Countering Backlash researcher Sohela Nazneen (IDS), Nay El Rahi (AIW), Maheen Sultan, Md Mohaiminul Islam and Shamsad Navia Novelly (BIGD) took part in the Development Studies Association’s 2024 annual conference.

The hybrid conference was organised and hosted by the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, and was convened by Michael Jennings, Professor of Global Development, with the theme of ‘Social Justice and Development in a Polarising World’. The Countering Backlash team delivered a number of exciting sessions, designed to engage attendees on key research from the programme. Two of these were part of a larger panel, organised by Deepta Chopra and Samreen Mushtaq (IDS) titled ‘Seeking Gender Justice and Rights Amidst Backlash: Challenges and Responses by Women’s Struggles‘:

  1. Deconstructing Anti-Feminist Backlash: The Lebanese Context
    Nay El Rahi, from the Arab Institute for Women, delivered a novel and nuanced understanding of the context specific challenges of women’s groups in Lebanon, as they try to further their demands in a constricted ‘sextarian’ political system.
  2. Countering Backlash Through Coalition Building: Compromises, Contentions and Sustaining Struggles in Bangladesh
    Sohela Nazneen, along with BIGD colleagues, explored how women’s struggles in Bangladesh use coalition building strategies to counter backlash and how impact of this strategy varies by the coalition’s focus, and space it engages in, leadership composition, and form, and what lessons it entails for building sustainable movements.

Feminist Foreign Policy vs Development: Which Way to Social and Gender Justice?

Sohela Nazneen participated as a discussant on a panel for this additional session, which explored whether and how feminist principles and social justice concepts can help countries with feminist foreign and development policies, such as Germany or Chile, to address developmental challenges and transforming unequal global systems in times of polycrisis.

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countryBangladesh, Lebanon