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Gender violence as a manifestation of extractivism and industrialization processes

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3:30 PM, Monday 29 Aug 2022 (20 minutes)
Industrialization processes and the internal logics of industrial production have had a deep impact on power relations ever since – not only between different regions worldwide, but they have also deepened the hierarchical and unequal distribution of power between women and men, and continue to do so. Gender violence, understood through its different dimensions such as physical, psychological, sexual, economic, patrimonial and institutional violence, is one very relevant manifestation of these dynamics, even though it has remained largely unconsidered up to date when talking about the legacies of industry. Especially in the Latin American context and with regard to the new extractivist business methods of the 21st Century, in my paper I want to ask: ¿Why and how does gender violence continue to exist, despite all the progress made in the construction of women’s and human rights? ¿Why are feminicides, rape, punches and unequal pay still perpetuating? Feminist geography provides methodological, theoretical and conceptual tools that allow us to answer these questions by revealing spatial structures and diagnosing the different types of violence in the territory. The case study presented here is Chile, a country characterized by its neoliberal economic political system, which is based on the exploitation of large amounts of natural resources by private extractive industries. For all municipalities of Chile, gender rates and indexes have been calculated in order to identify the different kinds of violence that predominate in each of them. From the results, feminist cartographies have been elaborated that demonstrate a particular pattern of spatial distribution: In all of the maps, the municipalities with the highest scores of gender violence are also the ones that present high percentages of employment in extractive sectors, identifying large-scale industrial activities such as mining, forestry, agriculture, fishing, among others, which in addition present a high masculinization of work. Explaining these results, I argue that this connection between the spatial distribution of gender-based violence and extractivist activities is not a coincidence – quite the opposite. This connection is planned and it’s structural, as it is States and Corporations that locate these economic activities territorially, and the extractive business model implements new ways of relating that are based on male domination, oppressing and exploiting of women. They are the necessary basis on which the extraction of natural resources is produced and reproducing itself, thus allowing for the construction of extractive social formations that are able to respond to the logics of the super-exploitation of nature and bodies. Finally, this leads us to reflect on the territorial construction of power hierarchies based on gender inequality in Chile, reviewing the role of distribution and spatial patterns of industrial activities in the country. The presentation summarizes my research project “The social-spatial dimension of feminicide in Chile”, carried out in 2019/2020 with a special fund for students awarded by Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, and includes findings from my graduate thesis “Atlas of Gender Violence in Chile”, with which I obtained the professional title as a geographer in December 2020.

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