Akatemiatutkija, yliopistonlehtori Ranta Eija ja työryhmä

387800 €

Contested Feminist Activisms and Finland’s Changing Gender Equality Partnerships in Development Cooperation

Tieteellinen tutkimus / siihen pohjautuva työ | Nelivuotinen

In recent years, gender equality has again become a contested battleground of differing viewpoints, interests, and ideologies. Many parts of the world have been witnessing two contradictory processes: the proliferation of new, autonomous, feminist, queer, and transgender initiatives, and the simultaneous rise of anti-gender movements, conservative right-wing nationalism, and religious fundamentalism. International development cooperation, although much criticized, has been the principal institutional mechanism for organizing partnerships around gender equality between the Global South and Global North. For Finland, gender equality and women’s and girl’s rights have been among its key development goals with long-term partner countries, such as Kenya. This study investigates the operations and adaptations of Finland’s gender equality partnerships with Kenya at a time when the OECD/DAC aid infrastructure is undergoing internal transformation, while at the same time being increasingly challenged by populist politics and autocratization, and unresolved colonial legacies. Using cross-sectoral ethnographic methodologies, it examines how Finland’s gender equality programs and projects are negotiating the increasingly conservative anti-gender dynamics (in Kenya and Finland), while at the same time responding to, and learning from, new decolonizing feminist initiatives. It also scrutinizes the ways in which other kinds of changes in global politics and development infrastructure – including the decline of democracy, the rise of racist nationalism, and the private sector turn – manifest in program and project contexts, their role in conditioning feminist organizing and gender equality work, and resistance to them. Ultimately, the project presents the case for both development practitioners and feminist activists searching for feminist transformative change through just and decolonizing ways of organizing global partnerships promoting gender equality and feminist networking.