In order to build strong alliances and avoid fragmentation, social movements must recognise and address diverse identities and politics among their members.

In this section you'll find resources examining the relationships between gender and identities based on factors such as sexual orientation, class, caste, ethnicity and disability. You can also find out more about the links between women's and feminist movements and others such as the climate and economic justice movements.

21 resources - Page 2 of 3
  • Urgent responses for women human rights defenders at risk: mapping and preliminary assessment

    I. Barcia
    Association for Women's Rights in Development , 2011

    The work to protect women human rights defenders (WHRDs) is relatively new, and many existing resources were not designed specifically for them. It is widely recognised that WHRDs face the same types of risks as all human rights defenders, with additional gender-specific risks, such as being targets for gender-based violence. Many rights groups have, therefore, developed strategies and plans of action to provide WHRDs with support and solidarity. However, the lack of systemised knowledge about the array of urgent responses used to support WHRDs threatens the effectiveness and viability of these efforts.

    This report contains the first mapping of the range of urgent responses for WHRDs at risk. The purpose of the mapping is twofold: to serve as a guide for WHRDs in their search for particular support measures, and to offer a survey of different organisations’ approaches and contributions to supporting WHRDs. Focusing on urgent measures, this study examines how different responses can fit into a broader strategy to protect WHRDs. The research included interviews with representatives from seventeen organisations that provide assistance to WHRDs, representing a broad range of human rights organisations operating at different levels (national, regional and international) and with different thematic priorities (including those working on women's rights, human rights and sexual orientation). Many interviewees described urgent responses that are not designed exclusively for WHRDs or have not been tailored to women’s needs but are able to serve a multiplicity of purposes. Ensuring gender-specific responses is an area identified as remaining to be strengthened. The various kinds of responses (programmes and resources) developed to assist WHRDs include the following:

    - International pressure and visibility: urgent appeals, working with the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders and other international and regional mechanisms, sponsorship programmes, awards, solidarity and monitoring visits, and trial observation

    - Resources for local action: legal assistance, medical assistance and psychosocial counselling, stress management programs, safe houses, protective accompaniment, and emergency hotline

     - Support for relocation and other grants: temporary relocation; emergency grants and relief programs, and fellowships.

    In spite of efforts to support WHRDs, participants in this project highlighted that the lack of recognition of WHRDs as such continues to pose a major challenge in providing protection. Research participants further underscored the need to reach out to WHRDs and to grassroots women’s groups in order to publicise the resources currently available for their work, as well as to help find long-term solutions to specific cases. This mapping of resources for women human rights defenders was developed by Inmaculada Barcia, and facilitated by the Association for Women’s Rights In Development (AWID), as part of its work as Chair of the Working Group on Urgent Responses for WHRDs at Risk of the Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition (WHRD IC). The AWID website hosts an online directory of urgent responses for WHRDs, which is based on this initial mapping. This web portal is a tool for WHRDs to locate resources for their protection, support, and wellness. The responses are organised by type and by organisation. This online directory is available in English, French and Spanish:

  • Ain’t I a woman? A global dialogue between the sex workers’ rights movement and the stop violence against women movement

    B Datta
    CREA, 2011
    This report arose from a dialogue hosted by CREA and CASAM in 2009 as part of CREA’s “Count Me In” programme on addressing violence against women in south Asia. The topic of the dialogue was the sensitive issue of sex work and violence, and the spectrum of views on the issue – from seeing all sex work as violence per se, to seeing violence against sex workers as a significant human rights violation that has been ignored by women’s and human rights movements. The dialogue was ground breaking in that it brought the different, and often conflicting, perspectives and voices of sex workers and anti-violence against women activists together, highlighting their own words and viewpoints. Participants considered how they can work together to address violence within adult sex work, build alliances across movements to ensure that sex workers are seen within a human rights context, and expand campaign and policy frameworks in this area beyond a focus on trafficked women.

    The report provides an overview of the dialogue sessions in which speakers discussed issues such as the relationship between sex work and women’s movements, the experiences of sex workers in resisting violence, and of feminists who have become sex worker rights advocates. The dialogue resulted in some recommendations for future collaborative action:

    • A campaign to influence mainstream human rights organisations to include sex workers’ rights within their mandates
    • A strategy to present the issue to regional feminist coalitions
    • A political statement by feminists to reclaim the anti-violence feminist space so that it is not also an anti-sex work space
    • A process for sex worker rights groups to define their negotiables and non-negotiables
    • A mechanism to document best practices in fighting violence against sex workers
  • Sex work and women's movements

    S Shah
    CREA, 2011
    What relationships exist between women’s movements and sex workers’ movements? How have historical developments and discourses shaped these relationships, and what are the theoretical and strategic tensions that exist at the present time? There’s growing recognition that women’s and sex workers’ movements must recognise their commonalities in terms of concerns and constituencies. But, this paper argues, there are still strong political differences between the two movements. The author sets out to address these issues, considering the development of sex workers’ movements over the last two decades alongside the historical context of feminist discourses on violence against women, and particularly, human trafficking.

    The paper is part of CREA’s programme “Count Me In! Addressing violence against marginalised women in south Asia”. At the heart of the paper is an interrogation of the dichotomous categorisations of ‘forced’ and ‘chosen’ sex, and sex workers as either victims needing rescue, or possessing agency and choice. The author looks at the history of these categorisations in order to help contextualise current policy initiatives around sex work and human trafficking, making fascinating connections between the discourses surrounding early 19th century western feminism, anti-colonialism in the global south, and women’s movements of the 1960s and 70s in different global regions.

    The Indian women’s movement is used as a case study, and the differing engagement of the movement with sex work issues is considered in three time periods: the late nineteenth century, the late 1970s and the late 1990s. The movement is now in a fourth, ongoing period, in which a range of new issues, including those related to sexuality, are increasingly recognised as relevant, and these links are highlighting the need for new alliance building between movements.

    The paper also considers how discourses around migration and HIV/AIDS converge with those around sex work and gender. It finishes with a section on the growth of a sex workers’ movement, highlighting some interesting differences with the women’s movement around the way the movements view and approach the state, as either a regulator and protector, or a power to question.
  • Gender equality and social dialogue in South Africa

    D Budlender
    International Labour Organization , 2011
    This working paper is the South African report for the social dialogue and gender equality research project — coordinated by the Industrial and Employment Relations Department (DIALOGUE) in cooperation with the Bureau for Gender Equality of the International Labour Office. It forms part of a comparative research project with the objective of demonstrating that gender equality and social dialogue are mutually beneficial fundamental values and crosscutting issues, and their promotion should go hand in hand. This research was undertaken per the Conclusions of the Committee on Gender Equality adopted at the 98th Sessions of the International Labour Conference (June 2009). The main sections of this document are:

    - National context of social dialogue and gender equality; key socio-economic and political developments; labour market indicators; impact of financial and employment crisis of 2009

    - Key social partners; profile of the key partners; addressing gender equality concerns and representation of women; training services.

    - Role of tripartite social dialogue bodies; the National Economic Development and Labour Council; promoting gender equality at work.

    - Gender equality in collective bargaining; forms of collective bargaining; coverage of the workforce; gender equality issues in collective agreements; bargaining councils, enterprise level agreements and the BCEA; 2010 survey update on bargaining councils; training on negotiation skills.

    - Gender equality at work – challenges in practice; gender equality challenges in the workplace; organising around gender equality; mechanisms of protection; tackling gender equality through the courts.
  • Gender Equality and Social Dialogue in India

    K Sankaran, R Madhav
    International Labour Organization , 2011
    This working paper was produced by the International Labour Organisation’s Bureau for Gender Equality in cooperation with the industrial and employment relations department and the ILO Decent Work technical support team for South Asia. It forms part of a comparative research project that has the objective of demonstrating that gender equality and social dialogue are mutually beneficial fundamental values and crosscutting issues, and their promotion should go hand in hand. The main topic of this study is India’s progress toward greater provision of gender equal employment opportunities. Findings include that Indian national tripartite forums are not yet fully representative of the workforce, nor do they substantially deal with gender equality issues. The participation of men and women in government, trade unions, etc are examined. Examples of collective bargaining are presented, and corresponding gender equality issues analysed. Discussions of this study serve as starting points for Indian social partners to engage with gender equality issues; and bring about greater gender balance in tripartite social dialogue forums, national discussions and collective agreements.

  • Dignity and human rights: a missing dialogue

    B Phillips
    Programme on Women's Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 2011
    Summarising the contributions of hundreds of activists, this report seeks to promote the importance of the concept of dignity, the “global language of the poor”. It has been produced by the Programme on Women's Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (PWESCR), an international human rights organisation with a focus on women's poverty. They argue that the human rights movement is often criticised for focusing on framework and legalese, whilst losing touch with the reality on the ground.

    The report begins by exploring the concept of dignity - a universal concept that the authors say reinforces the foundation and legitimacy of human rights. The report defines dignity as our own self worth combined with our ascribed worth of others, as human beings. A variety of quotes, including a poem, paint a picture of what dignity means to activists and the marginalised. One quote suggests dignity can resonate with practically all spiritual and ethical traditions, providing a source of moral legitimacy to underpin the secular language of human rights.

    Next the report describes dignity within the context of the state. The authors express concern at the immense suffering caused by neoliberal capitalism, and call for a state that provides dignity for all. This requires enabling equal power relations of all citizens, re-thinking socio-economic goals and the elevation of the most vulnerable. Economics' relationship with dignity is then explored in greater detail, including an alternative model to the status quo that places the provisioning sector as the focus for the national economy.

    The difficulties of quantifying the subjective objectively are discussed, with a call for activists to establish a new framework that reflects the conditions required to maintain dignity. Following this, the report describes the transformative nature of dignity and suggests that much is still to change in the North-South dynamic, even amongst fellow NGOs and activists. The report finishes with a call to action, including: deepening understanding of dignity, engagement through creative arts, development of holistic systems of nurturing, centering dignity within the human rights and development, and building a platform for dialogue and change.

  • The seeds of a movement: disabled women and their struggle to organise

    J Price
    Association for Women's Rights in Development , 2011
    Disabled women face multiple forms of discrimination that severely impact their rights (employment, reproductive and sexual, etc.) and make them more vulnerable to abuse. Produced by AWID’s Building Feminist Movements and Organizations Initiative, this paper contains information about the history of disabled women’s organising at local, national and international levels; and provides insights to the future of disabled women’s movement building.

    The attempts of disabled women to organise themselves date back (at least) to the 1970s when great advances were taking place in the feminist and disability rights movements. Disabled women are building their own movements due to the failure of others to adequately understand and include them. Reasons for this include the male-dominated leadership of disabled people’s organisations; and the slowness of the women’s movement to perceive disability as a political issue, rather than a charity or welfare concern. Communication and movement challenges make it difficult for disabled people to connect with one another. Although information and communication technology is facilitating these connections, a number of barriers persist, especially the cost of accessing this technology.

    A substantial and highly organised group of disabled women influenced the structure and form of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), ensuring that women were included and their rights addressed in a clear and comprehensive manner. The author of this paper finds that the international networks developed through the CRPD processes may form the basis of a future transnational disabled women’s movement; however, she warns that these movements cannot depend solely upon links to major international bodies, but must also grow from its diverse constituency base and more inclusive inclusive campaigning. Among other recommendations are for disabled women to build coalitions with a variety of others (such as those campaigning around climate change, militarisation, violence against women, and sexual rights and health) in order to open new spaces to address impacts of these circumstances and issues on the lives of disabled women.
  • Sexual and Economic Justice: Toward a vision of sexual and economic justice

    Kate Bedford, Janet Jakobsen
    Barnard Centre for Research on Women, 2008
    This paper arose out of a 2007 lecture and colloquium at Barnard College, which aimed to articulate connections between struggles for economic justice and for sexual justice, and to develop new ideas about how different social movements could come together. The paper discusses the current gaps between the two struggles, and considers how the framing of movements can creates obstacles to collaborative working. It explores different interpretations of both sexual and economic justice, and sets out the need for a vision of sexual justice that can challenge economic injustice as well as the denial of sexual rights. The paper highlights the intersecting nature of economics and sexuality, and four indirect connections are discussed in more depth:

    • Social reproduction and intimate/caring labour
    • Precarious existence, sexuality and economic justice
    • Connections and flows seen through space, place and scale
    • Sexuality, security and criminality

    The paper sets out some suggested new methods and strategies for the future, including:

    • New means of developing, communicating and sustaining the vision and energy needed for justice struggles
    • Developing better alliances and sites of collaboration
    • Taking advantage of spaces available within existing sites to discuss sexual and economic justice

    This is followed by case study examples of innovative existing models of activism and a list of networks and organisations that readers may be interested in.
  • Strengthening spaces: women's human rights in social movements

    B Datta
    Institute for Global Dialogue, South Africa, 2005

    The last 50 years have seen the rise of many social movements: fighting against neo-liberal globalisation, war, racism, casteism, religious fanaticism, poverty, patriarchy, and all the forms of economic, ethnic, social, political, cultural, sexual and gender discrimination. Many movements are part of a common global struggle for universal human rights, social justice and democracy. But there are few opportunities for social movements to come together and discuss common goals and alliance building. This is why CREA, an international women’s human rights organisation based in the south, and the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) organised an international dialogue series. The second dialogue in the series explored the connections between women’s human rights and social movements. The aim was to:

    • Explore and discuss how different social movements understand and address women’s human rights
    • Identify the links, common ground and challenges that movements experience when collaborating on women’s human rights issues
    • Develop strategies to strengthen links between movements

    This report documents the discussions that took place within the dialogue, and recommendations for moving forward and working together. These include:

    • Structural power sharing mechanisms such as rotating secretariats and joint decision making
    • Recognition of power relations within and between movements when alliance building
    • Identify key messages and non-confrontational issues to work together on
    • Transform the hierarchy rather than trying to move up within it
    • Use language carefully
    • Learn from those who have formed alliances in the past
    • Understand the politics of a space and continuously revise strategic demands

  • Romani men and Romani women Roma human rights movement: a missing element

    A Memedova
    European Roma Rights Centre , 2004

    Gender issues remain under-emphasised in the human rights discourse about Romani people. Drawing comparisons to gender issues in the American Civil Rights Movement, this article discusses the human rights of Roma, and the role of women in the Roma civil rights movement. In accordance with EU accession requirements, there is increased interest in the integration of Roma into mainstream society, yet the author contests that racial discrimination against Roma is more intense than ever. Speaking as a Romani person, the the author asks: Are we ready to overcome the existing diversities in approaches and visions for integration? Do we have the “required” capacities defined by the majorities? What is our definition of different, more inclusive societies?

    The first generation of Romani activists and leaders have been men who have spoken about discrimination and racism against Roma, but have failed to integrate a gender perspective. The author ponders why Romani human rights activists have not been able to appreciate the specific situation and needs of Romani women.
    National and international Romani women’s movements aim to create spaces for these ‘marginalised among the marginalised’. In Macedonia, Hungary and Serbia there are some progressive Romani activists who have begun to confront the patriarchy of Roma society. However, cross-generational barriers remain a challenge.

    Among the recommendations offered in this article is that gender relations be understood as more than women’s issues; rather, they impact all aspects of life, including the fundamental rights of individuals. Also, the attitude of international organisations and donors towards Romani women and the place of Romani women’s rights issues within their programmes require immediate consideration, particularly since there is a lack of cooperation among donors which creates confusions and conflicts among Romani women’s groups.