25. Gendered and Contextualized Vulnerabilities

Convenor: Helena Louhela

Seminar room: TM103 (Parallel session 1); TH105 (Parallel session 4)

Form: Hybrid

This workshop session is welcoming scholars across wide fields of feminist and gender research and praxis to explore gendered and contextualized vulnerabilities from various of aspects. How different intersections can affect on the ways of knowing and the ability to generate knowledge and to be an active agency in different living contexts. What kind of consequences different vulnerabilities such as discrimination, racism, gender and poverty can have? What are the solutions in overcoming and reconstructing these vulnerabilities?


Heidi Lehtovaara

Emine Turkoglu

Premalatha Karupiah

Raghda Alnabilsy, Shira Pagorek-Eshel & Haneen Elias

Natanaree Posrithong

Wiam Milles


Hulya Yuksel, Visiting Researcher/Finnish institute for health and welfare (hulya.yuksel@thl.fi)

* Heidi Lehtovaara, PhD student/ Doctoral programme of Social Sciences/Tampere University (heidi.lehtovaara@tuni.fi)

Consequences of discrimination and racism in the job search phase

Highly educated migrants face discriminatory treatment in Finland from everyday encounters to the job search phase and working life. Discrimination is known to impact negatively health. Prolonged job search process and discrimination can impact negatively on individual´s economic situation, but also on their general well-being, self-esteem and relationships. The uncertain future and living in the “limbo” can cause stress and frustration.

Using qualitative research, I examine the experiences of discrimination and racism that emerged from the data collected between 2016-2018. The 12 study participants - skilled migrant women represent a wide range of migrants from within and outside the EU. The research is located in the fields of Gender Studies, MIgration Studies and Working Life Studies. Thematic interviews were conducted and the findings were analysed with content analysis. The preliminary results of the study show that experiences of discrimination complicated and prolonged the job search process. Discrimination and racism were present even before the actual job search process. The strategies employed in the face of discrimination and racism varied individually and from situation to situation. More research is needed on the consequences of discrimination, and in particular on the consequences of multiple discrimination.

Keywords: discrimination, gender, job search, racism, skilled migrants

Emine Turkoglu, Helsinki University, emine.turkoglu@helsinki.fi

Where Are the Women: The Gulen Movement in Finland

The Gulen movement was established in 1966 in Turkey and is inspired by Islam. The movement transformed itself into a large community by utilizing educational and dialogue activities in more than 150 countries. However, after 2016, the movement’s gravity center changed and its members who could flee from Turkey became political refugees. Although there are some studies on female members and on gender, these studies are very few when we consider the number of countries where the movement operates. Moreover, due to the changes after 2016, a new field has emerged for research focusing on the members’ perspectives and their activities in the diaspora, especially in countries like Finland where the movement has not yet been discovered. I demonstrate the women’s role, activities, and aspirations in the movement, how it has been changing, shaping, and affecting their daily lives in the diaspora, and what this change means for them in Finland. The research data consist of the in-depth semi-structured interviews with the members and the field notes collected from several meetings. In the fieldwork, I focused on the spiritual gatherings, where the women discuss the agenda of the movement, have religious readings, and talk about their daily struggles like in a peer support group. Overall, the results underline how membership affects women's understanding and daily life, in line with their desire to be more pious. The data also shows although the history of the movement in Finland is new, there are obvious changes in the roles of female members shaped by membership in the movement and in the patriarchal society. Also, emphasizing the importance of gender equality in Finland plays a role in these changes.

Premalatha Karupiah, School of Social Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, prema@usm.my

Recuperating and Time Poverty: Experiences of Malaysian Indian Women in Penang, Malaysia

Time poverty describes the state where individuals do not have sufficient time for rest or leisure after completing their work. This paper explores the experiences of time poverty by Malaysian Indian women living in poverty in Penang. Data were collected from ten Malaysian Indian women selected through a purposive sampling technique. In-depth interviews were used for data collection. After going through the interview transcripts for familiarization, a few rounds of coding were conducted to identify and explain the experiences of time poverty. Many participants were pressed for time trying to juggle paid and unpaid work. They do not have discretionary time which is important for their health and well-being because it involves time for restorative purposes and investment in one’s health. Women in this study described how they struggle to have time to maintain their health and well-being because making time for activities other than work is impossible. Furthermore, they were unable to take time to recuperate when they fell ill. This is an aspect of time poverty not often discussed in the literature. Their experiences not only show a different aspect of time poverty but illustrate the complexity of the problem among women living in poverty. The participants felt solely responsible for their children and household chores even when they were sick and felt they could not afford to take time to recuperate. This is closely related to the meaning of femininity expressed by the participants. Their explanation shows the importance of self-sacrifice and service embedded in the role of a mother and wife which is an important aspect of the traditional notion of femininity in Tamil families. This study adds complexity to the discourse on time poverty. The understanding of time poverty experienced by women living in poverty is important in designing health policies to support women’s health.

Dr Raghda Alnabilsy, Ruppin Academic Center, Emek Hefer,4025000 Israel, raghadelnabilsy@gmail.com

Dr Shira Pagorek-Eshel, shira.pagorekeshel@gmail.com

Dr Haneen Elias, Haneenelias.a@gmail.com

Self -Identity in the trap: Palestinian women in the shadow of violence, a tangled cultural and political context in Israel

The Purpose of the workshop to put the emphasis on how the shaping of the self-identity of a Palestinian young woman exposed to violence in childhood and being indigence minority in Israel. Exposure to violence in childhood and adolescence may lead to negative self-identity construction in young women. These phenomena are exacerbated in the context of young Palestinian women, who belong to both a national minority in Israel and to a gender subject to exclusion, oppression, and discrimination in society in general and in Arab- Palestinian society.

The workshop was built based on the findings of qualitative research, on 20 semi-structured interviews with young Palestinian women in Israel, victims of violence in childhood (aged 18-26).

Results: Construction of self-identity, as described by participants, included: harmed self (self under guilt; lack of confidence in one’s abilities and giving up; weakened and insecure self; belittling of self); self-divided between loyalty to family and society and a desire to cross boundaries and realize oneself; the self-versus the other in the Israeli space. In addition, some participants, later in young adulthood, were able to change their perception of self and see themselves as capable, strong, and not guilty of the violence directed against them, as well as transitioned from absent femininity to present femininity.

The Workshop participants will experience an exercise on the components of their identity and the various contexts of their lives, while looking at how these shaped their contemporary identity as women or as part of a group. At the end of the workshop, we will present the findings of the study and its importance in understanding the construction of self-identity among women victims of violence living in marginal locations.

The workshop facilitators are social workers and researchers in the academy about Palestinian women and young women living on the margins, training professionals to recognize and be sensitive to the life contexts of women from marginalized groups.

Natanaree Posrithong, Mahidol University International College, natanaree.pos@mahidol.ac.th


The primary purpose of this research is to explore the representations of women in print media under the influence of Marxist ideology and the communist movement in Thailand. It aims to examine the importance of communist publications as a means of the dissemination of revolutionary ideas, including the promotion of gender equality to a targeted audience of women. Through the discovery of women’s representations in communist publications, the roles and voices of women in the movement will be studied. The paper argues that there have been several successful attempts in reconstructing women’s images through communist publications, which resulted in the reformulation of women’s roles within the communist movement. Despite having to overcome the anti-Communist campaign imposed by the right-wing authorities from the 1960s to the 1980s, a number of publications have been archived and they deserve further study. The main materials studied were drawn from seven surviving publications: Ekkarat (Independence), Chayo Tulachai (Victorious Octoberists), Thong Rop (Warrior Flag), Prachakhom (Community), Chu Thong Rop (Raising the Warrior Flag), Phu Bukboek (The Pioneers), and Mahachon (The Masses). As these works were the products of young male and female comrades who fled from the cities to the jungle and formed revolutionary bases, they offer unique voices and representations that were never recorded in mainstream historiography. From the investigation of these archived materials, the evidence suggests that women’s representation in the revolutionary movement broke social norms by their emergence as independent and strong proletarian fighters. Hence, in this paper, a new perspective on women in those silent periods will be examined in a new light.

Wiam Milles, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK, w.milles@uea.ac.uk

Neoliberal Rhetoric of Choice, Agency, and Individualism in the Arab World

Arab women, and Muslim women, have been the centre of extensive debates within feminist academic discussions as well as general media and popular culture. Speculations, theorisations, and assumptions about their agency and freedom have often permeated public debates as well as academic ones. Scholars often focus on these women’s sartorial choices and frame them within a dichotomy of resistance versus coercion (Bilge, 2010; Chapman, 2018; Phipps, 2014), neglecting the influence of social and cultural contexts.

This paper examines the ways in which notions of choice, agency, and individualism are deployed and mediated alongside and within what McNair(2002) describes as the 'sexualisation of culture'. These elements will be explored through the audiences’ responses to Western television series and the ways in which their discussions of western sexualisation culture (Gill, 2007) prompt them to reflect on their experiences with reference to their socio-cultural background.

As such, the paper explores the ways in which the women in this study use the television series and the representations of Western culture as a site of negotiation through which they position and discuss their personal and cultural experiences of womanhood within their culturally specific contexts. In doing so, this paper moves away from dichotomous narratives of resistance and coercion and instead highlights the participants' various narratives and understandings of choice and agency while acknowledging the role that cultural and social specificity has in the identification of these notions. Ultimately, it highlights the issues of measuring and defining freedom and agency in other contexts through a western, neoliberal, individualist lens- specifically its marginalisation of other cultures, centring western ideology, and homogenising the experiences of women in the Middle East." "I am a PhD candidate at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK. I am in the final year of my PhD journey which focuses on the reception and negotiation of femininity representations in Western television by women in the Middle East. I use a variety of feminist lenses to explore the reception of television- particularly Third world and post-colonial feminism as well as intersectional approaches.