From Gender Violence to Gender Democracy: What Will It Take?
Gender violence is the most extreme expression of gender oppression: its presence tells us about the presence of inequality; the extent of the violence tells us about the extent of the inequality.
- In a 10-country study, 15-71% of women reported physical, sexual, and emotional abuse by an intimate partner at some point in their lives. WHO: Multi-Country Study on Women’s Health and Domestic Violence against Women (2005)
- In combat zones, it is now more dangerous to be a woman than to be a soldier.
UN Women: Progress of the World’s Women 2011-2012: The Pursuit of Justice (2011)
- In the U.S., 1 out of 3 women report domestic violence, and rates of violence are dramatically higher for those on the margins of class, race, culture/ethnicity, citizenship status, sexual orientation/gender, and ability.
CSAJ: What the New Poverty Data Tells Us About Addressing Domestic & Sexual Violence (2017)
Gender inequality in the familial, social, and economic structures of our society is built on a foundation of sexism and misogyny.
In the United States:
- Women who worked full-time, year-round in 2014 earned, on average, 79% of men’s median annual earnings, even though women graduated college at a higher rate than men.
Department of Labor, Women’s Bureau: Breaking Down the Gender Wage Gap (2015)
- Women represent 19% of Congress and hold 21% of cabinet-level positions in 2017.
Pew Research Center: U.S. Women in Politics & Business (2017)
- At S&P 500 companies in 2017, women make up 5% of CEO positions, 10% of ‘top earners,’ 20% of board seats, and 25% of executives/senior-level officials and managers.
Catalyst: Women in S&P 500 Companies (2017)
What is Gender Democracy?
It is an ideal, a set of principles and goals where:
- Relationships are not marked by gender-specific mechanisms of power and domination
- All identities are seen as equally valid, are not marginalized or based on the traditional gender order
- Patriarchal structures do not determine social relations, and gender plays no part in the distribution of labor, positional authority, or power
What will it take to move from gender violence to gender equality?
- Making the analysis of gender central
- Making equality central
- Confronting and engaging community, culture
- Stopping men’s violence
- Building movements of solidarity
- Redesigning power to be egalitarian
- Replacing relationships of power with relationships of meaning
Resources on Gender Democracy
How do we go from cultures of power and control to cultures of equality?
What will it take for men in our communities to divest from gender violence and invest in gender equality?
Department of Labor, Women’s Bureau: Data & Statistics on Women in the Work Force
Pew Research Center: Articles and Data on Gender