Women, agency and responsive governance

Women, agency and responsive governance

Day 2
11:00 – 12:45
Gardjola 1


It is expected that all the sessions on the second day of the People’s Forum will address the need for governance that promotes diversity, ensures enhanced service delivery and fosters self-reliant and bottom up approaches.

The theme of this session: ‘women, agency and responsive governance’ is an exploration of the contradictory neoliberal narratives in regard to women, choices and women’s needs. On the one hand, individual choices and the free market are fundamental principles used by current governing systems to organise access to resources and service provision.

However, the concept of ‘free choice’ is challenged when women and other marginalised voices try to self-govern their own body and their own territories. For example; “women’s choices” on sexual health and reproductive rights remains largely ignored from public policies. Public policies with regard to reproduction place great stock in deterrence and stress in controlling female sexuality and reproduction.

Besides, the ‘common good’ logic is often used as an argument by governance systems despite an unequal sharing of burdens which requires particular individuals or groups to bear costs that are much greater than those borne by others. This runs counter to principles of inclusive governance. It is expected this session discuss/challenge governance narratives used to make choices meaningful or meaningless, using the framework of individual rights vs. collective rights and the rights of women’s to govern their own bodies. It is expected that solutions or suggestions on how governance should enable women’s voices and women’s rights and the rights of marginalised voices as a key element on resilience.




(CHAIR) Marceline Naudi

Dr Marceline Naudi is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Malta and is Head of the new Department of Gender Studies within the Faculty for Social Wellbeing. Dr Naudi also contributes to teaching and supervision of student research within several other University departments and Faculties on gender issues, violence against women and other anti-oppressive issues (sexual orientation, race, disabilities) at Diploma, Bachelor and Master level. She received her first degree from University of Malta (1980), her Master’s Degree in Women’s Studies from University of Bradford (U.K.) (1990) and her Doctorate from Manchester University (U.K.) (2004).

A social worker by profession, her years of practice (in England, Ireland and Malta) included work with children and young people in care and their families, ex-offenders, homeless people, persons with mental health support needs and survivors of domestic violence.

She continues to be active in the issues of gender equality and violence against women, as well as wider human rights issues, and has convened, chaired and presented at many conferences, seminars and meetings, both in Malta and elsewhere in Europe. She represented Malta at the Council of Europe ad Hoc Committee on Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (CAHVIO) which drafted the Istanbul Convention, and has recently been elected onto its Group of Experts monitoring body, the GREVIO. In a voluntary capacity she has supported and acted as consultant to various agencies in the field of violence against women, gender, LGBTIQ, racism and ethnicity and sits on the board of management of one of the local shelters. She also served as the Chairperson of the Commission on Domestic Violence (Malta) from 2006 to 2010 and as a member and Chairperson of the Gender Issues Committee of the University of Malta for many years. She currently sits on the Women Against Violence Europe (WAVE) Network Board, and the European Women’s Lobby (EWL) Observatory on Violence against Women Steering Group. She is a management committee member of the EU COST Action on Femicide across Europe, a member of its Core group and co-chairs a working group.

Doo Aphane

Doo Mary Joyce Aphane, holds an LL.M in Law and Development from University of Warwick in the United Kingdom. She is the founder and Director of Women for Women Development. She served as Regional Coordinator, for Women’s Legal Rights Initiative Project responsible for six Southern African Countries:- Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Mozambique, South Africa and Swaziland. Doo is the founding National Coordinator of Women and Law in Southern Africa Trust (Swaziland) where she conducted and supervised action research in different family law areas, leading to several co-authored publications. She is a founding officer of the Legal Aid Clinic of the Council of Swaziland Churches which is now the Justice and Peace Department.

Doo actively participated in processes leading to the drafting of the SADC Gender and Development Declaration of 1997, the upgrading of the same into a Protocol which was adopted in 2008. Between 2007 and 2012 she served as a Gender Expert in the SADC HIV and AIDS Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) providing overall guidance and oversight on the implementation of the SADC Strategic Framework and the Maseru Declaration on HIV and AIDS, taking into account other continental and international commitments. Doo’s participation at international level dates back from pre-Beijing to current with Sustainable Development Goals.

Doo serves in various boards; such as the Initiative for Strategic Litigation in Africa (“ISLA”), a ground breaking organisation that seeks to use the rule of law, African domestic and regional courts to advance human rights and women’s human rights in particular, the AIDS Information and Support Centre (TASC).

Pamela Palmater

Dr Pamela Palmater is a Mi’kmaw lawyer, author, social justice activist, and Chair in Indigenous Governance at Ryerson University from Eel River Bar First Nation in New Brunswick. She has university degrees, including a BA from St. Thomas in Native Studies; an LLB from UNB, and her Masters and Doctorate in Law from Dalhousie University specialising in Indigenous law.

Pam has been volunteering and working in First Nation issues for over 25 years on a wide range of issues like poverty, housing, education, Aboriginal and treaty rights, and legislation impacting First Nations. She came in second in the Assembly of First Nations election for National Chief in 2012 and was one of the spokespeople and public educators for the Idle No More movement in 2012-13

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