Displacing Equality?: Women’s Participation and Humanitarian Aid Effectiveness in Refugee Camps
2014 (English)In: Refugee Survey Quarterly, ISSN 1020-4067, E-ISSN 1471-695X, Vol. 33, no 3, 93-117 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
In humanitarian aid policy and practice, the importance of women’s participation is strongly emphasised. However, this article argues that women’s participation has become an instrument for optimising the efficiency and effectiveness of humanitarian operations rather than a tool for the promotion of gender equality. Drawing on the Foucauldian concept of governmentality, the article examines how women’s participation is represented and employed as a means to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of humanitarian aid in two refugee camp contexts, in Bangladesh and in Thailand, and asks how such strategies affect the gendered relations of power that shape women’s lives in the camps. Based on interviews with humanitarian workers, the analysis shows that programmes that promote women’s participation as a means for the achievement of other goals can reinforce existing gender inequalities, but also, despite their constraining effects, contribute to open up new opportunities for women. However, equality is treated as a side effect, not a goal in its own right. In conclusion, the article suggests that renewed engagement with the political project of feminism is needed to counter the de-politisation and instrumentalisation of gender in humanitarian aid, and bring the goals of equality and justice back in.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 33, no 3, 93-117 p.
Women's participation, refugee camps, humanitarian aid, governmentality, neo-liberalism, Bangladesh, Thailand
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
Research subject Peace and Conflict Research
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-92030DOI: 10.1093/rsq/hdu009OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-92030DiVA: diva2:739293