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Lecture 3


Political Science
Course Code
Rebecca Kingston

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- Western feminism (particular genre) has often been complicit in the
subordination of other third world women
- Second assertion: western feminism cannot hide behind a position of
influence but must confront this checkered history
- Move away from hierarchal models of compulsory sisterhood and make
room for disagreement and dissent
- [Molyneux]:
o Nicaraguan women were heavily involved in the revoln movement,
they provided crucial logistical support
o Clearly persists a sexual division of labor
o Agenda of gender (promotion of equality) was subordinated to the
broader struggle- common dynamic
o The resilience of gender patriarchal power in the post revoln period
o Women’s interests are not being looked after in this context
o What would women’s interests look like as a whole in this context? Is
it self-evident? No….
o 1) There is no clear theoretical explanation for gender subordination
o 2) there are numerous reasons why subordination is happening-
multi causal phenomenon
o 3) these multiple causes vary across time and space
o this multicausality makes it unclear what the target for advocating for
gender equality should be…persistent conundrum
o two approaches: strategic vs. practical analysis
o strategic gender needs are deduced from an analysis of gender
subordination academic exercise, results in highlighting of
ambitious targets in promoting gender equality-THE ULTIMATE
o practical gender needs are responding to immediate needs rather
than broader, strategic needs- they are not necessarily linked to the
broader goal of women’s emancipation or gender equality- mobilize
out of the sense of necessity in terms of their individual lives
o focus on strategic needs alone may end up threatening practical
interests of vast number of women
o only focus on strategic needs after taking a full account of practical
o cannot force a particular agenda
- [Goetz]:
o recognizing the existence of ambivalences and anxieties over
“feminist identity”
o emerging focus on gender threatened to destroy the centrality of
family which was crucial to their understanding of women’s interests
o a majority of women in the world do not share an understanding of
gender as being socially constructed-against the Western viewpoint
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