‘Investing’ in Women’s Rights: Challenges and new trends

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Women's rights activists and advocates are not the only ones talking about the importance of inclusion of women and girls in the development processes. From the World Bank to corporations, investing in women and girls trend has picked up over the past years. At the same time, AWID's Where is the Money for Women's Rights? 2011 survey results demonstrate very little benefit for women's organizations coming from corporations. Angelika Arutyunova argues that inclusion of women's organizations in finding solutions for women's and girls problems is essential and not only as beneficiaries but as agents of change.

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... Philanthropic interventions in international development have often focused on the importance of women and girls, including female education, in international development(Haydon et al. 2021). Central to philanthrocapitalists' ideas and solutions to the problems in the developing world is the education of girls and their employment(Aruyunova 2012). Women and girls are presented as a panacea to the complex socio-economic problems, as economic actors with market potentials and as profitable investments (Valencia-Fourcans and Hawkins 2016). ...
Technical Report
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This report is a narrative literature review on “The Political Economy of Education Systems in Conflict-Affected Contexts in a Changed World Order 2021” and is aimed at scholars, students, development practitioners, and Ministry of Education policy makers working in conflict-affected contexts. In 2014, Novelli et al. published a rigorous literature review on The Political Economy of Education Systems in Conflict-affected Contexts, and this report seeks to update it, and reflect on what has changed since then. In the original report, (Novelli et al , 2014), they reflected upon some of the changes that had affected education in conflict-affected contexts in the post-Cold War and post-9/11 periods. In conflict-affected contexts, education is being shaped, changed and challenged by global agendas of security, stabilization, pacification, humanitarianism and international development (Novelli et al., 2014). The report highlighted how some of the educational challenges to meeting international developmental goals were most acute in countries affected by conflict (Novelli et al. 2014). Furthermore, it showed how obstacles to educational access were exacerbated by “serious governance and capacity deficits in conflict-affected contexts that make educational reform more challenging and make providing and administrating international development assistance more complex and problematic.” (Novelli et al. 2014, 5) The overall aim of this report “The Political Economy of Education in Conflict-affected Contexts in a Changed World Order” is to revisit, rethink and update the previous one, by incorporating in the analysis new changes, challenges and shifts in the world order and the global governance of education that have emerged since then, and have an impact on and interact with education in conflict-affected contexts. Some of these changes concern a world order that is constantly in the making and shifting to some form that contains both elements of liberal and post-liberal multilateralism, the rise of bilateral, regional and new non-state actors, the shift from liberal peacebuilding to a stabilization agenda, and the emergence of new global trends, threats and global challenges such as climate change, demographic shifts, health pandemics, food insecurity, rising authoritarianism and populism, among others. In line with the previous report, the current one is strongly interdisciplinary and incorporates debates from a range of international development, education and International Relations (IR) sub-fields.
... Within and beyond these MVP examples, articles in this category highlight the perceived importance of women and girls in international development. A popular view amongst philanthrocapitalists is that multiple problems in developing countries can be solved by educating and subsequently employing females (Aruyunova, 2012). Women are presented as 'magic bullets', a solution to a plethora of complex socio-economic challenges. ...
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Philanthrocapitalism—the strategic application of market methods and motives for philanthropic purposes—plays increasingly prominent roles in policy design and implementation at national and international levels. Notwithstanding philanthrocapitalism's growing significance, relevant scholarly discourse remains limited and fragmented. Drawing together diverse debates, our paper systematically reviews and synthesizes academic literature on philanthrocapitalism. Alongside raising questions about the casting and practice of philanthropy, the 186 relevant publications included in our review indicate a strong emphasis of philanthrocapitalism in the areas of education, international development, healthcare and agriculture. Across these, we identify and discuss the importance of three cultural frames: (1) development challenges being framed as scientific problems; (2) beneficiaries being framed as productive entrepreneurs; and (3) philanthropy being framed as social investment. Outlining and critically examining these issues, this work contributes: a comprehensive analysis of key debates and issues; strengthened conceptual clarity and nuance through an evaluative exploration of the multiple interpretations of philanthrocapitalism; and a future research agenda to address persisting knowledge gaps and refine focus.
In this article, we analyze the coverage of Malala in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal to explore how these influential media sources characterize Islam and Pakistan to tell Malala’s story. Our discourse analysis reveals how these newspapers construct Malala’s status as a global icon as an embodiment of her subject position as a girl. This media discourse mobilizes Malala’s agency in relation to her potential as an individual whereas her vulnerability as a young girl is presented in reference to her Muslim heritage and culture. Malala’s image as a global icon, thus, is produced through approaching her as an agent in a culture where girls are vulnerable victims of patriarchy. Through focusing on this media discourse, this article argues that Malala’s image as a global icon of girls’ education has become a site to reinsert, rather than challenge, the dominant images about Islam and Muslim societies.
This article examines the politics, economics, and ethics shaping the recent focus on the adolescent girl from developing countries. It examines discourses and ideals about girlhood that have been produced and mobilized, by whom and for what purposes, how different girls are positioned within these discourses and within the related policies and interventions, and the racial dimensions of these interventions. It responds to these questions through what I call the girl factor: an unprecedented interest of the international development community, policy circles, and corporate sectors in the power and potential of young women from developing countries. Drawing on postcolonial feminist theories, the girl factor is examined within the larger contexts of neoliberal rationality, corporatization of development, and historical continuities in instrumentalizing women for larger political interests. Particular attention is paid to the case of Middle Eastern girls.
This article critically interrogates the ways in which gender equality has been linked to processes of financial deepening, partly via a global coalition of public and private institutions that have come together in recent years to promote an instrumentalist gender equality agenda. Corporations, banks and financial firms are playing an increasingly important role in shaping the contours of the global gender equality agenda and reproducing narratives regarding the need to (1) financially “empower” women, (2) uphold women as the “saviours” of national economies post-2008 and (3) “tap in” to the productive (i.e. profitable) potential of women's bodily capacities. Drawing on Marxist and feminist theory, I develop an approach to theorising the inherently embodied and gendered nature of finance that reveals the ways in which these tropes obscure the labour associated with social reproduction, promote the commodification of women's bodily capacities to produce, and support the differential production of bodies while simultaneously masking embodied forms of difference.
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