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Women and Peace Building: From Historical to Contemporary African Perspectives


Shulika, Lukong Stella. 2016. "Women And Peace Building: From Historical to Contemporary African Perspectives." Ubuntu Journal of Conflict And Social Transformation 5 (1): 7-31.

Author: Lukong Stella Shulika


The subject of women and peacebuilding is arguably an area of research which, prior to the 21st century, remained undeveloped and unexplored in the field of conflict and peace, and in the practice of peacebuilding. This development signalled a new attentiveness on the importance of women's roles as indispensable stakeholders in peacebuilding processes. However, pre contemporary consciousness, women did leverage standard decision-making prowess that served diverse political, socio-economic, and security goals. Through a review of relevant literature and purposive unstructured interviews in Liberia, this paper examines the changing landscape of women's peacebuilding roles using examples from cross-cultural African experiences. The paper asserts that before the internationalization of women's role in the affairs of peacebuilding, women were already subconsciously or consciously involved in such decision-making processes, especially under the aegis of women organizations. Likewise, it contends that patriarchy and marginalization of women was quite in existence and these challenges which are unquestionably in continuity in the contemporary impede women's peacebuilding efforts. From these, this paper contributes to the evolving literature on women and peacebuilding discourses.

Keywords: women, women organizations, peacebuilding, Liberia, African perspectives, international policies

Topics: Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Peacebuilding, Peace Processes Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Liberia

Year: 2016

The Political Economy of DDR in Liberia: A Gendered Critique


Jennings, Kathleen M. 2009. “The Political Economy of DDR in Liberia: A Gendered Critique.” Conflict, Security & Development 9 (4): 475-94. 

Author: Kathleen M. Jennings


This paper examines the reintegration component of the disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) programme in Liberia from a critical gendered perspective. Building on previous arguments pertaining to the securitisation of reintegration in Liberia, the paper considers the highly gendered impetus and impact of both the reintegration project and the securitising act. I argue that Liberian DDR was devised and justified according to assumptions that are default male, thus causing the programme to overlook women except as passive victims of conflict, or as add-ons secondary to the ‘real’ purpose of reintegration. Accordingly, the programme both naturalised specific gendered binaries and favoured moves that would buttress and extend them, for example, by problematizing male unemployment and privileging male entry into the formal economy. The paper first explains the securitisation of reintegration in Liberia, before turning to a gendered critique focusing on the political symbolic and political economic impacts of said reintegration.


Topics: Armed Conflict, DDR, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gender Analysis, Security Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Liberia

Year: 2009

Context and Media Frames: The Case of Liberia


Adams, Melinda. 2016. “Context and Media Frames: The Case of Liberia.” Politics & Gender 12 (2): 275–95. 

Author: Melinda Adams


There is a growing body of work examining gender stereotypes in media representations of female candidates, but much of this literature is based on analysis of media sources in developed countries, including the United States (Braden 1996; Jalalzai 2006; Kahn 1994, 1996; Smith 1997), Australia (Kittilson and Fridkin 2008), Canada (Kittilson and Fridkin 2008), France (Murray 2010b), and Germany (Wiliarty 2010). The increase in female presidential candidates and presidents in Latin America has encouraged research on media portrayals of women in Argentina, Chile, and Venezuela (Franceschet and Thomas 2010; Hinojosa 2010; Piscopo 2010; Thomas and Adams 2010). To date, however, there has been little research exploring media representations of female politicians in Africa. (Exceptions include Adams 2010; Anderson, Diabah, and hMensah 2011). A question that emerges is whether the gender stereotypes common in coverage in the United States, Europe, and Latin America are also prevalent in Africa.

Topics: Women, Gender Roles, Gender Analysis, Elections, Post-conflict Governance Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Liberia

Year: 2016

All-Female Police Contingents: Feminism and the Discourse of Armed Protection


Pruitt, Lesley J. 2013. “All-Female Police Contingents: Feminism and the Discourse of Armed Protection.” International Peacekeeping 20 (1): 67–79.

Author: Lesley J. Pruitt


This article focuses on women's involvement in peacekeeping operations and the introduction in 2007 of an all-female formed police unit (FFPU). Possible benefits and challenges of deploying all-female contingents in peace operations are considered and feminist theories of international relations are drawn upon to evaluate arguments for including women in peace and security missions. Media discourses on the Indian FFPU deployed to Liberia in 2007 are analysed, revealing a potential to reshape attitudes about the role of women in peace and security, and emphasizing that femininity need not be incompatible with strength and capacity for protection.

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Women, Peacekeeping, Security Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Liberia

Year: 2013

Unintended Impacts and the Gendered Consequences of Peacekeeping Economies in Liberia


Aning, Kwesi, and Fiifi Edu-Afful. 2013. “Unintended Impacts and the Gendered Consequences of Peacekeeping Economies in Liberia.” International Peacekeeping 20 (1): 17–32.

Authors: Kwesi Aning, Fiifi Edu-Afful


Despite increased international attention to managing the potential impacts of peacekeeping on host countries, unintended consequences continue to emerge. This article focuses particularly on the alternative economies that peacekeeping operations generate and the differential economic impacts on individuals who come into contact with peacekeepers. Based on empirical evidence derived from fieldwork in Liberia, the article highlights the everyday lives of women whose livelihoods have been affected by the presence of peacekeeping missions. It also discusses how such economies adjust during the peacekeeping drawdown phase, and explores the dynamics that such economies have on specific segments of the Liberian population. The argument is that, while peacekeeping economies are critical in stimulating the local economy and providing livelihoods during and in the immediate aftermath of war, they have negative unintended impacts that need mitigation.

Topics: Economies, Gender, Women, Livelihoods, Peacekeeping Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Liberia

Year: 2013

A Long Time Gone: Post-conflict Rural Property Restitution under Customary Law


Joireman, Sandra F., and Laura S. Meitzner Yoder. 2016. “A Long Time Gone: Post-Conflict Rural Property Restitution under Customary Law.” Development and Change 47 (3): 563–85. doi:10.1111/dech.12236.

Authors: Sandra F. Joireman, Laura S. Meitzner Yoder


Mass displacement of people due to violence poses a unique set of challenges for property restitution when people return to their homes after a long absence. This is particularly evident in rural areas where the dominant form of land holding is customary tenure. Violence-induced displacement, unlike voluntary migration, challenges both customary and public legal-administrative structures. The lack of written documentation of customary holdings and the importance of the support of community leaders means that incorporating returnees back into a community can be easier for those who choose to return, while reclaiming property without physical return is nearly impossible. This article seeks to make three contributions: 1) to note the diversity of return processes after long displacements in terms of timing and demographics; 2) to demonstrate that the nature of the claims people can make on customary tenure systems is at odds with international legal norms on property restitution after displacement; and 3) to introduce a set of observations and questions on how conflict can change customary law. The article is based on fieldwork conducted in Uganda, Liberia and Timor-Leste, all countries with extended displacement where most of the rural land is held via customary claims.

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Forced Migration, Gender, Women, Gender Mainstreaming, Land grabbing, Political Participation, Post-Conflict Regions: Africa, East Africa, West Africa, Oceania Countries: Liberia, Timor-Leste, Uganda

Year: 2016

Gendered Assumptions, Institutional Disconnections and Democratic Deficits: The Case of European Union Development Policy Towards Liberia


Debusscher, Petra. 2013. “Gendered Assumptions, Institutional Disconnections and Democratic Deficits: The Case of European Union Development Policy Towards Liberia.” Women’s Studies International Forum 40 (September): 212–21. doi:10.1016/j.wsif.2013.08.005.

Author: Petra Debusscher


This article maps an application of gender mainstreaming with the aim of investigating how gender is institutionalised within EU development aid. I consider the case of aid towards Liberia from 2008 to 2013, examining first the extent to which gender was included in policy formulation and implementation. Next, I attempt to explain this by analysing institutional inputs and networks at the EU Delegation in Liberia. Based on text analysis and expert interviews, I argue that gender factors were abolished in the actual implementation, despite relative support from the Delegation leaders, and the availability of training and expertise. The largest stumbling block to effective implementation was institutional weakness, represented by the disconnect between formal and informal institutional rules; gendered assumptions at the EU external services constraining the expression of marginalised perspectives; and a gendered double democratic deficit in the power play over which ideas matter and who accumulates resources.

Topics: Gender, Gender Analysis, Gender Mainstreaming, Humanitarian Assistance, International Financial Institutions Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Liberia

Year: 2013

Role of Women in Making and Building Peace in Liberia : Gender Sensitivity versus Masculinity


Theobald, Anne. 2014. Role of Women in Making and Building Peace in Liberia : Gender Sensitivity versus Masculinity. Dallas: Columbia University Press.

Author: Anne Theobald


"In the early 2000s, Liberian women wearing wrap skirts and white T-shirts, shouting: ‘We want peace, no more war’, attracted international attention. After almost fifteen years of civil war, the enduring active, multifaceted, and non-violent campaigning for peace by women’s organisations contributed to the end of the fighting and the signing of a peace agreement between the warring factions. Although it is widely assumed that women’s inclusion in peace processes yields greater attention to women’s issues and needs in the aftermath of a conflict, this is only partly the case in Liberia. Thus, this analysis looks beyond the extraordinary commitment by women in Liberia and deals with the questions to what extent their role in the peace process has contributed to gender-sensitive outcomes in post-conflict Liberian society and why greater gender sensitivity was not achieved. 

By focusing on manifestations of patterns of masculinity in the public and private spheres, Anne Theobald identifies factors at different levels of analysis within different time frames that elucidate the unexpected outcome. Not only does this provide for a more encompassing understanding of dynamics of gender relations and context-specific variables impeding gender sensitivity in post-conflict settings, but it also helps to refine prevailing theoretical approaches on gender in peacemaking and peacebuilding and to develop more holistic, context-specific, and efficient policy approaches, which can effectively lead to gender-sensitive peace." Google Books

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gender Roles, Peacebuilding, Peace Processes, Post-Conflict Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Liberia

Year: 2014

Association of Exposure to Intimate-Partner Physical Violence and Potentially Traumatic War-Related Events with Mental Health in Liberia


Vinck, Patrick, and Phuong N. Pham. 2013. “Association of Exposure to Intimate-Partner Physical Violence and Potentially Traumatic War-Related Events with Mental Health in Liberia.” Social Science & Medicine 77 (January): 41–9. 

Authors: Patrick Vinck, Phuong N. Pham


Liberia's wars between 1989 and 2003 resulted in hundreds of thousands of casualties and millions of victims. Gender-based violence was widespread during the conflict. Since the end of the war, however, little attention has been paid to ongoing violence against women, especially within the household. This research examines the relationships between intimate-partner physical violence, war experiences, and mental health nearly ten years after the end of the war. The study is based on a nationwide cross-sectional, multistage stratified cluster random survey of 4501 adults using structured interviews during a six-week period in November and December 2010. The main outcome measures are prevalence of intimate-partner physical violence, exposure to potentially traumatic war-related events, symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and depression. Among adult women, 37.7% (95%CI, 34.9–40.5; n = 852/2196) reported lifetime exposure to intimate-partner physical violence and 24.4% (95%CI, 22.1–26.9; n = 544/2196) reported incidence of intimate-partner physical violence over a one-year recall period. Among men, 23.2% (95%CI, 20.8–25.9, n = 475/2094) reported having severely beaten their spouse or partner over their lifetime; the incidence over the one-year recall was 12.2% (95%CI, 10.4–14.2, n = 259/2094). Among adult residents in Liberia, 10.6% (95%CI, 9.5–11.7, n = 546/4496) met the criteria for symptoms of depression, and 12.6% (95% CI, 11.5–13.9, n = 608/4496) met the criteria for symptoms of PTSD. Intimate-partner physical violence as a victim and as a perpetrator was significantly associated with exposure to potentially traumatic war-related events, especially among men. Among women, experiencing intimate-partner physical violence was associated with symptoms of PTSD and depression. Among men, perpetrating intimate-partner physical violence was associated with symptoms of PTSD and depression after adjusting for exposure to potentially traumatic war-related events. These findings suggest that intimate-partner physical violence may be a continued stressor in post-war societies that needs to be recognized and addressed as part of the reconstruction effort.

Keywords: Liberia, conflict, violence, intimate-partner physical violence, mental health, survey

Topics: Armed Conflict, Domestic Violence, Gender, Women, Sexual Violence Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Liberia

Year: 2012

Gender Violence and HIV/AIDS in Post-Conflict West Africa: Issues and Responses


Ahonsi, Babatunde A. 2010. “Gender Violence and HIV/AIDS in Post-Conflict West Africa: Issues and Responses.” Uppsala: Nordiska Afrikainstitutet.

Author: Babatunde A. Ahonsi


This Discussion Paper is based on an analysis of the sexual and gender dimensions of the civil wars in two West African countries, Liberia (1989-96, 1999-2003) and Sierra Leone (1997-2002). It critically examines the impact of, and linkages between conflict, the incidence of sexual violence against women (SVAW) and risks of exposure to HIV/ AIDS in both countries. It also examines these connections in the context of postconflict transitions. In this regard, it interrogates some of the assumptions about the linkages between war, levels of SVAW and the prevalence of HIV/AIDS. The critical perspective adopted in this paper opens up new vistas in the form of a gendered analysis of a largely neglected aspect of post-conflict transitions in Africa.

Keywords: post-conflict reconstruction, Violence against women, sexual abuse, sexually transmitted diseases, HIV, AIDS, women's health, gender analysis, Liberia, Sierra Leone

Topics: Gender-Based Violence, Health, HIV/AIDS, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Sexual Violence, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Liberia, Sierra Leone

Year: 2010


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