“You are so negative!” How gender and intersectional justice are stymied by the code of civility

“You are so negative!” How gender and intersectional justice are stymied by the code of civility

This paper examines the challenges of gender mainstreaming within development institutions and research institutes, and how a code of appropriate emotions and behaviours are used to silence and stifle inside activists. Using case studies from inside activists’ efforts to mainstream gender into research, projects and everyday practices, the paper shows that while senior administrations have acknowledged the importance of equity and diversity, patriarchal resistance prevail. The inside activists navigate between their personal experiences of marginalisation and having an unspoken code of civility imposed upon them. Such code is used to police and discipline how inside activists should behave. When inside activists criticise discriminatory practices and values, this is considered a breach of the code and they are dismissed as being “angry” and “uncivil”. The result is the ritualism of gender mainstreaming, where people go through the motions of integration without meaningful change.


About the Presenter:

Dr Joyce Wu is a lecturer at the School of Social Sciences. She is also a Fulbright Senior Scholar and Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University. Joyce has a diverse history of interdisciplinary research and practitioner experiences. Her research includes sexual and gendered violence in conflict and post-conflict situations, intersectionality and inequality, gender mainstreaming, sustainable development, climate change, and equity and diversity in the higher education. Prior to academic life, Joyce has worked in the Australian Government and the United Nations on gender and development issues, including the The UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women. She has worked with CSIRO as a Research Fellow to integrate gender and social considerations into a water resource management programme in South Asia. Joyce was also part of the Australian Government funded research, Individual Deprivation Measure, which is a multidimensional poverty measure with a gender-sensitive analysis and focus.

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Date & time

Mon 12 Oct 2020, 12–1pm


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Dr Joyce Wu


School of Sociology


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