Sunday, January 17, 2010

Gender, masculinities & post-conflict transition

As IntLawGrrl Amy Senier posted last fall, the United Nations is seeking to consolidate all U.N. agencies and divisions that address women's issues into a single entity. One of the issues that this new agency will certainly deal with is the implementation of U.N. Security Council resolutions on which IntLawGrrls have posted, in particular:
Resolution 1325 (2000) on Women, Peace, and Security, and, more recently,
► Resolutions 1820 (2008) and 1888 (2009) on sexual violence and armed conflict.
As IntLawGrrl Dina Francesca Haynes, Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, and I explore in Gender, Masculinities and Transition in Conflicted Societies, a paper on SSRN that is part of our larger project on gender and post-conflict societies, while conflict can provide a gender dividend for women, in most contexts the result of conflict for most women is a negative sum. Specifically:
► Economies stall during and after conflict, or they operate in black and grey markets where women are the least often employed or employable because of their legally enforced second-class status.
► Across most post-conflict transitions, women are the first to be fired and the last to be hired, with the large exception of the false (and temporary) economy built up around the presence of the international community, in which women are paid to fill the “camp follower” positions as housekeepers, cooks, administrators and, of course, for sex.
► Women and children also constitute the overwhelming number of refugees, and of people displaced from their home communities. The very fact of war can contribute to undermining the limited social stability and security of women in many societies, which is the precursor to any exertion of economic or social autonomy. (credit for 2009 photo (c) UNICEF of Central African Republic women waiting to register with the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees at the Daha, Chad, refugee camp)
Issues related to the emergence of certain kinds of “hyper” masculinity in situations of conflict and in subsequent peacebuilding are critical to exploring the impact of conflict on women. The article argues that a failure to account for and be cognizant of these specific masculinities has a significant effect for women in particular, as well as the success of the conflict transition process. Finally, we show the critically significant impact of a gender lens by considering the effect of violent masculinities on disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration programs.

No comments: