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The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021

Resistance and Solidarity: Organizing for Women's Human Rights

This paper focuses on a feminist international women's rights organization's effort to make sense of its own work, as well as the feminist movement(s) and networks of which it is part - for resistance and solidarity and their internal functioning.The problematic notion 'woman' is understood as part of the complexity of 'gender' which Gozlan (2008) suggests, 'hints at trauma that has no origin but is rather the result of the struggle to capture an unknown ... a site of trauma in which an identification with what satisfies the Other (the phallic answer) is all one could hope for, making it extremely difficult to talk of gender outside of this split'. And yet to speak about 'gender' and for 'women' 'within' this split is essential for a wide and diverse network of women's rights organizations. It is also crucial if the organization is to grapple with and learn about issues of shared leadership.