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What do sexuality and policy have to do with each other? Is not sexuality personal, private, and more to do with your body than your politics? Of course on one level it is. However, if we consider our sexual relations in a little more depth, we discover that the terms for them are set by policies and politics, including social norms and gender dynamics, national policies and international relations.

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Mukhtaran Mai holds a copy of her autobiography, ‘In the name of honour’, next to the Mazar Baha Uddin Zakaria mausoleum. Mukhtaran was gang-raped by tribesmen from a rival clan in 2002 and has since defied tradition and sought punishment of the accused rather than taking her own life to protect her family’s honour. Her story has become a launch-pad for Pakistani and international human rights groups to mount pressure on the government to do more to protect women. Warrick Page, Panos Pictures

Mukhtaran Mai holds a copy of her autobiography, ‘In the name of honour’, next to the Mazar Baha Uddin Zakaria mausoleum. Mukhtaran was gang-raped by tribesmen from a rival clan in 2002 and has since defied tradition and sought punishment of the accused rather than taking her own life to protect her family’s honour. Her story has become a launch-pad for Pakistani and international human rights groups to mount pressure on the government to do more to protect women. Warrick Page, Panos Pictures

Other articles in this issue:

Sexual and bodily rights in Muslim societies

A few weeks after the terrorist attacks in New York on September 11th 2001, 19 representatives of non governmental organisations and experts from Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Pakistan, Palestine, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, and Yemen met in Istanbul for the landmark meeting, ‘Women, Sexuality and Social Change in the Middle East and Mediterranean’.  More...


US trade policy and HIV treatment

US government policy has violated the human rights of people living with HIV and AIDS through its ‘moral’ restrictions prioritising abstinence-only sex education, restricting condom distribution, and stigmatising sex workers. More...


Sexual pleasure and safer sex

Many things are hidden within the silence, taboo and criminalisation of certain aspects of people’s sexualities, especially the pleasure component. There are huge gaps in programming for women’s reproductive health and women’s sexuality. Is it possible to address issues such as family planning, rape, gender based and domestic violence and HIV and AIDS without discussing sexual intercourse?  More...


Sexual difference and bodily integrity in Argentine Law

Why are bodily modifications codified in such restrictive and contradictory terms in the Argentine legal system? This article is based on research over the last five years, investigating Argentine Law from a philosophical perspective to answer this question.  More...


Policies on sexuality in China

Chinese society has long been both patriarchal and feudal, partly owing to Confucianism, which treats women as subordinate to men. In 1949 the Chinese Communist Party took power and began building a socialist new China. This article examines how policy in China has affected people’s sexual lives since 1949.  More...


The failure of the World Bank to address sexuality

Putting ‘World Bank’ and ‘sex’ in the same sentence may at first sight look strange. But the fact is that as the boundaries of the World Bank’s areas of intervention (and its supposed expertise) have expanded consistently over the years, it is almost inevitable that its actions and prescriptions will overlap with more aspects of people’s lives — including sexuality.  More...

 

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