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Table of contents :
Women, Peace, and Security
1 Introduction: Bringing Feminist Perspectives to the Forefront of International Security Studies
PART ONE Feminist Approaches to Global Politics
2 “This Is the Young Woman Who Wants to Ask Questions”: Navigating Gender-Race-Age Dynamics in Field Research
3 Soft Power as Metaphor: The Gender of Security
4 Finding a Community in Feminist International Relations Methodology
PART TWO Applying a Gendered Lens to the Canadian Military
5 Against Their Will: Changing the Culture of Gender and Gendered Violence in the Canadian Armed Forces
6 Spousal Employment: Tradition, Progress, and Gender in the Canadian Military Family
PART THREE Feminist Activism and Tools for Empowering Women
7 Women’s Marches: How the Conservative Movement Mobilized American Feminism from El Paso to Montreal
8 Lessons from Canada’s Famous Five for Today’s World Changers
9 Reclaiming Our Rightful Place: Indigenous Women and Decolonization
Women, Peace, and Security
Human Dimensions in Foreign Policy, Military Studies, and Security Studies Series editors: Stéphanie A.H. Bélanger, Pierre Jolicoeur, and Stéfanie von Hlatky Books published in the Human Dimensions in Foreign Policy, Military Studies, and Security Studies series offer fresh perspectives on foreign affairs and global governance. Titles in the series illuminate critical issues of global security in the twenty-first century and emphasize the human dimensions of war such as the health and well-being of soldiers, the factors that influence operational effectiveness, the civil-military relations and decisions on the use of force, as well as the ethical, moral, and legal ramifications of ongoing conflicts and wars. Foreign policy is also analyzed both in terms of its impact on human rights and the role the public plays in shaping policy directions. With a strong focus on definitions of security, the series encourages discussion of contemporary security challenges and welcomes works that focus on issues including human security, violent conflict, terrorism, military cooperation, and foreign and defence policy. This series is published in collaboration with Queen’s University and the Royal Military College of Canada with the Centre for International and Defence Policy, the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research, and the Centre for Security, Armed Forces, and Society. 1 Going to War? Trends in Military Interventions Edited by Stéfanie von Hlatky and H. Christian Breede
6 Violence and Militants From Ottoman Rebellions to Jihadist Organizations Baris Cayli
2 Bombs, Bullets, and Politicians France’s Response to Terrorism Christophe Chowanietz
7 Frontline Justice The Evolution and Reform of Summary Trials in the Canadian Armed Forces Pascal Lévesque
3 War Memories Commemoration, Recollections, and Writings on War Edited by Stéphanie A.H. Bélanger and Renée Dickason 4 Disarmament under International Law John Kierulf 5 Contract Workers, Risk, and the War in Iraq Sierra Leonean Labor Migrants at US Military Bases Kevin J.A. Thomas
8 Countering Violent Extremism and Terrorism Assessing Domestic and International Strategies Edited by Stéfanie von Hlatky 9 Transhumanizing War Performance Enhancement and the Implications for Policy, Society, and the Soldier Edited by H. Christian Breede, Stéphanie A.H. Bélanger, and Stéfanie von Hlatky
10 Coping with Geopolitical Decline The United States in European Perspective Edited by Frédéric Mérand
14 Canada as Statebuilder? Development and Reconstruction Efforts in Afghanistan Laura Grant and Benjamin Zyla
11 Rivals in Arms The Rise of UK-France Defence Relations in the Twenty-First Century Alice Pannier
15 Women, Peace, and Security Feminist Perspectives on International Security Edited by Caroline Leprince and Cassandra Steer
12 Outsourcing Control The Politics of International Migration Cooperation Katherine H. Tennis 13 Why We Fight New Approaches to the Human Dimensions of Warfare Edited by Robert C. Engen, H. Christian Breede, and Allan English
W O M E N, P E AC E, FEMINIST PERSPECTIVES ON INTERNATIONAL SECURITY
A N D S E C U R IT Y Edited by
Caroline Leprince and Cassandra Steer
McGill-Queen’s University Press Montreal & Kingston
© McGill-Queen’s University Press 2021 isbn 978-0-2280-0615-2 (cloth) isbn 978-0-2280-0616-9 (paper) isbn 978-0-2280-0747-0 (epdf) isbn 978-0-2280-0748-7 (epub) Legal deposit third quarter 2021 Bibliothèque nationale du Québec Printed in Canada on acid-free paper that is 100% ancient forest free (100% post-consumer recycled), processed chlorine free
This book has been published with the help of a grant from the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, through the Awards to Scholarly Publications Program, using funds provided by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts. Nous remercions le Conseil des arts du Canada de son soutien.
Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication Title: Women, peace, and security : feminist perspectives on international security / edited by Caroline Leprince and Cassandra Steer. Other titles: Women, peace, and security (2021) Names: Leprince, Caroline, editor. | Steer, Cassandra, editor. Series: Human dimensions in foreign policy, military studies, and security studies ; 15. Description: Series statement: Human dimensions in foreign policy, military studies, and security ; 15 | Includes bibliographical references and index. Identifiers: Canadiana (print) 20210186275 | Canadiana (ebook) 2021018647x | isbn 9780228006152 (hardcover) | isbn 9780228006169 (softcover) | isbn 9780228007470 (pdf) | isbn 9780228007487 (epub) Subjects: lcsh: Women and peace. | lcsh: Women and human security. | lcsh: Security, International. | lcsh: Women—Political activity. | lcsh: Women political activists. Classification: lcc jz5578 .w66 2021 | ddc 327.1/72082—dc23
Foreword Jennie Carignan • ix Preface Stefanie von Hlatky • xiii Acknowledgments • xv 1 Introduction: Bringing Feminist Perspectives to the Forefront
of International Security Studies • 3 Caroline Leprince and Cassandra Steer
PART ONE Feminist Approaches to Global Politics 2 “This Is the Young Woman Who Wants to Ask Questions”:
Navigating Gender-Race-Age Dynamics in Field Research • 21 W.R. Nadège Compaoré 3 Soft Power as Metaphor: The Gender of Security • 41
Tanya Monforte 4 Finding a Community in Feminist International Relations
Methodology • 76 Leah Sarson, Maya Eichler, Heather Smith, and Sarah Tuckey
PART TWO Applying a Gendered Lens to the Canadian Military 5 Against Their Will: Changing the Culture of Gender and Gendered
Violence in the Canadian Armed Forces • 99 Rebecca Jensen 6 Spousal Employment: Tradition, Progress, and Gender in the
Canadian Military Family • 121 Leigh Spanner
PART THREE Feminist Activism and Tools for Empowering Women 7 Women’s Marches: How the Conservative Movement Mobilized
American Feminism from El Paso to Montreal • 151 Irasema Coronado, Toula Drimonis, and Élisabeth Vallet 8 Lessons from Canada’s Famous Five for Today’s World Changers • 171
Sharon Hamilton 9 Reclaiming Our Rightful Place: Indigenous Women
and Decolonization • 192 Francyne D. Joe and Lianne C. Leddy 10 Conclusion • 210
Cassandra Steer Contributors • 217 Index • 223
I am pleased to present Women, Peace, and Security: Feminist Perspectives on International Security. Women in International Security Canada (wiisCanada) played a crucial role in shaping this collection, which features some of the most inspiring thinkers in feminist international relations in Canada. Co-edited by Caroline Leprince and Cassandra Steer, it adopts a gender-based analysis to examine the impacts of policies, initiatives, and programs on women and girls as they apply to today’s security challenges. But why women in peace and security and what makes this topic relevant in today’s security environment? It is an interesting query as the question itself can imply two things simultaneously. First, it can reinforce the binary-based assumption that women and men bring uniquely different attributes to the security environment and, by extension, imply that women are not capable of performing all security roles or that standards would have to be lowered to “accommodate” the inclusion of more women in the security sector. Then again, it suggests that women bring a unique set of attributes that men are not capable of contributing, thus denying the integration of masculine and feminine attributes that build capable male and female security operators. Second, it could also imply that the presence of women is the silver bullet for all conflicts, that success is inevitable should women be involved as fighters, policy-makers, and decision makers. Neither of these answers or perceptions is realistic in practice. It should be highlighted that all-male failed security operations are not likely to be attributed to the fact that they were all-male operations. However, the same
assessment would most likely not be applied for all-female operations: in fact, it is quite likely that a gender perspective would be applied, leading to conclusions regarding the relationship between failure and the shortcomings of the all-female team. Finally, the perception that having women as part of the group would be a guaranty of success is just as erroneous. Human conflicts are dynamic systems in which many factors interact in a chaotic way that makes outcomes difficult to predict. Gender dynamics is one of these very important factors to consider, and, this being the case, human security presents challenges and responsibilities that are shared by both women and men. In an era in which national borders are contested, in which battlespace is increasingly complex, and in which conflicts take place in the context of societies, gender-based approaches are key for two reasons. First they offer insight into the context and environment in which the war is fought. Second, they allow for a better understanding of the dynamics at play within our own security organizations, which are charged with the very important and complex task of establishing peace in unfamiliar global cultures by interacting with other human beings. A gender-sensitive organization will be in a much better position to achieve success in the modern security environment, where the means employed during hostilities are critical in achieving success. Women, Peace, and Security: Feminist Perspectives on International Security approaches the topic from a wide range of perspectives and, thus, makes an important contribution to understanding human complexity within the context of domestic and international security challenges. In doing so, Part 1 of the book offers methodological insight into how to develop feminist research methods in international relations and takes into account the researcher’s positionality and its impacts on a research’s epistemology. Part 2 focuses on analyzing policies through gender-based analyses of sexual harassment and abusive behaviours in the Canadian Armed Forces and the strains that accompany military life for the Canadian military family. Part 3 focuses on the importance of feminist activism; it also offers valuable lessons from the Famous Five, who campaigned for the right for Canadian women to serve in the Senate. The last chapter is a call to action, highlighting the fact that change cannot come too soon for Indigenous women and girls.
This edited volume is mainly aimed at scholars and graduate students in the fields of international relations, defence and foreign policy, peace studies, international law, and feminist critical theory. It would also make an excellent teaching resource for political science, defence studies, and military and strategic studies at universities or defence colleges in Canada and the United States. It could provide a valuable resource for scholars seeking evidence-based research of gender-based analyses in these fields. Some practitioners, particularly policy-makers and those working in the Canadian Armed Forces, the Department of National Defence, and other security partner organizations, will also have a strong interest in the evidence-based research and policy recommendations contained in many of these chapters. I commend the efforts of the authors, editors, and publishing staff for the gift of this book. wiis-Canada continues to further the understanding of the many facets of gender, women, peace, and security, and to provide practical guidance on this very important issue. So why women in peace and security? Because it is important. Because it is complex, chaotic, and difficult. Because it is in the service of others. Because it is honourable, and we need the contribution of all to be successful in creating a better future for the generations to come. Lieutenant General Jennie Carignan Canadian Army
I view the publication of this book as a celebration of Women in International Security (wiis)-Canada, an organization that has been dedicated to the advancement of women in international peace and security since 2008. Indeed, the bold ideas presented in this volume filled the halls of wiisCanada’s tenth anniversary workshop and reflect the ideas presented every year at those national gatherings. Reading this book has been like reconnecting with old friends and colleagues as, every year, we would gather, along with students interested in international security, to share our research findings and reflect on personal experiences, fostering mentorship and new professional relationships in the process. Reading this manuscript as it goes to press is also a little bittersweet, as such gatherings were not possible this year because of the global pandemic. At the same time, the impacts of 2020 will reach well into the years to come, and this volume reflects on many important issues of security that remain extremely relevant in this new decade. Moreover, 2020 marked an important anniversary: the adoption of un Security Council Resolution 1325, which signified a shift in how scholars, activists, and both civilian and military practitioners interact with one another on security issues. This resolution (and the Women, Peace, and Security resolutions that followed) created a powerful and global community of practice, and wiis (including its Canadian chapter) has been an active participant within it. As the founder of wiis-Canada, what I have loved most about this network is
that it is the embodiment of an ongoing conversation on gender and security between the world of academic research and the world of practice – a conversation that takes us from how women navigate the (still) maledominated field of international security to how security continues to be assessed through the prism of military solutions and to how feminist perspectives can flip that logic on its head by revealing the exclusionary underpinnings of traditional foreign and defence policy practices. The adoption of Resolution 1325 and the launch of the Women, Peace, and Security agenda were seen as a huge feminist achievement, but the agenda was subsequently implemented in ways that have fuelled cynicism from feminists, who want to challenge military entrenchment in the way we approach conflict resolution, a challenge the United Nations simply has not taken up. Feminist scholars, much like the authors in this volume, have never shied away from grappling with these tensions and unsettling conventional wisdom. Another theme raised in this book relates to the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and I would say that we have reached an intellectual inflection point. The very foundations of what has been taught for decades in international security studies is being put into question by the Black Lives Matter movement, Indigenous advocacy, and bipoc (Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour) scholarship. In its own way, this book pays tribute to this profound moment. Its co-editors, Caroline Leprince and Cassandra Steer, rightly point out in the introduction that part of the feminist project involves “open[ing] up the places and ways in which debate, knowledge dissemination, and decision making takes place,” and I know the chapters featured here will inspire new contributions to this important and ongoing mission. Stéfanie von Hlatky Queen’s University
The editors would like to express their deepest gratitude to the contributors to this volume for their insightful, rich, original works and for their patience with the process of bringing this volume to fruition. We are also grateful for the generosity of the Canadian Defence and Security Network, a national network for international security scholars that has provided financial support for the publication of this volume. We also want to extend our deep appreciation to Anna Gilev, whose artwork is featured in this volume. Our thanks also to those whose leadership makes all the difference: for this volume, Lieutenant General Jennie Carignan, Associate Professor Stéfanie von Hlatky, and Francyne D. Joe. Beyond this volume, our thanks to all the other women who have contributed their expertise and experiences as leaders and as mentors to the next generation.
Women, Peace, and Security
1 Introduction: Bringing Feminist Perspectives to the Forefront of International Security Studies caroline lepr ince and cassandr a steer
Why We Need a Volume on Feminist Perspectives Midway through the last decade it seemed things were looking up for gender equity. The European Union Parliament was comprised of nearly 37 percent women;1 un Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security was gaining renewed attention fifteen years after its adoption; and there was an international cheer when newly elected Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau replied, when asked why gender parity in his cabinet was so important: “because it’s 2015.” Unfortunately, the moment for celebration was soon overshadowed by the opposite rhetoric during the election campaign in the United States, followed by the election of Donald Trump. The rise of populism and ultra-right-wing politics in many countries across the Western world was noticeable in subsequent months and years, which arguably has had repercussions on the gender politics of covid-19 shutdowns, including an increase in domestic violence and problems of food security for families, while measures around the world focused more on keeping businesses afloat than on keeping people alive. And now that we have reached twenty years since Resolution 1325, we may ask whether the progress that has been made to date is sufficient.2 In Canada and internationally, despite a wide and diverse network of women experts, the representation of women in democratic institutions and in the academy remains poor. Female representation in the European Parliament has risen only 3 percent to just over 40 percent as of 2020,3 and
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while in the United States more women were elected to Congress in 2018 than ever before, this still only amounted to 24 percent of all seats.4 Moreover, attention given to this record number of women in Congress led to a backlash in the popular media by the country’s former president, particularly against outspoken and influential women of colour such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley, and Ilhan Omar.5 In Canada, thankfully less vehemently divided than its neighbour to the south, the numbers are not much better: women currently make up only 27 percent of the seats in the House of Commons,6 14.8 percent of the Canadian Armed Forces,7 and 25.6 percent of senior managers in the private sector.8 Similarly, the status of women in the academy is “far from ideal” as women remain underrepresented at every level.9 Publications by women in Canadian foreign policy are substantially lower than those by men, representing only 13.4 percent of the published work in the field.10 In addition, women scholars publish less in what is considered to be the “core” of the discipline – defence and Canada-US relations – which means that their contributions receive less attention, and this, in turn, contributes to the marginalization of women’s work in Canadian foreign policy.11 We continue to see many all-male panels – or “manels” – at academic and policy events, a phenomenon that has been documented in a humorous way on the Tumblr feed “Congrats, You Have an All-Male Panel!”12 The impact of the Tumblr feed has been noted in the media,13 and studies have been done to quantify the number of all-male panels and their impact on various fields of research and practice.14 So what do these numbers all amount to and should they be cause for concern? Should we focus on what has been achieved over time or on what still needs to be done? We know that diversity of voices makes a positive difference to policy and practice and that increasing women’s participation at all levels of conflict resolution is beneficial for sustaining peace. Yet, despite this wide recognition, studies show that women continue to be largely excluded from peace processes.15 The underrepresentation of women in Canadian foreign policy also has direct consequences on the development of policies. The fact that few women scholars are invited to consult as experts in Canada means that women’s voices are not being heard and that gender-specific concerns are not being reflected in policies.16 This collection of chapters aims to address this gap and promotes the adoption of a feminist framework within which
to study international relations, by presenting the voices of some of the most inspiring upcoming and foremost thinkers in feminist international relations in Canada. This volume was inspired by the tenth anniversary of the annual workshop hosted by Women in International Security-Canada, the Canadian branch of an international network of women in all stages of their careers in peace and security. At that workshop we were celebrating the next generation of women leaders in the field and drawing inspiration from the experience of those established in academia, government, defence, and civil society, including the Native Women’s Association of Canada. What became apparent was that there is much to celebrate but also still much to be learned in terms of how to strengthen the narrative of Indigenous experiences; how to be more inclusive of a diversity of women’s voices and to avoid the trap of privileged white voices being the most prevalent, even among feminist scholars and practitioners; how to embolden junior and emerging feminist scholars and practitioners; and how to better facilitate an exchange of knowledge between those with more professional experience and those undertaking essential research in gender issues in peace and security as well as so-called hard security issues. On the latter, the annual workshop is itself an excellent space in which formal and informal mentoring takes place, and where emerging scholars can share their important insights with those working in the field. But what we hear and see is that there is a real need for ongoing mentoring and for more spaces where exchange of knowledge can take place. That is itself part of a feminist agenda – to open up the traditional career trajectories to more diversity and to open up the places and ways in which debate, knowledge dissemination, and decision making takes place.
Contributing to the Body of Feminist Scholarship This volume contributes new insights and new knowledge to existing feminist scholarship in international security and international law. In order to understand the contribution it makes, it may be helpful to revisit the important work done by scholars in previous decades. Building upon the achievements of second wave feminism in the 1960s and 1970s, a period in
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which women in many Western countries successfully advocated for better protection of equality and social rights, feminist scholarship in the 1980s and 1990s began to tackle the global questions as well, in international relations, international security, and international law.
Feminist Theories in International Relations Like all feminist scholarship, feminist theories of international relations are indebted to the second wave feminist movements of the 1960s and 1970s. Feminist scholars were influenced by their engagement as activists and, in their writings, challenged the social constructions of sex and gender and societal power inequalities. However, early attempts to develop a feminist discourse on security were discounted by the discipline of international relations, which was grounded on realist paradigms. The end of the Cold War was conducive to the emergence of new theories in international relations to explain the contemporary realities of international politics. Feminist scholars started challenging the male-dominated field of international relations in the early 1990s by looking at the ways conflicts were affecting men and women differently. Cynthia Enloe asked a basic yet insightful question in Bananas, Beaches and Bases: “Where are the women?”17 By centralizing women’s lives, and looking at the roles women play in international politics – as domestic servants, diplomatic wives, or sex workers on military bases – Enloe challenged taken-for-granted assumptions in international relations. Feminists changed the objects of study to give a voice to those who had traditionally been marginalized by mainstream theories and by taking a particular interest in the relationships between the powerful and the powerless.18 Feminist theories helped broadened the concept of security, making it more inclusive by drawing attention to the experiences of individuals who had been previously invisible in the security discourse. Another central question of research to the field of feminist theories is: “What work is masculinity doing in international politics?” J. Ann Tickner first introduced the concept of hegemonic masculinity in Gender in International Relations, in which characteristics associated with masculinity are afforded greater social value than those associated with femininity.19 The dominance of masculinity in international relations’ academic knowledge had the tendency to make activities traditionally associated with women
or femininity appear insignificant in the context of international politics.20 Tickner argues that, by ignoring the way these gender hierarchies are socially constructed, we risk continually perpetuating relationships of domination and subordination.21 As one of our contributors, Maya Eichler, argues, this also has enormous impacts on men, who may feel pressured to perpetuate detrimental conceptions of “militarized masculinity.”22 Recent literature goes further in studying the various forms of subordination.23 Influenced by Third World, postcolonial, postmodernist, and poststructuralist critiques, the third wave feminist movement emerged in reaction to the exclusions of previous feminist movements.24 The theory of intersectionality, developed by Kimberlé Crenshaw, was popularized during the third wave and raised awareness about the “layers of oppressions” experienced by women based on sex, race, and social class.25 Postmodern feminists challenged the notion of gender identity and considered sex/gender to be socially constructed notions. In her book Gender Trouble, influential feminist philosopher Judith Butler introduced the concept of “gender performativity,” which would later become the foundation for queer theory.26 The evolution of the conceptual framing of feminist international relations theories now transcends the binary standpoint of men/women and takes into account multiple perspectives of feminisms and various forms of subordination.
Feminist Theory in International Law Feminist critical theories have had an important role to play in influencing law reform at the national level, from the suffragist movement of the nineteenth century, which led to women’s right to vote in Western democracies around the world, and second wave feminism, which had an enormous impact on national laws from the 1960s to the 1980s. Laws on access to reproductive health, equal opportunities with respect to employment and salary, the regulation of maternity leave, the criminalization of domestic violence, and the ways in which sexual assault and rape victims are treated in the courtroom have all been the subject of debate for over half a century and have received the attention of legislators thanks to the work of feminist scholars. However, it took until the 1990s for feminist scholarship to find a place in international legal theory, with the rise of a so-called third wave of
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feminist theories, and there have only been a few shifts in the decades since. There are many different feminisms in legal scholarship, as there are in any kind of scholarship, and this has led to different arguments with respect to national laws. Equal treatment theory, or liberal feminism, was what pushed legislative reform surrounding workplace equality and labour laws, arguing that men and women should be treated equally before the law. However, equal treatment theory still assumes men’s experiences are the norm against which women’s legal position must be measured.27 On the other hand, difference theory, or cultural feminism, argues that formal equality before the law does not necessarily lead to substantive equality and, therefore, that gender-neutral laws can in fact continue to oppress women because they do not acknowledge the different experience of women compared to men in the workplace, in health care, in education, in sport, and under criminal laws. Works by psychologist and ethicist Carol Gilligan28 influenced legal scholars such as Luce Irigaray29 and Martha Minow.30 Some critiqued this approach because it assumes women always take on traditional roles, such as that of caregiver, and does nothing to shift the structural biases in society. Others have recognized that difference theory is a double-edged sword since it can permit favourable as well as unfavourable treatment.31 Another lens through which some feminist legal scholars view the world is dominance theory, or radical feminism. Scholars such as Catherine McKinnon32 and Andrea Dworkin33 argue that the persistent structural dominance of men over women has to be corrected by laws explicitly protecting women, a position that, in many countries, has effectively influenced law reform on rape, sexual assault, and the treatment of victims in the courtroom. Their focus is on the power relations between men and women, and the political structures that value men more than women. In other words, women should not be treated equally by the law; rather, we deserve special laws because we are not treated equally in society. In more recent decades, intersectionality has changed the way most feminist legal scholars approach legal problems, and issues such as racial equality, gender identity rights, same-sex marriage rights, freedom of religion, and economic development have entered the lens of feminist academic critique and legislative reform. Angela B. Harris,34 bell hooks,35 Patricia Williams,36 and others have told stories of racial bias and oppression and
influenced the way we think about civil rights, human rights, and identity. And, in recent years, queer theory has impressed itself upon same-sex marriage rights, gender identity rights, and social justice.37 However, the leap from national laws and individual rights to international law, under which individuals are rarely considered to be subjects and almost never considered to have any influence on the formation of law, is not an obvious one. Traditionally, the sources of international law are formed by nation-states, and only when it comes to human rights treaties are individuals considered subjects of international law, yet they have almost no recourse in any international tribunal. Essentially, international law is of and for the nation-state, based on a twentieth-century, post-Second World War global order. The watershed moment in feminist international law theory came with an influential article by renowned international law scholars Hilary Charlesworth, Christine Chinkin, and Shelley Wright, which remains the most cited article in this field.38 Although clearly coming from the same political context that gave rise to Enloe’s “where are the women?,” these scholars do not ask this question directly; rather, their point is that “a central feature of many western theories about law is that the law is an autonomous entity, distinct from the society it regulates,” whereas a feminist theoretical approach exposes the fact that nothing in international law is neutral, apolitical, or objective, and that it is therefore not universally applicable. Much scholarship has been devoted to reciting or responding to the arguments made by these authors, and multiple critical theories of international law have been able to build upon the momentum of this work. Many will point to the role of individuals in forming the law and the ways in which individuals and civil society have influenced international law and have been at the centre of its struggles. For example, the rights of refugees, the advancement of the rights of Indigenous peoples, issues of food security and climate change, environmental laws, and international criminal responsibility under the laws of armed conflict have all benefited from feminist critiques in general, shifting the emphasis from the abstract entity of the nation-state and unveiling the global structures of power that dominate the formation and application of international law. Feminist engagements with international law could also be credited for the now widespread recognition of the gendered aspects of all of these issues. In international crim-
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inal law, it was thanks to the observations made by South African-born Chief Justice Navi Pillay that the hundreds of testaments she was hearing during trials at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda were not only evidence of genocidal violence against the Tutsis as a group but also evidence of sexual violence targeting Tutsi women because of their gender. She went on to write the landmark judgment in which rape was recognized as a punishable act of genocide.39 Judge Pillay had experienced racism and sexism first hand, growing up in apartheid South Africa, becoming the first black woman to practise law in Durban, and the first woman to become a judge on the highest court of the country. No doubt her personal experience has contributed to her legacy in this and other judgments, and to her later role as un high commissioner for human rights. Gender-based violence has since gained much attention in international criminal case law, and the Rome Statute, which established the permanent International Criminal Court, includes sexual violence in the definition of crimes against humanity.40 Similarly, human rights instruments do a better job of addressing the question “where are the women?” than they did when they first began to emerge in the mid-twentieth century, with the 1981 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the 2003 Maputo Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa,41 and the 2014 Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence. An institutional highlight was the establishment of un Women in 2010, which is mandated to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women globally. Feminist international law scholarship still has a way to go, but many advances can be credited to this diverse movement.
Ontology, Epistemology, and Methodology The main contribution of feminist theories has not been to add another theoretical perspective to international relations and international law but, rather, to bring ethical considerations to the discipline.42 Feminist theories began appearing in international relations and international law by challenging the epistemological and ontological foundations of the field in order to expose the assumptions that have been taken for granted in mainstream theories. Since methodological perspectives have traditionally been
masculinist by design, they have contributed to make invisible much of what “goes on.” Feminist research methodologies are rooted in post-positivist principles and adopt reflective practices. Most critical feminist scholars prefer methods and methodologies that are narrative-based in nature – like first-person narrative and storytelling approaches – and engage in ethnographic work. The method of discourse analysis, associated with poststructuralist feminism, aims to uncover the construction of women’s gendered identity in the language that is being used. In chapter 4 of this volume, the co-authors engage in a self–reflective, collaborative conversation about their research methods and methodologies, and what becomes apparent is the openmindedness of many feminist scholars when it comes to integrating a variety of methods into their work, including both quantitative and qualitative studies. In fact, feminists seem to have no fixed ontology-epistemology-methodology combination and accept that different epistemologies may coexist.43 Despite the normative variations of feminist theories in international relations and international law, what distinguishes most feminist theories is their adoption of feminist research ethics that pay attention to self-reflexivity and power relations.44 Feminist researchers also pay close attention to the interactions between themselves and their research subject, and consciously reflect upon how “the researcher cannot simply disappear from the text.”45 In chapter 2 of this book, Nadège Compaoré raises important epistemological reflections about her fieldwork. To do so, she looks at how the persons she interviewed perceived her (due to her age, race, gender, education, and citizenship) and how these perceptions may have influenced their answers and the gathering of empirical material. Self-reflexivity pushes feminist researchers to constantly ask themselves how structural hierarchies affect their work and to be mindful in their practice not to reproduce these inequalities themselves. Feminist researchers critically engage with their own work to identify its limitations and to find ways to overcome them by ensuring that all voices are being heard. Just as there are many “feminisms,” there are also many feminist perspectives on international relations and international law. This volume strives to include a range of perspectives, including critical race theory, postcolonialism, and constructivism; and a range of methods, including
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discourse analysis, historical analysis, and narrative storytelling. Sometimes these are made explicit, sometimes they are embedded in the methodology of the author. One thing that is evident in this volume is that international relations and international law would benefit from more crossovers and exchanges of knowledge, both in academia and in practice. One of the coeditors of this volume is an international law scholar, the other is a national security practitioner, and our experience in working together on this volume tells us that there is more our respective fields could be learning from each other.
The Design of This Volume The range of perspectives, narratives, and contributions to feminist literature in this volume is unique, and we are proud to have gathered these women’s voices together. The volume is divided into three parts, moving from theoretical analyses to specific case studies and finishing with practical tools and applications. Part 1, “Feminist Approaches to Global Politics,” focuses on feminist research methods and their application in international relations. In chapter 2, Nadège Compaoré presents an account of her field research in which she witnessed that her positionality as a young, black woman researcher was influencing her participants’ responses. Compaoré’s contribution raises epistemological reflections of immense value for any scholar, and she concludes by offering insightful recommendations to help female researchers prepare for their fieldwork. Similarly, in chapter 3, Tanya Monforte uses a discourse analysis to look at how the use of gendered metaphors can limit women’s input in the field of security. Monforte deconstructs key speeches of political figures in security to see how women can use, subvert, or resist gendered structures and metaphors, and change their environment to make it more inclusive. Chapter 4 should be compulsory reading for all courses on research methodology in international relations and international law. The conversation led by Leah Sarson with Maya Eichler, Heather Smith, and Sarah Tuckey reveals so much not only about feminist research methods and research design but also about the assumptions we make about more “traditional” methods and perspectives.
Part 2 of the volume, “Applying a Gendered Lens to the Canadian Military,” provides a gender-based analysis of topics of high interests for the Canadian Armed Forces (caf). In chapter 5, Rebecca Jensen sheds light on the issues of sexual harassment and abusive behaviours in the caf. While the caf had done significant work since the publication of the Deschamps report to tackle these issues, the recent sexual misconduct allegations against the military’s highest-ranking officers demonstrate that there is still much work to be done to change the culture in which such behaviours are embedded. Jensen’s chapter offers novel policy recommendations, among them best practices from the medical community, that could be used to prevent sexual assault. In chapter 6, Leigh Spanner delves into the challenges Canadian military spouses face in trying to find employment, one of the leading causes of attrition within the caf. Despite recent changes announced in its national defence policy Strong, Secured, Engaged, to allow more “personalized career choices and flexibility” for its serving members,46 the gendered expectations of the caf framework are still based on a traditional conception of families, in which the military spouses are the primary caregivers. Spanner shares the personal stories of military spouses and serving members, from which the defence team could learn a lot. Part 3, “Feminist Activism and Tools for Empowering Women,” looks at the historic Women’s Marches that took place following the inauguration of US president Trump in January 2017, the fight of the Famous Five, and current efforts at decolonization in Canada. In chapter 7, co-authors Irasema Coronado, Toula Drimonis, and Élisabeth Vallet share their firsthand perceptions of the mobilization of feminist movements from El Paso, Texas, to Montreal, Quebec, as they resisted the rise of conservatism in North America. In chapter 8, historian Sharon Hamilton sheds light on the Famous Five’s constitutional fight to recognize women as “persons,” thus allowing women to be eligible for appointment to the Senate. Despite losing their case in front of the Supreme Court of Canada, the Famous Five were determined to find another way to make their voices heard and appealed to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London. Drawing lessons from the Famous Five, Hamilton discusses key attitudes and effective ways to lead change and support activists in their journey. Chapter 9, the final chapter of this volume, is a call to action, co-authored by Francyne D. Joe and Lianne C. Leddy, to support decolonization efforts in
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Canada. Their remarkable contribution helps us to understand the profound impacts colonial policies and practices had (and continue to have) on Indigenous women and girls. They conclude by extending an invitation to all Canadians to support Indigenous women and girls to reclaim their rightful place as leaders. We are proud to have gathered such a range of wisdom, insight, knowledge, and expertise in this volume, and we believe the result is a true contribution to existing feminist literature in international relations and international law – and thereby to the body of international relations and international law scholarship as a whole. May there be many more publications in which the majority of authors are women so that we might fill the gaping hole in knowledge, debate, and decision making that will continue to exist whenever only one perspective prevails.
note s 1 European Parliament, Women in Parliaments – At a Glance (Strasbourg: European Parliament, 2015), https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/ATAG/ 2015/545717/EPRS_ATA(2015)545717_REV1_EN.pdf. 2 See Chantal de Jonge Oudraat and Michael E. Brown, The Gender and Security Agenda: Strategies for the 21st Century (London and New York: Routledge, 2020). 3 European Parliament, “Women in the European Parliament,” last updated 12 September 2019, https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/headlines/society/ 20190226STO28804/women-in-the-european-parliament-infographics. 4 Emma Newburger, “These Are the Women Making History as the 116th Congress Is Sworn In,” cnbc, 3 January 2019, https://www.cnbc.com/2019/01/03/these-arethe-women-making-history-as-the-116th-congress-is-sworn-in.html. 5 “Trump to Congresswomen of Colour: Leave the US,” bbc News, 15 July 2019, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-48982172. 6 “Women in National Parliaments: World Classification,” Inter-Parliamentary Union, last updated 1 February 2019, http://archive.ipu.org/wmn-e/classif.htm. 7 National Defence, “Statistics of women in the Canadian Armed Forces,” 23 September 2020, https://www.canada.ca/en/department-national-defence/services/women-in-the-forces/statistics.html. 8 Melissa Moyser, Women and Paid Work (Ottawa: Statistics Canada, 2017), 26, https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/89-503-x/2015001/article/14694-eng.htm.
9 Sue Tolleson-Rinehard and Susan J. Carroll, “’Far from Ideal’: The Gender Politics of Political Science,” American Political Science Review 100 (4): 507–13. 10 Heather A. Smith and Jérémie Cornut, “The Status of Women in Canadian Foreign Policy Analysis,” Journal of Women, Politics and Policy 37, 2 (2016): 220. 11 Ibid., 222–4. 12 “Congrats, You Have an All Male Panel!,” https://allmalepanels.tumblr.com/. 13 Melissa Locker, “Congrats, You Have an All-Male Panel! How One Tumblr Shakes up Status Quo,” Guardian, 28 May 2015, https://www.theguardian.com/world/ 2015/may/28/congrats-you-have-an-all-male-panel-creator-viral-tumblr. 14 Leila Fadel, “Survey Suggests ‘Manels’ – All-Male Panels – Are Still the Norm,” npr, 1 November 2018, https://www.npr.org/2018/11/01/663012390/survey-suggestsmanels-all-male-panels-are-still-the-norm; Jacoline C. Bouvy and Michelle Mujoomdar, “All-Male Panels and Gender Diversity of Issue Panels and Plenary Sessions at ispor Europe,” PharmacoEconomics – Open 3 (2019): 419–22, https://doi.org/10.1007/s41669-019-0153-0. 15 A study conducted by unifem in 2012 indicates that out of a representative sample of thirty-one major peace processes between 1992 and 2011, only 4 percent of signatories, 2.4 percent of chief mediators, 3.7 percent of witnesses, and 9 percent of negotiators were women. See United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (unifem), Women’s Participation in Peace Negotiations: Connections between Presence and Influence (New York: United Nations, 2012), 3. See also Christine Bell, Women and Peace Processes, Negotiations and Agreements: Operational Opportunities and Challenges (Oslo: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre, 2013), 2–3. 16 Smith and Cornut, “Status of Women in Canadian Foreign Policy,” 228–9. 17 Cynthia Enloe, Bananas, Beaches and Bases: Making Feminist Sense of International Politics (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990), 7. 18 Cynthia Enloe, “Margins, Silences and Bottom-Rungs: How to Overcome the Underestimation of Power in the Study of International Relations,” in International Theory: Positivism and Beyond, ed. Steve Smith, Ken Booth, and Marysia Zalewski (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1996), 186–202; Sandra L. Whitworth, Men, Militarism and un Peacekeeping (Boulder, co: Westview Press, 2004). 19 J. Ann Tickner, Gender in International Relations: Feminist Perspectives on Achieving Global Security (New York: Columbia University Press, 1992). 20 Annica Kronsell, “Masculinist Practices in Institutions of Hegemonic Masculinity: Reflections from Feminist Standpoint Theory,” International Feminist Journal of
caroline leprince and cassandra steer Politics 7, 2 (2005): 280–98; Charlotte Hooper, “Masculinist Practices and Gender Politics,” in The “Man” Question in International Relations, ed. Marysia Zalewski and Jane L. Parpart (Boulder, co: Westview Press, 1998), 21–41; Maya Eichler, “Militarized Masculinities in International Relations,” Brown Journal of World Affairs 11, 1 (2014): 81–93.
21 Tickner, Gender in International Relations, 94. 22 Eichler, “Militarized Masculinities,” 81; Maya Eichler, Militarizing Men: Gender, Conscription, and War in Post-Soviet Russia (Red Wood City, ca: Stanford University Press, 2011). 23 Jacqui True, “Feminism and Gender Studies in International Relations Theory,” International Studies Association and Oxford University Press (March 2010), https:// doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780190846626.013.46. 24 Rebecca Walker, “Becoming the Third Wave,” Ms. Magazine, 1992, 41. 25 Kimberlé Crenshaw, “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics,” University of Chicago Legal Forum 139, 8 (1989): 139–67. See also Maria Stern, “Racism, Sexism, Classism and Much More: Reading Security-Identity in Marginalized Sites,” in Feminist Methodologies for International Relations, ed. Brooke A. Ackerly, Maria Stern, and Jacqui True (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006): 174–97. 26 Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (New York: Routledge, 1990). 27 Nancy Levit, Robert R.M. Verchick, and Martha Minow, Feminist Legal Theory: A Primer, 2nd ed. (New York: New York University Press, 2016), 17. 28 Carol Gilligan, “In a Different Voice: Women’s Conceptions of Self and of Morality,” Harvard Educational Review 47, 4 (1977): 481–517. 29 Luce Irigaray, “Sur l’éthique de la différence sexuelle,” Les Cahiers du grif 32 (1985): 115–19. 30 Martha Minow, Making All the Difference: Inclusion, Exclusion, and American Law (Ithaca, ny: Cornell University Press, 1990). 31 Joan Williams, Unbending Gender: Why Family and Work Conflict and What to Do about It (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001), 213. 32 Catharine A. MacKinnon, Feminism Unmodified (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1987); Catharine A. MacKinnon, Toward a Feminist Theory of the State (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1989).
33 Andrea Dworkin, “Prostitution and Male Supremacy,” Michigan Journal of Gender and Law 1, 1 (1993): 1–12. 34 Angela P. Harris, “Gender, Violence, Race, and Criminal Justice,” Stanford Law Review 52, 4 (1999): 777–807; Angela P. Harris, “Race and Essentialism in Feminist Legal Theory,” Stanford Law Review 42, 3 (1990): 581–616. 35 bell hooks, Talking Back: Thinking Feminist, Thinking Black (Boston: South End Press, 1989); bell hooks, Yearning: Race, Gender, and Cultural Politics (Boston: South End Press, 1992). 36 Patricia J. Williams, “Race and Rights,” in Theories of Race and Racism: A Reader, ed. Les Back and John Solomos (London and New York: Routledge, 2000), 421–30; Williams, Unbending Gender. 37 Francisco Valdes, “Beyond Sexual Orientation in Queer Legal Theory: Majoritarianism, Multidimensionality, and Responsibility in Social Justice Scholarship or Legal Scholars as Cultural Warriors,” Denver University Law Review 75 (1997): 1409; Martha Albertson Fineman, Jack E. Jackson, and Adam P. Romero, Feminist and Queer Legal Theory: Intimate Encounters, Uncomfortable Conversations (London: Routledge, 2016); Francisco Valdes, “Sex and Race in Queer Legal Culture: Ruminations on Identities and Inter-Connectivities,” Southern California Law Review and Women’s Studies 5 (1995): 25. 38 Hilary Charlesworth, Christine Chinkin, and Shelley Wright, “Feminist Approaches to International Law,” American Journal of International Law 85, 4 (1991): 613–45. 39 Akayesu, Jean Paul (ictr-96–4), International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, 2 September 1998, para. 598. 40 Article 7 (g), Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, https://www.icccpi.int/resource-library/documents/rs-eng.pdf. 41 Jing Geng, “The Maputo Protocol and the Reconciliation of Gender and Culture in Africa,” in Feminist Engagement with International Law, ed. Susan Harris Rimmer and Kate Ogg (Northampton, ma: Elgar, 2019), 412. 42 Lene Hansen, “Ontologies, Epistemologies, Methodologies,” in Gender Matters in Global Politics: A Feminist Introduction to International Relations, ed. Laura J. Shepherd (New York: Routledge, 2014); True, “Feminism and Gender Studies”; Marysia Zalewski, “Feminist International Relations: Making Sense …” in Gender Matters in Global Politics: A Feminist Introduction to International Relations, ed. Laura J. Shepherd (New York: Routledge, 2014), 28–43.
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43 Hansen, “Ontologies, Epistemologies, Methodologies.” 44 True, “Feminism and Gender Studies.” 45 Tami Jacoby, “From the Trenches: Dilemmas of Feminist ir Fieldwork,” in Feminist Methodologies for International Relations, ed. Brooke A. Ackerly, Maria Stern, and Jacqui True (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 162. 46 National Defence, Strong, Secure, Engaged: Canada’s Defence Policy (Ottawa: National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces, 2017), 22, http://publications .gc.ca/site/eng/9.835971/publication.html.
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2 “This Is the Young Woman Who Wants to Ask Questions”: Navigating Gender-Race-Age Dynamics in Field Research w. r. na dège compaoré
Introduction In order to collect qualitative data on the transparency mechanisms underpinning the governance of oil revenues in Ghana and Gabon, I spent three months in Ghana from July to September 2012, three months in South Africa from January to March 2013, and three months in Gabon from July to August 2013.1 The impetus for this research was to understand oil-rich African states’ behaviour towards the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (eiti), a voluntary global governance initiative designed to enhance transparency in the management of revenues within the mining, oil, and gas sectors of resource-rich countries. Specifically, I wanted to explain why Ghana complied with the eiti requirements while Gabon did not. I used South Africa as a control case study, given that, despite being a regional leader in Africa, and despite African countries making up the majority of eiti membership, South Africa has chosen to remain absent from the eiti.2 During the fieldwork, I examined the central mechanisms, discourses, and practices surrounding the implementation (or non-implementation) of the eiti in these countries. At the time of my field research, I was a doctoral student in Canada where I had lived for over a decade. Based on my background and personal experiences as a West African woman, I was getting ready to face potential challenges I may have had to navigate with regard to gender dynamics in
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the field, given that many of the government, corporate, and civil society officials working within the oil industry and whom I sought to interview were, for the most part, men. These expectations notwithstanding, nothing could have prepared me for the fact that the very complex gender dynamics I both feared and expected would also affect the outcome of my research. I had anticipated the need to negotiate my position as a female researcher in order to successfully get through the process of fieldwork, not fully realizing that gender would actually affect not just my data collection process but also the very content of the data. As the fieldwork progressed, it became clear that it was not only my being a woman that was affecting my data collection process but also my positionality as a young, black, African doctoral student in Canada. Particularly, my position as both a West African and a Western-based scholar brought with it contradictory attitudes of complicity and suspicion, which further complicated my interactions. Specifically, the multi-layered nature of my personal attributes influenced the nature and content of my interviews. Informed by an understanding of the field as “an autoethnographic space [where] researchers are an important part of the audience that shapes research subjects’ self-narrations,”3 this chapter discusses how my position at the intersection of age, gender, race, citizenship, and occupation affected my research. I first situate my use of the concept of autoethnography through an auto-reflexive analysis. In this section, I examine various attributes of my positionality that have affected my fieldwork in terms of gaining access to interviewees and the nature of the interview. I emphasize how this positionality has placed me as an insider and/or outsider in the eyes of my interviewees and the significance of these perceptions for my fieldwork. Second, by elaborating on particular encounters with interviewees before, during, and after the interview, I discuss how my complex positionality and intersectionality affected my data collection. Finally, I conclude with recommendations on navigating field research in an autoreflexive manner. My analysis in this chapter draws directly from a sample of my field notes and interviews.
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An Auto-Reflexive Analysis I conducted semi-structured interviews with officials from the government, with oil companies operating in Ghana and Gabon, as well as with relevant civil society members involved in the eiti implementation process. I also conducted interviews with local communities affected by oil exploration and/or extraction activities. In each country, although I aimed to follow a timeline that was planned well before my arrival in the field, it was important to be as flexible as possible, and this meant revising this timeline whenever new information that came to light during the interviews required doing so. Similarly, during my interviews with official stakeholders, who were mostly men, I learned to negotiate different ways to gain access to interview spaces and to successfully conduct interviews as, depending on the profile of my potential participants, some strategies were more effective than others. For example, some of my participants were very receptive to the fact that I was a researcher based in Canada, while others saw this as a disadvantage because they perceived me as an outsider. In other situations, the fact that I was an African-born researcher led to some participants treating me as an insider. This situation of researchers belonging or not belonging to the group they are studying has long been debated in qualitative research scholarship, especially through the concept of “insider/outsider.”4 While some scholars have argued that the distinction between insider and outsider should not imply that being an insider is more advantageous than being an outsider in terms of epistemological value,5 others acknowledge that insiders may have more advantages in terms of field practicalities such as language abilities and a deeper understanding of social values.6 Yet the dichotomy of insider/outsider is one that CorbinDwyer and Buckle call on us to transcend in order to better acknowledge that we can be both “insiders” and “outsiders,”7 an argument that I found helpful in understanding my own experiences in the field. This is not a new debate. For example, sociologist Patricia Hill Collins’s conceptualization of an “outsider within” status can be seen as a way of transcending the insider/outsider binary.8 Collins points to the example of black female academics who, although they can be seen as insiders due to their profession, remain at the margins of academia due to their race, gender, and resulting socio-cultural experiences.
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In considering this complex insider/outsider status seriously, I began to analyze the nature and outcome of my interview process during fieldwork by paying attention to my own positionality. Specifically, I adopted a more critical reflection on how my age, my gender, my race, my citizenship, and even my occupation had influenced my interactions with my participants. In this sense, my analysis aligns with literature in the social sciences that calls for rethinking the process of reflexive knowledge production in qualitative research.9 In international relations (ir), scholars such as Eagleton-Pierce call for a sociology of researchers and participants involved in the creation of knowledge in ir as well as for a sociology of the power dynamics between these groups.10 According to Eagleton-Pierce, to be reflexive is to take into consideration the self in relation to others, both subjects and objects.11 Similarly, critical feminist geographer Kim England argues that “fieldwork is a dialogical process which is structured by the researcher and the participants,” where the research outcome is directly affected by the positionality and biography of both researcher and research participants.12 These views challenge the methodological dominance of neopositivist empiricism, which treats research participants as passive subjects that are controlled by an omnipotent researcher.13 Fieldwork researchers such as Nilan have addressed the narrative of such a controlled empiricism by highlighting conflicting positions when trying to make sense of the data collection process.14 Nilan argues that the researcher faces two conflicting positions, with one position evoking “a discourse of control, objectivity, even emotional detachment,” while the other suggests “a discourse of immersion, reflexivity and rapport.”15 According to Nilan, these conflicting methodological positions need to be recognized and reflexively reconciled so as to highlight the messy conditions under which “controlled” and “scientific” knowledge is produced. In the rest of this analysis, I recognize intersubjective reflexivity as a key process that must be part of the researcher’s analysis while focusing on the importance of auto-reflexivity, whereby the researcher takes a critical look at the very attributes of their positionality as a starting point. By taking an auto-reflexive approach to better understand the impact of my positionality on my data collection, and therefore on the resulting knowledge production, I am informed by the concept of autoethnography, which is mainly used in geography16 but is also used in ir.17 In this sense, to conduct an au-
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toethnography is to use critical reflexivity in order to recognize the different ways in which the researcher’s subjectivity also represents an object of research in that it affects the outcome of research, particularly in fieldwork. To recognize these dynamics is to cultivate an “autoethnographic sensibility.”18 Autoethnography is therefore very useful for my analysis, precisely because it corresponds to an auto-reflexive or narrative ethnography “where academic researchers include themselves as an important aspect of what they are signifying.”19 An auto-reflexive sensitivity emphasizes that, although my personal experiences in the field are not the primary focus of my inquiry, they are important and must be taken into consideration in the epistemological process. For instance, England calls for an analysis of the “personal” in field research.20 In other words, she suggests that all aspects of one’s biography be taken into consideration as variables that affect the outcomes of one’s fieldwork. Adopting an auto-reflexive sensitivity is therefore an important methodological and epistemological tool as it allows the researcher to emphasize the significance of their identity in the production of knowledge. Much work on the impact of researchers’ positionalities on the fieldwork process has focused on cases in which researchers are in a more powerful position than their participants. Sultana offers a very nuanced discussion of these power relationships between researchers and participants.21 Indeed, most of these studies emphasize the power dynamics between local participants and foreign researchers (most of whom come from the West), where the latter have more power than their participants. Moreover, these power relationships may refer to the dynamics between local researchers and Western researchers, where local participants have less access to fieldwork spaces than their Western counterparts.22 However, there has been less research aimed at elucidating cases in which researchers are in a less powerful position than their participants.23 In fact, depending on the attributes of the researchers and the participants, the power dynamics between both groups can take the form of “reciprocal, asymmetrical, or potentially exploitative relations.”24 As a young, female doctoral student who conducted fieldwork where the majority of my participants were older, elite men – namely, high-level government and corporate officials as well as key leaders of civil society organizations (cso s) – I was often negotiating interviews from a much lower position of power. In short, I was
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operating within an asymmetrical dynamic with elite participants, particularly due to my gender and my age. Interestingly, the age variable is not prominent in discussions of positionality in fieldwork. This is an important gap as my experiences in the field point to both age and gender as being determining factors in my interactions with participants. Rosalie Wax is an important exception in the literature as, based on her own fieldwork experiences as a mature scholar, she focuses on the significance of gender and age in fieldwork.25 For instance, Wax found that, during their field research of a Sioux community in Pine Ridge, she and her male partner were restricted to interacting with gendered groups. Furthermore, their young research assistants had access to young students close to their own age in a way that she and her partner did not. Finally, young women faced more barriers in the field, while mature women had more access and respect.26 While age and gender were crucial factors in shaping my interactions, my positionality and the resulting power dynamics that characterized my encounters with interviewees were varied and shifting, depending on the particular institution and individual with whom I was dealing. Indeed, the only constant was that these encounters were all affected by one or more aspects of my positionality, be it age, gender, citizenship, or occupation. In other words, one should not assume that these positionalities and power relations are fixed attributes; rather, they change through time and space.27 In some interviews, for instance, the interviewees seemed fully aware of the fact that I was a young, African woman living and studying in North America. Other times, I was simply a young woman, or a doctoral candidate, or an African, or a researcher, or simply a woman. These shifts in participants’ perception of my identity are not unusual, especially for non-Western researchers doing fieldwork in the West, as was the experience of Yolande Bouka in her study of Rwanda.28 Being an African-born woman studying in the United States, she was constantly challenged by participants who sought to place her within a fixed category of insider or outsider. My own experiences highlight that, throughout the course of my fieldwork, despite such shifting perceptions of my positionality, none of the attributes of my positionality could truly be separated from one another. In other words, the multifaceted and complex nature of my positionality speaks to the importance of intersectionality when considering an auto-reflexive approach to the fieldwork process.
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During the first month of my fieldwork in Ghana, I learned to recognize that some attributes of my positionality were more or less noticed by my participants and that this led to attitudes of empathy, acceptance, or suspicion on their part. For example, some of my elite interviewees shared with me the fact that they had doctoral degrees from prestigious Western universities. The way in which this information was provided often made it clear that they perceived being a doctoral candidate in a reputable Western university to be an important fact, and so I learned to build rapport with these interviewees based on our comparable Western training. In contrast, other interviewees who had a comparable education were simply keen on guiding me to the right place, the right person with whom to talk, and, in much of their language and actions, it became clear that they had adopted a protective, and sometimes paternalistic, attitude towards me based on the fact that I was a young woman, a student who was still in learning, whereas they were much older, powerful, and established men. Increasingly aware of how the various attributes of my positionality led to both privileges and challenges, I consciously began to emphasize or understate one or more aspects of my attributes (gender, age, nationality, occupation) when recruiting participants and conducting interviews. This choice depended of course on my own perceptions of how my interviewees would react to various attributes, based on my previous encounters. Moreover, I became aware that a focus on some attributes made me appear as an outsider (e.g., focusing on being a researcher from a Western university), while other attributes strengthened perceptions that I was an insider (mostly the fact that I was from Burkina Faso, something that was evident from my last name, which is a very common last name unique to that country). I opted for this strategy because I quickly realized that, as Mullings notes of her own experiences as a field researcher in Jamaica, “assumptions of mutual positionalities made interviewees willing to share information” they might not otherwise have shared.29 However, unlike attributes such as my occupation or citizenship, attributes such as age could not be flexibly played upon as they were plain to the eye, so I simply had to analyze the content of these interviews from an auto-reflexive angle.
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Navigating Intersectionality during Fieldwork One of the most visible facts that led me to recognize and pay attention to gendered dynamics during my encounters in the field was a certain pattern in the language that some of my interviewees used towards me. Particularly during my encounters with elite groups, the gendered nature of the language used by interviewees always occurred off record, usually before the interview – namely, during brief pre-interview chats or after the interview. For instance, they wanted to know how old I was and whether I was single. This led me to assume that these interviewees were fully aware that such language was inappropriate, which is why they maintained strictly professional language when being recorded. Yet there was the tacit expectation that, because I was, after all, a West African woman (i.e., an insider), I would know that these were acceptable questions in West Africa and would not be offended. Self-reflections on my personal experiences during the fieldwork have made clear the fact that my positionality influences “whether and how an interview takes place.”30 In fact, it became an essential part of my fieldwork to learn how best to navigate the intersectionality of my attributes as a young, black, African woman studying in the West. Next, I discuss my interactions with some of my participants to better illustrate the above reflections. I maintain the anonymity of these participants during my analysis.
Before the Interview Before my arrival in Ghana, I had tried to secure an interview (by e-mail and by phone) with an elite government stakeholder (Participant A), whose contribution would be particularly important to my work. My efforts had been in vain, which was not too surprising. Indeed, given the high position that this individual occupied in the government, it was likely that he would not answer my inquiries or requests for interviews. I still hoped to make contact once there, following the necessary protocol. Unfortunately, things did not move forward once I was in Ghana because Participant A was a busy high-level elite official, and the official interview protocol was long
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and complex. Therefore, while continuing the necessary steps to obtain an interview with Participant A, I managed to secure an interview with another senior official from the same government department (Participant B). Once my interview with Participant B, an older man close to retirement, was over, he commended me on being a driven “young woman” and advised me to conduct an interview with Participant A. When I explained to him that my interview request protocol was in progress and that I was hoping to have an exchange with Participant A before the end of my field trip, Participant B insisted on accompanying me to Participant A’s office. Although Participant A occupied a more senior position than Participant B, he was younger than the latter. Thus, without having an appointment, Participant B led me to Participant A’s office and introduced me by saying, “Here’s the young woman who wants to ask questions, if you have some free time.” I was struck by these words, especially because, during all my written and verbal communication with all my participants (including Participants A and B), I always introduced myself as a researcher or as an academic – never as “young” or as a “woman.” It was then that I began to wonder if my gender and my age had had an impact on Participant B’s decision to help me meet with Participant A. Still, I was able to conduct my interview with Participant A that very day, which would not have occurred at that time without the intervention of Participant B.
During the Interview All the elite participants (over sixty participants) whom I interviewed during my fieldwork in the three countries were men, with the exception of two women in Ghana, one in South Africa, and one in Gabon. As such, given that I was largely interviewing highly educated, older, powerful men, I was expecting significant gender and power dynamics to be at play during my interviews. However, it quickly became evident that my age and occupation, and my being an African female scholar based in Canada, also added to the complexity of my positionality and affected not only my access to participants but also the content of the responses I received. For instance, before or after the interviews, many of my elite interviewees in Ghana asked me about Burkina Faso’s political life or used my Burkinabè
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origins to illustrate some of their arguments. In other words, the fact that I was from Burkina Faso often established a sense of complicity and trust with my participants, especially in Ghana, which is Burkina Faso’s neighbour. For instance, to reinforce his point regarding foreseeable challenges to the implementation of the eiti in Ghana, a statement from one of my Ghanaian elite participants (Participant C) is telling: Going forward, in terms of the future of the eiti, I see countries reasserting themselves, and taking ownership of the process and determining the additional criteria that must be taken at the national level, which will be responsive directly to the local needs, and aspirations … I spent time in Burkina talking to civil society groups in Burkina on the eiti, and how they organize themselves, to determine the content and direction, in terms of implementation of the Burkina eiti. Otherwise, it becomes an annual ritual that is meaningless to the people, in terms of their consents and aspirations.31 This was particularly telling because my question focused on Ghana’s implementation of the eiti and because Burkina Faso was not one of my case studies. The rationale underpinning Participant C’s decision to mention Burkina Faso (my country of origin) in this scenario is comparable to that of a participant from South Africa (Participant F) who chose to focus on Canada (my country of residence) in his responses. Specifically, Participant F justified South Africa’s refusal to join the eiti in part by pointing to the fact that, based on its domestic mechanisms for regulating the extractive sector, “even Canada” had chosen not to be a signatory to the global initiative and by arguing that the same applied to South Africa.32 It was interesting, though perhaps unsurprising, that Participant F did not focus on the fact that other resource-rich countries, such as the United Kingdom or the United States, were not signatories to the eiti at the time of my interview in South Africa in 2013. I believe this was due to the fact that Participant F associated me with being an outsider from Canada, thus, at that moment, making my country of residence the most salient feature of my positionality. In the same vein, aware of the fact that I had been living in Canada for a long time, and that I was affiliated with a Canadian university, some in-
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terviewees did not hide their suspicions and perceptions that my research was likely biased by a Western agenda. For example, for a great deal of our interview, one government official in Ghana (Participant D) warned me against the pitfalls of a Western-centric view, which, he argued, had an imperialist agenda and was embedded in the operations of local civil societies. He pointed particularly to the fact that some local civil societies depended on Western funding, thus making them predisposed towards a Western political agenda rather than a national agenda. In answer to my question as to whether the Ghanaian government aligned with global governance measures in its understanding of how transparency should be regulated, Participant D responded as follows: Can I tell you something? The rest of the world can go to hell! Provided the people of Ghana are well served. We are elected by the people of Ghana, and for me, that is critical. If information is made available to local people in a form and format that the average person can understand, and ask reasonable questions, I’m satisfied … Does it best serve the interest of Ghana? If I can’t answer “yes” to that, I refold my mandate.33
After the Interview As the above illustrates, I experienced both challenges and privileges based on perceptions of my positionality (in terms of age, gender, nationality, and occupation) in the process of seeking and conducting interviews. These contradictory attitudes positioned me as an insider, or an outsider, or both, depending on the participant’s attitudes towards my personal attributes. At the end of one of my interviews in Ghana, for instance, an interviewee with whom I had established a good rapport leading up to the interview decided to offer me (unsolicited) advice, based on his perceptions of our mutual commonalities. Specifically, based on the interviewee’s experiences in a Western country while studying for his PhD, he advised me to return to my country of origin to contribute to its development: “Don’t stay there, be sure to return when you finish. There is no place like home, and there are more opportunities back home.”34 This kind of advice, be it related to one’s research or not, is not uncommon. For example, this is what Gabo
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Nsteane experienced during fieldwork in her native Botswana. Nsteane, a female academic who was studying for her PhD in the United States and had returned to conduct interviews with businesswomen in Botswana, received constant advice (including marital advice) from these women (who were often older than her) regarding who to talk to in the field, what questions to ask, and what to do once she obtained her doctoral degree.35 However, this type of unsolicited advice, which was the result of various readings of my position as a young female researcher, could be useful, depending on the context. For instance, I received advice from the head of a local Ghanaian ngo that became central to the success of my field research in some rural parts of Ghana’s western region. Following my interview, the director of this local ngo (Participant E) inquired about the rest of my timeline and about my game plan for the rest of my fieldwork. Upon hearing that I was planning on conducting semi-structured interviews with local community members throughout the region, he insisted on having a young male employee accompany me. This employee was university-educated, a native of the region, and about the same age as me. Participant E thought it would not be safe for me, as a young woman, to do this research alone. Given that I was able to successfully complete the first half of my research, and given that I was only targeting local community members who would be able to communicate in basic English, I did not think a guide was necessary and had not planned for one, especially since there had been no reports in the region regarding safety concerns for non-locals. However, I politely accepted Participant E’s offer. In hindsight, that part of my fieldwork would not have been possible and/or effective without my highly knowledgeable local guide, who was not only aware of the issues that I was investigating but was also familiar with local surroundings, customs, and practices. My guide’s assistance proved invaluable, especially as this last phase of my field research was in the rural areas, where community members were more suspicious of foreigners and where I did not have as many grounds for commonalities, given that many of my interviewees had basic to no formal Western education. In theory, I had extensively prepared to face the fieldwork in the western region based on my background research. In practice, however, without my guide’s help, I would not have been able to gain access to key people or to conduct the majority of my interviews in
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remote communities within the western region. Finally, my guide provided invaluable insights and assistance in recruiting and securing participants. Yet, in retrospect, my first inclination had been to decline the unsolicited offer of a guide as I sought to position myself as a capable, independent researcher. In this particular case, I had been offered these services because it was not safe for a young woman to be venturing into remote communities alone. The lesson that I retain from this experience is an important one when it comes to dealing with gendered dynamics in the field. First, one must recognize when such dynamics are at play and what provoked and shaped them. Second, a decision must be made as to whether or not to reject the outcomes of such dynamics, based on one’s assessment of how this will affect both the researcher and the field research. If such an impact is not detrimental to the researcher and/or to the field research, it can be beneficial to cautiously work within these dynamics so that one may progressively negotiate a better rapport with participants while establishing necessary professional boundaries. In fact, I lived a comparable but different experience in Gabon with an elite participant from the government, who was very professional and whose input proved extremely insightful. Indeed, this official (Participant G) held a high-level position that was very pertinent to my research, and he was especially welcoming of my interview and my research, which he deemed important. He was also an older man, who, following retirement, had been called back to serve as a special advisor to the government. Participant G and I had a professional conversation throughout the interview, after which he said that he was very pleased with my research topic and that he was especially pleased that I was what he considered to be young and motivated. He then, to my surprise, insisted on having his driver take me to my next destination as the driver’s next errand was in a similar direction to where I was headed. I politely declined, explaining that I was used to getting around on my own and had planned to take a taxi. However, after much insistence, and having quickly determined that the social repercussion of declining an offer from an elder that was meant to be helpful could be perceived as rude – especially coming from a much younger person – I reluctantly but politely agreed. I then quickly sent an e-mail en route with the driver to thank Participant G for his time and insights as well as for his kind offer to have his driver drop me off at
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my next destination. I wanted to make sure there was traceable documentation of what happened and what I had agreed to. I also agreed to the ride because the person in question was an official driver who had been identified as such in the office in front of witnesses. While this offer had no direct impact on my actual research, I thought that the consequences of saying no might have been more obstructive than anything else, especially since I had planned on using Participant G (given his seniority and highlevel position) to recruit other participants. Indeed, through the snowball method, I eventually succeeded in doing this. Having estimated that my safety was not at risk and that the content of my interview was already secured, I made the decision to accept an offer that I determined Participant G made based on his perception of my gender and my age, and his resulting protective attitude towards me (despite my being uncomfortable with such an attitude). The purpose of this commentary is not to offer a formula on how to deal with such situations; rather, my goal is to highlight how the intersectionality of my gender, race, nationality, age, and occupation played a key part in my field research. The main lesson I learned from my fieldwork is the need to recognize that my positionality as a female researcher who was perceived as both an insider and an outsider and whose age constantly shaped the attitudes of elite participants (all of whom were older) affected the process of my field research and to assess how the intersectional nature of this positionality ultimately affected the outcome of the data collected. Scholars in anthropology, geography, and sociology have been leading the way in calling for a reflexive approach to fieldwork that takes into account age, gender, class, nationality, and race. Progress is slowly under way in political science, with an emerging group of feminist scholars increasingly engaging in debates on the significance of intersectionality in fieldwork.36 ir scholars need to engage in these debates in a more collective and systematic manner. Ackerly and True suggest that a feminist research ethic can provide important tools for self-reflexive knowledge production that is attentive to extending the “power of epistemology, of boundaries and relationships[,] into the practice of our research.”37 Indeed, such a commitment is highly relevant in the fieldwork context, where the researcherparticipant dynamics reflect real human, personal relationships that: (1)
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complicate the subject-object boundaries between researcher and participant, and (2) ultimately affect data collection.
Conclusion The goal of my fieldwork was to examine why Ghana complied with the global governance standard that is the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative while Gabon did not. South Africa, which has declined to join the eiti altogether, was also used as a control case study. I conducted three months of fieldwork in each country, using semi-structured elite interviews as well as interviews with local community members as a primary means of data collection. In designing my field research, I did not initially anticipate what an important role my gender, age, citizenship, and race would play in the knowledge production process. However, by the end of my study, I became fully aware of the impact of my positionality on the outcome of my research. Thus, in planning any future fieldwork, I will first and foremost identify and assess my positionality vis-à-vis my research participants in order to be better prepared to handle the research process, with the caveat that no matter how prepared one is, one must always be ready for the unexpected. I plan to conduct fieldwork that prioritizes an auto-reflexive sensibility. Indeed, unless we are serious about critical reflexive work before, during, and after our fieldwork, thereby acknowledging the ontological, epistemological, and methodological implications of our positionality for the research we are set to conduct, we risk missing the complex research mechanisms that occur while in the field and that are ultimately crucial in accounting for our academic knowledge production. In this context, I would concur with Frances B. Henderson’s key assertion following her extensive field research in Mozambique that our bodies, positionalities, and identities will affect the fieldwork process.38 A political scientist herself, Henderson calls for “political science researchers [to] take a cue from our colleagues in anthropology, who have written extensively on the importance of reflection about identity before going to the field, in the field, and upon one’s return.”39 I would also suggest that, in addition to learning from anthropology, political scientists – especially those in ir – could learn from geographers who have debated and continue to debate extensively on the
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need to practise critical reflexivity in all aspects of the research process. As Mullings argues, it is important to recognize the moments of uncertainty that the researcher faces during semi-structured interviews in order to rethink the authority of the researcher in validating the data collected.40 For instance, in using an auto-reflexive sensibility when assessing interview data, researchers should make sure that they diversify their means of data collection in order to ensure a better triangulation of research outcomes. Still keeping with this auto-reflexivity, I offer the following recommendations to the next generations of field researchers, particularly young, female researchers, both racialized and non-racialized: • Take a multidisciplinary approach. In preparing for fieldwork, consider reading widely not only in political science and ir scholarship but also in disciplines that have, for a long time, considered how to navigate the complexities of fieldwork through a self-reflexive lens. In doing so, one can learn a lot from concrete cases of fieldwork that systematically engaged not only with the technical and “scientific” aspects of fieldwork but also with the importance of intersectionality in knowledge production. • Pay attention to gender dynamics. As a woman, although I was not operating in difficult environments during this fieldwork, safety was a concern when meeting men behind closed doors for interviews. As such, I only accepted interviews in workplaces or in public, open spaces (if the event took place outside of a workplace). Furthermore, I made sure to document agreements to meetings via traceable documentation such as e-mails, within which I established the kind of agreement I had with the potential participant prior to the meeting, and I followed up with an e-mail after the meeting. If a participant tried to use my contact for unsolicited personal matters unrelated to the interview, I politely but firmly declined. • Age matters. The literature on intersectionality in fieldwork, including literature outside of political science, focuses on the important variables of gender, race, class, nationality, occupation, and the complexities of insider/outsider dynamics with participants. However, not enough has been written about how age functions within fieldwork dynamics. As young researchers, especially young female researchers, it is important to quickly identify how age can influence your access to and interactions with participants so that you can devise a plan to mitigate this. For instance, when
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I realized that my age was an obstacle to securing and/or conducting highlevel interviews, I chose to emphasize my occupation as a researcher and my education level. • Be mindful of one’s insider/outsider status. Once I realized that my insider/outsider status affected the way that participants were relating to me and ultimately affected my access to interviews and the nature of those interviews, I added another layer to my pre-interview research, whereby I sought to find out as much as possible about my elite participants’ biography (in addition to their professional occupation). I therefore tried to anticipate how and why that participant could be seen as an insider and/or outsider during the interview, and prepared myself for potential dynamics. That said, more often than not, I could not anticipate the types of reactions based on my insider/outsider identity during the interview, and it is important to accept that one can never fully anticipate what may transpire. • Expect the unexpected. While preparation is key to fieldwork, it is extremely important to expect the unexpected. In my personal experience, this was what was most helpful, be it in the face of unexpected technical challenges, uncomfortable individual dynamics, or even unexpected help from unlikely sources. As long as one’s safety and the ethical nature of the fieldwork process is ensured, being ready to adjust to the unexpected proved the best way to keep things moving forward.
note s 1 This contribution was first published in French in Études Internationales. For the full reference, see Nadège W.R. Compaoré, “Voici la jeune femme qui veut poser des questions: Composer avec le genre et une positionnalité changeante durant l’enquête de terrain,” Études internationales 48, 1 (2017):105–16. 2 South Africa is not considered an oil country, given that it does not have commercial levels of oil. However, it had been undergoing intensive gas explorations in the Karoo, where Shell was leading exploration activities as of 2013, at the time of my fieldwork. This being the case, the South African government was still collecting revenues from Shell. 3 David Butz and Kathryn Besio, “Autoethnography,” Geography Compass 3, 5 (2009): 1668.
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4 Patricia Hill Collins, “Learning from the Outsider Within: The Sociological Significance of Black Feminist Thought,” Social Problems 33, 6 (1986): S14–S32. 5 Andrew Herod, “Reflections on Interviewing Foreign Elites: Praxis, Positionality, Validity, and the Cult of the Insider,” Geoforum 30, 4 (1999): 313–27. 6 Muhammad Aurang Zeb Mughal, “Being and Becoming Native: A Methodological Enquiry into Doing Anthropology at Home,” Anthropological Notebooks 21, 1 (2015): 121–32. 7 Sonya Corbin-Dwyer and Jennifer L. Buckle, “The Space Between: On Being an Insider-Outsider in Qualitative Research,” International Journal of Qualitative Methods 8, 1 (2009): 54–63. 8 Collins, “Outsider Within,” S14–S32. 9 Gabriel Girard, “Insider-outsider, une posture intenable? Retour sur des enjeux de positions dans une recherche sur l’homosexualité et le sida,” dans La recherche communautaire vih/sida: Des savoirs engagés, ed. J. Otis, M. Bernier and J.J. Lévy (Quebec: Presses de l’Université du Québec, 2015), 343–58; Lynn A. Staeheli and Victoria Lawson, “A Discussion of ‘Women in the Field’: The Politics of Feminist Field Work,” Professional Geographer 46, 1 (1994): 96–102; Farhana Sultana, “Reflexivity, Positionality and Participatory Ethics: Negotiating Fieldwork Dilemmas in International Research,” International E-Journal for Critical Geographies 6, 3 (2007): 374–85; Anne Volvey, Yann Calbérac, and Myriam Houssay-Holzschuch, “Terrains de je. (Du) sujet (au) géographique,” Annales de géographie 687–88 (2012): 441–61. 10 Matthew Eagleton-Pierce, “Advancing a Reflexive International Relations,” Millennium: Journal of International Studies 39, 3 (2011): 805–23. 11 Ibid., 806. 12 Kim England, “Getting Personal: Reflexivity, Positionality, and Feminist Research,” Professional Geographer 46, 1 (1994): 80. 13 Ibid., 81. 14 Pamela Nilan, “‘Dangerous Fieldwork’ Re-Examined: The Question of Researcher Subject Position,” Qualitative Research 2, 3 (2002): 363–86. 15 Ibid., 364. 16 Butz and Besio, “Autoethnography,” 1660–74. 17 Morgan Brigg and Roland Bleiker, “Autoethnographic International Relations: Exploring the Self as a Source of Knowledge,” Review of International Studies 36, 3 (2010): 779–98; Roxanne Lynn Doty, “Autoethnography – Making Human Connections,” Review of International Studies 66, 4 (2010): 1047–50; Oded Löwenheim,
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“The ‘I’ in ir: An Autoethnographic Account,” Review of International Studies 36, 4 (2010): 1023–45. 18 Butz and Besio, “Autoethnography,” 1660–74. 19 Ibid., 1666. 20 England, “Getting Personal,” 80–9. 21 Sultana, “Reflexivity, Positionality and Participatory Ethics,” 374–85. 22 Beverley Mullings, “Commentary: Postcolonial Encounters of the Methodological Kind,” Southeastern Geographer 45, 2 (2005): 274–80. 23 Beverley Mullings, “Insider or Outsider, Both or Neither: Some Dilemmas of Interviewing in a Cross-Cultural Setting,” Geoforum 30, 4 (1999): 338. 24 England, “Getting Personal,” 82. 25 Rosalie H. Wax, “Gender and Age in Fieldwork and Fieldwork Education: No Good Thing Is Done by Any Man Alone,” Social Problems 26, 5 (1979): 509–22. 26 Ibid. 27 Mullings, “Insider or Outsider,” 341. 28 Yolande Bouka, “Researching Violence in Africa as a Black Woman: Notes from Rwanda,” Conflict Field Research, working paper, 2015, http://conflictfield research.colgate.edu/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Bouka_WorkingPaperMay2015.pdf. 29 Mullings, “Insider or Outsider,” 345. 30 Ibid., 339. 31 Interview with the author, Accra, June 2012. 32 Ibid., Cape Town, 2013. 33 Ibid., Accra, July 2012. 34 Ibid. 35 Sharan Merriam, Gabo Ntseane, Ming-Yeh Lee, Youngwha Kee, and Juanita Johnson-Bailey, “Power and Positionality: Negotiating Insider/Outsider Status in Multicultural and Cross-Cultural Research,” International Journal of Lifelong Education 20, 5 (2001): 409. 36 Candice D. Ortbals and Meg E. Rincker, “Fieldwork, Identities, and Intersectionality: Negotiating Gender, Race, Class, Religion, Nationality, and Age in the Research Field Abroad: Editors’ Introduction,” ps: Political Science and Politics 42, 2 (2009): 287–90; Erica Townsend-Bell, “Being True and Being You: Race, Gender, Class, and the Fieldwork Experience,” ps: Political Science and Politics 42, 2 (2009): 311–14. 37 Brooke Ackerly and Jacqui True, “Reflexivity in Practice: Power and Ethics in
w.r. nadège compaoré Feminist Research on International Relations,” International Studies Review 10 (2008): 705.
38 Frances B. Henderson, “We Thought You Would Be White: Race and Gender in Fieldwork,” PS: Political Science and Politics 42, 2 (2009): 293. 39 Henderson, “We Thought You Would be White,” 293. 40 Mullings, “Insider or Outsider,” 349.
3 Soft Power as Metaphor: The Gender of Security tanya monforte
Introduction David Rothkopf, editor of Foreign Policy, made the following observation in a roundtable discussion about soft power: The concept “Soft power” that Joe Nye developed in 1990, and as much as I respect Joe Nye … he did a disservice by using the term “soft” – this is not soft power, this is power. The most powerful forces on earth are our systems of belief, and the tools we have to change our systems of belief are very, very limited … where we can touch hearts and minds and we can inspire and where we can drive cultural change from within.1 With his background of years as an editor, Rothkopf observed how the value of power is discounted simply by labelling it “soft.” This is in itself an interesting observation, but it merits further elaboration. Joseph Nye changed the field of international relations when he introduced the concept of soft power.2 This idea has influenced academics and policy-makers in the United States, Canada, and around the world.3 His theory of hard and soft power has had real world impacts on the ways countries develop their international policy and imagine national security. In the following pages, I discuss his theory of soft and hard power not as it is usually discussed – that is, on the merits – but instead as a metaphor. More specifically, I explore
how this metaphor fits into the conceptual systems commonly found in the Global North. I look at how this metaphor is deployed through speeches and interviews given by policy-makers and, in so doing, reveal its conceptual links to the hard/soft dichotomy.4 This process lays bare the ways the metaphor is gendered and the ways in which gender assumptions can bias policy decisions and outcomes. Treating language seriously is a way to uncover how policy can be led by conceptual biases that may complicate both men’s and women’s contributions to peace and security. Looking at such concepts as hard and soft power on a meta-level as discursive devices, I trace the ways in which gender and metaphor converge in our conceptual scheme, potentially constraining our actions.5 By looking at the metaphors used in our theories and the gendered conceptual systems they entail, I tease out some potential unintended consequences and lay out some problems those working in the field of security, particularly women, should consider. There is nothing shocking about a feminist analysis of the metaphor of hard and soft power and how it corresponds to assumptions about gender: this is old-school feminist method, and it looks at discourse to show how “hard” and “soft” tend to be gendered in a particular way.6 What may be surprising, however, is the evidence of the ways in which these concepts, despite feminist critique, continue to be gendered in their use today and how background gender assumptions appear to affect and influence fundamental security policy.7 I draw out the textual traces of how conceptual frameworks that emphasize softness align with concepts of weakness and femininity, evidenced in the ways people speak and act in policy circles. While looking for instances when female policy-makers in particular refer to soft power or soft power concepts, I asked myself how women can use, subvert, or resist gendered structures and the metaphors that frame discussions on foreign policy and security matters. While a feminist analysis of language is old hat, it continues to surprise. After looking at several speeches and the commentary by major national security and foreign policy figures, one finds evidence that “women’s nature” or “biology” have re-entered the discussion of women and security, and at times from unlikely sources.8 From an examination of the language that appears at the intersection of gendering and securitizing, it is clear that we have to be extremely
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careful both about how we frame the language of security and about how we frame the arguments for women’s inclusion in this power structure. Assumptions about women’s roles as agents of peace might mean that women’s legitimacy at the table rests on their playing a scripted role. Deviation from that role may not be allowed, or the person who deviates may be disciplined for acting against his or her ascribed gender role. Or, when women do advocate for peaceful solutions, their input may be discounted as predictable. Such assumptions might also mean that women’s positions and jobs are circumscribed to more “feminine” roles in the fields of security. As Dianne Otto writes, the way we frame the call for female inclusion matters “because it affects the scope of the political agency that they will be ‘allowed.’”9 If there is a gendered distinction between hard and soft power, this may constrain women and men in terms of the kinds of positions they take and the policies they enact.
Metaphors and Our Gendered Frames Our concepts structure what we perceive, how we get around in the world, and how we relate to other people. Primarily on the basis of linguistic evidence, we have found that most of our conceptual system is metaphorical in nature. And we have found a way to begin to identify in detail the metaphors that structure how we perceive, how we think, and what we do.10 As George Lakoff and Mark Johnson write, metaphors are not simply ways to express our ideas, as if they were a linguistic art form representing a complex idea that was fundamentally separate from them. Conceptual systems are metaphorical, and we think and organize our knowledge about the world through metaphors. Different metaphors provide a context within which a simple word can convey complex meanings that are immediately available to a competent speaker of the language. As such, the importance of language is apparent both because it partially structures how we think and because it provides evidence of the conceptual systems at work. One of Lakoff and Johnson’s examples of an everyday metaphor is: “Argument is War.”11 So when we say things like: “I won the argument,” “she lost
the argument,” “she shot down all his points,” or “his argument was right on target” – we think through the metaphor of war.12 According to Lakoff: “We see the person we are arguing with as an opponent. We attack his positions and we defend our own. We gain and lose ground. We plan and use strategies. If we find a position indefensible, we can abandon it and take a new line of attack.”13 He goes on to say: “try to imagine a culture where arguments are not viewed in terms of war … [W]here argument is viewed as a dance, the participants are seen as performers, and the goal is to perform in a balanced and aesthetically pleasing way.”14 According to Lakoff, in the latter case we would engage differently from how we would if we used the metaphor of war.15 We would focus on complementing and supporting the other person and, arguably, even have a different physical response to them. The point is quite simple: metaphors have power. We think in metaphors, and so, when we are offered a metaphor to organize policies, it can fit seemingly intuitively into our metaphorical thinking, often in very deep ways. Metaphors don’t just express thought: they structure how we think about things and consequently affect our behaviour in relation to those things. In the 1990s, Julie A. Nelson, writing about gender dualism, argued that the metaphors “hard” and “soft” were linked to “masculine” and “feminine,” respectively. She also argued that there was a clear hierarchy in which the masculine – the hard – was understood as more valuable than the feminine – the soft. She offered “a transformative argument” to split the normative ordering of masculine over feminine in a way that would recognize that there are both positive and negative forms of hard and soft. She split value but maintained the binary because, as she stated, it was a “cognitive patterning system” that should “be transformed rather than repressed.”16 For Nelson and many others at that time, the values that we assign to the feminine and the masculine were the variables to be challenged – not the conceptual system that links hard to masculine and soft to feminine. We simply needed to recognize that there was as much positive in the feminine and the soft as there was in the masculine and the hard.17 Others, like Pierre Bourdieu, have taken a different line, arguing that the conceptual systems that link male and female to domination/dominated as well as to a series of oppositions like “strong/weak, big/small, heavy/light … hard/soft,” de-
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spite being pervasive, are historically contingent and not conceptually determined.18 Bourdieu provides an in-depth analysis of masculinity, framing his argument with the question of why sexual structures, which he sees as contingent, nevertheless persist and appear eternal.19 He proposes a research agenda to examine how binaries are stabilized. Despite difficulties understanding the reasons for this stabilization, in both Bourdieu and Nelson the gendering of binaries persists. Over the past few decades, attempts to alter the valuation of the hierarchy between masculine and feminine have had partial success. However, it is an open question as to whether or not soft and hard have shifted or persisted in terms of corresponding to feminine and masculine, respectively, and how this may affect the field of security, which consciously utilizes these terms. The cognitive ordering system of security studies needs to be opened up and explicitly analyzed. In the language used in common commentary about foreign policy, there are several metaphorical dichotomies at play: hard/soft, strong/weak, hawk/dove. These binaries tend to correspond to the opposition of masculine and feminine. If the link between hard and soft corresponds to strong and weak, it is difficult to imagine how to change the way people perceive value when dealing in security. In a 2016 poll, nearly half of all Americans reportedly believed that the United States was, in general, becoming too soft and too feminine,20 and yes, these two concepts were linked together in the data. The questions of softness and hardness are visibly relevant to the ways in which policies are constructed and branded for public consumption as these are categories that themselves are either valued or devalued. Similarly, we find that the “hawk” and “dove” metaphors also tend to map onto the hard and the soft in many ways. According to Daniel Kahneman and Jonathan Rhenshon, while a “hawk” will favour military solutions, a “dove” will favour diplomatic solutions; but the interesting twist is that, according to their research, based on cognitive biases, people are more inclined to believe the hawk.21 The ways in which we talk about national security, and specifically the metaphors we use to do so, fit into conceptual frameworks that subconsciously make numerous and complicated connections.
Hard Strong Hawk War Commanding Analytical Public Individual
Soft Weak Dove Peace Collaborative Intuitive Private Relational
Figure 3.1 Binaries of masculine and feminine metaphors used in foreign policy
In figure 3.1, the binaries of masculine and feminine and the corresponding metaphorical binaries used in foreign policy are represented. Although I myself would not argue for a deep structure that necessarily views gender as a binary between the masculine and the feminine, or structurally links “soft” with “feminine,” this link is made repeatedly in the English language.22 It is difficult to imagine that hard would be valued over soft in the abstract without gendered attachments. There is nothing about softness or hardness that has any value without context. However, as Pierre Bourdieu writes, oppositions such as “hard” and “soft” have an effect on the way we think about and evaluate the social world. These oppositions can “channel
Soft Power as Metaphor
the mind, in a more or less insidious way, without ever allowing themselves to be seen in their unity and for what they are, namely, so many facets of one and the same structure of relations of sexual domination.”23 The question of whether or not Joseph Nye himself had conceived of hard and soft power as explicitly gendered has not been resolved, but perhaps in an attempt to correct the straightforwardly gendered notions he introduced, he makes explicit women’s comparative strengths in leadership for smart power when he writes about the “feminine style” and how it combines soft and hard power approaches.24 Modern leaders must be able to use networks, to collaborate, and to encourage participation. Women’s non-hierarchical style and relational skills fit a leadership need in the new world of knowledge-based organizations and groups that men, on average, are less well prepared to meet … [T]he “feminine style” is becoming a path to more effective leadership. In order to lead successfully, men will not only have to value this style in their women colleagues, but will also have to master the same skills … The key choices about war and peace in our future will depend not on gender, but on how leaders combine hard- and soft-power skills to produce smart strategies. Both men and women will make those decisions.25 Here Nye argues against Steven Pinker, the evolutionary psychologist, who claims that women are more peaceful than men because they have an “evolutionary incentive” to opt for peace.26 Countering the argument that women naturally avoid war, Nye points to, among other things, the list of women leaders, like Margaret Thatcher, Golda Meir, and Indira Ghandi, who led their countries into war.27 Nye does, however, accept some gendered distinctions in hard and soft power. There is a gendered tilt to how he thinks men and women work in the world, despite his reticence to say that this implies any necessary or eternal female characteristics. However, according to Nye, it is not so straightforward as saying that women in power will be more peaceful than men in power. In his perspective, perhaps women should be included in security because their skills fit well with a changing world that needs soft power to work in tandem with hard power. It seems this persists in providing a script that women must follow or to
which they must conform. Women’s contributions are explicitly shaped by metaphors that are unconsciously gendered.
Working with and against a Gendered Metaphor Nye asks the right question: “What is soft power?”28 Up until now, I have spoken of the metaphor of hard and soft power and of how it is gendered, but I have not actually defined it. According to Nye, “It is the ability to get what you want through attraction rather than coercion or payments. It arises from the attractiveness of a country’s culture, political ideals, and policies.”29 Hard power focuses on changing someone’s behaviour directly, while soft power focuses on changing someone’s behaviour through changing that person’s mind. You get people to do what you want by getting them to want what you want: soft power is seduction. Hard power and soft power can also be thought of as a binary between coercive power and persuasive power. Nye says that he came up with the idea of soft power as a response to the materialist bias in the field of security studies, according to which the United States was then a world power in decline.30 He claimed that the United States continued to exert its influence in ways other than merely through the might of the military or the economy. Soft power was meant to explain how a country can exert influence without exerting force. However, the concepts of “soft” and “hard” are not conceptually clean and mutually exclusive, and one of Nye’s complaints is precisely the way in which people seem to systematically misunderstand and misapply soft power as a concept.31 I suggest that there are two possible reasons for this almost systematic misinterpretation. The first is that these concepts play on intuitive metaphors that resonate with people on a pre-theoretical level, and it is quite likely that these pre-theoretical assumptions do not map directly onto how Nye conceptualizes the distinctions between hard and soft power. The second reason is that the distinction between the conceptualizations of hard power and soft power is not tidy. The concepts refer both to modes of changing another’s behaviour and to different institutions. Although Nye resists placing soft power in any specific institution, at the very least
Soft Power as Metaphor
the “sources” of soft power tend to align with institutions that differ from those that are “sources” of hard power. It is in this sense that the academic definition of soft power and the statesperson’s actual points of reference for soft power institutions do not always line up. Regarding Nye and soft power, Stephen Walt says: “[Nye’s] most lasting contribution to the political lexicon is the idea of ‘soft power.’ It’s a concept that is simultaneously seductive and slippery: It captures something that most of us intuitively recognize – the capacity to influence others without twisting arms, threatening, or compelling – but it’s also hard to measure or define with a lot of precision.”32 Walt’s assertion that soft power captures something that we “intuitively recognize” supports my point about metaphors that resonate with people on a pre-theoretical level. But what is most interesting is that, although he continues to argue that soft power cannot be measured in materialist terms, he appears to evince some degree of agreement with Nye. There is something intuitive about the idea of soft power because, as a metaphor, it conveys a set of related ideas about what is meant. Concretely, the distinction Nye poses at one moment is the difference between persuasion and coercion as modes of targeting behaviour, but then he also posits this dichotomy as existing between institutions, with cultural and political institutions on the “soft” side and with military and economic institutions on the “hard” side. It is not simply a distinction based on measurable hard institutions, on the one hand, and the immeasurable pull of national power experienced by those who are attracted to the image of a country, on the other hand. There are at least some institutions that are responsible for producing national culture and foreign policy. Cutting funding to the state department, for example, would be seen both as a symbolic and as an actual diminishment of US soft power. Just because soft power is difficult to measure does not mean that changes to specific institutions do not have measurable impacts on attitudes and, consequently, on soft power, nor does it pre-empt statespersons from identifying certain institutions with soft power. Simply put, it may be dangerous to identify soft, doves, and peace with femininity and hard, hawks, and war with masculinity as long as the underlying ordering system values masculinity over femininity. To see how different leaders have used the metaphors of hard and soft and have explicitly utilized Nye’s theory of hard and soft power, I look at two possible
attitudes towards metaphor as a gendered binary: (1) embracing it and (2) subverting and resisting it.
Embracing the Gendered Metaphor Although it may be tempting to think that we have internalized the feminist critique of language, we should not underestimate either how directly the gendering of hard power/soft power continues to resonate or the normative ranking of masculine over feminine. As Rothkopf points out, the metaphor and its symbolic meaning are taken very seriously: that is to say, hard power as coercive is considered strong, while soft power as persuasive is considered weak. Perhaps not surprisingly, immediately upon assuming office US president Donald Trump branded his administration as taking a hard-power approach. Mick Mulvaney, acting as spokesperson for President Trump at the time, presented his proposed budget, claiming: “This is a hard-power budget, and that was done intentionally. The president very clearly wants to send a message to our allies and to our potential adversaries that this is a strong-power administration.”33 Mulvaney embraced the implicit link between hardness and strength. “This is a strong-power administration,” he said, either substituting “strong” for “hard” or using them interchangeably. Implicitly, he argued that soft power is weak and thus less desirable (or even undesirable). Following the announcement of Trump’s proposed budget, Newsweek’s Nina Burleigh called the hard power plan “Mr. Trump’s ‘Viagra Budget,’” dragging the metaphor to its limit: “Trump’s ‘hard power’ pill is a $54 billion increase for the missiles and the jet fighters, the tanks, and all the man-stiffening gear.”34 How the popular media receive language matters as its symbolic meaning is a significant part of how policy is created within a democracy. The Trump administration has clearly expressed its opinion of soft power. Trump’s ambassador to the un, Nikki Haley, spoke about soft power. At the Women in the World Summit in New York, in the context of discussing the Syrian conflict and US dealings with Russia, American cabletelevision pundit Greta Van Susteren asked Haley directly about soft power: “so, how does this play out, I realize that the un, much like the State Department, is soft power, and diplomacy is so potent …”35 Haley interjected,
Soft Power as Metaphor
“Greta, we don’t do soft power.”36 Gasp. Let that sit for a moment. An ambassador to the United Nations said that the government that she represents does not do soft power, which, for this administration, means: persuasion is off the table and coercion is our only tool. To be fair to Nikki Haley, there are contextual reasons to assume that she was speaking without knowing about Nye or the theory of soft power. Van Susteren followed up her question with an explanation of soft power, but the question got muddled and Haley neither responded nor returned to the topic of soft power. Before becoming ambassador Haley was a state governor: she had never been an official in international affairs. She admitted that one of the difficulties of her new position as a diplomat was that it required much more negotiating than had her previous position as governor.37 It seems fair to think that she was not versed in the ins and outs of international relations theory. But this means that Haley was likely referring only to the symbolic, metaphorical quality of the term “soft power.” And in this respect it is a critical instance of the discursive quality of “soft power” as being something that the Trump administration and that she, as US ambassador, openly reject. The statement “we don’t do soft power” makes it clear that this term had been given a specific normative weight: diplomacy is something soft and consequently something weak and not particularly valuable. It is ironic that Ambassador Haley made this point as it placed her in the position of either diminishing the value of her own function or asserting a form of diplomacy based exclusively on coercion or threat of violence. Through an assertion of hard power, she had transformed herself into the messenger of coercion. And this may in fact have been the position of the Trump administration. Donald Trump was already, before announcing his presidential bid, criticizing President Obama’s foreign policy on the basis of weakness and his failure to be a “strong leader.”38 The same line was bolstered in foreign policy circles and in the popular media. In an interview with then US ambassador Matthew Barzun, Stephen Sackur from the bbc’s hardtalk returned to the questions Trump had raised and asked whether or not the president’s “soft” approach was hurting US foreign policy.39 Using the term “soft approach,” a phrase so close to “soft power approach” in international relations talk, Sackur painted President Obama’s emphasis on diplomacy in foreign policy and his approach to Syria and the Middle East as “soft”; this
bled quickly into charges of “weakness” and,40 on Fox News, even “impotence.”41 The rhetorical emasculation of the first black president and the complexity of racialized gender framed Obama’s foreign policy. It should go without saying that the ways in which the metaphor of soft power is received in the popular media can damage the ways in which a policy is communicated to a population, which can, in turn, affect or even alter policy, especially in democracies. The reaction to what was widely admonished as a soft power approach to international relations under President Obama had been replaced with a hard power approach under Trump. However, it would not be fair to say there was no place for soft power in the first year of President Trump’s administration as it had not disappeared completely. Dina Powell was the closest thing to a soft power player in national security for the Trump administration. Prior to being appointed by Trump, Powell had been working at Goldman Sachs and had led the 10,000 Women Initiative.42 Her business philanthropy experience, or global impact investment as she calls it, got Ivanka Trump’s attention. This got her in the door and on her way to being the sole woman on the president’s National Security Council. Before explaining Powell’s role in the Trump administration, something needs to be said about the direction of Trump’s foreign policy in his first two years. While President Trump proposed to cut the budget of institutions and programs that produce and utilize soft power (such as the Department of State) and sites of cultural production in the arts and public television, it is perhaps his security measures that have been the most detrimental to what have traditionally been considered important sites of American soft power. For example, securing borders in a manner that embraces a particular kind of isolationism and a purely extractionist brand of protectionism, using military and economic dominance to take from the rest of the world while cutting workers off from income, students off from universities, professionals off from business meetings, and individuals off from conferences. The United States’ ability to exchange ideas or cultural experiences with other countries, to conduct dialogues at conferences and in universities, simply to maintain basic human contact with non-Americans – all of these have traditionally been considered among the strongest forms of American soft power.43
Soft Power as Metaphor
President Trump’s travel ban order is a poignant example of a willingness to sacrifice soft power simply because it is soft, without protecting any American interest. Without an explicit national security rationale, the most generous interpretation of Executive Order 13769 may be that, with a nod, it was an attempt to transform US soft power into hard power.44 The first order was more explicitly a Muslim ban as it had included exceptions for religious minorities from countries banned on the list. Making the United States hard again has been attractive to some globally and has become a different kind of soft power. This rebranding is a gamble, and supporters of the president are scrambling to show that it has increased the attractiveness of the US globally. The executive order is striking in part because Trump’s position is in direct conflict with that of Dina Powell, his soft power advisor on security. Prior to her appointment to the Trump administration, Powell, who is Egyptian born, sat on a panel at the Aspen Institute, where she discussed how soft power could reform American diplomacy. She told an anecdote about an early cultural exchange program under President Johnson in which Anwar Sadat, before becoming president of Egypt, participated. It turned out that Sadat had been deeply influenced by this sponsored trip to the United States, where he was reportedly favourably surprised by the openness of American culture. She described how this experience framed the choices he made and his relationship to the United States as president.45 She stressed how important it was that people “see for themselves what America stands for.”46 Powell appears to have a developmental view of international conflict, and her philanthropic approach to national security is a smart power approach that influences other countries through a combination of hard and soft power. She repeated in several public talks that the absence of financial possibilities is a primary root cause of conflict and violence in the Middle East.47 She has stated that women are “the seeds of hope” because, in her words, “ultimately mothers don’t want their children to grow up and blow themselves up.”48 Her approach to international security is based on investing in women’s economic status. The model she brought to the Trump administration was one in which private individuals are tasked with creating peace and stability through investing in private individuals
in other countries. According to this model, it not only functioned as an economic investment that produced good will towards the United States but also kept markets stable for companies that wanted to do business in global markets. It is supposed to stabilize markets while creating economically independent female units. However, significantly, this approach is essentially external to the government. So, when Haley says, “we don’t do soft power,” she may mean that quite literally as the government is outsourcing philanthropy to American corporations and their private interests, and they are the ones responsible for building goodwill and who, presumably, could then wield soft power through the goodwill produced through economic investment – even though the real goal is to expand markets for American investment. But, while Powell was visibly and strikingly the only woman in the room during National Security Council meetings, her voice as a soft power advocate, at least from the outside, appeared to falter under an administration that values hard over soft. Not surprisingly, her term was limited to one year and she quietly exited the White House in January 2018.49
Subverting and Resisting the Gendered Metaphor: Smart Power There are two different ways of subverting the hard and soft power metaphor: (1) by blurring the lines between the terms of the binary and (2) by creating continuity and fluidity in making the hard soft and the soft hard. If we imagine hard and soft power as a metaphor having a particular gendered valance, then subverting the metaphor may also include subverting the gender binary. In foreign policy, this would be the concept of “smart power” – a policy strategy that includes both hard and soft power. Human Rights Watch officer Suzanne Nozel is credited with coining the phrase “smart power,” which Joseph Nye then developed and Hillary Clinton made her own.50 Nozel’s own use of the term “smart power” seemed to involve a synthesis of hard and soft power. The metaphors of language, however, do not exist in a bubble, removed from persons in the world. Language requires speakers, and in the following sections I explore how metaphors link up with gendered bodies.
Soft Power as Metaphor
Fashioning Their Gendered Bodies Even commenting on the commentary on female public figures’ clothing can feel like betraying the feminist cause. I am hesitant to become another voice directing attention to women as perceived objects rather than as thinking beings. However, women’s clothing and women’s physical image take on particular significance in statecraft as they are among the symbols linked to metaphors of masculine and feminine, hard and soft. As one commentator notes, “Women audacious enough to seek political power are routinely dogged by gender-specific coverage that focuses on their looks, fashion sense, familial relationships and other feminizing details that have nothing to do with their expertise.”51 This general observation about how coverage of women is gendered takes on yet another level of symbolism when coupled with an analysis of women’s capacity to discuss security issues. Commentary on fashion is a commentary on the legitimacy of a woman (or of women in general) to participate in the public sphere, and it dictates the role she can play. It turns on the different levels of gendered signalling. The first level is the identity of the speaker as a gendered body, while the second level concerns the language of policy. Dress is one of the most common ways of signalling gender, and comments on dress or regulations of dress are ways of ensuring gender conformity, viewing it as a symbolic universe unto itself. Lars Svendsen, who wrote Philosophy: A Fashion, argues that “clothes can be considered semantically coded … but semantically unstable because the meaning is directly related to context.”52 Depending on context, clothing, which is obviously closely associated with the body, may either disrupt or stabilize gender meaning as it taps into metaphorical thinking, thus influencing attitudes and, consequently, policy. Commentary on clothing is frequently commentary on gender performativity. Criticism of women’s dress is often a subtle or not so subtle way of ensuring that bodies conform to underlying metaphors of hard and soft, feminine and masculine. The symbolic world of gender doesn’t exist in language alone. Nor does war and peace. Bodies are part of the materiality of the ways policy gets coded and how we channel ourselves towards war or peace. The Clinton pantsuit had become a symbol of resistance for a certain kind of liberal feminism in the age of Trump. In searching for a male equivalent, or any statesman’s clothing choice that became a meme or symbol in
the same way, I am at a loss. It is significant that she had become known for her clothing. When Clinton was wrapping up her talk at the Council on Foreign Relations at the end of her tenure at the State Department, she was given the following farewell: “Kerry [her successor] has some pretty big Manolo Blahniks to fill.” The hyper-feminine, eight-hundred-dollar designer shoes made famous in pop culture by the show Sex and the City, apparently associated with Clinton by those who know her, had significance even if they were not as iconic as her white pantsuit. They not only convey femininity and explicit sexuality but also give a nod to economic affluence and status, both of which convey a particular institutional form of power. Clinton’s clothing choices map onto the metaphors she deals in: smart power embodied as some combination of flipping the binaries and mashing them up so that hard and soft, strong and weak, hawkish and dovish, masculine and feminine are destabilized, found together, and made her into a new kind of statesperson. On the other hand, Madeleine Albright, the first female US secretary of state, made more conventional use of clothing symbolism. Her image in diplomacy was almost de-gendered, or at least gender was de-emphasized, and the only nod to it was when she donned costume jewellery to make political statements. For example, she famously wore a dove pin when negotiating in the Middle East. She began the tradition of using jewellery as a signal when, in response to being called a snake by the Iraqi press, she started wearing a serpent pin. She used jewellery to assert power, slipping between the hard and the soft as she slipped on different pieces of jewellery. But jewellery is often at one remove from the body (e.g., when it is attached to clothing), and the hard and the soft associated with it are not as performative as are the hard and the soft associated with clothing. It might escape notice, but Clinton was not the first secretary of state to don the pantsuit, nor was she the first to be subjected to excessive attention regarding the hardness and softness of her clothing choices. Condoleezza Rice was known not only for her “power pearls” but also for the high-heeled leather calf-length boots she once wore to meet the troops at the Wiesbaden Army Airfield in 2005.53 Despite a military-style ankle-length coat that buttoned up to her chin, Rice, while wearing these boots, which came up to just under her knee-length skirt, was referred to by the Washington Post sexpositive feminist staff writer as a woman walking “draped in a banner of
Soft Power as Metaphor
authority, power and toughness.”54 But, of course, other references to the “forbidden” combination of “sex and power,” which conjure in the feminist staff writer’s words images of a “Dominatrix,” reveal that it is not simply the clothes that convey a message. High heels on Clinton often led to commentaries not only about her financial success (as noted above) but also about her “heavy” legs. Many will remember “cleavagegate,” the media frenzy that occurred after Clinton showed a teensy bit of cleavage in a shirt under her pantsuit. She was not, however, sexualized but simply disciplined for revealing that she had a gender. Attempts to celebrate or discipline women for their clothing choices is a way of channelling their actions and lives and the kinds of roles they are allowed to play. Clothing is read as it appears on a particular body. Rice was sexualized not only because of her youth and the usual qualities that denote attractiveness in the United States but also because her body was racialized and gendered, making her the target of comments pertaining to hypersexuality. The intersectionality of Rice’s identity as a black woman, arguably, didn’t allow her to express her gendered power as anything but sexual. It is perhaps not surprising that Rice, like Albright, tended to express herself symbolically through jewellery (e.g., the power pearls that denoted “glamour, bravado and insolence”) rather than through edgy clothing. Clinton’s, Rice’s, and Albright’s clothing were topics of commentary at official events, in the news, in the tabloids, and everywhere else in between for both gender conformity as well as gender non-conformity. But what conformity and non-conformity meant were often read differently depending on the body. These secretaries of state consciously transformed the frequently remarked upon female physical appearance into a form of symbolic power; nonetheless, they often fought back against criticism either for their failure to “fit” the gender norms or for “fitting” them too well. The materiality of women’s bodies and the way they are clothed matters on a symbolic level, which channels the ways women are able to move in space. To make the point that these comments about dress actually matter, former Politico reporter Mike Allen claimed that former president Trump reportedly wanted the women who worked for him to “dress like women.”55 This report was met with a popular campaign that involved women dressing in clothing and uniforms that did not conform to “traditional” female gender roles and that included several pictures of service women in uniform.56
Non-gender-conforming dress produces discomfort in some people, and women’s clothing can be used as a tool to discipline women. As we know, despite its factual incorrectness, the assertion that women who dress conservatively are less likely to be raped than are women who dress “provo catively” places the responsibility for rape on women and attempts to influence how they conduct themselves in public. Similarly, how women in public service dress is used as a way of asserting where it is proper for them to exist and where it is improper. They are discredited when they stray from proper dress and proper roles. This, of course, provides the context for how their words are interpreted. Courtland Sykes, Senate candidate from Missouri, ran a campaign based in part on his military background in the navy and his practical experience in security. He ran against incumbent Claire Connor McCaskill, who sat on the Committee for Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. He came under attack in the media for being an almost comical figure in the Trump mould, making comments about women’s rights such as the following: “I don’t buy into the nonstop feminization campaign against manhood. Men and women are different and gender-bending word games by a goofy nest of drugstore academics aren’t going to change anything … I support women’s rights, but not the kind that has oppressed natural womanhood for five long decades.”57 His insistence that his fiancé and future daughters would be “traditional homemakers and family wives” carved out the private space for women and the public space for men.58 His social media campaign featured the headline “National Security Is a Real World Responsibility for Real World Experience,”59 and under several pictures of military men was the subheading “maga’s Boldest All-Republican Warrior.” Moreover, the shots he took at women were particularly revealing. Under the title “Democrats Dressing for the Jobs They Want,” he posted pictures of women that included Hillary Clinton next to an image of a Disney wicked queen and Elizabeth Warren superimposed on a cartoon dragon. In another image he shared on his site, under the heading “Who Wore It Better,” he had a picture of his political rival Claire McCaskill next to the image of the witch from The Little Mermaid. Not surprisingly, gender conformity pigeonholes women, defining the strength of their voices inside and outside government and the kinds of roles and policies they are allowed to assume or for which they are allowed
Soft Power as Metaphor
to advocate. The spaces in which female voices are given credence are limited, and women who are coded as “soft” have to be heard as “hard” but not as shrill or villainous – a combination that is a real struggle. Women are disciplined when they are not sufficiently soft and seductive, and they are disregarded when they are too soft or too seductive. Because of masculine domination, women are accorded less value no matter which way they play the gender dichotomy. I believe Joseph Nye became aware of the problem not only of stereotyping women as soft but also of the diminished value of soft power as being “soft.” The question became: How can the channelling of gendered binaries with regard to questions of power be challenged by women and men alike?
Smart Power Smart power is a combination of both hard and soft power techniques – that is, it is a combination of coercion, payment, and attraction whose purpose is to get others to do what you want them to do. According to Joseph Nye, the idea of “smart power” was developed in order to “counter the misperception that soft power alone can produce effective foreign policy.”60 Clinton conceptualizes hard and soft power somewhat differently than did Nye. She doesn’t let go of the categories completely, but she ceases to obsess about the distinctions between hard and soft expressions of power and moves on to different metaphors, calling smart power a way to use “all available tools in the toolbox.” In this view, according to Clinton, “we must use what has been called ‘smart power,’ the full range of tools at our disposal – diplomatic, economic, military, political, legal, and cultural – picking the right tool, or combination of tools, for each situation.”61 There are very few statespersons who so consciously convey their policy choices in such theoretically rich terms as Clinton. Nye even cites Clinton when expanding upon his theory of smart power.62 Whether you like or dislike her foreign policy, she is both an example of Nye’s theory in practice and a theorist adding to Nye’s concept as she works through her own way of imagining American power. Clinton talked about smart power repeatedly throughout her years in the State Department, and it became closely identified with her.63 Instead of aligning with an overtly and singularly gendered identification of power, she combined the hard and the soft and opted to identify with the “smart.”
She neither fell cleanly into her gender role nor rejected the hard/soft binary. She maintained the terms of reference but decidedly mixed them up by using the pragmatic metaphor of the toolbox, to which she added some cerebral colouring: I speak often of smart power because it is so central to our thinking and our decision–making. It means the intelligent use of all means at our disposal, including our ability to convene and connect. It means our economic and military strength, our capacity for entrepreneurship and innovation … It also means the application of old-fashioned common sense in policy-making. It’s a blend of principle and pragmatism.64 Humanitarian principles are often taken as a soft gendered quality in statecraft, but coupled with cerebral pragmatism they become something different. This conscious coupling of the hard and soft, of masculine and feminine, throughout Clinton’s explanation of smart power is rhetorically impressive. It is a very sophisticated rebranding of hard and soft power that enables her to convey the message that she is capable of wielding any tool available within the box of foreign policy tools. This is unique to Clinton in the way it has been understood by observers. This particular pragmatic approach has been read as explicitly linking her soft power and her brand of feminist positioning. For example, consider the following comment: “Thus, Hillary’s ‘smart power’ strategy relies on elements of America’s hard military power and soft cultural power. This allows Hillary’s hawkish instincts to coexist with her feminist instincts. It makes the world more ‘secure’ and more ‘inclusive’ simultaneously.”65 It is interesting that “hawkish” is substituted for “hard” in this comment and that it is what makes the world more secure. The soft is understood not simply as feminine but as feminist and inclusive. But what this comment really gets to is the gender mash-up quality of smart power as a metaphor. Following the quote about Clinton as a hawkish feminist we are left with questions about what her feminism means for other women. How does the inclusion of women work when it comes to smart power? Can hawkish feminism be truly inclusive? Does the use of smart power in the form of actual policies mean that women may be included but only in specific ways? Clin-
Soft Power as Metaphor
ton herself appears to be very careful about the way she speaks about inclusion for women, always cognizant of the effects of language. Yet there is something peculiar about how inclusion works as an end and a means in her foreign policy. Women form a part of her smart power position. She writes: “Technology, development, human rights, women: I know a lot of pundits hear that list and say, Isn’t that all a bit soft, what about the hard stuff? Well, that is a false choice. We need both, and no one should think otherwise.”66 Here women, like technology and human rights, become levers of power. It is a complicated position, and, at the risk of being unfair to Secretary Clinton, there is some concern that her strategy to subvert the binary may not work for the women she is supporting and may actually constrain her as well. For Clinton, the inclusion of women is a good in itself and the “moral thing to do,” but it is also pragmatic because women’s empowerment is a lever of power. Women become instruments of power and so, almost necessarily, are cast in a prefigured form.67 Clinton, as a proponent of women’s empowerment, advocates tirelessly for the inclusion of women in security programs as agents for peace.68 She is careful to nuance her theory: she is not doing Pinker-type evolutionary theory about women’s nature – women are not agents of peace because they are inherently peaceful. No, based on their experience they bring different perspectives to the table. However, on the metaphorical level the claim that women are agents of peace plays into the gender binary and the notion that women are on a particular side of that binary, while apparently resisting Clinton’s own categorization. She simultaneously stabilizes the binary with the metaphor of smart power while quite explicitly subverting it. It is difficult for a woman to lift up both herself and other women as agents of peace when operating at the centre of global military power. Being at the centre of military power meant that Clinton needed to be perceived as being capable of commanding the US military – a position that may require a woman to adopt a gender-bending persona. It was, after all, her nonconformity to gender norms, her reception as a “hawk,” that gave her identity credibility when she stated: “I will be the first to say … that America’s military might is and must remain the greatest fighting force in the history of the world.”69 However, the derogatory nickname “Killary Clinton” was not used by her critics on the right because she was objectively more violent than President Trump but, arguably, because she did not conform
to the image of a woman as an agent of peace.70 I have wondered as well if Clinton was not pushed to become more hawkish because her desire to represent collided with gender stereotypes that made it difficult, if not impossible, for a woman to command a global military power. Trump threatened states with military domination, bombed airfields, and was lauded by mainstream journalists who, resolved to see violence perpetrated by men as acts of power, called him “presidential.”71 Gender-bending plays on a stable gender dichotomy. The Faustian choice is that the stable gender dichotomy may work to get some women to the diplomatic table, but it may also contribute to constraining them when neither gender conformity nor genderbending permits them to deviate from a particular script. Samantha Power, the US ambassador to the un in the Obama administration, also spoke directly about hard and soft power approaches. Power, like Clinton, has also been widely regarded as a hawk, and, as a “humanitarian hawk,” she is already a combination of hard and soft. Perhaps because of her position as ambassador, and because of the kinds of tools in her own toolbox, she subverted the dichotomy in another way and through another metaphor than did Clinton. She actually made soft power function metaphorically like hard power. In an interview Power discussed the diplomatic strategy of using theatre. Noting that culture cannot do everything, she observed that it is, however, useful for changing minds. The metaphor she used was particularly striking. She said that culture is “one of the few Trojan horses that we can still use to reach people and get them to move past their defensiveness.”72 Power’s use of a hard power metaphor to harden the soft is one way of subverting that metaphor, and it differs from the strategy of transcending hard and soft with smart. Soft power can be hard, and certainly hard power can be soft; however, traditionally, when hard power is soft it is a policy failure. Smart power is dynamic, horizontal, fluid, and adaptive. Clinton even contrasted her vision of smart power with “rigid ideologies and old formulas.”73 Part of the dynamism of smart power comes from the movement between the polarities of the hard/soft metaphor. As Nye presented power as gendered, smart power is gender bending. However, is Clinton’s form of gender bending really liberatory? Is combining hyper-feminized with hyper-masculinized and doing a gender-mashup a normatively positive transformation?
Soft Power as Metaphor
Cerelia Athanassiou offers a rather tough critique of Secretary Clinton’s approach to smart power.74 She argues that smart power promises a transformation of power but that it is really little more than a rebranding exercise for militarism, thus making it less likely that what Joseph Nye refers to as a feminine management style actually leads to more peace. She writes: This has, more often than not, simply meant fallback on familiar militarized tactics when necessary, with “smart power” being openly referred to as a tactic in rebranding, or reconceptualization: “Smart power” demands that “Washington must reconceptualize the fight against terrorism and wmd as a sustained effort to expand freedom and opportunity.” Thus, “soft” ideas of democratic “engagement” merely serve to support the traditionally “hard” and strong national security state. As in the typology offered by Nye, “smart” power does not signify the overriding of “hard” militarizing strategy, but seeks “soft” tactics to bolster it.75 According to Athanassiou, smart power employing soft power is not an expression of a more peaceful world; rather, the soft power of persuasion is the handmaiden of coercive military power – it’s a theory whose purpose is to strengthen powerful armies rather than to diffuse militarized threats. Some questions this line of thought raises are worth entertaining: Is it possible to imagine not using soft power to bolster the hard power of the military but, rather, as a way to replace hard power? Or is that even the goal? Is it really resisting the hard/soft metaphor even if the primacy of hard and soft are reversed? Does Clinton’s emancipatory play with the metaphor really have an emancipatory effect? Or is it just a reassertion of the unmovable binary structure and, ultimately, a confirmation that, whether implicitly or explicitly, security requires coercion? We can read all the given examples of smart power as ways to suppress the legitimacy of soft power as an autonomous method of exerting power. If this is plausible, then it says something profound about the place that is actually left for women or states who eschew militarization as it exists in the received ways of thinking about foreign policy and security. Is it really possible to think beyond hard and soft? Is it really possible to think beyond hard?
Soft Men: Can Smart Power Work for Men? Canada is generally regarded as attempting to once again become “a soft power broker.”76 How Canada manages this manoeuvre in the changing global landscape with rising authoritarianism as well as with the shifting policies and figures south of the border is of critical global importance. Can we imagine a new model for a transformative approach to power here in Canada? It has been widely commented that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – if not explicitly in his speech at least implicitly in the symbolism of his agenda – has, in contrast to the previous administration, taken up the mantle of a soft power approach.77 Trudeau has adopted a platform and language that brands Canada in a way that appears to reverse the weighting of hard power over soft power. Although Prime Minister Trudeau does not explicitly use the ir language of hard and soft power, he presents an interesting example for thinking about resisting the metaphor on the symbolic level as he makes the case for a more modern Canada. Prime Minister Trudeau, like President Obama, has been criticized for taking too “soft” an approach in a “hard world.”78 It is difficult to imagine how any liberal democracy wouldn’t look soft in comparison to an authoritarian government – and, hence, the attraction. It is not clear, however, that Trudeau has in fact shifted Canada to a soft power approach despite the ample commentary attributing this to him.79 The appointment of Chrystia Freeland, another woman in foreign policy who has been described as a “hawk” for her tough talk on Russia,80 seems to suggest a more complicated picture is emerging. On a symbolic level, however, Trudeau is branding Canada as a soft power player. Prime Minister Trudeau certainly hits many of the soft power talking points with some frequency. Discursively, Trudeau sounds similar to Clinton when he speaks of the role and importance of working on women’s rights. When addressing the European Parliament, he mentioned two substantive issues: climate change and women’s and girls’ rights.81 Similarly, he has asserted his political position as a feminist.82 Furthermore, his withdrawing of fighter jets from Syria was significant both as an actual policy and as a symbolic sign of moving away from a primarily militaristic view of Canadian power. Meanwhile, the resettlement of refugees is both
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the humanitarian thing to do and a way of combatting violence through good will.83 Trudeau’s soft power diplomatic play was evident in his theatre invitation to Ivanka Trump and Nikki Haley (and hundreds of others) to see the Canadian production Come from Away, whose theme is welcoming strangers in times of crisis.84 This was a power move that made use of persuasion through shared experience and empathy, reminiscent of Samantha Power’s tactic. Trudeau has gone to great lengths to brand himself as a soft power broker. However, the reality is not as straightforward as the appearance. Soft power moves have been made while Canada has maintained and perhaps strengthened a security alliance with the United States in which hard power becomes more discreet but is still (albeit ambiguously) related to soft power. Trudeau may appear to be tipping the balance so that hard power serves the interests of soft power, but his ministers are quick to point to their place in nato and the shared security interests between Canada and the United States.85 Trudeau projects soft power but he performs smart power. This smart power is complicated in relation to the United States because of our mutual security relationship. Symbolically, the relationship between the Trump administration and the Trudeau administration had been a battle between hard and smart power. The different approach each administration has taken towards refugees, for example, has not only had a tremendous impact on the lives of these refugees but has also been a symbolic battle between the modern, sensitive man and the antiquated, macho man who is a harbinger of toxic masculinity – the man who subverts the binary and the man who embraces it. The first handshake between Trump and Trudeau was symbolically important. It is difficult not to comment on how the symbols that become iconic in statecraft are often themselves clearly gendered (women are evaluated for their clothing, while men are evaluated for their handshakes). It was a symbolic moment establishing the strength of soft power and the relative weakness of hard power. Several commentators noted Trump’s dominating handshake, whereby he pulls the other person off balance.86 His handshake was interpreted as a hyper-aggressive manoeuvre with the prime minister of Japan, and his refusal to offer his hand to Angela Merkel
was seen as disdainful.87 However, when Trudeau met with Trump for the first time, the former was widely recognized as having countered the aggressive move.88 The smart power approach is dynamic, adaptive, and fluid, providing better balance than hard power, which, when it asserts itself and fails to get the other to submit, simply appears weak. Trump’s move at the end of his presidency to secure another term through violence by inciting an insurrection is another example of the relative weakness of a purely militarized approach that is not backed by sufficient material force. One shudders to think what could have happened had Trump been more appealing to the military. Prime Minister Trudeau has been criticized, of course, for being too “soft,” particularly on terrorism.89 It will be interesting to note whether or not this projection of his being soft will affect his political strength. Soft power is proposed as an alternative to viewing national power simply as hard power. It is proposed to reaffirm the necessity of the hard being used in relation to the soft. Smart power is considered an inclusive model that values and incorporates soft power. But there are several questions people interested in the inclusion of women in security should be asking. One should ask not only if smart power is a model that works as well for women as it does for men but also whether the goal of including women in the field of security based on faulty gender assumptions does not make things worse.
Conclusion: Remaking Security Certainly, in this day and age, theories on national security, foreign policy, or national power in international relations must include a calculation that incorporates not only national but also global interests. A feminist approach to international security is not simply concerned with getting women to the table for gender equality but also with finding ways of disrupting the paths channelling us towards collective destruction. Women’s recent visibility in the field of international security is due in part to the idea that the inclusion of women may have a positive impact on global security. However, the different actors who make this argument have different reasons for doing so. One of the points that feminist research has
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focused on is that the mere inclusion of women is not necessarily a pathway to peace.90 Dianne Otto expressed this point in relation to women’s peace movements and un Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security. She asked whether it were not precisely women’s marginalization as political outsiders that made possible the political character of the women’s peace movement.91 She focused on the limited success of Resolution 1325 in challenging “militarism” and argued that women’s inclusion was limited in such a way that they could only serve to legitimate the structure as it already exists.92 Otto confronted the position that it is in fact not possible to work within the system and continue to be a pacifying force, arguing that gender identities must themselves be disrupted.93 In this article I take the familiar feminist problem of gendered language and loop it through a feminist epistemology that looks at the interaction between gendered metaphors and gendered bodies. I focus on the importance of taking care when using metaphors that are associated with gender, especially when a woman is the speaker. There seems to be something peculiar about the subject position of the speaker and the kinds of positions he or she can take. The way to break the gendered opposition that privileges hard, hawk, and coercive above soft, dove, and persuasive may not be by combining masculine and feminine metaphors and thereby bending them but, rather, by reimagining gender completely. Canada’s Lieutenant General Jennie Carignan, the first woman in the world to rise to the rank of a starred general from a combat position and author of the foreword to this volume, has given a very practical reason for why it is important to include women in the military. She has spoken about having to redefine the concept of strength as something other than a muscled warrior archetype. She realizes that in actual combat “strange things happen” and that “strength can take many shapes and forms. I can certainly attest to the fact that the person who ends up saving the day on the battlefield is not necessarily the soldier who runs the fastest around the track or bench presses the heaviest weight in the weight room.”94 There is ample evidence that many women who occupy “hard” positions are remade into “hard” actors in the traditional sense of the word.95 But is it not also possible to imagine figures like Lieutenant General Carignan replacing binaries so that we can imagine strength and hard differently? The image of strength
she conjures is not the hard one of a muscled man lifting weights or dominating others, but it is not soft either. Lieutenant General Carignan’s reason for including women in the military is not because women bring something specific, something particularly feminine, to security. She certainly has not said anything to the effect that women are even a pacifying force. Instead, her position on the inclusion of women in the armed forces is based simply on the fact that women make up part of society and therefore should not be excluded. Her position on diversity is that it “is uncomfortable and requires effort. But the effort of diversity creates people who are more creative, more empathetic, more curious and more tolerant.”96 This is both a more modest argument for inclusion and a stunning observation, and it makes for a different way of thinking about what the military or hard power can be. For a moment, we get a glimpse of a different kind of hard – one that repudiates authoritarianism. Is it possible that hard can be transformed so as to incorporate empathy, curiosity, and tolerance? This is certainly a different image of hard from the one about which Bourdieu wrote. While we should be careful not to argue that women should be included in security because they are a pacifying force or “soft” actors, it is possible that their inclusion may have a positive effect in unexpected ways as a politics of inclusion unsettles binaries. Despite the resilience of the hard/soft metaphors, we should be cautious about being overly cynical about our collective inability to transform these metaphors and discussions in security. We should also avoid overly cynical views of the importance of incorporating different strands of feminist theory into mainstream security discussions. The transformation of the material conditions of men’s and women’s lives may in fact slowly be giving rise to non-binary ways of being and, consequently, to different metaphors. Understanding that the unsettling of the gendering of these metaphors as opposites may be what has given rise to backlash and social panic in the United States and (perhaps to a lesser degree) in parts of Canada might provide us with glimpses of how to use these metaphors more strategically. Until women can be hard and men can be soft without giving rise to social panic, or until these metaphors cease to be gendered and valued so that masculine and hard are worth more than feminine and soft, we must all try to deviate from our gendered scripts so that we might be able to finally escape masculine domination.
Soft Power as Metaphor
note s 1 David Rothkopf, “The Power of the Arts: How Can Culture Be Used to Address Some of the Greatest Challenges of Our Time?,” Foreign Policy, The er, podcast audio, Foreign Policy, 13 April 2017, https://foreignpolicy.com/2017/04/13/thepower-of-the-arts/. 2 Joseph S. Nye, Bound to Lead: The Changing Nature of American Power (New York: Basic Books, 1990). 3 Todd Hall, “An Unclear Attraction: A Critical Examination of Soft Power as an Analytical Category,” Chinese Journal of International Politics 3, 2 (2010): 189. 4 I have limited the analysis to publicly accessible speeches or texts from figures in national security in the United States and Canada, despite interesting texts on power from women in charge of national security from around the world. Topically, the concept of soft power was formed in relation to US military hegemony, and I believe theories on coercive and persuasive power are likely very different in the contexts of other countries in which the military does not play as large a role. Canada is a particular case because of its proximity to the United States both historically and geographically. Sharing a border, the two countries are intimately linked with regard to trade, defence, and other security concerns. It is necessary to linguistically limit the analysis due to variations in meaning and conceptual systems. 5 Robin Lakoff, “Language and Woman’s place,”Language in Society 2, 1 (1973): 45. 6 See Mary Ellmann, Thinking about women (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 1969). 7 There is extensive literature on the impact of gender on the field of security as well as on how masculinity and femininity are constructed in the field. See Cynthia Enloe, Does Khaki Become You? The Militarization of Women’s Lives (London: Pandora, 1983); Maya Eichler, Militarizing Men: Gender, Conscription, and War in Post-Soviet Russia (Palo Alto, ca: Stanford University Press, 2012); Charlotte Hooper, Manly States: Masculinities, International Relations, and Gender Politics (New York: Columbia University Press, 2001). 8 See Steven Pinker and Arthur Morey, The Better Angels of Our Nature : Why Violence Has Declined (New York: Penguin Random House, 2012). 9 Dianne Otto, “A Sign of ‘Weakness’? Disrupting Gender Certainties in the Implementation of Security Council Resolution 1325,” Michigan Journal of Gender and Law 13, 113 (2006): 136. 10 George Lakoff and Mark Johnson, Metaphors We Live By (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980), 4.
11 Ibid. 12 Ibid. 13 Ibid. 14 Ibid. 15 Ibid. 16 Julie A. Nelson, “Thinking about Gender,” Hypatia 7, 3 (1992): 142. 17 Nelson, “Thinking about Gender.” 18 Pierre Bourdieu, Masculine Domination (Palo Alto, ca: Stanford University Press, 2002), 104–5. 19 Ibid., 54. 20 Daniel Cox and Robert Jones, “Two-Thirds of Trump Supporters Say Nation Needs a Leader Willing to Break the Rules,” prri, 7 April 2016, https://www.prri. org/research/prri-atlantic-poll-republican-democratic-primary-trump-supporters/. 21 In this example, they cite the bias in which people are overly optimistic and believe a victory would be easy. The authors did not test the metaphors hawk and dove but, rather, the actual policies. See Daniel Kahneman and Jonathan Renshon, “Why Hawks Win,” Foreign Policy, 13 October 2009, https://foreignpolicy.com/ 2009/10/13/why-hawks-win/. 22 This question of the gender binary is of course deeply contested and controversial. I am not arguing, as Nelson appeared to in the 1990s, that these are hardwired into our cognitive systems. I am making a thinner argument based on cultural/ linguistic use. See Nelson, “Thinking about Gender.” 23 Bourdieu, Masculine Domination, 106 24 Joseph S. Nye, “When Women Lead,” Project Syndicate, 8 February 2012, https:// www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/when-women-lead?barrier=access paylog. 25 Ibid. 26 For the argument for women’s comparative passivity, see Pinker and Morey, Better Angels. 27 Nye, “When Women Lead.” 28 Joseph S. Nye, Soft Power : The Means to Success in World Politics (New York: Public Affairs, 2004). 29 Ibid., x. 30 Nye, Soft Power. 31 Joseph S. Nye, “Get Smart: Combining Hard and Soft Power,” Foreign Affairs 88, 4 (2009): 94.
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32 Stephen M. Walt, “Joe Nye Was Right,” Foreign Policy, 19 January 2010, https://foreignpolicy.com/2010/01/19/joe–nye–was–right/. 33 Russell Berman, “President Trump’s Hard Power Budget,” Atlantic, 16 March 2017, https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/03/president-trumps-hardpower-budget/519702/. 34 Nina Burleigh, “Hard Power! Mr. Trump’s Viagra Budget,” Newsweek, 16 March 2017, https://www.newsweek.com/trump-budget-viagra-spending-militarygovernment-cuts-opinion-569158. 35 Emma Gray, Alanna Vagianos, and Eline Gordts, “Nikki Haley Goes Silent at Summit as Woman Yells, ‘What about Refugees?’” Hufftington Post, 5 April 2017, https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/nikki-haley-women-in-the-worldsummit_n_58e5878ae4b0fe4ce08822b3. 36 Ibid. 37 Ibid. 38 Neil MacFarquhar, “Lack of Respect for Obama Emboldened Putin, Donald Trump Tells Ukrainians,” New York Times, 11 September 2015, https://www. nytimes.com/2015/09/12/world/europe/lack-of-respect-for-obama-emboldenedputin-donald-trump-tells-ukrainians.html. 39 bbc News, “Donald Trump vs Justin Trudeau: The Political Handshake,” 14 February 2017, https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-us-canada-38971859. 40 Elliott Abrams, “Obama’s Pathetic Cave-In to Putin,” National Review, 18 September 2015, https://www.nationalreview.com/2015/09/putin-syria-obama-militarytalks-weakness/. 41 Judith Miller, “The Scary Truth about What Putin Really Wants (and Obama’s Willful Ignorance),” Fox News, 8 October 2016, https://www.foxnews.com/ opinion/the-scary-truth-about-what-putin-really-wants-and-obamas-willfulignorance. 42 “10,000 Women,” Goldman Sachs, http://www.goldmansachs.com/citizenship/ 10000women/. 43 Aspen Institute, “Hurst Lecture Series: Sec. Madeleine Albright, Richard Stengel, Dina Powell and Alec Ross,” posted 4 August 2014, YouTube video, 52:49, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ocjxmMhkiG4. 44 This order was later replaced with Order 13780, which was more likely to pass judicial scrutiny has having a national security rationale. See The White House, “Executive Order Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” 27 January 2017, https://trumpwhitehouse.archives.gov/presidentialactions/executive-order-protecting-nation-foreign-terrorist-entry-united-states/.
45 Aspen Institute, “Hurst Lecture Series.” 46 Ibid. 47 American Enterprise Institute, “Global Impact Investing: A Conversation with Dina Habib Powell,” Posted 11 February 2016, YouTube video, 1:01:18, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CjhkwZnwqnQ. 48 American Enterprise Institute, “Global Impact Investing.” 49 Mike Allen, “Scoop: Dina Powell Successor,” Axios, 8 December 2017, https:// www.axios.com/dina-powell-to-leave-white-house-2515946487.html. 50 Hendrik Hertzberg, “Smart Power,” New Yorker, 26 January 2009, 1. 51 Jennifer Pozner and Tom Paine, “Commander in Chic,” AlterNet, 10 November 2005, https://www.alternet.org/2005/11/commander_in_chic/. 52 Lars Svendsen, Fashion: A Philosophy, trans. John Irons (London: Reaktion, 2006), 70–1. 53 Robin Givhan, “Condoleezza Rice’s Commanding Clothes,” Washington Post, 25 February 2005, https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/lifestyle/2005/ 02/25/condoleezza-rices-commanding-clothes/e7dbedfe-4e60-4e37-a210ed8733f29d0b/. 54 Ibid. 55 Jacey Fortin, “Dress Like a Woman? What Does That Mean?” New York Times, 3 February 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/03/style/trump-women-dresscode-white-house.html. 56 Zulekha Nathoo, “‘Dress Like a Woman’ Hashtag Takes Off after Alleged Trump Dress Code – Entertainment,” cbc News, 4 February 2017, https://www.cbc.ca/ news/entertainment/dress-like-woman-hashtag-1.3967413. 57 Veronica Stracqualursi, “Missouri US Senate Candidate Courtland Sykes Calls Feminists ‘She Devils,’” cnn Politics, 27 January 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2018/01/27/politics/missouri-gop-candidate-feminists-shedevils/index.html. 58 Ibid. 59 Courtland Sykes (@CourtlandSykesforMO), “National Security is a Real World Responsibility for Real World Experience,” Facebook post, viewed 25 January 2018, https://www.facebook.com/CourtlandSykesforSenate/posts/165958987361526. This post has since been deleted, but the author has it on file. 60 Nye, “Get Smart.” 61 Hillary Clinton: “With Smart Power, Diplomacy Will Be the Vanguard of Foreign Policy,” cbs News, “Clinton: Use ‘Smart Power’ in Diplomacy,” 13 January 2009, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/clinton-use-smart-power-in-diplomacy/.
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62 Nye, “Get Smart.” 63 James Traub, “The Hillary Clinton Doctrine,” Foreign Policy, 6 November 2015, https://foreignpolicy.com/2015/11/06/hillary-clinton-doctrine-obamainterventionist-tough-minded-president/. 64 Hillary Clinton, “A Conversation with US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton,” Council on Foreign Relations, 15 July 2009, https://www.cfr.org/event/conversation-us-secretary-state-hillary-rodhamclinton. 65 Dinesh Sharma, “How Hillary Clinton’s’ Smart Power’ Feminism Informs Her Foreign Policy,” The Conversation, 8 June 2016, https://theconversation.com/howhillary-clintons-smart-power-feminism-informs-her-foreign-policy-60506. 66 “Hillary Rodham Clinton, “Remarks on American Leadership,” 31 January 2013, YouTube video, 57:54, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6B3wBkYK3Es. 67 Hillary Rodham Clinton and Leon Panetta, “Foreword,” in Women on the Frontlines of Peace and Security, ed. US Department of Defense (Washington: National Defense University Press, 2014), https://ndupress.ndu.edu/Portals/68/Documents/ Books/women-on-the-frontlines.pdf. 68 Ibid. 69 Clinton, “Remarks on American Leadership.” 70 For this line, see Steven MacMillan, “Hillary Clinton, a Neocon and a War Hawk: Would the World Survive a ‘Killary Presidency’?,” Global Research, 8 September 2016, https://www.globalresearch.ca/hillary-clinton-a-neocon-and-a-war-hawkwould-the-world-survive-a-killary-presidency/5544624. 71 Brooke Seipel, “Dan Rather Hits Journalists Who Called Trump ‘Presidential’ after Syria Missile Strike,” The Hill, 7 April 2017, https://thehill.com/blogs/in-theknow/in-the-know/327929-dan-rather-hits-journalists-who-called-trumppresidential-after. 72 Mattie Kahn, “Samantha Power Still Believes Theater Can Save the World,” elle, 19 January 2017, https://www.elle.com/culture/a39443/samantha-power-theaterdiplomacy/. 73 Katherine Brandon, “Secretary of State Clinton: ‘A New Era of Engagement,’” Obama White House Archives, blog, 15 July 2009, https://obamawhitehouse. archives.gov/blog/2009/07/15/secretary-state-clinton-a-new-era-engagement. 74 Cerelia Athanassiou, “As Much as Hillary Clinton’s ‘Smart Power’ Works to Signal Change, It Is Not a Game Changer,” lse US Center, blog, 1 April 2015, https:// blogs.lse.ac.uk/usappblog/2015/04/01/as-much-as-hillary-clintons-smart-powerworks-to-signal-change-it-is-not-a-game-changer/.
75 Ibid. 76 Matt Kwong, “Rebranding Canada: Justin Trudeau’s Big Plans at the un,” cbc News, 18 September 2016, https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/justin-trudeauunited-nations-general-assembly-unga-rebrandind-1.3766405. 77 Matthew Bondy, “Justin Trudeau Is Putting the ‘Liberal’ Back in ‘Canadian Foreign Policy’,” Foreign Policy, 21 October 2015, https://foreignpolicy.com/2015/ 10/21/justin-trudeau-liberal-canadian-foreign-policy-syria-climate-change/. 78 Margaret Wente, “Justin’s Dilemma: Soft Power, Hard World,” Globe and Mail, 16 July 2016, https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/justins-dilemma-softpower-hard-world/article30939321/. 79 See Marc–Olivier P. Cantin, “A Year under Trudeau: The Fundamental Shifts in Canadian Foreign Policy,” Global Policy Journal, 19 October 2016, https://www. globalpolicyjournal.com/blog/19/10/2016/year-under-trudeau-fundamental-shiftscanadian-foreign-policy. 80 Roger Jordan, “Canada Appoints Anti-Russia Hawk as Foreign Minister,” World Social Web Site, 19 January 2017, https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/01/ 19/cana-j19.html. 81 Justin Trudeau, “Address by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to the European Parliament,” European Parliament, Strasbourg, 16 February 2017, https://pm.gc.ca/ en/news/speeches/2017/02/16/address-prime-minister-justin-trudeau-europeanparliament. 82 Bondy, “Justin Trudeau.” 83 Kim Cragin and Ben Connable, “To Undermine isis We Should Welcome Syrian Refugees,” Newsweek, 2 December 2015, https://www.newsweek.com/undermineisis-we-should-welcome-syrian-refugees-400229. 84 Michael Paulson, “Justin Trudeau Brings Ivanka Trump to Broadway Show on Welcoming Outsiders,” New York Times, 15 March 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/ 2017/03/15/theater/justin-trudeau-ivanka-trump-broadway-come-fromaway.html. 85 Eric Sorensen, “Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland’s Take on Trump’s ‘America First’ Inauguration Speech,” Global News, 20 January 2017, https:// globalnews.ca/video/3196073/extended-foreign-affairs-ministers-take-on-trumpsamerica-first-inauguration-speech. 86 bbc News, “Donald Trump vs Justin Trudeau.” 87 Ibid. 88 Ibid.
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89 Tonda MacCharles, “Conservatives Slam Trudeau as Soft on Terror as Push for Security Changes Begins,” Star, 20 November 2017, https://www.thestar.com/news/ canada/2017/11/20/conservatives-slam-trudeau-as-soft-on-terror-as-push-forsecurity-changes-begins.html. 90 There is a large literature on women as violent actors. See Tara McKelvey, One of the Guys: Women as Aggressors and Torturers (Emeryville, ca: Seal Press, 2007). 91 Otto, “Sign of ‘Weakness’?” 92 Ibid. 93 Ibid. 94 General Jennie Carignan, “Opening Address on Women Leaders in International Security and Defence,” wiis-Canada 10th Annual Workshop, Montreal, 17 May 2017. 95 Francine D’Amico, “The Women of Abu Ghraib,” in One of the Guys: Women as Aggressors and Torturers, ed. Tara McKelvey (Emeryville, ca: Seal Press, 2007). 96 Carignan, “Opening Address.”
4 Finding a Community in Feminist International Relations Methodology leah sarson in conversation with maya eichler, heather smith, and sar ah tuckey
Introduction The inspiration for this edited volume was the tenth anniversary of Women in International Security-Canada, one of the primary functions of which is to improve the environment and circumstances for those gender-aware international relations scholars and practitioners coming up behind us. With that mantra in mind, during the 2017 wiis-Canada workshop in Montreal I organized a panel devoted to feminist research methods and research design. While the panel was designed to offer junior scholars in international relations (ir) guidance on methods and methodology – which it did – its primary outcome was a conversation about confidence, maturing as a scholar, and carving out your own space in the field. This chapter draws on that conversation to reflect on our approaches to feminist research and to offer junior scholars in ir advice for moving forward in their research agendas, an evolution that can be more psychological than might be apparent. Following my contextual comments in the next section, the text that follows is a conversation between the panellists as they reflected back on the panel that was held in 2017. We reproduce some of what was presented and discussed during the panel, with the benefit of further reflection.
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Contextualizing Feminist Research in International Relations While there is no single definition of feminism, feminist ir scholars essentially argue that gender – in its myriad forms – matters: gender is a necessary part of sound analysis. While some feminist scholars may align with the orthodox paradigms of ir, much of feminist ir is concerned with postpositivist approaches that reject rationalist methodologies and affiliate with more critical approaches. Although some scholars take an explicitly positivist approach, incorporating gender as an explanatory variable within their analytical framework,1 others argue that a focus on the positivist tenets of generalizability, causality, testing, and falsifiability often obscures gendered experience and ignores both the contributions of feminist scholars and the experiences of women in the world.2 For instance, in contrast to most orthodox ir scholarship, feminist scholarship acknowledges the epistemological legitimacy of personal and literary narrative.3 Feminist scholars recognize that, despite how multifaceted these varied understandings are, the methods and methodology driving feminist ir scholarship can be more complex and polemical than traditional approaches.4 During my time as a political science doctoral student who had spent several years outside of academia before returning to pursue her PhD, I struggled to progress with the research design of my dissertation project. I was unsure if I had enough data, whether the analysis that emerged from the data was sound, the goal of my writing, and the ethical and power dynamics of social science research. Of course, I thought I was the only one with these challenges, and I was regularly plagued with self-doubt. No one brought these concerns out in me more than the high-achieving positivist scholar. At that point in my career, I saw positivist scholars as harbouring a roadmap through the scientific method that offered clues to the next steps in the research process. Although the scientific method as I saw it then felt too linear and restrictive for me, I longed for what I thought they had: a set of guidelines for what makes “good” research. The root of this angst was a barb that a colleague levelled at me at the beginning of my doctoral career. This colleague accused me of being a “lazy scholar,” and the spectre of that loaded insult has taunted me ever since, even though I know myself to be dedicated to my work and a productive
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member of our community. Upon reflection, I believe this colleague misinterpreted my uncertainty about how to move forward with my work – which I now understand to be an essential part of the academic process – and the sense of inertia and self-doubt that such feelings can produce. I am sure she would be astounded that this off-hand remark sparked a scholarly dedication to research design, including the impetus for the following conversation. Seeking remedies for these challenges from trusted colleagues, I invited them to participate in a panel that explored non-positivist research design, making methodological decisions as a junior researcher, and the question of “rigorous” research in ir. The panel included scholars at all career levels: I chaired the panel, which consisted of Maya Eichler, an associate professor at Mount Saint Vincent University; Veronica Kitchen, an associate professor at the University of Waterloo, who was unable to participate in the conversation presented here; Heather Smith, a full professor at the University of Northern British Columbia; and Sarah Tuckey, who was then a PhD candidate at the University of Ottawa and is now with Oxfam America. The panel provided me with something of a critical juncture in my approach to research. While I had organized it while seeking answers to fundamental questions of research design, I emerged with insight into four themes that have changed the way I approach my research. These include definitions of critical scholarship, assumptions about the research process, confidence in oneself as a scholar, and debate about the future of the discipline. The panel and subsequent conversations have helped me construct a personal and protean standard for feminist research design that has since guided my work. For this, I am particularly grateful to my colleagues. Among the research goals of feminist scholars is to “challenge and rethink what we mean by knowledge”;5 yet critical ir can be as unwelcoming to feminist scholars as more conventional approaches. While there is rich work on feminist methodologies, there is considerably less on research design that incorporates critical feminist approaches and a feminist research ethic. The methods and methodologies that dominate ir scholarship are masculinist by design – often obscuring gender and eschewing the subjectivity that can drive alternative approaches by demanding a rationalist drive for a “universal” truth. Indeed, Sandra Harding argues that the questions and themes pursued by social scientists are usually the ones prioritized by
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men.6 For students, that often leaves those who are intrigued by alternative approaches with no alternative but to become autodidacts and to defend their choices to more orthodox members of the academy. As Heather Smith discusses in our conversation below, there are deep epistemological divisions in the field that shape what counts as “good” scholarship, and these divisions produce estranged methodological priorities and standards.7 Of course, this discussion is anachronistic in some ways: the TicknerKeohane debates on the utility of feminist ir and post-positivism more broadly hinged on Keohane’s suspicions of both the value and growth potential of critical approaches.8 In several articles, he discusses the absence of a scientific research design and his doubts about the “reflective” capacity for such a design. While Keohane’s position has been widely refuted by feminist ir scholars such as Tickner, Weber, and Wibben, among others, these rejoinders do not necessarily offer corollary methodological approaches.9 Moreover, since feminist methodologies include acknowledging, deconstructing, and honouring the normative purpose of research, they also inspire work that does not explicitly prioritize gender-based analyses.10 Feminist research design asks scholars to “reflect on the ways in which their own epistemological prejudices tacitly influence their research design.”11 During the panel, Maya Eichler remarked that a mature scholar critiques her own work, a comment that has forced me to consider how much of my paralysis was driven by a lack of confidence in my doctoral work. The panellists emphasized that the conviction that I had regarding positivist approaches was likely a matter of false confidence and that these growing pains were not exclusive to non-positivist scholars. Ultimately, we all base ourselves in the broad research traditions of the discipline; for me, learning to be confident in my choices as a scholar, while also remaining reflexive, has become a constant balancing act as I progress in my research agenda. Heather Smith, in keeping with the wiis-Canada ethos of mentorship, has regularly offered me insight into her own methodological choices, which she reinforced at our panel and in the discussion reproduced below. These insights have fundamentally altered my approach to research and research design. Heather discussed her realization that, while she had always considered herself to be a critical scholar in our field of ir, engaging with the literature on Indigenous methods and theory while researching a topic
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with Indigenous content forced her to recognize that she was not as critical or alternative as she once may have thought. Reflecting on Heather’s acuity and reflexivity during our panel, I realized that by labelling myself a “critical” scholar I was making a false binary between myself and that fictitious high-achieving positivist colleague. Heather’s perspicacity led to a conversation about the discipline, or lens, of feminist ir itself, between the panellists and several audience members. Participants remarked on the tension between the need to define the boundaries of the discipline and the need to expand those boundaries to include non-Western perspectives. A discipline requires a lingua franca among its scholars, but this necessarily excludes those who do not know the ir vocabulary.12 Thus, I spent the final year of my doctorate reflecting on how to root my work in what came before me and contribute to my discipline while simultaneously recognizing the assumptions about knowledge and expertise that define the field.
A Conversation between Four Feminist Scholars In preparation for the 2017 panel, I offered panellists four guiding questions in advance of the event. These were: (1) What does a non-positivist research process look like to you? (2) Positivist research design offers a relatively clear road map that might not be available to non-positivist researchers. What happens when you get stuck in your research? (3) What would your advice be to a student who was losing confidence in her/his/their non-positivist research approach/choices, particularly if that student was receiving push back for her/his/their choices? (4) What does “rigorous” ir scholarship look like to you? The conversation below offers our responses to these questions as well our post facto reflections on the discussion. Heather, in particular, has written about the parameters of the field, questioning what it means to participate in the scholarly community of ir.13 Inspired by Heather’s work on “disciplining the discipline,” I began the panel by asking the four scholars to reflect on their place in the discipline. leah: What does it mean to you to write for the discipline?
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maya: I don’t see myself writing “for” the discipline. I have always eschewed disciplinary boundaries. My scholarship has drawn on ir, security studies, women and gender studies, military sociology, anthropology, citizenship studies, area studies (Russian and post-Soviet Studies), and more. While my goal is certainly to contribute to disciplinary debates, I don’t write “for” the discipline. I write for my readers. And I hope they’re not all academics! Not accepting disciplinary boundaries may not be a wise choice for a junior scholar. It can get you into trouble when you are on the academic job market or when your department is reviewing your reappointment or tenure file. I have been willing to accept these potential risks because I think the benefit of finding your niche is more valuable than trying to fit into disciplinary boundaries. During my job talks and interviews, the ir folks thought I wasn’t a “real” ir scholar because my work was on the Russian military. But, of course, the comparativists didn’t consider me a “true” comparativist either! It can feel like one is falling between two stools, but really one just needs to find one’s own ground. At least, that’s my approach. I strongly believe that it is always better to follow one’s interests and curiosity rather than try to fit into someone else’s agenda. This is not a call for individualism but, rather, for “running in one’s own lane” while engaging in the collective process of knowledge production. sarah: I may not be the best person to answer this question as I am both a junior scholar in the process of completing my PhD and an activist and consultant attempting to implement what I have studied and learned beyond the academy. My background is also a bit jumbled: I started my academic career as a sociologist, switched to global development studies, and landed in the public administration subfield of political studies at the University of Ottawa. Sometimes it is unclear (even to me!) which discipline I’m writing for. Right now, I’m writing for many people: myself, my supervisor, my committee, and the activist community working on gender equality and women’s rights in fragile and conflict-affected states. I’m also writing for many disciplines: I’ve situated myself within the field of public administration – namely, the sphere of research on comprehensive approaches to
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governance. But I’ve chosen this situation as a place from which to interrogate traditional scholarship on comprehensive governance through critical feminist discourse analysis. This means I am also writing for a body of critical feminist scholarship that overlaps public administration, political studies, international relations, critical security studies, and development studies. As Maya mentions, this may get me into trouble from a traditional academic standpoint. But, like Maya, I also feel best when I’ve conducted the research and created the writing that reflects my goals as a scholar and activist. This may mean that my career path veers away from traditional scholarship, but I firmly believe that my career future will be far more authentic. Remaining grounded in my position as a writer and researcher straddling the margins permits me to investigate, interrogate, and, hopefully, transform the disciplines I write for. heather: My initial response to this question is that I’ve never really felt like I’ve written “for” the discipline insofar as “for” the discipline means some sort of adoption of mainstream topics and positivist approaches that result in a research agenda that is cumulative and “progressive.” When I wrote on climate change, I was told that environmental topics were not really political science. When I showed interest in and ultimately started to do work drawing on feminist perspectives, I was told to keep feminism as a hobby because it wouldn’t get me anywhere in my career. My work on teaching Canadian foreign policy, and my scholarship on teaching and learning, just seems weird to people who think that writing about teaching isn’t real research. So I felt like I was always writing on content areas and adopting methodologies that were outside the core of the discipline or, at the very least, outside the core of Canadian foreign policy, which is the primary area in which I’ve published. And yet, herein lies the contradiction: most of the work that I’ve published is in the area of Canadian foreign policy and so how can I say I don’t write for the discipline? I think my initial response of not writing for the discipline stands – again if we understand “for” as meeting some sort of disciplinary standards on content and method. But I’ve also been purposeful about publishing within the discipline and alongside more mainstream scholars with the intent to be disruptive. Students, practitioners, and the
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scholarly community need to see that there are different ways to envision Canada and the world and that there are a host of questions that too often go unasked. We need to challenge the silences in our field. We need to import ideas from other fields and content areas as a means by which to shed light on the gaps in our own studies. We don’t have to be disciplined by our disciplines because if we are, how then do we actually get to new and innovative ideas? Are we not then simply replicating past practices? Ultimately, I agree with Maya, that it is about “running in one’s own lane.” I also agree that this can feel risky for junior scholars, but a feeling of risk shouldn’t have us retreating into the safety of some sort of positivist approach that is disciplinarily approved. I know that some readers may think: “this is easy for you to say as a full professor,” and yet I would say that I wasn’t a full professor when I stepped away from the liberal approach that informed my doctoral work and I wasn’t tenured when I first started writing about gender and Canadian foreign policy. It feels risky because we are afraid of some sort of professional punishment, and yet that fear can keep us silent. If the fear wins, we all lose out. Find your people, your place, and your voice and work collectively to write the discipline you want to create. leah: And yet, as scholars, you are all classified as ir scholars by your colleagues, by your training and supervisors, by the conferences and publications to which you contribute, by the spaces in which you are invited to speak. Do you feel an obligation to root your own work within the broad research traditions of ir? maya: For several years I felt most closely aligned with the subfield of feminist ir, but more recently I feel most at home within the field of critical military studies – a relatively new field of interdisciplinary, critical, and intersectional study of military issues. Despite that, I have published in journals across several disciplinary lines, such as journals in military sociology (Armed Forces and Society), mainstream and critical journals in military and veteran studies (Critical Military Studies, Military Behavioral Health, and Journal of Military, Veteran and Family Health), and ir journals (Études internationales, Critical Studies on Security, International Journal, International Feminist Journal of Politics).
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sarah: I do not feel an obligation to root myself within the broader research traditions of ir; in fact, I feel more comfortable when I am interrogating such traditions. Given my varied academic background and my position with one foot in academia and the other in the realm of activism, my closest loyalty to ir is rooted in the subfield of feminist security studies (fss), which is still attempting to carve out space in security studies and ir more broadly. I think this makes sense, given that Stern and Wibben note that “fss is located at the crossroads of security studies, feminist international relations and feminist theory (which considers gender as one of many intersecting relations of power).”14 The contribution of fss to ir is that it works to challenge mainstream ir and security studies scholarship and the current trendiness of “adding gender and stirring.” If my colleagues in ir more broadly identify me as an ir scholar, I certainly haven’t seen it. I’ve more frequently been challenged as an outsider to ir, as can be evidenced by my last few ir conference experiences where I was encouraged to “drop the gender” in order to fit in better with the ir crowd, or where I was asked what my feminist research questions had to do with issues of ir and security. These sweeping critiques and challenges used to bother me in the earlier days of my PhD but now feel like an indicator of success: when someone tells me to “drop the gender” or asks “why feminism?” I know I am on the right investigative track. heather: I’ve been “classified” in many different ways over the course of my career. At one point, years ago at a conference, I was apparently classified as realist and mainstream. To others I’m feminist and critical. And for some what I do is ir and for some what I do isn’t ir. I try to self-identify my theoretical orientations in my writing, but I can’t control how I’m labelled and classified by others. I’m intrigued by some of the gender and ir literature and that’s why I use it, but I also use literature from other fields. Ultimately, I think that being open to a wide body of scholarly literature, and not just “ir” literature, expands my thinking, makes me a better researcher and a more well-rounded teacher. leah: The three of you speak to your efforts to engage in disciplinary innovation, carving out your own interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary paths; identifying as feminist researchers is another common thread be-
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tween you. There is very little scholarship on feminist research design in international relations – the “how” portion of much of our research. Ackerly, Stern, and True published their 2006 Feminist Methodologies for International Relations because they themselves struggled to find methodological guidance. In your work, how do you approach research design? What do you consider to be “data”? Do you use concepts like “testing,” “variables,” and “generalizability”? maya: Most of my data are qualitative, based on interviews and focus groups. I don’t use testing, variables, or generalizability. My data are contextually situated, which helps me understand how participants make sense of their worlds. sarah: Similar to Maya, my data are qualitative in nature. For my dissertation research, and my research as an activist and consultant, I have conducted interviews and reviewed documents through the lens of critical feminist discourse analysis. The goal of my research is not so much generalizability but, rather, an attempt to revisit a body of literature, a case study, a policy, a program, or a discipline from a new perspective and to allow the people I interview and the documents I interrogate to tell a story from a feminist standpoint. heather: Can I just say “ditto”? Concepts like generalizability, variables, data and testing are simply not part of my methodological lexicon. I do gather evidence where appropriate and I use variations of discourse analysis, first person narrative, and storytelling approaches to my work. leah: Tickner argues that most ir feminists self-identify as post-positivists;15 do you feel like the methodological choices you discuss above stem from your commitment to feminist research? Does feminist international relations entail particular methodological choices? maya: For me, taking inspiration from Enloe, two things are important to my feminist research ethic: first, ask “where are the women?” in any research question. And ask, “How did they get there?”16 Question what it is we take for granted, what seems “natural.” Also, always then ask the same questions
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about men. Use your research to uncover gender norms and inequalities. Second, listen to the voices of the people that you study and take those voices seriously. Don’t presume that you know more than they do. Question and reflect on your own assumptions, and do not impose your own voice on those you are researching. I believe that qualitative research methods lend themselves well to such a feminist research ethic, but feminist scholarship needs to draw on a wide variety of methods. We need sex-disaggregated data drawn from quantitative studies as much as we need careful historical archival research as well as participatory ethnographic work. It is important to stay open to a range of methodologies and reflect on the limitations that each methodological approach presents us with. sarah: Maya has described my feminist research ethic very well! I take a lot of inspiration from feminist scholars like Cynthia Enloe, Carol Cohn, Annick Wibben, Valerie Hudson, Laura Sjoberg, Maitrayee Mukhopadhyay, Chandra Mohanty, Sara Ahmed, Jane Parpart, and Marysia Zalewski – to name a few – who stress that in any feminist research ethic you must “examine how gender has infused our very ways of thinking.”17 This is done in many ways but always begins by interrogating women’s – and men’s – location in society and how their location intersects with their ethnicity, sexuality, religious or political affiliation, and freedom of mobility, among other identity markers. In my view, this methodological process is a must, not just for feminist ir scholars but for all scholars working within the confines of social science research. It is our duty to understand how our world is affected and influenced by gender. heather: I agree with Maya and Sarah. I am also regularly inspired by Cynthia Enloe and her reminder to remain “curious” about the world around us. I’ve also been inspired to think about the colonial nature of my practices by the work of Linda Tuhiwai Smith and Paulette Regan, just to name two scholars. The literature on Indigenous theory and method has had a profound impact on my assumptions about my scholarly self as “alternative” and “critical” and has caused me to revisit (but not really address successfully) concepts such as margins and silences.
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Also consistent with Maya and Sarah, I believe that there is room for a variety of methods under the feminist umbrella, and I’ve done work that is both quantitative and qualitative. Certainly, the vast majority of my work is qualitative, but I see the value of and need for quantitative work by feminist scholars. The key for me is that the work be grounded in a feminist research ethic. leah: Yet I would imagine that many of our colleagues would dispute the academic value of this chapter and the autoethnography offered herein. This tension colours much of the feminist ir literature and produces further methodological divisions between feminist scholars eager to apply mainstream standards of rigour and those who pursue more critical approaches.18 What does “rigorous” ir scholarship look like to you? maya: A “rigorous” scholar is humble, not arrogant, recognizes the limitations and temporality of their findings, is willing to consider other viewpoints, to reconsider their findings, and to see scholarship as an ongoing and collective project. A rigorous scholar is transparent and reflective, engages and acknowledges the work of others, and is by definition a life-long learner. sarah: To me, a rigorous ir scholar is both well situated and self-reflexive. What I mean by well situated is that such a scholar must know where their discipline has come from but also be unafraid to seek out critical ir scholarship to remain sceptical of the discipline as a whole. For example, I follow many critical feminist security studies scholars on Twitter, all of whom consider themselves ir scholars, and they often Tweet that their biggest pet peeve is that the discipline refuses to acknowledge their scholarship within the broader canon of ir. I agree with them: if I have to read non-critical, non-feminist ir scholarship as proof I know the field, then I must also read the critical, feminist work too. Otherwise, I am painfully behind the curve of the discipline. What I mean by self-reflexive is that if an ir scholar is unable to understand their place within the discipline, both as a consumer and as a producer of the field, they are not rigorous enough. They must acknowledge
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their own inherent biases and continually work to transform them. This takes considerable self-awareness that may not come naturally to a junior scholar: these “deliberative moments” need to be taught,19 practised, and encouraged by our mentors and senior scholars. heather: I’m leery of the word “rigorous” because it seems to be a loaded term and embedded in all sorts of positivist assumptions about scholarship. It feels like a word that could be used to denigrate someone’s work, as in “you’re not very rigorous.” Somehow it reminds me of the time that a male scholar at a conference publicly declared my work to be “silly.” (My internal response to this was “whatever.”) However, if we understand “rigorous” as consistent with Sarah’s and Maya’s interpretations then I can work with it and I agree with all the points that they have made. Rigorous scholarship is reflective, open to deliberative moments, open to scholarly insights beyond the parameters of a given field, open to diverse understandings of what constitutes expertise and knowledges, and sensitive to the ethical dimensions of research. leah: Discussion of transforming our inherent biases makes me think of mechanisms of production and reproduction in the field. How can we contribute to a research tradition without reproducing the inequities of the discipline? How can we challenge voices of authority and what is deemed authoritative in the discipline? maya: I doubt that we can contribute to academia without reproducing some inequities. To a large extent, we are part of the system. We need to acknowledge that before we can move forward in ways that challenge the status quo. Academia is fundamentally hierarchical, and we have all already accepted this hierarchy to a certain extent by being part of it. The university is an institution with deeply racialized, gendered, colonial, classist, and ableist roots – as participants in this institution we need to continually reflect on and address these roots. We also need to use our voices to speak out about broader societal inequities. But can we transform the university into a truly revolutionary institution? I don’t know. I think we can make academia a kinder place, but it is always – at least within the institutional setting of the university – going to be somewhat
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hierarchical and disciplining. I believe in finding ways to mentor across and within these hierarchies. Fostering collegiality is one of best parts of academia, it is one of the reasons I’m in academia. Using my voice and authority as an academic to speak out about important social and political issues and inequities is another of its best parts, in my experience. As a junior scholar, can you challenge the voice of authority in the discipline? Not easily. But maybe that’s not the most important cause to take on anyway. I believe we can use our authority as academics to speak out about important social and political issues – and that is one of the things that attracts me to academia, as I have already said. In the end you must decide who you want to engage with. Your question sounds like you are most interested in engaging with the discipline. I personally am more interested in engaging with social and political authority writ large. sarah: I think this question is more complicated than it lets on. As a junior scholar, I know that to challenge the voices of authority can come at a higher cost than it would for those with job security or those with an established writing and research tradition built on challenging the traditions of their disciplines. And like Maya says, we must accept that to be writing for any discipline is also to be reproducing the inequities of that discipline to some degree. The beauty of feminism as a discipline (albeit one with very fluid boundaries) and as a method is that interrogating structures of power and voices of authority is encouraged. There is a normative purpose to feminism that isn’t explicit in other disciplines. And that normative purpose is always expanding and transforming as feminist researchers learn more about the structures of power they investigate – including through the ways they reproduce those structures themselves. But as a junior academic, I know that not many jobs exist for feminist scholars like myself. As such, I look for ways to challenge the status quo beyond the academy itself and strive to be an activist outside the ivory tower. Having senior scholars encourage this is heartening: we need senior scholars to create spaces for this interrogation and create opportunities for junior scholars to carve out a space for themselves within and beyond a discipline that likely has rigid hierarchical structures and tiered career stages that cannot be immediately dismantled.
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heather: Wow – this question is more complicated than it lets on, as Sarah notes. It is also a question that lends itself to an understanding of the ways in which our disciplines are part of institutions that are fundamentally hierarchical, as Maya observes. Hierarchy and power inequalities are found in our classrooms, our boardrooms, and our disciplinary research practices. Often the way in which hierarchy and power inequalities manifest go unexamined, and so yes, we can most certainly reproduce those hierarchies and inequalities in our practices. A prime example of this is found in Leah’s introduction, where she references my experience after reading some of the Indigenous method and theory literature and I realized that I had been engaged in fundamentally colonial research practices. It was heartbreaking because it wasn’t what I wanted to be and wasn’t who I thought I was as a scholar. As an administrator, I’ve seen power and inequalities play out in a variety of ways, not the least of which is often the treatment of support staff as second-class citizens. And I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve witnessed decisions being made about students or on behalf of students without there actually being a student present in the room – all we have to do is actually ask them! This may seem a bit tangential and not really responding to the question, but it plays off Maya’s grounding of the question in our institutions and it shows that our everyday practice can recreate inequalities – and often we don’t realize it. Like Maya, I’m not sure we can ever not reproduce inequalities in some fashion, but we can be reflective about our practices, be mindful of the ways in which we may reproduce inequalities, and seek to minimize the impact of our own practices as much as possible. So, for example, if you are working with Indigenous peoples, first you need to educate yourself – and that means reading a vast amount of literature – and then stop talking and listen. If we are engaged in feminist research, we need to reflect on and practise feminist research ethics.20 If you are working with students, consider reading the robust and vast literature on students-as-partners as a means by which to reflect on power hierarchies embedded in those relationships. As for challenging authoritative voices – we do that through the creation of community. As senior scholars, I believe, we have a responsibility to acknowledge our privilege and, like Maya notes, use our voice and authority to support others – be they junior scholars, students, staff, or members of our broader communities. We need to be able to take a stand when others
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may not be able to, in the face of still very gendered and racialized disciplinary and institutional spaces. We need to support the creation of spaces for multiple voices to be heard and we need to engage in our own ongoing reflective practices. leah: Heather asks herself and her colleagues to question the hierarchical and power dynamics in academe, even though institutional pressures often do not facilitate such self-reflection. Self-critique is never easy. During our panel, Maya said that a mature scholar critiques her own work. What does that look like to you? maya: To me it means reflecting on the limitations of our research and aiming to address them in future work. This may mean, for example, widening our gender lens to be more intersectional, listening to voices we have neglected in our previous research, digging a little deeper each time. sarah: I agree with Maya in that to mature as a scholar means to step outside of our comfort zones: we need to critically engage with our own work to understand where we can do better. For me, I am attempting to become a better feminist every day by seeking out new voices and new works that challenge the feminist I was yesterday. I do not do this simply within academia – and there are many new and established scholars that I turn to for inspiration daily – but also through following social media influencers with various social justice agendas and through seeking out journalists, activists, and ngos engaging with feminist-informed issues and platforms. heather: I don’t think that self-critique is unique to a mature scholar or a maturing scholar – or at least I hope not. I really try to prompt and foster reflective practice in my classroom, with my administrative colleagues and through my research. We all have areas that need improvement and reconsideration. Our work as students, teachers, researchers, and administrators always has limitations that need to be addressed or acknowledged. None of this is easy to do. Examining our own limitations – however they manifest – can be really hard, but if we don’t do it, I think we can get stuck. My vote is to work towards “unstuckedness.”
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leah: Sometimes “stuckedness” comes from a lack of confidence in one’s work. I certainly experienced that. What would your advice be to a student who was losing confidence in her epistemic and ontological choices, particularly if that student was receiving push-back for her choices? maya: Follow your intuition and trust that you are asking questions that are important. I agree that most research is non-linear and messy. In fact, we should see getting “stuck” in research as a positive thing. It indicates that you are moving outside your comfort zone and that you are tackling a complex problem. There is no easy research process. The research process is bound to challenge our confidence. sarah: Seek out people who sound more like you! Push-back is good when it is constructive and helps you become a better scholar, but when it feels like it is taking you away from your scholarly goals – when it goes against your intuition – it is time to seek out mentors who can bring you back onto your own track. You need to feel challenged enough to grow but not challenged to the point where you disappear. heather: Find your community! That is one of the things over the years that has helped me. Find people who you can have conversations with about the choices you are making and don’t be afraid to revisit some of those choices if need be, because that is where the breakthroughs can really happen. I know that sometimes we can feel really vulnerable or somehow “unscholarly” if we are having a crisis of confidence, but a lot of the best scholars I know have had moments where they question their work, their approaches, their methods – and that’s okay and, in fact, it shows that they are still learning and that’s great.
Conclusion Following the panel, we received several student responses emphasizing how rare it had been for them to witness scholars explore the personal and emotional elements of our academic work. By offering the opportunity to connect with scholars at all career levels outside the confines of traditional
Finding a Community in Feminist International Relations
academe, these students saw space for themselves in our field. And this is exactly what wiis-Canada does: it creates space for the community and the self-confidence that Maya, Sarah, and Heather each discretely explore. I take much inspiration from the willingness of these scholars to nurture our community. At the workshop, Veronica Kitchen suggested that my search for a roadmap equates to a need to reorganize my unspoken assumptions about my work and capacity as a scholar. The discussion made me think that perhaps my concentration on research design has really been about my impatient desire for certainty, confidence, and clarity in what evolves over the course of a career. The certainty that I perceive among those researchers who take a more scientific approach is a false certainty: either it is falsely perceiving certainties or perceiving false certainties. I am learning that the reflexivity and iteration that drives transformative research requires asking very difficult personal questions about the origins of the assumptions we make about others. The transformative potential of our work is derived from our capacity for iteration and self-reflection. And yet, I still work hard to nurture the lingua franca of my field of international relations or political science more broadly. While it is true that feminist and other critical approaches to social sciences research might struggle or be considered “not scholarly” as feminist scholar bell hooks notes,21 we are still beholden to the expectations of our field. Moreover, “feminists want their work to be accepted and effective.”22 Heather reminds us, then, that we are rarely as unorthodox or alone as we may think. I still strive to speak the language of the political scientist and frame my work within existing knowledge. Although I claim to recognize that work that does not “fit” within the confines of accepted knowledge is devalued, I still adhere to the standards of my discipline. Scholarship requires uncertainty; uncertainty begets knowledge production. It is uncomfortable to be exposed, to be vulnerable to criticism, to put forth ideas without the sense of confidence derived from boasting scientifically accepted “evidence,” as is often the case with research on issues of inequity that rely on personal narrative. Such discomfort requires confidence in one’s scholarly identity. There is symbiosis between the confidence to establish a scholarly identity in a relatively homogeneous and potentially hostile environment and the space necessary to acknowledge and share
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knowledge. Much as the adolescent’s process of maturation culminates in a nascent sense of self, so too must the junior scholar learn to be comfortable with the discomfort that “good” work demands. I use this discomfort to fuel further research on identity questions in my subfield of international relations as I learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. Yet such an approach also requires a strong community of scholars who can help you find the necessary confidence to move forward with work that feels right for you. Wanting to be part of the wiis-Canada community has driven me to work harder and to recognize where ego is driving my methodological hang-ups. After all, this is the irony of perfectionism: it simultaneously involves both arrogance and insecurity. The community of scholars that you develop provides the gentle nudge you need when you go off-track and girds you against the inertia that comes from lacking the confidence to move forward. This community of scholars reminds you of the importance of doing work that is meaningful to you. It ultimately provides the answer to our earlier question of what makes “good” scholarship: our good work must be for ourselves and our community.
note s 1 Carli R. Carpenter, “Gender Theory in World Politics: Contributions of a Nonfeminist Standpoint?,” International Studies Review 4, 3 (2002): 153–65. 2 Brooke A. Ackerly, Maria Stern, and Jacqui True, Feminist Methodologies for International Relations (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006); Anne Sisson Runyan and V. Spike Peterson, Global Gender Issues in the New Millennium, 4th ed. (Boulder, co: Westview Press, 2013); Shirin Rai and Georgina Waylan, Global Governance: Feminist Perspectives (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008); J. Ann Tickner, “Gender Research in International Relations,” in Gender Innovation in Political Science: New Norms, New Knowledge, ed. Marian Sawer and Kerryn Baker (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019), 153–71; Annick T.R. Wibben, “Feminist International Relations: Old Debates and New Directions,” Brown Journal of World Affairs 10, 2 (2004): 97–114. 3 Wibben, “Feminist International Relations.” 4 Ackerly, Stern, and True, Feminist Methodologies. 5 J. Ann Tickner, “What Is Your Research Program? Some Feminist Answers to
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International Relations Methodological Questions,” International Studies Quarterly 49, 1 (2005): 4. 6 Sandra G. Harding, “Introduction: Is There a Feminist Method?,” in Feminism and Methodology: Social Science Issues, ed. Sandra G. Harding (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1987), 6. 7 Ackerly, Stern, and True, Feminist Methodologies, 7; Tickner, “What Is Your Research Program?” 8 Robert O. Keohane, “International Relations Theory: Contributions of a Feminist Standpoint,” Millennium 18, 2 (1989): 245–53; Robert O. Keohane, “Beyond Dichotomy: Conversations between International Relations and Feminist Theory,” International Studies Quarterly 42, 1 (1998): 193–7; J. Ann Tickner, “You Just Don’t Understand: Troubled Engagements between Feminists and ir Theorists,” International Studies Quarterly 41, 4 (1997): 611–32; Tickner, “What Is Your Research Program?” 9 Wibben, “Feminist International Relations”; Max Weber, Weber: Political Writings (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994). 10 Ackerly, Stern, and True, Feminist Methodologies, 6. 11 Brooke Ackerly and Jacqui True, “Back to the Future: Feminist Theory, Activism, and Doing Feminist Research in an Age of Globalization,” Women’s Studies International Forum 33, 5 (2010): 467. 12 Professor Anessa Kimball of Université Laval contributed this important point during the question-and-answer session of the panel. She emphasized the common epistemological and ontological foundations of our research and our obligation to frame our work within existing knowledge. 13 Heather A. Smith, “The Disciplining Nature of Canadian Foreign Policy,” in Canadian Foreign Policy in Critical Perspective, ed. J. Marshall Beier and Lana Wylie (Don Mills: Oxford University Press, 2010), 3–14. 14 Maria Stern and Annick T.R. Wibben, “A Decade of Feminist Security Studies Revisited,” Security Dialogue Virtual Collection (2014): 2, https://journals.sagepub. com/pb-assets/cmscontent/SDI/Introduction_Feminist_Virtual_Issue-14692040 55013.pdf. 15 J. Ann Tickner, “Feminism Meets International Relations: Some Methodological Issues,” in Ackerly, Stern, and True, Feminist Methodologies, 19–41. 16 Cynthia Enloe, Bananas, Beaches and Bases: Making Feminist Sense of International Politics, 1st ed. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990).
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17 Annick T.R. Wibben, Feminist Security Studies: A Narrative Approach (Milton Park and New York: Routledge, 2011), 17. 18 Annick T.R. Wibben, “Researching Feminist Security Studies,” Australian Journal of Political Science 49, 4 (2014): 743–75; Wendy Harcourt, L.H.M. Ling, Marysia Zalewski, and the Swiss International Relations Collective, “Assessing, Engaging, and Enacting Worlds: Tensions in Feminist Method/Ologies,” International Feminist Journal of Politics 17, 1 (2015): 158–72, https://doi.org/10.1080/14616742. 2014.988451. 19 Ackerly, Stern, and True, Feminist Methodologies, 256–58. 20 Brooke Ackerly and Jacqui True, “Reflexivity in Practice: Power and Ethics in Feminist Research on International Relations,” International Studies Review 10, 4 (2008): 693–707. 21 bell hooks, Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom (New York: Routledge, 1994): 71. 22 Marysia Zalewski, “Distracted Reflections on the Production, Narration, and Refusal of Feminist Knowledge in International Relations,” in Ackerly, Stern, and True, Feminist Methodologies, 44.
Applying a Gendered Lens to the Canadian Military
5 Against Their Will: Changing the Culture of Gender and Gendered Violence in the Canadian Armed Forces re becca jensen
Introduction Sexual assault within the military, particularly of women, is a grave and ongoing crisis. In the United States, up to 43 percent of women and 12 percent of men are sexually assaulted during their military service.1 In nato militaries more broadly, women who serve face significantly higher rates of sexual assault than they do in the general public.2 The Maclean’s article that helped to trigger the Deschamps inquiry projected, based on its research and existing work on underreporting, that five sexual assaults per day occurred in the Canadian Armed Forces as of 2014.3 Other forms of sexual harassment that do not rise to the level of assault are even more common.4 Sexual assault happens in training, in garrison, and among caf members on and off duty.5 It also happens on deployments, as illustrated by the warnings against moving around the base alone after dark posted at Kandahar Air Field in response to an epidemic of violent crime that included sexual assault.6 The costs of this level of gendered assault and abuse are high. Men and women who have been sexually assaulted are more likely to leave the military before completing their term of service and less likely to re-enlist.7 Survivors of sexual assault in the military have higher rates of physical and mental illness, and are more likely to abuse alcohol or drugs.8 Women who have been sexually assaulted in the military often describe a secondary victimization as they try to report the crime, and to seek help, from both
military and civilian agencies, and find not only that they are not appropriately met but also that they can be traumatized anew through inadequate institutional responses or through a chain of command, or a provider of care, that is either unwilling or unable to respond appropriately.9 Sandra Perron’s compelling memoir of her experiences as the first woman to hold a commission in the Royal 22nd Regiment illustrates some of the costs to the force of a climate of sexual abuse and harassment, as she considers these to be factors in her departure from the caf.10 It also illustrates that the greatest costs have little to do with personnel turnover or the medical expenses related to the complications that haunt survivors of sexual assault but, rather, involve the legitimacy of the caf and its ability and willingness to preserve trust among its members and to defend the most basic human rights of the women and men who serve. In 1975, Susan Brownmiller’s Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape reframed sexual assault, treating it as a social and cultural phenomenon that distorts the relationship of women to their broader societies, and not simply as a crime by one individual against another, such as robbery or assault.11 Brownmiller argues that stopping gendered violence requires fundamental social cultural change. Ultimately, the culture that enables or turns a blind eye to systemic gendered abuse and harassment in the caf leads to institutional corruption, and the collapse of trust in the chain of command, without which militaries cannot function.12
The Challenges of Cultural Change The Deschamps Report, published in March 2015, made it clear that sexual misconduct and sexual harassment in the caf were not episodic and could neither be understood nor addressed as a series of isolated events. Rather, Justice Deschamps found that these events stemmed from a fundamental aspect of the culture of the caf, which was sexualized, gendered, and tolerant of routine degradation and sexualized treatment, particularly of women and sexual minorities in the caf.13 While reporting, investigation, and prosecution of individual episodes of sexual harassment and assault are essential, they are insufficient to achieve the cultural change necessary
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to create an atmosphere in which such behaviour is rare and is seen as dishonourable and unacceptable within the force. Cultural change, however, is difficult to achieve, particularly when the goal is a change that is rapid, profound, and lasting. Just as widespread and chronic sexual assault and harassment is a phenomenon that represents more than the sum of each individual episode, so does an organization’s culture represent something quite different from the aggregate of the individuals who are part of that organization. Cultural change is a form of organizational learning, as preconceptions, routines, and schema for making sense of experiences are disrupted or replaced; but while individual learning has been the subject of study for generations, organizational learning is a much newer field.14 Compounding this difficulty is the fact that many of the elements of caf culture that tolerate or even encourage gendered violence and harassment have their origins in broader Canadian culture and the antecedents of the caf. The conflation of warriorhood and masculinity is baked into military culture. The ancient Greek word for courage, andreia, is derived from a form of the word for man, andros, and could also be translated as “manliness.” For the Romans, Virtus was the deity of manliness, embodying courage and valour, and also linked to the Latin for man, vir.15 The conflation of masculinity with strength and good soldiering, and femininity with frailness and inadequacy, continues in the language of militaries today. Recruits are referred to as “ladies” to reinforce their position at the very bottom of the hierarchy, and soldiers who can’t keep up on a training run are referred to as “bitch” or “pussy.”16 Female cadets being instructed in leadership are told they have to “man up.”17 The tacit communication of this language, ancient or modern, is that to be a good warrior is to be a good man, and vice versa.18 The fact that in most nato countries there are far fewer statutory restrictions on women’s service than existed a generation ago indicates superficial change to these national militaries,19 along with a recognition among leaders that they must support, or at least be seen to support, integration and equality. Changing the substance of an institution, particularly the culture in which it recruits, trains, employs, and promotes personnel, is a substantially different task, more time consuming and more difficult. More change is yet
required, a fact whose recognition is borne out by the establishment and jurisdiction of agencies within most nato militaries, and among the civilian bodies that oversee them, to affirmatively enhance integration and equality, and also to respond appropriately to, and to work to prevent, negative treatment of women and others whose identity clashes with this historic masculine warrior ideal, which ranges from disparaging remarks from the very beginning of training to physical and sexual violence. There remains an “underlying sexualized culture in the caf that is hostile to women and lgbtq members, and conducive to more serious incidents of sexual harassment and assault.”20 This climate, and the consequences that flow from and reinforce it, are not simply a moral challenge in that members of the caf should be safe from an enemy within the force: it is a threat to the military effectiveness of the force in that it compromises trust among members and respect for, and trust in, the chain of command.21 Effecting this change requires understanding not only the roots of this sexualized and gendered culture but also why it has proven so resistant to change. Militaries are intrinsically conservative institutions.22 This is so in part because of their desire to minimize uncertainty, which is perceived as a threat to institutional interests as well as to military effectiveness.23 Military resistance to change has been observed across different military services and different national militaries. It also affects areas of military activity as diverse as strategy, innovative technology, and personnel. With respect to personnel, this conservatism has influenced everything from the adaptation of uniforms to the recruitment, integration, and treatment of military members based on class, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and gender.24 Traditional attitudes towards gender roles are more persistent in militaries than in the broader societies that they serve, in part because of this institutional conservatism but due to other factors as well. The paradigm of the “combat, masculine-warrior” (cmw) member of the military has persisted well into the twenty-first century, influencing men and women not only directly, with respect to their military careers, but also in tangential ways, such as their willingness to seek treatment for physical and mental distress, and the ways in which they find their family choices limited by their service.25
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The concept of “ambivalent sexism” emphasizes that discriminatory treatment of women is, in most cultures, driven by perceived benevolence and hostility simultaneously. Ambivalent sexism conceptualizes hostile sexism and benevolent sexism as intertwined. Examples of hostile sexism, such as the belief that women are too emotional to have command, or that their presence will distract men from doing their jobs, are often more readily recognized as sexism. Examples of benevolent sexism, such as the belief that women are intrinsically more caring than men, or that it is more important to protect a woman from harm than to protect a man from harm, are superficially positive for women. In fact, since benevolent sexism and hostile sexism both stem from the belief that women are fundamentally different from the normative state of being male, they are different facets of the same pathology.26 One component of the emphasis on masculinity in modern militaries, and its misogyny, is that it reflects those attributes in the wider culture. Examples of soi-disant altruistic factors include beliefs that excluding women from the military affords them necessary protection from burdens, physical and mental, that they are less able to bear than men. Benevolent sexism can also be seen in essentialist arguments for greater participation of women in the military on the grounds that they are intrinsically better suited for peacekeeping and stabilization missions. Such arguments have become common since the end of the Cold War.27 More hostile factors include the belief that women’s participation in the military will erode standards, morale, and performance; that women are behaving unnaturally in pursuing such a role; and that their motivations for doing so are less noble than those of men.28 In addition to the ambivalent sexism in military culture that is merely a reflection of the national culture, there are additional factors shaping the perception and treatment of women in the military that are particular to that institution and that go beyond the intrinsic threat women present to the cmw paradigm.29 As Western states with conscription shifted to volunteer forces in the 1950s and onward, a perception arose that the increasing numbers of women in uniform, which often coincided with the end of conscription, represented a substitute – implicitly inferior – for the men who used to fill military roles almost exclusively.30 The initiation into the
military as one of the ways of crossing the threshold into male adulthood, observed in nearly all societies, was threatened by the inclusion of women, particularly as their role changed from supplementary to essential as their numbers grew.31 The increased reliance on women, and the challenge this presents to the model of the military as masculine, has accelerated in the United States and its major partners, including Canada, during the Global War on Terror.32 In the caf, the tendency to use gendered language to describe behaviours and traits – sometimes desirable but more often undesirable – has been well documented. High performance and positive attributes are associated with masculinity and male anatomy, while poor performance and attributes at odds with the military ethic are associated with femininity, female anatomy, or homosexuality. So commonplace is this that, in interviews, many members of the caf indicate a degree of desensitization to this language and its implications, although the subjects most likely to be desensitized are those least likely to be linked with “undesirable” traits: those who conform to the cmw paradigm.33 Gender roles figure prominently not only in how military members relate to each other but also in how they are conditioned to perceive both those they fight and those they protect. While feminizing language, actions, and in extremis violence are used to humiliate and discipline recruits during training, this conflation of femininity with foreignness and weakness is then transferred on to the enemy.34 More broadly, construing the enemy as feminine has been part of military culture at least since the Cold War and,35 in more remote forms, goes back centuries earlier.36 The framing of women outside the military also contributes to how gender is constructed within the services. The protection of women from atrocity has been used in recruiting materials going back to the Great War, and the misogyny of Afghan society in particular continues to be used to motivate service members and to mobilize society for these wars.37 The iconic photograph of a sailor kissing a nurse in Times Square on Victory in Europe Day is the clearest visual representation of how the admiration of women has been seen as a warrior’s reward. In many cultures and times, the feminization of what is being defended is as systemic in language and metaphor as the masculinization of the warrior, and interviews with caf
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members in the twenty-first century show that the Canadian military today to be no different.38 In order to integrate women fully and substantively into the military, one basic indicator of which is their safety among their colleagues, fundamental and lasting change must be achieved. When the link between soldiering and manliness goes back to the earliest human history, when gender essentialism is a part of arguments both for and against why women should be integrated, and when the increasing presence of women is seen as a threat to identity, culture, and warfighting ability, the magnitude of the challenge becomes clear. This difficulty is compounded by the ways in which gendered perceptions of recruits, the enemy, and civilians are used as incentives in training and in warfare.
Pathways to Change While many actors within the military seek to create a culture that is inclusive, particularly one that does not accept or tacitly encourage gendered violence or harassment, much of the impetus for reform comes from the expectation of civilian oversight, and from broader Canadian society, that the military live up to both Canadian and military ideals in this regard. There is a gap between the civil and military spheres with respect to perceptions of gender, gender roles, and appropriate sexual conduct that creates external pressure for change. Work on change imposed by civilians upon militaries identifies four variables that explain the degree to which militaries will resist that change. These variables are professional identity, operational routines, autonomy, and budget. Professional identity describes in this case not only the notion of military professionalism in the general sense, which can be threatened by the integration of women when the normative service member is assumed to be a man, but also the particularly gendered nature of warrior culture. Operational routines are threatened by mandated change when that change would require disruption to existing routines not only for planning and fighting wars but also for recruiting, training, and equipping service members. Threats to autonomy lead to institutional resistance not only
because stakeholders feel their resources or influence to be threatened but also because it is through the exercise of autonomy that institutions, particularly those faced with the unexpected or the risky (which characterizes the military), can rapidly adapt. The fact that threats to budgets, or to control over budgets, as a result of forced change engenders institutional resistance does not require much explanation.39 The key to overcoming resistance based on the perceived threat of fully integrating women into the caf to operational routines or military effectiveness lies in the establishment of meaningful standards for qualification for any given military occupation and in providing transparency with regard to those standards. The perception that standards are reduced to accommodate women at the expense of performance on the job and/or the integrity of training damages cohesiveness and engenders hostility towards the inclusion of women.40 When qualifications, assignments, and promotions are widely perceived to be based upon competence, these harmful effects rapidly diminish.41 Civilian oversight can use institutional fear over loss of autonomy or budgetary control to apply external pressure as a driver for change by attaching incentives to accomplishing goals related to women in the military. In the United States, particularly after the Tailhook sexual assault scandal, Congress made it clear that, without meaningful and lasting change, it would take a range of decisions out of military hands and make them itself. This helped to ensure that the military committed to dealing with the incident and prevented reoccurrences.42 Changing culture and evolving identity so that women are affirmed as integral members of the caf is an ongoing process, and it is not one that will necessarily yield immediate results. It involves eliminating the behaviours, language, and attitudes that suggest women are auxiliary to the caf and its missions as well as taking on more flagrant examples of discrimination, harassment, hostility, or assault.43 Culpability for abuse rests with the abuser, but changing the culture is at least as much the responsibility of those who seek to make an organization fully integrated and equitable. Further, this approach provides an opportunity for all members of an organization to contribute to change, whereas a strict focus on perpetrators of abuses has the ironic effect of limiting the agency of nonabusers. This culture- and institution-based approach to sexual assault
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and harassment prevention is now being explored at many American universities.44 It may seem that changing military culture to eliminate sexual assault is not feasible since the collective and individual values of caf members reflect, to some extent, the values of Canadian society more broadly, and sexual assault is pervasive in Canada, harming as many as one in four women at Canadian universities.45 The nature of the military, though, is to enculturate and to indoctrinate its members to accept risks, to surrender individual rights, and to obey orders even when they go against their preferences. The fact that Canadian society has a sexual assault problem does not excuse the caf from working to reduce the incidence of assault among its members along with the tolerance of such actions and the climate that enables them on the part of peers and superiors. The role of commanders in effecting this change is central. Sexual assault in any context is a violation, but sexual assault perpetrated by one caf member upon another is additionally a betrayal of the trust that must exist among military members and is harmful to morale and the effectiveness of the unit. Sexual assault of caf members under the authority of their assailant compounds this by making malignant the power that commanders hold over their subordinates. In such instances, assailants must be punished in accordance with the harm they do both to their victims and to the compact within the military that is necessary for its successful operations, both to satisfy justice and to demonstrate the degree to which the caf condemns sexual assault.46 But it is obviously not enough for commanders to refrain from assaulting subordinates. The chain of command gives them greater leverage to shape culture than their counterparts in civilian workplaces, and their attitudes, language, and conduct are taken as cues by their subordinates, indicating not only what is required to succeed under that commander but also how to advance their own careers. Including command climate with respect to gender equality, education, and prevention of sexual assault and harassment in his or her command, and how incidents of harassment and assault were managed by a commander in the elements considered by promotion boards, sends an unmistakeable signal about what the caf expects from its members. Militaries have long demonstrated their institutional priorities through promotion patterns;47 any serious attempt to make caf culture
antithetical to sexual assault and harassment must use this tool to shape how its personnel behave and it expects subordinates, peers, and superiors to behave. Crucially, however, commanders should not be penalized for high rates of reported assault or harassment in their commands. When an institution or jurisdiction signals that it will investigate and prosecute sex crimes as strenuously as it does other interpersonal crimes, and when it creates mechanisms designed to make reporting less traumatic for the victim, it is common for reporting rates to increase significantly. This is occasionally interpreted as proof that a policy is ineffective as assaults are increasing. In fact, increased reporting reflects greater comfort with and trust in authorities to respond appropriately – not increased assaults.48 In his 2016 treatment of cultural change and sexual assault and harassment in the caf, Allan English argues that a number of failed attempts at Canadian military reforms in the past indicate some of the prerequisites if a program is to be successful in reshaping the culture so that it opposes and inhibits gendered violence and harassment. First, there must be an overarching plan, addressing the short and long terms, the whole organization, and the drivers behind the change. Second, the plan must be transparent so that both members and outsiders can assess the degree to which leaders are “talking the talk” and whether or not the plan is achieving its intended results. Third, there must be buy-in that goes beyond official acceptance and that incorporates an understanding of the plan and the mechanisms of its implementation into professional military education. Fourth, as frequent turnover in any staff or command can hamper institutional memory, extensive plans and records must be maintained for each function or office so that the steps taken and the progress achieved are not lost when personnel change. Fifth, the plan must be continually evaluated to ensure it has not been overtaken by events.49 These five elements would do much to counter the institutional lack of understanding of organizational culture and change that characterizes the caf (as it does other militaries). However, what English sees as an institutional threat to effective and lasting change – the “tyranny of the posting cycle” – may in fact be a disguised advantage to an institution that seeks rapid and comprehensive change. The failure to maintain adequate docu-
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mentation, and the tendency to rely on PowerPoint presentations rather than on more effective forms of preserving information and institutional knowledge, is indeed a form of dysfunction, causing problems in many areas, not simply with regard to attempts to institutionalize change.50 A different framing of these traits shows how they can enable rapid change in behaviour and culture. In a study of how the British counterinsurgency forces changed their perceptions and actions in Afghanistan, Theo Farrell found that adaptation was most successful precisely because of personnel changeover and poor organizational memory.51 For the implementation of a detailed plan that spans years, poor institutional recordkeeping can be disastrous. However, long staff tenure and strong organizational memory can make change, particularly cultural change, more difficult as the sense of “how we do things” is fixed both individually and collectively. When personnel turn over, there are increasingly fewer members of a given unit who will tend to do things as they were done in the past as there will be increasingly fewer members who were themselves part of that past. The same mechanism that can facilitate warfighting improvement by ensuring that key insights and techniques are transmitted to new generations, while allowing unproductive mindsets and habits to die out, can be used to change the culture of the caf surrounding gendered violence and harassment.
Policy Recommendations Each episode of sexual assault and harassment involves a transgression and, frequently, a crime. In this sense, it is quite different from other challenges that have led major public organizations to seek sweeping cultural change. Addressing the need for cultural change, and the ways in which such change might be initiated and sustained, does not in any way suggest diverting resources from investigating and prosecuting instances of gendered violence, nor does it in any way diminish the moral and legal culpability of the transgressor. However, trying to prevent a behaviour that the Deschamps Report characterizes as systemic by treating it merely as the aggregate of individual instances of assault and harassment is neither appropriate nor effective.
The following policy recommendations accordingly seek to change how the caf as an organization, and all its members, thinks about sexual assault and harassment.
Working around the Chain of Command The military may have some elements in common with other large public institutions, but it differs in a number of ways. Most crucially for the purposes of cultural change and gendered violence, the military can be characterized as both a “total institution” and a “greedy institution.”52 Total institutions extend their authority over all elements of their members’ lives; the typical examples are militaries, prisons, and some clerical orders. In few other circumstances are institutions granted such power over their members’ leisure, medical care, or sexual activity. Greedy institutions are those that are empowered to make extensive and extraordinary demands upon the resources of their members; typical examples are militaries and families. Few other employers have the ability to make claims upon so much of their employees’ time and energy as the military. Like police and fire departments, in extreme situations the military can make such demands even to the point of the service member’s death. When total and greedy institutions abuse their members, or neglect their well-being, the results can be harmful beyond the damage that would occur in a more limited institution. While equivalent data do not exist for the caf, in the United States, almost three-quarters of sexual assaults were committed against people in the four lowest enlisted ranks – the youngest and most junior members of the military, with the least structural and social power. The majority of assaults were committed against a junior woman by a man who held a higher rank.53 While in other workplaces victims of assault or harassment may choose to leave (albeit at a steep financial and/or professional cost), in most cases this is not an option for members of the military, which means that victims of gendered violence often must continue to work with, or under the supervision of, their assailant. In some cases, they are directly in the chain of command of their assailant. Given that, until recently, reporting mechanisms involved initially reporting directly through the chain of command, this created a tremendous structural disincentive for doing so. More
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broadly, even when the commanding officer to whom an assault is reported is entirely supportive of his or her service members, and committed to justice for victims of sexual assault and harassment, there is a strong incentive to balance the perceived needs of two members of the unit rather than to treat the matter as a potential crime.54 Moreover, the purpose of a chain of command, in any large industry and particularly in the military, is to restrict the flow of information and decision making up the chain of command. While typically essential to the performance of the organization and the individuals in it, this winnowing function can make it difficult if not impossible for senior leaders to grasp the extent of a problem if it is managed by their subordinates – and in some cases it can even prevent them from knowing the problem exists.55 The chain of command is thus a direct problem in changing the culture of gendered violence in that, even when they are not perpetrators of an assault, superiors often have competing obligations that prevent them from treating a report the way the justice system would. They also have a structural problem in that treating sexual assaults as something other than a series of isolated, if common, offences is made much more difficult by the chain of command. Some American legislators have proposed removing sexual assault from the jurisdiction of military justice and referring it to local civil authorities for prosecution, believing the latter system to be better equipped and more disposed to investigate, prosecute, and sentence appropriately. Whether or not this is accurate, there are a number of problems with this approach. The military police and justice system must be able to carry out all their functions while deployed, and this ability is hampered if some of their work is outsourced to civil authorities in garrison. When assaults happen during a deployment, it is not clear which civil authorities might assert jurisdiction. Finally, sexual assault in the military is not only a crime but also a violation of military rules and regulations, which the civilian justice system is unable to adjudicate and enforce. However, creating access to military lawyers apart from the chain of command, and ensuring confidentiality as the victim chooses to assert that right, would do much to shelter victims from retaliation or the possibility that their superior will dismiss the allegations. It would also obviate the possibility of requiring a victim to report an assault
to a chain of command that includes the assailant.56 Such a system, existing outside the silos around which the military is built, would also create a single body able to evaluate and report on gendered violence throughout the force and not merely in one unit, installation, or service.
Increasing Proportions of Women Locally The significance of the extent and nature of the integration of women into previously exclusively male or male-dominated fields has been studied in business and politics much more than in the military. A generation of work has shown that there is a point beyond which members of a minority, particularly women, become normalized and perceived simply as cabinet ministers, directors, and principals rather than as women cabinet ministers, women directors, or women principals.57 In the private sector, the levels at which women’s participation shifts from “tokenism” to normalized representation has been suggested as three individuals for small elite groups like boards of directors, and from 25 to 40 percent of the total for larger groups.58 Work in the last decade has argued for altering the focus from quotas or head-counting to evaluating the nature of the participation: many women in less influential or merely ceremonial roles can be actively detrimental to full participation, according to this theory, and less important than the number is the integration of women into leadership and high-visibility roles.59 These numbers do not bode well for the caf. Women have consistently made up around 15 percent of the regular and reserve forces for the past twenty years (which is somewhat higher than in the US ground services but lower than in the US Navy and US Air Force, as a point of reference.) Recruitment rates for enlisted women and women officer cadets have been falling, which is a poor omen for women’s inclusion as future senior enlisted and officers can only be drawn from the population currently entering the force. Women currently make up about 5 percent of general officers in the caf. While a previous recruitment target of 25 percent women was set in the late 1990s, it was never achieved and is no longer an official target.60 It is possible that the 5 percent of general and flag officers who are women might meet the level of representation found to be effective in small elite groups. However, for the broader population of the caf, these numbers – which are not even across specialties and the services – are not enough to
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cross into full participation and representation. Changing the culture so that being a woman, or being a gender minority, is not seen as incompatible with being a soldier, sailor, or aviator requires a higher proportion. However, another possibility is to strive to achieve the “critical mass” that makes women’s full participation mainstream in select units, even if it is not possible, with current staffing and recruiting, to come anywhere close to 25 percent of the total force. One lesson from studies of women’s representation in politics and the private sector is that roles, not simply numbers, matter. It was for this reason that the US Marine Corps did not allow enlisted women to serve as infantry personnel until a woman had completed the Marine Infantry Officer Course. A branch in which there were no women officers was deemed to be intrinsically hostile to women in the junior enlisted ranks. Similarly, while women were permitted to serve as officers aboard submarines in the US Navy in 2010, it took five years – and a critical mass of women serving on submarines as officers – before women enlisted sailors were permitted to enrol in or transfer to submarine military occupational specialties.61 If there are too few women in the Royal Canadian Navy, the Royal Canadian Air Force, or the Canadian Army to permit a service to reach the threshold for functional integration, one option is to select installations, squadrons, units, or ships and to assign women to them in sufficient numbers to meet that threshold, while preserving all the standards normally associated with those roles.
Changing the Culture of Reporting to That of Medical Critical Incidents A useful template for changing the culture around reporting, responding to, and preventing sexual assault is that used to transform the culture in the medical community with regard to medical error. Where in previous generations medical error was assumed to be the result of an individual error, in 1999 a ground-breaking report by the Institutes of Medicine recognized that, with few exceptions, structural, cultural, or personnel issues made these errors possible or even likely. With the goal of reducing or even eliminating medical error, health care personnel at all levels were taught to report any incidents or near-misses they observed so that the structural and environmental factors that failed to prevent the error could be studied and remedied.62
The perpetrator of sexual assault or harassment, unlike the medical personnel involved in a medical error, bears ultimate responsibility for his or her action. In this regard, the parallel is imperfect as medical error by definition excludes any malicious act. But the scrutiny of the role of bystanders and other members of the unit, the creation of routines and protocols to make errors harder or impossible to commit, and the recognition that institutional culture can either facilitate or hinder these acts has much potential to reduce sexual assault and harassment in the military. Both the military and the health care system are large public organizations with specific cultures that are often disconnected from those of the wider society, clear hierarchical relationships that can be used both to transform culture for the better and to shelter abusers, and the need to act in high-pressure situations where the stakes can be life itself. If lessons from patient safety are to be translated into the caf, parallels might include rewarding or penalizing those in positions of authority not for the number of incidents reported under their watch but, rather, for the ease with they can be reported; the way in which they are dealt with; and the clarity with which standards, and the provision of education and training, are communicated, making clear that gendered violence or mistreatment is unacceptable. Transparency around both the incidents and how they are dealt with is crucial, and here, too, the confidentiality of the victims mirrors that of patients in incidents of medical error. Above all, the creation of a culture in which preventing sexual assault and harassment is seen as a collective responsibility, with the onus not on victims (who are primarily but not exclusively female) to avoid the incidents but, rather, on everyone who influences the command climate, particularly those with formal and informal authority, is key to change.
Conclusion Attempts to treat sexual assault and harassment in the military as isolated criminal phenomena have not reduced their incidence and often have not resulted in appropriate investigation and prosecution. Training in the form of mandated attendance at lectures or presentations based upon a scripted curriculum has likewise failed to improve the situation in Canada’s military
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(or in other militaries). An appropriate response to each incidence of gendered violence – to include support for the victim and remediation to minimize personal and professional harm – remains of paramount importance. True prevention, however, rather than damage mitigation, will require a change to the culture of the caf. This will not be easy, nor will it persist without sustained effort. The chain of command within the military exists for a reason, and its integrity is a legitimate concern. So, too, is the ability of military police and the military justice system to investigate and prosecute the full range of violations it might encounter while deployed, including gendered violence. It is possible to preserve the integrity of these institutions while simultaneously ensuring that the chain of command does not become either a direct cause of a failure to report an episode of sexual misconduct, harassment, or assault or an indirect cause of the caf, as an institution, failing to address the pervasive climate that enables gendered violence and persecution. While the recruitment of women thus far makes it difficult for the caf to achieve full representation of women throughout its units and services, ensuring that some units are made up of at least 25 percent women should contribute to the cultural change that is needed in those units – and perhaps beyond. And changing the mentality of bystanders, supervisors, and reporters so that transparency and improvement are the ultimate goals can, as was the case with patient safety in health care, involve every member of the caf in transforming the culture into one in which the gendered mistreatment of any caf member is not tolerated. Sexual harassment and assault are a problem for the entire institution, not simply for the victim and the perpetrator, and only policy changes that incorporate this perspective will succeed in changing the culture of the caf.
note s 1 Jessica A. Turchik and Susan M. Wilson, “Sexual Assault in the US Military: A Review of the Literature and Recommendations for the Future,” Aggression and Violent Behavior 15, 4 (2010): 267–77. 2 Natalie P. Mota Maria Medved, JianLi Wang, Gordon J.G. Asmundson, Debbie Whitney, and Jitender Sareen. “Stress and Mental Disorders in Female Military
rebecca jensen Personnel: Comparisons between the Sexes in a Male Dominated Profession,” Journal of Psychiatric Research 46, 2 (2012): 159–67.
3 Noémi Mercier and Alec Castonguay, “Our Military’s Disgrace,” Maclean’s, 16 May 2014, https://www.macleans.ca/news/canada/our-militarys-disgrace/. 4 Carl Andrew Castro , Sara Kintzle, Ashley C. Scheyler, Carrie L. Lucas, and Christopher H. Warner, “Sexual Assault in the Military,” Current Psychiatry Reports 17, 7 (2015): 54. 5 Mercier and Castonguay, “Our Military’s Disgrace.” 6 Ian McPhedran, “Inside the Underbelly of Kandahar,” Daily Telegraph, 1 June 2012, https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/inside-the-underbelly-of-kandahar/newsstory/1da0449c64b71c0d0edfa562ee7649ba. 7 Jessica Wolfe, Kiban Turner, Marie Caulfield, Tamara L. Newton, Katherine Melia, James Martin, and Jill Goldstein, “Gender and Trauma as Predictors of Military Attrition: A Study of Marine Corps Recruits,” Military Medicine 170, 12 (2005): 1037–43. 8 Cheryl S. Hankin, Katherine M. Skinner, Lisa M. Sullivan, Donald R. Miller, Susan Frayne, and Tara J. Tripp, “Prevalence of Depressive and Alcohol Abuse Symptoms among Women va Outpatients Who Report Experiencing Sexual Assault While in the Military,” Journal of Traumatic Stress: Official Publication of The International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies 12, 4 (1999): 601–12. 9 Rebecca Campbell and Sheela Raja, “The Sexual Assault and Secondary Victimization of Female Veterans: Help-Seeking Experiences with Military and Civilian Social Systems,” Psychology of Women Quarterly 29, 1 (2005): 97–106. 10 Sandra Perron, Out Standing in the Field: A Memoir by Canada’s First Female Infantry Officer (Toronto: Cormorant Books, 2017). 11 Susan Brownmiller, Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1975). 12 Allan English, “Corruption in the Canadian Military? Destroying Trust in the Chain of Command,” Canadian Foreign Policy Journal 23, 1 (2017): 32–46. 13 Marie Deschamps, External Review into Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Harassment in the Canadian Armed Forces (Ottawa: Department of National Defence, 2015). 14 Edgar H. Schein, “Culture: The Missing Concept in Organization Studies,” Administrative Science Quarterly 41, 2 (1996): 229–40. 15 Scott Rubarth, “Competing Constructions of Masculinity in Ancient Greece,” Athens Journal of Humanities and Arts 1, 1 (2014): 21–32; Jonathan Walters, “‘No
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More Than a Boy’: The Shifting Construction of Masculinity from Ancient Greece to the Middle Ages,” Gender and History 5, 1 (1993): 20–33. 16 Richard Godfrey, Simon Lilley, and Joanna Brewis, “Biceps, Bitches and Borgs: Reading Jarhead’s Representation of the Construction of the (Masculine) Military Body,” Organization Studies 33, 4 (2012): 541–62. 17 Abigail Perdue, “Man Up or Go Home: Exploring Perceptions of Women in Leadership,” Marquette Law Review 100, 4 (2017): 1233–308. 18 Darlene M. Iskra, Women in the United States Armed Forces: A Guide to the Issues (Santa Barbara: Praeger Security International, 2010), 1. 19 Louise Olsson and Theodora–Ismene Gizelis, Gender, Peace and Security: Implementing un Security Council Resolution 1325 (Milton Park and New York: Routledge, 2015). 20 Deschamps, External Review into Sexual Misconduct, 2. 21 English, “Corruption in the Canadian Military?,” 32–46. 22 Karen O. Dunivin, “Military Culture: Change and Continuity,” Armed Forces and Society 20, 4 (1994): 531–47. 23 Deborah D. Avant, “The Institutional Sources of Military Doctrine: Hegemons in Peripheral Wars,” International Studies Quarterly 37, 4 (1993): 409–30. 24 Carl Builder, Masks of War: A rand Corporation Research Study (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1989). 25 Wendy Ashley and Jodi Constantine Brown, “The Impact of Combat Status on Veterans’ Attitudes toward Help Seeking: The Hierarchy of Combat Elitism,” Journal of Evidence-Informed Social Work 12, 5 (2015): 534–42; Tanja Rothrauff, Susan M. Cable, and Marilyn Coleman, “All That You Can Be: Negotiating Work and Family Demands in the Military,” Journal of Teaching in Marriage and Family 4, 1 (2004): 1–25. 26 Peter Glick and Susan T. Fiske, “The Ambivalent Sexism Inventory: Differentiating Hostile and Benevolent Sexism (1996),” in Social Cognition: Selected Works of Susan Fiske, ed. Susan Fiske (Milton Park and New York: Routledge, 2018): 116–60. 27 Gerard J. DeGroot, “A Few Good Women: Gender Stereotypes, the Military and Peacekeeping,” International Peacekeeping 8, 2 (2001): 23–38. 28 Peter Glick, Susan T. Fiske, Antonio Mladinic, José L. Saiz, Dominic Abrams, Barbara Masser, Bolanle Adetoun, Johnstone E. Osagie, Adebowale Akande, Amos Alao, Annetje Brunner, Tineke M. Willemsen, Kettie Chipeta, Benoit Cardenne, Ap Dijkersterhuis, Daniel Wigboldus, Thomas Eckes, Iris Six-Materna, Francisca
rebecca jensen Expósito, Mighel Moya, Margaret Foddy, Hyun-Jeong Kim, Maria Lameiras, Maria José Sotelo, Angelica Mucchi-Faina, Myrna Romani, Nuray Sakalli, Bola Udegbe, Mariko Yamamoto, Miyoko Ui, Maria Cristina Ferreira, and Wilson López López, “Beyond Prejudice as Simple Antipathy: Hostile and Benevolent Sexism across Cultures,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 79, 5 (2000): 763; Nuray Sakalli Ugurlu and Fatih Özdemir, “Predicting Attitudes toward Masculine Structure of Military with Turkish Identification, and Ambivalent Sexism,” Sex Roles 76 (2017): 511–19, https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-016-0676-0.
29 Karen O. Dunivin, Military Culture a Paradigm Shift (Maxwell: Air War College, 1996). 30 Bernard Boene, “Shifting to All-Volunteer Armed Forces in Europe: Why, How, with What Effects?” Forum Sociológico 19 (2009): 49–60, https://doi.org/10. 4000/sociologico.347. 31 Regina F. Titunik, “The First Wave: Gender Integration and Military Culture,” Armed Forces and Society 26, 2 (2000): 229–57. 32 Sherri L. Shadrock, Women in the US Army: A Quiet Revolution in Military Affairs (Fort Leavenworth: Army Command and General Staff College, 2007), 58–82. 33 Deschamps, External Review into Sexual Misconduct, 15. 34 Aaron Belkin, “Combat Exclusion rip: Will Patriarchy’s Demise Follow?,” Critical Studies on Security 1, 2 (2013): 249–50. 35 Kyle A. Cuordileone, “‘Politics in an Age of Anxiety’: Cold War Political Culture and the Crisis in American Masculinity, 1949–1960,” Journal of American History 87, 2 (2000): 515–45; Lauren Wilcox, “Gendering the Cult of the Offensive,” Security Studies 18, 2 (2009): 214–40. 36 Sidney Donnell, Feminizing the Enemy: Imperial Spain, Transvestite Drama, and the Crisis of Masculinity (Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 2003). 37 Christopher Coker, The Warrior Ethos: Military Culture and the War on Terror (Milton Park and New York: Routledge, 2007). 38 Victoria Tait, “Gender and the 21st Century Threat Environment,” Sitrep: The Journal of the Royal Canadian Military Institute 75, 1 (2015): 5–8. 39 Christopher Jay Savos, “The Irresistible Force vs. the Immovable Object: Civilian Attempts to Force Innovation on a Reluctant Military” (PhD diss., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1993). 40 Stephanie Gutmann, The Kinder, Gentler Military: Can America’s Gender-Neutral Fighting Force Still Win Wars (New York: Scribner, 2000).
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41 R. Claire Snyder, “The Citizen-Soldier Tradition and Gender Integration of the US Military,” Armed Forces and Society 29, 2 (2003): 185–204; Anthony C. King, “The Female Soldier,” Parameters 43, 2 (2013): 13. 42 Elaine Donnelly, “Constructing the Co-Ed Military,” Liberty University Law Review 4, 3 (2015): 8. 43 T. J. Robertson, “Gender Co-Operation: An Organizational Advantage,” Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources 33, 1 (1995): 1–21, https://doi.org/10.1177/ 103841119503300101. 44 Jia Tolentino, “Is There a Smarter Way to Think about Sexual Assault on Campus?,” New Yorker, 5 February 2018, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/ 2018/02/12/is-there-a-smarter-way-to-think-about-sexual-assault-on-campus. 45 Chelsey Lee and Jennifer S. Wong, “A Safe Place to Learn? Examining Sexual Assault Policies at Canadian Public Universities,” Studies in Higher Education 44, 3 (2019): 432–45. 46 Jenna Grassbaugh, “The Opaque Glass Ceiling: How Will Gender Neutrality in Combat Affect Military Sexual Assault Prevalence, Prevention, and Prosecution?” Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law 11, 2 (2014): 319–52. 47 Stephen Peter Rosen, Winning the Next War: Innovation and the Modern Military (Ithaca, ny: Cornell University Press, 1994). 48 Kenneth J. Meier and Jill Nicholson-Crotty, “Gender, Representative Bureaucracy, and Law Enforcement: The Case of Sexual Assault,” Public Administration Review 66, 6 (2006): 850–60. 49 Allan English, “Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault in the Canadian Armed Forces: Systemic Obstacles to Comprehensive Cultural Change,” paper presented at ius, Ottawa, 2016. 50 A. English, A. Brown, and P. Johnston, “Are We Losing Our Memory? Decision Making in dnd,” in Canadian Military History since the 17th Century, ed. Yves Tremblay (Ottawa: National Defence, 2001), 473–80, https://www.canada.ca/ content/dam/themes/defence/caf/militaryhistory/dhh/general/book-2001-since17th-century.pdf. 51 Theo Farrell, “Improving in War: Military Adaptation and the British in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, 2006–2009,” Journal of Strategic Studies 33, 4 (2010): 567–94. 52 Mady Wechsler Segal, “The Military and the Family as Greedy Institutions,” Armed Forces and Society 13, 1 (1986): 9–38. 53 Michal Buchhandler-Raphael, “Breaking the Chain of Command Culture: A Call
rebecca jensen for an Independent and Impartial Investigative Body to Curb Sexual Assaults in the Military,” Wisconsin Journal Law, Gender, and Society 341 (2014): 349.
54 M. E. Johnson, “Here’s Why Congress Should Pass the Military Justice Improvement Act,” Task and Purpose, 14 June 2018, https://taskandpurpose.com/the longmarch/congress-heres-pass-military-justice-improvement-act/. 55 John R. Rizzo, Robert J. House, and Sidney I. Lirtzman, “Role Conflict and Ambiguity in Complex Organizations,” Administrative Science Quarterly 15, 2 (1970): 150–63. 56 Turchik and Wilson, “Sexual Assault in the US Military.” 57 Sandra Grey, “Numbers and Beyond: The Relevance of Critical Mass in Gender Research,” Politics and Gender 2, 4 (2006): 492–502. 58 Mariateresa Torchia, Andrea Calabrò, and Morten Huse, “Women Directors on Corporate Boards: From Tokenism to Critical Mass,” Journal of Business Ethics 102, 2 (2011): 299–317. 59 Pippa Norris and Joni Lovenduski, “Blair’s Babes: Critical Mass Theory, Gender, and Legislative Life,” ksg Faculty Research Working Paper Series 39, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, September 2001, http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.288548. 60 English, “Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault in the Canadian Armed Forces.” 61 Lindal Buchanan, “A Few Good (Wo)Men: Integrating the US Submarine Force,” Rhetoric Review 35, 1 (2016): 35–48; Joshua A. Meyer, “They Have Not Yet Begun to Fight: Women in the United States Navy Submarine Fleet” (Research Report, Air Command and Staff College Air University, 2016), https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/1031333.pdf. 62 Robert M. Wachter, “Patient Safety at Ten: Unmistakable Progress, Troubling Gaps,” Health Affairs 29, 1 (2010): 165–73.
6 Spousal Employment: Tradition, Progress and Gender in the Canadian Military Family leig h spanner
We move too much. Military spouses always have trouble with employment.1
Introduction Because of the mobility and separation requirements of military life, military spouses struggle to find and keep adequate, fulfilling employment. Spousal employment is one of the leading causes of attrition of Canadian Armed Forces (caf) members,2 and so it is of strategic interest to the caf. The institutional stance, summarized by Minister of Defence Harjit S. Sajjan, is that “by assisting military spouses in securing continuous and meaningful employment, we are helping to make life a little less stressful for military families.”3 Programs and resources designed to help spouses find and maintain employment include employment databases, such as the Military Spousal Employment Network; career fairs; and skills training, such as interview preparation and resumé building. Reducing the impact of military service on the military spouse’s paid employment means that service members are more likely to be retained. Likewise, supporting military spousal employment suggests a rewriting of the caf’s ideal military family, previously characterized by a male breadwinner/soldier and female caregiver/military wife arrangement.4 This rhetoric, and corresponding institutional support, fit within the “well-being of people” and gender equality framework that is being pursued by the caf as an ideal employer.5
These recent institutional commitments suggest that the quality and culture of military life for spouses may be changing, especially concerning gender equality. This chapter examines the issues that contribute to the military spousal employment challenge in Canada. Specifically, I consider what military spousal employment can tell us about contemporary gender culture and attitudes in the caf and caf community. I argue that the problems facing military spousal employment are rooted in the persistence of traditional gender dynamics and norms surrounding un/paid labour in military families. While the military spousal employment challenge is receiving attention from the caf, to date there has been little, if any, acknowledgment of the intersections of military spousal employment and gender. The military spousal employment problem ought to be understood as a gendered problem, one that requires gender-sensitive responses and interventions in order to be overcome. The caf is a deeply gendered and heteronormative institution. As of 2019, women represented 15.7 percent of the forces and just less than 5 percent of the combat arms.6 Women contribute to the forces primarily as spouses, constituting 98 percent of those in a conjugal relationship with a military service member,7 suggesting the analytical importance of military spouses for feminist scholarship. While the sex imbalance in militaries is stark, this work does not conflate gender with biological sex; rather, it is interested in gender as an analytical category. Employing gender analytically is concerned with gender norms and their corresponding power dynamics and structural inequalities. Following Joan Scott, I understand gender to be “a constitutive element of social relationships based on perceived differences between sexes, where gender is a primary way of signifying relationships of power.”8 Thus, I am primarily concerned with how gender norms and power relations in Canadian military families function in relation to both paid and unpaid labour, regardless of the sex of the individuals that comprise a particular family. Indeed, persons of any sex can reproduce gendered relationships of power. In this chapter the term “military spouse” is used to refer to those married or in a common-law or conjugal relationship with a service member. As this work is informed by interviews with military spouses, it recognizes all those who identify as such. The term “military spouse” is also used in
order to be consistent with the language used by this community and to avoid conflating sex with the gender power dynamics that inform military family dynamics. This research is based on twenty-eight in-depth interviews that I had with members of military families between November 2016 and March 2017. Interviewees identified as women, men, civilian, military, Indigenous, disabled, and members of lgbtq communities. Family arrangements included male and female service members, dual-service couples, dual-income families, single-income families, families with and without dependent children, and single parents. Respondents represented all branches of the Canadian military: army, air force, and navy. The majority of interviews took place in person, although a couple took place over video chat. The interviews covered many issues associated with military life, employment being just one. This chapter begins by drawing on interview data to outline the challenges that military spouses experience in acquiring and maintaining fulfilling paid employment. The next section traces how military spousal employment challenges are both informed by and reproduce a gendered dynamic in the military family. The final section evaluates the ways in which caf employment-related policies assume and reproduce a gendered division of labour in military families. Institutional policies can reproduce and/or dismantle norms and power relations, including gendered ones. Considering its commitment to gender mainstreaming and its concern with recruitment and retention, the caf should consider the gendered nature of the military spousal employment challenge and its corresponding importance in policy making and program development.
Living the Military Life: Its Impacts on Spousal Employment Canadian military spouses are more likely to be un- or under-employed than other civilians and make less money than their civilian counterparts.9 Specifically, 8 percent of military spouses are unemployed,10 compared to 5.8 percent of Canadians in the general population.11 Underemployment is characterized as an “unmet need for paid employment” for reasons ranging from insufficient hours to wages and overqualification.12 The exact rate among military spouses is unknown. However, survey results indicate that
more than half of military spouses have had their careers affected by their partner’s military service and have made career sacrifices because of military life.13 And, because of military service, more than half of Canadian military spouses have taken jobs for which they are overqualified.14 In contrast, the majority of two-partner families in Canada consist of both adults pursuing careers for financial and/or personal fulfilment reasons.15 Because of military spousal employment challenges, military families are likely to experience financial vulnerability, while military spouses may lack economic autonomy and/or personal fulfilment. Military spouses struggle to find and maintain adequate and fulfilling employment because military families move three times more frequently than do civilian families, and have little input into where and when they are posted and for how long.16 The transient and unpredictable nature of military life creates obstacles for civilian partners of military service members vis-à-vis holding down well-paid, meaningful, and fulfilling employment. Military spouses, then, have limited control over the nature and direction of their employment status, which is contingent on the economies of postings locations, including job vacancies, the variety of sectors, and employers’ stigmatization of military spouses. Drawing primarily on the perspectives and experiences of military spouses involved in this study, this section describes their difficulties with paid employment. Military spouses report being perceived as unreliable employees because of their mobility requirements and primary responsibility for the home, especially when their family includes dependent children. Respondents experience prejudice from potential employers because of the mobility requirements of military life: I was trying to get a job; I just wanted to do something [to] get out of the house. The interview was going fantastic. It was at a golf course, and [the employer] says, “Oh I see you live on base.” “Yes, I do.” And at this point I know it’s coming … “Sorry we don’t hire the wives,” and [the employer] ended the interview. Done. Thanks for your time. That’s the attitude ’cause of moving. I know legally they can’t say that and you can go to the labour board, but do you want to be hired on [at] a place that doesn’t want you?17
Additionally, employers are hesitant to invest in the professional development of employees who are military spouses: “my executive director thought we would be posted, so she didn’t want me to move into a supervisory role.”18 When military spouses do manage to acquire a job, career progression and professional development become challenges. With every new posting, these employees lose seniority and start at the bottom. This is especially the case for military spouses who have professional accreditations that are provincially mandated or regulated, such as teachers, nurses, accountants, and therapists. Getting a job in the field for which one is accredited is largely dependent on the location to which one is posted, the specific economy of that base, and the particular time. Consequently, skilled workers who have invested in their training and qualifications may be unable to participate optimally in their chosen field, which results in underemployment and resentment among military spouses: “In positions like nursing, education, anything of [that] nature … there are highly trained people … Well, every time you leave, you lose your seniority … [you] start at the bottom every single time … So you’ve settled in, you get to know everyone, you get into a groove … and then you move again, or you’re laid off … We make a lot of sacrifices to allow my husband, as he jokes around, to ‘defend democracy.’”19 Restarting a career by pursuing professional requalification in a new province has financial, physical, and emotional costs. These costs are not fully accounted for in the caf’s one-time financial reimbursement of relocation benefits, which includes “interview travel” and “costs associated with re-establishing current credentials for the same certification in the new province.”20 In addition to the relocation benefit, military spouses are directed to an information-sharing website about federal and provincial regulations pertaining to professional designations, written by the Labour Mobility Coordinator Group.21 These institutional resources do not compare to the professional, financial, and emotional sacrifices made by military spouses who may be required to restart their careers again and again. Military spouses experience employment challenges differently, depending on where their family is posted. Every city and town to which a military member may be posted has a particular regional economy, which affects spousal employment differently. For instance, there is a sense among
respondents that the Maritime provinces’ economies make it extremely difficult for “come from away-ers” to get a foot in the door.22 This is a roadblock above and beyond a reluctance to hire military spouses because they will eventually have to relocate or the perception that they are unreliable because they have unpredictable schedules and are the primary caregivers of children. In communities in western Canada, such as Cold Lake, Alberta,23 the economy is largely dependent on the oil sector. The oil busts and booms have affected the unemployment rate. At times, there are more individuals competing for fewer jobs. For example, as the price of oil declined between 2011 and 2016, the unemployment rate in Alberta increased from 5.9 percent to 8.5 percent.24 Economic fluctuations can cause even more roadblocks for military spouses seeking employment in these communities, especially given that they are often considered outsiders. The cost of living varies across posting locations, intensifying the implications of employment challenges. Significantly, 52 percent of military spouses report experiencing a worsening financial situation as a result of relocation.25 When the salary of the service member is the constant, and often primary, source of income, a particular family might fare well during one posting but not so well during another. Moving to bases where the cost of living is high often requires that spouses who are the primary caregivers of children take paid employment, although that might not be their first choice, just to make ends meet: “When we lived at our previous posting I was a stay-at-home mom. When we moved [to a more expensive place], I was so angry; I felt I had to give up my child’s childhood because we were posted here [and] because it’s so expensive … I had no choice; I had to go back to work. So I started at [a big box store] … I was really upset.”26 Because military spouses struggle to find and maintain adequate paid employment, coupled with inconsistent costs of living between postings, many military families struggle financially: We’re pretty lucky, I would say. We’re in good shape, but I know lots that do struggle. Absolutely. It’s a question of pay, with inflation … If you’re brand new to [the] military, you’re making peanuts, young families starting out … That girl I wasn’t supposed to be friends with [because our husbands have different ranks], I helped her with gro-
ceries and stuff because I know they had nothing. Imagine more than half [of] your cheque going to just rent. Here is not too bad, this place is just under $1,000, [it’s] reasonable compared to other places we’ve lived.27 When asked what could be done to help military families, another respondent said that more income would help: “He’s paid well but it’s still tight … Every time I do groceries, I have a list and a budget, and we don’t stray from the list … $50,000 for a family of five is hard.”28 Many respondents find it challenging to live on a single income in today’s economy, and most families have to supplement their income somehow. The isolated nature of most caf bases complicates military spousal employment and military family financial stability. Many of the bases operate as their own distinct economies and rely almost exclusively on military personnel and families. That means that the bulk of employment opportunities in and around isolated bases are with the military itself, which limits the sectors in which military spouses can seek employment. In this way, the local economy is militarized in that military spouses and civilians living around the military base depend on the military for employment opportunities and financial well-being. However, there is no policy requirement to hire military spouses where possible, such as those with Military Family Services or related organizations.29 The lack of a Department of National Defence/caf policy to hire military spouses belies the institutional commitment to military spousal employment. Employment in and around isolated bases is typically in the service industry and focuses on basic needs. It follows that spouses who are trained in specialized fields have particular difficulty and are at risk of underemployment, which is characterized by low wages, casual hours, and underused skills. As stated previously, as a result of military life over half of Canadian military spouses have taken jobs for which they are overqualified.30 Underemployment among military spouses is related to their being posted to bases where there is little need for their professional and educational experience as well as to employers’ hesitation to hire transient individuals. Thus, many spouses have to “dumb themselves down” when applying for jobs.31 Many respondents in this study had experienced, or were currently experiencing, difficulties getting any job – even those for which
they were overqualified and/or that would not meet their wage and hour requirements – despite significant paid work experiences and qualifications. Being far away from urban centres complicates work life for military spouses and leads to the unpopularity of particular postings. Significantly, the likelihood of being underemployed, therefore making low wages, makes childcare less affordable, compounding the spousal employment dilemma. In my interviews, military family members made a distinction between a “job” and a “career.” A “job” is typically understood as a means to supplement income, while a “career” relates to experience and education as well as a greater sense of personal fulfilment. Taking “jobs” in lieu of pursuing a “career” because of these employment difficulties is a particular source of frustration among many interviewees: I met him and put my life on hold and that was the first time I had ever done that for a guy … I waited tables, I bartended, I worked at a travel agency, did all these things working minimum wage. Really hating my job – hated every minute of it. I felt like I’d made all this progress in my career … There is nothing in this area … [It’s] hard having a master’s and waiting tables for two years so I could be in the same place as my husband. As far as careers for women go, if your spouse is in the military … it’s hard.32 Accordingly, few military spouses tend to have careers: “I’d like to say I know a lot of couples where the civilian spouse has a career, but I don’t really.”33 Military spouses who were gainfully employed, and in their chosen field, repeatedly and consistently said that they were “lucky,” “fortunate,” “unique,” an “anomaly,” and “not like other/the typical military spouse.”34 Whether out of commitment to her/his spouse or a lack of options, the typical military spouse prioritizes the service member’s career. Prioritizing careers in military families this way normalizes military service, legitimizes it as a component of society, and reinforces gendered family dynamics, such as being reliant on the service member for household income. The next section discusses the gendered dynamics of military spousal employment.
The Gendered Nature of Un/Paid Labour in Military Families The difficulties military spouses face in balancing a career with military life often result in, and necessitate, gendered dynamics in the family, wherein the (usually) male service member is the primary breadwinner and career person, and paid employment by the military spouse is secondary and superfluous. This section describes how the military career necessitates gendered labour practices in the family, which creates profound obstacles for military spouses in their careers and paid employment. Hanna Papanek’s concept of the “two-person career,” while dated and classist, is a helpful concept for interrogating and understanding military spousal employment. According to Papanek, a “two-person career” is characterized as an “institutional social control mechanism, which derails the occupational aspirations of educated women into the non-competitive two-person career.”35 In other words, the female spouse is drawn into the career of the male spouse, which requires that she be committed to and prioritize her partner’s career over her own. While Papanek’s study can be criticized for focusing exclusively on educated women, in a more contemporary sense, the two-person career is a traditionally gendered dynamic regardless of the sexes and/or profession of the conjugal couple. In the military, the two-person career persists by constraining the employment choices of the “supporting,” or paradigmatic feminized, partner through militarization,36 which shapes a family’s (un)paid work arrangements to privilege the military institution and the military member’s career. One military spouse notes, “putting the military career first is one of the reasons my husband can be successful.”37 Militarizing labour in military families on the basis of gendered practices and power dynamics endures as military families, especially spouses, internalize the idea that the military member’s career is necessary to support the family.38 Because work and career choices are organized to prioritize the military member’s career, military service is elevated as an honourable career on the basis of patriarchal logic. Privileging the member’s career is deemed by some as a prerequisite to surviving the military life, which operates through social pressure: It’s funny, ’cause you go to some of the mess functions and you hear some of the girlfriends, and you’re like, “you’re not going to make it”
… They have careers, they’re making good money, and they’re strong independent women with a career. You can’t have a career and be an army wife. You can’t. There’s no give … Most wives work for Tim Hortons, do janitorial work, or clerical work … But it’s generally not a career … Do we have any big ceo s of corporations married to an army corps? No. Because it doesn’t work that way. Nine times out of ten when a woman gets a career, where she’s making the money, he leaves the army.39 In some instances, the structural inequality required of military families results in the disintegration of the nuclear family: “Our divorce was a directly a result of military life. I deployed three times in five years. We were supposed to be posted elsewhere … She was an accountant. Like most spouses, unfortunately, she had to take a tier-two job, making minimum wage plus a buck an hour. Her appetite for another twenty years of that quickly dissipated.”40 Resisting the whole family approach to military service and its gendered requirements, as per the two-person career, can result in attrition of the member or dissolution of the marriage. That is to say, patriarchal dynamics around breadwinning and career prioritization appear to endure as a requirement of military service and military family life. In light of postings and scheduling demands of the military life, the difficulties faced by military spouses in finding and maintaining gainful employment is compounded when the military family includes dependent children. The feminist political economy critique of this division of labour, wherein care and reproductive labour remains the primary responsibility of women or the feminized spouse, continues to be relevant. Military spouses are especially constrained by their responsibility for caregiving because of the unpredictable nature of military schedules. Military members can have irregular hours, and their schedules might not be known in advance. The precariousness of military schedules becomes apparent when speaking with a single-parent service member: I was getting ready to quit the military, and trying to get a job eightto-four to get a work-life balance going. (My trade [requires me to work] at night and go away on weekends.) So you are constantly trying to find trustworthy people to take care of your kid, so that you can
go do your job. [My schedule] was, weather dependent … I could try and plan but I was working on a twenty-four- to thirty-eight-hour schedule window. If I knew the following week’s schedule, I was on top of the world.41 Similarly, in two-parent families the primary responsibility for children typically falls to civilian spouses. Meg Luxton argues that, despite the fact that Canadian families are increasingly challenging gender divisions of labour in the home, women continue to carry the majority of this responsibility even when they are employed full time in the labour market.42 This idea is supported by quantitative data, published by Statistics Canada, which show that men have not increased their participation in unpaid labour to the same extent that women have increased their participation in paid work or decreased their participation in unpaid work.43 Put differently, despite a more equitable share of unpaid labour in the home between men and women, women in Canada continue to undertake the bulk of unpaid work. This is likely exacerbated for military spouses who experience long separations from their service-spouse and who are subject to the demanding operational requirements of the military. As such, military spouses’ employment choices are further affected because they must be flexible to the competing demands of military home-life and employment. That the (usually) female civilian spouse is primarily responsible for dependent children is a theme that cut across every conversation in this study. There continues to be an assumption in the military workplace and among the military chain of command that “there is a wife at home.”44 Feminist political economists note that in this economic climate characterized by globalization, neoliberalism, and flexible work, it is women who undertake the majority of low-skilled service employment, which results in their disproportionate precarious employment opportunities and conditions.45 This assumption also shapes ideas about who will take leave to care for a sick child or parents: “It’s me. That’s why I ended up staying at home for now, and making my own business … If he’s gone, what are you going to do? It’s easier for us. Our life is planned that I do it all and if he’s home it’s a bonus.”46 Many respondents identified falling back on a gendered division of labour out of necessity. V. Spike Peterson calls the disproportionate responsibility for the home in war economies the “feminised privatisation of
survival,” wherein women are called upon to do more than their share in the household.47 While this conceptualization refers to households in ongoing conflict settings, it is nonetheless helpful for thinking through households involved in war-making more broadly. “Surviving” conflict, regardless of the proximity to the conflict itself, necessitates the downloading of this “survival” into the private sphere, where it is taken up by feminized labour. The feminized privatization of survival is relevant in the context of financial survival for military families, where military families organize their (un)paid labour around the income and career of the service member. The expectation that the “wife” – who is primarily responsible for unpaid care work – is at home, continues to inform the service member’s career performance per the two-person career: I have a girlfriend … [whose] husband is at the Royal Military College of Canada (rmc) doing training and she’s working front line for social services, so has a hard job. She has several kids. And he’s getting flak from his professors for missing time. Like who cares if you’re not at the third class? [He can] get the notes from someone. She’s like, “No. My career is number one, too.” They are equal. There is no one and two: it’s one. So she’s having a hard time … That’s the civilian life versus a military life.48 Military service members who have a partner at home to undertake unpaid labour are perceived as doing better in their careers than those without a spouse at home. Yet, as passages such as the one above illustrate, this reliance is being destabilized or at least criticized within some families and between some military spouses. Indeed, these work-life challenges also characterize civilian families, but they are reinforced through military policies, as we see in the final section of this chapter. That the military member’s professional performance is dependent on having a “wife” was apparent during an interview with a single male service member who is the primary caregiver of children. Following his divorce and becoming the sole caregiver, the member suffered career setbacks, evaluation reprimands, and indirect forms of humiliation. He reflects on his military career performance pre- and post-nuclear family:
Oh, it’s stark – night and day. We had just done personnel review briefings – part of your evaluation process. I was told I was merited for promotion, that I was this most wonderful guy, and I was shortlisted for new jobs later on. Months later, after we split up, I said [to my boss] I can’t do this. Back when I was married and had the stereotypical nuclear family, I was this dependable guy who could come to work at all hours because I had a dutiful spouse at home. [My spouse] just had enough; I don’t want to make her sound bad. When I went in, needing help [from the caf], I was no longer that dependable person. The military cut me in a hurry. I went to the bottom of the list. That’s why I said I wasn’t accommodated; I was tolerated. I was considered disloyal. I had my boss’s boss tell me that I wasn’t showing enough moral courage.49 The expectation of loyalty to the military in the face of family demands means that the male service member must “do what was expected, which was let the child go live with his mom and I get on with my career.”50 Here, military service requires that the member be relieved of parenting by a feminized spouse. Tying this ability to the member’s moral courage reveals how powerful such a requirement continues to be in the caf. Fusing military moral courage with not being a caregiver to children reflects the ideal way to perform masculinity in the caf, despite its attempts to be a more gender-equal organization and its expressed concerns for family well-being. This version of militarized masculinity, which refers to the ideal ways to perform gender in military service, requires that military members be pardoned from the primary responsibility for caregiving. It is based on this logic that military members are encouraged to internalize the attitude that they are “being selfish choosing to be a single parent, rather than a good officer.”51 In the aforementioned example, the single male service member was told by his boss that “things would be better – he just had to remarry and things would be ok,”52 revealing deeply held beliefs about the normative military family at the intersection of sexuality, caregiving, and employment. Militarized masculinity in this instance is incompatible with being the primary caregiver of dependents, especially for the maleidentifying member. These cultural expectations raise questions about
women’s genuine integration into the military as service members due to their relationships to mothering and caring. The single-parent service member challenges the military’s male, heteronormative requirement that service members be absolved of the primary responsibility of dependents. It was this gendered dynamic that forced single mother Sub-Lieutenant Laura Nash to choose between her son and her job in the military, a scenario that received national media attention in 2017.53 Sub-Lieutenant Nash’s operational requirements were so demanding that support by Military Family Resource Centres (mfrc s) and extended family members did not sufficiently cover the care deficit for her immediate family. Specifically, Nash was given a deadline to complete a training program, which required her to be separated from her son while there was no one to care for him. The consequence for not completing the training program by the deadline would be the loss of her job. The caf did not grant Nash more flexible work accommodations, such as an extension for the training deadline or childcare assistance, and she was forced to leave the military. Nash reported knowing three other female service members who gave up custody of their children in order to continue serving.54 Cultural expectations of gender powerfully reinforce the notion that the duty to care is essential to femininity and that women ought to prioritize this responsibility. When women do not live up to socially prescribed feminine ideals, they are disciplined through social stigma for being less than feminine. Indeed, gender appropriate provision of reproductive labour is essential in the construction of the “good” mother in the contemporary West.55 Discourses of ideal motherhood contribute to women internalizing gender norms connected to reproductive labour and care work. However, gendered norms of motherhood come into conflict with career questions, especially in the military because of its privileging of masculinity. Nash’s decision to keep her child “tore her up,” driving her into a deep depression and suicidal ideation.56 Nash launched a complaint to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal in relation to the discrimination faced by single mothers in the caf. As of 2019, the caf was being accused of “dragging its feet” and delaying hearing this case.57 Nash’s case reflects a debate about who is in the best position to care for children and how this responsibility is negotiated in families and by employers, especially in the caf.
Many single service members who are primarily responsible for caring for dependents get by with the help of extended family members. Relying on grandparents is an extremely common theme among the interviewees. Otherwise, single military members will leave the military because the competing demands between family and work are incompatible: “You can’t raise a child on your own in the army, you can’t … You’re gone.”58 Thus, when there is no unpaid labour within the military family – immediate or extended – the solution is to rely on broader structures of the nuclear family, such as grandparents. Relying on the nuclear family, called familialization, is a response to the neoliberal restructuring of the economy that has reduced social support systems, including state-funded childcare. Familialization functions by compelling individuals to internalize self-sufficiency and autonomy instead of relying on support from the state. When there is no recourse through private support, the outcome, as it was for Laura Nash, is to leave the military. Despite some resistance to the gendered division of labour and a required prioritization of the service member’s career, there is also a sense among respondents of this study that the military could not function any other way. Several military spouses indicate that resisting the gendered dynamics of labour is fruitless, causing only trouble for themselves, the service member, and their family. In essence, capitulating to these gendered dynamics, by adapting their participation in paid employment to the needs of the military and their families, is done with a view to survival. To cope with employment difficulties, military spouses tend to opt for jobs that “move with you.”59 Indeed, entrepreneurship and/or flexible and casual employment is viewed both by individuals and the institution as a solution to the military spouses’ employment challenge. Consequently, many military spouses end up working in the service industry, retail, or being self-employed. Home businesses, in sales and/or in-home childcare, are extremely common among military spouses, especially those living on base: “I can throw a stone and hit twelve Scentsy, It Works, or Avon sales reps.”60 Companies such as these embrace a direct sales business model, capitalizing on employees selling out of their homes, often pitched as a means to empower their employees, especially women. It is also quite common for civilian spouses, especially ones with children, to work casual and
part-time because of scheduling concerns – they need the flexibility to work around their military partner’s deployment and exercise schedules. Despite these aforementioned “solutions,” several respondents expressed frustration and dissatisfaction with the requirement of pursuing mobile and flexible employment. Instead, these “choices” are often constrained by the military lifestyle and its gendered requirements rather than being choices in an objective sense. Importantly, flexible and mobile paid work options make more possible a gendered division of labour in families because the military spouse adapts her or his work choices to be more available to provide unpaid labour in the home and to support the serving spouse. Moreover, these paid work solutions are likely to (re)produce the male breadwinner model of the family. caf spouses who are self-employed, flexibly employed, or casually employed make less than those who work part-time in more traditional settings.61 Furthermore, they are less likely to contribute to a pension and have fewer secure benefits, such as parental leave. Thus, while the military spouse may be contributing to the family economically, she or he is likely to remain entrenched in social and cultural constructs of the economically dependent military spouse whose financial contributions to the family are superfluous. That is to say, mobile, flexible, and casual employment does not “contradict social norms regarding women’s economic participation.”62 Patriarchal norms around wage earners in the family are important for the (re)production of militarized masculinity because the military member as primary breadwinner necessitates the spouse’s reliance on that military member and the institution for economic well-being. The gendered division of labour within military families is complicated when both individuals in a conjugal relationship serve in the caf as military members, known as dual-service couples. There is consensus that, among dual-service couples, with or without dependents, at some point, one member will put her or his career on the back burner so that her/his spouse can climb the ranks.63 Many factors contribute to this phenomenon – namely, job availability in particular trades and the requirement of having spouses under different chains of command. Typically, the higher-ranking individual with the more specialized trade takes precedence because there are fewer places for that person to be posted.64 There is agreement among
respondents that when children are included in a dual-service couple’s family, and the couple is heterosexual, the female service member sacrifices her career progression to fulfill domestic responsibilities.65 As a result, it is often the female service member’s military career that suffers in a heterosexual dual-service couple: We’re worried about [having children]. My wife is advancing in her career quickly, and she knows she’ll miss time. But she did say, if she had a career course come up while she was on mat leave, I would take over paternal leave if I didn’t have anything going on … She definitely has career goals but she knows – she’s very feminist – it affects women’s careers. People say it doesn’t affect it, but it does, it does. Taking a year off. You’re behind. I know lots of [dual-service] couples where the husband is higher rank and it’s definitely ’cause [the wife] took the time off.66 The gendered division of labour between dual-service couples influences decisions around parental leave and childcare in general. The struggle between career progression and balancing family life, especially for women, is not unique to the military. Yet one respondent in this study suggests that the career compromise between spouses is more pronounced in dual-service couples than it is among non-dual service couples because of the mobility requirements for the military career: “If you are succession planned or moving up a rank, it’s very unlikely that your partner is going to be able to do the same thing because you’re going to need to focus that energy and moves based on the succession plan so that [the] other partner has to make the decision not to go for that.”67 Reports of this dynamic among dual-service couples suggest that having a “trailing” spouse is the preferred family arrangement in the military.68 Indeed, several caf policies concerning employment reinforce the expectation of a “trailing civilian spouse,” whose primary responsibility is social reproduction, and her/his employment status will be marginal to the ideal military family. As discussed below, caf policies influence the spousal employment challenge by reinforcing and destabilizing gendered labour practices in military families.
(Re)producing Gendered Labour Practices in Military Families Policies inform, and are informed by, social relations and hierarchies, including gendered hierarchies. They are an important site in the interrogation of gendered ideas, expectations, and outcomes in the caf. Of the caf’s gendered ideas and expectations one respondent notes: “There’s an attitude [by the caf] that while you’re going to be moving around, you won’t have a career, you’ll do transient work, or you’re going to stay at home with the children … Whether you are male or female … you are the following, trailing spouse.”69 This “attitude” is reproduced in the caf’s relocation and leave policies, which contradict efforts by the caf to reduce the challenges of military spousal employment in the form of programs and resources as well as policies that do attempt to be responsive to more “modern” formations of the family. Policy-makers who are genuinely interested in gender equality and family well-being in the caf ought to consider the family as a gendered institution that, like the military, is informed by essentialist gender relations. The caf’s Integrated Relocation Program Directive is the primary policy document governing moves of Canadian Forces members and their families. The document outlines what military members will be compensated for when they move their dependents and household goods and effects. It includes entitlements for a destination inspection trip (dit), which covers “up to three days and three nights at the new location for the Canadian Forces member or spouse” in order to “visit the new place of duty and provide the opportunity to inspect the replacement residence; inspect purchased property; finalise school arrangements; arrange specific medical requirements/specialised care; or make administrative arrangements related to the pending relocation.”70 However, the dit’s purpose is silent on a crucial consequence of a mandated move: the employment for the member’s spouse. The omission of spousal employment in the purpose statement of the entitlement is an especially interesting omission in the context of the core benefit, which entitles the member or spouse to a dit. Taking these two things together, the underlying suggestion is that military spouses may take on the administrative tasks associated with moving the home front but should not prioritize seeking employment for themselves. It is
gendered in the manner in which it incorporates a spouse’s unpaid labour and yet excludes and subordinates her/him from full recognition and support from the caf.71 Accordingly, this part of the policy (re)produces an idealized, traditionally gendered form of the family: the masculinised service member is primarily responsible for finances, while the feminized civilian is responsible for the domestic management of the household and family members. The sentiment in this policy revives the postwar welfare state model of social governance, which calls for a male breadwinner and a dependent female caregiver who might participate in the labour market herself but only secondarily or unnecessarily.72 As a whole, the Integrated Relocation Program Directive is not silent on the topic of spousal employment; rather, the policy provides reimbursement for several spousal employment services, such as “interview travel up to a maximum of three days/two nights, and costs associated with reestablishing current credentials for the same certification in the new province.”73 However, spousal employment is not prioritized in the policy document. These entitlements are outlined two-thirds of the way into the directive and are found on the list of “Sundry Relocation Expenses,” which includes other items, such as “connection and disconnection of electronics and services; changing drivers licenses; and postal expenses, such as mail hold.”74 Spousal employment is listed second to last on the list of “Sundry Relocation Expenses.” Moreover, the word “sundry” means “of various kinds; several; various items not important enough to be mentioned individually.”75 Otherwise stated, spousal employment does not merit a category of its own and, moreover, is placed in the same category (but further down the list) as tedious tasks such as changing one’s address. Additionally, entitlements for services related to spousal employment are not integrated into other parts of the policy. For example, chapter 11 and chapter 12, which outline the limitations and enhancements of benefits with respect to “Moves to and from an Isolated Post,” and “Moves to and from Outside Canada,” respectively, make no additional mention of spousal employment. It stands to reason that spousal employment in isolated and/or that international posts may involve different and additional concerns, as discussed in the first section of this chapter. The ancillary manner in which spousal employment is addressed in this policy promotes a culture wherein military
spouses are assumed to prioritize their partner’s paid employment over their own. The caf’s leave policies also reproduce and rely on the expectation of a “wife at home,” which informs the military spouse’s ability to participate in paid employment. Unlike federal government employees,76 there is no leave with pay for military service members for the express purpose of family-related responsibilities. Instead, family-related leave is covered in “special leave (relocation)” and “compassionate leave,”77 both of which are exceptional leave statuses. Special leave for relocation is intended to “resolve administrative matters arising from the compulsory relocation.”78 Compassionate leave is more frequently used to address family-related matters. However, its purpose is to address “urgent and exceptional” issues, such as “death or critical illness of a family member.”79 Respondents report that taking compassionate leave can result in career setbacks for the service member.80 Thus, the day-to-day care for dependents is not officially integrated into the leave categories for military service member. A respondent, who is a teacher, reflects on this frustration: If I miss work, not only do I not get paid, I have to plan for someone else to do it. The amount of time I’ve taken a sick kid into work to drop off a lesson plan is ridiculous. I don’t work at a job [that if I’m away for the day] someone else will do it. [My husband said] “If you don’t like [it] complain to the ombudsman then.” So I did. [My husband was] mortified. [The ombudsman] said [that] it is a pretty common complaint among working spouses that if [the] kids are sick that they’re expected to take the day off and make up for it. [The caf says] sometimes operational requirements take precedence. That’s fine, I understand that. But most of the time [operational requirements] don’t [need to take precedence]. [It would be] helpful [to have] family days … even a couple [of] days [to] take away a bit of the stigma. [The caf] doesn’t really have allocated sick days either. [There is a] big assumption in the workplace that there is a wife at home, which isn’t always the case.81 The omission of a policy that addresses family-related leave, such as caregiving for dependents by service member, institutionalizes a gendered
dynamic of care and paid employment in the military family and thus contributes to the military spousal employment challenge. However, the stigmatization of military members who take a greater share of the responsibility for the home front is lessening, perhaps due to the implementation of parental leave for men in the caf, demonstrating the transformative potential of policies. [Parental benefits were] introduced in 1990, enabling fathers to take 10 weeks of leave related to the birth/adoption of a child; this was extended to 35 weeks in 2001; and in 2010 the eligibility window to take leave was increased to 104 weeks after the birth or adoption of a child to account for the unique scheduling requirements of military services member [e.g., exercise, training, deployment, emergency return to work].82 There is a sense among respondents that more men are taking parental leave.83 caf statistics indicate that, since the initiation of thirty-five week parental leave in 2001, the number of male military service members taking parental leave doubled from 1,212 to 2,400 members between 2003 and 2013.84 Respondents are divided as to whether parental leave for the military member is encouraged or discouraged, and whether there are career ramifications for military members who take parental leave. In some cases, there is the impression that parental leave is “completely normal” and “strongly encouraged.”85 In fact, one interview took place in the home of a civilian female while her husband was on parental leave – taking the maximum entitled leave of nine months. Many respondents point to the financial benefits of having the serving member take parental leave because they are entitled to 93 percent of their salary.86 There is recognition that it makes sense for the service member to take leave, to help at home, especially if civilian spouses are not themselves entitled to leave benefits, which are exacerbated by the spousal employment challenge. Conversely, several respondents suggest that the stigmatization of men taking paternity leave persists, playing out in the form of jokes, humiliation, and informal reprimands, such as being passed up for good opportunities, which is substantiated by the experience of the single-male service member
previously mentioned.87 Like many things in the military, the attitude about parental leave appears to be largely dependent on the chain of command, the culture of the unit, and the nuances of particular trades. To be sure, organizational culture takes a long time to change. Importantly, there is consensus among the participants that parental leave, particularly paternal leave, and the “recognition of the male parent,” is a positive step forward in recognizing more modern family arrangements.88 Instituting parental leave for military service members demonstrates the influence policies can have on gender norms and power relations. Gender-sensitive policies such as these are essential in solving military spousal employment problem.
Conclusion While military spousal employment has been and continues to be recognized as a problem by the caf, it has not been interrogated from a gendered perspective. Military life in Canada necessitates, or the very least encourages, that the civilian spouse provide feminized labour, including primary responsibility for dependent children and the home front and that she/he de-prioritize her/his paid work if it interferes with the latter. That military service in Canada can be broadly characterized as a two-person career has gendered implications – namely, restricted choices in terms of employment and a career for the civilian spouse and a corresponding expectation of care work in the home. The concept of a “two-person career,” which was developed and theorized in the 1970s and 1980s, continues to be applicable to the caf, despite the institutional efforts to be more gender inclusive. It is true that competing careers between partners, and managing conflict between family and work life, is a phenomenon that is not unique to the military. However, the Canadian government has a particular role to play in reinforcing this dynamic for military families. Decisions about where to live based on career opportunities and promotions are usually made between two people, “typically you make those decisions without the government making them for you.”89 The Canadian state’s impact on the financial and career outcomes for military spouses represents efforts to reproduce an idealized military family that is characterized by traditional gender
norms. Without gender-responsive interventions by the caf, military spouses will continue to experience employment difficulties, including inadequate personal fulfilment and economic stability, and, as a result, retaining good military members will be a challenge.
note s 1 Interview with military spouse. Interviews for this research were undertaken between November 2016 and April 2017. 2 Pierre Daigle, On the Homefront: Assessing the Well-Being of Canada’s Military Families in the New Millennium (Ottawa: Office of the Ombudsman, National Defence and Canadian Forces, 2013), 6, https://www.canada.ca/en/ombudsmannational-defence-forces/reports-news-statistics/investigativereports/homefront.html. 3 Paige LeClair, “New Military Spousal Employment Network Launched,” Canadian Military Family Magazine, 30 November 2018, https://www.cmfmag.ca/progs_ services/new-military-spousal-employment-network-launched/. 4 Deborah Harrison and Lucie Laliberté, No Life Like It: Military Wives in Canada (Toronto: J. Lorimer and Company, 1994), 14. 5 Sanela Dursun, “Introduction: Family Well-Being and Military Readiness,” in The Homefront: Family Well-Being and Military Readiness, ed. Sanela Dursun, Samathan Urban and Waylon H. Dean (Kingston: Canadian Defence Academy Press, 2017), 1–71; Daigle, On the Homefront; National Defence, “Recruitment of Women in the Canadian Armed Forces,” last modified 6 March 2019, https://www.canada.ca/en/department-national-defence/services/women-in-theforces/recruitmment-retention.html; National Defence, “Fostering an Inclusive and Diverse Workplace,” last modified 6 March 2019, https://www.canada.ca/en/ department-national-defence/services/women-in-the-forces/fostering-inclusivediverse-workplace.html; National Defence, Strong, Secure, Engaged: Canada’s Defence Policy (Ottawa: National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces, 2017), http://publications.gc.ca/site/eng/9.835971/publication.html. 6 National Defence, “Women in the Canadian Armed Forces,” 7 March 7 2019, https://www.canada.ca/en/department-national-defence/services/women-in-theforces.html. 7 Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services, Final Report: 2019 Military Family Resource Centre (mfrc) Governance Review (Ottawa: Canadian Forces Morale and
leigh spanner Welfare Services, 2019), 7, https://www.cfmws.com/en/AboutUs/MFS/Governance andAccountability/Pages/Governance-Review-Working-Group.aspx.
8 Joan W. Scott, “Gender: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis,” American Historical Review 91, 5 (1986): 1067. 9 Lolita C. Baldor, “Finding a Job is a Major Problem for Military Spouses: Study,” Global News, 25 May 2016, http://globalnews.ca/news/2720480/finding-a-job-is-amajor-problem-for-military-spouses-study/; Daigle, On the Homefront, 2; Jason Dunn, Samantha Urban, and Zhigang Wang, Spousal/Partner Employment and Income (spei) Project: Phase Three Findings and Final Report (Ottawa: Defence Research and Development Canada, 2011); Samantha Urban, Zhigang Wang, and Jason Dunn, The Employment Status and Experiences of cf Spouses (Ottawa: Defence Research Development Canada, 2011), https://www.cfmws.com/en/AboutUs/MFS/FamilyResearch/Documents/DGPRAM/Employment/The%20Employm ent%20Status%20and%20Experience%20of%20CF%20Spouses.pdf. 10 Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services, Final Report, 7. 11 Statistics Canada, “Labour Force Survey – January 2019,” 9 February 2019, https:// www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/190208/dq190208a-eng.htm. 12 Canadian Labour Congress, “Underemployment is Canada’s Real Labour Market Challenge – Research Note,” 6 March 2014, https://canadianlabour.ca/research/ issues-research-underemployment-canadas-real-labour-market-challenge/. 13 Nathan Battams and Russell Mann, A Snapshot of Military and Veteran Families in Canada (Ottawa: Vanier Institute of the Family, 2018), 6, https://vanierinstitute.ca/ 2018-update-a-snapshot-of-military-and-veteran-families-in-canada/. 14 Battams and Mann, Snapshot, 6. 15 Daigle, On the Homefront, 42; Sharanjit Uppal, Insights on Canadian Society: Employment Patterns of Families with Children (Ottawa: Statistics Canada, 2015), http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/75-006-x/2015001/article/14202-eng.pdf; oecd, “Families Are Changing,” in Doing Better for Families (Paris: Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2011), 17–53, https://www.oecd.org/els/ soc/doingbetterforfamilies.htm; Statistics Canada, 2016 Census: The Canadian Families of Today and Yesteryear, released 2 August 2017, video, 2:41, https://www.statcan.gc.ca/eng/sc/video/2016census-families. 16 Daigle, On the Homefront, 2. 17 Interview with military spouse. 18 Ibid.
19 Ibid. 20 National Defence, Canadian Forces Integrated Relocation Program Directive 2009– 2018 (Ottawa: National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces, 2018), 109, https://www.canada.ca/en/department-national-defence/corporate/policiesstandards/relocation-directive/2018.html. 21 “Labour Mobility,” Labour Mobility Coordinating Group, http://www.workers mobility.ca/; “Provincial Certification Must-Knows,” Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services, https://www.cafconnection.ca/National/Programs-Services/ Employment/Job-Seekers/Community-Resources/Professional-Licensing-MustKnows.aspx. 22 Interview with military spouse. 23 A handful of respondents in this study were currently, or had previously, been posted to Cold Lake. 24 Statistics Canada, Oil Prices and the Canadian Economy – Events and Impacts (Ottawa: Statistics Canada, 2017), 13, https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/en/pub/11631-x/11-631-x2017004-eng.pdf?st=CNhhn65S. 25 Battams and Mann, Snapshot, 6. 26 Interview with military spouse. 27 Ibid. 28 Ibid. 29 Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services, Strategy 2017–2020 (Ottawa: Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services, 2017), https://www.cfmws.com/ en/AboutUs/Library/PoliciesandRegulations/Documents/CFMWS_Strategy2017_ Web_En.pdf. 30 Battams and Mann, Snapshot, 6. 31 Interviews with military spouses. 32 Interview with military spouse. 33 Ibid. 34 Interviews with military spouses. 35 Hanna Papanek, “Men, Women and Work: Reflections on the Two-Person Career,” American Journal of Sociology 78, 4 (1973): 852. 36 Helen J. Mederer and Laurie Weinstein, “Choice and Constraints in a Two-Person Career: Ideology, Division of Labor, and Well-Being Among Submarine Officers’ Wives,” Journal of Family Issues 13, 3 (1992): 334–50. 37 Interview with military spouse.
38 Amanda Chisholm and Maya Eichler, “Reproductions of Global Security: Accounting for the Private Security Household,” International Feminist Journal of Politics 20, 4 (2018): 12, https://doi.org/10.1080/14616742.2018.1516512. 39 Interview with military spouse. 40 Ibid. 41 Ibid. 42 Meg Luxton, Changing Families, New Understandings (Ottawa: Vanier Institute of the Family, 2011), 13, https://vanierinstitute.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/ CFT_2011-06-00_EN.pdf. See also Pat Armstrong and Hugh Armstrong, The Double Ghetto: Canadian Women and Their Segregated Work, 3rd ed. (Don Mills: Oxford University Press, 2010). 43 Melissa Moyser and Amanda Burlock, Time Use: Total Work Burden, Unpaid Work, and Leisure (Ottawa: Statistics Canada, 2018), 4, https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/ pub/89-503-x/2015001/article/54931-eng.htm. 44 Interview with military spouse. 45 Linda McDowell, “Work, Workfare, Work/Life Balance and an Ethic of Care,” Progress in Human Geography 28 (2004): 145–63, https://journals.sagepub.com/ doi/10.1191/0309132504ph478oa; V. Spike Peterson, “‘New Wars’ and Gendered Economies,” Feminist Review 88, 1 (2008): 7–20; V. Spike Peterson, “Global Householding amid Global Crises,” Politics and Gender 6, 2 (2010): 271–81, https://doi.org/10.1017/S1743923X10000073. 46 Interview with military spouse. 47 Peterson, “Global Householding,” 277. 48 Interview with military spouse. 49 Ibid. 50 Ibid. 51 Ibid. 52 Ibid. 53 Murray Brewster, “‘The Decision Broke Me,’ Says Naval Officer Asked to Choose Between Career and Son,” cbc News, 13 June 2017, https://www.cbc.ca/news/ politics/military-single-moms-1.4157353; See also Arwen Falvey, “I Had to Let My Daughter Go Because of My Job in the Canadian Military,” cbc News, 22 June 2017, http://www.cbc.ca/news/opinion/single-parent-military-1.4169806. 54 Brewster, “Decision.” 55 Brenda Beagan, Gwen E. Chapman, Andrea D’Sylva, and B. Raewyn Bassett,
“‘It’s Just Easier for Me to Do It’: Rationalizing the Family Division of Food Work,” Sociology 42, 4 (2008): 662; Svetlana Ristovski-Slijepcevic, Gwen E. Chapman, and Brenda L. Beagan, “Being a ‘Good Mother’: Dietary Governmentality in the Family Food Practices of Three Ethnocultural Groups in Canada,” Health 14, 5 (2010): 480. 56 Brewster, “Decision.” 57 Murray Brewster, “Military Looking to Avoid a ‘Black Eye’ by Stalling Human Rights Complaint, Lawyer Says,” cbc News, 21 January 2019, https://www.cbc.ca/ news/politics/nash-navy-vance-single-parent-grievance-1.4984417. 58 Interview with military spouse. 59 Interviews with military spouses. 60 Interview with military spouse. 61 Zhigang Wang and Lesleigh E. Pullman, “Impact of Military Lifestyle on Employment Status and Income among Female Civilian Spouses of Canadian Armed Forces Members,” Journal of Military, Veteran and Family Health 5, 1 (2019): 59. 62 Natascia Boeri, “Challenging the Gendered Entrepreneurial Subject: Gender, Development and the Informal Economy in India,” Gender and Society 32, 2 (2018): 169, https://doi.org/10.1177/0891243217750119. 63 Interviews with military spouses. 64 Interview with military spouse. 65 Interviews with military spouses. 66 Interview with military spouse. 67 Ibid. 68 Ibid. 69 Ibid. 70 National Defence, Canadian Forces Integrated Relocation Program Directive, 51. 71 Harrison and Laliberté, No Life Like It, 14. 72 Janine Brodie, “Putting Gender Back In: Women and Social Policy in Canada” in Gendering the Nation–State: Canadian and Comparative Perspectives, ed. Yasmeen Abu–Laban (Vancouver: ubc Press, 2008), 168. 73 National Defence, Canadian Forces Integrated Relocation Program Directive, 102. 74 Ibid., 99–102. 75 “Meaning of Sundry,” Oxford Dictionaries, https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/ definition/sundry. 76 See Article 44: Leave with Pay for Family-Related Responsibilities, Treasury Board
leigh spanner of Canada Secretariat, Collective Agreement: Program and Administrative Services (Ottawa: Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, 2017), 55, https://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/ agreements-conventions/view-visualiser-eng.aspx?id=15.
77 National Defence, Canadian Forces Leave Policy Manual (Ottawa : National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces,  2019), https://www.canada.ca/ en/department-national-defence/corporate/policies-standards/leave-policymanual.html. 78 National Defence, Canadian Forces Leave Policy, 46. 79 Ibid. 64. 80 Interview with military spouse. 81 Ibid. 82 Mishall Rehman, “More Military Dads Taking Advantage of Parental Leave to Care for Newborns,” Canadian Military Family Magazine, 22 April 2015, viewed 15 January 2020, http://cmfmag.ca/best_cmf/more-military-dads-taking-advantageof-parental-leave-to-care-for-newborns/. 83 Interviews with military spouses. 84 Rehman, “More Military Dads.” 85 Interview with military spouse. 86 “Life in the Military: Pay and Benefits,” Canadian Armed Forces, viewed 15 January 2020, https://forces.ca/en/life-in-the-military/. 87 Interviews with military spouses. 88 Ibid. 89 Interview with military spouse.
Feminist Activism and Tools for Empowering Women
7 Women’s Marches: How the Conservative Movement Mobilized American Feminism from El Paso to Montreal ir asema corona d o, toul a dr imonis, a n d él i s a b et h val l et Introduction In January 2017, there was a sense of urgency as the new US president was about to enter the Oval Office. Krista Suh and Jayna Zweiman, Los Angeles–based scriptwriter and architect, respectively, initiated the Pussyhat Project. Their objective was to create a visual effect during the Women’s March in January 2017 by explicitly referring to the vocabulary used by the Republican presidential candidate before he was elected. As they themselves claim, “[it] started as a simple means of protest, participation and solidarity, and has become an iconic global symbol of political activism.”1 Although critics flocked to highlight some of the biases of this symbol, the scope of the movement showed that women’s bodies could become a place of resistance2 and that those hats ultimately “galvanized an intersectional resistance.”3 As early as November 2016, people organized knitting circles to knit the fuchsia-pink cat-eared hats. These circles became spaces of solidarity, support, and discussions and a way for some to create community around activism and for others to mitigate the anxiety caused by the outcome of the election. Additionally, these spaces provided a way for people who could not participate in the Women’s March to support those who could. Thousands of pussyhats, knitted by people from the United States and other countries, were distributed to the marchers in Washington, dc. Protesters in pink hats
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marched in solidarity for women’s rights and political resistance. After all, Hillary Clinton did receive the majority of the popular vote in the November 2016 election. It seemed like 2016 drove us back to three decades ago, when Geraldine Ferraro suffered one of the worst political defeats in contemporary political history. The similarities were striking. In 1984, commentators questioned the female candidate’s ability to lead the country and emphasized her relative inexperience and her husband’s financial activities. In 2016, Hillary Clinton’s opponent questioned her ability to occupy the Oval Office, her decades of experience had become a burden, and her husband’s affairs stuck to her like old gum sticks to the soles of shoes. Clothes, hairdo, and attitudes were prevalent in media commentaries addressing Hillary Clinton’s campaign, not so much in those addressing Trump’s, although his hairdo did provide political cartoonists with ample opportunity to show their creativity. Late night tv host Jimmy Fallon tousled Trump’s hair on air – an incident that led to Fallon’s being criticized for trying to humanize Trump.4 The masculinist rhetoric that defines the presidential function (from the commander-in-chief of the armed forces narrative to the “founding fathers” of the republic) and the discursive return to presidential machismo in the wake of 9/11 may have fuelled the 2016 backlash. After 2016, academic research has revealed (beyond the apparent acceptability of “locker room talk” even at the heart of a political campaign) among certain socio-economic groups, a fear of a radical redefinition of social roles and a rejection of the very idea that a woman could transcend traditional role distribution.5 In the United States, women’s bodies in a way no longer belong to them: Oklahoma lawmaker Justin Humphrey has portrayed them as “hosts” of future embryos – Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale seems all too relevant. In this context, it is still difficult to apprehend the impact of Hillary Clinton’s defeat, and one wonders how many years it will be before a woman embarks on this adventure again. However, the “Resistance,” as it is called – energized by the January Marches and the #MeToo movement, and operationalized by new groups like the Resistance School, GenForward, and the Women’s Convention – organizes workshops to inspire women to enter politics. The success of those workshops offers proof that women are willing to go into politics and are willing to shake up the established order.
The conservative movement, energized by the 2016 election, may have (re)shaped American feminist activism from one border to another and, as a result, given birth to its own unique set of mobilizations in Mexico (on the United States–Mexico border) and Canada. But the impact is even deeper. In the aftermath of the 2016 election, both White House policies and the overall atmosphere seem to have had lasting effects on the way elites and politicians define themselves in a polarized world. It has seen the decoupling of society into castes, while, for most Americans, the tangibility of the American dream is fading away. Vulnerable women are even more affected by this trend, which is in part the result of state violence. Among them are women giving birth in jails while shackled, women migrants separated from their children when crossing the border undocumented, and women (whether migrants or citizens) being denied access to reproductive health, family planning, and abortion services.6 Years after Andrea Dworkin put into words the idea of the “war on women” in the 1990s, and six years after the Democrats branded the same idea in political ads to characterize the Grand Old Party’s (gop) conservative program, it looks like women could indeed lose that war. Culture wars have left the issues of gay marriage and medicinal marijuana to focus on uteri. Rather than trying to invalidate Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court cornerstone decision on abortion, the strategy of pro-life legislators has been to undermine women by using slyer, more efficient tactics. At the federal level, the goal is to limit the coverage of abortion on health insurance markets. At the state level (where legislatures and governorships are predominantly Republican), abortion rights are being progressively eviscerated via state laws: legislative provisions that regulate medical waste, clinic hallways sizes, accreditation of doctors, and proximity of hospitals all de facto limiting where abortion doctors can work. According to the Guttmacher Institute, since 1973, the states have enacted 1,074 provisions to restrict the right to abortion – almost one-third of them since 2011. This has left half of American women facing major obstacles when seeking access to abortion. Across the country, the number of abortion clinic closures trump those that have reopened to the extent that six states only have one clinic left (Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming).7
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President Trump appointed three conservative judges to the US Supreme Court, and the Court’s first decision in June 2020, following one of these appointments, left no ambiguity about the future of abortion. Now twentytwo out of fifty states are considered “extremely hostile to abortion,” and 93 percent of women living in the South are in one of these “hostile or extremely hostile to abortion” states. This means that, without actually contravening Roe v. Wade, nearly half of the states restrict abortion rights to the point of making them de facto inaccessible. By increasing health standards, legislators have succeeded in imposing conditions on clinics that have forced some to either close their doors or limit their practice. As a result, 80 percent of the abortion clinics opened in 1991 have since closed. In the year 2019 alone, fifty-eight abortion restrictions were adopted across the United States. Several states, such as Texas, used the context of the pandemic to further limit access to abortion, classifying it as a non-essential service, while religious services were allowed to continue. And while getting an abortion may be complicated, it may be just as complicated to give birth. Prenatal care is expensive, and a lot of antenatal clinics have an opaque policy regarding costs of services. In addition, it costs an average of $25,000 to give birth in the United States, and, sometimes, a significant part of that amount (if paid through insurance) remains to be paid by the mother/parents. Two-thirds of unwanted births are, for now, covered by Medicaid, but this program is among those the Trump government wanted to cut. In the current legislative context, where a majority percentage of white men decide and vote on these issues, “childbirth” in the United States is complex and expensive – and is definitely utilized for political purposes. Given the human and financial cost of giving birth, some women have no choice but to avoid pregnancy. That is, of course, when they have access to contraception – which is not a given either. Not being able to gain access to or afford contraception, not being able to abort, not being able to afford prenatal care (or even a pregnancy), not being able to afford daycare (sometimes the cost of a state university’s annual fee), leaves women in the United States with very few choices. There is a connection to be made here with the fact that, over the past fifteen years, according to a United Nations working group on legal discrimination against women, the US maternal mortality rate has increased
substantially – making it one of the only Western countries with such a record.8 Pregnancy is now a luxury and a burden. This is partly why the Pussyhat movement gained momentum so quickly. This chapter recounts the stories of women (from El Paso to Montreal) and their perceptions of the US presidential elections. It does so through looking at their marches, demonstrations, and symbolic acts of resistance. It uses a feminist form of narratology that adopts a gender-conscious storytelling approach to its subject. Our contribution takes into account each narrator’s unique epistemology, which helps us to understand the experiences of women after the 2016 US elections.
Women’s Marches: A View from the Border – El Paso, Texas As a political science professor and as a fronteriza, a borderland inhabitant who identifies as a Mexicana, Mexican-American, Chicana, Latina, and as an academic activist, I felt compelled to attend this march because I care deeply about human rights, women’s rights, the environment, and the inclusion of minorities in the polity as a way of strengthening democracy in the United States. As I approached the staging area for the march, I started to feel that I was with like-minded company, with people who cared about the same issues that I did, and that I was entering a space where I could share my concerns with others in a safe environment. I was also carrying a banner highlighting an organization that I belong to: BorderFronterizas.org. For many residents of El Paso, this election instilled fear because of the anti-Mexican and anti-immigrant sentiments that permeated the newly elected president’s campaign: people were afraid of massive deportations, racial profiling, and harassment by US border officials when re-entering the United States from Mexico or simply for “being brown” on the streets of El Paso. Legal permanent residents began to inquire how they could become US citizens for two major reasons: to obtain the right to vote and to secure the right to stay in the United States. The business community expressed concern that the North America Free Trade Agreement (nafta) would be renegotiated and conceivably negatively affect businesses on both sides of the border. Environmental activists lamented the fortification of
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the border wall and its impact on the flora and fauna of the region. Feminists feared that their reproductive rights would be under assault by the new administration. As the US presidential campaign unfolded, Donald Trump’s speech, delivered on 15 June 2015, caused a great deal of angst, discomfort, fear, and concern to certain sectors of the community residing on the US-Mexico border when he uttered the words: “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”9 Throughout the presidential campaign, Donald Trump ranted against Mexico and Mexicans as well as the future of nafta, and the proposal to build a border wall caused a great deal of heartache and instability in the border region, especially in cities like El Paso. The population of El Paso in 2016 was 683,080, and over 80 percent identified as Hispanic.10 Approximately, 25.7 percent of the population of El Paso is foreign-born and comes predominantly come from Mexico. El Paso has the seventh largest immigrant percentage out of 104 American cities.11 It can also be assumed that a large percentage of the population residing there were born to immigrant parents from Mexico. El Paso County is also home to fifty-five thousand undocumented people.12 Additionally, over nine thousand Dreamers – young people eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (daca) program – live there.13 Hence, this harsh anti-Mexican and anti-immigrant rhetoric really struck a chord with a large segment of the population and caused a great deal of stress and fear. As the campaign took its course, staff members working in human rights organizations such as Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center, Border Network for Human Rights, and Diocesan Migrant and Refugee Services reported an increase in calls from people in the community who feared losing their legal permanent residence status and dreaded being deported. Some people were afraid to go to Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, to visit family or to see a medical doctor, even though they were legal permanent residents, because they feared being denied re-entry into the United States. Bi-national families are common in this community, with certain family members living in El Paso and others living in Ciudad
Juarez, Chihuahua. Dreamers were also frightened – and rightly so – that the new administration would rescind the executive order that President Obama passed authorizing daca. Some residents of this community were questioning whether traditional and conventional ways of participating in politics – voting, attending political meetings, supporting candidates financially, walking blocks in support of candidates, putting bumper stickers on cars, and putting signs up in yards – were truly effective. Under these conditions, a group of young women from the community organized a group called Boundless Across Borders, which ended up organizing two major political events in the community: Braids Across the Border on inauguration day and a women’s march on 21 January 2017. Several sectors of the community were enthusiastically awaiting an opportunity to express their outrage over the outcome of the election and to show their solidarity with others in the community.
Conventional or Unconventional Activism: Braids across the Border As inauguration day approached several people in this community welcomed the activities and action planned by a group of women who were part of the Boundless Across Borders organization. This political protest can be seen both as a politically legitimate/low-risk conventional form of protest and as a politically illegitimate/high-risk unconventional form of protest.14 I would argue that the Braids across the Border event could have turned out to be a politically illegitimate, high-risk event – especially in the political climate facing the nation in January of 2017, but that, due to the careful planning of the organizers, the event was without a major international incident on the bridge or any problem with the US border officials. Braids Across the Border took place on inauguration day, at the same time the new president was being sworn in, in Washington, dc. Fifty women from El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, stood united along the Paso del Norte Bridge, one of the main ports of entry into the United States. The women, standing in pairs, planned to braid their hair (or scarves) together and stand with hands linked in silence.15 This action required an inordinate amount of planning and coordination, especially as it took place on an international bridge. Years ago, I personally helped
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organize an international march on this same international bridge, raising awareness of the femicides taking place in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua. Organizing these marches is logistically challenging because of the high level of coordination required with federal and local government officials in the United States.
Women’s March in El Paso The Women’s March, the second event organized by Boundless Across Borders, took place on Saturday 21 January at Marcos B. Armijo Park. As we approached Armijo Park, the drumming and dancing by Matachines (a society of North and South American Indigenous dancers who perform ritual dances) was resounding. The smell of copal, or incense, permeated the air. The burning of copal is both a pre-Hispanic ritual and one experienced while attending Roman Catholic mass on special occasions. One could see how the Indigenous past and present of the region was honoured and respected as one approached Armijo Park, which itself has an interesting history. The location chosen for the march had symbolic importance. The city of El Paso created Armijo Park in 1937 in honour of Marcos B. Armijo, a First World War veteran. Armijo posthumously received the Distinguished Service Cross, making him one of four Hispanics from Texas to receive such a recognition. Honouring a Mexican American veteran in this manner is testimony to the loyalty and patriotism of members of this community who continue to serve in the US military. Armijo Park is also in El Segundo Barrio, which means “Second Ward” in Spanish. El Segundo Barrio is also known as the other Ellis Island since, over time, so many Mexican immigrants have entered the United States through this area. It is one of the main points of entry for immigrants. During the Mexican Revolution, El Segundo Barrio became the home of many revolutionaries, including Francisco Madero and Pancho Villa. Spies and journalists also worked in El Segundo Barrio, including Mariano Azuela, who wrote a famous novel titled Los de Abajo, which highlights the Mexican Revolution. During the first half of the twentieth century El Segundo Barrio was characterized by high levels of poverty, inadequate and
substandard housing, and large families. It was subject to flooding and fires, and community activists challenged representatives of local government to take action. In 2010, the city of El Paso and a community group known as the Paso Del Norte Group devised a plan to tackle unemployment, poverty, and the housing problem in El Segundo Barrio. However, the plan included demolishing important historical and cultural buildings. Community activists organized, and their outrage led to an intense legal battle with the city council and mayor that continues to this day. On 21 January 2017, with all these important historical markers in mind, the Women’s March began in El Paso. Close to two thousand people participated in the event. Mothers and fathers pushing baby strollers, people in wheelchairs, old and young, people of different ethnicities, races and genders – all were present at this event. The march culminated in a rally at which several community members and elected officials made speeches. The major themes were clear: we are a nation of immigrants; we contribute to the economic well-being of this country; we are proud of our Mexican heritage; we oppose the border wall; and we are mothers who care about our children. Maternal feminism could be used to describe the tone and tenor of the speeches. People spoke in English and Spanish and the crowd responded with chants. The event was a resounding success in terms of turnout and the overall sentiment was that we were resisting the new administration and its anti-Mexican sentiments. However, in retrospect, one cannot help but wonder if the Women’s Marches across Canada, the United States, and Mexico have had a lasting effect with regard to changing the direction of the country. One of the most eloquent and distinguished speakers at the rally was county judge Veronica Escobar. During her speech she expressed love for immigrants, the need to protect women, and the conviction that we cannot give into fear, intimidation, oppression, and hate.16 Throughout the community, rumours were being spread that Escobar was contemplating running for the US House of Representatives once incumbent Beto O’Rourke announced that he would run for US Senate. She eventually resigned from her position as county judge and won the Democratic Party nomination for the House of Representatives. El Paso is predominately a Democratic Party stronghold, and she won the seat in November of 2018. Sylvia Garcia
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from Houston also won the Democratic Party nomination for a House seat. Both won and are, hence, the first two Latinas from Texas ever to serve in Congress. While the Women’s March inspired and motivated people to get involved in politics, it seems that the policies and rhetoric emanating from Washington, dc, posed daily challenges and directly affected the people of El Paso and their ability to resist. It seemed as though the administration was only focusing on issues affecting border cities. Young people who had benefitted from President Obama’s daca order faced the possibility that it would be terminated, which Trump tried to do; however, three federal judges blocked the administration’s actions. Deportations have separated families, causing economic hardship, especially if the main breadwinner or family caretaker is deported. The administration’s policies and actions regarding the reinforcement of the border wall – sending the National Guard to the US-Mexico border, reluctance to pass immigration reform, disregard for immigrants and asylum seekers rights – present opportunities and challenges to the El Paso community and its ability to take political action. Examining the media coverage of the Women’s March in Washington, it was clear to me that the Pussyhats were far more visible in dc than they were in El Paso. The march on the Mexico-US border had a binational, bilingual, and bicultural feel and appeared to be more intergenerational than the Washington march. While women’s issues were addressed in the speeches and on the signs, standing up for families and immigrant’s rights was what permeated the El Paso march: people seemed to be more offended by Trump’s comment regarding Mexicans as murderers and rapists than they were by his disparaging comments about women.
The Rise of Conservatism and the American Women’s Movement – A View beyond the Border in Canada As a freelance writer and opinion columnist who has long written about women’s issues and who identifies as an unapologetic and loud feminist, watching blatant sexism rear its ugly head during the US election campaign was both frustrating and unsurprising. Women seeking power continue to be vilified and scrutinized far more than do men. Even though Hillary Clin-
161 ton was not without faults as a candidate, hearing undecided voters argue that there was no significant ideological difference between her and Donald Trump left me aggravated beyond belief. The day after the US election I woke up in an exhausted daze. I had stayed up late, watching the results trickle in, desperately hoping that what was materializing before my eyes would turn out to be a bad dream. A man who had been recorded bragging about sexually assaulting women because “when you’re a star they let you do it” had just been declared the next president of the United States. Trump’s electoral campaign – replete with misogyny and dangerous messages for religious and racial minorities – breathed new life into conservative political platforms and right-wing organizations, and normalized a war on progressive values, the latter usually going hand in hand with women’s rights. We now had a sitting US president who believed that there should be some form of punishment for women who sought out an abortion and a vice-president who had stated that he hoped to see “Roe v. Wade consigned to the ash heap of history.” We had a US administration that was about to reinstate the global gag rule on abortions and was working hard to defund Planned Parenthood – a major source of affordable health care for millions of American women. As someone who diligently witnessed and documented the relentlessly misogynistic attacks (by Trump and his supporters) on the first female candidate for a major political party and the double standards with which she was treated by the media, I cringed at what all this meant. The backlash against feminism and the advancement of women’s rights – particularly of female reproductive rights, which have long been attacked by the fiercely anti-abortion Republican Party and the Religious Right – was now happening in real time. Watching the meticulous breakdown of votes across the country, I was haunted by the number of (mainly white) women who voted for Trump. I was disturbed by the people who claimed that much of what Trump was talking about during the campaign was just over-the-top pandering and vote mongering. He didn’t really mean what he said, I was reassured. He would be much more moderate and conciliatory the minute he was in office. I was not reassured. I knew better, and so did many other women who feared that the toxic braggadocio in his speeches revealed that the worst
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was yet to come. A retired lawyer and grandmother in Hawaii took to Facebook and wrote the first thing that came to mind: “Couldn’t a march take place?”
The Montreal Women’s March Like most grassroots initiatives that spark a flame and ignite into national and international movements, Teresa Shook’s plea/suggestion took on a life of its own. Barely a month later, people of all backgrounds, 5 million strong, on all five continents, would be uniting to join their voices in protest in one of the largest marches for women’s rights the world has ever seen. I would be among them. Despite hating public speaking, I accepted the invitation to be the English emcee at the Montreal Women’s March. There was no way I would refuse to be part of something so historic and so pregnant with meaning and symbolism. I needed to be there with like-minded women and men and chase away some of the sadness and depression that had followed me since the American election results had been announced. The morning of the Montreal Women’s March, my co-emcee Cathy Wong and I met at a downtown café and wondered whether people would come out. Enthusiasm had been high thus far, and Canadian women were rallying together to support their American sisters – some by physically travelling to Washington to attend the march, and most by organizing and planning to attend the many marches taking place around the country. The Facebook event indicated that many people were planning on being there, but what if it turned out to be a bust – one of those events that everyone says they’re going to but no one in fact attends? As we sat there drinking coffee across from the public square where the rally was supposed to be taking place, our concerns and nervous jitters started subsiding. We knew this was important and we knew that many felt the same way. All that anger, frustration, fear, disillusionment, and disappointment needed an outlet. We needed our voices be heard and we needed to make sure that the message of resistance was transmitted loud and clear to anyone who thought that women’s rights were negotiable. I caught sight of the very first pink pussyhats. The group of seniors (both men and women) who were donning them were carrying huge homemade
signs and making their way up to the meeting point. They were smiling and looked in such good spirits it was impossible for me not to smile back. The pussyhat would go on to become such a popular sign of resistance and female solidarity that it would find itself on the cover of Time Magazine in February 2017. But it was not without its detractors. As time went by, it also received a fair amount of criticism over perceptions that it excluded women of colour and transgender women by centring feminism on pink (i.e., white) female genitalia. The backlash forced the Pussyhat Project to explain that the colour pink was chosen because it’s a colour traditionally associated with femininity. Regardless of the mixed feelings, the initiative succeeded in offering a colourful visual of resistance at a time when it was vital for women to come together. More people started appearing. And then many more. French signs and English signs melded into the crowd, with pink hats and tuques and kids standing on people’s shoulders, and when we moved towards the raised platform to start prepping for the event I was greeted by a sea of people (estimates put it between five and seven thousand) that stretched all the way to the corners of both sides of the public square. It was a joyful, determined, happy, and defiant crowd, chanting slogans, pumping fists, and raising signs as high as they could go. It was also, to Montreal’s and to the organizers’ credit (with Alia Hassan-Cournol and Gillian Leigh Sonin at the helm), one of the most multicultural and racially and religiously diverse crowds that the Women’s March organizers could have hoped for, and it matched the speakers on stage in diversity. If I could transmit the joy, solidarity, and power I felt being on that stage and looking out at that crowd to every single young woman I come across, I would. For two hours, speaker after speaker took the stage and the boisterous audience was treated to passionate, personal, and eloquent speeches that spoke to the necessity of vigilance and continued struggle for equal rights.
The Upside of Trump’s Election The upside of Donald Trump’s election is that it mobilized and angered women who had made the mistake of assuming their hard-fought rights were no longer up for discussion. Once the signs and the pink pussyhats were put away, that wonderfully constructive energy, that defiance, that
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anger, that joyous and empowering solidarity we all felt that day gave birth to a simple resolution and an understanding that most of us felt down to our very core: we needed to increase the number of women entering politics on the municipal, provincial, and national levels. Equality would never be achieved without political representation. It was as simple as that. The big revelation and outcome of the rise of conservatism has been the acknowledgment that, if they’re not combined with real legislative change and power, social movements can only go so far. Harkening back to the women’s rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s, women realized that they needed to sit at the table and have a say in making those laws too, instead of always pleading their case with those in power, who were still predominantly men. Women’s anger – at Trump, at the Religious Right, and at the GOP attempting to regulate their bodies; at their own powerlessness to protect their rights; at the old boys’ network circling the wagons; at what the #MeToo movement exposed about the relentless abuse of power and trust by so many men in so many fields – turned into electoral participation. It was the perfect storm that became a catalyst for radical change by inspiring women to harness that anger – both in the United States and in Canada – to run for office. In the United States, organizations like She Should Run and Emily’s List saw record numbers of women stepping up. “Stephanie Schriock, the president of Emily’s List, the largest national organization devoted to electing female candidates, said that in the 10 months before the election in 2016, about 1,000 women contacted her organization about running for office or getting involved in other ways. Since the election, she said, the number has exploded to more than 22,000.”17 New Orleans recently saw the election of its first ever female mayor. Atlanta recently re-elected a woman mayor. Paris, France, now has a female mayor. Iceland just voted in a progressive female prime minister. Things are shifting. Women, who saw an incompetent and highly unprepared man ascend to the highest office in the United States simply because, as a privileged white man, he had wanted that position, realized that their lingering self-doubt and fear of being perceived as overly ambitious were no longer valid reasons not to run. If anything, their voices and points of view are needed now more than ever.
Making Montreal Municipal History Here in my hometown of Montreal, the number of female candidates in the city’s 2017 municipal elections soared from 33 percent in 2009 to 43 percent. From the 294 candidates that ran in this year’s elections, 127 were women. As a result, a record number of female borough mayors and borough and city councillors were elected in and around the island of Montreal, and Valerie Plante made history by becoming Montreal’s first female mayor. Coordinator Alia Hassan-Cournol, who worked tirelessly to ensure that the choice of speakers at the Women’s March reflected not only Montreal’s diversity but also the struggles and concerns of all marginalized groups, is now at City Hall, working for Mayor Valerie Plante. One of the speakers at the Montreal Women’s March, Sue Montgomery, ran and was elected mayor of the Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-De-Grâce borough – the first ever female mayor for the borough. My co-emcee, Cathy Wong, previously president of Le Conseil des Montréalaises, also decided to run as a candidate and was elected as the first Asian candidate to ever sit at Montreal City Hall. She was recently offered and accepted the position of speaker of Montreal City Council – again, a position never previously occupied by a woman. Indeed, 2017 was a year of many firsts. Thanks to Donald Trump’s polarizing effect and a series of retirements, a similar phenomenon has been observed in the United States. In Texas, women came out of the woodwork to run for federal office. For years, there had been a dry spell: women simply weren’t running. But in 2018 approximately fifty women – a record number – have lined up to run for Congress in Texas, among hundreds running around the country. Trump’s presidency brought to the forefront not only how prevalent and insidious sexism still is but also how vital it is for women to take control and make change happen for themselves and for those around them. As the need for more tangible social and political involvement becomes clear, I predict that more women will be coming forward to enter politics and to enact legislative change from within. Much of what’s involved in raising awareness about women’s issues revolves around education and indignation and calling out what’s wrong. It’s
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anxious, thankless, exasperating, and exhausting work that requires repetition, emotional labour, and facing the denial and dismissal of people who don’t want to see what’s in front of their faces because it ultimately threatens their own social status and privilege in this world. But we’re moving forward regardless.
Conclusion The outcome of the November 2016 election led many people to question how democratic the United States really is. After all, Hillary Clinton did win the popular vote, but the Electoral College dictated a different result. People woke up in disbelief, and some people reported anxiety and depression as the reality of the situation took root. The organizing of the Women’s Marches provided an opportunity for like-minded people to come together in solidarity, and the knitting of pussyhats provided many people with a way to mitigate their anxiety. Looking forward to marches one day after the election gave people a semblance of hope and inspiration, a way to build community, to organize, and to empower each other. Women from so many backgrounds are coming together during these troubling times to support each other across different issues. Despite the obvious backlash, in the forms of men’s rights activists and incel groups, towards this spontaneous and very powerful women’s uprising, the movement has reaped results. It has generated the #MeToo and #TimesUp hashtags and put many predators on notice that we, as women, will no longer be guarding your terrible secrets. Did the march make a difference in the lives of El Pasoans? It did at that specific point in time because it empowered the community and created a safe place for them to express their political beliefs and views on social issues. However, this administration has not been kind to border residents. Over time, border communities have endured family separations due to deportations. Dreamers are anxiously waiting for their situation to be addressed permanently and in a manner that will allow them to remain in the United States. Families seeking refugee status are being denied their rights to request asylum at ports of entry. Migrant families are being separated at the border, and children are ending up in tent cities and in detention fa-
cilities without a clear mechanism that ensures that they will be reunited with their parents. Fear continues to permeate the daily lives of women, feminists, environmentalists, social justice advocates, families, immigrants, and children – fear that they will be separated from their parents, fear that someone they love will be deported, fear that their access to reproductive health services will be denied, and an overall fear of the actions of the Trump administration. Did the march make a difference in the lives of women throughout the United States? It did. On 5 June, more than a hundred women were on the ballot of the congressional primaries, and 2018 saw an unprecedented number of women running for office. November 2018 saw more women entering Congress than ever before.18 And scholarly research proves that it will trigger a massive change in setting the agenda and defining American policies as well as encourage more women to run.19 In the path of the #MeToo movement, women are becoming more visible, more active, and more involved: they have set their eyes on federal and state offices. From El Paso to Montreal, the Women’s Marches created networks, momentum, and a sisterhood that had long been thwarted or, at best, pacified by individual moves towards equality. Women, as a collective, have once again realized that no rights can be taken for granted and that the continued fight for equality remains as vital and as pertinent as ever. As we watch our sisters in Ireland and Argentina gain the right to abortion; as we watch more and more women denounce their abusers, from India to Chile; as we watch more women ascend to power and change the way politics and public spaces are navigated, we continue to cheer for one another and move forward.
note s 1 “The Pussyhat Story,” viewed 1 December 2019, https://www.pussyhatproject.com/ our-story. 2 Alex Jeffrey, “Legal Geography II: Bodies and Law,” Progress in Human Geography (November 2019), https://doi.org/10.1177/0309132519888681. 3 Ann Larabee, “Pussy Hats as Social Movement Symbols,” Journal of Popular Culture 50, 2 (2017): 215–17. 4 On 19 June 2018, Fallon recounted on the Awards Chatter Podcast that the “hair
i. coronado, t. drimonis, and é. vallet show” was the biggest mistake of his career because of the criticism received from the audience and from other comedians alleging that Fallon was trying to normalize Trump for people who were on the fence about him. In response to the Awards Chatter Podcast, Trump tweeted that Fallon was now whimpering about the “hair show” and closed by saying: “Be a man Jimmy!” Fallon responded by making a donation in Trump’s name to the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (raices). raices assists with family reunification and provides legal services to undocumented immigrants separated from their children at the border. “Trump to Jimmy Fallon: ‘Be a Man’: Late Night Host Answers with Donation to Help Migrants.” 25 June 2018, Associated Press, https://www. nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/trump-tells-jimmy-fallon-be-man-overhair-tussling-episode-n886221.
5 Lindsey E. Blumell and Jennifer Huemmer, “Silencing Survivors: How News Coverage Neglects the Women Accusing Donald Trump of Sexual Misconduct,” Feminist Media Studies 17, 3 (2017): 506–9; Mark P. Orbe and Colin J. Batten, “Diverse Dominant Group Responses to Contemporary Co-Cultural Concerns: US Intergroup Dynamics in the Trump Era,” Journal of Contemporary Rhetoric 7, 1 (2017): 19–33. 6 See Carolyn Sufrin, Jailcare: Finding the Safety Net for Women behind Bars (Oakland: University of California Press, 2017): 148–9; Jeremy Slack, Daniel E. Martínez, Scott Whiteford, and Emily Peiffer, “In Harm’s Way: Family Separation, Immigration Enforcement Programs and Security on the US-Mexico Border,” Journal on Migration and Human Security 3, 2 (2015): 109–28; NishaVerma and Scott A.Shainker, “Maternal Mortality, Abortion Access, and Optimizing Care in an Increasingly Restrictive United States: A Review of the Current Climate,” Seminars in Perinatology 44, 5 (2020): 151269; Rachel K. Jones, Laura Lindberg, Elizabeth Witwer, “covid-19 Abortion Bans and Their Implications for Public Health,” Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health 52, 2 (2020): 65–8. 7 Rachel Jones, Meghan Ingerick, and Jenna Jerman, “Differences in Abortion Service Delivery in Hostile, Middle–Ground and Supportive States in 2014,” Women’s Health Issues 28, 3 (2018): 212–18, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.whi.2017.12.003. 8 who, unicef, unfpa, the World Bank, and the United Nations Population Division, Trends in Maternal Mortality 1990 to 2013 (Geneva: World Health Organization, 2014), http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/112682/97892415 07226_eng.pdf?sequence=2; Marian F. MacDorman, Eugene Declercq, Howard Cabral, and Christine Morton, “Recent Increases in the US Maternal Mortality
Rate: Disentangling Trends from Measurement Issues,” Obstetrics and Gynecology 128, 3 (2016): 447–55. 9 “Donald Trump’s Presidential Announcement Speech,” Time, 16 June 2015, https://time.com/3923128/donald-trump-announcement-speech/. 10 L.M. Lapeyrouse, Osvaldo Morera, Josiah Heyman, and Miley Amaya, “A Profile of US-Mexico Border Mobility among a Stratified Random Sample of Hispanics Living in the El Paso-Juarez Area,” Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health 14, 2 (2012): 264. 11 Diana Washington Valdez, “El Paso Has 7th Largest Immigrant Percentage,” El Paso Times, 2 December 2015, https://www.elpasotimes.com/story/news/ local/el-paso/2015/12/02/el-paso-has-7th-largest-immigrant-percentage/ 76624148/. 12 Pew Research Center, “Estimates of Unauthorized Immigrant Population, by Metro Area, 2016 and 2007,” Pew Research Center Hispanic Trends, 11 March 2019, https://www.pewresearch.org/hispanic/interactives/unauthorized-immigrants-bymetro-area-table/. 13 Aileen B. Flores, “Trump’s Decision to End daca a Betrayal, Area Leaders Say,” El Paso Times, 5 September 2017, https://www.elpasotimes.com/story/news/ immigration/2017/09/05/trumps-decision-end-daca-betrayal-area-pro-immigrantgroups-and-legislators-say/633648001/. 14 Joseph DiGrazia, “Individual Protest Participation in the United States: Conventional and Unconventional Activism,” Social Science Quarterly 95, 1 (2014): 111–31. 15 María Cortés González, “Women’s Group Plans Braids across Border March,” El Paso Times, 12 January 2017, https://www.elpasotimes.com/story/news/local/elpaso/2017/01/12/womens-group-plans-braids-across-border-march/96486180/. 16 Living Rootless, “Women’s March – Judge Veronica Escobar’s Speech,” filmed 21 January 2017, YouTube video, 09:08, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dop JrlGrefY. 17 Michael Tackett, “Women Line Up to Run for Office Harnessing Their Outrage at Trump,” New York Times, 4 December 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/ 12/04/us/politics/women-candidates-office.html. 18 Amanda Clayton and Pär Zetterberg, “Will 2018’s ‘Pink Wave’ of Female Candidates Make It in Congress? Almost Certainly. Here’s How,” Washington Post, 30 May 2018; “History of Women in the US Congress,” Rutgers, viewed 29 November 201919, https://cawp.rutgers.edu/history-women-us-congress.
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19 Susan J. Carroll, The Impact of Women in Public Office (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2001); Kira Sanbonmatsu, Kelly Dittmar, and Susan J. Carroll, A Seat at the Table: Congresswomen’s Perspectives on Why Their Presence Matters (New York: Oxford University Press, 2018).
8 Lessons from Canada’s Famous Five for Today’s World Changers sharon hamilton
Introduction What does it take to change the world? Social injustices can appear overwhelming. How can you even begin to try to address them? Just reading the daily news headlines often fills us with a sense of inadequacy and despair. Where can you start tackling such seemingly intractable issues as poverty, violence, racism, sexism, and the erosion of privacy? How can anyone hope to change the world? How do you change the world? The one surprising thing that the scholars and practitioners who examine the process of social transformation appear to agree upon is that it is more common than you think for determined individuals to start a process that can change the world. I have organized this chapter on lessons that today’s world changers may learn from the Famous Five and their historic Persons Case into three sections. These sections detail how we can become change agents by examining the following questions: What key attitudes do world changers possess? How do you get people to listen to your message? What core activities support successful activists in their journey?
Nothing Can Prevent Our Winning What key attitudes do world changers possess? One day, sometime in the summer of 1916, during Emily Murphy’s first year serving as a police magistrate, one of the lawyers who had come before her informed her that she had no right to issue decisions because she had no right to be a judge. He said women had no legal basis for occupying such a position in Canada. What he said caught Emily Murphy’s attention. Was he right? What Murphy discovered concerned her. In 1868 a court had ruled in the case of Charlton v. Ling that “women are not persons in matters of rights and privileges, but they are persons in matters of pains and penalties.” Although Murphy’s right, as a woman, to occupy her role as police magistrate and to make legal rulings was subsequently upheld by a higher court, she recognized as a result of the challenge she had received that summer day that this law stood in the way of what she desired to do next: seek an appointment to the Canadian Senate. On asking politicians in Ottawa about the possibility of this happening, Murphy received the reply that the British North America (bna) Act “had made no provision for women, and the members feared that women could not be appointed to the Senate until this great foundation of our liberties was amended.”1 Murphy did more research and ultimately discovered that “any five British subjects, of the full age of twenty-one, could petition Parliament for an interpretation of any act.” Five British subjects could, therefore, request a definition of “Persons” in the bna Act. The clause that interested Murphy most referred to the fact that “Properly qualified persons may from time to time be summoned to the Senate.”2 Might those persons include women? She had found what looked like a possible loophole. She decided to invite four other well-known Alberta activists to join her at her home at 11011 88th Avenue in Edmonton. It was August 1927, and the feminist writer Nellie McClung, who was one of the five women who gathered on Emily Murphy’s porch that day, remembered that it was “a perfect day in harvest time” when the “bees droned in the delphiniums and roses.”3 The women sat and talked – and then put their names to Murphy’s historic petition asking for an interpretation of the word “Persons” in section 24 of the bna Act. There were five names typed at the
Lessons from Canada’s Famous Five
bottom of the page: “Henrietta Muir Edwards (Macleod), Nellie L. McClung (Calgary), Louise C. McKinney (Claresholm), Emily F. Murphy (Edmonton), Irene Parlby (Alix).”4 In putting their names to this document, they took what turned out to be a historic step. Those five names on that petition set in motion legal processes that, even today, are continuing to make a difference. Those five, as things would turn out, would not only change the legal definition of “Person” in Canada to include women, but the court case that they won would set a precedent that would be used in the twenty-first century to support the legalization of same-sex marriage in this country. “Everything in life is a circle,” Nellie McClung wrote looking back on those historic events years later. “There are no sharp corners. Cause and effect run together all the way.”5 And what was the effect? The immediate effect of the petition that the five women put their names to at Emily Murphy’s home was that the Supreme Court of Canada now had to consider what the word “Persons” meant in section 24 of the bna Act, where it said “Properly qualified persons may from time to time be summoned to the Senate.” At first their case looked pretty hopeless. In their overview of the “Persons Case” for the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History, Robert J. Sharpe and Patricia I. McMahon explain that the five women faced a significant challenge. In the 1920s, the Canadian Supreme Court had adopted a formalist tradition of interpreting the bna Act. This meant that Supreme Court justices tended to interpret the act in terms of what they believed its original drafters had intended in 1867. What this meant in practice was that midnineteenth-century intentions could not be altered, even if social changes had rendered some of what the original drafters had written obsolete. In Sharpe and McMahon’s opinion, Canada’s Supreme Court justices allowed themselves to use this formalist interpretation of the law to defend morally indefensible positions.6 As they explain, “there is nothing inherent or morally neutral about the subjection of women to inferior status, yet the formalist tradition of law protected those values and choices from scrutiny. Judges were discouraged from examining those values and choices, and were encouraged to perpetuate the inequality of women in the name of legal neutrality.”7
Following in the formalist pattern that had become its normal mode of judicial interpretation, on 24 April 1928 the Supreme Court of Canada rendered its verdict. In response to “the matter of a Reference with respect to the meaning to be assigned to the word ‘Persons’ in section 24 of the British North America Act 1867” the court ruled: “The question being understood to be ‘Are women eligible for appointment to the Senate of Canada’ the question is answered in the negative.”8 The five women had lost. It was what happened next that amazed me most. When I spoke at the wiis-Canada workshop about the story of the Famous Five, an image of the letter that Emily Murphy wrote to the other four women in response to the Supreme Court’s decision appeared on the screen behind me. This seemed to me the most incredible moment in their story and I wanted to draw the participants’ attention to it. When I first read this letter, it stunned me. I could never have anticipated Emily Murphy’s response. Rather than give up, she looked for yet another loophole. She had discovered that it was possible for Canadians to appeal Supreme Court cases to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in Great Britain – a legislative tribunal that represented the British monarch. They could appeal the Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling to the king. Less than a month after the country’s highest court had ruled against them, Murphy explained her new plan to the four other women. She wrote them a letter in which she enclosed a new petition for them to sign. This time it was addressed to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London. “Enclosed,” she wrote, “you will find an appeal which I have addressed to His Excellency, the Governor General in Council asking that our Reference in regard to the meaning of ‘Persons’ under Section 24 of the bna Act, 1867, be referred on appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.”9 Murphy asked each of the women to sign the new petition as quickly as possible and explained their new course of action. “Under the provisions of Section 60 of the Supreme Court Act of Canada we have the high privilege of requesting that an appeal be made from the negative decision of the Supreme Court of Canada to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.” “Of the ultimate results I have not the slightest doubt,” she wrote the other four. “Nothing can prevent our winning.”10 The Persons Case would go to London.
Lessons from Canada’s Famous Five
In the fall of 1929, before Lord Sankey and the other justices of the British Privy Council, the Famous Five’s lawyer, Newton Rowell, argued their case. Murphy had great faith in his abilities, telling the other four women in the letter that accompanied the second petition that Rowell had represented them before the Supreme Court of Canada in an “excellent manner.”11 She trusted him to succeed, and her faith proved well-founded. Rowell’s arguments impressed the justices of the British Privy Council and on 18 October 1929 they made their ruling. The word “Persons” in section 24 of the bna Act should be interpreted to include “members of both the male and female sex” – so the question of whether a woman could serve in the Canadian Senate should be answered “in the affirmative.”12 The five women had won. In seeking this verdict, Emily Murphy was nothing if not persistent. In the face of great challenges, she continually refused to accept “no” as an answer. Instead, each time her path seemed to be blocked, she researched her options. She remained determined that there had to be a way forward. “Nothing,” she wrote the other women at the moment of rejection by Canada’s highest court, “can prevent our winning.” When I first encountered Emily Murphy’s letter, it seemed counterintuitive to me that someone would assert certainty of victory at a moment of defeat. But doing research into the history of how significant social changes happen revealed to me that Murphy possessed an attitude common among successful social activists. In his book Can’t Not Do, Paul Shoemaker suggests, from his position of having been involved for over fifteen years in the ngo Social Venture Partners International, that one of the important attributes someone needs in order to make significant changes in their society is “determined, intentional focus.”13 Shoemaker refers to the kind of people who possess this sort of focus as “determined optimists.” He explains that such people tend to succeed because they “see their chosen social challenge as a puzzle to be solved, not a hopelessly entrenched problem.”14 Shoemaker suggests that “determined optimists” also tend to be “realistic,” “flexible and adaptive,” and to possess a “resilient attitude.”15 Shoemaker’s description of the people with whom he has worked who have become world changers perfectly suits Emily Murphy and the other four women who joined her in her project of radical social change. When the Supreme Court of Canada ruled against them, Murphy exhibited a
flexible, adaptive, and resilient attitude towards the problems she faced. She convinced the other four women to sign her new petition. With her determined optimism – and theirs – she ensured that things weren’t over yet.
Strength Takes Many Forms How do you get people to listen to your message? One of the main issues for people whose voices have historically been discounted is the question of how to get those voices heard. This was a challenge facing the members of the Famous Five well before their involvement in sending the Persons Case to London. How do you change the world? You speak out about injustice with a spirit of determined optimism until someone listens. But how do you get them to listen? One of the other key lessons the Famous Five offer to today’s potential world changers concerns the use of creative means to effectively convey your message. One of the techniques both Emily Murphy and Nellie McClung used to make their voices heard was creative writing. Murphy wrote humorous meditations on The Impressions of Janey Canuck Abroad (1901) and Janey Canuck in the West (1910), among other books, while McClung was a successful commercial writer of novels, journalism, and autobiography. Well before the Persons Case, Nellie McClung knew how powerful creative writing could be in advocating for change – because she had previously written a comic script with extraordinary results. On 28 January 1914 at the Walker Theatre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Nellie McClung prepared to act in a skit she had written. She sat at centre stage dressed as a man. She would be playing the role of Sir Rodmond Roblin, the Conservative premier of Manitoba. When a petition was presented to Roblin (McClung) requesting that men be granted the right to vote, Nellie McClung presented her argument in imitation of things Roblin had said against female suffrage. She faced her audience and said, “‘I believe a man is made for something higher and better than voting. Men are made to support families. Politics unsettles men and unsettled men means unsettled bills, broken furniture, and broken vows, and divorce!’” The next day the Winnipeg Telegram “called the evening ‘highly enjoyable’ and added, ‘the
Lessons from Canada’s Famous Five
cause of women may not be so hopeless after all and the vote may not be so far away as one might be inclined to fear.’”16 This skit helped to sway public opinion, and in 1916 Manitoba became the first Canadian province to grant women the right to vote. Canadian writers like Margaret Atwood continue to use fictional depictions of women’s lives as a form of feminist advocacy. Her dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale (1985) continues to influence conversations about the conditions of women’s lives – both through its ongoing popularity as a novel and in the form of an Emmy Award-winning television adaptation. In a 2018 interview about the inequalities that continue to face women, including financial inequities, Atwood said: “I was just on [the] set of The Handmaid’s Tale yesterday, they’re filming season two. I’m glad people are talking about The Handmaid’s Tale again. Every election, there’s a surge in book sales.” “But,” she added, “I would like to live in a society where people are not saying, ‘Oh my god, this is where this is going to happen.’ I would prefer this not to be happening. It’s like that sign that someone was holding up during the Women’s March. ‘I can’t believe I’m still holding up this fucking sign.’”17 In addition to their use of creative writing, Canadian feminist activists also employ a range of other creative approaches to getting their messages heard, including taking advantage of visual and multimedia techniques. For example, on the final day of the 2017 wiis-Canada workshop, participants saw displayed on a stand in front of them a black-and-white painting of the Famous Five as seen in silhouette through a window. This picture was created especially for the conference by Anna Gilev. Although Gilev is working on a degree in international relations and could have chosen to present an academic paper on the conference’s themes, she contacted the organizers to propose something different. Instead of presenting a paper, she wanted to participate in the conference by contributing her artistic talents with a painting that would pay tribute to Canada’s Famous Five. I met with the artist a few months before the conference to ask her about why she wanted to make her contribution in this way. We sat down together for lunch one chilly day in early spring. She told me that she hadn’t yet fully decided, but she might try to do something multimedia, perhaps involving thread or fabric. The only thing she was certain of at that point was that
she wanted whatever she created to convey an image of interconnectedness. She said, “I want to show how these women made a difference for the future. For us.”18 I very much liked the painting she produced. Her artwork displayed at the 2017 wiis-Canada workshop shows the Famous Five in the same position in which they are depicted in the well-known sculpture on Parliament Hill in Ottawa and in the Olympic Plaza in Calgary in the artwork of the Edmonton-based sculptor Barbara Paterson, in which the women are shown gathered together celebrating the results of the Persons Case. Two of them are seated, while one (standing) holds up a copy of a newspaper that announces “Women Are Persons!”19 I appreciated the fact that, in Gilev’s painted version, the women’s faces are in black silhouette, like in a Victorian paper cut-out. Seen through a window frame, these women provide us with an ongoing invitation. We peer back into a specific moment in time – a moment that had huge historical significance for Canada – while, at the same time, the ambiguity in the figures’ faces allows us to insert ourselves into the picture. Gilev thus invites us to become activists too – to make our own difference for future generations. In the opening years of the twenty-first century, female activism that employs visual and other multimedia expressions to advocate for change has taken powerful form in Canada. For example, through plays, young adult fiction, and a National Film Board of Canada short film,20 Edmonton-based disability-related rights advocate Heidi Janz draws attention to “the experiences of people with disabilities – particularly youth and women with disabilities.”21 Ottawa jazz artist Kellylee Evans uses blended song and speech in public addresses to raise awareness of issues related to brain injury,22 while wiis member Victoria Heath uses video reporting to draw attention to gender inequities. Her video What If Women Ruled the World?,23 which was produced in conjunction with wiis-Canada, aired on the workshop’s final day. With respect to Indigenous rights activism, artist Jaime Black is the creator of the redress Project, which she describes on the project’s website as “an aesthetic response to the more than 1000 missing and murdered aboriginal women in Canada.”24 In this exhibit at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, “Red dresses hang in front of a woodland background. Blood-red dresses. Empty red dresses – where living and
Lessons from Canada’s Famous Five
Figure 8.1 Anna Gilev, Window on Persons
breathing women should be.” The museum explains that this display has been “one of our most talked-about exhibits” and that these red dresses are “sparking countless conversations about missing and murdered Indigenous women.” “These are conversations that Canadians need to have,” the museum asserts, “and Jaime Black’s artwork is helping move the dialogue forward.”25 Often social change happens because a voice in society that has not been heard manages to make itself heard – with benefits for everyone. How do you change the world? You speak out about injustice until someone listens. “People know what they know.” Canadian lawyer William Kaplan explains in his book Why Dissent Matters, “They have little interest in knowing what they don’t know.” He argues that the best decisions come when a variety of voices make themselves heard so that even well-established assumptions are not accepted without challenge. He observes that “good decision making is enhanced by putting together different pieces of information gathered from a wide variety of sources” in a setting in which everyone is “truly encouraged to speak and where new information – information that might change everything – is welcomed, not suppressed.”26 At the launch of wiis-Canada’s 2017 Annual Workshop, Lieutenant General Jennie Carignan delivered a keynote address during which she discussed her experience of serving in Afghanistan. She said that, while she
“wasted a lot of time and energy second guessing [her]self,” one of the things she learned was that “strength takes many forms.”27 This idea is increasingly supported by Canadian-specific research studies. The more diversity an organization – and a society – encourages, the more everyone benefits. There are many kinds of strength. Such studies as Marika Morris’s Women’s Leadership Matters: The Impact of Women’s Leadership in the Canadian Federal Public Service28 and Deloitte’s Outcomes over Optics: Building Inclusive Organizations support the idea that the strongest organizations draw upon the widest array of disparate voices.29 For organizations and individuals, welcoming different voices and embracing creative means of raising awareness of issues that require public attention is an approach that has proven successful in advancing social agendas.
The Living Tree What core activities support successful activists in their journey? In 1928 the Famous Five signed Emily Murphy’s petition that would take their Persons Case to Great Britain, and this underscores another significant point about how meaningful social change happens. By then, each of the five already possessed reputations as successful activists. Murphy may have had the attributes of a “determined optimist” – with her persistence, flexibility, and resiliency – but she also knew who to gather around her to achieve her objectives. Her story shows that one of the other ways that voices that have been discounted can make themselves heard is by joining others in some form of public expression of their core beliefs. In this respect, the majority of the Famous Five took direct action, three of them becoming members of the Legislative Assembly for Alberta (mla). Louise McKinney, who was a strong advocate for temperance as a means of addressing domestic violence, was elected as a non-partisan candidate in 1917. Nellie McClung was elected as a Liberal mla for Edmonton in 1921, and Irene Parlby was elected as an mla for the United Farmers of Alberta the same year. In answer to a question concerning what business a woman had in becoming a politician, Parlby asserted: “[if politics means] the effort to secure through legislative action better conditions of life for the people,
Lessons from Canada’s Famous Five
greater opportunities for our children and other people’s children … then it most assuredly is a woman’s job just as much as it is a man’s job.”30 Later, in commenting on her experience of what it had been like for her to be a politician, Parlby said: “Practically the only issue that seemed to interest the electorate or the opposition was that I was a woman.”31 Such gender-based challenges for women entering public life sadly remain. Standing in the Alberta Legislature where Irene Parlby had once served, on 8 March 2017 Alberta mla Rick Fraser said, “Nearly 100 years after Irene Parlby and her colleagues Nellie McClung and Louise McKinney were elected, women in our province and around the world still face serious challenges when it comes to equality.” To this he added, “As we’ve seen time and time again in Alberta and elsewhere, female public figures face a level of online abuse that as a man I will never experience.”32 In spite of the challenges that attended being a public figure, Parlby persisted. One night, alone in the microfilm reader room of Library and Archives Canada, I found myself examining a document that struck me as being of symbolic value for women engaged in international peace and security studies. The microfilm document projected in front of me was a telegram sent from the Prime Minister’s Office in 1930 to the “Honourable Irene Parlby.” The man sending it was R.B. Bennett, the former mla from Alberta – then prime minister – who had once worked closely with Henrietta Muir Edwards and Emily Murphy to pass legislation designed to improve economic protections for wives. In his telegram, Bennett wrote: “I would be greatly pleased and I believe the Canadian people would be gratified if you would permit me to name you as one of our representatives at the Assembly of the League of Nations.”33 Parlby accepted and thus became a female representative to the organization that served as a forerunner to today’s United Nations. Ultimately, successful activism is never just one person’s story: other people help to pave the way. This is where engaging in public activities, such as running for office; becoming part of grassroots protest activities, such as a woman’s march; or joining in social media campaigns, like #MeToo; or participating in concerted attempts to address primarily male-focused internet content provision, such as by becoming a Wikipedia editor, matter so deeply. Significant change can arise from the efforts of one individual,
but banding together with others in collective action is what can finally make that individual effort take hold. As the website of the federal government organization Status of Women Canada observes, in Canada, the actions Emily Murphy took in pursuing the Persons Case also occurred within the broader historical framework of people taking action to promote social equality for women. “Activism for gender equality did not begin, nor did it end, with the Famous Five,” the Status of Women website explains. “By the time the Famous Five began pursuing the Persons Case in Alberta in 1927, they had benefitted from the legacy of a long line of diverse and influential women who had overcome barriers and advanced equality in their own time. Women like Mary Ann Shadd Cary, a civil rights activist who became the first Black woman in North America to publish a newspaper. Or Idola St Jean and Thérèse Casgrain, who campaigned fiercely for women’s right to vote in Quebec.” There is also, the website adds, “Mary Two-Axe Early, who fought on behalf of Indigenous women who lost their official Indian status when they married non-Indigenous spouses.”34 If the success of the Persons Case ultimately links back to activist efforts on behalf of greater equality that came before the Famous Five, the legacy of those collective efforts has persisted after them to the present, where their activism continues to shape greater equality in Canadian society in ways they never could have foreseen. What does it take to change the world? Based on his experience working for a social change-focused ngo, Paul Shoemaker asserts his personal belief that far-reaching social change can begin with a single determined individual. “Never doubt,” he writes, “the power of one committed citizen to start to change the world.”35 The story of the Famous Five backs him up. In looking back on the legal legacy of the Persons Case from the perspective of the twenty-first century, Robert J. Sharpe and Patricia I. McMahon assert that what happened in Canadian legal interpretation as a result of these women’s collective efforts ended up underpinning both the country’s “ideal of universal personhood” and the Supreme Court of Canada’s “living tree approach to constitutional interpretation.”36 They explain that Sankey’s living tree metaphor “infuses constitutional interpretation with life at the same time that it imposes discipline through limits; the living tree is capable of growth and expansion, but only within its natural limits.”37 What this has meant in practice is that constitutional interpretation guided by this
Lessons from Canada’s Famous Five
metaphor has rendered the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms particularly “capable of responding to the changing needs of society while at the same time balancing the rights of individuals with the demands of democratic accountability.”38 This approach to constitutional interpretation meant that in Reference re Same-sex marriage (2004) the Supreme Court found that same-sex marriage did not exceed the “natural limits of the living tree,”39 thus paving the way for the legalization of same-sex marriages across Canada in 2005. The place where all these processes began now appropriately symbolizes where their efforts led: to a changed Canadian approach to constitutional interpretation that allowed for a judicial reading of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms that was flexible enough to legalize same-sex marriage. Murphy’s home, where the five women gathered on a “perfect day in harvest time” to sign their petition to the Supreme Court of Canada,40 now serves as “home to the University of Alberta Student Legal Services.”41 The historic changes the Famous Five initiated that day at Emily Murphy’s house did not end with the changes their case helped usher into Canadian constitutional interpretation. In 1979, on the fiftieth anniversary of the Privy Council’s decision that made men and women “Persons” under Canadian constitutional law, the Government of Canada instituted the Governor General’s Awards in Commemoration of the Persons Case. These awards are given annually to individuals whose “achievements and commitment have helped to advance equality for girls and women in Canada.”42 Today, as well, every 18 October is celebrated in Canada as “Persons Day” in tribute to the historic decision to include women in the legal definition of “Persons” on 18 October 1929, which gave women the right to be appointed to the Senate of Canada and “paved the way for women’s increased participation in public and political life.”43 On Persons Day in 1996, the Famous Five Foundation was established. This organization’s mission is to “empower women and girls to courageously lead change that contributes to a society without boundaries for women, in the spirit of the Famous Five.”44 And over forty years ago, activist June Callwood founded Nellie’s, one of Toronto’s first women’s shelters, which she named after Nellie McClung.45 There have been other important legacies as well. On 28 November 2013, the Honourable Grant Mitchell rose in the Senate chamber and said:
Honourable senators, I’m not on the list of speakers for statements, but I was inspired by Senator Unger’s statement on the Famous Five. I wanted to make a point. I’ve made it once or twice before in the house, but it was a long time ago; before many of the members who are here now had arrived. I think it’s worthy of noting that there’s a very special historic significance to Persons Day that’s very personal and personally rooted in the Senate. The day that I was appointed, Senator Nancy Ruth was appointed. Nine of us were. It became apparent to me, and I don’t know whether she mentioned it – it might have been that she mentioned it – that her grandfather was a man called Newton Wesley Rowell, and he is known particularly well among most of us for his role as chair of the Rowell-Sirois commission that looked into federalism in Canada in the 1930s. Less well known, but very significant in keeping with Senator Unger’s statement, is that he was the lawyer who took the Persons Case to Britain and won it. He is also the grandfather of Senator Nancy Ruth, so there is a certain circle that has closed here, and I just wanted to note that.46 When I came across this statement during my research for this chapter, I was much moved by it. I had not known that the lawyer who Emily Murphy said had represented the Famous Five’s petitions in such an “excellent manner” had also ultimately helped to pave the way for his own granddaughter to sit in the Canadian Senate. On the final day of the 2017 wiis-Canada workshop at which I had spoken about the Famous Five and their Persons Case, the Honourable Marilou McPhedran spoke about the number of women sitting as independent senators. What she said went into cyberspace via a Twitter feed in which a conference participant typed, “W/ new appointments, majority of the independent senators at the Senate of Canada will soon be women @Sen Marilou Thanks Famous5 #wiisC10.”47 Social media was an appropriate medium for this message as it appears already to be one of the most powerful tools feminist activists can use to connect and to make themselves heard going forward. The lessons of the Famous Five can now be applied in cyberspace, where new technologies will supply world changers with new
Lessons from Canada’s Famous Five
tools with which to shape a more equal future through persistence, creativity, and community building.
The End Is Not Yet Looking back on the Persons Case after it was all over, Nellie McClung stood in the Senate in Ottawa where a commemorative panel was being unveiled in honour of the Famous Five’s victory in the case that forever changed the legal status of women in this country. This tribute to what the Famous Five accomplished remains today, placed there on 11 June 1938 by the Association of Business and Professional Women of Canada. In her speech during this ceremony, McClung said: “It has been a long task, it has been an epic story, this rise of women. They had to begin from so far down. Women had first to convince the world that they had souls and that they had minds and then it came along to the political entity. [More laughter] And the end is not yet.”48 While I was preparing to speak about McClung and the rest of the Famous Five at the wiis conference in Montreal, a Canadian judge’s words provided me with an unwelcome reminder that “the end is not yet.” In March 2017, the media reported on a Halifax sexual assault case involving a taxi driver in which the complainant had been found by police “partly naked and unconscious in the back of his cab.” The judge had acquitted the accused in a judgment in which he said, “‘clearly a drunk can consent.’”49 My immediate reaction on reading this was to feel, as Elaine Craig (an associate professor of law at Dalhousie University) put it, “I think we should be concerned when a trial judge in a sexual assault case refers to a complainant as ‘a drunk.’”50 I could relate, as well, to the public statements made by Chrissy Merrigan, who helped to organize a large public protest in response. Merrigan said: “By saying she was a drunk, using that terminology, it’s antiquated. It’s not okay. It’s not where we’re going toward as a society.”51 Years ago I attended Dalhousie University as a graduate student, so it resonated for me when I read Merrigan’s observation that “Halifax has a kind of party culture and we’ve all had our nights out. We all take cabs home.” Like her, I thought, “It could be any one of us in the back of that cab.”52
The Famous Five exercised creativity, flexibility, and resilience in confronting what the scholars Sharpe and McMahon suggest in their overview of the Persons Case was a cultural situation in which judges were discouraged from closely examining those “values and choices” that were reinforcing “the subjection of women to inferior status.”53 In some ways, we may feel this no longer describes the situation in Canadian courtrooms, yet in Alberta, in 2015, a judge in a sexual assault trial asked the complainant why she couldn’t keep her “knees together,”54 and in 2017, a judge in Quebec commented during a sexual assault trial on the physical appearance of the complainant.55 One of the lessons I take especially to heart from the history of the Persons Case – in which the Famous Five insisted a word (“Persons”) that had been interpreted in a manner that excluded them could be interpreted in a different way – is that our use of language matters, especially in striving for a world in which there is more peace and less violence, including sexual violence. So I am grateful for the activism of Elaine Craig, who has written about the sexual assault case in Halifax with such perceptiveness,56 and of Chrissy Merrigan, who took her anger to the streets. It is actions like these that seem to me the ongoing spiritual legacy of the Persons Case. Such modern efforts remind us that when words are deployed in a manner that undermines human dignity and equality, we need to remain persistent in seeking change. In spite of Emily Murphy’s considerable personal efforts towards the goal of becoming a Canadian Senator, neither she nor any of the other members of Canada’s Famous Five were ever appointed to sit in the Senate during their lifetimes. Thanks, however, to one woman’s activism on their behalf, that’s not where the story of Emily Murphy’s Senate bid ended. Determined individuals can change the world. In 2009, retired Calgarybased journalist Catherine Ford demonstrated this when she approached the Canadian Senate with a novel idea. She asked the senators whether they would be willing to consider appointing each member of Alberta’s Famous Five to the position of “honorary senator.” When Ford was later interviewed about what had motivated her to make this request, she said: “I thought, wouldn’t that be just gracious of Canada as a country to say, ‘These five women did so much for the women of Canada. Let’s give them a singular honour.’”57
Lessons from Canada’s Famous Five
As the scholar Janna Klostermann argues in her studies of female activists, women often approach activism by forging connections and working together in relationships.58 In this sense, it is fitting that the story of Emily Murphy’s Senate bid, which started with the Persons Case, ended not with the success of an individual but with that of the collective. On 11 October 2009, the Globe and Mail announced that the Canadian Senate had made Emily Murphy, Henrietta Muir Edwards, Nellie McClung, Louise McKinney, and Irene Parlby honorary senators. “It’s the first time,” the Globe reported, that “the Senate has named anyone an honorary senator.”59
note s 1 Nellie McClung, “This Was Every Woman’s Concern,” in The Valiant Nellie McClung: Selected Writings by Canada’s Most Famous Suffragist, ed. Barbara Smith (Victoria: Heritage House, 2016), 160. 2 Ibid. 3 Ibid. 4 “Famous Five Petition of 27 August 1927,” containing the five Alberta women’s two questions. The petition was sent to the Department of Justice in September 1927 by the Privy Council Office of Canada. See Library and Archives Canada (hereafter lac), rg 13, vol. 2524, file C1044. https://epe.lac-bac.gc.ca/100/206/301/ lac-bac/famous_five-ef/www.lac-bac.gc.ca/famous5/05300301_e.html. 5 McClung, “This Was Every Woman’s Concern,” 159. 6 Robert J. Sharpe and Patricia I. McMahon, The Persons Case: The Origins and Legacy of the Fight for Legal Personhood, 2nd ed. (Toronto: Toronto University Press, 2017), 128. 7 Sharpe and McMahon, Persons Case, 128. 8 “Famous Five: Supreme Court of Canada Decision,” lac, rg 125, vol. 563, file 5426, 24 April 1928, https://epe.lac-bac.gc.ca/100/206/301/lac-bac/famous_fiveef/www.lac-bac.gc.ca/famous5/05300310_e.html. 9 Emily Murphy, “Famous Five: Letter from Emily Murphy to the Four Other Women,” lac, rg 13, vol. 2524, file C1044, May 1928, https://epe.lac-bac.gc.ca/100/ 206/301/lac-bac/famous_five-ef/www.lac-bac.gc.ca/famous5/05300311_e.html. 10 Ibid., 3. 11 Ibid., 2–3. 12 Sharpe and McMahon, Persons Case, 180–1.
13 Paul Shoemaker, Can’t Not Do: The Compelling Social Drive That Changes Our World (Hoboken: John Wiley and Sons, 2015), 11. 14 Ibid., 20. 15 Ibid., 35. 16 Barbara Smith, “Prologue,” in The Valiant Nellie McClung: Selected Writings by Canada’s Most Famous Suffragist, ed. Barbara Smith (Victoria: Heritage House, 2016), 7–8. 17 Katherine Laidlaw, “‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Author: For Women, Money Can Be Power,” Wealthsimple, 1 February 2018, https://www.wealthsimple.com/en-ca/ magazine/margaret-atwood. 18 Interview with Anna Gilev, Ottawa, 10 April 2017. 19 Government of Canada, “Women Are Persons!,” last modified 12 July 2019, https://www.canada.ca/en/canadian-heritage/services/art-monuments/ monuments/women-are-persons.html. 20 We Regret to Inform You…, directed by Eva Colmers and Heidi Janz (National Film Board of Canada, 2015), https://www.nfb.ca/film/we_regret_to_inform_you/. 21 “Heidi Janz,” Alberta Playwrights, https://albertaplaywrights.squarespace.com/ heidi-janz-1/. 22 “Kellylee Evans,” http://www.kellyleeevans.com/ 23 Victoria Heath, “What if Women Ruled the World?”, posted 24 May 2017, YouTube video, 10:14, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cxpHgkhT_c8. 24 “Home,” The redress Project, https://www.jaimeblackartist.com/exhibitions/. 25 Matthew McRae, “Five Women All Canadians Should Know – Jaime Black,” Canadian Museum for Human Rights, 8 March 2016, https://humanrights.ca/story/fivewomen-all-canadians-should-know. 26 William Kaplan, Why Dissent Matters: Because Some People See Things the Rest of Us Miss (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2017). 27 Lieutenant General Jennie Carignan, “Opening Address on Women Leaders in International Security and Defence,” wiis-Canada Tenth Annual Workshop, Montreal, 17 May 2017. 28 Marika Morris, Women’s Leadership Matters: The Impact of Women’s Leadership in the Canadian Federal Public Service (Ottawa: Centre for Women in Politics and Public Leadership, Carleton University, 2016), https://www.5050foundation. edu.au/assets/reports/documents/2016-Impact-of-Women-in-Canadas-PublicService.pdf.
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29 Deloitte, Outcomes over Optics: Building Inclusive Organizations (Toronto: Deloitte, 2017), https://www.canada175.ca/en/reports/outcomes-over-optics. 30 Nancy Millar, The Famous Five: Emily Murphy and The Case of the Missing Persons (Cochrane: Western Heritage Centre, 1999), 97. 31 “What Business Have Women in Politics?,” undated speech, Parlby Papers, microfilm, quoted in Sharpe and McMahon, Persons Case, 53. 32 Province of Alberta, Legislative Assembly of Alberta, 8 March 2017 (Rick Fraser, pc), 117, https://docs.assembly.ab.ca/LADDAR_files/docs/hansards/han/ legislature_29/session_3/20170308_1330_01_han.pdf. 33 R.B. Bennett, telegram to Irene Parlby (13 August 1930), lac, Bennett Papers, MG26-K, microfilm reel M-1092, p. 269383. I would like to thank Anik Lafleche of Reference Services at Library and Archives Canada in Ottawa for her assistance in tracking down documents related to Irene Parlby’s appointment to the League of Nations among the R.B. Bennett Papers. 34 “Persons Day,” Status of Women Canada, last modified 11 September 2018, http://www.swc-cfc.gc.ca/commemoration/pd-jp/index-en.html; “Mary Two Axe Early”, Status of Women Canada, last modified 3 October 2018, https://femmesegalite-genres.canada.ca/en/commemorations-celebrations/women-impact/ human-rights.html. 35 Shoemaker, Can’t Not Do, xxvii. 36 Sharpe and McMahon, Persons Case, 206. 37 Ibid., 205. 38 Ibid., 206. 39 Ibid., 204. 40 McClung, “This Was Every Woman’s Concern,” 160. 41 “Emily Murphy Residence,” Edmonton’s Architectural Heritage, viewed 5 February 2020, https://www.edmontonsarchitecturalheritage.ca/index.cfm/structures/ emily-murphy-residence/. 42 “Governor General Awards in Commemoration of the Persons Case: Policy and Jury,” Status of Women Canada, last modified 14 April 2021, https://womengender-equality.canada.ca/en/commemorations-celebrations/governor-generalawards/policy-jury.html. 43 “About the Awards,” Status of Women Canada, last modified 14 April 2021, https://women-gender-equality.canada.ca/en/commemorations-celebrations/ womens-history-month/persons-day.html.
44 “About Us,” The Famous 5 Foundation, http://www.famous5.ca/what-we-do. 45 “Herstory,” Nellie’s Shelter, Education and Advocacy for All Women and Children, https://www.nellies.org/about/herstory/. 46 Canada, Senate of Canada, “Persons Case,” 28 November 2013 (The Honourable Grant Mitchell), https://sencanada.ca/en/content/sen/chamber/412/debates/ 020db_2013-11-28-e#10. 47 Caroline Leprince (@CLepr1nce), Twitter, 19 May 2017, https://twitter.com/ CLepr1nce/status/865594099130400768. 48 Transcript of a speech given by Nellie McClung in the Canadian Senate on 11 June 1938 on the occasion of the unveiling of a plaque in tribute to the “Famous Five” for successfully pursuing the Persons Case. Transcript of speech reprinted in prologue of The Valiant Nellie McClung: Selected Writings by Canada’s Most Famous Suffragist, ed. Barbara Smith (Victoria: Heritage House, 2016), 32. 49 “Read the Full Decision from the Judge Who Said ‘Clearly a Drunk Can Consent,’” cbc News, 3 March 2017, https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/halifaxcab-driver-sex-assault-acquittal-judge-decision-transcript-1.4008375. 50 Ashley Csanady, “‘Clearly, a Drunk Can Consent’: N.S. Judge Acquits Taxi Driver of Sexually Assaulting Woman in Back Seat,” National Post, 2 March 2017, https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/clearly-a-drunk-can-consent-n-s-judgeacquits-taxi-driver-of-sexually-assaulting-woman-in-back-seat. 51 Jackie Dunham and Jeff Lagerquist, “Protesters Target Halifax Judge after Cabbie Acquitted in ‘Drunk Can Consent’ Case,” ctv News, 7 March 2017, https://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/protesters-target-halifax-judge-after-cabbieacquitted-in-drunk-can-consent-case-1.3314386. 52 Dunham and Lagerquist, “Protesters Target Halifax Judge.” 53 Sharpe and McMahon, Persons Case, 128. 54 Sean Fine, “The Robin Camp Transcript: ‘… Keep Your Knees Together’ and Other Key Passages,” Globe and Mail, 9 September 2016, https://www.theglobe andmail.com/news/national/the-robin-camp-transcript-keep-your-knees-togetherand-other-keypassages/article31807105/. A coalition of feminist organizations intervened in response to these events. See “Justice Robin Camp Inquiry Begins, Feminist Coalition Intervenes,” Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund, https://www.leaf.ca/news/justice-camp-inquiry-feminist-coalition-intervenes/. 55 “Justice Minister Denounces Judge’s Comments on Teen Sexual Assault Victim’s Weight,” cbc News, 25 October 2017, https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/ quebec-court-judge-sexual-assault-victim-1.4370997.
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56 Elaine Craig, “Judging Sexual Assault Trials: Systemic Failure in the Case of Regina v Bassam Al-Rawi (10 April 2017),” Canadian Bar Review 95 (2017): 180–211, https://ssrn.com/abstract=2949992. 57 “Alberta’s Famous Five Named Honorary Senators,” Globe and Mail, 11 October 2009, https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/albertas-famous-fivenamed-honorary-senators/article1320491. 58 Chris Hurl and Janna Klostermann, “Remembering George W. Smith’s ‘Life Work’: From PolitiCo-Administrative Regimes to Living Otherwise,” Studies in Social Justice 13, 2 (2019): 262–82; Janna Klostermann, “Altering Imaginaries and Demanding Treatment: Women’s aids Activism in Toronto, 1980s–1990s,” in Women’s Health Advocacy: Rhetorical Ingenuity for the 21st Century (New York: Routledge, 2019): 177–90; Janna Klostermann, “Investigating the Organizational Everyday: A Critical Feminist Approach,” Culture and Organization (2019), https://doi.org/10.1080/14759551.2019.1576681. 59 “Alberta’s Famous Five Named Honorary Senators,” Globe and Mail.
9 Reclaiming Our Rightful Place: Indigenous Women and Decolonization f r a n c y n e d . j o e a n d l i a n n e c . l e d dy
Introduction At wiis-Canada’s tenth annual workshop, Francyne D. Joe gave a speech as the president of the Native Women’s Association of Canada (nwac), during which she underscored the importance of the safety of Indigenous women throughout what is now Canada. The workshop focused on the next generation of women leaders and featured Francyne as one of three keynote speakers. During her presentation, she outlined nwac’s goals and the hard work of Indigenous women since the organization’s establishment in 1974. In her speech, Francyne ties the assaults on Indigenous women’s bodies to past and present colonial practices, including the disruptions to gender relations brought on by colonial governance structures, residential schools, dispossession of traditional territories, and the Indian Act. Francyne demonstrates that these intrusions not only targeted Indigenous people as individuals but also whole communities and nations. Indeed, the term “all my relations” connects us not just to our family structures but to all of creation – the land and water, Indigenous people and settlers alike. This is why reconciliation in Canada is not just an Indigenous “problem” but, rather, a Canadian responsibility. Francyne’s wise words also speak to the positive examples of empowerment of Indigenous women that hold the key to our future: education, sustainable economic development, and building community capacity.
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The editors of this volume then asked Lianne C. Leddy (Anishinaabe), associate professor in Indigenous studies at Wilfrid Laurier University’s Brantford campus, to provide additional context to understand the impacts of Canada’s colonial past on Indigenous women. Lianne begins by describing how the colonial policies and practices of assimilation were aimed at eliminating all traces of Indigeneity. The effects of the Indian Residential School system and the Indian Act caused long-lasting trauma within Indigenous communities, and these are still being felt today. Statistics show high rates of violence, death, and suicide among Indigenous communities that disproportionately affect women and girls. Lianne then offers an account of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, and discusses the politics that led to its establishment and its leadership challenges. Lianne concludes by highlighting the more recent efforts that support Indigenous women in reclaiming their traditions and personal safety as they are the key to decolonization in Canada. In this chapter, we have chosen to reprint Francyne’s words in full (below) as the most honest way to represent what she said. Any paraphrasing or rewording for the benefit of a written text amounts to a reinterpretation, which is something we strive to avoid in allowing Indigenous voices to be heard authentically. Francyne’s words are followed by those of Lianne C. Leddy, also in her own voice.
Keynote Address by the President of NWAC Weytk, bonjour, and good afternoon. I’d like to begin by acknowledging that we are meeting on the traditional territory of the Algonquin Nation. My name is Francyne Joe, and I am a proud member of the Shackan First Nation and the interim president of the Native Women’s Association of Canada. It is my pleasure to be here and to engage with so many women who will be bringing women’s rights into the future. Being here means that you are ready to claim your space and your power. The Indigenous women and girls of Canada are alongside you on this journey. Indigenous women are empowering ourselves
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to reclaim our rightful place and to be the leaders that we were always meant to be. Before colonization, most Indigenous societies here in the north were matrilineal. Women were respected as Elders and had leadership roles equal to those held by men. When our lands were occupied and we lost the right to govern ourselves, we were forbidden to gather for traditional ceremonies and transmit the knowledge of our ancestors. Traditional food and medicine/healing practices that keep women and girls healthy were lost. Our holistic understanding of living, including interdependence and interconnectedness, was made irrelevant by the Western ideals of capitalism. First Nations and Inuit people were forced onto reserves, separated from our lands, and barred from practising trade outside of those reserves without the interference of what was called an “Indian Agent.” We faced starvation and were forced to do things that dehumanized us. Women and girls’ bodies, especially, were subjected to the violence of colonization. Métis women found themselves torn between these two worlds, facing the same challenges as their First Nations and Inuit cousins but discriminated against by all. The violent assimilation attempted in the residential school system has damaged Indigenous people and their communities spiritually, mentally, physically. After the residential schools closed, Indigenous women and girls continued to lose touch with our culture. We were “adopted out,” placed in foster homes, or were raised by parents who had lost touch with their culture for similar reasons. Strong ties to our culture and community have been the source of our strength and the reason we survived what is known in South Africa as apartheid. Divorced from those support systems, economically disempowered, and facing continued racial and sexist discrimination, Indigenous women remain a marginalized group. Those following the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (mmiwg) are likely aware of the estimated 1,200 mmiwg documented by the rcmp over recent decades. We know this number is, in fact, much larger. Before the rcmp released their numbers, nwac’s Sisters in Spirit (sis) project created
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the first and only database of mmiwg in our country. We started hosting the October 4th vigils in 2004, raising public awareness of this horrible pandemic. Although sis was defunded in 2010, we can remain confident that our work was instrumental in creating today’s dialogue about mmiwg and instigated the Inquiry into mmiwg. The National Inquiry has several mandates to fulfill, including honouring our mmiwg. It is the matter of addressing the systemic causes of the continued violence and making recommendations to stop it that is of great relevance to national and international security. The success of this Inquiry has the potential to make Canada’s treatment of violence against women an example for the rest of the world. As we know from research conducted by the World Bank, the equal treatment and safety of women is a strong indicator of a good economy. nwac receives a good deal of international support for its advocacy work. The scrutiny of the InterAmerican Commission on Human Rights applies international pressure on governments in matters of addressing human rights issues in law and policy. Their report, entitled Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in British Columbia, Canada, was instrumental in petitioning the government to launch the National Inquiry. It also helped get a commitment from the government to provide a safe public transport option along bc’s Highway 16, commonly referred to as the “Highway of Tears.” nwac and our partner organizations continue to present our concerns to them in an effort to mobilize our own government in protecting our rights. nwac regularly employs the framework of the United Nations’ Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (cedaw) to support our work in ending gender discrimination. For example, the declarations of the cedaw Committee on marital rights support the swift removal of sex-based discrimination from the Indian Act. nwac supports changes to legislation, which will restore Indian Status to thousands of women and children who have been denied access based mostly on the decision of women to marry or have children with non-Indigenous men. The effects of these unions are felt for generations and would not be caused by the marriage of an Indigenous man to a non-Indigenous woman.
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For example, we have conducted roundtables with women across the country who agree that Bill S-3 does not completely eliminate sexbased discrimination in what is inherently a colonialist and racist document. The reality of women and their children needing access to improved education, improved health care, improved housing, and tax benefits requires that we move forward in passing this bill even if it is not perfect and get immediate support for them. You may have heard about Canadian senators supporting the abolishment of the Indian Act. We do support the erasure of this document, so long as there is an appropriate document already drafted to take its place. However, the abolishment of the Indian Act cannot erase the past and does not address the impacts of colonization on almost every aspect of Indigenous women’s and girls’ lives. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (undrip) has been embraced by Indigenous people worldwide as a framework for cultural recognition, reconciliation, and peace. Indigenous people have a right to free, prior, and informed consent. Indigenous organizations will continue to pressure the government to fully implement undrip to ensure the protection of sacred lands and our water. Indigenous women’s close relationship with the land and the water remains threatened by colonization. As the most marginalized group within these communities, Indigenous women are the most likely to become “climate refugees.” The results of climate change, such as flooding, deeply impact our communities, often displacing youth to cities and severing their connections with Elders. Amnesty International published a report regarding how the resource extraction economy in northeast British Columbia negatively affects the rights of Indigenous peoples and supports violence against Indigenous women. This serves as an example of why Indigenous women must have free, prior, and informed consent in regards to projects such as oil and gas extraction, coal mining, and hydroelectric development. nwac recognizes that climate change is affecting the daily lives of Indigenous women, destroying communities, and forcing peoples to abandon cultural traditions that are so strongly tied to the land, water,
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plants, and animals. We also need all nations to recognize the wisdom and knowledge that Indigenous people have in regards to living sustainably and respecting our lands. Indigenous communities have initiatives that are proven to drive economic growth and sustainable practices. For example, in Prince Edward Island, the Abegweit First Nation Biodiversity and Enhancement Hatchery increases the fish population in a sustainable way, providing more work for area fishermen and women. In the Yukon, the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Teaching & Working Farm teaches farming skills and encourages innovation for future growth in sustainability practices. This is why nwac’s Labour Market Development programs are so important; beyond identifying and addressing the barriers to Indigenous women in the labour market, helping Indigenous women become entrepreneurs, and enabling Indigenous women to seek higher education, nwac can tell positive stories about the potential of Indigenous women to be successful, to be mentors, and to be economically empowered. I am going to conclude by noting that generations of patriarchy, paired with the intergenerational learned behaviours of misogyny, will continue to act as barriers to the empowerment of Indigenous women. Still, it is in everyone’s best interests to restore our rights to live equally and free from the fear that has plagued Indigenous women for just over 150 years. nwac will continue to empower Indigenous women in every possible way, and hold them up as they enhance and enrich our society, and we hope all Canadians do the same.
Contextualizing Canada’s Colonial Past and Its Impacts on Indigenous Women My name is Lianne Leddy and I am Anishinaabe kwe, a member of Serpent River First Nation and I grew up in Elliot Lake, Ontario. The editors of this volume have asked me to provide additional context for Francyne’s powerful speech in this collection.
francyne d. joe and lianne c. leddy
Colonization and Indigenous Women As Francyne notes, the colonial past and present impede Indigenous women’s empowerment and decolonization efforts, while at the same time, Indigenous women hold each other up and work toward common goals. Colonial policies and practices have had profound impacts on our families, communities, and nations. These colonial intrusions include the dispossession of Indigenous peoples from our lands; the Indian Act and its abrogation of Indigenous governance structures and its strict definitions of identity based on blood quota; and the Indian Residential School System, which sought to destroy the identities of Indigenous children. Through these historical and contemporary traumas, Indigenous women seek to support each other as we work to reclaim our traditions, languages, and personal safety. The ways in which Indigenous women’s bodies bear the brunt of colonial assaults are well-documented,1 and yet they are still pervasive. Indigenous gender relations were disrupted by colonial policies such as dispossession of lands and waters as the settler population in Canada increased, and as treaties and the reserve system were implemented in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.2 Canada’s colonial policies had an impact on how we interacted with our territories. As Francyne reminds us, Indigenous peoples became isolated from the lands where we gathered our medicines and our traditions. The foundation of who we are as Indigenous peoples was threatened. Furthermore, specific colonial legislation continued this practice in earnest, as Canadian nation building became more complete. The British North America (bna) Act (1867), which was celebrated by Canadians as it marked the country’s sesquicentennial, made “Indians, and lands reserved for the Indians” a federal responsibility.3 Since we, Indigenous peoples, already had our own governance structures, the bna Act cast aside millennia of Indigenous socio-political development on Turtle Island.4 Two years after Confederation, the Act for the Gradual Enfranchisement of Indians made the “Indian” identity of an Indigenous woman depend on who she married.5 If she married someone from another band, she subsequently belonged to his community or nation. If her husband was not a status Indian, she was no longer considered an “Indian.”6 This discrimination con-
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tinued in the Indian Act (1876), which consolidated previous legislation. Indigeneity was thus tied to male bodies, and Indigenous women’s legal identities depended on their familial relationships to the men in their lives, a departure from the variety of leadership and complementary roles and responsibilities women had in Indigenous socio-political systems. While Indian status is in fact a colonial construction, it does serve as a “gate” for accessing services such as housing, education, and non-insured health benefits, meaning that Indigenous women face yet another burden of insecurity through exclusion, which Indigenous women have been active in resisting.7 Whereas historical enfranchisement rules for Indigenous men under the Indian Act required evidence of education and self-sufficiency, and was not a commonly pursued process, the simple act of marriage to a non-status Indian man – called “marrying out” – was evidence enough of assimilation for Indigenous women.8 There have been legislative changes to the Indian Act over time, most notably Bill C-31 passed in 1985, which restored Indian Status to nearly 100,000 people, many of whom were women who had “married out” as well as their children.9 After the McIvor v. Canada decision in 2009, whereby the British Columbia Court of Appeal found that parts of the Indian Act were unconstitutional due to gender discrimination, the government of Canada passed Bill C-3, the Gender Equity in Indian Registration Act.10 This amendment allowed the eligible grandchildren of women who had “married out” to be registered as Status Indians.11 Despite making these changes, gender disparity persists in the Indian Act. An inadequate attempt to resolve this problem came in the form of Bill S-3,12 which was passed in December 2017 in response to the 2015 Descheneaux decision, where the Superior Court of Quebec found that parts of section 6 of the Indian Act violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms because “they perpetuate a difference in treatment in eligibility to Indian registration between Indian women as compared to Indian men and their respective descendants.”13 According to a nwac fact sheet: There are 4 issues the bill sets out to resolve which have historically restricted individuals from attaining status: unknown/unstated parentage; omitted minor children (children who lost status when their mother married a non-status man); the cousins issue (differential
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treatment among first cousins whose status depends on the sex of their grandparent) and the siblings issue (females born out of wedlock between 1951–1985 who were denied status). These individuals are now able to apply and successfully receive status.14 Indigenous women have been waiting for long-promised gender equality under the act, but gender equality issues persist even with these new amendments to the Indian Act. As Francyne notes, while it is a step forward to ensure that more Indigenous women can access the programming they need, the government still has authority under the act to decide the legal status of Indigenous peoples, which is contrary to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.15
Reminding the Government of Its Responsibilities At the same time the Canadian government was legislating and categorizing Indigenous identities through its new Indian Act in the late nineteenth century, the Indian Residential School System (irs) constituted an assault on Indigenous bodies, families, and nations.16 As the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (trc) reminds us, the irs was a central tenet of the Canadian government’s cultural genocide policy. The larger policy was pursued because the government “wished to divest itself of its legal and financial obligations to Aboriginal people and gain control over their land and resources. If every Aboriginal person were ‘absorbed into the body politic [as Duncan Campbell Scott recommended in 1920],’ there would be no reserves, no Treaties, and no Aboriginal rights.”17 Assimilation – or, more precisely, cultural genocide – was a way to gain further control over Indigenous lands, and Indigenous children’s bodies became targets to the extent that “child neglect was institutionalized and the lack of supervision created situations where students were prey to sexual and physical abusers.”18 The mistreatment of Indigenous children coupled with the larger policy aimed at erasing their Indigeneity continues to leave a legacy of intergenerational trauma in our communities. It is for that reason that reconciliation is often seen as an Indigenous issue rather than one that is for both Indigenous peoples and non-Indigenous Canadians in general. As Celia Haig-Brown argues, the irs is not just a historical phenomenon but, rather,
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it is “a controversial part of all those who dwell on this land.”19 Reconciliation is, in fact, for everyone, and the trc has ninety-four calls to action that engage all sectors of Canadian society.20 Just as the trc has recommended ways forward in Canada, the un Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples has global resonance and recognizes, among other rights, the right to maintain and strengthen our ties to land and water, and the requirement that free and informed consent is needed prior to the approval of development projects.21 As Anishinaabe scholar Deborah McGregor has shared: “water finds significance in the lives of First Nations people on personal, community, clan, national, and spiritual levels. Water is understood as a living force which must be protected and nurtured; it is not a commodity to be bought and sold.”22 More specifically in Anishinaabe traditions, it is known that “women speak for the water” and, indeed, women are at the forefront of protecting our waters and territories.23 Grandmothers Irene Peters and the late Josephine Mandamin have been raising awareness of the importance of water through their water walks around the Great Lakes. The first walk took place in 2003 around Lake Superior, stretching 1,300 kilometres,24 and they combined activism with ceremony to inspire other acts of water protection. In 2017, Anishinaabe youth Autumn Peltier gifted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with a water bundle and told him, “I’m very unhappy with the choices you’ve made,” in reference to his government’s position on pipelines.25 These examples of Elders and youth hold a lot of hope for our future as nations, and remind us of Indigenous women’s important social and ceremonial roles. Yet serious cases of brutality against Indigenous women remain.
Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls As mainstream media attention surrounding mmiwg has grown, many Canadians are becoming increasingly aware of the gendered and racialized dangers we face as Indigenous women, and the colonial policies and structures that allow such violence to happen. We must not forget that cases that appear in news stories are in fact women with families and hopes and dreams. There are also far too many of them. But while reliable and consistent data are key to understanding what is happening to Indigenous
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women, one of our only sources of information on this issue is a 2014 rcmp report.26 The rcmp report characterized our communities as dangerous since the statistics of the offender-to-victim relationship were described as: spousal relationship (29 percent), family member (24 percent), and acquaintance (30 percent).27 Furthermore, despite claims to the contrary, the report engaged in victim-blaming by outlining the risk factors for victimization, such as unemployment, intoxicants, and sex work.28 Tellingly, the words “racism,” “settler colonialism,” “injustice,” and “poverty” do not appear in the document. As I wrote in the Canadian feminist magazine Herizons in 2016, one of the challenges to demanding action are the cuts made in the wake of the Harper government in 2010 to Indigenous health and women’s organizations – including nwac’s Sisters in Spirit Campaign and its database of missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada. Therefore, this biased rcmp report is one of the most comprehensive sources of information we have left.29 Funding gaps, particularly when they are politicized, can have disastrous consequences for Indigenous women and our communities. These gaps, which affect not only the services we can access but also accurate data collection, have led us to demand more accountability and action. When it was revealed that there is inconsistent data kept across the country regarding mmiwg, Francyne pointed to the need for better information: “Unless we have this data, unless we have the numbers that are showing us what sort of trends are happening across this country … we can’t understand the reasons that our women are going missing,” she told Margo McDiarmid, “we don’t have the full picture – there is a big gap, unfortunately.”30 She also hoped for more information about where we are most at risk and to find more precise patterns in order to better serve Indigenous women: “Maybe we can understand why certain areas have a higher issue than other areas: Is it the urban centres? Is it northern communities? Is it on reserve? Is it off reserve? But until we have these tangible results, we are only guessing at this point.”31 Indigenous women deserve more than police force guesswork, as well as a more comprehensive strategy to ensure our safety. The 2015 federal election, during which Justin Trudeau promised an inquiry into the disproportionate deaths of Indigenous women in Canada,
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brought us new hope. Prime Minister Harper had famously made his thoughts known about the rates of murdered and missing Indigenous women throughout the country: “I think we should not view this as sociological phenomenon. We should view it as crime.”32 Yet, as I have stated in previous work, this interpretation “ignores the long history of colonial and sexual violence against Indigenous women, and that these crimes are in fact part of a larger social pattern that cannot be overlooked.”33 The Trudeau government announced the inquiry, one of its election promises, less than two months after the election. The two-stage process included a pre-inquiry design process starting in late 2015, and the inquiry began in August 2016.34 Sadly, the inquiry has since faced significant challenges. As Jorge Barrera wrote in November 2017, there were eight resignations and firings in the previous two months alone, and twenty overall,35 signalling significant staff and leadership challenges. In an interview with the cbc, commissioner Michèle Audette cited long hours, front-line emotional work, and communications issues as some of the difficult conditions that staff faced.36 The structured timeline of the inquiry has also been challenging: it asked for a two-year extension until the end of 2020 in order to hold more hearings, “reach more vulnerable people,” and conduct further research,37 but the provinces could not agree on an extension and Ottawa wanted enough time to respond to the inquiry conclusions before the next federal election.38 Instead, the federal government gave the inquiry until 30 April 2019 to write its final report, with the expectation that it wrapped up by 30 June 2019.39 Throughout its mandate, the inquiry held fifteen community hearings, nine knowledge holder and institutional hearings, and heard from a total of 2,386 participants.40 The final report, Reclaiming Power and Place, which was released on 3 June 2019, found that race-based violence against Indigenous peoples, especially women, girls, and 2slgbtqqia people, constituted genocide. It was facilitated by “colonial structures evidenced notably by the Indian Act, the Sixties Scoop, residential schools and breaches of human and Indigenous rights, leading directly to the current increased rates of violence, death, and suicide in Indigenous populations.”41 The report was accompanied by Calls for Justice, which outlined 231 calls for transformative change for Canadians, our governments, and our institutions.42 Despite the aforementioned concerns around timelines and the variety of opinions
francyne d. joe and lianne c. leddy
Indigenous families have of the inquiry, its commissioners and organizational teams conducted important work that allowed for Indigenous participants to share their truths and for families and communities to continue to heal.
Women’s Leadership and Restoration Healing, in fact, is part of restoration, which we can also see in the important work women are doing through community leadership and education. As stated earlier, our traditional governance systems included women’s voices and perspectives, and women have been finding new ways to move forward. Kim Anderson and Bonita Lawrence’s collection, aptly named Strong Women Stories: Native Vision and Community Survival, reminds us that “through hard work and ingenuity, Native women are actively shaping a better world for the future generations.”43 In 2012, the activism of Sheelah McLean, Nina Wilson, Sylvia McAdam, and Jessica Gordon, four women from Saskatchewan, launched the international #IdleNoMore movement, and Chief Theresa Spence’s hunger strike brought attention to a housing crisis in Attawapiskat.44 Whether this hard work takes the form of formal political participation in community politics, grassroots activism in the face of gender inequality, protecting our lands, celebrating birth and parenting practices, or reclaiming our roles as Indigenous women in general, Indigenous women have been rebuilding and revisioning our communities. We have demonstrated, in other words, what the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples called a “particular genius for survival.”45 We have survived, and Indigenous women across the country are rebuilding, recreating, and celebrating our roles and ways of life. While there is still much work to be done, Francyne’s invitation to “empower Indigenous women in every possible way, and hold them up as they enhance and enrich our society” is open to all Canadians. As Indigenous peoples, we have a history of being open and of demonstrating hospitality. We are working towards decolonization and reconciliation, but this work cannot be successful in isolation. Join us.
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note s 1 See, for example, Jean Barman, “Taming Aboriginal Sexuality: Gender, Power and Race in British Columbia, 1850–1900,” bc Studies 115–16 (Autumn/Winter 1997– 98): 237–66; Andrea Smith, Conquest: Sexual Violence and American Indian Genocide (Cambridge: South End Press, 2005); National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (mmiwg), Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (Ottawa: mmiwg, 2019), https://www.mmiwg-ffada.ca/wpcontent/uploads/2019/06/Final_Report_Vol_1a.pdf. 2 For a broad overview of Indigenous history and colonial policies in Canada, see Olive P. Dickason and David T. McNab, Canada’s First Nations: A History of Founding Peoples from Earliest Times, 4th ed. (Don Mills: Oxford University Press, 2009); James Daschuk, Clearing the Plains: Disease, Politics of Starvation, and the Loss of Aboriginal Life (Regina: University of Regina Press, 2013); Hugh Shewell, “Enough to Keep them Alive”: Indian Social Welfare in Canada, 1873–1965 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2004); John Tobias, “Civilization, Protection, Assimilation: An Outline of Canada’s Indian Policy,” in Sweet Promises: A Reader on India-White Relations in Canada, ed. J.R. Miller (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1991), 127–44; Noel Dyck and James B. Waldram, Anthropology, Public Policy, and Native Peoples in Canada (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1993). 3 Section 91 of the British North America Act, 1867, c. 3. https://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/rp-pr/csj-sjc/constitution/lawreg-loireg/p1t13.html. 4 Turtle Island refers to our creation stories about North America. 5 Section 6 of the Act for the Gradual Enfranchisement of Indians, 1859, https:// www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/DAM/DAM-INTER-HQ/STAGING/texte-text/a69c6_ 1100100010205_eng.pdf. 6 Kathleen Jamieson, Indian Women and the Law: Citizens Minus (Ottawa: Advisory Council on the Status of Women, 1978), 29–30. 7 Janet Silman, Enough Is Enough: Aboriginal Women Speak Out (Toronto: The Women’s Press, 1990); Joanne Barker, “Gender, Sovereignty, and the Discourse of Rights in Native Women’s Activism,” Meridians 7, 1 (2006): 127–61. 8 Jamieson, Indian Women and the Law, 68. 9 See Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (rcap), Volume 4: Perspectives and Realities (Ottawa: rcap, 1995), 31–50; Bonita Lawrence, “Real” Indians and Others:
francyne d. joe and lianne c. leddy Mixed-Blood Urban Native Peoples and Indigenous Nationhood (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2004).
10 Gender Equity in Indian Registration Act, Statutes of Canada 2010, c. 18, https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/annualstatutes/2010_18/page-1.html. 11 Native Women’s Association of Canada (nwac), Elimination under the Registration Provisions of the Indian Act: Culturally Appropriate Consultation with Indigenous Women (Ottawa: nwac, 2018), https://www.nwac.ca/wp-content/uploads/ 2018/04/NWAC-Report-Eliminating-Discrimination-under-the-Registration-Provisions-of-the-Indian-Act.pdf. 12 An Act to Amend the Indian Act in Response to the Superior Court of Quebec Decision in Descheneaux c. Canada, Statutes of Canada 2017, c. 25, https://www. parl.ca/legisinfo/BillDetails.aspx?billId=8532485&Language=E. 13 “The Government of Canada’s Response to the Descheneaux Decision,” Government of Canada, last modified 31 January 2018, https://www.sac-isc.gc.ca/eng/ 1467227680166/1572460465418. 14 “Policy Fact Sheet (Bill S-3),” nwac, http://www.nwac.ca/wp-content/uploads/ 2018/02/Policy-Fact-Sheet-Bill-S-3-1.docx. 15 “Bill S-3,” nwac, https://www.nwac.ca/policy-areas/bill-s-3/. 16 For works on the history of irs in Canada, see Agnes Grant, No End of Grief: Indian Residential Schools in Canada (Winnipeg: Pemmican Publications, 1996); J.R. Miller, Shingwauk’s Vision: A History of Native Residential Schools (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1996); John S. Milloy, A National Crime: The Canadian Government and the Residential School System, 1879–1986 (Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999). 17 Murray Sinclair, Chief Wilton Littlechild, and Marie Wilson, What We Have Learned: Principles of Truth and Reconciliation (Winnipeg: Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, 2015), 6, http://www.trc.ca/assets/pdf/Principles% 20of%20Truth%20and%20Reconciliation.pdf. 18 Ibid., 7. Survivor stories are featured in Murray Sinclair, Chief Wilton Littlechild, and Marie Wilson, The Survivors Speak: A Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (Winnipeg: Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, 2015), http://www.trc.ca/assets/pdf/Survivors_Speak_English_Web.pdf; Basil H. Johnston, Indian School Days (Toronto: Key Porter Books, 1988); Celia Haig-Brown, Resistance and Renewal: Surviving the Indian Residential School (Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 1988); Agnes Grant, Finding My Talk: How Fourteen
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Native Women Reclaimed Their Lives after Residential School (Calgary: Fifth House, 2004); Elizabeth Graham, The Mush Hole: Life at Two Indian Residential Schools (Waterloo: Heffle Publishing, 1997); Isabelle Knockwood, Out of the Depths: The Experiences of Mi’kmaw Children at the Indian Residential School at Shubenacadie, ns (Hubbards: Roseway Publishing, 1994). 19 Celia Haig–Brown, “Always Remembering: Indian Residential Schools in Canada” in Aboriginal History: A Reader, ed. Kristin Burnett and Geoff Read (Don Mills: Oxford University Press, 2016), 255. 20 Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, Calls to Action (Winnipeg: Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, 2015), http://trc.ca/assets/pdf/ Calls_to_Action_English2.pdf. 21 United Nations, General Assembly, United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, A/RES/61/295, 13 September 2007, https://www.un.org/ development/desa/indigenouspeoples/wp-content/uploads/sites/19/2018/11/ UNDRIP_E_web.pdf. 22 Deborah McGregor, “Anishinaabe-kwe, Traditional Knowledge, and Water Protection,” Canadian Woman Studies/Les Cahiers de la femme 26, 3–4 (2008): 27. See also Mother Earth Water Walk, http://www.motherearthwaterwalk.com/. 23 McGregor, “Anishinaabe-kwe,” 29. 24 Ibid. 25 Andree Lau, “Autumn Peltier Asks Prime Minister Trudeau to Protect Canada’s Water,” Huffington Post Canada, 12 August 2016, https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/ 2016/12/08/autumn-peltier-trudeau-assembly-first-nations-letter_n_135 18870.html. 26 Royal Canadian Mounted Police (rcmp), Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women: A National Operational Overview (Ottawa: rcmp, 2014), http://www.rcmpgrc.gc.ca/wam/media/460/original/0cbd8968a049aa0b44d343e76b4a9478.pdf. 27 Ibid., 12. 28 Ibid., 17. 29 Lianne C. Leddy, “A Call to Action: Indigenous Allies Anticipate Change,” Herizons 29, 3 (2016): 16. 30 Margo McDiarmid, “Still No Way to Tell How Many Indigenous Women and Girls Go Missing in Canada Each Year,” cbc News, 20 December 2017, https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/indigenous-missing-women-police-data1.4449073.
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31 Ibid. 32 See, for example, Alex Boutilier, “Native Teen’s Slaying a ‘Crime,’ Not a ‘Sociological Phenomenon,’ Stephen Harper,” Toronto Star, 21 August 2014, https://www. thestar.com/news/canada/2014/08/21/native_teens_slaying_a_crime_not_a_ sociological_phenomenon_stephen_harper_says.html. 33 Leddy, “A Call to Action.” I was not alone: several editorials appeared urging Canadians to see that this violence is racist, gendered, and systemic. See, for example, Julie Kaye and Daniel Béland, “Stephen Harper’s Dangerous Refusal to ‘Commit Sociology,’” Toronto Star, 22 August 2014, https://www.thestar.com/ opinion/commentary/2014/08/22/stephen_harpers_dangerous_refusal_to_ commit_sociology.html; Doug O’Halloran, “We Must Demand Justice for Tina Fontaine,” Huffington Post, 6 September 2014, https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/ doug-oahalloran/tina-fontaine_b_5766614.html. 34 nwac, “Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and Violence Prevention,” https://www.nwac.ca/mmiwg/. 35 Jorge Barerra, “Another Lawyer Quits mmiwg Inquiry as Resignations, Firings Mount,” cbc News, 21 November 2017, https://www.cbc.ca/news/indigenous/ lawyer-mmiwg-quits-1.4412127; Jorge Barerra, “mmiwg Inquiry Lacked Family Aftercare Plan, hr Staff, Says Fired Health Manager,” cbc News, 18 November 2017, http://www.cbc.ca/news/indigenous/mmiwg-millward-hr-1.4408690. 36 Angela Sterritt, “‘This Has Been The Hardest Job of My Life’ Says mmiwg Inquiry Commissioner,” cbc News, 24 January 2018, https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ british-columbia/first-human-resources-policy-after-more-than-a-year-formmiwg-inquiry-1.4500439. 37 “mmiwg Inquiry Asks Federal Government for 2-year Extension,” cbc News, 6 March 2018, https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/mmiwg-inquiry-extension1.4564254. 38 Jorge Barrera, “mmiwg Inquiry Commissioner May Quit After Ottawa Grants Limited Extension,” 5 June 2018, https://www.cbc.ca/news/indigenous/inquiryextension-ottawa-1.4691903. 39 Barrera, “mmiwg Inquiry Commissioner May Quit.” 40 “Fast Facts: Did You Know?,” National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, https://www.mmiwg-ffada.ca/. 41 Marion Buller, Michèle Audette, Qajaq Robinson, and Brian Eyolfson, Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Mur-
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dered Women and Girls, vol. 1a (Ottawa: National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, 2019), 50, https://www.mmiwg-ffada.ca/wpcontent/uploads/2019/06/Final_Report_Vol_1a.pdf. 42 Marion Buller, Michèle Audette, Qajaq Robinson, and Brian Eyolfson, Calls for Justice (Ottawa: National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, 2019), https://www.mmiwg-ffada.ca/final-report/. 43 Kim Anderson and Bonita Lawrence, Strong Women Stories: Native Vision and Community Survival (Toronto: Sumach Press, 2003), 11. 44 Ken Coates, #IdleNoMore and the Remaking of Canada (Regina: University of Regina Press, 2015). 45 The quote appeared in the rcap, Volume 4: Perspectives and Realities, 88. See also Cora Voyageur, Firekeepers of the Twenty-First Century: First Nations Women Chiefs (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2008); Silman, Enough Is Enough; Barker, “Gender, Sovereignty”; Nathalie Kermoal and Isabel Altamirano-Jiménez, Living on the Land: Indigenous Women’s Understanding of Place (Edmonton: Athabasca University Press, 2016); Carrie Bourassa, Elder Betty McKenna, and Darlene Juschka, Listening to the Beat of Our Drum: Indigenous Parenting in Contemporary Society (Bradford, on: Demeter Press, 2016); Katsi Cook, “Powerful Like a River: Reweaving the Web of Our Lives in Defense of Environmental and Reproductive Justice,” in Original Instructions: Indigenous Teachings for a Sustainable Future, ed. Melissa K. Nelson (Rochester, ny: Bear and Co., 2008); Jeannette Corbiere and D. Memee Lavell-Harvard, “Until Our Hearts Are on the ground”: Aboriginal Mothering, Oppression, Resistance, and Rebirth (Bradford, on: Demeter Press, 2006); Kim Anderson and D. Memee Lavell-Harvard, Mothers of the Nations: Indigenous Mothering as Global Resistance, Reclaiming, and Recovery (Bradford, on: Demeter Press, 2014); Lina Sunseri, Being Again of One Mind: Oneida Women and the Struggle for Decolonization (Vancouver: ubc Press, 2011).
10 Conclusion cassandr a steer
In our introduction, we asked whether the statistics we see in Canada, the United States, and Europe are a sign of hope that women’s participation and influence is growing when it comes to national and international security matters or whether the distance we still have to travel is too far for us to celebrate yet. More than twenty years have now passed since the un Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security was adopted, and there has been some progress. Yet we are still asking the same questions: Where are the women? And where is the gender-based analysis of the issues that affect our world? The contributors to this volume have demonstrated in their remarkable chapters that two perspectives may be true at once. On the one hand, gendered violence within the military culture is still rampant, as Jensen shows us. Despite Operation Honour in Canada, and despite the #MeToo movement internationally, there is still a disturbing amount of gender-based violence within the military. In chapter 5, Jensen gives us statistics from Canada, the United States, and nato countries, and these numbers are no doubt reflected in many other militaries around the world. As she argues, the only way to shift this phenomenon is by shifting the entire culture. But that is the greatest challenge of all for an institution that depends upon its culture as part of its strength and has a century-old culture with which to contend. Perhaps here there is still too much to be done before there is cause for celebration.
That same culture is what affects military families in ways that are often unseen but that, as Spanner details in chapter 6, run deep. Both men and women suffer from the assumptions regarding care-taking and domestic responsibility versus a career in the military, and from the heteronormative assumptions at the core of military careers. From Spanner’s interviews, it is clear that non-military careers are not valued, and the strains on families are explicitly expected to be secondary to the career of a serving member. This makes it doubly hard where both members of a couple are in the military as it is difficult to know which person’s career should be prioritized. Her data contain some hopeful anecdotes to show that a woman’s military career can be prioritized over her male partner’s, but this is not to be taken for granted. With same-sex couples the challenges are even greater since they conflict with the heteronormative assumptions of family and career. Shifting such a deeply engrained culture is no easy task, and Spanner does not have any easy-fix solutions. Her work in highlighting the experiences of military families deserves great attention for simply taking the first step of raising awareness. Similarly, while the agenda of Resolution 1325 includes ensuring more women are in decision-making positions, these women, as Monforte expertly demonstrates in chapter 3, face a subtle yet very powerful bias. Using discourse analysis, Monforte shows us that the gendered language of global politics runs so deep that we as women may take on the characteristics assigned to us, whether they are relevant to us or not. The very notion of diplomacy as “soft power” versus the “hard power” of military action is in itself gendered and has been used against women who have had extremely important global power roles, such as Madeleine Albright, Condoleezza Rice, and Lieutenant General Jennie Carignan. Assumptions about women as agents of peace do not always work in our favour at the international negotiating table. Monforte’s deeply thoughtful and reflective chapter details the challenges these women have faced and the ways in which they have sought to counter them. By unpacking the gendered notions and language used to pigeonhole and undermine these women in positions of power, and the discursive tactics that they can use in response, Monforte provides a glimmer of hope that these biases, though unrelenting, may not be triumphant. In the hotly contested American politics of 2020, women such
as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Kamala Harris, and Elizabeth Warren demonstrated that, no matter how direct or subtle the attacks on them, and no matter the continuing biases that persist through the discourse of American politics, they will persist. Such deeply set cultural assumptions are part of the continuing impact of colonization on Indigenous peoples and, even more so, on Indigenous women. We were honoured to have Francyne D. Joe as a keynote speaker at our Women in International Security-Canada tenth anniversary workshop, and her talk has been transcribed in chapter 9 so that our readers may also benefit from it. Anishinaabe scholar Lianne C. Leddy gives us a greater context for Joe’s words, detailing the failings of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, and some of the systemic reasons for this continued violence against our Indigenous sisters. This is an issue of national and international security because, until we take seriously these intersectional maladies, and until we incorporate Indigenous voices and experiences into our mainstream identities, we do not have a stable, secure society. Indigenous women must also be at the decisionmaking and policy-making tables if we are to fulfill Resolution 1325. The uncomfortable colonial present highlighted for us by Joe’s words and Leddy’s scholarship is one from which we cannot afford to look away. It is not only about ensuring that non-Indigenous international security and international law professionals are allies of Indigenous women, it is also about ensuring that these voices, these experiences, and the issues of national and international policy that affect them so deeply, are given a fair place at the table. All of these cultural biases and the violence that comes with them may seem depressingly persistent, which is why we need to keep investigating them and bringing them to the attention of practitioners and professionals in the field of women in international security. We cannot pretend the work is already done: there is still a long way to go for the next generation of women leaders. And so, it may be presumptuous, or premature, to celebrate where we are as we enter the 2020s. On the other hand, there have been important shifts in the last twenty years, and these give strong foundations to the next generation of women who will be leading international peace and security decisions. Gender-
based analyses (gba) and the newer gba+ model is taken more seriously today and are even required by the Canadian Department of National Defence when assessing new conflict or peacekeeping scenarios as well as with regard to its collaborative funding schemes. Not all nations are as progressive as ours, and so Canada could take pride in being exemplary in this sense and perhaps take a more proactive leadership role internationally or, at the very least, among nato and Five-Eyes partner countries. As chapter 4’s discussion between Sarson, Eichler, Smith, and Tucker shows, there are now more scholars who identify as feminists or as using explicitly feminist methods, which makes the entire basis for discussion more permissive than it once was. Young and emerging feminist scholars can learn from the insights reproduced in their chapter, in which they candidly share their experiences in their journeys of discovery and their growing confidence in the value of their work and their methods. It is easy to assume that the dominant traditional methods that are taught in international relations and law courses are more legitimate or more rigorous than feminist methods because that is how they are presented and, indeed, that is what is assumed by the discourse within which they present themselves. However, as the discussion among these scholars shows, there is equal rigour and depth in critical and feminist methods, and there is no reason to doubt their legitimacy, even if some university departments might suggest this. It requires courage to stay your course and believe that what you are researching has value, and this is where the insights of those who have gone before us are helpful – as is seeking mentorship. Authentic leadership is born by those who dare to walk the path in which they believe, even in the face of adversity. This may be expressed in magnanimous acts or in small but important consistencies, such as continuing to use feminist methods and to identify gender issues in international security and law. There is perhaps even more courage needed to recognize the impacts and limits of positionality, as Compaoré outlines in the rich personal account she presents in chapter 2, which provides more important methodological tools and insights for feminist scholars. For her, reading about the insider/outsider paradigm was one thing, while living it as a researcher was another. She was forced to confront the assumptions made about her because of her age, gender and ethnicity as well as the assumptions that she
herself made. We can all benefit from her candid, personal narrative and the lessons she learned about how age, gender, and race can all have a role, both unwanted and deliberate. Intersectionality is something with which we must all grapple, and Compaoré teaches us that there are ways to harness those very challenges and to make them a strength of scholarship. Those who are, or who become, policy-makers and decision makers in international security can apply the same lessons. Those of us who benefit from white privilege can utilize our positions to make intersectionality even more visible, and to increase diversity around us, to the benefit of pretty much any and all desired outcomes. Similarly, the global movement of the Women’s Marches in 2017, following the election of a president whose name some refuse to speak as a specific act of protest, demonstrated that there is an internationally shared set of values when it comes to women’s rights as human rights and that intersectionality has become more mainstream. There is therefore perhaps reason for celebration in spite of the backwards rhetoric that has emerged in the last few years both in the United States and internationally: adversity has brought many together and joined diverse voices in a shared agenda of equality. In chapter 7, the important reflections by Coronado, Drimonis, and Vallet on the moment in our very recent history, when a newly elected US president’s explicit sexist and racist rhetoric led to a global movement, demonstrate that equalities gained over the years are not going to be given up, even as, under a controversial administration, nationalism and discrimination came into favour. While women of colour and of various ethnicities began to fear for their safety or legal status in a country where the president singled out nationalities or ethnicities with hateful words, at the same time the movement galvanized and created a safety net of support. The “Pussy Hats” became the symbol of a movement and demonstrated the power of (visual) storytelling as a method and tool of feminism. The stories related by the authors of the chapter on the Women’s Marches are inspiring and powerful tools in and of themselves as we see how extreme conservatism in fact mobilized feminism both regionally and internationally. Since the rise of this movement in 2017, we have seen yet more divisions and a further galvanization of the voices countering them. The riots across the United States in mid-2020 following the murder of George
Floyd, and the subsequent peaceful protests in support of the Black Lives Matter movement across the globe, reflect those same lessons. Shared experience strengthens a cause, and global politics and security are directly affected by the actions of individuals and communities. The power of storytelling and personal narrative as a feminist method is also demonstrated by Hamilton’s historical reflections. When social injustices or global instability seem overwhelming, as they no doubt have done in the wake of the covid-19 global shutdowns, how can one individual or even a group make a difference? As a historian, Hamilton often looks for lessons in the past to inform our present-day decisions, and she does so in an inspiring way in chapter 8, which recounts the courage of the Canada’s “Famous Five.” Five women used their relative privilege at the turn of the twentieth century to fight the law on its own terms and to have women recognized as legal persons with political rights. In the famous “Persons Case,” the five women asked the highest court in Canada to determine whether women can be considered “qualified persons” such that they could be elected to the Canadian Senate. Shamefully, the Court stated that, because throughout English history, upon which the new Canadian legal order was based, women had never held political positions, they were not “persons” for the purpose of the law in question. Undeterred, and showing enormous courage and passion, the women appealed to the British Privy Council, the highest court of appeal for Canada at the time. The Privy Council took a much more progressive view than did the Supreme Court of Canada, and quashed the Canadian decision, arguing that the notion that women could not be politically active was one that heralded from “more barbaric times.” But it took committed activism on the part of the Famous Five to pull Canada out of those barbaric times: inspired first by their own desire to go up for election, they pursued the issue all the way to obtaining federal law reform and, eventually, a national change of culture. Hamilton identifies their individual characteristics as activists but, rather than leaving us with the impression that one must be a hero in order to effect change, she extracts for us extremely valuable lessons regarding how to have a message heard and how to determine what core activities support activists in their journey. Each and every small step today could lead to a larger impact on tomorrow’s society. Written with the 150th anniversary of
Canadian Confederation in mind, Hamilton’s lessons are even more important to those seeking to be emboldened and galvanized as we enter the very uncertain third decade of the twenty-first century. What we learn from these chapters and their important insights is that authentic leadership is effective because it is from the heart and immovable. That kind of leadership doesn’t require ground-breaking acts; rather, it begins with daring to use feminist methods of research such as storytelling and discourse analysis to pierce the veils of power. We must use our voices to give more strength and volume to voices that would otherwise remain silenced or unheard. We must continue to speak and write about the issues that matter and continue to demand a place at the table. Balancing the equation of celebration and the determination to continue is a difficult one. But both those sides of the coin can be true at once: on the one hand, it is important to recognize that we still have a way to go and that much is still required in order to ensure that the diversity of women’s voices and experiences are mainstreamed into all international security and international legal institutions and decisions. On the other hand, we must pause to celebrate the significant progress that has been made over the past centuries, decades, and years. For we need celebration and hope to get us through the more difficult challenges. There can be no doubt that the next generation of women leaders has many challenges in this tumultuous period of history, when global assumptions and power structures are being shaken, economic and political values are being questioned, and national identities are oscillating between nationalism and internationalism. The domestic and global impacts of covid-19 shutdowns have magnified what was already at play. The century of the US empire has come to a rapid end, but it is not yet clear what is emerging in its place. We are at a point in time where we need courageous and visionary leaders, but this courage and vision may be expressed in small, persistent actions that are true to feminist values of equality and collaboration rather than in grandiose statements or gestures. The next generation of women leaders stands on the shoulders of those women who have gone before them, and we know you will take us to where we need to be.
nadège compaoré is an incoming assistant professor in international relations at the University of Toronto, where she is currently completing a Provost Postdoctoral Fellowship. She received her PhD in political studies from Queen’s University, where her research on the global governance of oil revenues was informed by fieldwork in Gabon, Ghana, and South Africa, and was funded by sshrc, cigi, and cida. Her work lies at the intersection of international relations, natural resource politics, African politics, as well as gender and race in global politics. She is co-editor of New Approaches to the Governance of Natural Resources: Insights from Africa (Palgrave), and her work has also been published in journals such as International Studies Review, International Studies Perspectives, Études Internationales, Millennium: Journal of International Studies, and Contemporary Politics. Nadège is a fellow at the Centre for International Defence and Policy and a board member of Women in International Security Canada and the Canadian Association of African Studies. irasema coronado is professor and director of the School of Transborder Studies at Arizona State University. Previously, she was a professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Texas at El Paso, where she held the Kruszewski Family Endowed Professorship in Political Science. She is co-author of Políticas: Latina Trailblazers in the Texas Political Arena and Frontera No Mas: Toward Social Justice at the US-Mexico Border.
Her current research focuses on minority women and activists in Arizona politics. She is past president of the Association of Borderland Studies. toula drimonis is a freelance columnist, writer, and news producer. A former news director for tc Media, her freelance work has appeared in the New York Times, the Cut, Maclean’s, the National Post, Policy Mic, J-Source, and Canadian Dimension, among others. She has worked in television, radio, and print in English, Greek, and French. She is currently a panelist and contributor to English-language current-affairs tv show City Life and French-language cultural show Nous Sommes la Ville. She served on the advisory board of Use the Right Words, a national media guide on how journalists and editors can better report on sexual violence. maya eichler holds the Canada Research Chair in Social Innovation and Community Engagement and is an associate professor of political and Canadian studies and women’s studies at Mount Saint Vincent University. She is the director of the Centre for Social Innovation and Community Engagement in Military Affairs at Mount Saint Vincent University. Maya Eichler is the author of Militarizing Men: Gender, Conscription, and War in Post-Soviet Russia (Stanford University Press, 2012) and the editor of Gender and Private Security in Global Politics (Oxford University Press, 2015). Her articles have appeared in the International Feminist Journal of Politics, Critical Military Studies, Études internationales, Armed Forces and Society, Critical Studies on Security, Citizenship Studies, International Journal, Military Behavioral Health, and Journal of Military, Veteran and Family Health. Her current research focuses on gender-based and intersectional analysis of defence policy, gender and the armed forces, military sexual violence, military-to-civilian transitions, and community stories of war and peace. sharon hamilton is a writer and biographer with a research focus on nineteenth- and twentieth-century cultural history. She earned her PhD in English literature from Dalhousie University, and her writing on historical topics has appeared in The Oxford Critical and Cultural History of Modernist Magazines, vol. 2: North America, 1894–1960 (Oxford University Press, 2016); Middlebrow Literary Cultures (Palgrave, 2012); Teaching Hemingway and
Modernism (Kent State University Press, 2015); and Hemingway in Comics (Kent State University Press, 2020). She has taught classes on writing and literature at universities in Italy, Austria, Canada, and the United States (including time spent as a visiting instructor with the English department at Georgetown University). She currently works as a cyber security researcher and seeks to mentor and encourage women working in non-traditional fields. She was honoured to serve as a keynote speaker at the wiis-Canada 2017 workshop in Montreal. rebecca jensen is an assistant professor in the Department of Defence Studies at the Canadian Forces College. Her research interests include service culture, doctrine, operational art, and military design, and her work has been published in Armed Forces and Society, the Marine Corps University Journal, and Strategic Studies Quarterly as well as in Special Operations Forces (sof) in the 21st Century (Routledge, 2017), Weapons of Mass Destruction and the New Strategic Environment (Dalhousie University Press, 2013), and Deputy Ministers: Comparative and Jurisdictional Perspectives (University of Toronto Press, 2013). She has been a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at Johns Hopkins University and a research fellow at George Washington University and Marine Corps University, as well as an adjunct analyst at the RAND Corporation. She is currently a research fellow at the Conference of Defence Associations Institute and a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Advanced Military Studies. francyne d. joe, a member of the Nlaka’pamux Nation, is the partnerships manager at the National Association of Friendship Centres and a federal consultant on Indigenous issues. She was previously the president of the Native Women’s Association of Canada (nwac), whose purpose is to enhance, promote, and foster the social, economic, cultural, and political well-being of First Nations and Métis women. Francyne has advocated alongside families for a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. She has presented on issues affecting Indigenous women across Canada, at the United Nations (Geneva and New York City), at the Organization of American States (Washington, dc), and in Mexico, Morocco, and Peru.
lianne c. leddy (Anishinaabe kwe) is an associate professor of Indigenous studies at Laurier’s Brantford Campus and a member of the Serpent River First Nation. Her research focuses on Indigenous-settler relations, particularly those framed by gender and environmental issues. She is also interested in Indigenous methodologies and decolonizing research practices. caroline leprince is a team lead with the Department of National Defence. She previously held positions in the federal public service in the areas of national security, cyber security, immigration enforcement, and public safety. Caroline is dedicated to promoting women’s leadership in the field of security and defence. She sat on the board of wiis-Canada and later held the position of executive director. She was also the co-organizer with Cassandra Steer of the wiis-Canada 2017 Workshop. Caroline is an associate fellow with the Raoul-Dandurand Chair of Strategic and Diplomatic Studies, and her work has been published in peer-reviewed journals, including the International Journal and Études Internationales. She has also contributed to edited volumes on Canada’s foreign policy. tanya monforte is an O’Brien Fellow at the McGill Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism and a doctor of civil law candidate. Previously she was the director of the Human Rights ma program at the American University in Cairo. She is a graduate of Harvard Law School and also holds a ba in philosophy as well as an ma in the sociology of law from the Oñati Institute for the Sociology of Law. She has worked in human rights and security around the world in Belfast, Ramallah, Addis, Cairo, and the Basque Country. She writes and publishes on human rights, feminist legal theory, critical theory, and security. She is currently writing on civil death and global security. leah sarson is an assistant professor of International Relations in the Department of Political Science at Dalhousie University, where her work explores Indigenous global politics in the extractive resource sector. Her broader research interests focus on Canadian foreign policy, international relations, gender, and the Arctic. Prior to joining Dalhousie, she was a Fulbright researcher and sshrc post-doctoral fellow at Dartmouth College
in Hanover, New Hampshire, where she remains a fellow at the Institute of Arctic Studies. She has published in several international relations and Canadian foreign policy journals and contributed to recent edited volumes on Arctic security and Canadian foreign policy. Dr Sarson is also on the board of directors of Women in International Security-Canada and has held professional positions at the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada and Global Affairs Canada, among others. heather a. smith is professor of global and international studies at the University of Northern British Columbia. Currently on sabbatical, she is a visiting scholar in the Department of Political Science at Dalhousie University. She is the recipient of the 3M National Teaching Fellowship (2006), the Canadian Political Science Excellence in Teaching Award (2012), and a two-time recipient of the unbc Excellence in Teaching Award. She has a long history of scholarship in gender and Canadian foreign policy, including (Re) Defining Traditions: Gender and Canadian Foreign Policy (Halifax: Fernwood Press, 1999) co-authored with Edna Keeble, and Feminist Perspectives on Canadian Foreign Policy (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 2003) co-edited with Claire Turenne Sjolander and Deborah Stienstra. leigh spanner is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Centre for Social Innovation and Community Engagement in Military Affairs at Mount Saint Vincent University. Here she is undertaking research for a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Insight Grant on “Gender and the Transition from Military to Civilian Life in Canada.” Leigh received her PhD in political science at the University of Alberta in 2019. Her research on gender and military families was supported by a sshrc doctoral fellowship, a President’s Doctoral Prize of Distinction from the University of Alberta, and a Queen Elizabeth II Graduate Scholarship. Her research has been published in International Journal: Canada’s Journal of Global Policy Analysis, Critical Military Studies, and Atlantis: Critical Studies in Gender, Culture and Social Justice. Her research involves feminist analyses of state militaries and defence and security policies. cassandra steer is a mission specialist with the Australian National University Institute of Space (InSpace) and a senior lecturer at the anu College
of Law specializing in space law, space security, and international law. Dr Steer has more than a decade of international experience teaching at universities in Australia, Europe, North America and South America, and brings a comparative perspective to all her research and teaching. Previously, she has held positions as acting executive director at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Ethics and Rule of Law, executive director of Women in International Security-Canada and the McGill Centre for Research in Air and Space Law, and senior lecturer at the University of Amsterdam. She has published widely on international criminal law, space law, and space security. sarah tuckey is an advisor for Gender and Program Quality with Oxfam America, based in Washington, dc. She was on the Steering Committee for the Women, Peace, and Security Network–Canada from 2017 to 2020 and is a member of the Civil Society Working Group for Women, Peace, and Security at the United States Institute of Peace. Dr Tuckey is the editor of Women, Peace, and Security in the Age of Feminist Foreign Policy: Reflections on Canada’s New National Action Plan (2018) and has been published in the edited volumes Obligations and Omissions: Canada’s Ambiguous Actions on Gender Equality (2017) and Unsettled Balance: Ethics, Security, and Canada’s International Relations (2015). Currently, she is conducting policy research and leading advocacy strategies on women, peace, and security; feminist foreign policy; unpaid care work; and the intersections of gender inequality and climate change through her work at Oxfam America. élisabeth vallet is associate professor at the Collège militaire royal du Canada-Saint Jean, director of the Centre for Geopolitics at the RaoulDandurand Chair in Strategic and Diplomatic Studies, adjunct professor in the Department of Geography at uqam, and the Quebec lead of the Borders in Globalization program (University of Victoria). She has published several books and book chapters as well as scientific papers and reports on borders, gender in politics, American politics, and border walls. She is also a regular columnist for the Canadian National Network (Radio-Canada) as well as for the newspaper Le Devoir. She received the 2017 Richard Morrill Outreach Award from the American Association of Geographers, and she is a 2020 Fellow of the Canadian International Council.
Abegweit First Nation Biodiversity and Enhancement Hatchery (pei), 197 abortion and reproductive rights, 152–4, 156, 161, 167; and Roe v. Wade (US), 153–4, 161 Ackerly, Brooke, 34, 85; Feminist Methodologies for International Relations, 85 Act for the Gradual Enfranchisement of Indians, 198–9 activism, women’s: role of the arts in, 176–9; shaped by conservative movement in US, 152–4, 214; strategies and support for, 175–85, 187, 215; value of diversity to, 180 Afghanistan, 104, 179; Kandahar Air Field, 99 Ahmed, Sara, 86 Alberta, 126, 172, 180–1; oil sector in, 126; sexual assault trial in (2015), 186 Albright, Madeleine, 56, 57, 211; use of jewellery as signal, 56 Allen, Mike, 57 Amnesty International, 196 Anderson, Kim, 204; Strong Women Stories, 204 Armijo, Marcos B., 158; Marcos B. Armijo Park (El Paso, Texas), 158 Athanassiou, Cerelia, 63 Attawapiskat First Nation, 204 Atwood, Margaret, 152, 177; The Handmaid’s Tale, 152, 177
Audette, Michèle, 203 auto-reflexive analysis, 22, 23–7, 35–6 Azuela, Mariano, 158; Los de Abajo, 158 Barrera, Jorge, 203 Barzun, Matthew, 51 Bennett, R.B., 181 Black, Jaime, 178–9; and the redress Project, 178–9 Black Lives Matter movement, 215 Border Network for Human Rights, 156 Botswana, 32 Bouka, Yolande, 26 Boundless Across Borders, 157–8 Bourdieu, Pierre, 44–5, 46, 68 British Columbia: and Highway 16 (“Highway of Tears”), 195; and McIvor v. Canada, 199; resource extraction in, 196 British North America (bna) Act, 172–4, 198; definition of “Persons” in, 172–4 Brownmiller, Susan, 100; Against Our Will, 100 Buckle, Jennifer L., 23 Burkina Faso, 27, 29–30 Burleigh, Nina, 50 Butler, Judith, 7; and “gender performativity,” 7; Gender Trouble, 7 Callwood, June, 183; Nellie’s, 183 Canada, 23, 30, 41, 68, 69n4; colonialism
224 and decolonization in, 13–14, 192–204, 212; gendered labour in, 131; and gender parity in government, 3–4, 122; and relationship with United States, 65–6; and responsibility for Indigenous reparations, 200–4; and soft/hard/smart power, 64–6. See also colonialism, impact of on Indigenous women and communities Canadian Armed Forces (caf), 99–115, 121– 43; gender equality in, 121–2, 129–37, 138; gender parity in, 4, 112–13, 115, 122, 134; sexual harassment and abuse in, 13, 99, 100, 109; treatment of lgbtq in, 100, 102. See also additional entries under Canadian Armed Forces (caf) Canadian Armed Forces (caf), gendered violence in, 99–115, 210; criminal charges related to, 110–11, 114; and culture of reporting, 113–14, 115; and Operation Honour, 210; under relationship of authority, 107; roots of, 100–2, 105, 107; undermining trust, 102, 107 Canadian Armed Forces (caf), institutional culture of, 100–6, 121–43; and chain of command, 107–8, 110–12, 115; changes to, 105–14; gendered nature of, 104–6, 129– 37, 138–42; and role of civilian oversight, 105, 106; and stigmatization, 134, 141–2 Canadian Armed Forces (caf), spousal employment in, 13, 121–43; affected by moves, promotions, 124–6, 137; and dualservice couples, 136–7, 211; and financial vulnerability, 124, 126–7; and gendered labour practices, 138–42; impact of dependent children on, 130–5, 137, 142, 211; and perceived lack of reliability, 124–5, 126, 127; policies, programs, resources related to, 121–2, 123, 125, 127, 137–41; and the two-person career, 129–30, 132, 142; and unemployment/underemployment, 123– 5, 127–8, 135–6 Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, 183, 199 Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, 134 Canadian Museum for Human Rights (Winnipeg), 178
index Carignan, Jennie, 67–8, 179–80, 211 Cary, Mary Ann Shadd, 182 Casgrain, Thérèse, 182 Charlesworth, Hilary, 9 Charlton v. Ling, 172 Chinkin, Christine, 9 civil rights activism, 182, 214–15 climate change, impact of on Indigenous communities, 196–7 Clinton, Bill, 152 Clinton, Hillary, 54–7, 58, 59–63, 64, 152, 160–1, 166; and the Clinton pantsuit, 55–6; and smart power, 54, 59–63; and women’s empowerment, 61 Cohn, Carol, 86 Collins, Patricia Hill, 23 colonialism, impact of on Indigenous women and communities, 192–204, 212; abrogation of governance structures, 194, 198; assimilation, 193, 194, 199, 200; as cultural genocide, 203; dispossession of territories, 192, 194, 198; disruption of gender relations, 192, 198; imposition of Indian Act, 192–3, 195–6, 198–200, 203; and violence, 194–6, 203. See also Indigenous women, violence against; National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (mmiwg) Come From Away, 65 Compaoré, Nadège, 11, 12, 213–14; and positionality, 11, 12 “Congrats, You Have an All-Male Panel!,” 4 conservative movement (US), 152–5, 160–2; effect of 2016 election campaign on, 152– 3, 161; inspiring women to enter politics, 152, 164–5, 167; misogyny in, 152; resistance to, 151–2, 155, 160; role of Religious Right in, 161, 164 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (cedaw) (1981), 10, 195 Corbin-Dwyer, Sonya, 23 Coronado, Irasema, 13, 214 Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence (2014), 10
index Craig, Elaine, 185–6 Crenshaw, Kimberlé, 7; and intersectionality, 7 Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (undrip), 196, 200 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (daca), 156–7, 160, 166 Deloitte, 180; Outcomes over Optics, 180 Democratic Party (US), 58, 153, 159–60 Department of National Defence (Canada), 213 Deschamps, Marie, 100 Deschamps inquiry, 99; Deschamps Report, 13, 100, 109 Descheneaux decision (2015), 199 Diocesan Migrant and Refugee Services, 156 Dreamers. See Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (daca) Drimonis, Toula, 13, 214 Dworkin, Andrea, 8, 153 Eagleton-Pierce, Matthew, 24; and reflexive knowledge production, 24 Early, Mary Two-Axe, 182 Edwards, Henrietta Muir, 173–5, 181, 187 Eichler, Maya, 7, 12, 78, 79, 81–92, 93, 213; and “militarized masculinity,” 7 El Paso, Texas, 13, 155–60, 167; bi-national families in, 156; and Braids Across the Border (20 January 2017), 157–8; concerns of residents, 155–8, 160, 166–7; El Segundo Barrio, 158–9; Paso Del Norte Group, 159; Women’s March (21 January 2017), 157, 158–60 Emily’s List, 164 England, Kim, 24, 25 English, Allan, 108 Enloe, Cynthia, 6, 9, 86; Bananas, Beaches and Bases, 6 environmental activism, 155–6 Escobar, Veronica, 159–60 European Parliament, 3, 64 Evans, Kellylee, 178 Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (eiti), 21, 23, 30, 35
225 Fallon, Jimmy, 152; tousling Donald Trump’s hair, 152, 168n4 Famous Five, 13, 171–87, 215; made honorary senators, 186–7; and the Persons Case, 171–5, 180–3, 185–6, 215 Famous Five Foundation, 183 Farrell, Theo, 109 female public figures: racializing, sexualizing of, 57; and scrutiny of clothing, 55–9, 152; vilifying of, 160–1; vulnerability of to online abuse, 181 feminist research methodologies, in international relations, 10–12, 76–94, 213, 215– 16; context for, 77–80; epistemology in, 77–9, 95n12; and feminist research design, 84–6, 93; and feminist research ethic, 78– 9, 85–7, 90; importance of gender to, 77, 79, 84, 86, 91; and post–positivism, 77, 79– 80, 85; rationalist, 77–8; and self-reflexivity, 87–8, 91, 93 feminist scholarship, 5–12, 34, 89, 93; ethical dimensions of, 10–11; in international law, 7–10; and second wave feminism, 5–6, 7; and suffragist movement, 7; and third wave feminism, 7–8 feminist security studies (fss), 84, 87 Ferarro, Geraldine, 152 fieldwork, dynamics of: age, 26, 27, 29, 32–4, 36–7; gender, 21–2, 26, 28–9, 32–4, 36; insider and/or outsider status, 22, 23–4, 26– 8, 30–1, 34, 36–7, 213; intersectionality of, 22, 26, 28–35, 36, 214; and positionality, 21–37; and power, 25–6 Floyd, George, protests following murder of, 214–15 Ford, Catherine, 186 foreign policy, gendered metaphorical dichotomies in, 45–8, 46, 56, 70n21. See also soft/hard power Freeland, Chrystia, 64 Gabon, 21, 23, 29, 33, 35 Garcia, Sylvia, 159–60 gender: defined, 122; gender conformity, 43, 48, 55–9, 60–2; gender dynamics in fieldwork, 21–2, 26, 28–9, 33–4, 36; gender
226 identity, 7, 8–9, 11, 67; gender performativity, 7, 55–6; in international relations studies, 66–7, 77–80, 81, 83–4, 86, 90, 213– 14; reimagined, 67–8 gender binaries, 7, 43–59, 46, 60–2, 65, 67–8, 70n22; hierarchy of, 44, 50, 59, 67 gendered metaphors in security, 41–68, 211. See also soft/hard power gendered violence and sexual assault, 3, 7, 10, 100, 153, 186; in the Canadian Armed Forces, 99–115; Indigenous victims of, 194–6, 201, 203, 212; in the military, 102, 105, 110–12, 210. See also Canadian Armed Forces (caf), gendered violence in; National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (mmiwg) gender equality: activism and advocacy for, 81, 164, 167, 173, 178, 181–3, 195–6, 200; in feminist theory and practice, 6, 8, 10, 66, 213–14; in the military, 101–2, 107, 121–2, 130, 138; in the workplace, 8, 122–43, 197 Gender Equity in Indian Registration Act (Bill C-3), 199 GenForward, 152 Ghana, 21, 23, 27, 28–33, 35 Ghandi, Indira, 47 Gilev, Anna, 177–8; Window on Persons, 177– 8, 179 Gilligan, Carol, 8 Goldman Sachs, 52; 10,000 Women Initiative, 52 Gordon, Jessica, 204; #IdleNoMore, 204 Guttmacher Institute, 153 Haig-Brown, Celia, 200–1 Haley, Nikki, 50–1, 65 Halifax, Nova Scotia, sexual assault trial in (2017), 185–6 Hamilton, Sharon, 13, 215–16 Harding, Sandra, 78–9 hard power. See soft/hard power Harper, Stephen, 203; Harper government cuts, 202 Harris, Angela B., 8 Harris, Kamala, 212 Hassan-Cournol, Alia, 163, 165
index Heath, Victoria, 178; What If Women Ruled the World?, 178 Henderson, Frances B., 35 hooks, bell, 8, 93 Hudson, Valerie, 86 Humphrey, Justin, 152 #IdleNoMore, 204 Indian Act, 192–3, 196, 198, 199, 203; and Bill C-31 (Gender Equity in Indian Registration Act), 199; and Bill S-3 (An Act to amend the Indian Act), 195–6, 199–200; constitutionality of, 199; and definitions of identity, 198–9; gender-based discrimination in, 195–6, 198–9; as tool of colonialism, 196, 203 Indian Residential School System (irs), 192–4, 198, 200–1; trauma and other lasting effects of, 193, 194 Indigenous rights, 9, 192–204; activism for, 178–9, 182; and cultural genocide, 200; and reconciliation, 192, 200–1, 204; and the Sixties Scoop, 203; United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (undrip), 196, 200. See also colonialism, impact of on Indigenous women and communities; Indian Act Indigenous women: empowerment of, 197, 198; impacts of colonial policies, practices on, 14, 182, 192–204, 212; in the labour market, 197; leadership and education roles played by, 204. See also Indian Act; Indigenous women, violence against Indigenous women, violence against, 192–3, 196, 201–4, 212; identified as genocide, 203; related to colonial practices, 192–3, 194–6, 203. See also National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (mmiwg) Institutes of Medicine, 113 InterAmerican Commission on Human Rights, 195; Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in British Columbia, Canada, 195 international law, 212; feminist theory in, 7–11 international relations: and autoethnogra-
index phy and reflexive knowledge, 24–5; and colonialism, 86, 90; feminist challenges to, 6–7, 10–11, 34, 76–94, 210–16; and soft/hard power, 41–68; and the university, 88–91. See also research methodologies intersectionality, 7, 8–9, 22, 26, 28–35, 36, 57, 91, 214 Irigaray, Luce, 8 Janz, Heidi, 178 Jensen, Rebecca, 13, 210 Joe, Francyne D., 13, 192–204, 212 Johnson, Lyndon B., 53 Johnson, Mark, 43 Kahneman, Daniel, 45 Kaplan, William, 179; Why Dissent Matters, 179 Keohane, Robert O., 79 Kitchen, Veronica, 78, 93 Klostermann, Janna, 187 Lakoff, George, 43–4 Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center, 156 Lawrence, Bonita, 204; Strong Women Stories, 204 League of Nations, 181 Leddy, Lianne C., 13, 193, 212 Luxton, Meg, 131 Madero, Francisco, 158 Mandamin, Josephine, 201 Manitoba, female suffrage in, 176–7 Maputo Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa (2003), 10 McAdam, Sylvia, 204; #IdleNoMore, 204 McCaskill, Claire Connor, 58 McClung, Nellie, 172–5, 176–7, 180, 183, 185, 187 McDiarmid, Margo, 202 McGregor, Deborah, 201 McIvor v. Canada, 199 McKinney, Louise C., 173–5, 180, 187 McKinnon, Catherine, 8 McLean, Sheelah, 204; #IdleNoMore, 204
227 McMahon, Patricia I., 173, 182, 186 McPhedran, Marilou, 184 Meir, Golda, 47 Merkel, Angela, 65 Merrigan, Chrissy, 185–6 methodologies. See research methodologies #MeToo movement, 152, 164, 166, 167, 181, 210 Mexico, 153, 156; Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, 156–7 military culture, 100–5; and “ambivalent sexism,” 103–5; conflation of warriorhood and masculinity in, 101, 102, 103–5, 133; gendered nature of, 67–8, 101–2, 104–5, 129–37, 211. See also entries under Canadian Armed Forces (caf) Minow, Martha, 8 Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. See National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (mmiwg) Mitchell, Grant, 183–4 Mohanty, Chandra, 86 Monforte, Tanya, 12, 211 Montgomery, Sue, 165 Montreal, Quebec, 13, 155, 165, 167; women running for public office in, 165; Women’s March (21 January 2017), 162–3 Morris, Marika, 180; Women’s Leadership Matters, 180 Mukhopadhyay, Maitrayee, 86 Mullings, Beverley, 27, 36 Mulvaney, Mick, 50 Murphy, Emily, 172–6, 181–3, 186–7; and Janey Canuck books, 176; and the Persons Case, 171–5, 180, 182, 184 Nash, Laura, 134–5; and discrimination complaint against Canadian Armed Forces, 134 National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (mmiwg), 193, 194–5, 201–4, 212; hampered by inconsistent data, 202; mandates of, 195; recommendations of, 195; report of, 203; and staffing challenges, 203 Native Women’s Association of Canada (nwac), 5, 192, 193, 194–7, 199; Labour
228 Market Development Programs, 197; Sisters in Spirit (sis), 194–5, 202 nato countries, military in, 101–2, 213; and sexual assault, 99, 210; women’s service in, 101 Nelson, Julie A., 44–5, 70n22 Nilan, Pamela, 24 North American Free Trade Agreement (nafta), 155–6 Nozel, Susanne, 54; and smart power, 54 Nsteane, Gabo, 31–2 Nye, Joseph, 41, 51, 59, 62–3; and smart power, 54; and soft/hard power, 41, 47–9, 51 Obama, Barack, 51–2, 64, 157, 160; Obama administration, 51–2, 62, 64 Ocasio-Cortez, Alexandria, 4, 212 Omar, Ilhan, 4 O’Rourke, Beto, 159 Otto, Dianne, 43, 67 Papanek, Hanna, 129; and the “two-person career,” 129–30 Parlby, Irene, 173–5, 180–1, 187 Parpart, Jane, 86 Paterson, Barbara, 178 Peltier, Autumn, 201 Pence, Mike, 161 Perron, Sandra, 100 Persons Case, 171–5, 176, 178, 180–3, 185–6; commemorations and legacy of, 183–5 Peters, Irene, 201 Peterson, V. Spike, 131; and the “feminised privatisation of survival,” 131–2 Pillay, Navi, 10 Pinker, Steven, 47, 61 Planned Parenthood (US), 161 Plante, Valerie, 165 positionality (age, race, gender, education, citizenship) in fieldwork, 11, 12, 21–37, 213–14 Powell, Dina, 52, 53–4 Power, Samantha, 62, 65 Pressley, Ayanna, 4
index Privy Council, Judicial Committee of (UK), 13, 174–5, 183, 215 Pussyhat Project, 151–2, 163; and the Pussyhat movement, 155, 214 Quebec: female suffrage in, 182; sexual assault trial in (2017), 186 queer theory, 7, 9 rcmp, 194; report on missing and murdered Aboriginal women (2014), 202 Reclaiming Power and Place (report of National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls), 203; Calls for Justice, 203 redress Project, 178–9 Regan, Paulette, 86 Republican Party (US), 58, 153, 161, 164 research methodologies: and autoethnography, 24–5; auto-reflexive analysis, 22, 23–7, 35–6; colonial, 86, 88, 90; feminist, 10–12, 76–94, 213–16; Indigenous, 79–80, 86, 90; and neopositivist empiricism, 24; and positionality, 11, 12, 21–37, 213–14 Resistance School, 152 Rhenshon, Jonathan, 45 Rice, Condoleezza, 56–7, 211; commentary on clothing of, 56–7 Roblin, Rodmond, 176 Rome Statute, 10 Rothkopf, David, 41, 50 Rowell, Newton Wesley, 175, 184; RowellSirois commission, 184 Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, 204 Russia, 50, 64, 81 Ruth, Nancy, 184 Rwanda, 10, 26; International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, 10 Sackfur, Stephen, 51 Sadat, Anwar, 53 Sajjan, Harjit S., 121 Sankey, Lord, 175, 182 Sarson, Leah, 12, 80–92, 213
index Schriock, Stephanie, 164 Scott, Duncan Campbell, 200 Scott, Joan, 122 Senate (Canada), 172–5, 183, 186–7; and the Persons Case, 172–5, 185–7, 215 Sex and the City, 56 sexism: hostile, benevolent, and ambivalent, 103; in US election (2016), 160–2, 165 sexual identity, 86; in the military, 100, 101, 102, 104, 137; and violence, 203 Sharpe, Robert J., 173, 182, 186 She Should Run, 164 Shoemaker, Paul, 175, 182; Can’t Not Do, 175 Shook, Teresa, 162–3 Sjoberg, Laura, 86 smart power, 53, 54–66; gender non-binary quality of, 60, 62; used by men, 64–6. See also soft/hard power Smith, Heather, 12, 78, 79–80, 82–93, 213 Smith, Linda Tuhiwai, 86 Social Ventures Partners International, 175, 182 soft/hard power, 41–68, 69n4, 211; in Canadian foreign policy, 64–6; defined, 48–9; feminist analysis of, 42–3; gendering of, 43–66, 68, 211; in US foreign policy, 49, 50–4, 62. See also smart power Sonin, Gillian Leigh, 163 South Africa, 10, 21, 29, 30, 35, 37n2 Spanner, Leigh, 13, 211 Spence, Theresa, hunger strike of, 204 Status of Women Canada, 182 Stern, Maria, 84, 85; Feminist Methodologies for International Relations, 85 St Jean, Idola, 182 Strong, Secured, Engaged, 13 Suh, Krista, 151 Sultana, Farhana, 25 Supreme Court of Canada, 173–5, 182–3; and formalist interpretation of bna Act, 173–4; and “living tree” approach to constitutional interpretation, 180–5; and Reference re Same-sex marriage, 183. See also Persons Case Svendsen, Lars, 55; Philosophy: A Fashion, 55
229 Sykes, Courtland, 58 Syria, 50, 51, 64 Texas: access to abortion in, 154; women running for public office in, 165. See also El Paso, Texas Thatcher, Margaret, 47 Tickner, J. Ann, 6–7, 79, 85; Gender in International Relations, 6; and hegemonic masculinity, 6–7 #TimesUp movement, 166 Tlaib, Rashida, 4 Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Teaching and Working Farm (Yukon), 197 Trudeau, Justin, 3, 64–6, 201, 202; soft power diplomacy of, 64–6; symbolism of handshake with Donald Trump, 65–6; and women’s rights, 64 True, Jacqui, 34, 85; Feminist Methodologies for International Relations, 85 Trump, Donald, 3–4, 13, 51–2, 55, 57, 58, 61– 2, 65–6, 151–2, 160, 161, 164, 165, 168n4, 214; and border wall, 156, 159, 160; and denigrating of Mexicans, 156, 159, 160; sexist rhetoric of, 161, 214; symbolism of handshake with Justin Trudeau, 65–6. See also Trump administration Trump, Ivanka, 52, 65 Trump administration, 50–4, 65, 153–5, 159, 160, 166–7, 214; and asylum seekers, 160, 166; soft/hard power in, 51–4; and threat of deportations, 155, 156, 160, 166; and travel ban order, 53, 71n44; and women’s health, reproductive rights, 153–4, 161 Truth and Reconciliation Commission (trc), 200–1; calls to action, 201; and development projects, 201 Tuckey, Sarah, 12, 78, 81–92, 93, 213 Unger, Betty E., 184 United Nations, 50–1, 62, 154, 181; Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (cedaw), 10, 195; Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (undrip),
230 196, 200; Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security, 3, 67, 210, 211, 212; un Women, 10 United States, 3–4, 30, 41, 48, 68, 69n4, 212, 216; conservative movement in, 151–67; and gender parity in government, 3–4, 163–4, 165, 167; relationship with Canada, 65–6; reproductive rights, women’s health in, 152–6, 161; and soft/hard/smart power, 45, 49–54; status of “Dreamers” (daca) in, 156–7, 160, 166; status of refugees in, 65, 166–7 United States, election 2016, 3, 152–3, 160–2, 163–4; anti-Mexican, anti-immigrant rhetoric in, 155; mobilizing effect of on women candidates, 163–6, 167; sexism and misogyny in, 160–2 United States military, 104, 112, 113, 158; sexual assault in, 99, 110–11, 210; and Tailhook scandal, 106 Vallet, Élisabeth, 13, 214 Van Susteren, Greta, 50–1 Villa, Pancho, 158 Walt, Stephen, 49 Warren, Elizabeth, 58, 212
index Wax, Rosalie, 26 Weber, Max, 79 What If Women Ruled the World?, 178 Wibben, Annick, 79, 84, 86 Williams, Patricia, 8 Wilson, Nina, 204; #IdleNoMore, 204 Women in International Security-Canada (wiis-Canada), 79, 93, 94; 2017 workshop, 5, 76, 174, 177–80, 184, 185, 192, 212 Women in the World Summit, 50 Women’s Convention, 152 Women’s Marches, 13, 151–67, 214; Braids Across the Border (El Paso, Texas, 20 January 2017), 157–8; El Paso, Texas (21 January 2017), 157, 158–60; Montreal, Quebec (21 January 2017), 162–3, 165; pussyhat as icon of, 151, 160, 162–3, 166, 214; repercussions of, 166–7; themes of, 159, 160; Washington, dc (21 January 2017), 151–2, 160, 162, 177 Wong, Cathy, 162–3, 165 World Bank, 195 Wright, Shelley, 9 Zalewski, Marysia, 86 Zweiman, Jayna, 151