Does ordinary injustice make extraordinary injustice possible? Gender, structural injustice, and the ethics of refugee determination

Journal of Global Ethics 8 (2-3):269-281 (2012)
Abstract
Our understanding of the impact of gender on refugee determination has evolved greatly over the last 60 years. Though many people initially believed that women could not be persecuted qua women, it is now frequently recognized that certain forms of gender-related persecution are sufficient to warrant asylum. Yet despite this conceptual progress, many states are still reluctant to consider certain forms of gender-related persecution to be sufficient to warrant asylum or refugee status. One reason for this continued bias is the lack of a framework with which to understand gender-related persecution. I argue that we ought to understand gender-related persecution as resulting from the intersection of individual or state persecution and structural injustice. Structural injustice can be understood as the kind of everyday injustice, harm, and violence that women experience that makes possible the more extraordinary kinds of violence that women are likely to claim as the basis of asylum. Understanding gender-related persecution within the context of structural injustice will, I argue, help us to see it as a legitimate form of persecution and thus allow more just outcomes for women refugees
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