Vol 24, No 1 (2022): Women and Feminism in Global Politics


Introducing the Special Issue: Interview with Swati Parashar about Women and Feminism in Global Politics

Parashar S., Kazarinova D.B.


Gender issues and feminist studies are rare in Russian Political Science. This gap is surprising given the increasing international recognition of women’s rights, as well as growing interest in mainstreaming gender equality norms and removing key obstacles to women’s advancement. This special issue addresses this gap by bringing together studies that use feminist optics to examine a variety of political spaces, including those where feminism has not yet become an ideological mainstream. Presenting the contributions and the core ideas that unite them, we discussed with Professor Swati Parashar non-Western feminisms and problematic legacies of Western feminisms. Guiding our conversation were questions such as: What is feminism today? What is feminist foreign policy and what is its potential? In what ways can gender equality quotas contribute to the political empowerment of women? How can international organizations encourage diversity in women’s representations from the Global South?

RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2022;24(1):7-15
pages 7-15 views


The Multiplicity of Feminism: Syntheses of the Local and the Universal

Kuteleva A.V.


Any universal definitions of feminism - as well as what constitutes feminist theory, political strategy, and related practices - are problematic. The patriarchal relations that feminists oppose have different configurations depending on the social, economic, cultural and political contexts. Consequently, there are various feminisms: multiple syntheses of local and universal knowledge. This article analyzes the conceptual and political rifts within the “global” feminism associated with the hegemony of “western” ideas and its criticism by transnational and postcolonial feminists and examines the postsocialist transformations and localizations of feminism and, in particular, the evolution of feminist ideas in post-soviet Russia.

RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2022;24(1):16-24
pages 16-24 views

Feminist Foreign Policy: Selected Issues of Conceptualization and Implementation

Uspenskaya V.I., Kozlova N.N.


Feminist foreign policy (FFP) is a relatively new approach in the theory of international relations. Disclosing the heuristic potential of the concept is especially relevant due to the new political challenges of international conflicts that have different consequences for men and women. For the first time in Russian political science, this article analyzes the conceptual history of the FFP and the factors that influenced the implementation of this concept at the global level. The research is based on the publications and works of women, historical documents of international women’s forums, scientific works on feminism theory and the international relations theory, policy papers of political parties, speeches of political leaders, government documents on the conduct of the FFP, UN resolutions. In addition to general scientific methods, the authors use the comparative-historical and systemic methods. The article presents the intellectual origins of the FFP, the role of the women’s suffrage and pacifist movements in the development of the concept, the importance of women/gender/feminist academic research for the conceptualization of the FFP, as well as the contribution of politicians from leading world powers to the development of the concept. The authors analyze in detail the “Hillary Doctrine” and the UN feminist resolutions as forerunners of the official introduction of the term FFP into the theory and practice of international relations. The article assesses the potential of the FFP as an international strategy for gender equality and sustainable development. The authors conclude that a feminist political perspective works hand in hand with the vision of sustainable development policies and represents an increasingly relevant concept and practice that can be a strategic step towards the culture of peace.

RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2022;24(1):25-41
pages 25-41 views

Feminist Foreign Policy and Gender Justice on the International Agenda

Abbasov H.A.


The global political elite has developed a pragmatic approach to addressing gender justice issues based on rationality and patriarchy, which hinders the activities of women. There is an urgent need to develop and implement the most efficient, inclusive and emancipatory practices in the light of experience. This article reveals an understanding of the content and meaning of feminist foreign policy in the context of official international content. It assesses the impact of UNSCR 1325 on the development of feminist foreign policy and gender justice. The author concludes that certain fundamental limitations of the document prevent the achievement of real goals lobbied by international organizations and feminist scientists, as well as the deconstruction of gender mainstreamin.

RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2022;24(1):42-52
pages 42-52 views

How Can UN Digital Policy Enable the Rights of Women?

Leenders A.R.


In most academic discourses, United Nations (UN) programs and initiatives to promote digitalization and women’s rights are studied as distinct fields. Less attention has been paid to UN efforts to promote gender equality and protect women’s rights by promoting digitalization. The article addresses some of the gaps in the contemporary research of the role of modern international intergovernmental organizations in women’s rights protection amidst modern technological development. The study reveals the influence of digitalization on ameliorating the position of women in modern societies and formulates the assessment of the gender gap in using the ICT technologies, as well as analyzes how UN specialized divisions act to ensure digital gender equality. The author concludes that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) approved by the UN in 2015 do not pay enough attention to the importance of digitalization for ensuring the rights of women.

RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2022;24(1):53-63
pages 53-63 views

The Fourth Wave of Feminism: Political Discourse and Opinion Leaders in Twitter

Gnedash A.A.


In the 21st century, the feminist movement continues to be one of the largest socio-political movements, which acquired a new consolidation platform via the Internet and new ways for mobilization via social media. The conceptualization of fourth-wave feminism is an exceptionally relevant topic for research, taking into account the results of the Women’s March and #MeToo movements, the actualization of feminist and gender equality issues in the digital social and political agenda, as well as the discourse around the situation with women’s rights and freedoms in Afghanistan. Social media democratized feminism and created precedents of converting feminist political capital from online to offline activities (examples are discussed in the article). To assess the extent, content and potential of fourth-wave feminism, the article presents the results of a Big Data study: network data upload from the social network Twitter for the keyword “women” (including more than 1,000,000 tweets and retweets). Using the methods of network, relational and discourse analysis the author analyzed the datasets obtained (at 5 control points), visualized social graphs, identified and described the opinion leaders (and the content that they formed) in the political discourse of the fourth-wave feminism on the Internet and described the dynamics of key discursive topics. As a result of the study, the author concluded how the issue of Afghan women’s rights entered the political discourse of fourth-wave feminism and how and why it was replaced by the issue of the Texas abortion law. The article ends in a conclusion about the prospects for the development of the discourse of fourth-wave feminism.

RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2022;24(1):64-89
pages 64-89 views

Women and Anarchism: The Anarcha-Feminism Movement in Europe and the United States

Brekhov G.S.


As an ideology, anarchism has many currents formed through its symbiosis with various socio-political philosophies, including feminism. In the modern world, due to the growing support for feminism in Western countries, the study of anarcha-feminism as one of the most active anarchist movements seems to be useful for understanding the socio-political situation in Europe and the United States. The article examines the position of women in the anarchism ideology upon the development of the anarcha-feminist movement from the 19th century to the present day. Based on the works of the classics of anarcha-feminism (E. Goldman, W. De Claire) and modern research (D. Koval, M. Rachmaninova), the author conducted a comparative retrospective analysis of the relationship between anarchism and feminism within a single socio-political trend. The study revealed that despite the ideological similarity of anarchism and feminism in matters of equality and attitude to power, in classical anarchism women were assigned a rather insignificant, and even deprived, role. The fusion of feminism and anarchism, which came as a response to the unfair position of women in society, led to a change in the status of women in the understanding of anarchists, and also gave impetus to the development of modern anarcha-feminism (La Rivolta!, Eskalera Karakola, Wemoon’s Army, Radical cheerleading) including more and more men in the movement.

RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2022;24(1):90-106
pages 90-106 views


“Fragile representation” or Women in Big Politics: The Case of the Administrative Elite

Kolesnik N.V.


The research of the “feminization” of administrative politics is important to understand the transformation of power and the overall development of the Russian society amidst political, economic and social instability. This article presents the study results for the administrative elite in ten Russian regions (Moscow, St. Petersburg, Leningrad, Rostov, Kaliningrad, Kostroma and Novosibirsk Oblasts, Khabarovsk and Stavropol Krais, Republic of Dagestan). The analysis of the socio-demographic characteristics of the administrative elite showed no significant differences between men and women in terms of age, birthplace, as well as the type and the place where first (and subsequent) higher education was received. Studying the career trajectories of women in the ministerial elite showed that they most often occupy elite positions, like men, in middle age, but less often come from economic and security structures; horizontal and vertical movements mostly take place within the same professional institution - executive power agencies. The author identified regional governments with similar gender specifics (relative gender parity and relative gender imbalance). The study revealed that more feminized governments are formed in bordering and economically successful regions, while gender imbalance is most characteristic for the governments of economically dependent regions and those located in the south of the Russian Federation (with some exceptions).

RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2022;24(1):107-119
pages 107-119 views

Gender Dimension of Digital Vigilantism in Russia

Volkova A.V., Lukyanova G.V., Kulakova T.A.


Digital vigilantism can be defined as the coordinated actions of civic groups in virtual space (not excluding the possibility of going offline) in response to imaginary or real actions of third parties or as the expression of outrage at a real-world event recorded and uploaded online. Digital vigilantism serves as an informalised institution of online civil society, regulating behaviour and punishing citizens for actions or intentions that are inappropriate from the vigilantes’ point of view. In modern Russia, movements that were formed as a result of the interactions between NGOs, individual activists and the authorities, that are now acting as auxiliary institutions, become quite popular. This phenomenon suggests the spread of guided vigilantism. The authors argue that the governmental structures recognize the impossibility of solving some conflict situations within formal institutions and therefore legitimize their regulation through network interactions. This article focuses on the gender aspects of digital vigilantism in Russia. In order to analyze gender characteristics of Russian vigilante communities, the authors collected the data on the subscribers of six online communities using the VKontakte API (application programming interface): “StopHam”, “Lev Protiv”, “Khrushi Protiv”, “Sorok Sorokov”, “Anti-Dealer” and “Sober Yard”. A dataset of 818 927 records was generated, which included basic socio-demographic information about the users (ID, user-specified name, gender, age, city). Analyzing the posts and comments uploaded over the last two years and the database of subscribers of typical vigilante communities in the VKontakte social network (2900 subscriptions), the authors were able to come closer to understanding users’ motivations, define the social portrait of a “typical digital vigilante” and identify gender characteristics of the movement. Research outcomes confirm the problematic persistence of gender asymmetry and the inheritance of enduring cultural stereotypes regarding the correlation between “the female” and “the male”, even concerning such a new form of civic activism in Russia as digital vigilantism.

RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2022;24(1):120-135
pages 120-135 views

Gender Quotas for Political Participation and the Case of Georgia

Amiantova I.S., Bitsadze N.


The current study focuses on the key elements limiting the political representation of women in the modern world. In order to eliminate discrimination, some countries introduce gender quotas for political participation. Studying the legal framework of modern Georgia shows that, despite the existing common legal basis for the equality of women and men, the reality in political life is different. The lack of effective quota mechanisms significantly weakens the realization of women’s civil and political rights. Stereotypical attitudes and perceptions about the role of women in society are the main barriers to recruiting in the political and administrative deployment. Considering the gender aspect of political representation as a complex problem necessitated a systematic approach. The historical and comparative method was used to study the evolution of gender equality. A separate group of methods used in the article was made up of the political and legal analysis of empirical database national statistics. The article shows how the Georgian Parliament affects the position of women in politics by introducing mandatory quotas for national and local government elections, increasing the likelihood of women running, being elected and appointed.

RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2022;24(1):136-147
pages 136-147 views

Gender Equality in the Political Landscape of Southern African Countries: Progress and Problems of Evolvement

Prokopenko L.Y.


Since the early 2000s, the expansion of women’s representation at all levels of government in South Africa and several Southern African states has become one of the main features of the formation of political leadership. There are both legal and institutional preconditions for this, such as the creation of quota systems for women’s representation in elective positions. The author notes the breakdown in the stereotype that women can be engaged exclusively in the social sphere (education, health care, problems of youth and children). African women successfully occupy the posts of ministers for foreign affairs, defense, security and finance. They make a significant contribution to the development of foreign and domestic policy, as well as to the solution of socio-economic problems. Based on the analysis made through functional, comparative and psycho-biographical methodological approaches, the author describes the main reasons for the insufficient level of political participation of women in some countries: the ongoing conflict between the principle of gender equality and the traditional order; the system of informal relations in politics; the low level of political literacy and the financial and economic status of women; as well as violence. Another important factor is the insufficient level of intra-party democracy. The author concludes that the representation of women in politics is only one (though very important) part of resolving the gender equality issue. The author argues that the further expansion of gender equality in Southern African politics will be facilitated by creating equal conditions for men and women to stand for election, implying real democratic principles within political parties, as well as developing a political culture that excludes the creation of preconditions for discrimination by gender.

RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2022;24(1):148-165
pages 148-165 views

Career Barriers in Ghana: Evidence from Female Civil Servants

Utkina V.V., Efimova A.V.


Ghanaian civil service is a classic example of a “gender pyramid” where top positions tend to be occupied by men, while women (more than 50%) face gender discrimination. Gender stereotypes about women are a major barrier to women’s career advancement in Ghanaian civil service. Based on a series of in-depth interviews with women in the Ghanaian public authorities, we identified the main problems women face in the Ghanaian civil service, such as patriarchal practices, gender discrimination, and harassment, including sexual harassment. Our study aims to show the practitioners why it is hardly possible to call public service a “comfortable job” for women in Ghana.

RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2022;24(1):166-174
pages 166-174 views

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