Handbook on Gender in Asia
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Handbook on Gender in Asia

Edited by Shirlena Huang and Kanchana N. Ruwanpura

The Handbook on Gender in Asia critically examines, through a gender perspective, five broad themes of significance to Asia: the ‘Theory and Practice’ of researching in Asia; ‘Gender, Ageing and Health’; ‘Gender and Labour’; ‘Gendered Migrations and Mobilities’; and ‘Gender at the Margins’. With each chapter providing an overview of the key intellectual developments on the issue under discussion, as well as empirical examples to examine how the Asian case sheds light on these debates, this collection will be an invaluable reference for scholars of gender and Asia.
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Chapter 22: Gender of forced migration: Kachin internally displaced people at the China–Myanmar border

Elaine Lynn-Ee Ho


This chapter reviews the literature on gender and forced migration, situating this discussion in critical humanitarianism and debates on human security versus state security. While acknowledging existing scholarship on refugee women, the chapter highlights the need to study the spatial domains—home, work and the public sphere—in which displaced women’s identities are shaped. The chapter also signals the paucity of research on internally displaced people (IDP), including women. The chapter uses the case of Kachin internal displacement at the China–Myanmar border to illustrate the distinct challenges that IDP women face, reflected in their invisibility in the wider literature on forced migration. Since 2011 civil war has precipitated internal displacement in northern Myanmar. Such displaced people are not recognized by the 1951 Refugee Convention as “refugees” since they have not successfully crossed an international border. Denial of refugee identity and protection accentuates the vulnerability of IDP women as wives, mothers and citizens.

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