Clinton and What she is doing for Women Globally   2 comments

UPDATED: Feb. 12, 2011.

This a response to an article by Madeleine Bunting on Jan. 19, 2011 via The Guardian.

Clinton vows that the administration of which she is a part focuses on “women’s rights [as an] ‘signature issue’”, and that improving women’s roles will produce “universal progress.” Okay, I’ll buy that (for now), what else is she selling?

The state department stated that, “[w]e are integrating women and girls into everything we our diplomacy with other governments…in our work on conflict and crisis.” This is exactly what progressive feminists call ‘add women and stir,’ the fact that programs incorporate women does not mean jack if the system is still patriarchal-based. Adding females to new or existing programs may look good on paper (for donors or the American tax payers) but in reality it is just a band-aid at most.

Clinton’s main objective appears to prove that “women hold the key to global development and peace.” Okay, lets analyze this. Regardless of the fact that development (and one could argue conflict resolution) programs are fundamentally flawed (which I do argue on a daily basis), a new tactic would be seen as progressive to the field of development in women may or may not play a vital role. Do women in development (WID) represent ‘holding the key’? How, and in what form? Regarding conflict: I’ve been over this, in class and among my peers over a brew, and I have yet to see any proof that allowing women at the mediation- or negotiation-table is/can be seen as a drastic positive measure. Yes, some leaders or key parties at the ‘table’ may view a women negotiator as a threat and/or that a female may alter the dynamics of peace talks altogether. But to claim that involving women as a ‘key to progress’ is, I think, an overstatement.

To support Bunting’s claim, Clinton is a vital proponent in the production of UN Women. Another project Clinton is pushing is a ‘new’ cooking stove, as many females and children die from inhaling smoke from their open fires. Her clean cookstoves is her solution to this problem, revolutionary to some but old news to most (*cough e.g. me). Congratulations on spending $50 million on a device that most Africans already know how to make or could make using local materials for almost no cast. I taught Gambians how to make/sell mud stoves and to adjust the smoke was exhausted. Did it do any good? No. After the mud stove workshops, no one constructed the stoves on their own nor adjusted their inhalation. A new type of anything to anybody is seen as drastic, thus will not be viewed positively, even if ‘they’ know the benefits of altering their behavior and the consequences of not.

I know this post and ones like it may be seen as ‘women bashing’. But it is not. I am a feminist, a realistic one. Gender equality is not the same as gender equitable.

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Posted January 31, 2011 by Travis Warrington in Conflict, Development

2 responses to Clinton and What she is doing for Women Globally

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  1. Hi there, what a nice knowledge in your web page listed here %BLOGTITLE% Regards, Carmelo Oberlin

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