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Translating Gender Justice in Southeast Asia: Situated Ethics, NGOs, and Bio-Welfare

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This essay shows that regardless of existing laws and prominent female leaders, gender justice as a value must be attuned to the situated ethics of the majority populations in order to gain social legitimacy. Since the 1980s, NGO movements for reformasi, or reform, and democrasi have intervened on women’s behalf in a variety of areas—Muslim feminism, political violence, and the abuse of maids, sex workers, and migrants. They have had to modify rights-based strategies in accordance with religious, legal, and economic conditions. Universalizing gender rights articulate situated fields of power that contest or qualify imposed regulatory systems of humanitarian values. It is important to acknowledge that gender justice intervenes in webs of power that can thwart its regulation as well as form new alliances of solidarity. Gender justice and rights cannot be unilaterally imposed, but are transmitted and translated through negotiations with situated religious and citizenship norms. In postcolonial milieus, ideals of gender justice interact with diverse ethical regimes to shape the conditions of possibility for problematizing gender and possible solutions to gender inequality that cannot be predetermined.

Affiliations: 1: University of California Berkeley, Email: aihwaong@berkeley.edu

10.1163/156920811X575523
/content/journals/10.1163/156920811x575523
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/content/journals/10.1163/156920811x575523
2011-01-01
2016-09-25

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