Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Politics and International Studies

Research Student: Noa Wirth- Nogradi

Worse than “Badly off”: Evaluating the tools proposed to realize global justice in a gendered world

Photo of Noa Wirth- Nogradi

Theories of global justice and international assistance are concerned with determining the strongest normative justification of duties towards those “badly” or “worst off’, and identifying the correct tools to realize these duties. However, there is an apparent disregard of the “worst off of the worst off” in our world: women and girls.

Not only are women and girls greatly disadvantaged in terms of possessing goods and properties, access to welfare (from nutrition through healthcare to education) and freedoms, but on top of that they also experience combined ways of deprivation, harm and oppression on a gender basis. Women in the generic category referred to as “badly off” do not only starve, but also face an everyday risk of rape, battering, and various forms of egregious violence. Whether the proposals to enhance global justice are centred around migration or redistribution, whether they follow the Human Rights paradigm or not, there is little reflection on the gender perspective, and the adequacy of proposed tools to address women’s needs.

Works devoted to discussing and tackling gender inequality and women’s suffering are a separate field of theory and research, not an integral part of the wider discourse on global justice and international assistance. By dismissing the problematic aspects invoked by the gendered determination of “who gets to be” worse off, theories and proposals addressing global justice seem to overlook the realities of women and thus cannot adequately capture our duties and identify possible remedies.

The tradition of theorizing justice without regard for gender and women’s perspectives already received well-recognized criticism, especially in the field of social justice. Yet the failure to conceptualize gendered realities as a constitutive part of the typology and analysis of global injustices and the corresponding duties and remedies in the pursuit of global justice persists. There is a need to stop separating “women’s issues” from all-encompassing theories, and to go beyond the “tick-box” approach to gender. My research aims to provide a feminist critique of the discourse on global justice and more specifically, of the proposals formulated for its realization.


My research has been awarded the Leeds University Research Scholarship.

Publications / Conference presentations

Banning Holocaust Denial in Liberal Democracies

Presented at the XII. Congress on European Culture. October 24-26. 2013, Barcelona, Spain.

Who Should Be Granted Asylum?

Presented at the conference “Realizing Global Justice”. June 19-22. 2013, Tromso, Norway.

Feminism in the Cyberspace

Presented at “Reflexoes no Alvito - Mulheres e Media”. June 7-8. 2013, Lisbon, Portugal.

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