Communities are contested spaces, and women continue to struggle to claim their places within them. Equality for all women in every sphere of life has yet to be achieved in any country. However, this is not a statement for despair because much has been achieved in the decades since CEDAW was endorsed by the UN. Women are playing more important roles in their communities, whether these are located at the local, national, international or virtual level(s). Forming alliances across the many social divisions and physical boundaries that divide diverse groups of women becomes crucial in further progressing the goal of eliminating gendered inequalities (Mohanty, 2003). This chapter concludes by arguing for recognising and strengthening women’s engagement in public relational space alongside that occurring in private relational space in the home and community; encouraging women’s full participation in decision making at the local, national and international levels on all matters that affect their lives; creating the social resources to facilitate such involvement, such as childcare provisions; and engaging men in doing housework and caring work. Thus, I conclude the book by calling for women’s work in communities to become more visible, celebrated and valued and to involve men in delivering what has been traditionally considered ‘women’s work’.
Communities, however defined, specify women’s location and the spaces wherein they lead their lives, caring for and supporting others, while also seeking to realise their full potential as women wanting to engage with and contribute to wider society in their own right. Women are grounded in the locations wherein they reside among people with whom they have relationships.
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