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Women's Political Participation and Influence in Post-Conflict Burundi and Nepal


Falch, Åshild. 2010. “Women's Political Participation and Influence in Post-Conflict Burundi and Nepal.” PRIO Paper, Peace and Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), Oslo.

Author: Åshild Falch


Since the adoption of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security in October 2000, there has been growing international recognition of women’s role in conflict resolution and peacebuilding. However, while implementation of Resolution 1325 is taking root at the international strategic and policy levels, worldwide experience shows that there remain significant barriers to the full integration of a gender perspective in peace and post‐conflict processes at the country level. For instance, women’s participation in peace negotiations continues to be limited, and women remain underrepresented at all levels of decision‐making during the crucial post‐conflict reconstruction period.

Based on case studies of two countries that recently emerged from armed internal conflict − Burundi and Nepal − this report examines one fundamental aspect of Resolution 1325: the provisions to increase women’s participation in post‐conflict decision‐making. While Burundi and Nepal display many differences, the two countries present interesting similarities in terms of achievements and challenges in relation to involving women in decision‐making following the end of armed conflict. For example, women in both countries have traditionally been barred from access to public and political life, and during the Burundian and Nepali peace processes no woman took part in the formal negotiations in either country.

This marginalization notwithstanding, Burundi and Nepal stand out in their efforts to advance women’s involvement in national politics following the end of armed conflict. Introduction of mechanisms for affirmative action prior to the first post‐conflict elections in each of the two countries led women to obtain close to one‐third of the seats in their respective legislatures. Women in civil society have also been heralded for their mobilization and efforts throughout the peace and post‐conflict process in both countries, and women’s organizations have been an important driving force behind women’s engagement in political life and the promotion of provisions stipulated in Resolution 1325.

These positive achievements, however, should not blind us to the many remaining challenges that impede women’s effective participation in decision‐making in Burundi and Nepal. Even though women’s representation in political institutions has substantially increased, entrenched patriarchal norms, gender inequality and discriminatory practices continue to limit the ability of women to participate in and influence political decision‐making in both countries. And although women’s organizations have been an effective arena for women’s participation in peacebuilding and policy‐ related activities, their political influence, sustainability and diversity are imperilled by a lack of political will and insecure and inflexible funding regimes.

Drawing on information gathered through interviews with key actors in Burundi and Nepal, this report goes beyond merely numerical aspects of women’s participation in decision‐making, revealing both progress made and the obstacles that remain for women’s effective participation in post‐ conflict political processes. By identifying cross‐cutting issues in Burundi and Nepal, the report also presents general lessons about the prospects and problems of increasing women’s political participation, which lay the ground for a set of recommendations for how national and international actors may support and promote women’s participation in post‐conflict political decision‐making both in Burundi and Nepal and in other similar cases.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Gender Equality/Inequality, Peacebuilding, Political Participation, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS, UNSCR 1325 Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, Asia, South Asia Countries: Burundi, Nepal

Year: 2010

Nepal and the Implementation of UNSCR 1325


Abdela, Lesley. 2010. “Nepal and the Implementation of UNSCR 1325.” In Women, Peace and Security: Translating Policy into Practice, edited by Funmi Olonisakin, Karen Barnes, and Eka Ikpe, 66-86. New York: Routledge.

Author: Lesley Abdela

Topics: Gender, Women, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS, UNSCR 1325 Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Nepal

Year: 2010

Maoist Insurgency in Nepal: Radicalizing Gendered Narratives


Manchanda, Rita. 2004. "Maoist Insurgency in Nepal: Radicalizing Gendered Narratives."​ Cultural Dynamics 16 (2-3): 237-58.

Author: Rita Manchanda


The article examines the gender dynamics of the political contradictions in the Maoist revolution in Nepal. It probes the tension between a near critical mass of women in the Maoist movement and a male leadership ambivalent about redefining gender relations. Exploring the emancipatory potential of the participation of women in an authoritarian, militarized movement, this article comments on the transformation of cultural identities and the radicalization of the social agenda in Nepal. What does this mean for the development of freedom? How does it impact gender relations? What questions does it raise about accountability for human rights abuses?

Keywords: ethnicity, gender, resistance movement

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Society, Gender, Gendered Discourses, Gendered Power Relations, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarization, Political Participation, Rights, Human Rights Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Nepal

Year: 2004

Where There Are No Men: Women in the Maoist Insurgency in Nepal


Gautam, Shobha, Amrita Banskota, and Rita Manchanda. 2001. “Where There Are No Men: Women in the Maoist Insurgency in Nepal.” In Women, War and Peace in South Asia, edited by Rita Manchanda, 214-48. New Delhi: Sage Publications.

Authors: Shobha Gautam, Amrita Banskota, Rita Manchanda

Topics: Combatants, Female Combatants, Gender, Women, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Non-State Armed Groups Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Nepal

Year: 2001

HIV and Conflict in Nepal: Relation and Strategy for Response


Karkee, Rajendra, and DB Shrestha. 2006. “HIV and Conflict in Nepal: Relation and Strategy for Response.” Kathmandu University Medical Journal 4 (3): 363–67.

Authors: Rajendra Karkee, DB Shrestha


Conflict and displacement make affected population more vulnerable to HIV infection. Refugees and internally displaced persons, in particular women and children, are at increased risk of exposure to HIV. In Nepal, there is considerable increase in the number of HIV infection since 1996 when conflict started. Along with poverty, stigma and lack of awareness, conflict related displacement, economic migration, and closure of HIV programmes have exacerbated the HIV situation in Nepal. Government has established “National AIDS Council” and launched HIV/AIDS Strategy. The strategy has not included the specific needs of displaced persons. While launching an HIV prevention programme in the conflict situation, the guidelines developed by Inter Agency Standing Committee (IASS) are important tools. This led to suggestion of an approach with implementations steps in the case of Nepal in this report.

Keywords: HIV, conflict, Nepal, Response

Topics: Armed Conflict, Displacement & Migration, Migration, IDPs, Refugees, Economies, Poverty, Gender, Women, Girls, Boys, Governance, Health, HIV/AIDS Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Nepal

Year: 2006

Gender Equality, Development and Transitional Justice: The Case of Nepal


Aguirre, Daniel, and Irene Pietropaoli. 2008. “Gender Equality, Development and Transitional Justice: The Case of Nepal.” International Journal of Transitional Justice 2 (3): 356-77.

Authors: Daniel Aguirre, Irene Pietropaoli


The strong links between transitional justice, development and gender equality have been overlooked and underdeveloped in both theory and practice. Transitions are rare periods of rupture that offer opportunities to reconceive the social meaning of past conflicts in an attempt to reconstruct their present and future effects. The peace-building initiatives unfolding in Nepal encourage a timely examination of the application of the right to development to transitional justice mechanisms. This right embodies much more than economic growth; it is a human rights-based process that aims to empower marginalized groups. In Nepal, this must include women, who not only bore the brunt of the conflict but also continue to suffer systematic discrimination. Many of Nepali women's preexisting problems stem directly from inequality and underdevelopment. This article suggests that transitional justice should go beyond retributive and restorative approaches to consider the economic, social and cultural inequalities that fuel conflicts while setting the foundation for a permanent rights-based development programme that ensures the viability of women's rights in the future. A redistributive approach to transitional justice based on the legal and political process of the right to development is crucial to achieving gender equality in Nepal and avoiding renewed cycles of violence.

Topics: Development, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Justice, Transitional Justice, Political Participation Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Nepal

Year: 2008

Women on the Frontline: A Narrow Escape

"In this film we document how difficult it is for Nepal to staunch the flow of young women being trafficked each year across an open 2,400 km long border with India… and meet some of the women on the front line who are trying to put a stop to the trade. We follow 24-year-old Sushma as she sets out to find the man who lured her to a brothel in Kolkata."

Human Trafficking: The Unintended Effects of United Nations Intervention


Smith, Heather, and Charles Anthony Smith.  2011. "Human Trafficking: The Unintended Effects of United Nations Intervention." International Political Science Review 32 (2): 125-45.

Authors: Heather Smith, Charles Anthony Smith


International relations literature is replete with work on the effects of United Nations intervention on global crises, generally concluding that UN intervention either intensifies or ameliorates the crisis. Yet, the global human rights community has attempted to expose the more subtle and unintended effects of UN intervention, namely, substantial increases in the human sex trafficking trade into crisis areas. In this paper we attempt to bridge these two literatures. We evaluate increases in human trafficking in light of UN involvement in Kosovo, Haiti, and Sierra Leone. We argue that UN involvement has the unfortunate and unintended effect of increasing the rates of human trafficking in these crisis areas. We consider Nepal, where the UN did not intervene, as a control case. Our work concludes that the UN should proceed with caution into crisis areas and have plans in place to avoid the potentially devastating externalities of otherwise well-intentioned efforts.

Keywords: United Nations, military sexual assault, intervention, human rights, human trafficking

Topics: Economies, Humanitarian Assistance, International Organizations, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Peacekeeping, Rights, Human Rights, Trafficking, Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking Regions: Africa, West Africa, Americas, Caribbean countries, Asia, South Asia, Europe, Balkans, Eastern Europe Countries: Haiti, Kosovo, Nepal, Sierra Leone

Year: 2011


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