IGU 2022: ​Tricenary Sessions
Celebrating 30 years of the Gender Commission!

Paris, France: July 18-22

We are excited for the forthcoming IGU-100 meetings in Paris, France in July 2022! Join us!

The full UGI - IGU schedule is available here, and includes a host of sessions related to gender, and feminist geography. Visit the full conference website, to learn about registration, sessions and more. The deadline for submissions to the IGU Paris sessions is January 11, 2022.


Below are our celebratory Tricenary Gender Commission Sessions!

If you are interested in submitting an abstract, please email the session chairs by January 6th 2022

Urban care platforms and intersectional inequalities

Sybille Bauriedl, Karin Schwiter & Anke Strüver

Looking Back to Look Ahead-An Agenda for Gender and Feminist Geographies

Anindita Datta & Marianne Blidon

Navigating Gender, Race, and Class in the Rise of Rural Populism

Ann M. Oberhauser

Right to the city: creative explorations of safety and gender across material, relational and spiritual dimensions

Elena Vacchelli & Tanja Bastia

Feminist pedagogy and geographical education in a time of crises

Kamalini Ramdas & Menusha De Silva

Urban care platforms and intersectional inequalities


Chair: Sybille Bauriedl, University of Flensburg, EMail: sybille.bauriedl @uni-flensburg.de

Co-chair: Karin Schwiter, University of Zurich, EMail: karin.schwiter@geo.uzh.ch

Co-chair: Anke Strüver, University of Graz, EMail: anke.struever@uni-graz.at


The digital platform economy has become an increasingly central actor for socioeconomic processes in cities. Service platforms such as Airbnb, Lieferando, Helpling and Uber operate as intermediaries re-organizing and transforming cities and the everyday lives of their inhabitants (Altenried et al. 2021; van Dijck et al. 2018). Service platforms as hegemonic business model realise profit not by providing services, but by building digital networks between supply and demand, between workers and customers. They aim for a concentration or even monopolisation of services in terms of market share and they tend to disrupt labour markets and exacerbate working conditions (Kenney/Zysman 2020; Srnicek 2016; Zwick 2018). Moreover, platforms that digitally mediate service provision predominantly target large cities because of their population density and the availability of both potential (and precarious) workers and customers (Sadowski 2020); they reorganise labour, service and consumption patterns and reshape social structures and everyday routines in cities (Berg et al. 2018). Gendered division of labour, neoliberal precarity and racial capitalism are essential features for care-service platforms (Huws 2019).

Feminist, labour and economic geographers have long documented how caring activities are increasingly transformed into waged work (Lawson 2007; McDowell et al. 2005). This commodification and marketization of care (Schwiter et al. 2018) is fuelled by aging populations, labour migration, changing gender relations and increasing numbers of double income households. Despite its technocapitalist re-commodification, a large share of care service work has remained invisible as it is bound to the home as an ‘invisible private space’. The invisibility of care work is still linked to its social and economic devaluation and increasingly also to its racialization. The invisibility of platform mediated care work is inextricably linked to intersecting gendered, classed and racialised precarities and vulnerabilities (van Doorn 2017).

With the session we want to discuss (1) how digital platforms reorganise care services in and through urban space, (2) how these platforms transform labour in care services such as cleaning, child-/senior care and food delivery and (3) how the platformisation of these services and their spatial structures reshape intersectional inequalities.

We invite empirical and theoretical contributions linking macropolitical structures of platformisation with the micropolitics of urban everyday life and embodied subjects’ experiences.


Looking Back to Look Ahead-An Agenda for Gender and Feminist Geographies


Chair: Anindita Datta, University of Delhi, India, EMail: anindita.dse@gmail.com adatta@geography.du.ac.in

Co-chair: Marianne Blidon, Université Paris 1-Panthéon Sorbonne, EMail: marianne.blidon@univ-paris1.fr

The IGU Commission for Gender and Geography marks its 30th year as a full-fledged Commission of the International Geographical Union in 2022. Early efforts to carve out the subfield of geographies of gender involved several struggles. A task force was initially instituted in 1988 and finally granted the status of a Commission in 1992. In the course of these last decades, the Commission on Gender and Geography has marked itself out as a vibrant, inclusive body. Membership to the Commission has grown exponentially, its reach now indeed worldwide. As many as four IGU laureates have connections with the Commission on Gender and Geography. At the IGU annual meeting at Krackow in 2014, the Commission also received the award for Best Commission. The Tricenary of the Commission is an occasion to reflect upon the journey of incorporating gender as an analytical lens within the discipline of geography, the trajectory of charting recognition as a subfield, the challenges faced and the ways forward.

In this special Tricenary session, we are inspired by early essays that marked the initial concerns of the subdiscipline- the invisibility of women as subjects and practitioners of geography, debates about methods and calls for more inclusive geographies (see for example Monk and Hanson 1982, Rose 1992, Kobayashi and Peake 1994, Mattingly and Falconer Al Hindi 1995,WGSG 2014 among others). We invite feminist geographers of different generations and diverse contexts to share their reflections and revisit the challenges that doing feminist geographies has posed. Questions may include (but are not limited to) the following:

  1. How have the questions of doing gender in geography been addressed in specific contexts? What new questions emerge?

  2. Has marking out an academic field compromised the activist edge of doing gender and feminist geographies?

  3. How effectively have feminist geographers been able to talk across difference and challenge knowledge asymmetries?


Our session acknowledges the seminal contributions the community of feminist geographers has made in the last three decades. This tricenary session is positioned simultaneously as a space for reflection, inspiration and discussion in moving the agenda of gender and feminist geographies forward.

Navigating Gender, Race, and Class in the Rise of Rural Populism


Chair: Ann M. Oberhauser, Iowa State University, Email: annober@iastate.edu

This session will focus on navigating the landscape of contemporary politics to examine how economic shifts and social identities intersect with the rise of rural populism. Recent elections in the U.S. and other Western countries proved to be watershed events, signaling a decline in political moderation and a sharp right turn to partisan polarization, place-based allegiances, and ethno-nationalism. Rural areas in particular swung further to the right than other regions, raising questions about the role that shifting economics and social identities play in rural and feminist political geography. The growing presence of populism and authoritarianism in these areas stem from divisions and animosity that often target marginalized groups such as immigrants, racialized minorities, the LGBTQIA+ community, Muslim people, and others who are seen as threats to the economic security and hegemonic social identities of a society.

This session will advance how mixed methods analyze the relative contribution of several factors reputed to have caused the swing to conservative and populist parties during recent elections. The feminist approach in these papers will examine how intersecting socio-economic and geographic factors steer rural voters into communities of racialized identities and thus drive political polarization. These frameworks and empirical results contribute to our understanding of broader social movements and identities, and provide insights to local dimensions of contested political cultures. The findings from this research have implications for broader national and global analyses of political culture, sexual and gender identities, and whiteness in rural and feminist political geography. The conclusions present strategies for developing ways to promote political moderation and participative democracy.

Key words: rural populism, feminist geography, social identities, political polarization

Right to the city: creative explorations of safety and gender across material, relational and spiritual dimensions



Dr Elena Vacchelli, University of Greenwich

Dr Tanja Bastia, University of Manchester

The concept of safety over the past few years has come to be seen as broader than just safety from violence and it has expanded to include freedom from poverty, financial security and autonomy and having a sense of self-worth (Falu and Segovia 2008). Given contemporary debates considering the city both as a liberatory space for women and a potentially dangerous one (Whitzman et al. 2013), we would like to invite scholars to re-think the boundaries of perceived women’s vulnerability in urban space and challenge dominant discourses about cities as dangerous spaces for women- which is widely reflected in young women and girls reporting that they feel unsafe in public and virtual space (Plan International UK 2018). We particularly welcome innovative theoretical and methodological contributions that challenge the dichotomy which is often reproduced in feminist urban studies about private and public space, highlighting that there is a continuum between private and public violence that requires us to work on both (Sweet and Otiz Escalante 2010). We invite explorations of how broadly conceived ideas of safety and vulnerability also relate to more ephemeral, but not less important, dimensions of religion and spirituality. Following Anzaldua (2015:38), we understand spirituality as “an ontological belief in the existence of things outside the body (exosomatic)” and take this dimension to include the possibility of providing different readings and solutions to existing projects and the possibility of a “deep sense of belonging and participation in life” (p.39). Attention to the spiritual dimension of people’s lives also includes the opportunity to link the spiritual with political activism, or as Anzaldua suggests, “spiritual activism” (p.39).

According to Gloria Anzaldua (2002) even the safest conceivable space as the home can be perceived as unsafe and dangerous because it bears the likelihood of intimacy and thinner boundaries. However, making boundaries thin is a necessary condition for reaching out, as closing up and staying in one’s own group, often a response to inner pain and fear, produces the ultimate effect of stagnating one’s growth. Building on earlier feminist invitations to build bridges across differences (Lorde 1984, Sister Outsider), Anzaldua (2002, p. 2) uses the language of bridging and opening up to the stranger within and without, implying an attitude of risk-taking. She argues that ‘to bridge is to attempt community and for that we must risk being open to personal, political, and spiritual intimacy, to risk being wounded’ (p. 3). Rather than a retreat into less challenging spaces, the risky relational labour towards the cultivation and proliferation of sites for challenging oppression and negotiating difference (Roestone Collective, 2014) remains one of the necessary starting points for authentic learning.

In this session, we invite papers and other creative contributions such as poems, visual essays and other creative outputs exploring the contours of gender and safety broadly speaking in cities and urban spaces. Examples include themes such as:

- Mapping safe and unsafe spaces for different groups of people

- Challenging preconceived ideas of what spaces are deemed safe or dangerous



- Moving beyond a dichotomous conceptualisation of safe and unsafe spaces

- Addressing how the spiritual dimension may contribute to feelings of (un)safety

- Tacit dimensions of urban life (including spirituality) that influence our lives in cities

- How the ‘safety map’ has changed through the pandemic

- The effects of lockdowns on gender and safety

- Mobilisations to raise awareness of specific events or organise actions to address issues

- Governance, decision-making and social mobilisation

- Moving beyond private/public


We are particularly interested in papers that address or at least take into account an intersectional perspective on gender. Please get in touch with Elena Vacchelli (E.Vacchelli@gre.ac.uk) or Tanja Bastia ( Tanja.Bastia@manchester.ac.uk).

Feminist pedagogy and geographical education in a time of crises

Panel Organisers: Kamalini Ramdas and Menusha De Silva

Department of Geography, National University of Singapore

The current climate of crises is one mired by concerns about pandemic, natural disasters, climate catastrophes, human conflict, social and economic inequality and more. Geography, a discipline that has continued to emphasise the importance of human-environment relations, sustainability, and spatial sensitivity in analysing the patterns, challenges and opportunities for distributive justice, has much to contribute to how we respond to these crises. Feminist geographers, in particular, have been at the centre of debates that see potential for social transformation through education, and have continued to champion alternative scalar and spatial analytics that focus on the smallest and/or closest in (e.g. body, home, community etc.). This can create and promote collaborative learning opportunities for thinking critically about access to, and distribution of, natural resources, urban infrastructure, sustainable livelihoods and social services. Geography students learn to ‘do’, ‘question’ and ‘transform’ within the generative spaces of the feminist classroom (Burke et al, 2017; Huang and Ramdas, 2019).


This panel invites abstracts for papers presented on-site (in person) in Paris, that engage with the opportunities and challenges for feminist pedagogical approaches in a time of crises. This includes but is not limited to:

Teaching and learning in a time of pandemic

Politics and privilege in geography education

Transcending classroom spaces for public education

Community-based learning and/or community engagement in geography education

Education for peace and conflict mitigation

Public education for the crises of sustainability

Mentoring and training for the future of geography education

Pls email geokr@nus.edu.sg with the following information:

Title and Names of Presenter and Co-Presenter(s)

Name of Organisations/Institutions

Email contact

Title of Paper: maximum of 255 characters (spaces included)

Paper Abstract: 2000 characters (spaces included)

Keywords: maximum of 5 References: maximum of 5


Please submit the above information by 27 December 2021. Authors will be informed if their abstract has been selected by 3 January 2022. You will then be required to register and upload your abstract via the UGI-IGU Paris 2022 website (https://www.ugiparis2022.org/en/abstracts-submission/29). Abstract submission and early-bird registration deadline: 11 January 2022.