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  • 1.
    Hedström, Jenny
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science. Political Science, Örebro University, Örebro, Sweden.
    Militarized social reproduction: women's labour and parastate armed conflict2022In: Critical Military Studies, ISSN 2333-7486, E-ISSN 2333-7494, Vol. 8, no 1, p. 58-76Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article brings together research on civil wars and militarization with feminist scholarship on the household in order to push theorization on civil wars in new directions. By introducing the concept of militarized social reproduction to capture the multiple ways in which women's everyday labour in both the household and the army underpins militarization processes, this article proposes that parastate armed conflict is enabled, at least in part, through women's everyday gendered activities. It suggests that this labour is particularly important in parastates experiencing long-term civil wars. In these settings, public funds, to the extent that they exist, are diverted from social welfare services to enable the expansion, or simply survival, of military power. Under these circumstances, the duty to reproduce both the individual soldier and the army writ-large is placed disproportionally on the shoulders of women. Several general types of this gendered labour, though interrelated, can be distinguished from one another through a typology of militarized social reproduction. This typology considers not only physical labour, but also the emotional and symbolic labour used to resource and legitimize armed conflict in non-material ways. It is therefore not only the physical effects of the labour that have consequences for the war, but also the ways in which women are called upon to symbolize and legitimize warfare. Such a focus enables important insights into the nexus formed between the everyday space of the gendered household and conflict, and furthers knowledge about the relationship of gender to different modalities of militarization.

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  • 2.
    Hedström, Jenny
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science. Örebro University, Örebro, Sweden.
    Olivius, Elisabeth
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.
    Insecurity, Dispossession, Depletion : Women’s Experiences of Post-War Development in Myanmar2020In: European Journal of Development Research, ISSN 0957-8811, E-ISSN 1743-9728, Vol. 32, no 2, p. 379-403Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article explores the gendered dynamics of Myanmar’s post-war economic reforms through an analysis of women’s experiences of development in Kayah (Karenni) state. In Myanmar, ceasefires and a reduction of armed violence combined with state-driven economic liberalization reforms are conditioned by, but also contribute to remake, gendered relations of power, privilege and marginalization. While new land legislation and development projects have contributed to loss of land and livelihoods among rural populations in general, our study demonstrates that women living in conflict-affected border areas are disproportionally affected. Drawing on interviews and participant observation, we show how this is directly related to an overarching gendered political economy defined by legacies of conflict, discrimination and uneven processes of development, which positions women as particularly vulnerable to new forms of insecurity, dispossession and depletion generated by post-war economic transformations. We argue that the political and economic legacies of war in the state has produced a gendered division of labor that positions women as responsible for unpaid and underpaid informal and social reproductive labor, weakens women’s access to land, and results in physical, material, and emotional depletion. Through this focus, our study adds to research on development and economic restructuring in post-war contexts in general, and to emergent scholarship on Myanmar’s economic reforms in particular.

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  • 3.
    Hedström, Jenny
    et al.
    Department of War Studies, Swedish Defence University, Stockholm, Sweden.
    Olivius, Elisabeth
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.
    The politics of sexual violence in the Kachin conflict in Myanmar2021In: International feminist journal of politics, ISSN 1461-6742, E-ISSN 1468-4470, Vol. 23, no 3, p. 374-395Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Conflict-related sexual violence has been the focus of significant international activism and policy attention. International legal norms and frameworks have evolved to recognize it as a war crime, and a representation of sexual violence as a “weapon of war” is now widely endorsed. This article examines how international norms about conflict-related sexual violence are adopted and utilized in multiple ways in the armed conflict in Kachin state in northern Myanmar. Throughout decades of civil war, international norms on sexual violence have constituted key resources for international advocacy and awareness raising by local women’s rights activists. Further, activists have drawn on international norms to effect changes in gendered relations of power within their own communities. However, international norms on sexual violence in conflict have also been effectively used as tools for ethno-nationalist identity politics, rallying support behind the armed insurgency and mobilizing women’s unpaid labor in the service of war. Thus, international norms on conflict-related sexual violence have simultaneously opened up space for women’s empowerment and political agency and reproduced gendered forms of insecurity and marginalization. Exploring these contradictions and complexities, this analysis generates novel insights into the politics of international norms in contexts of armed conflict.

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  • 4. Hedström, Jenny
    et al.
    Olivius, Elisabeth
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.
    Kay Soe, Valentina
    Women's Rights: Change and Continuity2021In: Myanmar: Politics, Economy and Society / [ed] Simpson, Adam & Farelly, Nicholas, London & New York: Routledge, 2021, p. 186-203Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This chapter examines how the status of women has evolved against a background of absolute exclusion during military rule to a semi-civilian government with a female de-facto head of state. Despite this shift, gender inequality persists across the country at all levels. Why is this, and how are women organising themselves to confront the inequalities that they face? This chapter provides an analysis of change and continuity in terms of both opportunities and challenges for realising gender equality in Myanmar. Taking the situation of women during military rule as a starting point the analysis moves on to explore women’s experiences of the transition and their attempts at leveraging political openings for gender equality under the current government, before concluding with a discussion of future challenges and opportunities for women’s equality in Myanmar. Honing in on women’s political activism, past and present, this chapter allows close examination of what has changed and what has remained the same for women in Myanmar.

  • 5.
    Hedström, Jenny
    et al.
    Swedish Defence University, Sweden.
    Olivius, Elisabeth
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.
    Soe, Kay
    Women in Myanmar: change and continuity2024In: Myanmar: politics, economy and society / [ed] Adam Simpson; Nicholas Farrelly, Routledge, 2024, 2, p. 220-236Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Gender inequalities have persisted across macro-political changes in Myanmar. The decade of reforms provided more opportunities for women, but the 2021 military coup reinstated an almost exclusively male-dominated decision-making structure in the country. While Myanmar is home to numerous ethnic groups with diverse cultures, norms and traditions, the work of women activists and scholars has revealed widespread patterns of discrimination against women. Notably, this reality contrasts sharply with a popular official rhetoric about Burmese women’s ‘inherent equality’ with men – a narrative that has arguably done more to bolster the legitimacy of Myanmar’s governments than to improve women’s lives. This chapter provides an analysis of change and continuity in terms of both opportunities and challenges for realising women’s equality in Myanmar. Taking the situation of women during military rule before 2011 as a starting point, the analysis next moves on to exploring women’s experiences of the transition and their attempts at leveraging political openings for gender equality under the NLD government. We then explore the effects of the 2021 military coup on women, before concluding with a discussion of future challenges and opportunities for women’s rights in Myanmar.

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  • 6.
    Olivius, Elisabeth
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.
    Hedström, Jenny
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.
    Militarized Nationalism as a Platform for Feminist Mobilization?: The Case of the Exiled Burmese Women’s Movement2019In: Women's Studies: International Forum, ISSN 0277-5395, E-ISSN 1879-243X, Vol. 76, article id 102263Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Feminist scholars have convincingly demonstrated how militarism and nationalism rely on the (re)production of gendered hierarchies. As a result, feminism is often assumed to be at odds with these political projects. In this article, we demonstrate that this is not always and not necessarily the case: in contrast, militarized nationalism may even constitute fertile ground for the mobilization of feminist organization and activism. We make this argument drawing on an in-depth case study of the emergence and evolution of an exiled Burmese women's movement from within armed ethno-nationalist struggles in the borderlands of Myanmar. Drawing on interviews with women activists, we examine when and how militarized nationalism can provide a space from which feminist agendas can be articulated and successfully pursued. This case demonstrates that militarized nationalism does not only have the potential to mobilize women's participation, but can provide a platform for feminist organization and activism that transcends, challenges, and eventually reshapes militarized nationalist projects in ways that advance women's rights and equality. These findings call into question generalized assumptions about the conflictual relationship between feminism, militarism and nationalism, and contributes to advance feminist debates about women's mobilization in contexts of armed conflicts and nationalist struggles.

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  • 7.
    Olivius, Elisabeth
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.
    Hedström, Jenny
    Swedish Defence University, Stockholm, Sweden.
    Spatial Struggles and the Politics of Peace: the Aung San Statue as a Site for Post-War Conflict in Myanmar’s Kayah State2021In: Journal of Peacebuilding and Development, ISSN 1542-3166, E-ISSN 2165-7440, Vol. 16, no 3, p. 275-288Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article explores processes of place-making and space-making around the erection of the Aung San statue in Kayah state in Myanmar and draws out the competing visions of peace that are articulated through them. The raising of the statue unleashed widespread public protest, which was largely met by repression by the Myanmar authorities. Drawing on interviews, focus groups, and documentary sources, we argue that the statue constitutes an attempt to establish a post-war political order centred on the reassertion of government authority in ethnic minority areas and the creation of unity through the imposition of one national identity. However, the statue has also been appropriated as a key site for the articulation of alternative visions of peace and development. The conflict around the statue thereby makes visible ongoing struggles over the meaning of peace and shows how these post-war struggles are fought on and through space and place.

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  • 8.
    Olivius, Elisabeth
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science. Umeå University, Sweden.
    Hedström, Jenny
    Swedish Defence University, Sweden.
    Phyo, Zin Mar
    Independent researcher, Thailand.
    Feminist peace or state co-optation?: The Women, Peace and Security agenda in Myanmar2022In: European Journal of Politics and Gender, ISSN 2515-1088, E-ISSN 2515-1096, Vol. 5, no 1, p. 25-43Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article engages with emerging debates about feminist peace and uses this concept to assess the ability of the Women, Peace and Security agenda to achieve gender-just change. We advance a conception of feminist peace as political conditions that allow women affected by conflict to articulate their visions of change and influence the construction of post-war order. Applying this to a case study of Women, Peace and Security practice in Myanmar, we demonstrate that features of how international aid is organised, combined with the Myanmar government’s interest in excluding critical voices, limit the ability of Women, Peace and Security practices to contribute to feminist peace. This highlights the potential for illiberal post-war states to obstruct and co-opt the Women, Peace and Security agenda, and shows how the women most directly affected by armed conflict are often the least able to participate in, benefit from and inform Women, Peace and Security practices.

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  • 9.
    Olivius, Elisabeth
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.
    Hedström, Jenny
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.
    Phyo, Zin Mar
    Gender expertise, power and peacebuilding: lessons from Myanmar2023Report (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This policy brief summarizes key findings from a research project which examined the politics and effects of international gender expertise in Myanmar. The findings demonstrate that international gender expertise inadvertently shaped peacebuilding processes in ways that frequently reinforced existing inequalities. To reverse this pattern, international actors need to identify local partners beyond the "usual suspects"; simplify funding processes and provide flexible funding; better analyze and understand context and conflict dynamics; and challenge the state-centrism of international peacebuilding support.

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  • 10.
    Olivius, Elisabeth
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.
    Hedström, Jenny
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.
    Zin Mar Phyo, -
    Women, Peace and Security in Myanmar after the 2021 Military Coup2022Report (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
    Abstract [en]

    This policy brief presents recommendations for how international development and peacebuilding organizations can redirect their work with women, peace and security issues in Myanmar in the wake of the 2021 military coup. In response to urgent needs, it is now critical to provide appropriate and flexible support to women’s organizations; identify and work with local structures for humanitarian response and service delivery; and support new and existing forms of cross-border aid.

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1 - 10 of 10
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