Security Sector Reform, Small Arms and Light Weapons and Gender in the Post-Conflict Western Balkans


Szedlacsek, Eszter. 2019. “Security Sector Reform, Small Arms and Light Weapons and Gender in the Post-Conflict Western Balkans.” Corvinus Journal of International Affairs 4 (1): 26-38.

Author: Eszter Szedlacsek


We all experience war in a different way – building peace in post-conflict environments requires solutions that bring together various aspects of these experiences at the local, national and international levels. However, the actors involved and the social groups they address are only rarely those at the margin, and the diversity of the catch-all category of “locals” frequently goes unacknowledged when considering Security Sector Reform (SSR) and especially small arms control. Numerous studies have focused on SSR and gender in the Balkans, on perceptions of security in post-conflict environments and its gender-related aspects, as well as on the gendered aspects of small arms, but so far the analysis bringing together all of these aspects is scarce. This paper aims to address this gap, providing an overview of these areas to show that attempts at state-building and security-provision in the Western Balkans have failed to appropriately incorporate gender mainstreaming into their agendas. It is the central claim of this paper that policymakers must realize that gender mainstreaming without a broader understanding of gendered aspects of security does not and will not have transformative power – neither in the Western Balkans, nor in other post-conflict environments.

Keywords: security sector reform (SSR), post-conflict, small arms and light weapons (SALW), gender, Western Balkans

Topics: Gender, Gender Mainstreaming, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Security Sector Reform, Weapons /Arms Regions: Europe, Baltic states, Balkans, Eastern Europe Countries: Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Serbia, Yugoslavia (former)

Year: 2019

Taxing for Inequalities: Gender Budgeting in the Western Balkans


Bojičić-Dželilović, Vesna, and Aida A. Hozić. 2020. “Taxing for Inequalities: Gender Budgeting in the Western Balkans.” Review of International Political Economy, April, 1–25. doi: 10.1080/09692290.2019.1702572.

Authors: Vesna Bojičić-Dželilović, Aida A. Hozić


This article seeks to illuminate structural limits of Gender Responsive Budgeting (GRB) by analysing the interplay between economic and fiscal reforms, promoted by International Financial Institutions (IFIs), and gender budgeting initiatives in the Western Balkans. GRB is the core concept bridging revenue mobilization and gender equality in the work of IFIs. However, as the Western Balkans experience demonstrates, GRB initiatives are best characterized as “empty gestures” towards gender equality as they cannot compensate for the continued adverse effects of IFIs overall policies.

Keywords: VAT, Western Balkans, revenue mobilization, consumption-led growth, financialization, households, gender responsive budget

Topics: Development, Economies, Public Finance, Gender, Gender Budgeting, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Households, International Financial Institutions, Post-Conflict Regions: Europe, Balkans, Eastern Europe Countries: Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Serbia

Year: 2020

Women, Non-Governmental Organizations, and Deforestation: a Cross-National Study


Shandra, John M., Carrie L. Shandra, and Bruce London. 2008. “Women, Non-Governmental Organizations, and Deforestation: A Cross-National Study.” Population and Environment 30 (1-2): 48–72.

Authors: John M. Shandra, Carrie L. Shandra, Bruce London


There have been several cross-national studies published in the world polity theoretical tradition that find a strong correlation between nations with high levels of environmental nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and low levels of various forms of environmental degradation. However, these studies neglect the role that women’s NGOs potentially play in this process. We seek to address this gap by conducting a cross-national study of the association between women’s NGOs and deforestation. We examine this relationship because deforestation often translates into increased household labor, loss of income, and impaired health for women and, as a result, women’s non-governmental organizations have become increasingly involved in dealing with these problems often by protecting forests. We use data from a sample of 61 nations for the period of 1990–2005. We find substantial support for world polity theory that both high levels of women’s and environmental NGOs per capita are associated with lower rates of deforestation. We also find that high levels of debt service and structural adjustment are correlated with higher rates of forest loss. We conclude with a discussion of findings, policy implications, and possible future research directions.

Keywords: deforestation, women, non-governmental organizations, cross-national

Topics: Economies, Environment, Extractive Industries, Gender, Women, NGOs Regions: Africa, MENA, Central Africa, East Africa, North Africa, Southern Africa, West Africa, Americas, Caribbean countries, Central America, North America, South America, Asia, East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Europe, Baltic states, Balkans, Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Oceania Countries: Albania, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Honduras, Hungary, India, Jamaica, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mexico, Mongolia, Mozambique, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad & Tobago, Uganda, Uruguay, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Year: 2008

Negotiating between Patriarchy and Emancipation: Rural-to-Urban Migrant Women in Albania


Çaro, Erka, Ajay Bailey, and Leo van Wissen. 2012. “Negotiating between Patriarchy and Emancipation: Rural-to-Urban Migrant Women in Albania.” Gender, Place & Culture 19 (4): 472–93. doi: 10.1080/0966369X.2011.610096.

Authors: Erka Caro, Ajay Bailey, Leo van Wissen


It is essential to explore the role of gender while analysing internal migration in Albania to account for the differing experiences of men and women. Quantitative studies suggest that Albanian internal migration is pioneered by men, with women merely acceding to their wishes. This article addresses the undervalued role of women in the academic discourse concerning migration in Albania. Utilizing ethnographic research techniques, it explores the role of women migrating from rural to urban areas as part of a larger household and examines the coping and negotiating strategies used for survival in the city. Our findings reveal that women actively participate in the rural-to-urban migration process, including the initial decision to migrate and the choice of destination. Women's narratives provide evidence of specific emancipation strategies through which they express themselves and their new ways of living. Women adjust to and challenge their new urban environment through gaining paid employment and expanding their social networks, as well as experience emancipation through daughters and by changing their appearance, achieving varying degrees of personal and social prosperity.

Keywords: emancipation, women, migration, rural-to-urban, Albania


Quotes and Notes:

According to Hugo (2000), when women move from rural to urban areas there is an increased potential for empowerment, as they are often separated from the extended family and can engage in paid employment outside the home. As a result of migration, women thus experience an increase in ‘autonomy, self confidence and agency’ (Ghosh 2009, 36). The benefits of migration can, however, vary for migrant women depending on their motivations, expectations, educational level, background characteristics, social status and the presence or otherwise of their husband in the household.” (473) 

Many societies, especially patriarchal ones, function according to social and cultural norms that determine the level of women’s participation in the migration process and the nature of gender relationships in the new settings (Ghosh 2009). To understand the social position of women in Albania and whether migration can influence this, it is essential to recognize that gender and migration are embedded in historical, regional and cultural settings, and that gender relationships in Albania are steeped in a strong patriarchal tradition.” (474)

Research Questions/Main Ideas:

“In this article, we argue that while international migration is determined by men, internal migration is often initiated by women and then conceived as a family project.” (473)

“Focusing on mothers and daughters within the context of emerging urbanization, this research aims to (1) explore the role of women in the migration process, (2) detail their emancipation strategies following migration and (3) compare the strategies and experiences of mothers and daughters.” (473)

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Migration, Gender, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Gender Equality/Inequality, Households Regions: Europe, Baltic states, Balkans, Eastern Europe Countries: Albania

Year: 2012

Contested Terrain: Oxfam, Gender, and the Aftermath of War


Williams, Suzanne. 2001. “Contested Terrain: Oxfam, Gender, and the Aftermath of War.” Gender and Development 9 (3): 19-28.

Author: Suzanne Williams


In this paper I explore the terrain of the international NGO (INGO) - in this case Oxfam GB - and some of its difficulties in integrating gender equity goals in the institutional structures and policies which govern its activities in conflict and its aftermath. I look at terrain that is divided into areas that are treated very differently. These are, on one hand, the field of humanitarian interventions in the throes of an emergency, and on the other, the 'non-conflict' field of reconstruction and development. Historically, these two fields of activity have been governed by very different ways of thinking and acting, often in conflict with each other. Gender analysis and gender-sensitive programming are central to these differences, and essential tools in the attempts to overcome them. In Oxfam GB at present, the differences in approaches to gender equity in these two territories are acknowledged, if not routinely addressed; but the importance of addressing gender equity in order to overcome some of these differences, is more complicated and controversial.

Topics: Development, Gender, Women, Men, Gender Analysis, Gender Balance, Gender Mainstreaming, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equity, Health, Humanitarian Assistance, Infrastructure, Water & Sanitation, NGOs Regions: Europe, Balkans, Eastern Europe, Northern Europe Countries: Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, United Kingdom

Year: 2001

Traffickers and Trafficking in Southern and Eastern Europe: Considering the Other Side of Human Trafficking


Surtees, Rebecca. 2008. “Traffickers and Trafficking in Southern and Eastern Europe: Considering the Other Side of Human Trafficking.” European Journal of Criminology 5 (1): 39–68. doi:10.1177/1477370807084224.

Author: Rebecca Surtees


This paper describes patterns of trafficking from and within South-Eastern Europe, with particular attention to traffickers and their activities. This helps to determine the most effective methods of tackling these grave crimes through the strategic use of the criminal justice system. To date, attention has primarily been paid to victims of trafficking – who they are and what makes them vulnerable – in an effort to develop counter-trafficking interventions. To complement these studies of victims, studies of traffickers and their operations are also required. There is a need to address traffickers’ behavior through more effective law enforcement and through legal, social and economic reforms that will cause them to reassess the economic benefits of pursuing this strategy.

Keywords: criminal justice, prevention, prosecution, protection, recruitment, South-Eastern Europe, trafficker profiles, trafficking operations, Trafficking

Topics: Ethnicity, Gender, International Law, International Criminal Law, International Human Rights, Justice, Livelihoods, Sexual Violence, Male Perpetrators, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, Sexual Slavery, Trafficking, Human Trafficking Regions: Europe, Balkans, Eastern Europe Countries: Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Yugoslavia (former)

Year: 2008

Imagery, Gender and Power: The Politics of Representation in Post-War Kosovo


Krasniqi, Vjollca. 2007. “Imagery, Gender and Power: The Politics of Representation in Post-War Kosovo.” Feminist Review 86 (1): 1–23.

Author: Vjollca Krasniqi


The article focuses on the politics of representation in Kosova since the United Nations took over 'peace management' in 1999. It uses UN propaganda posters (political pedagogy) and local nationalist political advertising as a way to read the multiple gendered discourses of representation. It shows how gender is used relationally between competing forces-the 'international community' and nationalists-as a tool to ensure UN's imposition of Western policies and norms and as a mechanism for local politicians to consolidate their domination of the domestic/private sphere. Moreover, it discusses the price paid to mimic the West: how Kosovar politicians have sought to 'undo' national identity in favour of a Western self-representation through a gendered abnegation of Islam. Thus, as an intrinsic part of the discourse of 'peace-building', these images represent the site of power production, domination, negotiation, and rejection, involving the collaboration of different actors, institutions, and individuals. Three specific points will be made: first, the article seeks to show that a Western political modernization discourse has, paradoxically, reinforced patriarchal relations of power and traditional gender roles in Kosova through the subjugation of women. Second, it explains the inability to resolve competing Albanian narratives — one relying on the legacy of peaceful resistance and the other on the armed struggle against Serbian domination during the 1990s. Third, through the intermeshing of international peace-keepers and local nationalist patriarchs, it will show how the militarization of culture is perpetuated through, and in relationship togender.

Keywords: Kosova, gender, peacekeeping, images, representations, patriarchies

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, International Organizations, Peacebuilding, Post-Conflict Reconstruction Regions: Europe, Baltic states, Balkans, Eastern Europe Countries: Albania, Kosovo

Year: 2007

Rape in Kosovo: Masculinity and Serbian Nationalism


Bracewell, Wendy. 2000. “Rape in Kosovo: Masculinity and Serbian Nationalism.” Nations and Nationalism 6 (4): 563–90.

Author: Wendy Bracewell


Accusations of Albanian rape of Serbs in Kosovo became a highly charged political factor in the development of Serbian nationalism in the 1980s. Discussions of rape were used to link perceptions of national victimisation and a crisis of masculinity and to legitimate a militant Serbian nationalism, ultimately contributing to the violent break-up of Yugoslavia. The article argues for attention to the ways that nationalist projects have been structured with reference to ideals of masculinity, the specific political and cultural contexts that have influenced these processes, and the consequent implications for gender relations as well as for nationalist politics. Such an approach helps explain the appeal of Milošević’s nationalism; at the same time it highlights the divisions and conflicts that lie behind hegemonic gender and national identities constructed around difference.

Topics: Gender, Women, Masculinity/ies, Nationalism, Sexual Violence, Rape Regions: Europe, Baltic states, Balkans, Eastern Europe Countries: Albania, Kosovo, Serbia, Yugoslavia (former)

Year: 2000

Leaving the Past Behind? When Victims of Trafficking Decline Assistance


Brunovskis, Anette, and Rebecca Surtees. 2007. Leaving the Past Behind? When Victims of Trafficking Decline Assistance. 40. Oslo: Fafo AIS and NEXUS Institute.

Authors: Anette Brunovskis, Rebecca Surtees


While many victims of human trafficking for sexual exploitation are assisted within the numerous anti-trafficking programmes developed in countries of destination and origin, an increasingly noted trend has been that many identified victims decline the assistance offered to them. To date, little systematic knowledge has been available on why this is so, and what the consequences are. This report analyses the issue based on interviews with 39 victims of trafficking and 13 women and transgender persons in street prostitution whose status with respect to trafficking could not be determined, as well as a large number of anti-trafficking actors, in Albania, Moldova and Serbia.

The authors found that victims decline assistance for a large variety of reasons, stemming from their personal circumstances; because of the way assistance is organized; and due to factors in their social surroundings, including negative assistance experiences in the past. Many do not accept because they feel it is not a real option, and are left to cope on their own with unattended post-trafficking problems. The insight that victims who decline often have other assistance needs than those catered for within the assistance system today should be incorporated into future assistance planning and design.

Topics: Gender, Trafficking, Human Trafficking Regions: Europe, Balkans, Eastern Europe Countries: Albania, Moldova, Serbia

Year: 2007

Women of War: Emotional Needs of Ethnic Albanians in Refugee Camps


Drumm, Rene, Sharon Pittman, and Shelly Perry. 2001. "Women of War: Emotional Needs of Ethnic Albanians in Refugee Camps." Affilia 16 (4): 467-87.

Authors: Rene Drumm, Sharon Pittman, Shelly Perry


This qualitative study identified the emotional needs of female Kosovar refugees in southern Albania in May 1999, about 1 month following their flight from Kosovo. Common themes that emerged from the interviews included dealing with trauma, anxiety, and boredom and maintaining the hope that they would return home. On the basis of the findings, along with feminist theories as guiding concepts, the authors offer recommendations for the prevention of further trauma and treatment options for women in refugee camps.


Topics: Displacement & Migration, Refugees, Gender, Women, Health, Mental Health, Trauma Regions: Europe, Balkans Countries: Albania, Kosovo

Year: 2001

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