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Reflections from Sylvia Chant and Inderpal Grewal


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Speaker(s): Professor Sylvia Chant, Professor Inderpal Grewal
Chair: Dr Sumi Madhok

Recorded on 9 May 2014 in Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building.

In this Gender Institute 20th Anniversary Conference keynote, two distinguished scholars – Sylvia Chant and Inderpal Grewal – will reflect on the presence of gender from the unique intersection of social science and humanities perspectives.

Sylvia Chant’s paper is entitled Feminisation of Poverty’: ‘Win-Win’, ‘Lose-Lose’… or Gains at the Margin? The ‘feminisation of poverty’ has enjoyed a prominent place in Gender and Development (GAD) discourse and policy for around 20 years, coinciding with the founding of the LSE’s Gender Institute in the early 1990s. Yet although the LSE Gender Institute has evolved beyond all recognition in the past two decades, various associations of the ‘feminisation of poverty’ have remained remarkably enduring. In reviewing the origins, abiding tenets and policy implications of the ‘feminisation of poverty’, this lecture questions the extent to which women at the grassroots have gained from this construct, and whether it is now time to reframe it, especially in the context of the ‘smart economics’ agenda for gender equality and ‘female empowerment’.

Inderpal Grewal’s paper is entitled Neoliberal Security and the hyper-visibility of Sexual Violence and the State. Focusing on two recent protest movements in India, one against corruption and the other against sexual violence, the lecture examines how and why sexual violence and corruption become mutually exclusive protests. Professor Grewal’s interest lies in understanding the gendering of the state through specific forms of authority and sovereignty that were able to separate and capture these protests. She suggests that continued demands on the state for security, both as welfare and as militarization, legitimizes privatized, dispersed and neoliberal sovereignties, even as it abjects particular forms of masculinity and privileges others.

This is the keynote public lecture for the Gender Institute’s 20th Anniversary Conference The Presence of Gender.

Sylvia Chant is a professor of development geography at LSE.

Inderpal Grewal is a professor of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies at Yale University.

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