SOAS University of London

Centre for Gender Studies

Gender in the Hostile Environment

Dr Arianne Shahvisi (Brighton and Sussex Medical School), Chair: Dr Awino Okech (SOAS)

Date: 10 October 2019Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 10 October 2019Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: KLT, SOAS

Type of Event: Lecture

Since its inception in 1948, the NHS has had a complex relationship to power and coloniality, but the rise of the “hostile environment” in recent years has forced the health service into more obvious complicity with racist government agendas. The hostile environment is also gendered, and pregnancy care is now chargeable for migrants who do not have indefinite leave to remain in the United Kingdom. Vulnerable people, including prospective asylum applicants, some refused asylum-seekers, unidentified victims of trafficking, and undocumented people are required to pay substantial charges in order to access antenatal, birth, and postnatal services as well as abortion care within the NHS. This paper explores the way in which charging for pregnancy care violates bodily autonomy, entrenches the sex-asymmetry of sexual responsibility, centres the male body, and produces health risks for women and neonates. Medical professionals, many of whom are themselves migrants from Global South nations, are required to enforce these new charging regimes and to collude with the Home Office in the production of the hostile environment.

Dr Arianne Shahvisi is a Kurdish-British academic philosopher. She is Senior Lecturer in Ethics at the Brighton and Sussex Medical School, where she conducts research across a range of topics in applied philosophy, with current projects focussed on reproductive justice, migration and borders, and global health ethics. Arianne has written commentary for Prospect, Media Diversified, New Statesman, and Jacobin, has featured on BBC Radio and Channel 4 News, and has advised on policy around abortion provision and women's health. Arianne serves as an editorial board member for Kohl, a feminist journal on gender and sexuality in the Middle East, South West Asia, and North Africa regions, and is science editor for literary magazine The Offing, which seeks out and supports work by those marginalized in literary spaces.

The event is free to attend with no registration necessary.

Organiser: Centre for Gender Studies

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