Integrating Gender in Post-Conflict Security Sector Reform

Citation:

Bastick, Megan. 2008. ‘Integrating Gender in Post-Conflict Security Sector Reform’. In SIPRI Yearbook. DCAF. https://www.sipri.org/yearbook/2008/04.

Author: Megan Bastick

Abstract:

The importance of security sector reform (SSR) has increasingly been empha- sized in international engagement with post-conflict countries. In February 2007 the United Nations Security Council stressed that ‘reforming the security sector in post-conflict environments is critical to the consolidation of peace and stability, promoting poverty reduction, rule of law and good governance, extending legitimate state authority, and preventing countries from relapsing into conflict’. National governments also identify SSR as a key tool in con- solidating their authority and healing divisions of the past. This chapter explores the case and methods for addressing gender issues in post-conflict SSR processes, drawing upon experiences in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Liberia, Peru, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Timor-Leste, and potential models from Serbia and South Africa. Section II further defines the concepts of SSR and gender, as well as their relationship to each other. The rationale for and experiences of gender mainstreaming in SSR and promoting the full and equal participation of men and women in SSR processes are discussed in section III, with practical examples from post-conflict settings. Section IV focuses on promoting women’s participation in post-conflict security services. Section V examines some challenges for key post-conflict SSR and SSR- related activities, including gender dimensions in disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) processes, transitional justice and justice reform. Section VI summarizes the case for integrating gender into future SSR program- ming and policymaking and outlines the key opportunities and challenges. 

 

Keywords: gender, security sector reform, post-conflict, gender mainstreaming

Annotation:

Security sector reform (SSR) is essential to post-conflict peacebuilding in order to prevent the reoccurrence of conflict, to enhance public security, and to create the conditions for reconstruction and development. The importance of women’s participation and gender equality in peacebuilding and security is recognized by many governments and United Nations and donor agencies. However, efforts to promote these goals are often planned and implemented independently of each other, with the result that SSR fails to include women and to address the security needs of the entire population—including women, girls and boys.

Post-conflict SSR processes have used various approaches to address gender issues.

  • In Afghanistan, Kosovo and Liberia SSR measures to recruit and
    retain women, and to make security institutions more responsive to
    gender issues presented challenges but also yielded positive results.
  • In Peru, Sierra Leone and Timor- Leste truth and reconciliation commissions included mechanisms to address the experiences and justice needs of women.
  • Rwandan women parliamentarians made distinctive contributions to SSR by uniting across party and ethnic lines to address issues of women’s security.
  • In Liberia and Sierra Leone disarmament, demobilization and reintegration processes contributed to developing operational procedures to ensure that women and girls are not excluded, and that the needs of men and boys are also addressed.
  • In Liberia and South Africa women’s civil society organizations were important partners in linking SSR with local security and justice concerns.

Gender mainstreaming—assessing the impact of SSR policies andactivities on women, men, boys and girls at every stage of the process—is a key strategy. It must be accompanied by steps to ensure that both men and women participate and are represented in SSRprocesses.

Participation of women in post-conflict security services is crucial to creating structures that are representative, trusted and legitimate,and are able to meet the security needs of both men and women.

‘Transitional justice’ and justice reform processes have madeadvances in responding to gender issues. Ad hoc criminal tribunals have prioritized prosecution of sexual violence.

Successful integration of gender in SSR shares the broader challenges of SSR. External actors can encourage and support, but initiatives must be led by local stakeholders. SSR has much to gain byintegrating gender.

 

Megan Bastick (Australia/United Kingdom) is Deputy Head of the Special Programmes Division at the 

Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF).

Topics: Gender, Gender Mainstreaming, Governance, Post-conflict Governance, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, Southern Africa, West Africa, Americas, South America, Asia, South Asia, Europe, Balkans, Eastern Europe, Oceania Countries: Afghanistan, Kosovo, Liberia, Peru, Rwanda, Serbia, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Timor-Leste

Year: 2008

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