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  • Author or Editor: Sylvia Walby x
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This article analyses the gender dimension of the European Commission’s proposals to revise the governance of the European Union in response to the crisis by increasing the powers of the European Union level. The proposed change in the location of the subsidiarity boundary has significant gender implications: subsidiarity is gendered. The alternative strategies for economic growth and security have implications for democracy and gender equality. The concepts of ‘gender regime’ (and its social-democratic and neoliberal varieties) and ‘project’ are developed and applied. The possibility of the embedding of the gender-equality project in the new institutions proposed by the Commission is discussed.

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The theory of crisis and society is advanced by developing a complex systems analysis and is applied to the COVID-19 pandemic. Five issues are identified, discussed and resolved: the definition of crisis; whether a crisis is treated as real or as a socially constructed narrative, or both; the underlying concept and theory of society and its alternative forms; and the different kinds of change in relationship between crisis and society (recuperation, intensification, transformation and catastrophe). This complex systems approach to crisis is applied to the COVID-19 pandemic, analysing the cascade of the crisis through institutional domains and the consequent changes to multiple regimes of inequality.

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This article aims to mainstream gender into the measurement of violence, in order to assist the development of the theory of change needed to support actions to end violence. It addresses the division between gender-neutral and women-only strategies of data collection that is failing to deliver the quality evidence needed to address the extent and distribution of violence, developing a better operationalisation of the concepts of gender and violence for statistical analysis, and producing a checklist of criteria to assess the quality of statistics on gendered violence. It assesses the strengths and weakness of surveys linked to two contrasting theoretical perspectives: the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) Survey of Violence Against Women and the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW). It shows how the FRA Survey fails and how the ONS has limited the potential of the CSEW. It therefore offers a solution with a short questionnaire that is fit for purpose as well as ways of analysing data that escape the current polarisation.

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Evaluating the quality of employment and care policy in relation to gender equality is important given the continuing inequalities between men and women in paid and unpaid work. However, assessment raises dilemmas: quality according to what criteria; quality for whom; and quality of what? It is proposed here that good quality means transformation in gender relations towards an equal distribution of paid and unpaid work, equal pay and de-segregation; that sensitivity to differences between women is required, but not the adoption of different quality standards; and that working towards the goal of transformation demands consideration of several interconnected policy arenas. Assessing quality is difficult; but it is possible – and it is crucial to achieving gender equality.

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Modern Slavery in Society

Available Open Access digitally under CC-BY-NC-ND licence.

This book offers a theory of trafficking and modern slavery with implications for policy. Despite economic development, modern slavery persists all around the world. The issue is not only one of crime but the regulation of the economy, better welfare and social protections.

Going beyond polarised debates on the sex trade, an original empirical analysis shows the importance of profit-taking. Although individual experience matters, the root causes lie in intersecting regimes of inequality of gender regimes, capitalism, and the legacies of colonialism. This book shows the importance of coercion and the societal complexities that perpetuate modern slavery.

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The book offers a theory of trafficking and modern slavery with implications for policy through an analysis of evidence, data, and law. Despite economic development, modern slavery persists all around the world. The book challenges the current fragmentation of theory and develops a synthesis of the root causes of trafficking chains. Trafficking concerns not only situations of vulnerability but their exploitation driven by profit-taking. The policy solution is not merely to treat the issue as one of crime but also concerns the regulation of the economy, better welfare, and social protections. Although data is incomplete, methods are improving to indicate its scale and distribution. Traditional assumptions of nation-state sovereignty are challenged by the significance of international law historically. Going beyond the polarization of the debates on sexual exploitation in the sex trade, the book offers an original empirical analysis that shows the importance of a focus on profit-taking. Although individual experience matters, the root causes of trafficking/modern slavery lie in intersecting regimes of inequality of gender regimes, capitalism, and the legacies of colonialism. The book shows the importance of coercion and theorizing society as a complex system.

Open access

Available Open Access under CC-BY-NC licence.

The extent of violence against women is currently hidden. How should violence be measured? How should research and new ways of thinking about violence improve its measurement? Could improved measurement change policy?

The book is a guide to how the measurement of violence can be best achieved. It shows how to make femicide, rape, domestic violence, and FGM visible in official statistics. It offers practical guidance on definitions, indicators and coordination mechanisms. It reflects on theoretical debates on ‘what is gender’, ‘what is violence’, and ‘the concept of coercive control’. and introduces the concept of ‘gender saturated context’. Analysing the socially constructed nature of statistics and the links between knowledge and power, it sets new standards and guidelines to influence the measurement of violence in the coming decades.

Open access

Lethal violence is enormous. There are nearly half a million (437,000) intentional homicides globally each year1

Lethal violence is gendered. Globally, 95% of perpetrators of intentional homicide are male. Every year, intimate partners or family members perpetrate nearly 64,000 intentional homicides; two thirds of victims are female. Half the intentional homicides of women are perpetrated by an intimate partner or other family members, compared to 6% of intentional homicides of men2.

Violence against women is widespread. Globally, one in three women worldwide will experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime; 30% of women who have been in an intimate relationship experience physical or sexual violence from their intimate partner3. In England and Wales, women were the victims in over half (52%) of violent crimes (violence against the person) recorded by the police in 20154. Half of such violent crimes against women were domestic abuse-related, compared to 16% of those against men5.

Violence against women has been increasing, while violence against men is still falling. In England and Wales between 2008/09 and 2013/14, the rate of violent crime against women increased significantly while the rate of violent crime against men decreasedor to collect data on women only. The mainstream framework also requires revision to include the forms of violence disproportionately experienced by women as well as those experienced by men.

This book offers a solution to the current choice between invisibility of gender and segregation of women in the measurement of violence. It offers new thinking on the concept of gender, drawing on developments in gender theory.

Open access

Policies to end violence need statistics that show whether violence is increasing or decreasing. Also important are statistics on variations in the rate and form of violence in different social locations. This is to monitor progress and effectiveness, or otherwise, of policies. Increasingly, policy bodies seeking to end violence have become more explicit in their calls for relevant data, statistics and indicators. These bodies include the UN and its agencies, regional governance entities and states. Drawing on their legally defined mandates, they have been articulating their principles within policies designed to end violence, or at least specific forms of violence.

There are a series of international legal instruments that have called for the ending of violence, in particular gender-based violence against women, at UN and regional levels. These legal instruments are binding on states that sign them; a process shaped by international courts.

The goal of ending violence is not new. After Fascism, the Holocaust and the Second World War (1939–45), several international and transnational entities were established as part of a wideranging peace project, including the UN, the Council of Europe and the EU.

However, the goal of measuring violence in a way that distinguishes between women and men is new.

The relevant international legal instruments include: the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights 27; the 1979 Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)28 and General Recommendation 19 on violence29; the 1993 UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women (DEVAW)30, the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action 31 and the Palermo Convention on Trafficking in Persons 32.

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Producing a coherent and consistent measurement framework requires a coherent and consistent conceptualisation of violence and gender. This conceptual framework is anchored in the principles embedded in international legal instruments and developed through reviews of research.

Because international legal instruments mobilise general concepts and principles, this approach is not the same as identifying violence with specific national criminal codes. The definition of violence depends on the location of the boundary between violence and not-violence. This depends on the understanding of the nature of the act (and intention) and the harm (and non-consent), although not all approaches have considered all these elements to be essential. In addition, it is necessary to address variations in repetition, duration and seriousness. Consistent units of measurement (event, victim and perpetrator) and technical counting rules are also essential for the measurement framework.

Competing approaches to conceptualising gender relations determine whether the measurement framework for violence makes gender invisible, focuses on women or mainstreams gender. Gender relations saturate, shape or inflect many aspects of violence; they are not only its context. Taking gender into account is not only an issue of whether victims and perpetrators are individual men or women. Five different dimensions of gender relations relevant to violence are identified here. These include the gender-saturated relationship between perpetrator and victim, any sexual aspect to the violence and any gender motivation of the perpetrator.

The location of the boundary between violence and not-violence is here ontologically anchored in international law and deepened with research findings.

Open access