Sex Work and Women’s Movements
Author: Svati P. Shah
CREA commissioned Svati P. Shah to write this paper as a resource for a meeting entitled ‘Ain’t I A Woman? A Global Dialogue between the Sex Workers’ Rights Movement and the Stop Violence against Women Movement’ held from 12-14 March 2009 in Bangkok, Thailand. This paper discusses key issues in the relationship between sex workers’ and women’s movements. The paper begins by describing the history of the relationship between these two movements, and takes U.S.A. and India as its examples. The paper discusses the history of women’s movements and sex workers’ movements, and where and how they intersected, or not. It goes on to discuss the contemporary context, including the status of alliances and dialogue between women’s movements and sex workers’ movements, the ways that HIV/AIDS have structured this relationship, and the question of agency. Svati P. Shah is an Assistant Professor of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.