Gender and Global Justice: New Directions – 21st and 22nd May 2015


Gender and Global Justice: New Directions is a two-day conference to be held at the Centre for the Study of Global Ethics, Department of Philosophy, University of Birmingham.

Draft Program:

21st  May

Heather Widdows (Birmingham) ‘Why beauty matters? Beauty, ethics & justice’

Corwin Aragon (Concordia) ‘Epistemic Oppression:  A Relational Account of Epistemic Oppression’

Leif Wenar (King’s College London) ‘The Oil Curse and Women’

Sarah Clark Miller (Penn State) ‘The Normative Implications of Transnational Sexual Violence for Global Gender Justice’

Elisabetta Aurino (Kings College London) ‘Gender bias in dietary diversity in the lifecourse of children and adolescents in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, India’

Nicola Jones (Overseas Development Institute) ‘Rethinking the ‘Maid Trade’: Experiences of Ethiopian adolescent domestic workers in the Middle East’

Public Discussion:

In 1995, at the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the member states of the United Nations agreed to the most progressive platform to date regarding commitments to secure gender equality.  20 years on, it is a time of reflection on both progress that has been made and persistent inequalities that remain.  This public forum aims to assess the state of play in contemporary struggles for women’s rights and gender equality, and to discuss priorities for public action in the next two decades.  The panellists will present their views, and then engage in a wide ranging question and answer session with opportunities for audience participation.

Panelists: Heather Widdows, John Ferguson Professor of Global Ethics, University of Birmingham; Nicola Jones, Overseas Development Institute; Rhouba Mhaissen,  Founder and Director, SAWA for Development and Aid, SOAS; Bijayalaxmi Nanda, University of Delhi

22 May

Alison Jaggar (Colorado/Birmingham) ‘Other worlds are possible—but which are gender just?’

Noa Nagardi (Leeds) ‘Patriarchal structures and the duty to not harm’

Monique Deveaux (Guelph) ‘Is the cross-border trade in human eggs exploitative?’

Sheelagh McGuinness (Birmingham) TBC

Angie Pepper (York) ‘Global Gender Justice: An Ethics of Care or Cosmopolitanism’

Christine Bratu (Munich) ‘Adaptive Preferences and Deformed Desires’

Bijayalaxmi Nanda (Delhi) ‘Sex Selective Abortion and State in India: Dilemmas of Gender Justice’


To register, please email Scott Wisor at

Information and accommodation, location, and final program times will be provided on registering.

Please note you can register for the evening public event on the 21st without attending the full conference.


Workshop 2 Call for Papers!



Have your say on how cosmetic surgery defines beauty norms and vice versa, and the role of medical professionals in developing, offering and carrying out aesthetic procedures. Workshop 2 will take place 3-4th June in London, with speakers ranging from cosmetic surgeons, academics working on appearance, and charities supporting those with conditions that affect their appearance.

Abstracts are sought from current graduate students for this workshop in any discipline relevant to the topic, including but not exclusively, Philosophy, Psychology, Law, Sociology, Medicine and Gender Studies. Please submit abstracts by email using the title “beauty demands workshop 2”. Abstracts should be submitted to Laura Medhurst ( by 17 April at 4pm.

Full details can be found on the Beauty Demands website.

Workshop 1: Reflections from Cath

The demands of beauty

By Catherine Joynson, Programme Manager, Nuffield Council on Bioethics

This blog post was written following the first Beauty Demands workshop. The second workshop will focus on the role of medical professionals in developing, offering and carrying out cosmetic procedures. We are currently calling for papers from graduate students to present at the workshop (deadline 17 April).

Before I went to the first Beauty Demands workshop in Warwick earlier this month, I hadn’t really given much thought to why I feel the need to shave my underarms. But when you think about it, it is an odd thing to do. And on that note, why do I spend large amounts of money and time on other (sometimes painful) beauty procedures? I haven’t taken things to the more extreme end of the spectrum and undergone any surgical procedures to improve my appearance (yet) but more and more people are. Over 50,000 people in 2013 according to the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons in fact.[1] Why?

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Workshop 1: Reflections from Jennifer

I was very pleased to participate in the ARHC  Beauty Demands workshop. Having read Women’s Studies at Masters levels, and now writing-up a PhD in feminist economy, it was an opportunity for me not only to consolidate my own research ideas, but also to explore new avenues and learn about areas of scholarship which I have yet to become familiar with. The interdisciplinary nature of the workshop made for very compelling discussion; allowing the group to thread together strands of feminist debates from cosmetic surgery, carcinogenic beauty regimes, psycho-sexual development, to beauty and body image.

There were some very interesting discussion around beauty/body alongside cancer, race, hair-removal, class, caste, and capitalism. The best thing about this workshop for me was the feedback and constructive criticisms; as an early-career researcher, it is very valuable to consider the advice and opinion of those who are well-established in their fields. I was very glad to present my work to an interested interdisciplinary audience. In summary, I would say that the beauty of this workshop was that it offered a safe environment in which to bounce around new ideas, as well as present your own academic research.

‘ “A woman should always have fair skin,” she said proudly. “Otherwise people will think you’re a peasant.” (Levin)’

The "Make up" of Beauty

It is no secret that many countries around the world (the West tends to be an exception) prefer lighter skin tones over darker ones. In the past, it was thought that if you had darker skin, you were a worker – someone who spent time outside in the sun, performing manual labor of some kind (Verma, 465). Therefore, those with lighter skin tended to belong to the wealthier classes, making the presence of pale skin an ideal of beauty and wealth. This, however, continues to hold true in many countries and cultures around the world today, including India and China.

In Western societies – especially the United States from which I will be basing my observations – the ever-changing beauty trend now favors tan skin on white people over their natural, pale skin. It seems as though the tanner you are, the healthier you are perceived to be. Whilst tan skin arises from spending time outside…

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Miss BumBum – Andressa Urach – hospitalized after buttock implant causes life-threatening infection

Universal Journal Review

Mirror UK: Concern is growing for the glamorous TV presenter after she admits: “My vanity made me push the limits.”

She is the stunning model who wooed Brazil’s Miss BumBum competition, but now Andressa Urach is back in hospital after cosmetic surgery resulted in a life-threatening infection.

Only weeks ago the TV star spent a month in intensive care, with doctors fearing that they would have to amputate her leg when hydrogel and PMMA fillers she had injected into her behind began rotting her muscles.

The 27-year-old spoke of her relief as she left hospital, but now she has been rushed back as an infection caused by the implant in her left buttock became inflamed…


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