1. Men, Women, and Cross-Gender Solidarity
No More War: The Human Potential for Peace
Futurist, behaviorist, and evolutionary biologist Dr. Judith Hand presents a compelling argument in her film “No More War” that if we chose to do it, we can achieve what no people before us could: a future without war. She introduces cutting edge hypotheses on the origins of cooperation, altruism and morality, indicating how they relate to the human potential for peace. The origins of war are explored, including a consideration of why men and women, in general, differ when it comes to using physical aggression to resolve conflicts. A proposal is offered that the time is right for us to mount a global, social transformation movement to abolish war and reasons are given for why we can, at this time, embrace the goal of ending war with confidence. Why participation of women as full partners with men in decision-making positions is a necessary condition, not an option, is stressed. Two complementary elements of a nonviolence campaign to end war are introduced: Constructive Program and Obstructive Program. Suggestions are offered for ways viewers can be involved in this great cause. Learn more.
A Future Without War is Judith Hand's website, where most of her writings can be readily accessed. The following are some links to material that should be of interest to readers of this journal:
- Women, Power, and the Biology of Peace, Judith L. Hand, Questpath Publishing, 2003.
Excerpt: "So long as men and women are estranged from each other, so long as they are unequal and one is considered subservient, so long as men continue to be estranged from satisfying, joy-giving, connections to their children, so long as humans are alienated from the natural world and instead consider themselves its masters and dominators, the need for deep connectedness will remain unmet." (page 129)
- Biological Differences Between Men and Women With Respect to Social Stability and Aggression, Judith L. Hand, 2006.
- The Secret Ingredient: The Pivotal Catalyst for Change and Long Term Stability, Judith L. Hand, 2006.
- Empower Women, Judith L. Hand, 2006.
- Spread Liberal Democracy, Judith L. Hand, 2006.
- Locked in the Embrace of Male Biology: A Barrier to Positive Paradigm Shift, Judith L. Hand, 2009.
- Shaping the Future: A Proposal to Hasten a Global Paradigm Shift for the Security and Well-being of All Children Everywhere, Judith L. Hand, 2011.
Violence (war in particular) is the greatest obstacle to sustainable human development. Judith Hand is making a significant contribution to peace by pointing the way to a culture of global solidarity and nonviolence. The reader is cordially invited to visit A Future Without War for more information on this important piece of work. For some key excerpts from several authors on the general theme of "men, women, and cross-gender solidarity," click here.
Some additional supporting references and recent news:
- Reweaving the World: The Emergence of Ecofeminism, Irena Diamong and Gloria Feman Orenstein, Editor, Sierra Club Books, 1990.
- Sex on the Brain: The Biological Differences Between Men and Women, Deborah Blum, Penguin, 1998.
- Mother Nature: A History of Mothers, Infants, and Natural Selection, Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, Pantheon, 1999.
- Enlightened Power: How Women are Transforming the Practice of Leadership, Lin Coughlin et al. (Editors), Jossey-Bass, 2005.
- The End of Men, Hanna Rosin, The Atlantic Magazine, July-August 2010.
- Adam and Eve and the Gender Divide, John R. Coats, Huffington Post, 28 June 2010.
- Why should men and women be involved as allies in peacebuilding?, New Tactics in Human Rights, 7 February 2011.
- Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men, Mara Hvistendahl, Public Affairs, June 2011.
- The Other Side of the Gender Equation: Gender Issues for Men in the Europe and Eurasia Region, Susan D. Somach, KDID Social Transitions, July 2011.
- Men, women must be equal partners in gender dialogue, BuaNews Online, South Africa, 9 August 2011.
- Why Nations Fight, by Richard Ned Lebow (Author) & Christopher Coker (Reviewer), Ethics & International Affairs, Volume 25.3, Fall 2011.
- Global Women's Submission for the Rio+20 zero-draft document, Women’s Major Group Submission, UNCSD Rio+20, 1 November 2011.
Graphic video shows Border Security Force jawans torturing victim, 8 suspended, Monideepa Banerjie, NDTV, New Delhi, India, 18 January 2012.
- International Women’s Day and Violence against Women, Odhikar, Bangladesh, 7 March 2012.
- Violence against women still exists though 100 years have passed after the declaration of International Women’s Day, Odhikar, Bangladesh, 8 March 2012.
- Michelle Bachelet: 'Women are peacemakers', Euro News, 21 April 2012.
- Rwanda: Rural Women are at the Forefront of the Country's Development Miracle, Didier Bikorimana, All Africa, 21 April 2012.
- Southern Africa: Gender and Media Diversity Journal Launched, Tarisai Nyamweda, All Africa, 26 April 2012.
2. Men and Women in Marriage and the Family
The following article is a good introduction to this topic:
Gender in Families: Women and Men in Marriage, Work, and Parenthood|
Linda Thmpson and Alexis Walker
Journal of Marriage and Family, Vol. 51, No. 4, November 1989, pp. 845-871
ABSTRACT: "We review the research on gender by focusing on three domains of family life—marriage, work (both wage and family work), and parenthood. Regarding marriage, we consider intimacy, communication and conflict, and wife-battering. Regarding wage work, we consider women and men as providers and resistance to wives as coproviders. Regarding family work, we consider the nature of family work and resistance to sharing housework and child care. Regarding parenthood, we consider the images of motherhood and fatherhood, activities and experiences of mothering and fathering, and the gender differentiation that accompanies parenting. We offer recommendations for further research and encourage family scholars to conceptualize gender as relational or interactional rather than as an individual property or role."
Why does systemic violence persist against women?
Ellen Pence (15 April 1948 – 6 January 2012)
"Ellen Pence was a scholar and a social activist. She co-founded the Duluth Domestic Abuse Intervention Project, an inter-agency collaboration model used in all 50 states in the U.S. and over 17 countries. A leader in both the battered women's movement and the emerging field of institutional ethnography, she was the recipient of numerous awards including the Society for the Study of Social Problems Dorothy E. Smith Scholar Activist Award (2008) for significant contributions in a career of activist research."
"During the past three decades, she published numerous papers and book chapters on institutional responses to the issue of violence against women, and co-authored two books – Education Groups for Men Who Batter: The Duluth Model (with Michael Paymar) in 1993 and Co-ordinating Community Response to Domestic Violence: Lessons from Duluth and Beyond (with Melanie Shepard) in 1999. Until late 2011, Pence was the executive director of the organisation Praxis International, which she founded in 1998 and is dedicated to the elimination of violence against women." Ellen Pence: Pioneer of innovative strategies to deal with domestic abuse, Julie Bindel, The Guardian, 19 January 2012.
3. The Patriarchal Culture of Command and Control
The following is quoted from Wikipedia:
"Patriarchy is a social system in which the male gender role as the primary authority figure is central to social organization, and where fathers hold authority over women, children, and property. It implies the institutions of male rule and privilege, and entails female subordination. Many patriarchal societies are also patrilineal, meaning that property and title are inherited by the male lineage.
"Historically, patriarchy has manifested itself in the social, legal, political, and economic organization of a range of different cultures. Patriarchy also has a strong influence on modern civilization, although many cultures have moved towards a more egalitarian social system over the past century.
"Patriarchy literally means "rule of fathers" (Greek patriarkhes), "father" or "chief of a race, patriarch". Historically, the term patriarchy was used to refer to autocratic rule by the male head of a family. However, in modern times, it more generally refers to social systems in which power is primarily held by adult men.
"Anthropological and historical evidence indicates that most prehistoric hunter-gatherer societies were generally relatively egalitarian, and that patriarchal social structures did not develop until many years after the end of the Pleistocene era, following social and technological innovations such as agriculture and domestication. However, according to Robert M. Strozier, historical research has not yet found a specific "initiating event" of the origin of patriarchy. Some scholars point to about six thousand years ago (4000 BCE), when the concept of fatherhood took root, as the beginning of the spread of patriarchy."
For more on patriarchy, click here.
The patriarchal mindset of rivalry and domination is pervasive and induces a culture of "command and control" and transcends family relations and contaminates all human relations as well as the human attitude toward the natural habitat. For a modern critique of the patriarchal concept of "fatherhood," click here.
4. Gender Equality for Solidarity and Sustainability
It is hard to imagine that we can make further progress towards human solidarity as long as machismo remains an obstacle to cross-gender solidarity. Gender discrimination between men and women (in fact, along the entire gender spectrum) is the most fundamental form of exclusivism and springs from the macho attitudes prevalent in patriarchal cultures. "Human nature is gendered to the core." (Leonard Sax, Ph.D., M.D., Why Gender Matters, 2005) Racial discrimination, which is bad enough, is "skin deep" in comparison to gender discrimination. All forms of exclusivism and discrimination are detrimental to human relations, but gender discrimination is by far the worst.
It follows that gender discrimination is also an obstacle to sustainable development and the transition from consumerism to sustainability. "Human development, if not engendered, is endangered." (UN Human Development Report, 1995) Specifically, gender-related exclusionay practices in many jobs and professions are a continuing tragedy for human civilization worldwide. Whereas the transition to sustainability is contingent on a culture of nonviolence, such practices actually perpetuate the macho propensity to violence with nefarious consequences for human relations and the integrity of the human habitat.
In this regard, the work of the United Nations in fostering gender equality is noteworthy:
5. Gender Equality for Adaptation to Climate Change
"As a rights-based organisation, CARE's climate change strategy is geared towards the empowerment of poor and marginalised people. CARE is deeply concerned about constraints that the inequitable distribution of rights, resources and power – as well as repressive cultural rules and norms – place on people's ability to take action on climate change. We believe that a wide range of development goals are achievable only if decision makers at all levels recognise the unique risks faced by poor and marginalised people and their essential roles in planning, implementing and evaluating action on climate change.
"The majority of the world's poorest people today are women and girls. Climate change is making it even more difficult for them to realise their basic rights, and it is exacerbating inequalities since they are more vulnerable to its impacts than men.
"Moreover, many women are denied access to new information about climate change and participation in important decision-making processes despite having unique skills and knowledge – about low risk farming, sustainable water management, family health and community mobilisation, for example – vital to effective adaptation.
"For all these reasons, and because women are central to the food and livelihood security of their families, we place a special emphasis on gender equality and women's empowerment."
For more, including links to other CARE resources, click here.
KEY LINKS TO ADAPTATION & GENDER
- People-Centred Climate Change Adaptation: Integrating Gender Issues, FAO, 2007.
- Gender and Climate Change, UNDP, 2007.
- Women, Gender Equality and Climate Change, UN WomenWatch, 2009.
- Women are powerful agents of change, CARE International Climate Change Information Centre, 2011.
- Adaptation, gender and women's empowerment, CARE International Climate Change Brief, October 2010. Also available in Spanish, French, and Portuguese.
- Climate Adaptation Challenges from a Gender Perspective, Boell Foundation, 4 April 2011.
- Bringing gender into climate change adaptation, CCAFS, CGIAR, 12 July 2011.
COLLABORATION BETWEEN INDIA AND SIERRA LEONE
One specific case worthy of study in Women Bringing Solar Power to Sierra Leone, The Guardian, 15 September 2011. The following summary is excerpted from YaleGlobal, 16 September 2011.
"Developing renewables to meet the growing demand for energy is a top priority in the 21st century. So is enhancing collaboration among developing countries. By training semi-literate women from rural Sierra Leone in solar-energy techniques, Barefoot College in western India works towards achieving both these goals. Twelve women attended and then returned to villages in Sierra Leone to assemble 1,500 household solar units at a new branch of Barefoot College in Konta Line, where the training will continue, reports a blog for the Guardian. The governments of both countries have played their part; Sierra Leone invested $820,000 in the project, and India provided equipment. The vast majority of households in Sierra Leone go without power. Following its decades-long civil war, electricity is Sierra Leone's "most daunting infrastructural challenge," notes a World Bank report. Lighting extends education and socializing into the evening hours, and the women are planning on manufacturing solar units to spread the new power."
6. Women in Roles of Leadership and Governance
Note: The Elders are independent global leaders working together for peace and human rights. The group was founded by Nelson Mandela in 2007. The Elders are Martti Ahtisaari, Ela Bhatt, Lakhdar Brahimi, Gro Brundtland, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Jimmy Carter, Graça Machel, Mary Robinson and Desmond Tutu (Chair). Nelson Mandela is an honorary Elder.
“We pray that Aung San Suu Kyi and her country are now on a path to freedom.”
– Desmond Tutu
The Elders congratulate Aung San Suu Kyi ahead of her first appearance in the Burma/Myanmar parliament, following her election in the 1 April by-elections. They hope her access to political office will further boost political, economic and social reform in Burma/Myanmar, promote reconciliation, and help address the serious human rights issues which persist throughout the country. They also hope that the minority share of parliamentary seats obtained by opposition parties in these by-elections constitute a positive first step towards a robust democratic system.
Desmond Tutu, Chair of The Elders, said:
“I am absolutely delighted for my sister Aung San Suu Kyi. Her election to parliament could be that moment the world never forgets as: ‘That is when Burma/Myanmar embraced democracy.’
“But for this to be true, Daw Suu Kyi, the National League for Democracy (NLD) and all other political parties need to be given the space to play a meaningful role in the parliament. If not, it will be such a disappointment for citizens across the country, and indeed for us all.”
The Elders welcome the reforms undertaken in Burma/Myanmar since the inauguration of President Thein Sein in March 2011, including the release of hundreds of political prisoners, changes to labour laws, the lifting of media restrictions and the re-registration of the NLD. Positive progress has been made and the Elders encourage further steps towards the unconditional release of the political prisoners who still remain in detention and the lifting of restrictions on political prisoners who have already been released.
The Elders remain concerned about reports of persistent human rights abuses and poor humanitarian conditions. The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar
recently stated that there remain “serious challenges”, such as lack of access to health care and education, land grabs and confiscations, forced labour and portering, and other widely documented human rights violations related to on-going ethnic conflicts.
The Elders welcome the government’s efforts in reaching a resolution to ethnic conflicts in the country’s border regions. They urge the government and ethnic groups to maintain talks and take further steps to build lasting peace to promote a genuine process of national reconciliation.
The Elders also welcome the government’s willingness to establish a dialogue with the international community, as demonstrated by the numerous official visitors to the country in recent months. They advise the international community to find ways to further encourage the reform process, maintain direct engagement with the government and members of parliament, and lift barriers to financial and technical assistance to support human development and help tackle the country’s humanitarian challenges.
As she assumes political office, Aung San Suu Kyi will be standing down from her position as an honorary Elder, in line with the requirement that members of The Elders should not hold public office.
Desmond Tutu added:
“While Daw Suu Kyi was under house arrest, we would leave an empty chair for her at our Elders meetings, to symbolise our solidarity with her struggle for freedom and democracy.
“When she was released we hoped we could stop doing this, since she might be able to be with us. Now our reason for ending the ritual reflects an even greater joy – her election to parliament. We pray that Daw Suu Kyi and her country are now on a path to freedom.”
For biographies of the Elders, blogs, photos, videos and more information about their work please go to
www.theElders.org. The point of contact is
Sylvain Biville, Media Manager, The Elders.
See also the statement
Achieving Sustainable Development for All – The Road to Rio, The Elders, 30 January 2012. A followup dialogue between The Elders and young global leaders is forthcoming.
7. Men and the Changing Face of Masculinity
- The Invisible Partners: How the Male and Female in Each of Us Affects Our Relationships, John Sanford, Paulist Press, 1980.
- Original Unity of Man and Woman, John Paul II, Daughters of St Paul, June 1981.
- Men and Masculinities, SAGE, 1998-2011.
- Two Wings of a Bird: The Equality of Women and Men, Bahá'í International Community, 1999.
- Psychology of Men & Masculinity, APA, 2000-2011.
- Biological Differences Between Men and Women With Respect to Social Stability and Aggression, Judith L. Hand, 2006.
- Journal of Men, Masculinities and Spirituality, Joseph Gelfer, Editor - Monash University, Australia, 2007-2011.
- Shaping the Future, Judith L. Hand, August 2011.
- Patriarchies of the Past - Masculinities for the Future, Catherine of Siena College, 2011.
- Men for Gender Equality, Special Issue of New Internationalist, 1 July 2011.
- The Masculinity Conspiracy, Joseph Gelfer, CreateSpace, August 2011.
- Men and Meaning, Laki Sideris and Joseph Gelfer, website launched 26 March 2012.
- Southern Africa: Gender Mainstreaming or Malestreaming?, Temba Dube, All Africa, 26 April 2012.
Special issue on Masculinities in a Global Era in Springer’s International and Cultural Psychology series (in preparation, scheduled for Fall 2012).
"Masculinities research has evolved considerably over the past 25 years. Feminist analysis demonstrated how patriarchy functioned by oppressing women. Masculinity studies demonstrated that men could not be viewed as a homogenous group, revealing instead a diversity of masculinities, in the plural. Further still, the proposal of hegemonic masculinity demonstrated how men regulate one another, as well as women. More recently, what might be described as a “global turn” has emerged in which masculinities are no longer considered solely from a North American and European perspective, rather from every part of the world. Previously viewed largely via a sociological lens, Masculinities in a Global Era extends this conversation by analyzing global masculinities from a psychological perspective. Canvassing a broad array of psychological aspects such as the construction of identity, the negotiation of power, coping with trauma, and sexuality, the collection shows how masculinities are experienced, performed and embodied in geographically dispersed communities. Importantly, Masculinities in a Global Era explores a much-needed but elusive possibility within the study of masculinities: a forum in which the often polarized approaches of pro-feminists and men’s rights advocates can begin to move beyond their entrenched historical positions towards a more fruitful and nuanced future."
8. Men, Women, and the Human Habitat
Vandana Shiva - India
Photo by VOCES
Vandana Shiva: Teachers for a Living World
Madhu Suri Prakash, Yes! Magazine, 27 January 2012
See also the Interview Video
Reprinted with Permission
While Ivy League schools marvel at India’s economic growth, Vandana Shiva’s University of the Seed looks to the earth—and Gandhi—for guidance.
Gandhi once burned British cloth imported from the mills of Manchester to reveal the power of the indigenous spinning wheel; and led the famous Salt March to underscore the capacities of all Indians (in fact, all human beings) to live autonomously, depending on the support of themselves and each other while throwing off the shackles of global empire.
Renowned food and anti-globalization activist Vandana Shiva’s Bija Vidyapeeth (University of the Seed), co-founded with Satish Kumar in 2001, is grounded on the four Gandhian principles of non-violence: swaraj (self-rule), swadeshi (home-spun), satyagraha (truth force), and savodaya (the uplifting of all).
Inspired by these principles, this university grown on a farm preserves a wild diversity of indigenous seeds in cooperation with thousands of farmers across India and the world, committed to the organic principles of working with Mother Earth—rather than waging war on her with chemicals.
“Gandhi and Globalization” is a course co-taught annually at Bija Vidyapeeth for ten short, intense days in November and December. Vandana Shiva, Satish Kumar (founder of Schumacher College in England), and Samdhong Rimpoche (the first Prime Minister of Independent Tibet) designed this course for students coming from all continents, speaking in multiple tongues, and joined by a shared passion for both Gandhi and the end of the era of globalization or neo-colonialism.
During the last three years, I have had the privilege of joining these three great teachers in the fabulous intellectual and moral adventure of co-teaching this course with them. “Gandhi and Globalization” is one among a range of courses offered by Bija Vidyapeeth to demonstrate that Gandhi’s relevance grows even as globalization strangulates indigenous traditions of teaching, learning, living, and celebrating life and death.
Madhu Suri Prakash interviewed Vandana Shiva for YES! Magazine, a national nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas with practical actions. Madhu is a contributing editor to YES! Magazine.
9. Men and Women in Sustainable Human Development
Dimensions of Inclusive Development: Growth, Gender, Poverty and Environment|
Leisa Perch and Gabriel Labbate, Guest Editors, Poverty in Focus,
International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth, UNDP,
Number 23, December 2011
Growth, Equity and Sustainability: A Declaration of Interdependence, by Olav Kjorven,
Assistant Administrator and Director, Bureau for Policy Development, UNDP
Over one billion of us live without many of the basics that the other six billion take as given.
Although 28 countries have moved from low-income status to middle-income status, with
Ghana and Zambia among the newest Middle Income Countries, an estimated 800 million
people still live in low-income countries. Of these, half live in just five countries, three of
which are in sub-Saharan Africa. In these least-developed countries (LDCs), conflict, disaster
and broader human insecurity impose structural limits on efforts to move from crisis to risk
reduction and from growth to sustained development. So although many millions have been
lifted out of poverty in the last ten years, it is also true that more people live in chronic hunger
than ever before. Significant and sustained progress will require faster and better efforts.
The message of this Poverty in Focus is that, “For Growth to be inclusive, it must be sustained
and sustainable and that, for it to be sustained and sustainable, it must also be equitable.”
As a contribution to the dialogue around Rio+20 and to the ongoing discussions around
a post-2015 MDG Agenda, this Poverty in Focus links future development to sustainability and
particularly to social sustainability. Looking beyond the critical issues of ‘carbon footprints’,
‘low-carbon development’,’ green economy’ and the economics behind saving the planet,
it draws attention back to the continuing challenge of ensuring that growth and development
deliver for the poor and vulnerable. In its many forms—energy poverty, lack of access
to water and sanitation, malnutrition or insecure access to food, and lack of access to
education and health—the scale and scope of global deprivation call current
development policy and practice into question.
Growth, gender, poverty and the environment can no longer be treated as loosely connected
components of development. Recognizing their interdependence is at the core of improved
and sustained development for all.
For one thing, the continuing decline of the quantity and quality of natural resources and
of ecosystem functions is likely to exacerbate the likelihood of conflict over resources,
particularly water. According to UNDP’s Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery,
35 countries had entered what could be designated a ‘post-conflict phase’ by 2008.
The cost of conflict has been enormous, matching or surpassing, according to some
estimates, the value of ODA received in the last 20 to 30 years in the same countries.
Addressing topics such as the evolving debate on environmental and social justice
and improved accounting frameworks to ‘include’ environmental assets and services
in considerations of growth, the enclosed articles can help us go beyond lip-service to
the notion of sustainability. They focus on the ‘software’ components of development,
highlighting the need for equal attention to process and to results. Suggesting that inclusive
and sustainable development will need to leverage ‘social technologies’ such as political
innovations, true engagement and honest evaluation, they make a clear case for a strong,
representative state and the complementary roles of civil society and the private sector
in defining and achieving sustained and sustainable development. They underscore the
role of formal and informal mechanisms in the negotiation and reconciliation
of conflicting and competing interests.
In view of the high expectations placed on the next year’s Rio+20 meeting, let us remind
ourselves that ‘social sustainability’ will be built on the foundations of productive and social
inclusion. Too often, the focus has fallen largely on productive inclusion, with limited effort
to address the structural factors that cause and sustain exclusion and marginalization, be
they related to gender, political processes, property rights for the poor, and so on. Moreover,
a focus on ‘sustained’ development as well as sustainable development acknowledges that,
for many countries, existing development gains are fragile and easily reversed. The acute
challenges faced by countries in the Horn of Africa due to persistent drought, displacement,
conflict and poverty are a case in point.
A socially sustainable approach, say these authors, is one in which policy efforts do not shy
away from the many interdependent multiple dynamics, processes and situations that affect
vulnerability and predispose the poor and the vulnerable to harm from shocks and change.
Growth, equity and sustainability are mutually compatible, if efforts have enough time
and resources, are responsive to underlying structural causes and encourage the vigorous
participation of the poor, allowing them to define their futures. What follows illuminates the
complexity of inclusiveness as a development outcome and highlights bold action in and by
the South. We hope that these articles serve as a source of further innovation and inspire
more cooperation and the spread of knowledge within the South. Ours is an age of political
convulsions, global economic shifts, inexorable climatic change and stubborn poverty.
Informed and catalytic strategies are needed now more than ever before.
Poverty in Focus is a regular publication of the International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth (IPC-IG), Brasilia, Brazil. Its purpose is to present the results of research on poverty and inequality in the developing world. For the complete issue of this publication, click here.