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Title: In whose interests? : the politics of gender equality in Jordan
Author: Pietrobelli, Marta
Awarding Body: SOAS, University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis engages with the politics of gender equality in the context of democratisation processes in the Middle East, with specific reference to an oftenneglected case study, i.e. Jordan. By analysing the gender dimension of representation and political participation, my thesis contributes to the literature on gender quotas, social change and gender mainstreaming in the region, and does so from a bottom-up perspective, bringing in women's lived experiences. More specifically, I investigate how the international gender equality rhetoric is understood and translated into practice in the context of women's political empowerment. I also problematise the role of women's organisations in advocating gender justice. Drawing on original ethnographic fieldwork carried out in Jordan between 2010 and 2011, my case study focuses on the experiences of female candidates in the parliamentary elections of November 2010, the role of local and international organisations in empowering women in politics, and the influence of the authoritarian regime on the promotion of women's rights. Analysing the intersections between diverse dynamics involved in the promotion of gender justice in Jordan, I argue that gender equality is often instrumentalised and/or treated as an add-on in local, national, regional and international policies. In addition, while analysing the reasons behind the adoption of gender quotas, I stress the need to look at the sociocultural and political context in which quotas are introduced. In the specific setting of gender justice advocacy, my research findings indicate that the association of women's rights promotion with government-related or royal-supported organisations may be problematic, especially when the role of the state is being discredited and challenged in the wake of the recent uprisings (2011 and 2012). Finally, in the context of gender equality rhetoric, I suggest that it might be more productive for practitioners and researchers to employ an intersectional approach that not only addresses women's multifaceted and diverse gender interests, but also recognises that gender-based struggles are frequently linked to neoliberalism and neocolonial policies.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral