Gender, Religion & Development

This Asia Pacific Development and Security theme explores how socio-cultural norms interact with the perceptions of equitable and just development in the Asia Pacific Region. How gender equality can be achieved is an important research issue. Key projects are outlined below.  

Women’s Economic Empowerment in Indonesia 

Minako Sakai, Amelia Fauzia and Felix Tan are researching how emergent IT and social media foster Muslim women’s participation in economic activities, with a focus on Muslim women in Indonesia.  Islam and local culture affects the construction of gender relations and patriarchy, and accommodating unique socio-cultural contexts is a key for women’s empowerment and wellbeing. This is explored in Narratives of Muslim Womanhood and Women’s Agency. Our research shows that gradual changes in gender relations are also facilitating religious and cultural tolerance. 

Challenging Patriarchy in Asia and Pacific

Sarah Cooke, Jan Breckenridge, Louise Edwards, Felix Tan, Amelia Fauzia and Minako Sakai are investigating how women’s economic empowerment challenge and reconfigure patriarchy, gender roles and gendered violence in the Asia Pacific region.  

Gender Inclusivity and Social Policy in the Asia Pacific

Minako Sakai, Juel Kutub and Farhat Hamid are studying how gender inclusivity in social development policies can be achieved through case studies of Bangladesh, Indonesia and Malaysia. 

Crowd Funding and Religious Pluralism in Indonesia

Minako Sakai and Bhirawa Anoraga are exploring how the use of new media including crowdfunding are contributing to foster religious tolerance in contemporary Indonesia. 

Religion and Women’s Rights in Lebanon

Nelia Hyndman-Rizk has published a monograph, Lebanese Women in Crossroads, in which she explores the intersection between women’s rights and Lebanon’s confessional political and legal system. 

Beauty, Ugliness and China’s Changing Gender Norms

Scientia Professor Louise Edwards is exploring the construction of gender relations through her historical analysis of Chinese aesthetics, funded by an ARC Discovr Grant. She is addressing the connections between political programs, promoting social change and cultural and commercial activities in China since 1900. The project tackles ones of the most intransigent and controversial aspects of social organisation – gender norms – by analysing discourses of beauty and ugliness.

Co-creating Knowledge to Enhance Women’s Leadership for Inclusive River Governance and Livelihood Resilience in the Mekong Region

Pichamon Yeophantong is leading this rapid response project that aims to accelerate progress towards women’s leadership in river governance by implementing the most effective mechanisms for knowledge co-production in Myanmar and Thailand. This is funded by the Stockholm Environment Institute and conducted in collaboration with the International Water Centre Alumni Network.

STOP Sexual Harassment in Southeast Asia

Under this two-year monitoring and evaluation project, Pichamon Yeophantong and her colleagues examined how sexual harassment is being dealt with by garment factories in mainland Southeast Asian countries. It is funded by CARE Australia and conducted in collaboration with the UNSW Gendered Violence Research Network.

State of Knowledge on Women and Rivers in the Mekong Region

Under this project, Pichamon Yeophantong and her colleagues considered the vital role played by women in water governance in the Mekong region to develop a ‘recipe’ and a set of policy recommendations for how women can be better encouraged to assume leadership roles. The project was supported by International Rivers, Oxfam and the MacArthur Foundation. Further details are available here.