Building a State That Works for Women: Integrating Gender into Post-Conflict State Building

Citation:

Castillejo, Claire. 2011. ‘Building a State That Works for Women: Integrating Gender into Post-Conflict State Building’, March, Working Paper. Madrid: Fride. http://fride.org/download/WP107_Building_state.pdf

Author: Claire Castillejo

Abstract:

This working paper presents key findings from a joint FRIDE-ODI research project that investigated the impact of state building on women’s citizenship. The project was developed in response to gaps in the current state building work. On one hand, theoretical models on state building are elaborated at an abstract level that makes gender power relations invisible. For example, these tend to model the relationship between state, elites and an undisaggregated “society” without asking who is represented within each group, who participates in state-society negotiations, and whose expectations and demands are expressed within these negotiations. On the other hand, although donor policies do stress that state building should be an inclusive process, they are vague on how this – and specifically the inclusion of women - is to be achieved.

The project involved research in five post-conflict countries, Burundi, Guatemala, Kosovo, Sierra Leone and Sudan. It investigated three central questions: What role do women play in state building? How do state building processes affect women’s political participation? How do state building processes affect women’s rights?

The findings highlighted that post-conflict contexts do provide new opportunities for women to mobilise. However, their ability to influence state building processes is limited both by structural barriers and by opposition from elites. While women have made some significant gains in terms of formal equality and inclusion, informal patterns of power and resource allocation have been much harder to shift. It appears that gender inequalities in these contexts are innately linked to the underlying political settlement, including the balance of power between formal and customary authorities. It is therefore critical that donors address gender as a fundamentally political issue. 

 

Keywords: post conflict reconstruction, women, gender, state-building, integration

Topics: Democracy / Democratization, Development, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Governance, Post-conflict Governance, Political Participation, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, West Africa, Americas, Central America, Europe, Balkans, Eastern Europe Countries: Burundi, Guatemala, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Sudan

Year: 2011

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