The advertising industry is one of the most important industries which intervene in our personal lives. It has the power to influence individuals consciously and subconsciously. It’s every type of content we face on a daily basis: copy, images, videos, and have evolved to be a crucial part of the marketplace. What makes an advertisement dangerous is that it is paid for, which gives the creator complete control over the content and the message. The goal of content in advertising is to change the customer’s perception in many ways. And one of them is glorifying the picture of the world. The picture of us, who belong to that same world.
Women have taken a big part in how the advertising industry would use them as a tool to engage customers. And so the portrayal of women was shaped to fit in a mold made of stereotypes and prejudice. Multiple studies showed that women were portrayed as sex objects to induce a sexual appeal in the advertisement. Whether the focus is on their body parts, or on sexual appealing behaviors. Not only that, women were widely portrayed in various roles based again on stereotypes, and they are listed as follows:
- A status in which they are confined in their homes as housewives.
- A status in which they are advertising for products related to beauty and cosmetics.
- A status in which they are defined in ownership roles (mothers, daughters, etc.)
- A status in which they are submissive and dependent on men.
- A status in which they appear smaller in size than men.
- A status in which their attributes are passive (soft, weak, shy, etc.)
The portrayal of women in advertising not only goes against the socio-cultural change in society in the context of the position of women. But it contributes to creating a patriarchal marketplace. It’s redefining universal discourse regarding women and it’s heavily influencing societal behavior. Based on Social Learning theory, individuals learn by observing and mimicking. So when the advertisements keep promoting sexist scenes and encouraging aggressive and belittling attitudes toward women. It results in individuals acquiring the same behaviors in a way that spreads even wider and gains popularity within societies. Instead of repairing the issues of our cultural stereotypes, advertising is taking advantage of it. It’s using a flawed system to increase sales when it could be contributing to making a change.
In this article, we will proceed to prove that it is not only unethical but no more efficient for the advertising industry to pathetically feed off male supremacy in order to make a profit.
With the continuous improvement in the purchasing power of women and the importance of women in the economy, the advertisements started to depict women in stronger roles and positions (Teng et al., 2020). The negative portrayals of women affect their willingness to buy and may even call for boycotts of the advertised products.
And if you think about it, advertising is all about relating to the customer. However, it still does seem to neglect that women are no longer trapped in their domestic roles, and are now taking a big part in the professional environment. They’re also decision-makers and have enough power to judge a negative or a positive advertisement. So if it is to portray a woman as weak or submissive, it risks a backlash from the audience. There have been multiple instances where advertisements have been banned due to huge criticism from people. Some of the examples include: an advertisement from Philadelphia cream cheese depicting that only women can take care of children (2019) and a Volkswagen eGolf advertisement where women were shown in a passive role while men were shown in adventurous positions (2019). Both advertisements were banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) as they depicted women in stereotypical roles. Studies show that men also make positive purchasing decisions when they find women in confident roles, carrying the burden of responsibility with men equally.
It’s time that the advertising industry wakes up to realize that it is time to design campaigns that portray women positively and empower them instead of subjugating them.
Enhancing the chance of an equal society through advertising not only is ethical but also increases brands’ favorability, thus more chances of making a profit. Advertisements should be viewed as the point of intersection and agreement between the ideology of feminism and discourse. Showcasing the opposite from now on would only be a losing situation.
Pooja Chatley, Portrayal of Women in Advertising. impact: international journal of research in humanities, arts and literature (impact: ijrhal) issn (p): 2347-4564; issn (e): 2321-8878 vol. 6, issue 7, jul 2018, 15-18
Sharma, Sangeeta and Bumb, Arpan (2021). Role Portrayal of Women in Advertising: An Empirical Study. Journal of International Women’s Studies, 22(9), 236-255.
Victoria E. Drake, The Impact of Female Empowerment in Advertising (Femvertising) : Journal of Research in Marketing Volume 7 No.3 August 2017.
Rim Hajjoui is a Master’s student with a major in Marketing who’s passionate about breathing life into brands. Driven not so much by profit as by societal needs, she developed an interest in social innovation as it is the key for the private sector to contribute to solving modern-day issues. She also has a strong taste for civic and youth engagement. Concerned about gender inequality from an early age. She’s committed to high-quality research regarding intersectional feminism, inclusion, and sustainable development. She joined Politics4Her because she believes that women’s inclusion in politics is crucial for a better society.
Women have made remarkable progress in various areas that contributed to long-term economic health during the previous century, notably in terms of higher education and labor participation. We are, however, still falling behind in one major area: financial literacy. Financial literacy is the understanding and application of concepts of personal financial management, such as budgeting, investing, and debt management skills; these enable a person to use their financial resources to make informed and effective decisions in order to achieve financial well-being. It is a crucial skill for wealth generation.
Generational improvement in financial knowledge might be expected, that young and single women might perform similarly to their male counterparts. Interestingly, regardless of age, education, or marital status, the gender disparity in financial literacy endures. This gender imbalance is confusing, particularly in industrialized cultures where women outnumber men in higher education. As financial products multiply and become more complex, so does the importance of developing a financial education for the achievement of financial stability. Financial literacy is associated with more wealth, a higher probability of investment, better retirement preparedness, and less concern about financial problems. Systematic inequalities in financial literacy between men and women lead to women having lower chances of success in financial markets.
In many cases, wealth equals freedom and safety. There is a strong association between financial dependence and patriarchal control, especially in family relationships. Women, in many parts of the world, are financially dependent on their male relatives (or even ex-relatives), especially women who do not participate in the labor force. Women’s subservience to males is maintained via financial dependency, which inhibits women’s autonomy.
Women of all ages demonstrate relatively low financial literacy levels. Those who are likely to require a high level of financial knowledge, such as widows or single women, are also unfamiliar with concepts that are crucial to standard financial decisions. Married women often find themselves uninformed of the details and handling of household finances. Men in couples tend to engage in financial management, whereas married, divorced, and widowed women are less likely to develop their financial expertise. However, divorced women develop financial knowledge over time as they learn to manage their finances without the assistance of a spouse. In terms of marital status, married women are much more financially savvy than unmarried women; the same is not true for men. Since women typically live longer than men and are more likely to be widowed, enhancing women’s financial literacy is critical for retirement planning and long-term financial security.
According to a recent study, women are less confident than men in making many financial decisions, particularly major ones. A series of tests, however, revealed that women know more than they think they do and that confidence levels have a significant influence on how competent they consider themselves to be. Having a financial education is one of the most effective ways for women to protest the patriarchy. True equality will not be achieved until financial equality is. Financial independence will never be realized without a financial education; women will never have full equality without financial freedom and economic equality. What could be more feminist than a woman who pulls herself together and organizes her finances? Personally, I am passionate about empowering women through financial education
Women currently live longer lives than men but generate significantly less wealth. Many factors contribute to this problem, most notably the income disparity that persists in many professions and the financial literacy gap. Despite the fact that women are becoming more involved in the banking and finance industry, finance is still widely considered a masculine domain, reflected in stereotypes regarding gender and finance observed in young children. It is critical to create strategies to eliminate gender disparities and stereotypes, as well as to enhance women’s financial behavior.
Fonseca, R., Mullen, K. J., Zamarro, G., & Zissimopoulos, J. (2012). What Explains the Gender Gap in Financial Literacy? The Role of Household Decision Making. The Journal of consumer affairs, 46(1), 90–106. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1745-6606.2011.01221.x
Tinghög, G., Ahmed, A., Barrafrem, K., Lind, T., Skagerlund, K., & Västfjäll, D. (2021). Gender differences in financial literacy: The role of stereotype threat. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 192, 405-416. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167268121004455
Bucher-Koenen, T., Lusardi, A., Alessie, R. and van Rooij, M. (2017), How Financially Literate Are Women? An Overview and New Insights. Journal of Consumer Affairs, 51: 255-283. https://doi.org/10.1111/joca.12121
Buchwald, E. (2021). What’s behind the male-female financial-literacy gap? These academics say they’ve found an answer. MarketWatch. https://www.marketwatch.com/story/whats-behind-the-financial-literacy-gender-gap-these-academics-both-male-and-female-found-one-answer-11620068977
About Her First $100K. (n.d.). Her First $100K – Financial Feminism & Money Education. Retrieved March 24, 2022, from https://herfirst100k.com/about-hfk
Smith, M., and Liao, H-. W. (2020) Closing a Gender Gap: Financial Literacy is not Enough. Stanford Center on Longevity [Working paper]. https://longevity.stanford.edu/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Closing-a-Gender-Gap-Financial-Literacy-is-not-Enough.pdf
Ryme Mounib is a Canadian and Moroccan environmental studies graduate from York University. She was born in Europe and raised between the Middle East and North America, and is currently based in Morocco. She is an entrepreneur, desk editor, and volunteer team leader at Politics4HerMENA. Ryme is interested in further studies in sustainability, international affairs, and commerce. She joined Politics4Her for the chance to make a difference in the lives of disadvantaged women and girls all around the world.
Female genital mutilation, or FGM for short, is a cultural practice that is done to protect virginity and family honor. FGM holds many misconceptions that are the reason why it prevails in many societies. The common misconception that exists today is that FGM is an antique practice that no longer takes place in the twenty-first century. This would be news to UNICEF as based on their data there are still high numbers of FGM happening every day in multiple countries. In some nations, it is even as high as ninety-eight percent of the women in the country of Somalia have had to undergo. Another misconception is that it only exists in underdeveloped, poor nations, but if we were to look at a map even the United States would have FGM practices light up.
Additionally, there are several types of female genital mutilation ranking from most to least severe. Type I is often referred to as clitoridectomy, Type 2 is often referred to as excision, Type III is often referred to as Infibulation and Type III includes all other harmful nonmedical procedures (pricking, piercing, incising, scraping, etc.) The most prominent type is that of type III-Infibulation or “pharaonic circumcision”. Type III-Infibulation is known to be the most severe form as it involves the cutting off of the female genitalia and stitching to leave only the hole.
There seems to be an understanding of FGM in these communities that remain practicing it that it is the way for women to keep their virtues. That they should not date outside of marriage let alone have any sexual desires. The removal of female pleasure is seen as making sure that she will not dishonor the family name and she doesn’t need to feel pleasure in order to reproduce. Many women who have had this procedure done upon them have actually stated that many girls that have undergone FGM still have boyfriends and go against their families. Hence, means that FGM does not stop or cancel affairs before marriage.
In order for their real change in these communities, I believe that more communication should occur between men and women. A good medium for this would be education. This would start when children are young, so they grow up with the mindset that women are worthy of the same equal opportunities as men, which would teach them that women deserve respect. Of course, this would not be limited to just children, as adults still make up society. In Somalia specifically, there should be the implementation of education programs for both men and women that teach the dangers of FGM and the serious health risks it poses for women in the future. It is possible that we will live in a future where young women are not forced into marriage, have to suffer from abuse, or have to feel the pain of their genitals being mutilated, but this cannot happen unless each society reflects on their wrongdoings so that the future generations can improve on them.
Kasiana Isabel Jimenez is a 23-year-old master’s student. She was born and raised in Miami and is currently living in Glasgow Scotland. She completed her Bachelor’s degree in international relations at the University of Saint Louis Madrid Campus and is finishing her master’s degree in Global security at the University of Glasgow. Jimenez cares about social justice, human rights, and international security. She aspires to be a lawyer and uses her degrees to be a women’s advocate in all aspects of society. Kasiana joined Poltics4her, a youth-led organization in order to help bring out the voices of women that are being silenced or ignored around the world.
More than ever before, people are moving around the world. The reasons vary from a search for a better life and new opportunities to the escape from conflicts, wars and violence. According to article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, freedom of movement is a human right. Whether migration is forced or voluntary, gender is at the center of its causes and consequences. Gender plays an important role when it comes to the decision-making process and the mechanisms leading to migration. 48,1 percent of the 281 million migrants of 2020 are women which shows the importance of focusing on migration through a gender perspective. Even though paragraphs 23 and 31 of the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, recognize the specific vulnerabilities of women on the move, the Forty-First UN Human Rights Council report acknowledges that most countries do not have a comprehensive data management system that captures gender.
Each story is different, perhaps hierarchical social relations related to gender shape the migration experience of women. Indeed, women can experience double discrimination due to their gender added to their migrant status which can impact their well-being and violate the respect of their rights. It is therefore important to realize how gender interacts with migration and how to respond accordingly. As a consequence, it is essential to understand if gender inequality is a cause for migration and if migration itself perpetuates gender disparities in order to make sure to formulate inclusive policies that can ensure the adoption of measures to address the specific needs of women who migrate.
In situations where women cannot accomplish their economic, political and social expectations and goals in their country of origin because of their gender, gender inequality becomes a powerful factor leading to migration. Numbers retrieved from UN Women show that 27% of women left Afghanistan because of domestic violence as their main reason. Indeed, practices or policies in the country of origin that are discriminatory against women can manifest in various ways such as the limitation of their participation in society and political life or their access to resources or educational opportunities. Forced marriage and female genital mutilation can also be reasons for women to migrate.
When leaving your home is already a difficult choice, the realities faced in the country of destination can further complicate the situation. Women can also face gender-based discrimination upon their arrival to their host country. Indeed, gender-specific labor demands reflect the existing stereotypes based on the gender of the destination country. The demand for domestic workers, nurses, and entertainers generally focuses on the recruitment of migrant women. According to the United Nations, women represent 73.4% of international migrant domestic workers. In addition, only 26 countries have ratified the ILO Convention on Domestic Workers (No. 189) that aims to promote the rights and dignity of domestic workers, while recognizing the specific forms of discrimination and abuse faced by women.
The internalization of these gender stereotypes by recruitment intermediaries contributes to reinforcing gender segregation in the labor market. In addition, women that work as unauthorized workers are common and this situation makes them particularly vulnerable since they can be exposed to threats and can be victims of verbal and physical abuse. Indeed, in these situations where women work illegally because they did not register in the country of destination or do not have a work permit, they do not have access to protection and cannot ensure their rights are guaranteed. Indeed, they may not have access to fundamental rights such as health or justice if they are afraid to report the crimes and violence committed towards them because of the fear of losing their job or being sent back to their country.
On the migration road, especially when it is done in irregular ways, women and girls are particularly vulnerable and can be exposed to situations where they do not feel safe and where they are exposed to sexual and gender-based violence. According to UN Women, 90% of women and girls migrating along the Meditteranean have been raped during their road to Italy. This number is shocking considering that some girls and women take contraception in order not to get pregnant during their travels. Furthermore, sexual service can commonly be asked by smugglers for instance. Moreover, the trafficking of women and girls for prostitution and forced labor is one of the fastest-growing areas of international criminal activity. Women who are victims of this trafficking are extremely vulnerable and exposed to exploitation, coercion and abuse of power.
In addition, women can also be indirectly affected by migration even if they are not directly the subject of it. Indeed, women can be left behind in the country of origin after their husband or partner migrates. In this situation, they may need to generate the income necessary to raise their children and support their family to compensate for the departure of their partner which can be a challenge. Women can contribute to the economic development of their countries of destination through their competencies and skills. In cases where they come back to their country of origin, they can bring their expertise enhanced by their experience.
To conclude, gender is an important factor in migration both in the causes and in the consequences. Migration is not always a choice and can result from a gender-related situation in the country of origin that forces women to leave. As a consequence principles of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women should be reminded and adopted in practice. When it comes to the country of destination, more emphasis should be put on SDG 2030 Goal 8 which aims to promote decent work and economic growth for women to work in a peaceful and harmonized environment that does not reproduce any gender-based discrimination as well as on Goal 5 that focuses on gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. Particular attention should be drawn towards gender-based and sexual violence on migration roads and measures should be taken accordingly to ensure the safety of all women. Host countries should put in place effective mechanisms to accompany women and girls who are gender-based violence survivors. Therefore, the current situation regarding the status of women in migration should be acknowledged and strategies should be further developed to protect and empower migrant women.
Division for the Advancement of Women Department of Economic and Social Affairs United Nations. (n.d). Women and International Migration. United Nations. https://www.un.org/en/development/desa/population/migration/events/coordination/3/docs/P01_DAW.pdf
Migration Data Portal. (2021, September 28). Gender and migration. Migration Data Portal. https://www.migrationdataportal.org/themes/gender-and-migration
Pedraza, S. (1991). Women and Migration: The Social Consequences of Gender. Annual Review of Sociology, 17, 303–325. http://www.jstor.org/stable/2083345
United Nations General Assembly Human Rights Council. (2019, July 12). The impact of migration on migrant women and girls: a gender perspective Report of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants. Relief Web. https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/G1910791.pdf
UN Women. (2021, December). How migration is a gender equality issue. UN Women. https://interactive.unwomen.org/multimedia/explainer/migration/en/index.html
Léa Aleyna Fournier is a French and Turkish student enrolled in her last year of undergraduate studies at Sciences Po. She volunteered and took part in multiple projects on refugees’ rights, women’s rights and children’s rights. Within the International Refugee Rights Association, Léa actively coordinated a project of career mentoring and workshops for high-school aged Syrian girls in Turkey. On October 11, 2021, she took part in the regional conference for the International Day of the Girl Child organized by UNICEF and UNWomen to read a declaration on the theme of Girls’ Leadership in the Digital Age. Léa is interested in human rights, diplomacy and international security. Léa joined Politics4Her because she believes in the power of youth to change and shape tomorrow’s world.
It is universally acknowledged that gender is a social and cultural construct. It is conceived as the social construction of women’s and men’s identities and conducts. In this paper, I will be analyzing two articles that criticize the masculinist and male world of IR and the exclusion of women from foreign policy decision-making processes and the defense military field. The first article, written by Kristen P.Williams and entitled “Feminism in Foreign Policy”, is more general and theoretical. However, the second one, named “Sex and Death in the Rational World of Defence Intellectuals” by Carol Cohn, is more analytical and focuses specifically on the sexualized abstract language used by defense intellectuals in the nuclear weaponry field.
In the first article, Williams addresses the absence of women and women’s issues from the IR theoretical landscape and foreign policymaking process. She criticizes the neglect of the gender component by mainstream IR theories, namely realism, and liberalism. The author also demonstrates that mainstream IR theories are not gender-neutral but gender-blind. Central concepts in IR were developed in an inherently patriarchal social and political structure.1 Williams points out that conventional IR theories focus on state behavior while completely ignoring individual experiences. Accordingly, they fail to consider gender and women in their analysis.
Alternatively, Williams argues that the feminist theory provides a new perspective to the table by including gender as a key element in the analysis. It suggests viewing IR through gender lenses. Therefore, feminist IR theories argue that a “Reconceptualization” of central terms and issues in mainstream IR like “Power” and “Security” is indispensable. Relatedly, “Security” as the main topic in IR neglects the gender dimension. Feminist IR scholars argue that the state in conventional IR theories is a masculine patriarchal entity.2 According to feminists, “Security” is a national and international issue because women are more exposed to violence domestically and internationally.3
Thus, Williams highlights the interconnection between domestic violence and international violence.4 She emphasizes the connection between women’s security and the state’s security. In other words, feminists state that women are more susceptible to attacks, violence, and rape during times of war. If gender is excluded and marginalized from the beginning of IR discussions, policymakers (namely men) will not take it into consideration, and therefore, foreign policies would be detrimental to women.5
Moreover, Williams provides an overview of the feminist critique of the distinction between “High politics” and “Low politics” put by key players in IR. Women’s issues are often regarded as “low politics” issues which means that they are secondary or irrelevant to the discipline. Conventional IR theories have a state-centric approach, and thus, they totally ignore the role of the individual. It becomes then almost inconceivable to introduce social and gender relations into the analysis. Omitting women’s experiences leads to an insufficient and even naïve political analysis.6 Seeing war, for instance, from a woman’s viewpoint can change the conception of war. Alternatively, together with constructivism, feminism aims to make IR discipline focus more on the individual and people’s experiences. In addition, Williams argues that women remain excluded from “hard politics” decision-making positions. Men are more likely to be appointed in higher status positions, and women continue to be found in lower-status positions which strengthen the gender hierarchy in international relations.7
According to Williams, mainstream IR theories portray women as victims and peacemakers. Thus, feminist IR scholars note that we should dismantle the image of women as peacemakers and pacifists. The discourse that equates women with peace and pacifism has always contributed to disempowering women and excludes them from the realm of “hard politics”.8 Women have long been subjected to sexist stereotypes and a glass ceiling that prevented them from being in leadership positions. Moreover, female leaders must prove their leadership effectiveness by possessing masculine agentic traits which makes them more credible.
Furthermore, Williams points out that several studies demonstrated that women are not pacifists by nature, and people who believe in gender equality (not necessarily women) are more favorable to the use of diplomacy and compromise when it comes to conflict resolution.9 These studies have also shown that countries that have achieved high levels of gender equality have foreign policies that are less violent and belligerent.10
In sum, Williams provides a general overview of the feminist critique of mainstream IR theories. However, she did not suggest any solution to include women in the IR theoretical and practical framework. She also failed to assess and evaluate the contribution of feminism to IR theories. Additionally, Williams and other feminist IR scholars consider women a homogenous group without adopting an intersectional approach and taking into consideration other factors such as class, race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. For this reason, it can be argued that the feminist IR theory has failed women in the global South. Moreover, feminist IR theories received a significant amount of criticism after the framing of some conflicts in the name of liberating women and saving them but in the end, it was just a language that was used to hide the real intentions, namely maintaining western hegemony, and guaranteeing western interests in the Middle East. Williams failed to acknowledge the criticism that feminists IR theories received.
Unlike Williams’ article’s general and theoretical nature, Cohn’s article is more analytical and specific. Cohn addresses the sexualized specialized language in the field of nuclear weaponry and strategy. She demonstrates the crucial role of language in shaping the nuclear strategy. The author notes that this specialized language is called “technostrategic”. It contains a plethora of metaphors, sexual and religious imageries, and sexy acronyms that distance the users from the disasters of war.11 She emphasizes that the use of technostrategic language enables the defense intellectuals to lessen the pain, terror, and anxiety of war. It allows the speakers to distance themselves from the atrocities caused by nuclear weapons.12 Defence intellectuals’ language does not allow them to take into account the impact of nuclear weapons on human beings. By using this technical terminology such as “clean bombs” to refer to nuclear weapons and “collateral damage” to describe human death and mass murder, defense intellectuals feel disconnected from human reality. Using a sexualized language that completely ignores the human dimension of nuclear technology, strips away emotions and isolates the users from the destruction that occurs, but it does not diminish or attenuate people’s pain and suffering.
Besides, Cohn argues that this technostrategic language was designated from the beginning to discuss weapons, therefore, it does not concern human life. Accordingly, since the human dimension is completely neglected in this specialized language, talking about it makes one’s concerns and remarks illegitimate and irrelevant. If one wants to discuss nuclear strategy, one needs to master the existing sexualized terminology. Otherwise, their points would not be taken into consideration. This puts the person in front of a significant dilemma: using the correct terminology to be heard by the defense intellectuals or speaking according to one’s values and principles. They silence voices from outside by forcing others to use the sexualized concepts when they want to address nuclear weaponry issues,. For instance, as a person who is not part of the defense intellectuals’ committee and does not have a technical background in nuclear weaponry, whenever I think about nuclear technology, I automatically visualize the horrifying devastation caused by these terrifying weapons, injured people, wounded souls, severe pain, and brutal cruel massacres.
Cohn also demonstrates that the technostrategic language is essentially used to address the issue of nuclear weaponry from the user’s viewpoint and not that of the victims. The introduction of the sexual component in the terminology of the abstract language, such as “erector launchers”, “deep penetration”, “big stick” and the extensive use of metaphors dehumanize and minimize the disasters caused by the deadly murderous weapons. At the end of her article, Cohn suggests that feminists need to deconstruct the euphemism and abstractions used in the technostrategic
language and to reconstruct and develop an alternative conception of rationality.13
Cohn has convincingly highlighted the masculinist nature of the nuclear weaponry field. Most of the intellectuals are males and the language is sexist and sexualized. However, she did not elaborate on how feminists should deconstruct and reconstruct the technostrategic language. She also failed to address women’s involvement in nuclear technology and their accountability for crimes against humanity and war crimes.
In fine, both authors criticize the IR gendered paternalist discourse and the masculinist world of IR, but they did not suggest any solution to include women more into foreign policy decision-making positions and how to introduce women’s issues in foreign policies. They also failed to assess whether the feminist IR critique is deemed successful in reconstructing the IR discipline. It is true that the main contribution that feminist IR theories made in the field are to think beyond the existing dichotomies of public/private and national/international. They provide a new perspective on crucial issues discussed by IR scholars. Their introduction of gender and women in the analysis, redefinition, and reconceptualization of IR main concepts like “Power” and “Security”, made us rethink and change the way in which we perceive and understand central concepts in the IR discipline. Nevertheless, the question that keeps arising is: is the feminist challenge to conventional IR theories fruitful in reconstructing the IR discipline?
 Ruiz, Feminist Theory and International Relations: The Feminist Challenge to Realism and Liberalism, 2.
 Aydin, Feminist Challenge to the Mainstream IR, 3.
 Williams, “Feminism in Foreign Policy”, 6.
 Ibid., 5.
 Ibid., 12.
[6} Ruiz, Feminist Theory and International Relations: The Feminist Challenge to Realism and Liberalism, 4.
 Williams, “Feminism in Foreign Policy”, 14.
 Williams, “Feminism in Foreign Policy”, 7.
 Ibid., 7.
 Ibid., 1.
 Cohn, “Sex and Death in the Rational World of Defence Intellectuals”, 4.
 Ibid., 25.
 Cohn, “Sex and Death in the Rational World of Defence Intellectuals”, 33
About the author:
Rim Affathe is a 20 years old master’s student. She was born and raised in Morocco, and she is currently living in Vienna. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and she is currently an International Relations master’s student at Central European University in Vienna. Rim Affathe has a vested interest in gender studies, postcolonial feminism, security studies, and diplomacy. She aspires to be a Moroccan diplomat and a women’s rights advocate. She is also a member of the feminist and youth-led initiative Politics4Her.
Responsible Business Conduct (RBC) has been a concept that not only has been transforming the way the corporate world does business but has also transcended the day-to-day decisions a multimillion company should take. I remembered the time I couldn’t find a job, after going to grad school, since I had a master’s degree in a concept people didn’t truly understand. What is sustainable development? What is responsible business conduct? What is responsible management? Those were questions that I would receive in each interview I would do, while I was hoping others managed to see the importance this concept has for our future (while simultaneously trying to get hired). Some years ago, companies didn’t realize their actions truly had negative impacts on their activities, not just on people, but also on the planet.
The concept of Responsible Business Conduct represents the actions an enterprise can make to contribute in a positive way, to economic, environmental, and social progress while achieving sustainable development. We used to think that if a company had a “CSR Department” or a “Volunteering Program” would be enough, but time has shown us that the corporate world needs serious changes to sustain in an inclusive and sustainable manner. Enterprises have realized that their actions have impacts and that consumers care about the image an enterprise represents. It took years for fast fashion companies to recover after the Rana Plaza factory complex disaster in Bangladesh, which killed more than 1,100 garment workers, mostly young women. What did the international community learn from those horrific images? That all businesses regardless of their legal status, size, structure, ownership, sector, should behave in a responsible way. The concept of RBC now represented a set of values that would eventually not just dictate a variety of actions a multinational enterprise needs to practice but also established a set of norms that would eventually formulate important public policies, decisions, and even laws.
As the international business environment transitioned to a more responsible “conduct” economy, and it likes to put it in italics since it’s a concept we’re still determining and creating multinational enterprises; throughout their job creation perspective, investment, and human capital development, have been primary contributors to the development and economic growth of the whole international community. In a complex and globalized world, multinational enterprises’ activities often uphold distinctive environments that can have negative repercussions in economic, social, and environmental matters. Multinationals need to represent high standards within their business conduct and appropriate these types of principles in their overall frameworks.
While the RBC concept suffered a powerful transition, enterprises realized they had to adopt the robust 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into their framework, to achieve sustainability, and the 2030 Agenda. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals not just represented a global vision on what we need to focus on to achieve sustainability, but also was a global shoutout that we are all interconnected, and to achieve sustainability, there needs to be urged targeted goals. These indicators helped track humanity´s progress towards well-being while encompassing distinctive trade-offs and transition channels. These goals are all interconnected and have caved the path on new ways to not just create public policy, but the way enterprises do businesses.
SDG 5 is gender equality and women’s empowerment. As Multinational Enterprises started their transition to adopt the 17 SDGs and principles of Responsible Business Conduct into their framework and ambitions, the business community´s motivation and intent to advance in women’s economic empowerment started growing significantly. Now we can talk about a concept that has been widely recognized by governments and businesses around the world, as its own substantial right, which is a critical driver to sustainable and inclusive development. And as happy I can be to say we are currently living in the decade of women; surprisingly (pretends to be shocked) businesses are still not generating gender equality opportunities that respond to our specific needs and policy dimensions.
Women historically have been disproportionately affected by adverse business practices, where gender impacts every (yes, every) aspect of business, whereas we can say, it is still treated as a niche. This not just prevents a company from developing a sustainable and inclusive agenda but prevents progress on women’s economic empowerment, which has direct implications on poverty, economic growth, and sustainable development. In these unprecedented times we are living, women are participating even more in the formal economy, and are accountable for more than 40% of the global labor force. We are currently experiencing impressive growth in women in leadership positions and experiencing an outpouring of growth in female entrepreneurship. As Christine Lagarde, the head of the European Central Bank once said: “women’s empowerment is not just a fundamentally moral cause, it is also an absolute economic no-brainer.”
Then why is gender still a blind spot for many multinational enterprises? Why are women´s contributions and needs often overlooked? Why do we still have to fight every day to close the notorious gender gap? Women have been facing unique barriers throughout the years in most countries, where restrictions have been part of our path since I can remember, and guess what – we´ve grown resilient from them -. Achieving gender equality is a movement, which requires systematically strengthening within the integration of gender perspective policies, frameworks, conducts, and alliances, where Multinational Enterprises need to tackle the common barriers towards this substantive progress. Every time a woman reaches a leadership position, it is more likely to integrate sustainability aspects which can recreate an inclusive and developed economy. It’s easy, I see it as a win-win coalition, where businesses start a groundwork to create gender-equitable work, while economic inclusivity thrives into a more resilient and sustainable future.
Within a gender perspective scope, Responsible Business Conduct encourages multinational enterprises to understand what women’s economic empowerment means by granting them the knowledge, tools, and power to achieve their goals and aspirations. MNEs need to ensure women can achieve their full potential by granting them leadership positions, ending discrimination, and providing them equal pay in integrated matters. The awareness of these gender norms and the systemic changes that come along with them should be visible in key performance indicators, employee engagement, and substantial policy frameworks. We are currently living in a space of time where businesses, governments, NGOs, and society are listening to what we have to say, which marks the perfect momentum to achieve and strengthen women’s economic empowerment. Let’s identify opportunities, improve policies, and recognize significant partnerships that can boost these principles into our day-to-day chores.
This is the time to make it happen. It’s now or never, so let’s make it happen, because if it is not now then, when?
Pilar Porras is a Costa Rican governmental advisor. She holds a Masters’s Degree from the UN Mandate Univery for Peace in Responsible Management and Sustainable Economic Development and a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations. Pilar is passionate about social development themes and environmental work. She is also a sustainability consultant and has focused her work on sustainability principles to reach Sustainable Development Goals in both public and private sectors. Ms. Porras is also an entrepreneur, currently creating a sustainable brand, loves yoga, and spending time on the beautiful Costa Rican beaches. Pilar cares about social justice, human rights, and environmental development all while focusing on inclusiveness and sustainable issues.
The Quran came as a sacred text, a word of God that introduced us to the message of universal equality among all humans irrespective of gender, class, or race. However, once tampered with individual interpretations, this holy text lost its actual meaning over time.
How Islam is conceived by Westerners is frequently misunderstood as innately patriarchal and man-dominated. Wearing the hijab or niqab are frequently seen to illustrate Muslim women’s repression. Further, indeed within Islamic countries, there does live a station of man superiority and domination that contributes to a generalist misreading of Muslims which is a misinterpretation of the Quran. Rather, the patriarchal standpoint is a result of historical and cultural events that are not in connection to Islamic values. Islam isn’t patriarchal, but patriarchy has been heavily involved in the history of the Middle East and has latterly strained into the ways Muslims exercise their faith and patriarchal traditions colored the early and dominant interpretations of the Quran.
The foundations of Islamic Law are grounded in the Quran. In addition, the Sunnah (the hadith and the example of the prophet) is used as a secondary source for further explanation and guidance. When the Quran and Sunnah leave an issue unresolved, Muslim scholars resort to ijtihad – the science of interpretations and rulemaking, where they can supplement Islamic Law with local customs. Naturally, scholars from different communities and schools of thought disagree in their ijtihad, which is unobjectionable as long as these scholarships are based on religious and linguistic knowledge and are conducted piously and in good faith. While Muslims are free to choose the interpretations most convincing and satisfying to them, these individual interpretations are inevitably influenced by the patriarchal customs and beliefs of their surroundings.
While the history of patriarchy in the Middle East is complex, virile dominance evolved historically alongside the growth of Islamic nations. Feminist Gerda Lerner traces a “creation of patriarchy” in Islam through the continual repetition of virile-dominated rituals and events in Islamic society over time.
When Islam appeared in the 7th century, along with the handover of Islamic practices throughout the Middle East, certain social practices were also assessed on women in the name of Islam – for case, unsexed sequestration (or the splitting up of men and women outside of the home). Historians suppose this circumstance as linked to mimicking the life of upper and middle classes in Middle Eastern cosmopolises at the time – and that an emergence of a middle class during the time of Islam’s indigenous handover contributed to gender insulation, it means what is now seen as gender inequality within Muslim societies is not linked to Islam at all, but rather profitable structures that favored the concealment of women within the home. But the practice of dividing the places of men and women into “separate” areas has been common throughout history. Women are traditionally seen to be “internal” or linked to the home while men are seen as “external”-or involved in the outside world.
About the author:
Salma Larabi is a 20 years old young Moroccan feminist. She is a computer science student and is also interested in feminism and gender equality. She is currently a member and volunteer in numerous organizations in order to contribute to improving the role of women in society.
“Feminism was a tool for female advancement”.
In Maghreb countries, Islam was a crucial cultural and religious factor of unity. It was considered as the national struggle for independence. After the independence, Maghreb countries experienced what we can call “Nationalization of religion”. Postcolonial Tunisia was founded on the principles of modernity and a moderate Islam that enabled the establishment of a family law which recognized the basic women’s rights (Arfaoui, 2016). After Tunisia’s independence from France in 1956, the first Tunisian president Habib Bourguiba chose to found a modern system and to promote women’s rights. The Personal Status Code established in 1956 had a progressive nature. The code granted equality in divorce procedures, gave women the right to divorce and child custody, banned polygamy, established consent and instituted a minimum age for marriage. In addition, it gave women the right to work, travel, start businesses and open bank accounts (Grami,2018). Bourguiba’s regime was considered a new period in Islamic innovation, which is essentially similar to early phases in the history of Islamic thought (Charred, as cited in Grami, 2018). After Bourguiba’s removal from the office by Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in 1987, the latter followed Bourguiba’s same secular republican path. He continued to promote women’s rights by implementing policies and reforms that improve women’s political, social, economic and legal situation. In this respect, in 2007, the minimum age in Tunisia was raised from 15 to 18 for women and men (Grami, 2018). He portrayed himself as a champion of women’s rights.
From the beginning of the 21st century, women’s rights were expanded in areas that significantly concern marriage contracts, custody over children and alimony (Grami, 2018). These policies reflected the modern progressive ideology adopted by the State and portrayed Tunisia as embracing modernity in the international community’s eyes. The debate over women’s rights made the polarisation between secularists and Islamists significantly visible. The debate was framed within two dichotomies and opposed visions. On the one hand, the western model of liberation supporting a modernist view. On the other hand, the conservative Islamic perspective calling for the return of Islamic rule. Islamists accused the State of not respecting the Muslim identity. While the State blamed the Islamists for wanting to return to the dark ages (Grami, 2018). They were no autonomous feminist movement in Tunisia. Women’s activism was always circumscribed within an inherent conflict between the Islamists and the State. Radhia Haddad, the president of the National Union of Tunisian Women, among other feminists were criticizing and denouncing state feminism. Although his progressive revolutionary ideas, Bourguiba prefered to strengthen the traditional women’s roles, and he refers to them as wives, mothers, and guardians of the culture and Islamic tradition (Grami, 2018). After the independence, the field of religious exegesis and studies remained male-dominated (Grami, 2018). Most of the Tunisian feminists were part of leftist parties and were not knowledgeable about religious issues. Nevertheless, many women today are starting to embrace an Islamic perspective to women’s empowerment and emancipation. These women have chosen to defend their feminist agenda within a religious framework. They wanted to reconcile their gender and religious identity by re-interpreting religious texts and appropriating the religious field. They also tried to deconstruct religious discourses to fight men’s monopoly of religious knowledge and denounce state feminism and patriarchy (Grami, 2018).
The rise of political Islam and the politicization of religion have pushed feminist scholars to take action. They were harshly accused of being western pawns implemented by imperialist agendas. By countering this religious discourse, they were defending themselves against charges of lacking religious legitimacy and knowledge (Grami, 2018). Tunisian feminists challenge literal readings of the Quran done by male religious scholars and represented by them as authentic to the Islamic legacy. Feminist scholars tried to criticize the existing religious knowledge without repudiating their cultures. They believe that gender justice is essential to a just society. Women’s rights have become a fertile ground for ideological and political debates after the independance in 1956 and the revolution in 2011. In this respect, the feminist voice had known a crucial disparity regarding women’s status. Therefore, it was significantly challenging to reach a unified vision concerning the future of women’s situation in Tunisia. In sum, feminists have enormously helped reshape and refashion the upcoming generation’s consciousness from a gender perspective (Grami, 2018). Women’s engagement in the reinterpretation of religious texts has enabled them to integrate the public sphere and establish a different form of knowledge (Grami, 2018). However, many women were still adopting a conservative perspective of Islam, and they ultimately rejected the secular view since they considered it a threat to Islam. Fatima Shakeout, for example, was calling for a radical conservative form of Islam, and she denounced the Personal Status Code because it goes against the Sharia law (Grami, 2018).
Tunisia is represented as the positive outcome of the Arab Spring. The establishment of an egalitarian, democratic constitution and the strong women’s rights movement have made Tunisia a great example to follow by other countries in the region. The post-revolution period has known a prominent debate around the Personal Status Code between secularists and Islamists. On the one hand, the secularists perceived Bourguiba as the « liberator of women » and called for more reforms to advance women’s rights. On the other hand, Salafists were firmly against the western perspective and wanted to reinforce the authentic Islamic order (Grami, 2018). Therefore, the dichotomous debate emphasized the existing division between scholars who seek to advance women’s rights and others who want to establish an authentic Islamic order. The secularists were accused of immorality and infidelity. Secular feminists were perceived as traitors and as a disgrace to the Islamic culture in Tunisia. Islamists have tried their best to portray feminists as morally transgressive of the ideal divine order (Grami, 2018). They were described as “non-believers”, and they were seen as enemies of the Ummah. Women activists who received support from the State were perceived after the 2011 revolution by the Islamists (mainly members of the Al Nahda party) as supporters of the State (Grami, 2018). They were treated as against Islam. In this sense, the question of women’s rights has become unconsciously related to Bourguiba and Ben Ali, who are considered dictators and enemies of religion (Grami, 2018). Members of Al Nahda party have a negative view of women’s rights since they conceive them as opposed to the divine law (Sharia). Many feminists were dismissed because they were only representing the liberal social class, essentially acting against Islam. Some politicians who are part Al Nahda party believe that society’s economic and ethical sicknesses are the result of the alienation from the ideal Islamic path. In order to get more support, Islamists instrumentalize the narrative of Muslim oppressed veiled women as victims of the former dictatorships (Grami, 2018). Numerous members of the Al Nahda party attacked some activists during the process of writing the new Constitution after the revolution because they accused them o violating Islamic morality (Grami, 2018). In fact, post-revolution Islamism has become more complex than just spiritual practices and piety. Despite all the promises to promote the women’s rights agenda that Nahdawi leaders made, many of them were willing to Islamise the society (Grami, 2018). Rached Ghannouchi, the co-founder of the Al Nahda party, called for a revision of the Personal Status Code and other members of his party suggested implementing the Sharia.
Moreover, despite the efforts done by the ruling Islamist party to look like a party that respects women’s rights by recruiting women, the party’s real attitude towards women was apparent when it suggested a reform of Article 28 of the draft constitution to define women as “complementary to men” (Grami, 2018). This proposal was a shock for women activists. It also paved the way for adopting Sharia law that perceives women as supplementary to men and not as equal partners (Grami, 2018). Fortunately, this suggestion was met by strong protests on August 13, 2012, considered Women’s Day in Tunisia. Furthermore, some Islamists started calling to lift the ban on polygamy and permit religious marriages (Moghadam, as cited in Grami, 2018). After the fall of the Morsi regime, Al Nahda tried to place women in the positions of public representatives of so-called “moderate Islam”. They aimed to show the Tunisian Islamist party as different from other political parties in the region. They claimed that they embrace a moderate political Islam, which is not contradictory with democracy nor incompatible with women’s rights.
The uncertainty concerning the future of women’s rights in Tunisia fueled women and motivated them to go in manifestations, raise their voices and expand their sphere of influence. It is also worth noting that social media had a significant impact on promoting gender equality and societal change (Grami, 2018). Tunisian women have long enjoyed rights that were seen as a mirage for other women in other countries in the region. However, these rights were often used to discredit and disarm feminists (Grami, 2018). The main change that was brought by the 2011 revolution was the responsibility and accountability shift from the State to the civil society and lawmakers. Women’s massive vote has powerfully changed the power balance and enabled the victory of the liberal candidate Nida Tunis. This demonstrates the importance of women’s political activism. political involvement is, therefore, crucial and even indispensable for women’s fight for their rights (Grami, 2018).
- Arimbi, D. (2009). Contemporary Issues of Women and Islam in Muslim Societies. In Reading Contemporary Indonesian Muslim Women Writers: Representation, Identity and Religion of Muslim Women in Indonesian Fiction (pp. 27-54). Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press. Retrieved June 29, 2021, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt46n07t.5
- Badran, M. (2001). Locating Feminisms: The Collapse of Secular and Religious Discourses in the Mashriq. Agenda: Empowering Women for Gender Equity, (50), 41-57. Retrieved June 29, 2021, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/4066404
- Grami, A. (2013). Islamic Feminism: A new feminist movement or a strategy by women for acquiring rights? Contemporary Arab Affairs, 6(1), 102-113. Retrieved June 29, 2021, from https://www.jstor.org/stable/48600673
- Grami, A. (2008). Gender Equality in Tunisia. British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, 35(3), 349-361. Retrieved June 29, 2021, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/20455615
- Moghadam, V. (2014). DEMOCRATIZATION AND WOMEN’S POLITICAL LEADERSHIP IN NORTH AFRICA. Journal of International Affairs, 68(1), 59-78. Retrieved June 29, 2021, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/24461706
- Moghadam, V. (2007). GLOBALIZATION, STATES, AND SOCIAL RIGHTS: NEGOTIATING WOMEN’S ECONOMIC CITIZENSHIP IN THE MAGHREB. International Review of Modern Sociology, 33, 77-104. Retrieved June 29, 2021, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/41421289
- Yacoubi, I. (2016). Sovereignty From Below: State Feminism and Politics Of Women Against Women In Tunisia. The Arab Studies Journal, 24(1), 254-274. Retrieved June 29, 2021, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/44746854
About the author:
Rim Affathe is a 20 years old master’s student. She was born and raised in Morocco, and she is currently living in Vienna. She is an International Relations master’s student at Central European University in Vienna. Rim Affathe has a vested interest in gender studies, postcolonial feminism, security studies and diplomacy. She aspires to be a Moroccan diplomat and a women’s rights advocate. She is also a member of the feminist and youth-led initiative Politics4Her.
Les drogues existent depuis la nuit des temps. Ce sont des plantes, contenant des substances actives (alcaloïde, toxine), qui sont à l’origine de ces drogues. La distribution “mondiale » de ces plantes, ainsi que leur dissémination géographique, ont influencé la façon dont elles ont été utilisées par les hommes qui y ont été confronté dans leurs terres natales ou au cours des migrations. Ces dernières ont largement contribué à la dispersion de nombreuses plantes ainsi qu’à l’élargissement et la modification de leurs applications. Par conséquent, même les endroits où il y avait le moins de plantes psychoactives, ont connu très tôt la disponibilité d’un large éventail de drogues. Ce mécanisme d’échange a connu une accélération au XIXe siècle avec les progrès de la pharmacologie et de la médecine allopathique ce qui a poussé Les États dominants à s’accorder sur la création et la mise en œuvre d’un régime international de contrôle des drogues différenciant médicaments et stupéfiants. Ces mécanismes de réglementation font appel au partage, à la production, au commerce et à la consommation des médicaments considérés comme des drogues “licites” ; et interdiction de l’utilisation d’autres, appelées “illicites”.
Au fil des années 1890, apparaissent les premières prohibitions avec l’élaboration des règles du commerce international et la drogue devient très vite un enjeu politique. Le monde a connu deux grandes périodes des politiques de prohibition : la première s’étend du début du XXe siècle à la fin de la deuxième guerre mondiale et la deuxième période qui commence après la fin de la deuxième guerre mondiale et qui va jusqu’à nos jours.
La première période, se caractérise par un marché légal de drogues encadré du fait de la consommation courante des opiacés. Les premiers efforts internationaux pour mettre en place cette politique se traduisent par la Conférence de Shanghai qui pose les bases en 1909 du contrôle du commerce et de l’emploi de l’opium, la Conférence de La Haye (1911-1912), qui encadre la production et la circulation de l’opium, de la morphine et de la cocaïne pour les usages médicaux, l’Harrison act voté par les États Unies en 1914 qui interdit au niveau fédéral les usages non médicaux des opiacés et de la cocaïne, et enfin la Convention de Genève de 1925 qui instaure des mesures de contrôle de la production, de vente et de distribution des dérivés de l’opium.
En 1931, des quotas de production sont instaurés par pays. L’Europe et les États Unis sont les principaux marchés d’utilisation des drogues. Les principaux producteurs de ces drogues sont les pays d’Europe eux-mêmes jusqu’à la deuxième guerre mondiale. La logique est donc celle de l’encadrement plutôt que de l’interdiction, du fait que les productions coloniales bénéficient financièrement aux métropoles européennes. La caractéristique principale de ce marché est la prohibition qui, en l’absence de répression, a permis l’émergence d’un réseau international de trafic de drogue faisant de Marseille la plaque tournante internationale (60 à 70% de la cocaïne consommée par les États Unies viendrait de Marseille). La question des drogues illicites dans le monde commence dès lors à être traitée avec prudence.
La deuxième période (après la deuxième guerre mondiale) a connu une mise en place de réglementations internationales prohibitives pour éradiquer le commerce des drogues illicites. En 1946, l’Organe International de Contrôle sur les Stupéfiants (OICS), principal gendarme international contre les drogues illicites, est fondé sous pression des États Unies. En 1961, a eu lieu la convention unique sur les stupéfiants qui unifie l’ensemble des règlements internationaux antérieurs et fusionne les organes de contrôle. Puis en 1990, le programme des Nations Unies sur le contrôle international des drogues (PNUCID) voit le jour. Les années 1997 et 1998 sont respectivement rythmées par la création d’un office des Nations Unies contre la drogue et le crime (UNODC) et celle du programme d’éradication des drogues pour éliminer la production de cocaïne, de cannabis et de pavot. Pourtant, en 2008, l’Assemblée Générale des Nations Unies constate que la production de ces plantes a augmenté.
Le débat actuel porte sur les échecs de la politique anti-drogue au cours du vingtième siècle : la consommation augmente dans le monde entier, les secteurs de production se sont diversifiés, la disponibilité des produits illégaux sur le marché mondial s’est accrue, tant en termes de prix que de qualité et les approches précédentes ont échoué lamentablement. Selon de nombreux observateurs, la prohibition est à blâmer car elle permet des gains énormes, qui alimentent l’industrie de la drogue parce qu’elle est “illégale et risquée.” Cependant, l’échec des politiques anti-drogues est également imputable à l’accent mis sur la réduction de l’offre plutôt que de la consommation.
Enfin, l’échec des politiques anti-drogue remonte au début des années 1970, lorsque la réduction de l’offre a été envisagée et mise en œuvre pour la première fois. La guerre de la drogue a surtout porté sur la suppression de la paysannerie, qui a été criminalisée par la prohibition internationale. L’éradication forcée des cultures illégales de cannabis, de cocaïne et de pavot à opium a permis d’obtenir des financements incomparables à ceux alloués aux stratégies de développement économique.
L’échec de la prohibition et des politiques et actions antidrogue est difficilement reconnu par les principaux acteurs de la guerre contre la drogue. En effet ces derniers ainsi que les échecs de la guerre contre la drogue se répètent depuis des décennies parce qu’ils ne sont soumis à aucune réévaluation de leurs fondements ou de l’idéologie sous-jacente. Ainsi ils semblent se cantonner à des renforcements de tactiques et stratégies qui se sont montrées plutôt vaines par le passé.
La lutte contre la drogue s’annonce de plus en plus difficile pour les Etats. D’une part, parce que le trafic en lui-même se diversifie et complexifie et d’autre part parce que les répressions ont un coût toujours plus prononcé sans forcément s’accompagner de résultats. En France par exemple, la consommation augmente sensiblement, bien que le pays ait l’une des législations les plus restrictives de l’Europe. La réponse purement militaire appert comme insuffisante et c’est la raison pour laquelle plusieurs États ont adopté d’autres politiques expérimentales qui pourraient être plus effective dans cette lutte infinie à l’instar de la politique de légalisation totale (sans aucune restriction), exemple Evo Morales en Bolivi, celle de la responsabilisation et dépénalisation avec usage encadré comme au Portugal, au Pays Bas, en Birmanie et au Laos ou encore les politiques de pédagogies Birmanie et Laos.
En 2019, on dénombre une trentaine de pays dans le monde (dont de nombreux États américains, le Canada, 21 pays membre de l’Union européenne ainsi que la Suisse, la Norvège, Israël et la Turquie) autorisent déjà le cannabis thérapeutique.
La France ou le plus gros consommateur de cannabis au sein de l’Union européenne, a accepté en janvier 2019, de mener une étude sur l’usage thérapeutique du cannabis en France réalisée par l’Agence Nationale de Sécurité du Médicament et des produits de santé (ANSM). Suite à laquelle, il a été décidé de limiter son usage aux “douleurs réfractaires” et aux médicaments actuellement disponibles, comme ceux destinés aux patients atteints de cancer, de sida ou de sclérose en plaques. Pourtant, L’ANSM reste ouverte à la perspective d’établir un réseau français de culture de cannabis thérapeutique depuis mars 2021, en prévision d’une éventuelle généralisation. Légaliser ou contrôler ? C’est peut-être à mi-chemin que se trouve la réponse à cette lutte quasi-addictive…
About the author:
Souad Elkhaili is a 20 years old Moroccan student. She is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in International Relations at Mohamed VI Polytechnic University, and spending her exchange semester at Science Po Aix in France. She has a vast interest in geopolitics and law. Souad is extremely motivated and devoted to constantly develop her skills and to grow professionally in order to become a Moroccan diplomat whose goal is to be a part of a multinational organization willing to help women around the world, specifically in miner regions, and make their voice heard.
La planète est en train de mourir.
Que pouvons-nous faire ? Comment passer de l’idée à l’action, du doute au mouvement, de l’individualisme au collectif ? Quelle est la responsabilité de nos dirigeants ? Des générations passées et futures ? Il faudra sans doute d’autres nombreuses années d’inactions (ou d’actions passives) pour le découvrir. Pour l’instant, voici le questionnement à l’origine de l’élan de Flore Vasseur, réalisatrice et productrice, qui lui a permit d’être à l’initiative de ce projet BIGGER THAN US.
En quoi l’ambition de ces jeunes se traduit par un impact à ricochet au profit des causes qu’ils défendent ?
Le documentaire porte sur 7 jeunes engagés qui se battent, à leur échelle, pour modifier la conjoncture au sein de leurs communautés locales. Leur engagement touche à l’éducation, les droits des femmes, la situation climatique, le secours aux réfugiés et la sécurité alimentaire. Melati, fil conducteur du long métrage, à 18 ans lors du tournage. Elle combat la pollution plastique qui ravage son pays l’Indonésie. A l’initiative de Bye Bye Plastic Bags, elle part à la rencontre de jeunes militants comme elle – qu’ils soient américains, libanais, grecs ou brésiliens – qui portent en eux un souffle d’espoir ambitieux. En avril 2019, le pilote débute au Liban avec Mohamad. Ayant fuit la guerre en Syrie, il ne pouvait plus aller à l’école…car il n’y en avait pas ! A l’âge de 12 ans, Mohamad construit une école dans un camp à la frontière libano-syrienne. Aujourd’hui, sa Gharsah School accueille chaque jour près de 200 enfants réfugiés. A Rio de Janeiro, René a créé « Voz das Comunidades » à l’âge de 11 ans. C’est le premier média permettant de partager des informations sur sa favela. Il est d’ailleurs écrit par ses habitants qui racontent leur quotidien : de la pauvreté au racisme, en passant par les inégalités, Voz das Comunidades se positionne comme une alternative aux médias traditionnelles chez les habitants de la favela. Au Malawi, Memory a réussi à changer la constitution de son pays du haut de ses 22 ans : Elle a fait modifier l’âge légal de mariage de 15 à 18 ans. Également, elle a fait cesser le viol institutionnalisé des jeunes filles dans les « camps d’initiation » en faisant bannir cette tradition.
D’autres histoires sont à découvrir dans le film.
Des favelas de Rio aux villages reculés du Malawi, des embarcations de fortune au large de l’île de Lesbos aux cérémonies amérindiennes dans les montagnes du Colorado, Rene, Mary, Xiu, Memory, Mohamad et Winnie agissent à leur propre échelle, sans désir « vain » de transformer leurs actions en activisme de réseaux sociaux.
Selon moi, ce film documentaire est très bien réalisé. Les récits et les images sont percutants. Parfois même, difficile à regarder. Lorsque je suis allée le regarder, je m’attendais à une « presque » mise en scène de jeunes favorisés allant faire du volontourisme dans les pays du Sud pour redorer l’image de leurs ONG et se donner bonne conscience. La réalisation du film aurait pu frôler l’indécence si les images et les histoires avaient été instrumentalisées pour rendre le montage « beau », l’activisme « une tendance ». Grande surprise, il n’y avait pas de faux-semblants. Les images et les histoires sont certes simples, mais avant tout elles sont vraies, locales et authentiques. Elles traitent de problématiques sérieuses qui sont racontées par des personnes locales concernées d’une façon ou d’une autre.
Il me semble bon de préciser que les moyens utilisés pour la réalisation sont totalement en accord avec les valeurs partagées dans le film : la majorité du tournage se fait en lumière naturelle car le recours à l’électricité a été limité. Aussi, lors des différents déplacements, l’hébergement en structure locale et le paiement en monnaie locale ont été majoritairement effectué. Par ailleurs, lors de la préparation du documentaire, l’égalité homme-femme « voire surreprésentation des femmes » a été respecté.
Enfin, inutile de préciser que ce film parle à tout le monde. Quelque soit votre âge, vous en ressortirez mûris et éclairés. Peut-être même, avec une rage de faire bouger les choses ! N’oubliez pas, chaque action individuelle compte et fait partie de quelque chose plus grand et plus fort que nous, quelque chose BIGGER THAN US.