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Chair(s): Liam Swiss (Memorial), Heather Smith (UNBC)
This panel will examine the translation of feminist theory to feminist policy and practice. Panelists will consider the oversights, missed opportunities and discursive weaknesses of the Canada's feminist international assistance policy (FIAP) with attention to feminist theory and intersectional approaches; some of the implications of a feminist foreign (aid) policy for partner countriesand development NGOs/practice and for methodology/research (in conflict-affected communities); as well as considerations for moving forward with measuring impacts and new (foreign) policy approaches.
Presentations of the Symposium
Implications – and Interpretations - of Feminist Foreign Policy: Perspectives from Partner Organizations working in Transnational Spaces
Rebecca Tiessen uOttawa
For this presentation and in my paper, I examine the implications – and interpretations – of feminist foreign policy from the perspective of partner organizations drawing on examples from 150 interviews with partner organization staff in 10 countries in the Global South. Specifically, the themes highlighted consider the implications of working with transnational actors in transnational spaces to deliver feminist and gender programming.
From Feminist Theory to Feminist Practice: Where are masculinities, the LGBTQI community and gender relations/hierarchies?
Jane Parpart uMass Boston
Feminist approaches to development have provided important new ideas about the challenges currently facing Canada, particularly the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, violence, inequality, poverty and crises. These approaches have raised the profile of feminist praxis and highlighted the importance of feminist practices for Canadian policy. While this focus has brought much important, innovative thinking to Canadian policy and practice, it has too often overlooked the role of masculinities, gender relations and the LGBTQI communities in development policies and practice. This paper will explore the importance of integrating these topics into feminist discussions, not as peripheral issues, but as central factors for understanding the role of masculinities, LGBTQI communities and gender relations in feminist theory and practice in these challenging times.
Operationalizing feminist theory through organizational change: civil society organizations’ investments into effective programming, policy and practice for addressing gender inequality.
Sheila Rao Carleton University
How do we operationalize transformative feminist theory in development that is grounded in uncovering intersecting forms of oppression? How do innovative feminist forward-thinking in policy formation processes transition into effective programming, evaluation and organizational change? The FIAP offered an opportunity for Canadian civil society organizations(CSOs) to re-examine their organizational, human resource and programmatic approaches to addressing gender inequality. Through an examination of responses to and engagement with the Feminist International Assistance Policy (FIAP) and initial developments of Canada’s feminist foreign policy, this paper argues that feminist theory can only be operationalized through organizational changes that prioritize decolonial approaches gender diversity, anti-racism and inclusivity in the design, implementation and evaluation of policy and programmes. Data collected in 2019 with gender specialists and staff of CSOs revealed a distinct disconnect between CSO investment, staff support (financial, training and government guidance) and the 'un-feminist' structural landscape in which development programmes are supported by the government of Canada. Moving beyond simplistic policy insertions of intersectionality requires a re-centering of voices and input from the Global South and anti-racism, LGBTQ activists in Canada who are empowered to guide these processes, rather than continue to be administered by them.
From Gender Design to Feminist Evaluation: How Feminist Methodologies Can Shine New Light on the Impact of Gender Equality Programming
Jessica Cadesky uOttawa
In recent years, the framing of international policy as ‘feminist’ has gained traction in several countries, including Canada. For some, the ‘feminist’ label has opened up space for more transformational approaches to aid and development programming. For others, the use of ‘feminist’ is simply calling a gender rose by any other name. Practically, how has this feminist turn affected our evaluation of gender equality efforts in developing countries? Can we use one framework to evaluate projects conceived within the other? What are the challenges of applying feminist methodologies, particularly in conflict-affected settings? Drawing on experiences of conducting doctoral research in Northern Sri Lanka, this discussion will present reflections on the practice of applying feminist methodologies to probe the impacts of gender-mainstreamed and gender-targeted aid and development programs in conflict-affected settings.
Assessing the Impacts and Effectiveness of Feminist Foreign Policy
Laura Parisi University of Victoria
As the implementation of Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy moves forward, this presentation reflects on how to measure the impacts and effectiveness of FIAP and the implications of these measurements. As part of this discussion, indicators of Feminist Foreign Policy effectiveness of other countries, such as Sweden, Norway, and Mexico, will also be examined. What can we learn from other countries’ evaluation methods? What do impact indicators of countries with Feminist Foreign Policies have in common? Is there a global norm of measurement emerging?