Gendered globalisation

‘Gendered globalisation’ can be understood as the impact of gender identities in globalisation. In other words, a process of restructuring globalisation within a gender perspective, embedded in and strengthening equal power relations between all gender identities across countries (Razavi et al. 2012, vii). Nevertheless, gender equality is presented as a challenge for a patriarchal globalisation (Scholte, 2005, 335). How can a global world narrow the gender gap, when half of the world population is women? How can the Human Rights decrease social inequalities, in a gender perspective? Will it be necessary for women to adopt masculine behaviours to achieve successful accomplishments, as Scholte refers (2005, 335)? The answers can be found in the Goal 5 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), that starts to refer that there were some improvements since the Millennium Development Goals. However, there still a long path to walk to reach total gender equality in today’s world. That is why globalisation needs to take gender perspectives into account (Hoskyns  et al. 2005, 3-4), as a way to protect all gender identities and achieve the 2030 Agenda.

It is important to refer, that not all countries have reached globalisation at the same time. The same goes for gender equality that still has to be achieved in many countries, but the role of women in societies has been increasing nowadays. However, the increase has been slow than expected, and for instance, as of June 2016, there was still parliaments without any women representative (UN 2017). Although Africa, that might have been left apart from globalisation during years, has the parliament with more elected women, Rwanda. This shows that gender and globalisation are not always intertwined (Marchand et al. 2011, 2-3), and it is possible to achieve one without the other.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) states that equal rights between men and women are necessary to “promote social progress and better standards of life” (UN 1948). The SDGs traces the ‘Human Rights action path’ for a social progress that encloses gender equality as a fundamental Human Right to “a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world” (UN 2017). For a peaceful world, we need to stop conflicts. For a prosperous world, we need security. For a sustainable world, we need the right policies. We can then relate gender equality to conflict, security, and sovereignty. However, gender perspectives are more visible in economics and politics, as the news often refers to income inequalities between men and women, and to the lack of women representation in their societies. As Hoskyns notes, gender perspectives are often marginalised, despite their rich and relevant contributions to many areas (2005, 5). As stated in the UDHR, it is important to give same opportunities to all gender identities.

On the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights website, it states that “gender equality is at the very heart of human rights and UN values” (OHCHR 2017). However, despite all efforts, the UN is still a male dominant structure (Scholte, 2005, 339). For the last UN Secretary-General election, a group of women from academia and civil society created the Campaign to elect a Woman UN Secretary-General (She4SG 2016), and within the UN General Assembly, a group of countries establishes the Group of Friends in Favor of a Woman for Secretary-General of the UN (Cara 2015). None of the movements were successful, but they created awareness about a male reality that has been part of the UN history and Guterres pledged gender parity within the UN by the end of his mandate.

‘War on terror’ has disembedded our view on security (Hylland 2014, 19-20). More than ever security matters in a globalised world as today, but the concept has been contested (Williams 2013, 1). The 9/11 showed us that the treats to our security are not tangible. We live now in a ‘world risk society’ without knowing which/where/when/how a threat can affect our security (Beck 2010, 264). Living in a risk society has its problems, as we fail to acknowledge and conceptualise the risk that could lead us to an uncertainty (Aradau 2007, 95-96). It is impossible to predict the future, but preventive actions can be taken to counter some of the treats. For instance, feminism in Indonesia has been behind a counterterrorism movement (Power 2009). Indonesian women are teaching women-friendly interpretations of shari’a in Islamic schools in their country. It can be argued that their actions are preventing the radicalism among the young, at the same time they are promoting women’s rights in a conservative society.

Conflicts are getting more complicated, leaving women, children and other minority gender groups in a fragile situation. Some try to leave the conflict zone. However, women will be more vulnerable to sexual abuse and violence (Hylland 2014, 112-113). The ones that stay might take part in the conflict such as the Women's Defense Units (YPJ Rojava) in Northern Syria. The YPJ Rojava was presented at one conference as “the most feminist revolution in history” (Geerdink 2017). Conflicts show that there is vulnerable gender identities, but they can also make the difference.

Some examples, relating to sovereignty, security, and conflict, of how gender perspectives take action in the globalisation process were explored in an attempt to change realities and resist to a male domination of the global. This shows that an active role is necessary to protect the rights of gender identities. Dancy suggests that the ratification of international treaties is often associated with improvement in women’s rights (2017, 31). However, when the state fails to protect the Human Rights, and in this specific case the rights of gender identities, the non-state actors will have an important role in taking campaign actions to create awareness about Human Rights violations (Shelton 2002, 322), such as the “Gender, Sexuality & Identity” campaign by Amnesty International.

To conclude, it can be seen a correlation between gender and globalisation in a search for a fair world. ‘Gendered globalisation’ is then necessary for a sustainable world. However, gender equality and globalisation do not always occur at the same time and we should keep in mind other minority gender identities in order to avoid facing the risk that they could be forgotten by the globalisation process- as it was the case with the Sustainable Development Goal 5 by not including transgender, genderqueer or non-binary in the gender equality.



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