Gender Mainstreaming in Conflict Transformation

Building Sustainable Peace

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Issues of socioeconomic development, democracy and peace are inextricably linked to gender equality. The main argument of Gender Mainstreaming in Conflict Transformation: Building Sustainable Peace is that gender equality needs to be placed on the policy programme of the entire spectrum of peace and conflictrelated initiatives and activities in order to achieve conflict transformation. These include conflict prevention and early warning mechanisms; peace negotiations and agreements; peacekeeping, disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration; truth and reconciliation commissions; postconflict reconstruction; and peace building and peace education.

In the Commonwealth, as globally, armed conflict has moved into the village, the community, the street and the home, resulting in a gendered distribution of suffering among women and girls, and men and boys. What is less well known, however, is that women have been making significant contributions to peace processes and rebuilding their societies in all phases of the conflict. In recognition of this, in 2000 the United Nations Security Council made an urgent call in passing Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325), for “the equal participation and full involvement of women in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security”, and emphasised “the need to increase their role in decisionmaking with regard to conflict prevention and resolution”. Commonwealth Members Responsible for Women’s/Gender Affairs, in their new Plan of Action for Gender Equality 20052015, reaffirmed the 30 per cent target for all women in all peace initiatives, which was endorsed by Heads of Government (CHOGM, Coolum, 2001), and encouraged member States to mainstream gender equality in all peace processes.

Gender Mainstreaming in Conflict Transformation: Building Sustainable Peace is intended as a contribution to the achievement of these goals. It grew out of a series of symposia and workshops held by the Commonwealth Secretariat in the postBeijing decade in collaboration with other partners. These fora contributed a wealth of analysis and case studies that made it clear that women’s participation in processes of democratisation, as well as in a broad spectrum of peace initiatives in Commonwealth countries, were not just an ideal but rather a reality that needed to be better understood by policy makers and other political and social actors working in fields including democracy, development, peace and conflict.

This book brings together this body of work into an advocacy, capacitybuilding and policy tool to contribute to gender mainstreaming in all processes of conflict transformation and in building sustainable peace. As one of the Commonwealth Secretariat’s publications on gender mainstreaming in key development issues, it will be of interest to those working to achieve gender equality, peace, democracy and sustainable development, particularly in situations of armed and other forms of conflict.



Gender Mainstreaming in Post-conflict Reconstruction

As discussed in Chapter 2, war is inherently gendered, not least because the armed forces in any conflict, be they government or rebel, tend to be made up predominantly or even exclusively of men, and because notions of masculinity will affect the conduct of individuals and groups within those forces. In addition, women and men, girls and boys, are affected differently by war. However, analyses of ‘post-modern’ conflicts – which identify the protagonists and beneficiaries of war as agents of the state, rebel groups, warlords, mercenaries, or all of these – have usually failed to take account of the gender dimension in either the causes of armed conflict, the way in which it is conducted or its impacts. Analysing a conflict through a gender lens will thus contribute important insights into how to undertake the post-conflict reconstruction process to the benefit of the society as a whole. This chapter seeks to do such an analysis, using Sierra Leone as a case study.


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