GS08 Gender and Politics

Session Code
Session Chairs
Prof. Catherine Achin

In a world where authoritarian nationalism, illiberal values and practices are rising, it is crucial to understand and analyze the way in which they affect gender relations, policies and women’s status. Women play the roles of cultural transmitters as well as cultural signifiers of the national collectivity; thus gender constructions are vital to the legitimization of nationalist movements. The new nationalisms promote nativism, ethnicism and communitarianism, through mobilizing culture, identity and religious references which are often used to condone women’s secondary status. Gender, especially womanhood, is defined with regards to the nation and nationalism and the existence of a gender identity outside the traditional male or female is denied. Thus a variety of means are used to ensure that gender roles will fall within the “legitimate” boundaries of the collectivity. In this context intersexed individuals have no designated role to play in the nation, which reflects itself in the increasingly masculinist and homophobic discourses of nationalisms.

On the other hand, while there is a strong feminist resistance to the masculinist nationalism in various societies we also witness another trend, the so-called “femonationalism” that instrumentalizes women’s rights in the context of anti-immigration and anti-Muslim discourses.

This session is open to a broad array of issues involving gender and politics ranging from the dualistic nature of women’s citizenship to neo-patriarchal attacks on women’s rights; women and religion to new perspectives on gender sensitive policy-making; the role of legislation on the empowerment of women to feminist theories on masculinity, sexuality and intersectionality.