(En)gendering decolonisation and decolonising development: Kanak women activists’ strategies for change within the independence movement in Kanaky, New Caledonia and broader society.

Authors: Prasanthi Cottingham*, Victoria University of Wellington
Topics: Development, Gender, Indigenous Peoples
Keywords: Decolonisation, Gender, Development, New Caledonia, Politics
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Ambassador Ballroom, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This presentation is based off research which investigates the intersection of gender, development, and decolonization during a heightened political period from a post-colonial feminist perspective. In particular it explores how Kanak women involved in the pro-independence movement negotiate gender and indigeneity, and how they work to interactions subsequently influence the movement. This presentation will focus on the responsive strategies that women employ to issues related to the lived effects of colonization, including loss of self-determination, sexism, and racism. The Kanak women independence activist participants in this research utilize a plethora of strategies to navigate challenges they face in the customary sphere, in wider society, and within the independence movement. This indicates significant self-mobilization of Kanak women towards gender equitable social change, which development actors should value and support. This research emphasizes the intersectionality of Kanak women’s experiences, the importance of self-determination to gender and development strategies, and the value of recognizing and supporting self-mobilization. However there is little attention given to integrating decolonization into gender-focused development in the literature. Based on the findings of this research this presentation argues that decolonization and decoloniality are integral to gender-focused development, and should be explored in more depth moving forward.

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