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Transforming communicative spaces: the rhythm of gender in meetings in rural Solomon Islands

Michelle Dyer, Stockholm Resilience Centre; James Cook University


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Women’s lack of participation in important decision making is noted as an obstacle to sustainable development in many parts of the world. An initial issue for gender equity in environmental decision making in many developing country contexts is not only women’s inclusion but also their substantive participation in decision-making forums. In this article I examine the power structures embedded in the public communicative spaces in a village in the Western Province of Solomon Islands using empirical data in conjunction with ethnographic understanding of gendered meeting styles. The data reveal some reasons why women may be silenced as public political actors. It also raises the potential for development actors to create conceptual space for specific women’s ways of meeting and validating women’s meeting styles. These findings have implications for encouraging transformative communicative spaces and formats that allow transcendence of socially embedded power structures.

Key words

development; gender; meetings; Solomon Islands; transformative communicative practice; women’s empowerment

Copyright © 2018 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087