“Women’s empowerment,” imperialism, and the global gag rule

Shahvisi, Arianne (2019) “Women’s empowerment,” imperialism, and the global gag rule. Kohl: A Journal for Body and Gender Research, 4 (2). pp. 174-184.

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Abstract

The Global Gag Rule has restricted access to reproductive health services across the Global South for over three decades. In 2017, Trump dramatically expanded the policy, further reducing the number of women with access to safe abortions. In this paper, I argue that Global North economic policies have left Global South people dependent on aid in order to meet their basic health needs. I show that the effects of inadequate access to healthcare and aid dependence are gender-differential in two ways. First, as primary care-givers, women are required to perform additional unpaid care-work when health services are inadequate. Second, women’s access to sexual and reproductive health services become vulnerable to the moral and political whims of foreign powers. These marginalising forces operate against the backdrop of “women’s empowerment” aid discourses which are wilfully imperceptive to this context. Global North economic policies have disempowered Global South women, and the Global Gag Rule imperils their bodily autonomy. The effect is a form of imperialism which must be resisted.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Brighton and Sussex Medical School
Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Clinical and Experimental Medicine
Depositing User: Arianne Shahvisi
Date Deposited: 29 Nov 2018 12:29
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2019 13:15
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/80503

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