The Gender Justice Working Group of EADI is a group of scholars working, writing and thinking on all issues related to gender justice. We feel that a shift from gender mainstreaming to gender justice in international development theory, policy and practice contexts is a worthwhile point of departure for discussion and focus. Therefore, we are opening this space/ initiative as a forum for scholars and researchers with an interest in the relationship between gender justice and international development. Advances in gender equality have been to some extent harmonised with soaring inequality across the globe (Watkins, 2017). With patterns of global and class inequalities intensifying there has been serious critical reflection conducted by western feminists (Einstein, 2009; Fraser, 2009) emerging from a concern with collusion between feminisms and the neo-liberal capitalist order. International development policies, likewise, have been criticised from within international development studies, most successfully by DAWN, who have challengingly described aspects of gender mainstreaming approaches as ‘structural adjustment with a female face’.
What are the core questions?
Gender inequality, nonetheless, has been clearly identified as a barrier to achieving healthy, thriving, societies. Building knowledge and understanding of the dynamics of gender at the intersection of various aspects of development work, including governance and security, gender based violence, HIV, economic empowerment, human rights, and more, is essential. A dynamic of gender justice is at some level contributing to a rebirthing feminism, which we might loosely call a 4th wave feminism. However, inherent in the moment are a series of dilemmas, and we are specifically interested in the dilemmas arising for feminism and international development. How are we to judge progress? Can we see changing gender relations within geo-culturally differentiated communities? Can we see meaningful change at the level of formal political representation? Is gender justice an adequate frame?
There are a multitude of feminisms and approaches to gender equality at large in international development contexts, policies and studies, all of which are subject to scholarly analysis. The Gender Justice Working Group will act as a focal point for discussion, research collaboration, meetings, dissemination of research and conference panel preparation.