ZiF Research Group

Global Contestations of Women's and Gender Rights

October 2020 – July 2021

Convenors: Alexandra Scheele (Bielefeld, GER), Julia Roth (Bielefeld, GER), Heidemarie Winkel (Bielefeld, GER)
Closing Conference of the Research Group Global Contestations of Women's and Gender Rights

Conflicts over Women’s and Gender Rights: Ambivalences and Contradictions

10 - 12 March 2022
Convenors: Alexandra Scheele (Bielefeld, GER), Julia Roth (Bielefeld, GER), Heidemarie Winkel (Bielefeld, GER)

In the academic year 2020/21, the convenors PD Dr. Alexandra Scheele, Prof. Dr. Julia Roth and Prof. Dr. Heidemarie Winkel (all from Bielefeld University) together with more than 20 fellows from different disciplinary backgrounds analyzed the specific mechanisms and patterns of contestations over women’s and gender rights in diverse contexts across the globe. This included a theoretical reconsideration of the causes and structures of gender inequality, such as global capitalism, neoliberalism, nationalisms, authoritarian states or fundamentalist religions, and the reconceptualization of notions of equality in selected contexts and empirically-based reconfiguration of struggles for women’s and gender rights. That way, the inherent contentious nature of equality rights and the development of equality principles as a globally contested terrain came into view – taking the division of labor, citizenship and religion as empirical arenas.

In the closing conference, the group wants to take a closer look at the central patterns and common – unifying – elements in the conflicts over gender rights, in order to better understand the mechanisms of contestation. Most notably, to address the ambivalences, contradictions and tensions between what has been achieved in the struggles for equality on the one hand and the current backlashes and attacks on the other hand. We start from the assumption that women’s and gender rights are claimed globally – despite or even because of women*’s vulnerability. We presume that the articulation of the right to equality is a central prerequisite of the present contestations in the various local conflicts and contexts.

The event will host as key speakers:

  • Prof. Shirin Rai (University of Warwick). She is an interdisciplinary scholar who has written extensively on issues of gender, governance and development and politics and performance.
  • Prof. Nadje Al-Ali (Brown University). She studies feminist activism and gendered mobilization, with a focus on Iraq, Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey and the Kurdish political movement.

The event will be held in a hybrid format. Please register in advance by contacting Marina Hoffmann and indicate if you wish to attend in person (spaces are limited and only possible under 2G+ rules) or online via Zoom.

E-Mail: marina.hoffmann@uni-bielefeld.de


Thursday, 10 March 2022
11:00 – 11:30 Conference Opening
Words of welcome by Véronique Zanetti (ZiF Executive Director) & Convenors of the Research Group
11:30 – 13:00 Keynote: Shirin Rai (Coventry, GBR)
Unknowers and unknowing: Why does the importance and costs of unpaid labour continue to be overlooked in global policy frameworks? (Online)
University of Warwick - Warwick Interdisciplinary Research Centre for International Development (WICID)
Moderation: Alexandra Scheele
13:00 – 14:00 Lunch Break
14:00 – 16:00 Panel I: Ambivalences and contradictions in illiberal, authoritarian and populist contexts and ideological settings
Ligia Fabris (Rio de Janeiro, BRA): Gendered-based political violence and Neo-conservatism: Lessons from Brazil
Andrea Pető (Budapest, HUN / Vienna, AUT): Sexual politics in flux: Actors, agents and strategies
Moderation: Brigit Sauer
16:00 – 16:30 Coffee Break
16:30 – 17:30 Panel II: Reconsidering gender ideologies and gender myths
Heidemarie Winkel (Bielefeld, GER): Sacralization of gender difference: The secular/religious divide, the immanent frame and the male turn in Catholic theology
Moderation: Ina Kerner
17:30 – 18:00 General discussion

Friday, 11 March 2022
9:00 – 11:00 Panel III: Fundamentalist-authoritarian continuities
José Manuel Barreto (Bogotá, COL): Gender ideology's wars: Patterns of the reaction against gender rights in Latin America
Fatima Sadiqi (Fez, MAR): Transformations and ambivalences of women's rights after the Arab Spring
Moderation: Ligia Fabris
11:00 – 11:30 Coffee Break
11:30 – 13:30 Panel IV: Freedom, equality, neo-liberalism? The role of gender inequalities and ideologies
Karsten Schubert (Freiburg, GER): The politics of being left alone. Negative freedom, anti-genderism, and the critique identity politics
Birgit Sauer (Vienna, AUT): Archliberal, illiberal or neoliberal? Anti-gender mobilization of the authoritarian right in Austria and Germany
Martina Sproll (Berlin, GER): The transformation of the social through digitization: Impact on (gender) inequalities
Moderation: Andrea Pető
13:30 – 15:00 Lunch Break
15:00 – 16:30 Keynote: Nadje Al-Ali (Providence, USA)
Beyond Backlash: Reflections on global feminist contestations (Online)
Director Middle East Studies, Brown University, Institute for International & Public Affairs
Moderation: Heidemarie Winkel
16:30 – 17:00 Coffee Break
17:00 – 18:30 Panel V: Ambivalences and contradictions in neoliberal contexts
Verónica Schild (London, CAN): Women's and gender rights without social justice? Latin American lessons on the limits of a neoliberal trade-off
Alexandra Scheele (Bielefeld, GER): The devaluation of care work and its influence on gender equality in Germany
Moderation: Heidemarie Winkel

Saturday, 12 March 2022
9:30 – 10:30 Panel VI: Queer/Feminist Contestations I: Unruly practices
Holly Patch (Bielefeld, GER) / Thomas Hilder (Dragvoll, NOR): From musical asylum to queer choral mobilization
Onyinyechukwu Durueke (Port Hartcourt, NGA): Women’s resistance in Nigeria
10:30 – 11:00 Coffee Break
11:00 – 13:00 Panel VII: Queer/Feminist Contestations II: Organized solidarities & institutionalized representation/contestations
Lívia de Souza Lima (Bielefeld, GER): Black feminist contestations and the re-imagination of political representation in Brazil
Ina Kerner (Koblenz, GER): Towards a postsecular feminist critique of religion
Moderation: Julia Roth