Why We Cannot Find the Hidden Girl Soldier: A Study of Professional Attitudes Towards Gender Analysis in International Conflict and Development Work

Citation:

Kays, Lisa. 2005. “Why We Cannot Find the Hidden Girl Soldier: A Study of Professional Attitudes Towards Gender Analysis in International Conflict and Development Work.” Peace, Conflict, and Development, no. 6: 1–26.

Author: Lisa Kays

Abstract:

Girls’ experiences in combat are not as well understood as boys’. International development and relief projects focus on boy soldiers, though many girls are combatants and have experiences that are not addressed through boy-centred programmes.

To explore the potential influence of development professionals’ attitudes on implementation of gender mainstreaming in such programmes, eight individuals who work at an NGO that does international conflict resolution and development work—were surveyed about their knowledge of and attitudes towards gender analysis and their feelings about a proposal for assisting child soldiers in Africa created and submitted by their organisation with their input.

The results of the self-assessment of the professionals are then compared with the gender analysis executed within the proposal, to determine if the self-assessment is accurate.

The surveys indicate that professionals often may not fully understand gender analysis, and therefore do not account for girl child soldiers—negatively impacting the effectiveness of their efforts. Based on these findings, recommendations for remedying this trend within conflict and development NGOs are offered.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Child Soldiers, Female Combatants, Development, Gender, Girls, Gender Analysis, Gender Mainstreaming, NGOs

Year: 2005

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