We entered 2018 with gender equality issues high on the public if not political agenda. This panel discusses what initiatives such as #metoo mean for the majority of women in the Majority World, and questions if such actions resist, reinforce, or re-assert patriarchal structures of power.
We entered 2018 with gender issues high on the public if not political agenda. This panel reflects on what social media mobilisations such as #metoo and high profile gender pay disputes, mean, if anything, for women and gender equality in the Global South. Such 'Western-led' initiatives come at the same time that rates of 'femicide' are high and growing, when Human Rights Watch suggest sexual slavery and rape are still being used as a weapon of war and as part of ethnic cleansing, and when public acts of sexual violence by gangs of men seem to be becoming more common, or at least more 'public'. This occurs at the same time that violence against women and girls moved up the development agenda and into the SDGs, as women continue to be a policy focus with resources targeted to them, and girls continue to 'over achieve' in education. Intensified gender-based violence may suggest what Sylvia Chant terms a 'patriarchal pushback' is occurring against these perceived, if not real, advances for women and girls. In her analysis of post-2011 'Arab Spring' violence against women and girls, Deniz Kandiyoti questions whether such re-assertions of male power should be seen as 'patriarchy in action' or 'patriarchy in crisis'. While Bradshaw et al (2017) talk of a 'supernormal patriarchy' where exaggerated and violent expressions of masculinity should not be seen as 'abnormal' but rather an intensification of the 'normal'. Panellists are asked to reflect, in this context, what are the opportunities for real change?