February 22, 2021
In the last decade or so, racist, misogynist, populist and neo-nationalist governments, ideas and political practices are taking deep roots globally. The pendulum is swinging dangerously between liberal globalism and parochial localism. Technology and online platforms have rapidly become avenues for sexist, racist, trans-exclusionary online violence which translate into the organisation of populist forces that promote extreme nationalist and far right agendas offline.
Our lives are also overshadowed by a looming climate catastrophe, and the Covid-19 pandemic is affecting millions and decimating livelihoods and economies. Violent conflicts – especially in the Global South - have become more prolonged and are a reflection of an unequal global economic and political order that sustains proxy wars with sophisticated technology that allows warfare to be fought remotely, with limited casualties to aggressors. All the while, countries in the Global North - that benefit from these conflicts for natural resource extraction and military interventions - are strengthening anti-immigration laws and heightening border control measures to keep refugees and migrants out. These laws are accompanied by extremist discourses that mobilise Islamophobia and different forms of religious fundamentalisms that rely on conservative interpretations of gender, race and class to define citizenship and belonging.
Yet, despite this complex and violent environment, feminists and gender justice activists are responding to these crises and their disruptive effects. They are seizing the opportunity to reimagine democracy, gender relations, power relations and humanity. From the Movement for Black Lives, #MeToo to climate justice activism we are witnessing an exponential growth in transnational and intergenerational organising. Struggles for freedom and justice are being linked.
Digital platforms have aided intergenerational, transnational, cross-movement feminist organising by facilitating both online and offline mobilisation. Feminist organising has ranged from issues such as the cost of living, violence against women, denial of abortion rights, LGBTQI rights, weakening democracy, environmental crises, immigration laws, police brutality and unpaid and invisible care work. We have observed feminist organising contribute to changes in autocratic governments such as in Sudan, toppling a corrupt and homophobic administration in Puerto Rico and ushering in abortion rights in Catholic-majority countries such as Ireland and Argentina. However, these forms of dissent have also invited brutal repression in Belarus, Hong Kong, India, Nigeria and Zimbabwe to mention a few.
As we examine the rapidly evolving terrain of gender justice and feminist organising, we note the complex and contradictory ways in which they connect or not. We also recognise that there is an opportunity in this moment to understand how patriarchy intersects white supremacy, capitalism, race, ethnicity, caste, religious systems and morph in response to feminist action.
Call for contributions
For this issue of the G&D Journal, we invite submissions on how women's and feminist movements have responded to the many overlapping crises listed above.
This issue is interested in articles that explore the following questions:
- How are feminist and gender justice activists responding to the shifts in global politics? Unpacking how the ground has shifted because of multiple crises. How has this led to feminist activism acquiring new energies in the face of such challenging contexts?
- How are feminist agenda and activism co-opted by conservative populist forces in certain contexts and inadvertently reinforce neo-nationalist patriarchy?
- How are transnational feminist movements responding to anti-racism, gender ideology and global power dynamics between the Global North and South that have long held the attention of feminist scholars and movements? What radical opportunities to reimagine transnational solidarity exist?
- How can and will the demands that fuel feminist activism and gender justice activism be sustained to create the just and free futures that we imagine?
- How do public protests and those of formal networks and organisations differ in their strategies, gains and durability in the face of resistance and backlash? When and how do public protests crystallize in longer-term feminist programmes of action?
Submissions could also focus on contexts where governments or political parties are adopting gender-just progressive language and agendas or are able to sustain the gains made against concerted backlash:
- Who are the women and gender justice actors who organise for feminist developmental change within state institutions? What is new in the aims, methods, alliances and priorities of their efforts? What do their experiences teach us about the transformative leadership on which we pinned so much hope?
- What do the ‘successes’ of female leaders - for example in dealing with Covid 19 (as in New Zealand, Taiwan, and Germany) - show us, beyond the simplistic notions that women are more compassionate or more risk averse?
- How do women and/or LGBTQI leaders in government, safeguard progressive and just social protection systems and anti-discrimination measures? What role do allies play in this process of sustaining gains?
- In what ways are feminists, queer and gender justice actors providing radical leadership in other sectors (finances, extractives, security, the law and science) and how have these led to change?
Finally, this issue wishes to generate learning for the future in order to build sustainable, equitable, inclusive movements. Submissions are invited that reflect on challenging the established boundaries of the way we conceptualise and study feminist politics and organising for gender justice - based on grounded, empirical case studies. With respect to the above, the issue will emphasize what works to produce success (as defined by the writers) in feminist organising and politics, and in building thriving, robust and resilient feminist movements and alliances during crises.
G&D is a unique journal: a forum for the sharing of analysis and experiences between feminist activists involved in development research, policy and practice. For more information on the journal and its aims, visit: www.genderanddevelopment.org.
The journal welcomes new voices, and we want to hear from academics, policy makers, development and humanitarian practitioners and journalists, and particularly from activists of all generations, identities and backgrounds who are directly involved in any of the forms of activism mentioned above.
Please send your ideas in a text between 700 and 1000 words in length, in an email attachment to Rita Soares (GenderDevelopment@oxfam.org.uk) as soon as possible and by the 2nd of March 2021. Please include your name, contact details as well organisation affiliation, if relevant. We will contact you by the end of March if we would like you to develop your idea into a full article. Commissioned articles (of around 7,000 words plus references) will need to be completed for a deadline of 30th of July 2021 - with a first draft sent by the 28th May. Guidelines for contributors can be found here. Please read this guidance carefully.