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Tied up in Knots? Gender Mainstreaming, Training and Development in Vietnam

Global Education Colloquium

Speaker: Kristy Kelly, Ph.D., Drexel University
Date: Tuesday, December 17, 2013 Event 

This presentation/ discussion is about a development policy called gender mainstreaming and how gender equality discourses and practices are engaged, resisted, ignored and otherwise transformed in the process of training in Vietnam.

Findings are based on extensive empirical research conducted between 2006 and 2013, and indicate that it is in the context of training, where experts struggle to give meaning to their work that different visions of gender, equality, and development emerge. As experts mobilize local knowledge about gender and development, they translate and transform everyday experiences of oppression in ways that simultaneously (re)produce and extend the development agenda.  As a result, gender mainstreaming has become embedded in four competing political projects, each vying to control the framing of gender equality debates in Vietnam.

The author calls these projects economic integrationist, transnational feminist, national independence, and cultural preservationist. They occur at interconnected levels of social scale: global, transnational, national, and household. The author finds that it is particularly in the context of training where these projects collide, and where inequalities corresponding to the four policy-linked levels of social scale are made visible. Understanding when and how collisions occur, and how they are managed, given meaning, and resolved, illuminates training as key political space, place and process where development subjects are produced and “expertise” is negotiated.

About The Speaker

Kristy Kelly is assistant clinical professor and director of School of Education’s Global and International Education Program at Drexel University. Dr. Kelly’s research is situated at the intersection of sociology of gender, anthropology of policy, and the politics of knowledge. She uses gender and education as critical lenses to study social change in Southeast Asia, particularly in post-socialist Vietnam where she has worked since the early 1990s.

Dr. Kelly is currently working on a book manuscript titled Whatever Happened to Comrade? The Politics of Gender Mainstreaming, Training and Development Expertise in Vietnam. Her book examines how gender equality policies move through intersecting levels of global-local social scale, and the role training plays in transforming gender equality discourses and practices to fit different needs and interests in Vietnam.

Dr. Kelly has written on higher education, HIV/AIDS, gender-based violence, women in educational leadership and the politics of gender, class and retirement. Before joining academia, Dr. Kelly lived and worked in Hong Kong and Vietnam where she worked for the United Nations and a variety of international education development organizations. She continues to consult for governments and multilateral organizations on gender and development policy issues, serves as a representative to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) for Sociologists for Women in Society (SWS), and is a member of the Expert Taskforce to the UN Women’s Global Training Center. Dr. Kelly received a B.A. from Pennsylvania State University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.

Access archived discussion here.