Where have all the feminists gone? Searching for New Zealand’s women’s movement in the early 21st century

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dc.contributor.advisor Humpage, L en
dc.contributor.advisor Baker, M en
dc.contributor.advisor Bell, A en
dc.contributor.author Schuster, Julia en
dc.date.accessioned 2014-10-30T22:03:22Z en
dc.date.issued 2014 en
dc.identifier.citation 2014 en
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2292/23385 en
dc.description.abstract Since the 1980s, New Zealand has seen few visible feminist protests and the issue of gender has been ‘mainstreamed’ by neoliberal government policy. Consequently, it has been argued that the women’s movement is dead or, at best, in abeyance. Yet, this thesis investigates contemporary feminist activities in New Zealand at the micro- (individual), meso- (organisational) and macro- (state) level and finds that they together constitute an active, if somewhat, transformed women’s movement. Informed by a feminist methodology, the thesis uses Sawer’s (2010) definition of a women’s movement to analyse data from semi-structured interviews with a diverse group of women engaged in various feminist activities, content from women’s organisations’ websites and key government documents. At the individual level, findings show that the women share an understanding of feminism as a critique of and challenge to gender inequalities but believe feminism should incorporate an intersectional analysis, acknowledging women’s diverse experiences based on ethnicity, age and other identities. Alongside neoliberalism’s focus on individual choice and responsibility, this leads many women — particularly those who are younger — to largely participate in individualised feminist activities expressed through everyday practices. At the organisational level, the work of women’s organisations is also shaped by a neoliberal contractual funding regime, limiting opportunities for advocacy organisations and reorienting work priorities. Yet, organisations continue to provide crucial, feminist services, even if they are not explicitly labelled as ‘for women’. Finally, state feminist institutions, such as the Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MWA), are also constrained by neoliberal politics. Yet, the MWA’s persistence in keeping some women’s issues on the political agenda can be regarded an achievement in itself within this context. On all three levels of feminist engagement, women have struggled with the challenges of neoliberalism, but also with the difficulties of creating spaces for different groups of women. Intergenerational differences have additionally challenged feminist cooperation. The women’s movement is thus constituted differently to movements of the past and much feminist activity is ‘hidden’ in institutions, organisations and private lives. Yet, this thesis provides sufficient evidence to demonstrate that New Zealand women’s movement nonetheless continues to exist. en
dc.publisher ResearchSpace@Auckland en
dc.relation.ispartof PhD Thesis - University of Auckland en
dc.rights Items in ResearchSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Previously published items are made available in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. en
dc.rights.uri https://researchspace.auckland.ac.nz/docs/uoa-docs/rights.htm en
dc.title Where have all the feminists gone? Searching for New Zealand’s women’s movement in the early 21st century en
dc.type Thesis en
thesis.degree.grantor The University of Auckland en
thesis.degree.level Doctoral en
thesis.degree.name PhD en
dc.rights.holder Copyright: The Author en
dc.rights.accessrights http://purl.org/eprint/accessRights/OpenAccess en
pubs.elements-id 459665 en
pubs.record-created-at-source-date 2014-10-31 en

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