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)


Whose Rights, Which Rights?

Debates about abortion rights and the marriage for all or the hostility towards feminists and gender studies are making it undeniable - women's and gender rights have increasingly been called into question and attacked. The podcast 'Whose Rights, Which Rights?' takes up these conflicts over gender, equality and the formulation and implementation of legal claims. In each episode we take a closer look at one aspect of the topic, such as fundamentalist religion, the 'care crisis' or growing right-wing populism. The podcast is based on a cooperation between the research group Hertz 87.9 campus radio. Based on the current state of the debate, we will explore the respective research area of the fellows in each episode and ask more precisely how and why women?s and gender rights are being attacked. As this is an international research group, all interviews are conducted in English.

Music: Broke für Free - Melt (CC BY 3.0), Mello C - Deporaju (CC BY-NC 4.0)

Episode 1: Introducing the research group (Heidemarie Winkel, Alexandra Scheele, Julia Roth)

In the first episode we introduce the interdisciplinary research group of the ZiF and its convenors. We discuss the three main research topics: gender division of labor and care work, authoritarian forms of religion and their instrumentalization as well as the gendering of citizenship and the questioning of sexual rights.

Guests: PD Dr. Alexandra Scheele, Prof. Heidemarie Winkel, Prof. Julia Roth

Episode 2: Feminist critiques of religion (Ina Kerner)

Feminist and scientific critiques of religion are important for different reasons. In this episode, we clarify why with Prof. Dr. Ina Kerner. Katharina Ußling also discusses with Ina Kerner the appropriation of criticism of religion by right-wing groups, especially the AfD, and the mixing of feminism with anti-Muslim racism.

Guests: Prof. Dr. Ina Kerner

Episode 3: Religious and secular women´s movements (Fatima Sadiqi, Shirin Zubair)

Women and gender movements exist all over the world, and while they often fight for the same goals, there is no one feminist movement or the one feminism. In this episode we talk about the relationship between religious and secular women´s movements in Pakistan and the countries of North Africa. Katharina Ußling talks to Prof. Fatima Sadiqi and Prof. Shirin Zubair about the influence of Western values, modernity, the Arab Spring and the instrumentalization of religion by extremist groups.

Guests: Prof. Fatima Sadiqi, Prof. Shirin Zubair

Episode 4: How are gender and reproductive rights questioned today? (Andrea Pető)

Only 55% of all women worldwide are physically self-determined. Almost half of all women cannot decide whether to have sex, have children or seek medical care. And we’re not even talking about LGBTQIA rights yet. Is a dystopian world à la Margaret Atwood’s “The handmaid’s tale” more conceivable than we would like to imagine? What influence do right-wing conservative and right-wing populist governments, as in Hungary or Poland, have on sexual and reproductive rights throughout Europe? Katharina Ußling talks about this with Prof. Andrea Pető, lecturer at the Department of Gender Studies at Central European University, which study programm is currently no longer allowed to be accredited in Hungary.

Guests: Prof. Andrea Pető

Episode 5: Right-wing populism and the anti-gender movement (Birgit Sauer, Julia Roth)

Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, Victor Orban in Hungary or Sebastian Kurz in Austria – countries all over the world are still or again governed by right-wing conservative to right-wing populist politicians. But right-wing populist views and gender-hostile ideologies can also be found in our entire environment, among friends, at work, or in the family. How does the anti-gender discourse influence our daily lives, social debate and political discourse? What impact does it have on women’s and LGBTIQ rights? In this episode, Katharina Ußling talks about this with Prof. Birgit Sauer, Professor of political science at the University of Vienna and Prof. Julia Roth, Professor of American Studies at Bielefeld University.

Guests: Prof. Birgit Sauer, Prof. Julia Roth

Episode 6: Women’s rights in Nigeria (Onyinye Durueke)

What happens when powerful people, companies and politicians exploit a country because it is rich in oil and gas? What does the fight for women’s rights look like when education is a scarce resource? This episode is about a very specific field study in Nigeria. Katharina Ußling talks about contestations when it comes to natural resource governance in the Niger Delta communities in Nigeria with Dr. Onyinye Durueke, a Peace, Conflict and Security Studies Scholar with special focus on Gender. Currently, she is a Senior Lecturer with the Centre for Conflict and Gender Studies, at the University of Port Harcourt in Nigeria.

Guests: Dr. Onyinye Durueke