Gender Washing War: arms manufacturers and the hijacking of #InternationalWomensDay

Jester, Natalie ORCID: 0000-0002-7995-3028 and Walters, Rosie ORCID: 0000-0002-2649-7065 (2024) Gender Washing War: arms manufacturers and the hijacking of #InternationalWomensDay. International Political Sociology. (In Press)

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If asked what “arms manufacturer” first brings to mind, few people would likely answer “women’s rights.” And yet, each International Women’s Day (IWD), leading global arms manufacturers present themselves as working to help bring about gender equality. “Gender washing” refers to corporate social responsibility communications aimed at presenting a corporation as empowering to women and girls, even while their own products, supply chains or employment practices harm them. In this article, we show how arms manufacturers use social media communications about IWD to gender wash their images, positioning themselves as progressive and caring. Bringing into conversation feminist work in Security Studies and International Political Economy, we identify new varieties of gender washing specific to war and martial violence: client military and government partnerships, and constructive silence. We also expand the global hierarchy of publics targeted by gender washing communications, reflecting the fact that unlike other Transnational Corporations, arms manufacturers are not concerned with garnering ‘brand loyalty’ amongst the general public. Rather, they communicate both to and with Global North governments and militaries. Thus, what is at stake in these representations, we argue, is not simply the reputation of the individual corporations concerned, but a broader process of gender washing war.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Gender washing; International security; International political economy; Feminism; Arms trade; Social media
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5001 Business
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology. > HV6001 Criminology
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Business, Computing and Social Sciences
Research Priority Areas: Society and Learning
Depositing User: Nat Jester
Date Deposited: 02 Apr 2024 09:49
Last Modified: 07 May 2024 13:49

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