Missing and Marginalized: On Ending the Erasure of Women’s Lives and Experiences

Here’s the beginning of a brand new call for papers for a great-looking multi-disciplinary conference scheduled for June in Waterloo, Canada:

WOMEN ARE MISSING. From the missing and murdered aboriginal women in Canada, to the schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram in Nigeria, to the women who are missing from the Chinese population due to the One Child policy, the vulnerability and expendability of women is an international scandal. Less tragic but just as ubiquitous is the absence of women internationally from political leadership and from full participation in economic life. Within academe too, women are starkly underrepresented in the STEM disciplines and in senior academic administration. Put simply, wherever you look, and at almost every level of analysis, in circumstances that range from quotidian to horrifying, women are missing out on the opportunity to flourish, and to support the flourishing of their communities. The University of Waterloo in partnership with The Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) presents Missing and Marginalized: On Ending the Erasure of Women’s Lives and Experiences. In collaboration with the ACU, this international, interdisciplinary conference focuses on the role that the Post Secondary Education (PSE) sector can play in endingthe erasure of women’s lives and experiences. The conference brings together scholars from all disciplines and Commonwealth nations, as well as administrators, industry leaders, and policy-makers. The conference is organized around three pillars: Global and Aboriginal justice issues; leadership; and industry and the STEM disciplines. Internationally renowned keynote speakers:
» Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, United Nations Under-Secretary-General, Executive Director, UN Women
» Michèle Boutin, Executive Director, Canada Research Excellence Chairs
» Barbara Birungi, Founder/Director, Women in Technology, Uganda The conference will include submitted papers organized into concurrent sessions, discussion panels and workshops, and a poster session.

See the rest of the call for papers here.

13 thoughts on “Missing and Marginalized: On Ending the Erasure of Women’s Lives and Experiences

  1. “One Response to “Missing and Marginalized: On Ending the Erasure of Women’s Lives and Experiences”
    -“What about the boys?”

    Why am I not surprised?
    cf. #alllivesmatter

  2. Recently someone linked to a presentation on using a structural explanation rather than implicit bias to explain speech injustice.
    It strikes me that this is a good example. We can talk about blue-eyed people, or people who like cats, or of course men or white people all we like, but start a conversation about women or black people and in a flash someone will change the subject. It does seem to make (many of) us terribly uncomfortable to focus our attention on marginalised people even for a tiny moment, in a way focussing on the non-marginalised doesn’t. Even women often do this (where the subject is women). It is as if they feel they do not “deserve” the attention.
    In the same way if someone mentions an injustice towards a marginalised group the immediate response is most often “maybe they contribute(d) to it”, where this does not happen to the same degree if the subject is not a marginalised group.

    We would all do well to be aware of these patterns (or perhaps conventions?) to avoid perpetuating this type of injustice.

  3. I’m sympathetic to Delft’s general concern but I don’t think Anon’s comment is an instance of it. S/he isn’t saying: “look at these other bad things that happen to men”. S/he’s saying: “One of the bad things you describe here as happening to women is actually happening to men and women to a broadly equal degree.” That is: Boko Haram is mischaracterised as targeting girls; what it’s actually doing is targeting children. It’s just that the atrocity it performs on girls (kidnapping) has gained much more media attention than the atrocity it performs on boys (burning alive), as an instance of the general fact that the media is more interested in ongoing hostage/kidnap situations than in murders. (That’s the content of the linked story, anyway.)

  4. This conference looks great. I’m excited to hear about what comes out of it and read the papers when they’re produced.

    I’m sympathetic to worries about derailing etc. But I agree with David Wallace’s comment above.

  5. @4/6
    Anon’s *only* response to “missing and marginalised women” is to ask about boys. There is literally *no word* from Anon about the women and girls, just a change of focus to males.

    Apparently you think this is fine because […] The problem is that:
    A: this happens all the time (“What about the menz” is not a meme by accident) and
    B: in each single instance some argument can always be made why it’s OK *in this instance*.
    The overall pattern is nevertheless pernicious, and a contributing factor in upholding systemic injustice in our society.

    The pattern is perpetuated by:
    1: people following it (usually unthinkingly)
    2: other people accepting this as OK
    3: when someone does point out the pattern, others jumping in to defend it.
    Each of these three reinforce the pattern, although 3 is perhaps the strongest reinforcement, as it shows an explicit endorsement of the behaviour, while the other two can be just unthinking. Not noticing that you or someone else is doing a thing is qualitatively different from explicitly defending it.

    Anon was (presumably) only thoughtlessly following the pattern. Your failure to acknowledge (and denounce) a pattern that perpetuates systemic injustice, even when it is being pointed out to you is far more worrying because it implies that you are certainly not helping to change it.

  6. Delft: this is an instance of pattern X, and pattern X is pernicious
    David/Monkey: Agreed, pattern X is pernicious, but this is not an instance of pattern X because ABC
    Delft: Pattern X is pernicious, but even worse is when people defend instances of pattern X

    … okay, I don’t think that dialectic is going anywhere useful, so I’ll bow out.

    (I might add as a passing note that on sites like FP with manageably short comment threads, calling out a brief factual comment as derailing because it doesn’t address what the caller-out sees as the most important issue is *much* more derailing than the factual comment itself. If you think the discussion should be focussed on A rather than B, presumably you have something you think is worth saying about A. Saying it seems to me likely to be more effective at returning conversation to A than objecting to someone else having mentioned B.)

  7. Another pernicious pattern I’ve noticed:

    P1: There is injustice A

    P2: There is, but also let’s not forget about injustice B

    P1: injustice B primarily affects an oppressor group, therefore calling attention to injustice B contributes to injustice A.

    P2: Not necessarily. All injustice is bad, right?

    P1: Now you are really contributing to injustice A!

    ….Meanwhile, meaning discussion of injustice A and injustice B fails to materialize.

  8. Of course, the Nigerian schoolboys hardly belonged (yet) to an “oppressor group” — except that they were “males.”

  9. @David
    The pattern is:
    – someone starts a conversation / makes a post about women;
    – the response is about men.
    To check whether the pattern is being followed we need to ask: is this post about women? Is Anon’s response about men / boys? I simply cannot see how anyone who can read English might reasonably answer no to either of these questions.

    I didn’t characterise the comment as a derail, btw. The pattern isn’t about derailing, and isn’t about intent.

    The problem is a systemic injustice each individual instance of which is defensible, and indeed may seem harmless.. And in case you missed it: systemic injustice *is* the original subject, or at least one aspect of it.

  10. Missing women phenomenon is not only due to sex-selective abortions, female infanticide, poor health care and nutrition, but also due to murder and women trafficking.Racist and sexist stereotypes structures are more responsible for this.

  11. Women are seen only as sex objects. It does not matter how much educated you are, in which position you are working, moreover it also does not matter what is your age, whether you are seventeen or seventy,all are vulnerable to sexual violence.A woman is maltreated because she is a woman.This world is full of sick men.

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