Gender-Based Violence in Rohingya Crisis Through a Feminist Lens
This paper intends on bringing to the forefront the experiences, overshadowed narrative and overall role of women in the Rohingya Crisis. The conflict will be analysed through a feminist lens, specifically the text, “Feminist International Relations: A Contradiction in Terms? Or: Why Women and Gender Are Essential to Understanding the World 'We' Live in ” by Gillian Youngs. I will expand upon gender-based violence that has not only been used as a strategic tool of warfare, but is also prevalent within refugee camps as a consequence of unequal racial and gender power dynamics. This paper makes the claim that using a gendered lens is imperative to achieve an accurate comprehension of the ethnic cleansing and refugee crisis in Rohingya.
Feminist International Relations Theory has strived to bring gender and power dynamics into the theoretical framework of International Relations. Youngs states, “Both women and gender have been identified by feminist analyses as problematically absent from mainstream approaches and essential to understanding international relations.” (Youngs 2004: 77) Gender and attached power dynamics have been ignored in previous frameworks, although they are essential in construction of identities which are responsible in shaping of events. A Feminist lens has challenged institutions and structures such as war, military, security and brought to light their masculine framing. The male-centric outlook of political and economic structures in the international scenario has consistently ignored a female or intersectional narrative that is inclusive of other social structures. Shifting women to the periphery ignores their contributions and experiences in political situations and accepts as natural both the abudance of men and dominance of their narrative in IR theory and practice. According to Gillian Youngs, Feminist IR theory aims to deconstruct limitations placed by mainstream masculine approaches and reconstruct International Relation to make political and economic processes inclusive of genders and their narratives. (Youngs 2004: 76) A narrow nationalistic outlook on war, security and the military has continually ignored sufferings of women and children as well as the role they play in conflicts. Feminist IR theory uses a bottom-up approach to analyse war, security and militarism as compared to “malestream” theoretical framework, to both understand how gender operates as a category within International politics and its role in shaping outcomes of peace and nation-building. (Youngs 2004: 84) Thus, feminism emphasizes upon the individual agency and influence of women in International Politics. The theory is not limited to the female narrative but takes into account the variations and differences between masculinity and femininity, and among them. It has worked towards broadening the scope of International Relations and transforming previous structures...