Monday, March 3, 2008

Gender & identity: some anniversary musings

As I’ve struggled to find an appropriate contribution for the first anniversary of IntLawGrrls, what keeps resurfacing for me in various guises are gender’s complexities. With the hours ticking before Ohio and Texas vote, the nuanced—and not so nuanced—dialogues in many fora continue about how race and gender have impacted the Democratic primary season. On the issue that consumes much of my professional energy, climate change, it is almost impossible to assess how gender matters, because so little of the data is disaggregated for gender. The few studies that exist suggest that women and men may have different emissions patterns and vulnerabilities, but that the details of those variations depend on context.
Over the last five years in legal academia, I’ve watched and participated as my cohort group of IntLawGrrls has navigated its professional positionality—as we've attempted to balance that with our personal lives. I am never quite sure what elements of these complex mosaics come from our being “'Grrls,” though gender seems to surface in so many moments of our stories. As a daughter of the feminist movement—my parents were active early participants, with my dad serving as the first man on the Executive Board of NOW—I sometimes muse with my parents about how the path of my cohort group varies from that of the ones that came before us.
I don’t have pat answers on any of these issues, certainly not ones that could be packaged for a short blog post. But it seems appropriate on this anniversary to raise them while appreciating that this space exists. Congratulations, IntLawGrrls—I look forward to many more years of exciting dialogue on international legal issues and of continuing to navigate these nuances.

1 comment:

Marjorie Florestal said...

Thanks for your comment Hari--I've spent much of this election cycle musing about race and gender. The last two Democrats standing pose the issue in stark relief based solely on who they are. It has been interesting to watch the media attempt dialogue on these sensitive but oh so prevaent issues in American society. Frankly, we have done a poor job--in part because there isn't much of a forum for nuanced ideas. I cringe when I hear the media dissections: It seems this election can either be about race or about gender but not both--where does that leave women of color? And I don't know how to take it--except that it feels like a kick in the gut--when "traditional" feminists claim without pause or reflection that a white woman candidate is infinitely more disadvantaged than a black man with a "muslim" name. It highlights the continuing divide between the feminist movement and the struggle of communities of color. I would have hoped for more progress in 2008. In any case, this blog represents one step in the right direction. Happy birthday Grrls!