The Political Economy of Violence against Women

The Political Economy of Violence against Women

The Political Economy of Violence against Women

The Political Economy of Violence against Women

Synopsis

Violence against women is a major problem in all countries, affecting women in every socio-economic group and at every life stage. Nowhere in the world do women share equal social and economic rights with men or the same access as men to productive resources. Economic globalization and development are creating new challenges for women's rights as well as some new opportunities for advancing women's economic independence and gender equality. Yet, when women have access to productive resources and they enjoy social and economic rights they are less vulnerable to violence across all societies.The Political Economy of Violence against Womendevelops a feminist political economy approach to identify the linkages between different forms of violence against women and macro structural processes in strategic local and global sites - from the household to the transnational level. In doing so, it seeks to account for the globally increasing scale and brutality of violence against women. These sites include economic restructuring and men's reaction to the loss of secure employment, the abusive exploitation associated with the transnational migration of women workers, the growth of a sex trade around the creation of free trade zones, the spike in violence against women in financial liberalization and crises, the scourge of sexual violence in armed conflict and post-crisis peacebuilding or reconstruction efforts and the deleterious gendered impacts of natural disasters. Examples are drawn from South Africa, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo, China, Ciudad Juarez in Mexico, the Pacific Islands, Argentina, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, Haiti, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, New Zealand, Ireland, the United Kingdom, the United States and Iceland.

Excerpt

Eliminating violence against women globally is one of the key struggles and wishes of our age. Just when we thought that things were getting better for women, that gender equality was on the horizon—we have the vote, civil and political rights in most countries, access to higher education, and increasing paid economic opportunities—in many parts of the world, violence against women appears to be becoming both more common and more egregious. Violence against women is a major problem in all countries and worldwide, affecting women in every socioeconomic group and at every life stage. However, poor women belonging to groups such as indigenous peoples, migrants, refugees, human rights defenders, ethnic or racial minorities, those with disabilities, or those living in conflict situations are generally more vulnerable to violence. Although sexual and gender-based violence are defining characteristics of contemporary conflict, violence against women is not limited to wartime or conflict zones; it is highly prevalent in peaceful settings as well. This violence is endemic in locations of apparent economic prosperity and political empowerment such as free trade or special economic areas and new democracies, as well as in conditions of impoverishment and political repression. Why is this? What fuels this violence against women? How can we understand its causes in order to stop the violence and its far-reaching consequences for all our societies? These are the questions that this book seeks to answer.

For women, and for all communities, how to prevent violence against women is literally a life-or-death challenge. In their book Half the Sky, Nicholas . . .

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