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International

Dear Feminist.com Team,

I am a political science student in Sweden, and currently writing my master’s thesis on activism in the fields of female genital mutilation (FGM), forced marriage, and honor killings. I have a research question that has not been dealt with before in academic literature (or elsewhere). As Feminist.com is involved in the global fight against gender-based violence, I would be very grateful if you (and/or other members of your staff) could take a couple of minutes to answer a few questions related to my research.

Let me briefly explain what my research is about: over the last few decades, activism against gender-based violence has increasingly assumed a trans-national dimension. Individuals and NGOs are frequently cooperating across national borders, including cooperation among Northern and Southern activists. At the same time, not all issues related to violence against women have led to similar degrees of transnational activism. The fight against FGM may stand out as the primary example of intensive transnational cooperation. Cooperation dates back at least to the 1970/80s and today it is certainly justified to speak of a strong transnational advocacy network having emerged.By contrast, the issues of forced marriage and honor killings have been much less frequently advocated at the transnational level. Efforts to create networks are rather recent and cross-national cooperation remains comparatively weak.

The purpose of my research is to find out why this difference in transnational activism against gender violence exists. Your insights and opinions would be extremely helpful for me. QUESTIONS: a) Do you think the above described impression is correct? b) What do you think are the reasons for this difference: Why is transnational activism against FGM older, larger and denser than it is against forced marriage and honor killings?

I would greatly appreciate your thoughts on this issue.

Best wishes,

Natalie

   

Natalie,

We don't so much work specifically on the issue, but publicize the work of others in this area. Given this, I'm not sure that I am the best person to answer your questions. Have you reached out to Equality Now? That is the organization we work most closely with on these issues.

I will add that I don't think the attention is so much rooted back to the individuals doing the work, but most resonates with people who aren't working closely on these issues. I think most groups see them as interconnected and also as equally paralyzing to women's equality. And it wasn't necessarily a group’s intention to single out issues, but rather certain issues were more palatable to the average person (including the media) and it was this attention that gave the impression that certain issues are prioritized over others.

I hope that helps, and good luck

-- Amy