Gender Justice

November 2020

Vol. 22 - No. 2

Gender Justice

From the guest editor 

This DevISSues focuses on ‘Gender Justice’: giving a wide view how our research, thinking and teaching as a community is connected to:

  1. gender justice as an issue;
  2. why we do not have it; and
  3. things that might help bring it about

A definition (to paraphrase Oxfam International, Gender Justice and Women’s Rights) is - full equality between men and women in all walks of life … jointly and equally, in terms of policy, in structures … for individuals and society overall. It is a human right – one of dignity, freedom and no fear, indispensable for human progress.

Others focus on why we do not have it (e.g. underlying power structures) and that to achieve it requires a systemic redistribution of power, opportunities and access for all people/ all genders: dismantling structures such as patriarchy, homophobia and transphobia (paraphrasing, Global Fund For Women, What is Gender Justice). My daughter would just say – ‘justice for the gender inequality that has been …’

This edition’s contributors underline this perspective in quite different ways. In two very personal pieces, Kater and Madzivanyika note how oppressive personal situations (e.g. about weight, sexual preferences or pressures to conform) challenged their sense of self-worth. Kater used her skills to respond, creating an award-winning animation using various film techniques and actors to analogize the links between various forms of meat and the dehumanization of women. For Madzivanyika, some of the traumas of feeling unworthy have been helped through a new ‘tribe’ – one met through discussions within a ‘listening’ ISS community.

Solera and Cortés note how their connections as Latin American women in Holland have given them new strength to speak out against gender violence, discrimination and a general lack of rights, through participating in various campaigns as scholar activists. It has also reinforced their humility within an environment in which many cannot work from home or self-isolate and who have to keep working despite great challenges brought by the current pandemic.

This theme of justice, and its gender underpinning, come out in different ways through other contributions. For example, our Rector notes the importance of knowledge co-creation in all our activities as a community (e.g. Focus on ISS). We also highlight many alumni and projects (ISS news) which bring serious commitment to sustainability and to voice. Yet in our knowledge processes, we also look back on basic concepts and question the ‘development question’, asking ourselves whether de-growth is a positive and more equitable way to go (staff-student discussion). If agroecology and local level initiatives are seeds for such change, then social relations (the who in production), distributional outcomes and issues such as care play a more central role. Marx was right, social relations are fundamental (to development – sic). Development is nothing without gender justice.

We hope you enjoy this edition of DevISSues and find that it also gives space for open, respectful discussion based on listening to each other.

Lee Pegler, Chair, DevISSues editorial board


Feminist struggles in Latin America

Where are they now?

The birth of 'Carne'

Navigating Identities

Knowledge for change: getting our Research InSightS out

What is, and isn't, degrowth?

Student life

Bitesize pieces of ISS research


Check our website for latest news, upcoming eventsrecent PhD defences, and the ISS library for working papers, PhD theses and the journal Development and Change.