We are currently organising our third annual conference, INTERSECTIONS: Investigating Gender Through an Interdisciplinary Approach, which will showcase postgraduate students’ research on gender at Scottish institutions (with one presenter from an English institution!). This year’s conference is hosted at the University of Edinburgh (home to three of the committee members) and the conference theme is very timely as 2019 marks thirty-years since Kimberlé Crenshaw coined the term ‘intersectionality’.
We are very excited to hear about all of our presenters’ research and thought we would share the fantastic and interesting abstracts with our followers! We will also share the conference programme closer to the event.
INTERSECTIONS: Investigating Gender Through an Interdisciplinary Approach
3rd PGRNS Annual Conference
5th June 2019
Appleton Tower, University of Edinburgh
Casey L. Bevens, University of Edinburgh ‘Men’s Sexual Aggression Against Women: Development of an Online Intrusive Behavior Paradigm’
Sexual Aggression, a term used here inclusively to indicate a continuum of manifestations of unwanted sexual attention and behaviors, covering all acts of unwanted sexual contact from sexual harassment up to and including rape, is an ongoing global problem that disproportionately effects women and girls (Garcia-Moreno et al, 2006; Smith et al., 2017). The present work focuses on male sexual aggression perpetrated by men against women. Sexual aggression is a complex phenomenon, with no unifying theoretical model dominating the field of study (Gannon, Collie, Ward, & Thakker, 2008; Ward & Hudson, 1998). Models that exist tend to fall into several categories, including taxonomies (e.g. Groth et al., 1977; Knight & Prentkey, 1990; Seghorn & Cohen, 1980), micro/rehabilitation theories (e.g. Pithers, 1990; Ward & Hudson, 1998; Polaschek & Hudson, 2004), single factor theories (e.g. psychodynamic, feminist, evolutionary, social-cognitive), and multi-factor theories (e.g. Hall & Hirschman, 1991; Malamuth, 1996; Marshall & Barbaree; 1990; Marshall & Marshall, 2000; Ward & Beech, 2005; Ward & Polaschek, 2006). Due in part to this conceptual complexity and in part to the need for major ethical consideration in creating approaches, attempts at measurement of this construct to date tend to be extremely-somewhat removed from ecological validity. These have largely included self-reports (ASAI- Malamuth, 1989; LSH- Pryor, 1987; ASBI- Mosher & Anderson, 1986; SES- Koss, Gidycz, & Wisniewski, 1987), although some behavioral (e.g. Interpersonal touching paradigm- Pryor, 1987; Rape behavior analogue- Rudman & Mescher, 2012) and physiological (Penile circumference- Abel, Becker, Blanchard, & Djenderedjian, 1978; Earls & Proulx, 1986) measures exist as well. As all of these existing measures have minor and/or major problems, I have developed a behavioral measure, termed the Intrusive Behavior Paradigm (based in part on Diehl, Rees, & Bohner, 2012; Siebler, Sabelus, & Bohner, 2008), which uses Facebook and Facebook messenger as an ecologically valid alternative. This has proven to correlate well with existing measures. Implications will be discussed.
Casey L. Bevens is a third year PhD student in social psychology at the University of Edinburgh, working under the supervision of Dr. Steve Loughnan. She comes originally from the U.S., and completed her undergraduate degree at Berry College in Rome, Georgia, and her master’s degree at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in Lafayette, Louisiana. Her primary area of research is dehumanization and objectification. Her work to date has explored both self-objectification and objectification of others, and she is particularly interested in real-world consequences that disproportionately affect women, including sexual aggression as well as other less overt aggression and violence. Casey enjoys doing psychology research that is ecologically valid, and as a result has been drawn to looking into effects related to online contexts and environments both in her PhD work and side projects. Casey also enjoys her present teaching roles and is a former committee member of PGRNS
Sophie Duncan Shepherd, University of Strathclyde, ‘Trans-cending Vulnerability: Exploring the experiences of gender non-conforming consumers’.
This study focuses on transgender issues within the context of the marketplace. Several global brands, including Magnum and H&M, have included transgender and gender non-conforming people in their advertising. On the one hand, these campaigns may be seen as supporting the destigmatisation of transgender people but, on the other hand, increased visibility brings with it increased risk and evidence suggests that the socio-political environment in which transgender consumers must interact with the marketplace is becoming ever more hostile (McKeage, Crosby and Rittenburg, 2017). As a result, transgender consumers are prone to consumer vulnerability.
Although a strict gender binary is deeply embedded in UK society, little research has been conducted to discover how trans and non-binary people are affected. In marketing and consumer research, gender has been investigated as a variable in consumer behaviour, reflecting the discipline’s roots in behaviourism (Hearn and Hein, 2015). This study builds on this perspective by exploring transgender consumer experiences through the lens of Consumer Culture Theory.
The Consumer Culture Theory (CCT) paradigm, which grew out of a dissatisfaction with existing conceptualisations of consumption as a process of acquiring, using and disposing of a product or service. Within CCT, there is space for feminist perspectives, taking a critical view of gender as a fluid cultural and social category (Arsel, Eräranta and Moisander, 2015). This interpretive study, which is still at an early stage, looks to critically investigate gender nonconformity and vulnerability, taking insight from feminist, queer and intersectional approaches. Using netnography to investigate consumption online and conducting interviews with trans and non-binary consumers will provide rich, in-depth data. It will be important for this study to include a range of perspectives, as trans and non-binary identities are not homogenous. Significant findings would include instances of empowerment and adaption in an adverse marketplace, however predicting results is difficult as this study is based on lived experiences.
Arsel, Z., Eräranta, K. and Moisander, J. (2015) ‘Introduction: theorising gender and gendering theory in marketing and consumer research’, Journal of Marketing Management, 31(15–16), pp. 1553–1558. doi: 10.1080/0267257X.2015.1078396.
Baker, S. M., Gentry, J. W. and Rittenburg, T. L. (2005) ‘Building Understanding of the Domain of Consumer Vulnerability’, Journal of Macromarketing, 25(2), pp. 128–139. doi: 10.1177/0276146705280622.
Hearn, J. and Hein, W. (2015) ‘Reframing gender and feminist knowledge construction in marketing and consumer research: missing feminisms and the case of men and masculinities’, Journal of Marketing Management, 31(15–16), pp. 1626–1651. doi: 10.1080/0267257X.2015.1068835.
McKeage, K., Crosby, E. and Rittenburg, T. (2017) ‘Living in a Gender-Binary World: Implications for a Revised Model of Consumer Vulnerability’, Journal of Macromarketing, p. 027614671772396. doi: 10.1177/0276146717723963.
I am a first year PhD researcher in the Department of Marketing at the University of Strathclyde. My areas of research interest are consumer culture theory, consumer vulnerability and stigma, and gender and LGBT lived experiences in the marketplace. My thesis will look at experiences of trans and non-binary consumers, their feelings of vulnerability and empowerment, and the impacts of different conceptualisations of gender. I am a longstanding supporter of the LGBT community and have written about how my experiences have encouraged me to pursue gender research in my field.
Prior to undertaking doctoral research, I worked in higher education fundraising for ten years at the University of St Andrews, the University of Aberdeen Development Trust and the University of Dundee. During this time, I was part of a team working towards a £100m campaign target, and alongside a senior colleague was responsible for raising over £1m in 2013. Working with students was my favourite aspect of my fundraising career, and now I’m enjoying being on the other side!
Rebecca Elton, University of Leeds, ‘Mother of Dragons: Motherhood and the Subversion of Patriarchy in A Song of Ice and Fire (1996-)’
Whilst contemporary feminists often emphasise the need to value motherhood as a female and feminine experience, influential theorists from Beauvoir to Butler have in some capacity described motherhood as a gendered institution diminishing possibilities of enfranchisement for women. Essentialist perspectives dominant in Western society posit women as naturally suited to childcare given their centrality in reproduction. These perspectives restrict women’s opportunities and emphasise unattainable standards of maternal conduct. Equally, the maternal body is seen as ‘abject’, unnerving for its innate creative capacity and liminality, existing at ‘the threshold of existence’, thus seeming ‘both sacred and soiled, holy and hellish’ (Braidotti, 2011: 227).
Meanwhile, ‘mother of dragons’ is now a ubiquitous phrase in popular culture, and Daenerys Targaryen a central figure in popular culture through the success of A Song of Ice and Fire (1996-) and its HBO television adaptation, Game of Thrones (2011-2019). Whilst critics of the series frequently address concerns of gender within the series, Daenerys’s relationship with motherhood is little explored. That a mother should be such a central and powerful figure in a fantasy series is subversive in itself, given the frequent absence of mothers in fantasy, as well as the powerlessness associated with motherhood in Western society. Yet how might Daenerys further subvert expectations of motherhood?
This presentation will examine portrayals of motherhood in A Song of Ice and Fire (1996-) by George R.R. Martin, with a focus on popular culture icon, Daenerys Targaryen. It will use gender and feminist theory to explore Daenerys’s maternal experience, arguing that motherhood can be interpreted within Martin’s series as a force to potentially destroy patriarchy rather than uphold its values. The presentation explores Daenerys’s status as ‘mother of dragons’ as representative of the abjection of motherhood, but equally of the potential power latent in mothers to destroy patriarchy.
Braidotti, Rosi, 2011. Nomadic Subjects: Embodiment and Sexual Difference in Contemporary Feminist Theory. New York: Columbia University Press.
Rebecca Elton is a PhD student in modern languages at the University of Leeds. Her research examines masculinities in post World War Two French and British children’s literature in light of events that have challenged masculinity over the past century. These stretch from wartime trauma and second wave feminism, to contemporary men’s mental health campaigns, sexual abuse scandals and configurations of ‘toxic masculinity’. Her MA research examined female and feminine power in A Song of Ice and Fire (1996-) and the French historical fiction series that influenced it, Les Rois maudits (1955-77), with a focus on the themes of motherhood, sexuality and violence. Her research interests include comparative cultural studies, 20th and 21st century Anglophone and Francophone literature, popular culture, genre and gender.
Mairi Hamilton, University of Glasgow, ‘Lived Experience of Abusive Behaviour in the Nineteenth-Century Scottish Household’
A number of significant studies have historicised sexual violence in specific social and cultural contexts. Violence against women in the past has been considered as a feature of marital conflict, a judicial matter, a discursive motif, and a cause for reform. Where there is scope for further research that takes an alternative perspective from existing historiography concerns the lived experience of abused women. The historical record captures the speech and action of women who suffered habitual abuse at home. Examining this evidence may lead to a better understanding of sexual violence from the ‘victim’s’ perspective, advancing beyond a societal or cultural level. Traces of women’s visceral reactions to long-term patterns of abusive behaviour are opportunities to try to explicate the reality of the material and psychic impact of abuse on individuals in historical context. A gendered analytical approach recognises how the toll of abuse on women’s bodies, livelihoods and outlook shapes their social identities and their sense of self as women.
Examples of the various forms of abusive behaviour women faced are recorded in narrative accounts in historical cases of judicial separation on grounds of cruelty. The records of the Edinburgh Commissary Court describe in immense detail the abuse Scottish women experienced within the household and its impact during the early nineteenth century. This paper will present extracts from these court records that illustrate the sensory dimension of certain acts of abuse perpetrated against women and the emotional, corporeal responses they elicited.
Mairi Hamilton is currently a second-year PhD student in the Centre for Gender History at the University of Glasgow. Her thesis examines narratives of women’s experiences of abuse within domestic settings in nineteenth-century Scotland. This research project is funded by the AHRC through the Scottish Graduate School of Arts and Humanities (SGSAH) and is supervised by Professor Lynn Abrams and Professor Alex Shepard. She has a MSc in Gender History and a MA with First Class Honours in History from the University of Glasgow. Mairi is the current convenor of the Hufton Postgraduate Reading Group at Glasgow, which brings together postgraduate students to discuss gender in history on a monthly basis, and is a member of the Steering Committee of Women’s History Scotland. Her research interests include the history of everyday gender relations and sexual violence, exploring issues concerning subjectivity, the self and the body from a feminist perspective.
Lauren Kilbane, University of Aberdeen, ‘‘O woe is me!’: Female Remembrance and Mourning in Early Modern England’.
In the twenty-first century, when considering previous research surrounding the theme of gender and mourning, one typically encounters several conflicting arguments. Previous scholars have argued that attitudes towards gender roles in Early Modern England were static and women remained subject exclusively to patriarchal law. However, recent developments in manuscript culture and drama studies have unearthed a somewhat different view.
This paper examines the relationship between gender roles and attitudes to death and mourning in Early Modern England. By examining the relationship gender, religion and death played in the Early Modern era, I highlight the ways and methods in which women used their role in society to their own advantage. Juxtaposing previous critical study on the subject with 21st-century interpretations of Early Modern gender roles, I offer an insight into the extent of Early Modern women’s flexibility within their societal position. Gender, in this instance, was not a limiting factor in these women’s lives; rather, it allowed them to manipulate the society around them to their own advantage.
In examining previous research surrounding gender and religion in the Early modern era, this paper challenges the stereotypes that women were submissive to patriarchal influences, and were viewed as meek and without influence in Renaissance society. It instead allowed for the development of their own cultural space, an exploration of their own creativity, and an opportunity to become agents of remembrance and mourning in their own right. In doing so, Early Modern women not only had a voice, but they were not afraid to use it in order to explore their own sense of self. (262 words)
Lauren Kilbane is a first year English Literature PhD student at the University of Aberdeen. She obtained both her Undergraduate and Masters degrees at the same university, before deciding to remain within the English department for her doctoral research. As a recipient of the Ledingham Trust PhD studentship in English, Lauren has been able to develop her continuing research interest in the interactions between gender, drama and the religio-political transformations of the Renaissance era.
In particular, she is focussing on the gender roles that women play in Early Modern drama when confronted with death, and how changes to attitudes in mourning influence the performative roles they play. Whilst her research is still in its early phases, Lauren is keen to explore the extent to which societal attitudes to grief throughout the transition of the English Reformation were open to more change than previously theorised. At the moment, she is very interested in epitaphs, and the history of early modern emotions.
Lauren currently lives in Aberdeen with her many cacti and an ever-growing book collection, and is contemplating adopting a cat or dog to complete the set. (186 words)
Alice Krzanich, University of Edinburgh ‘Looking at the Law: Female Domestic Servants in Scotland c 1790 – c 1850’
This paper explores the author’s work to date on an untapped topic in Scotland’s legal history: historical master-servant law as it applied to female domestic servants in the period c 1790 – c 1850 in Scotland. During this period, many women worked as servants in the households of other people. The law regulated this work, providing the terms on which a person could enter service; the obligations he or she owed to their master and/or mistress; and the terms on which they could leave service. The author hopes to explore the way this law treated female servants (in both substantive legal doctrine and in its application), using gender as a tool of analysis. This research is therefore an exercise in women’s legal history, a highly interdisciplinary field that draws upon social history, the study of law and gender, and women’s history to understand the relationship between women and the law from a historical perspective.
As the author is a first-year PhD student, this paper will summarise some of the key matters informing her research so far. These include the research questions driving her analysis of the law, as well as the proposed resources and methodology she will use to conduct the study. The paper will also address the context of this research and how it fits within the broader research field. Tentative commentary on the significance and originality of this research will also be given. Throughout, the author will be motivated by the view that as many women (and men) in Scotland’s past have been servants, it is only fitting that the law regulating service is given due weight and analysis.
Alice Krzanich is a first-year PhD student in Law at the University of Edinburgh. Her thesis is provisionally titled: “Female domestic servants in early industrial Scotland: legal principles of the master-servant relationship as they applied to women in the period c 1790 – c 1850”. Alice’s research is situated within the developing field of women’s legal history and reflects her interests in law and gender; law and economics; and the history of law. She has an interdisciplinary supervisory team consisting of Professor Laura Macgregor (Law), Dr Chloë Kennedy (Law) and Professor Louise Jackson (History). Alice holds a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) from the University of Auckland, NZ, alongside a Bachelor of Arts majoring in History from the same institution. She worked for a number of years in law before returning to university in 2017 to complete a Master of Law (First Class) at the University of Cambridge.
Anna McEwan, University of Glasgow, ‘The life of Irma Thälmann and the myth of Ernst Thälmann: a case study into the effect of concentration camp detainment on Communist women’s access to power in the GDR’.
My presentation is based on my Gender History Master’s thesis which considered how concentration camp detainment affected communist women’s access to political power in the East German Democratic Republic (GDR) between 1945 and 1974. In my thesis I argued that gendered family relationships were a significant contributor to former female political prisoners’ accessing political power in the GDR. Using uninvestigated archival and published material, I reveal the way in which Irma Thälmann’s political career was symbolic of the lack of power former female political prisoners held in the GDR. Thälmann did not commemorate her own experiences as a resistance fighter, particularly her time incarcerated. Instead she devoted her life to her father, the fallen leader of the German Communist Party (KPD), Ernst Thälmann’s, memory. I argue her actions were deliberate as the male political prisoner’s narrative was defined by the GDR as the struggle that led to its creation. I claim that Thälmann understood the GDR’s gendered social order and accordingly negotiated her power. As the child of the fallen leader, Thälmann held a position in the GDR’s youth organisations alongside receiving a sizeable pension as a persecuted person of the Nazi regime with special fighter status. The Socialist Unity Party (SED) placed upmost importance in educating the youth in the Ernst Thälmann myth as it was central in the founding story of their republic. I argue as Thälmann could not rely on her own detainment experiences to secure her place in the political elite, she relied on her father’s, which played a major role in the SED’s indoctrination of the youth.
Anna McEwan is an AHRC/SGSAH funded PhD student at the University of Glasgow. Anna graduated from the University of Dundee in MA History with German in 2017 and graduated from the University of Glasgow in MSc Gender History in November 2018. Anna’s undergraduate dissertation considered gender politics in the German Communist party during the Weimar Republic focussing on two leading Communist women; Clara Zetkin and Ruth Fischer. Her research interests include women in Communist regimes generally, women and detainment and women’s roles in the political and social care system in the East German Democratic Republic. Anna’s Masters dissertation investigated the effect of detainment on the politics of Communist women in the GDR; the study focussed on female concentration camp detainment commemoration in the GDR, detainment’s effect on mother-daughter relationships and detainment’s connection to women’s access to political power in the Communist regime. Anna has undertaken several academic endeavours including co-founding the postgraduate journal, ‘Engendering the Past’ and working as Social Media Officer for the Leverhulme funded ‘Translating Feminism’ project. Most recently, Anna presented her Masters research at the University of Oxford as part of the ‘Thanks for Typing’ conference. Currently, Anna is preparing her PhD which focusses on the relationship between gendered citizenship and social care provision in the GDR between 1970 and 1990.
Clare McKeown, University of Stirling, ‘Representing men’s violence against women’.
In 1992, the original Zero Tolerance (ZT) Prevalence campaign to address men’s violence against women and girls (MVAW) launched in Scotland. The ground-breaking feminist public communications campaign used thoughtful representations of women’s bodies to facilitate political activism.
Prevalence represented MVAW – e.g. sexual abuse, rape, and domestic abuse – in nuanced ways that represented the reality that MVAW may not be explicitly physical or immediately visible on the body. Furthermore, the domestic “middle-class” staging of the images, as well as the choice of models, reveals an intersectional lens which challenged popular misconceptions that only certain “types” of women experienced male violence.
The campaign featured arresting images of women by feminist photographer Franki Raffles that deliberately did not show their bodies being actively brutalised or sexualised. The images do not reinforce norms of feminine objectification by rendering the subjects as objects of either lust or pity; nor do they resort to over-simplifying visual tropes, such as black eyes and raised fists. It was the interaction with the accompanying dissonant text that gave the images their impact (e.g. a picture of an elderly woman reading to a child with the text: “From 3 to 93, women are raped”).
Building on the original campaign’s success, Zero Tolerance became a Scottish charity and continues campaigning against MVAW to this day. The spirit of the original ZT campaign would infuse later campaigns such as (No) Excuses (1994/1995), Justice (1997), Respect (2001), and Violence Unseen (2018). Violence Unseen, in particular, addresses intersectional concerns about erasure: it depicts other kinds of often “unseen” violence (including FGM and online abuse) and often “unseen” women (such as trans women and disabled women).
This paper will argue that ZT provides a powerful illustration of how radical organisations and artists can responsibly represent the complexities of men’s violence against women.
I am a 2nd year SGSAH / AHRC-funded PhD researcher working across the Universities of Stirling and Strathclyde. My PhD is on the role that Western beauty norms have in the conception and delivery of Scottish anti-men’s violence against women (MVAW) campaigns.
I am primarily based in the Communication, Media and Culture department at the University of Stirling, but my work is informed by a variety of interdisciplinary perspectives from the humanities and social sciences. As a feminist academic, I believe research is an important tool in building a more just world.
After completing my MA in English Literature from Arcadia University in the USA and my MSc in Social Anthropology at the University of Edinburgh, I worked and volunteered in the Scottish charitable sector for nine years. I currently volunteer as a board member for a local domestic abuse support service.
My research interests include:
- Feminist theory and gender studies
- Men’s violence against women (MVAW)
- Media studies and public relations
- Visual and narrative representations of women generally and MVAW specifically
- Discourses around and perceptions of “beauty”
- Public education, awareness, and fundraising campaigns
Helena Roots, Edinburgh Napier University, ‘Watchfulness, Widows, and Womanhood: Gendered Trauma and Performative Grief in the Writing of Lorna Moon and Willa Muir’
My paper will examine the intersections between gendered domestic trauma, and watchful communities in interwar Scottish women’s writing, particularly in terms of performative grief and idealised widowhood. This paper will predominantly focus on Lorna Moon’s collection of short stories Doorways in Drumorty and Willa Muir’s two published novels Mrs. Ritchie and Imagined Corners, alongside archival items such as unpublished letters and diary entries. Their work will be considered within the specific context of watchful communities, and performative female trauma.
My work argues that the ever-present threat of being watched leads to complicit behaviour wherein women in particular perform in a certain way to ensure that they adhere to community determined regulations and therefore avoid negative scrutiny. There is also friction between what is believed to be consensual, mutual and supportive watchfulness and harmful surveillance. Furthermore, as a direct result of subversive public behaviour women are at risk of displacement from their communities and subject to either ridicule or complete rejection. This is seen in varying degrees in the work of Moon and Muir; in Moon’s ‘The Corp, for example, performative grief is explicitly satirised as a competitive act which impacts the performer’s future role in society. Moon also presents a powerful portrait of life for a physically handicapped woman in rural Scotland, with the protagonist’s PTSD and seclusion from society centred. Muir’s Mrs. Ritchie exposes the ‘sham’ of performative grief and widowhood, but Imagined Corners subverts the role of the widow to instead highlight post-wifehood opportunities. This paper will therefore explore the multi-faceted representations of gendered trauma and grief, and how these are both directly related to intrusive and watchful communities.
Helena Roots is studying part-time for her PhD at Edinburgh Napier University where she is researching early twentieth-century Scottish women’s writing and rural modernity in the writing of Willa Muir, Lorna Moon and Nan Shepherd. She also currently leads tutorials on two Undergraduate English Literature modules at Edinburgh Napier.
Julia Zauner, Glasgow Caledonian University,‘The continuum of symbolic violence: When Sexting Education neglects Image-Based Abuse, Dismisses Perpetrators’ Responsibility, and Violates Rights to Sexual Intimacy’.
This feminist case study critically analyses the discourses of three UK educational campaigns regarding sexting ‘dangers’ and adolescents when explicit images are shared without the consent of the person depicted. I will argue that current campaigns (re)produce symbolic violence through victim-blaming on three levels. Firstly, the seriousness of image-based abuse is vastly neglected through the penalisation of sexual expression of particularly young women. Focusing on sexting as a ‘key mistake’ young people can make fails to address that image-based abuse is still a form of abuse and diminishes the harm done to survivors. Secondly, the dominance of heteronormative depictions of female survivors and male perpetrators obfuscates abuse as an experience across all social groups. This neglects the importance of paying attention to class, race, and other gender/sexual identities. Thirdly, survivors are consistently held accountable for their own victimisation while perpetrators are excused for violating their partners trust and integrity. Survivors are responsible for adequately risk-assessing a situation before engaging in sexting and are penalised if they fail to do so. Yet, the perpetrator’s unawareness of consequences acts as an excuse. I will finish by discussing that by neutralising and denying responsibility, educational work dismisses 1) that image-based abuse is still as a form of gender-based violence and therefore, breaches the survivor’s rights to dignity and bodily/sexual autonomy, and 2) young people’s rights to explore sexuality – through digital means or not – in a safe environment.
Julia is a Phd researcher at Glasgow Caledonian University working on gender-based violence in the digital age (e.g. image-based abuse, digital harassment, virtual sexual aggression etc.) where she is also involved in the Justice Violence and Gender research group. She has previously researched on sexting education, sexism in videogames and comic books, and cyberbullying among young people. Julia is currently a board member of the Empower Project Scotland – an intersectional feminist membership organisation supporting communities to end tech abuse.
Zhouda (Darwin) Zhan, University of Edinburgh, ‘How to improve gender equality through global trade governance mechanism: what has been done and what could be better?’
It is well known that since the first industry revolution era, women’s role in social production is getting more and more important. In current 21st century, the development of industries even bring women’s role to a higher level in general, because more and more job positions welcome the women’s effort, and some of the positions fit women better than men, objectively. Ideally, the situation for women’s participation does gradually improve year by year. However, the general tendency cannot represent that the women’s work-relevant problems have expired. There are still many tough issues existed. In a globalisation era, global governance mechanisms can make effect through imposing pressures on the sovereignty states to undertake their international obligations, which will be an innovative and practical way to promote gender equality. This paper (presentation) will support this opinion by organising three parts logically. Part I is to introduce what the global governance mechanism is firstly, and assess its advantages and disadvantages in light of the ‘legal effect’, which it imposes on sovereignty states. After finding that the influence is conveyed by the pressure that can forces the Member States to undertake the international obligations, Part II will pick up some typical examples, such as the MERCOSUR system, the ECA agreement, the WTO system and so on, to assess the current achievements and shortcomings they have at present, respectively. The periodic finding will be that the gender relevant considerations have already (and will) played more and more important role in trade governance, therefore, Part III is to discuss how to response to the current calls under the current social background by presenting proposals.
Zhouda Zhan, also known as Darwin Zhan, is a current LLM Candidate in International Economic Law Programme, Edinburgh Law School. He holds a LLB degree and a BOE second degree granted by Beijing Normal University, Law School and Business School, respectively. During his undergraduate years in China, He once acted as the associate editor of a national-wide textbook, International Trade in Service, 3rd Edition (ISBN：9787303210831), and he also published a paper on social governance in one journal. After arriving Edinburgh, his academic interests focuses more on the global trade governance mechanism, especially the WTO law and China’s Belt and Road Initiative, as well as the trade and investment relevant issues in energy sector. His poster on the topic of Legal Protection on China State-owned Enterprise’s Oversea Investment was published in the 2018’s UK-China Doctoral Academic Forum, ‘A Dialogue to the Future’. He also does some research on the nexus areas between trade law and other subjects, including but not limited to, the trade-security nexus, energy trade issues, as well as trade and gender issues.