Gender and Civil Society: Time for Cross-Border Dialogue

Authored by: Jude Howell

Categories: Statebuilding
Sub-Categories: Democratization and Political Participation, Political Transitions
Region: No Region
Year: 2007
Citation: Howell, Jude. “Gender and Civil Society: Time for Cross-Border Dialogue.” Social Politics: Gender, Civil Society, and Participation 14, no. 4 (2007): 415-36.

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Executive Summary

This article sets out to provide a framework for thinking about the gendered nature of civil society. The first section looks at how civil society researchers, both past and present, have failed to provide any analysis of the gendered relations of civil society. This is not least because the family is posited as a residual boundary-marker for the purposes of clearing the analytic path for the investigation of state-civil society relations. Similarly, feminist researchers have not reworked civil society theories to explain the engendering of civil society, a key reason for this being that civil society is not an organizing category for analyzing gender relations. In the final section we propose a framework of analysis that uses a circuit of gender relations to trace the flow of gendered norms, values, and practices across the sites of the state, market, civil society, and the family.