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Women's Studies Journal

Women's Studies Journal
2011 - 25:1

Contents and abstracts

Caring 'from duty and the heart': Gendered work and Alzheimer's disease
Allison Kirkman, pp.2-16
Abstract: Caring for people with dementia remains gendered with women still expected to undertake much of the paid and unpaid caring work in the community. This study draws on survey and interview data collected from 48 women community workers in Alzheimers Societies throughout New Zealand. Through the lens of the women community workers the gendered expectations about paid and unpaid work are revealed. The paper argues that cultural ideas about gender differences in caring abilities have implications for women and men as the population ages and the dementia 'epidemic' impacts in New Zealand.
Bodies-as-image? The body made visible in magazine love your body content
Rewa Murphy and Sue Jackson, pp.17-30
Abstract: Love your body discourse is a relatively new feature of contemporary young women's magazines. This content stakes itself both within and against a history of at least 30-40 years of criticism of the industry for the way in which the fashionably slender and ideal bodies consistently portrayed convey problematic and narrow understandings of both women and their bodies. Taken together, the apparent contradiction of new body love discourse housed within an image-invested media context presents complex questions about the kinds of subjectivities made available to young women, and the social implications of the embodied identities they produce. Informed by a feminist post-structuralist framework, this paper applies these interests to the analysis of one consistent feature of the new love your body magazine and media campaigns: repetitive images of semi- and un-dressed women's bodies. We note how a magazine context which reduces bodies to the visual intensifies the possible meanings which are readable of such images, and discuss how particular characteristics of these repeated images can contribute to cultural understandings of what it is that is loved (/loveable) about women's bodies.
Understanding the need for UN Women: Notes for New Zealand civil society
Fleur Roberts, pp.31-46
Abstract: The United Nations (UN) has long been seen as one of the world's most influential organisations in the movement for gender equality. The UN is unique in its ability to produce binding inter-governmental normative frameworks which have led to legislative and policy reform at the national level, including in New Zealand. The UN has also played an important role through its research, advocacy and programmes. However, during the 2000s many gender equality advocates became increasingly concerned with the gap between policy and practice and the significant weaknesses within the UN system. In particular, the UN has been criticised for providing inadequate resourcing, capacity support and senior-level espousal for its gender architecture. In New Zealand, UNIFEM's weak presence and low capacity to provide technical support to the government and visible advocacy exemplifies the UN's past inability to support gender equality at the national level. It is hoped that the recent establishment of UN Women in January 2011 will alleviate many of the issues related to the UN's gender architecture and signal a new era for the UN's work on gender equality. This paper explores the core reasons for the imperative reform of the UN's gender architecture. The paper then analyses whether UN Women has the necessary scope and funding to address the UN's past failings and deliver tangible results. A strong UN agency with country-level capacity in New Zealand would fill a gap within New Zealand civil society for a leading specialist organisation for gender equality that not only supports governmental and civil society efforts in New Zealand, but also contributes to equality within the wider Pacific community. Therefore the paper then outlines steps for action for New Zealand civil society organisations to ensure that UN Women lives up to its potential.
Re-positioning the experiences and situation of single mothers: Accounts from Samoa
Rochelle Stewart-Withers, pp.47-62
Abstract: Cultural values and societal norms can place a considerable burden on young women to be sexually non-active outside of a marriage, with the understanding that motherhood must occur within marriage. For those who deviate outside what is expected they may find themselves and their children labelled in negative ways and positioned as 'other'. Yet, some cultural and value based frameworks rather than stigmatising and discriminating against single mothers may also offer a contestable space. With this is mind, this paper draws on qualitative field research undertaken in Samoa in 2002, 2004 and 2006 to illustrate how the cultural framework of fa'asamoa (the Samoan way), 'āiga (family) and the feagaiga, understood to mean balance within relationships and the brother sister relationship might lend themselves to support single mothers. It is also shown how engaging with cultural concepts such as fa'amagalo (seeking forgiveness) and fa'ailo ga tama (to mark or distinguish a child/accepting the baby) means single mothers are not stigmatised and ostracised as individuals or as a social group.
Sexual violence on trial: An update on reform options
Elisabeth McDonald, pp.63-69
Abstract: For many years, across many jurisdictions, empirical research has replicated the concerns of women complainants in rape cases. In New Zealand the reforms of the mid-80s have still not significantly addressed the distress felt by those who are just witnesses for the prosecution with very little protection from often harsh and unnecessary cross-examination. The 2006 acquittal of three police officers charged with historical sexual offending put trial process reform in rape cases back on the political agenda. In this short piece, some of the possible reforms that may yet assist those women who take the stand are outlined.
Book Reviews
Valuing Care Work: Comparative Perspectives,
Cecilia Benoit and Helga Hallfrímsdóttir
Reviewed by Allison Kirkman, pp.70-72

Abortion Then and Now. New Zealand Abortion Stories From 1940 to 1980,
Margaret Sparrow
Reviewed by Ann Weatherall, pp.73-75
Women’s Studies Journal, Volume 25 Number 1, September 2011. ISSN 1173-6615