Transnational feminist network

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A transnational feminist network (TFN) is a network of women’s groups who work together for women’s rights at both a national and transnational level. They emerged in the mid 1980's as a response to structural adjustment and neoliberal policies, guided by ideas categorized as global feminism. [1] TNF's are composed of representatives from a variety of NGO's from around the globe. These representatives then come together at conferences, such as the United Nations World Conference on Women and The NGO Forum in China. [2]


TFNs are similar to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) but while NGOs work at a local and national level, TFNs create coalitions across borders. Globalization affects women worldwide in adverse ways and TFNs emerged in response to these effects.

According to Johanna Brenner in her article Transnational Feminism and the Struggle for Global Justice:

“Economic insecurity and impoverishment, exposure to toxics, degradation of water, high infant and maternal mortality rates, forced migration, increased hours spent in paid and unpaid work are only some of the indicates (sic) of women’s burdens worldwide”

Brenner also states that

“[t]hird world governments are male-dominated, often inefficient, plagued by cronyism, and sometimes corrupt; and the pressures of structural adjustment programs imposed on them by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank have certainly aggravated these tendencies” (Brenner 78).

Programs like Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs) are part of the package of globalization that is presented to other countries; and while such programs are portrayed as being valuable to improve the status of a country, they result in creating worse situations for the peoples of a country.

Aims of TFNs[edit]

Transnational Feminist Networks can be divided into different categories based on their goals. Some of these include Advocacy for Women's Human Rights, Peace, Anti-militarism, Conflict Resolution, Ending Violence Against Women and Reproductive and Health Rights. [3]

Response to Globalization[edit]

Women’s groups form in response to the negative effects of globalization and TFNs emerge when these women’s groups come together to resolve shared issues. These groups work with one another across borders and they recognize their differences but also discover their similarities and form strong coalition’s bases on these similarities. In describing a conference held by the International Network of Women’s Studies Journals, Tahera Aftab relayed that

“the objective of the INWSJ conference was to set up a network for interdisciplinary feminist and women’s studies journals with a focus on the development and inclusion of a transnational feminist understanding of women’s development issues…”

Just as these academics worked to reach consensus on issues, so do women’s groups who form TFNs.

Valentine Mogadam best describes TFNs in her book Globalizing Women: Transnational Feminist Networks. She states in her text:

“TFN’s have arisen in the context of economic, political, and cultural globalization—and they are tackling both the particularistic and the hegemonic trends of globalization. They are advancing criticisms of inequalities and forms of oppression, neoliberal economic policies, unsustainable economic growth and consumption, and patriarchal controls over women. In a word, transnational feminist networks are the organizational expression of the transnational women’s movement, or global feminism” (Moghadam 104).

Women's Human Rights and Security[edit]

Another widespread aim of transnational feminist networks is to create a stronger sense of global human security while building peace. McKay argues that women and girls perspectives are a necessary component in developing programs and policies. There is a difference in the way men and women experience security and TNF’s have a role in amplifying the women’s perspectives to be acted upon.[4] In specific, Woroniuk states that dimensions of women’s security include “(1) violence against women, (2) gender inequality in control over resources, (3) gender inequality in power and decision making, (4) women’s human rights, and (5) women (and men) as actors, not victims.” These areas are taken into account in TFN’s approach to policy changes and public awareness.[5]


In 1995 the United Nations held the Fourth World Conference on women that was dedicated towards creating an approach to the marginalization of women. The outcome was a “gendering of the agenda” for other conferences worldwide, which included a focus on gender neutral approaches and prioritizing women’s rights in policy making. [6]

TNF’s response to world events can have a strong impact on the actions of governments and societies. An example of such was when the Taliban took control of Afghanistan in 1996 and a harsher regime threatened women’s security and rights. Pressure put on governments from feminists around the world resulted in an isolation of the Taliban and an importance placed on Afghan women’s rights.[7]


A few TFN’s:


  • Aftab, Tahera; "Lobbying for Transnational Feminism: Feminist Conversations Make Connections." NWSA Journal Summer 2002. Vol.14 Iss 2, Bloomington
  • Brenner, Johanna; "Transnational Feminism and the Struggle for Global Justice." New Politics. Winter 2003. VOl.IX, Iss 2, Brooklyn
  • Moghadam,Valentine; Globalizing Women: Transnational Feminist Networks, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 2005.
    • ^ Moghadam, Valentine (January 20, 2005). Globalizing Women: Transnational Feminist Networks. JHU Press. 
    • ^ Snyder, Anna (2005). "TNF's are composed of representatives from a variety of NGO's from around the globe. These representatives then come together at conferences, such as the United Nations World Conference on Women and The NGO Forum in China". International Journal of Peace Studies. 10 (2). 
    • ^ Moghadam, Valentine (January 20, 2005). Globalizing Women: Transnational Feminism. JHU Press. 
    • ^ McKay, Susan (2004). Conflict and Human Security: A Search for New Approaches of Peace-building. "Chapter 7: Women, Human Security and Peace-Building: A Feminist Analysis". IPSHU English Research Report. 
    • ^ Woroniuk, Beth (1999). Women’s Empowerment in the context of Human Security: A Discussion Paper. Bangkok, Thailand. 
    • ^ Friedman, Elisabeth (2003). "Gendering the Agenda: The impact of the transnational women's rights movement at the UN conferences of the 1990's". Women's Studies International Forum. 26 (4). 
    • ^ Moghadam, Valentine (2005). Globalizing Women: Transnational Feminist Networks. JHU Press.