2009.
Politicians, journalists, and NGOs from Arab countries were present. At a meeting in the Jordanian parliament, chaired by the speaker of the House of Representatives, M. Abdulhadi Al Majali, iKNOWpolitics launched the Arabic version of its popular web site, which already appears in English, French, and Spanish. www.iknowpolitics.org/ar
Earlier in 2009 she has also spoken at various conferences:
Drude Dahlerup gave a speech on ‘Can gender quotas contribute to the process of democratization?’ at the international conference on Gendered Governance held in Copenhagen for NGOs who work on the empowerment of women around the world. (30.09.09-1.10.09)
Drude Dahlerup was a guest speaker at a meeting of the 4th Annual Conference of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Geneva, September 29, 2009, which addressed the theme ‘Is parliament open to women? An appraisal.’There were many women and even some male parliamentarians present from most countries in the world – all of them are Chairs or members of their own parliament’s Equality Committee or Women’s Rights Committee. The fascinating discussion centred on quotas and other strategies for opening up parliaments, on the challenges faced by women inside Parliament, and on how to facilitate gender-sensitive parliaments. She reports that it was heartening to meet one of the first four women ever elected to parliament in Kuwait – terrifically strong woman – and a wise male leader of the equality committee in the Kenyan parliament. Less heartening was the feminist-hating male parliamentarian from a tiny European country (no prizes for guessing!). Documents available on http://www.ipu.org/splz-e/gender09.htm
Drude Dahlerup was the guest speaker at a meeting of the largest Danish business women’s organization, Erhvervskvinderne, which is preparing to campaign for a legal minumum of 40% of women on the Boards of Directors of the biggest Danish companies, following the Norwegian example.(22.09.09) http://www.erhvervskvinder.dk/dk/presse/artikler/erhvervskvinder_kvoteordning_nu.htm
Drude Dahlerup was a guest lecturer, at the Centro de Estudios Políticos y Constitucionales, Madrid, giving five lectures on women’s political representation for diploma students from Europe and Latin America. (20-24.04.09)
Drude Dahlerup was a keynote guest speaker at at a meeting organized by the European Parliament’s Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee, celebrating the International Women’s Day (6.03.09)
WP 1 – Political Citizenship – Lenita Freidenvall
Lenita Freidenvall was a guest speaker and moderator at a Roundtable on Women’s Participation in Political Parties organized by OSCE-ODIHR (Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights) in Warsaw, June 23 -24, 2009.
40 decision-makers from all over Europe and Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia, Georgia and Ukraine met to review legislative and policy trends and political party practices for promoting women’s participation in politics. They identified key challenges remaining for legislators and advocates in this field. Ms. Violeta Neubauer, UN CEDAW Committee Member, spoke about international commitments and standards for gender-balanced participation in political decision making.
WP 1 – Political Citizenship – Malgorzata Fuszara
Malgorzata Fuszara was a plenary speaker, organizer and moderator of the session ‘Women in Politics’ during the Women for Poland, Poland for Women Congress marking twenty years of transformations 1989-2009, in June 20-21, 2009.
Over 4000 women from hugely varied backgrounds gathered in Warsaw: government members, MPs and former MPs, women active in local politics, NGOs leaders, journalists, academics and students. The session chaired by Malgorzata drew up the key demand of the Congress: that a gender quota of 50% should be introduced for candidate lists. Signatures are being collected to support the parliamentary bill to introduce such a measure. www.kongreskobiet.pl
Małgorzata Fuszara was also a plenary speaker at the Time for Women conference in Warsaw, April 27, 2009. The over 100 participants included women ministers, MPs and MEPs, as well as NGO activists, business leaders, journalists and academics.
WP2 – Studying Social Citizenship through Claims on Childcare
Minna Seikkula: Childcare arrangements play a significant role when it comes to questions about women’s participation in society. But how have women’s movements contributed to childcare policies and who gets to decide what is good childcare?
Dr Solveig Bergman, Director of NIKK (Nordic Gender Institute) and the coordinator of Work Package 2 in FEMCIT on Social Citizenship, emphasises that the focus in the WP is on the impact of women’s movements and other gender-related organisations on childcare and parental leave in Europe.
She stresses that the role of social movements and voluntary organisations in the development of childcare policies is scarcely researched and needs to be studied. “Women’s agency should not be underplayed”, she argues.
According to Bergman the point of departure for WP2 is the recognition that childcare is one of the key questions in studying social citizenship from a gender perspective. “For many women childcare is vital to their enjoyment of full social citizenship, as well as economic autonomy and wellbeing. Today childcare and parental leave are not only feminist issues, but also an important part of European mainstream political discourses”, she claims.
Solveig Bergman points out that in addition to the goal of extending the possible choices for women and facilitating the role of men as carers there might be other interests behind strengthening the childcare provision. “This relates even to the politics of dealing with demographic challenges in Europe and the need to increase the employment rate in order to compete globally”, she explains.
FEMCIT WP2 approaches the questions of European childcare arrangements by a focus on different welfare state models. It aims to compare childcare policies, policy-making and gender-based activism in the Czech Republic, Spain, Finland and Norway. In this news item we introduce the Nordic sub-project. Later we will focus on the Czech and Spanish cases as well as on comparing our national studies.
Researcher Minna Rantalaiho is responsible for the part that focuses on the Nordic welfare state model. Referring to her research on Finnish and Norwegian childcare policies, she argues that there is unambiguous evidence that the childcare arrangements in both Finland and Norway have benefited women’s social citizenship by supporting women’s participation in society.
However, Rantalaiho also points out that there are interesting differences between the two countries. “Examining two Nordic countries provides an opportunity for a more critical understanding of women’s social citizenship in these countries”, she explains.
Minna Rantalaiho points out that though both Finland and Norway have a similar cash-for-childcare arrangement that supports home care for children, attitudes towards the policies vary in the two countries. In Norway the arrangement is heavily criticised, mostly by feminists and left-wing politicians, and women are increasingly choosing day-care services, while in Finland such criticism has trailed off and home-care and prolonged parental leave are more popular than is the case in Norway, says Rantalaiho.
“Childcare is a contested issue, which makes it a matter of critical research, especially when we are aiming to understand women’s social citizenship”, says Rantalaiho.
Both Bergman and Rantalaiho emphasise that it is also important to pay attention to the question of who gets to define what are the good solutions in childcare. “A challenge for us researchers as well as for policy makers is to recognise different voices in discussions about childcare, when not all of them are equally loud”, says Rantalaiho.
A focus on ethnic diversity and multiculturalism is integrated into the focus of FEMCIT. “The family patterns of minoritised groups and the relation of these patterns to the normative family model of welfare policies need to be studied and the claims of minority women’s organisations and groups is included in our research”, Solveig Bergman concludes.
(Article is written by Minna Seikkula. She is a student trainee at the Nordic Gender Institute)