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Feminists in Development Organizations

Change from the margins
Edited By Rosalind Eyben,Laura Turquet

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Feminists in Development Organizations
ISBN: 9781853398049
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Feminists in Development Organizations
ISBN: 9781853398056
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Feminists in Development Organizations Look inside

  • Synopsis
    Feminists in Development Organizations arises from a collaborative project of feminists working inside the head offices of multilateral organizations, government aid agencies and international NGOs.The personal stories in this book show that these feminists are ‘tempered radicals’ positioned on the border of the development agencies that employ them. It is a place where they are neither fully one thing nor another: neither fully paid-up, pen-pushing bureaucrats, nor full-blown feminist activists on the barricades. Nevertheless, feminist bureaucrats see their work as urgent, essential and a necessary contribution to global efforts to achieve women’s rights. This book shows how feminists can build effective strategies to influence development organizations to foster greater understanding and forge more effective alliances for social change. This book is aimed at staff of development organizations and students and researchers concerned with the politics of gender mainstreaming.
  • Table of Contents
    Prelims (Preface, Acronyms, Abbreviations)
    1 Introduction: Feminist bureaucrats: inside–outside perspectives
    Rosalind Eyben and Laura Turquet
    2 Gender mainstreaming, organizational change, and the politics of influencing
    Rosalind Eyben
    3 ‘A femocrat just doing my job’: working within the state to advance women’s empowerment in Ghana
    Takyiwaa Manuh, Nana Akua Anyidoho, and Francesca Pobee-Hayford
    4 Feminist identities
    Rosalind Eyben
    5 ‘It’s just a text – who cares?’ Construction of texts in the context of EU policies
    Brigitte Holzner
    6 ‘It’s fundamentally political’: renovating the master’s house
    Patti O’Neill and Rosalind Eyben
    7 Who is the better feminist? Negotiating the middle ground
    Laura Turquet
    8 Finding our organizational way
    Rosalind Eyben
    9 Values and systems: gender equality work in different organizational settings
    Ines Smyth
    10 Re-gendering the United Nations: old challenges and new opportunities
    Joanne Sandler
    11 Intimate knowledge of the material at hand
    Rosalind Eyben
    12 Feminist activism in development bureaucracies: shifting strategies and unpredictable results
    Aruna Rao
    13 Conclusion: the politics of marginality
    Rosalind Eyben and Laura Turquet
    Back Matter (Index)
  • Endorsements
    ‘Feminists in Development Organizations is groundbreaking. It illuminates – with rich theoretical insight, passion and creativity – the hidden life and strategic dilemmas of feminists working in and through international and national bureaucracies to try and effect transformational change. Researchers rarely gain access to the quotidian workings of powerful organizations. The book builds upon innovative collaborative action research whereby practitioners reflect critically on their own practice as “institutional entrepreneurs” and “tempered radicals”. Through a combination of first-person insider testimonies – and Eyben’s creative reimagining of conversations amongst feminist bureaucrats – the book creates a complex and gripping narrative. Eyben and Turquet, and their contributors, take forward our theoretical and practical understanding of the dynamics of political change. The collection demonstrates the strategic agency exercised by feminist bureaucrats, often working below the radar, and at the margins, to bridge the divide between the inside and outside, reframe organizational and political discourse, and exploit bureaucratic contradictions in order to progress a social change agenda. It will be essential reading for academics and practitioners alike.’
    Professor Fiona Mackay, Professor of Politics, University of Edinburgh, founder and co-director, Feminism and Institutionalism International Network
    ‘The book provides a timely and much-needed antidote to the simplistic optimism of earlier reflections on gender mainstreaming and dismissive attitudes and generalizations related to “femocrats”. It provides a rich, nuanced, compelling and context-specific analysis of the political process of everyday bureaucratic life. We are provided fresh insights on the many pitfalls, strategic opportunities, trade-offs and strategies used by feminist bureaucrats working politically to transform bureaucracies. Among the numerous and valuable insights offered by the book two points come through with striking clarity. First is the insistence on multiple feminist identities and thus debunking of a single notion of feminism. Second is the sober recognition of the “non-transformative context” of international development bureaucracies while underscoring the importance of “small wins” that accumulatively and over time have the potential to reduce inequity and promote social justice.’
    Zenebework Tadesse, long-term activist in the global women's movement, and board member of DAWN
    ‘Seldom can outsiders understand the challenges of life-on-the edge within bureaucracies that are ambivalent about employing you for what you believe in and stand for. This volume is a unique and valuable eye opener about how feminists do more than cope with such a tricky position by creatively pursuing their convictions with positive effect. Its practical stories and experiences should convince those who doubt the efficacy of swimming against male-engendered bureaucratic cultures to do just that.’
    Alan Fowler, Emeritus Professor of Civil Society in International Development, International Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University, South Africa
    ‘This is a brave and much-needed book. Ros Eyben and Laura Turquet have assembled an all-star cast of writers and activists who cast their critical eyes over the future of feminism and development. Nothing could be more important.’
    Michael Edwards, Distinguished Senior Fellow, Demos, New York, and editor of Transformation
    'A wonderfully insightful book written by feminist champions for change within the system. The book is important not only for what it says, but how it says it – modelling honest and critical reflection by leading practitioners in the field as another way of knowing.'
    John Gaventa, Director, Coady International Institute

    ‘While possibly the most transformative and radical of all social justice struggles, feminism and feminists are invariably unwelcome and marginalized actors in almost every mainstream institutional context. But the most unsung heroines of all are feminists working within large development organizations and aid bureaucracies, treated as suspect both by their own hierarchies as well as their “sisters” in women’s movements and organizations. This book makes a huge contribution by shedding light on the largely unknown struggles and poignant dilemmas of these “femocrats”, and helps us appreciate the value of their impact within these often hostile or resistant institutional settings. The innovative and even subversive strategies these feminist pioneers have deployed to make these institutions more accountable to women is a revelation, with useful insights even for those of us situated in more congenial organizational and movement locations. I applaud Eyben and Turquet for taking us on this unusual journey into these less-travelled frontiers of institutional patriarchy.’
    Srilatha Batliwala, Scholar Associate, Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID)
  • Details
    Sub Title Change from the margins
    Author No
    Editor Rosalind Eyben,Laura Turquet
    Number of Pages 244