The G question, always throws me… ‘where is the gender analysis in that?’ … ah… uhm…. yes of course, not problem, its just….

So it happened again tonight at the PhD roundtable, we were discussing someone’s work about gender and and the 1913 lockout, interesting stuff says I – in a ‘has nothing to do with what I am doing’, sort of a way.

The reading was an article providing a framework for taking a gender analysis to history, not the easiest read, but ploughed through it happily enough, and if I am honest did not think about it too much.  Grand stuff, job done.

Until… so, Anna, how do you think this reading is relevant to your work?

Don’t get me wrong, I am a ‘feminist’ (see earlier blog),  in fact I would say I am pretty clear about the gender equality case, and what it means in my life and in society more generally.  I am after all a working mother, loads of gender stuff going on there.  But could I honestly say I deeply connect with the women’s movement? Probably not, though I am not sure why.  Maybe a movement of 50% of the population, is just to diverse to feel a deep sense of connection to the entire thing?  Bits of it absolutely – violence against women, abortion, childcare, employment discrimination, sharing care work – all subjects I would get out on the streets for (and likely bore the pants of an unsuspecting relative after a few drinks).  And yet still, somehow the whole gender thing, just does not seem to crop up instinctively for me.

So, what does all this have to do with my thesis… probably needs more than the back of an envelope response but here is a start:

  1. Gender informs different NGOs in different ways  – generalised women’s organisations, specific issue based orgs that disproportionatley affect women, and others who do (or at least should) integrate a women’s persective in their work.
  2. Who does the advocacy and on whose behalf – why is the CEO of the Irish Nurses Organisation a man? Does it matter?
  3. If the ‘targets’ of advocacy are by definition more mainstream, how does gender play out – often women are accused of being ‘screechy’ in the media, not a charge you are likley to hear against men.
  4. Another interesting though from today’s roundtables: the ‘Us and I’ conflict. Women talk about ‘the movement’ or ‘we’, men tend to talk more about ‘I did’ – this was a historical take but does resonate with NGO activism today.

Just thoughts, but this is likely to play out, and I should probably get my head around it (at last?!) … not least in the the case studies I select.

“the subordination of women pre-dates capitalism and continues under socialism”

“We can write the history of that process only if we recognise that ‘man’ and ‘women’ are at once empty and overflowing categories”

(Joan W. Scott, 1986)