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Gendered Structural Inequalities.docx
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2.2 Structural Violence

Previous focus of peace researchers exclusively on inter- and intra-state war as objects of study was broaden by introduction of the concept of structural violence (Galtung & Höivik, 1971) and the volume of harm it causes. Moreover, structural inequalities are especially harmful for women, due to the intersection of gender with existing conditions of poor health, inadequate education, and class (Farmer & Tiefenthaler, 1997). Nevertheless, gendered structural violence remains a rather unstudied field due to the relative invisibility of structural violence, the lack of data on violence against women Bonomi, Anderson, Reid, Rivara, Carrell & Thompson, 2009), and the prevalence of the public/private divide (Wilding, 2010). A scope of research was as well directed at examining interrelations between symbolic violence and interpersonal violence against women (Montesanti & Thurston, 2015; Cross, 2013). Feminist theorists analyze patriarchal social structures together with socialization experiences, which shape gender roles that in turn may affect violence against women (Yllo, 2005).

Commonly, violence is interpreted as types of coercion, for instance, physical assault. However, to better understand the origins of violence, gender discrimination in particular, it is vital to take into account violence generated by structures of domination. In societies all over the world, gender relations are constructed as a distinction point, which enforces hierarchy and inequality. Structural violence manifest itself through unequal disposal of essential resources and functioning of social stratification that undermine people's life chances. This kind of violence marginalizes groups of people socially and culturally, depriving them chances for welfare and at the same time subjecting them to physical and emotional assault. Moreover, gendered structural violence oftentimes is normalized into “status quo”, despite the exposure of people to inequity and inhumanity caused by combination of such characteristics as race, gender, nationality and so forth (Anglin, 1998). Unequal access to goods and services or unemployment are examples of structural violence implication, which affect an array of welfare indicators.

As number of feminist thoughts highlight, gendered structural violence origins in globalization of capitalism and monopolization of power, based on systems of exclusion, subordination and domination, resulting in social stratification and inequality. Concept of structural violence opposes "dichotomized notions of victims and perpetrators" (Montesanti & Thurston, 2015, p. 3) with set of political and economic mechanisms. Essentially, people are not violent in nature, but rather specific political, economic and social contexts generate violence through, for example, race or gender hierarchies; limitation of life opportunities or establishment of dominant structures, making this covert form of violence no less dangerous then explicit abuse. Violence against women is considered structural because it is integrated into the social structure, manifesting itself through unequal power relations and life opportunities (Galtung, 1969).

At the same time, considering gendered structural inequalities, it is important to emphasize that this concept does not imply that women are constant victims, but rather intends to raise awareness about consequences of power relations between women and men and normalization of structures of violence in social and cultural experiences. Moreover, single dimension, such as gender, cannot shape social relations independently, but rather through intersection with race, nationality, age, and other aspects of social identity. Nonetheless, feminist framework shows how such intersections result in expressly gendered violence.