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While the under-representation of women intergroup dialogue initiatives has been widely noted, there remains to date a lack of research investigating the possible reasons for this and its potential implications for dialogue practice. In this article, we explore a dialogue project held from 2009 to 2013 in Melbourne, which sought to bring into contact diaspora communities from situations of conflict in the homeland. Our project saw a similar lack of female participation, with a number of women suggesting that the dialogues were ‘politicking’ and therefore ‘men's business’. Reflecting on possible reasons for this perception, we suggest that the ways in which dialogue as a multicultural strategy is manifestly intertwined with certain presumptions of community should be read as influencing both the perceived ‘politicisation’ of such projects as well as the lack of female participation. The combination of identities highly politicised by ethno-national conflict with largely bureaucratically defined conceptions of community, we continue, should also be seen as contributing to the already-existing marginalisation of women in community politics and affairs.


School of Arts

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Journal Article

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