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Restrained or Constrained? Elections, Communal Conflicts, and Variation in Sexual Violence


Krause, Jana. 2020. “Restrained or Constrained? Elections, Communal Conflicts, and Variation in Sexual Violence.” Journal of Peace Research 57 (1): 185–98.

Author: Jana Krause


Anecdotal evidence suggests that sexual violence varies significantly across cases of election violence and communal conflicts but systematic research is scarce. Post-election violence is particularly likely if electoral mobilization further polarizes longstanding communal conflicts and political elites do not instruct security forces to intervene decisively. I comparatively analyse two prominent cases of post-election violence in Kenya (2007/8) and Nigeria (2008) that exhibit stark variation in sexual violence. Patrimonial networks and norms of violent masculinity that increase the probability of (gang) rape were present in both cases and do not explain variation. Civil war research has identified three explanations for the variation in sexual violence: situational constraints; ordered sexual violence or restraint; and bottom-up dynamics of sexual violence or restraint. I examine these for the context of post-election violence. I argue that the type of communal conflict triggered by electoral mobilization explains variation in sexual violence. In Kenya, pogroms of a majority group against a minority allowed for the time and space to perpetrate widespread sexual violence while in Nigeria, dyadic clashes between similarly strong groups offered less opportunity but produced a significantly higher death toll. These findings have important implications for preventing election violence. They demonstrate that civilian vulnerability is gendered and that high levels of sexual violence do not necessarily correspond to high levels of lethal violence. Ignoring sexual violence means underestimating the real intensity of conflict and its impact on the political process.

Keywords: communal conflict, election violence, Kenya, Nigeria, rape, sexual violence

Topics: Armed Conflict, Ethnic/Communal Wars, Conflict, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Governance, Elections, Sexual Violence, Rape, Violence Regions: Africa, East Africa, West Africa Countries: Kenya, Nigeria

Year: 2020

Women, Gender, and the Evolving Tactics of Boko Haram


Zenn, Jacob, and Elizabeth Pearson. 2014. "Women, Gender, and the Evolving Tactics of Boko Haram." Journal of Terrorism Research 5 (1): 46-57.

Authors: Jacob Zenn, Elizabeth Pearson


This article addresses an under-researched aspect of Boko Haram’s activities: gender-based violence (GBV) and its targeting of women. It argues that 2013 marked a significant evolution in Boko Haram’s tactics, with a series of kidnappings, in which one of the main features was the instrumental use of women. This was in response to corresponding tactics by the Nigerian security forces. Additionally the analysis provides evidence of a shift by Boko Haram to include women in its operations, in response to increased pressure on male operatives. It also considers the gendered rationale for instrumentalizing women within the framework of Boko Haram’s ideology and culture, arguing for a greater appreciation of how gender factors in the group’s violence.

Keywords: Boko Haram, terrorism, radicalisation, kidnapping, tactics, gender, women

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Gender Roles, Gender-Based Violence, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Non-State Armed Groups, Terrorism, Violence Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Nigeria

Year: 2014

Women Land Rights and Food Security Status of Farming Households in Oyo State, Nigeria


Adepoju, Abimbola O., and Rahman A. Adewole. 2020. “Women Land Rights and Food Security Status of Farming Households in Oyo State, Nigeria.” In Developing Sustainable Food Systems, Policies, and Securities, by Abiodun Elijah Obayelu and Oluwakemi Adeola Obayelu. Hershey, PA: IGI Global.

Authors: Abimbola O. Adepoju, Rahman A. Adewole


The dominance of men in decision-making processes and leadership positions within the communities has made land allocation, land use, and control skewed in favour of men. This study examined the effects of women's land rights on households' food security status using a sample of 300 representative farmers. Descriptive statistics, household food expenditure, logistic regression, and ordered logit models were the analytical tools used. Results revealed that about 35% of the rural women farmers had land use rights while the remaining 65% had land ownership rights. Women with ownership rights were more food secure, with the majority of the women having residual rights, while only a few had sell rights. Secure women land rights are germane to achieving and sustaining household and national food security. Strategies and instruments for protecting women rights should be developed and implemented, while efforts geared towards designing strategies, assessing multiple dimensions of women empowerment for improved food security status, and welfare of the households should be intensified.

Topics: Agriculture, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Households, Rights, Land Rights, Security, Food Security Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Nigeria

Year: 2020

Masculinity, Men and Patriarchal Issues Aside: How Do Women’s Actions Impede Women’s Access to Land? Matters Arising from a Peri-Rural Community in Nigeria


Chigbu, Uchendu Eugene. 2019. “Masculinity, Men and Patriarchal Issues Aside: How Do Women’s Actions Impede Women’s Access to Land? Matters Arising from a Peri-Rural Community in Nigeria.” Land Use Policy 81: 39–48.

Author: Uchendu Eugene Chigbu


There have been many contributions to the understanding of how gender functions impede women’s access to land. However, particular frameworks concerning how women contribute to their lack of access to land have been widely ignored. This study investigates the frames that hinder women’s access to land due to (in)actions of women, in a peri-rural community in Nigeria. It is a qualitative study based on data from e-Focus Group Discussions with international researchers on gender and land; and key informants’ interviews with local women. The study argues that women do contribute to their lack of access to land by some of their actions or inactions. It questions the role women play in their land tenure status in customary land tenure. The study approaches its subject by problematising women’s land access beyond the concept of patriarchy and investigating how women’s lack of access to land is reinforced by not just men, but by women. The study reveals that even though in many instances patriarchy and customary laws play a significant role in women’s lack of access to land, there are cases where women contribute to their lack of access to land. Among other factors, it identifies ‘Brother complex’ and ‘self-hurt’ issues as some of the structures emanating from women which hinder their smooth access to land. The study is important and presents a useful initiative that can inform policies aimed at strengthening women’s land tenure. It contributes to a radical transformative agenda towards women’s access to land.

Keywords: community, gender, land access, land tenure, tenure security, women

Topics: Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Land Tenure Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Nigeria

Year: 2019

The Role of Women in Conflict Resolution: A Case Study of the Niger-Delta Crisis


Osisioma, Ugochukwu Samuel. 2020. "The Role of Women in Conflict Resolution: A Case Study of the Niger-Delta Crisis." American Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences Research 4 (3): 317-24.

Author: Ugochukwu Samuel Osisioma


The peaceful and orderliness of any society cannot be divorced from the crucial role being played by women in their capacity as wives and mothers. In every society, women are not just being known as being peaceful, but in extension, they are also known as crusaders of peaceful means of settling any conflict. In this paper, efforts would be geared towards taking a critical examination of the role of women in pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial Africa. Special focus would be geared towards the role of women in the conflict resolution of the Niger Delta crisis. Taking into consideration the pervasive influence of menfolk in decision making processes in any society, the Niger Delta women have demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt through peaceful protests and other means to bring the Niger Delta crisis to a logical conclusion. The research paper seeks to bring to writing the impact of concerned female activists and environmentalist who helped in galvanizing support for the ending of armed hostility in the Niger Delta. This and many other issues relating to women‟s role in the peaceful resolution of the Niger Delta conflict would be the crux of discussion in this paper. In the main, adequate recommendation would be proffered to forestall future occurrence.

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Conflict, Gender, Women, Peace Processes Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Nigeria

Year: 2020

Women in Post-Conflict Niger-Delta of Nigeria: Amnesty versus Restorative Justice


Abimbola, Foluke Oluyemisi. 2019. "Women in Post-Conflict Niger-Delta of Nigeria: Amnesty versus Restorative Justice." Journal of Law and Criminal Justice 7 (1): 23-34.

Author: Foluke Oluyemisi Abimbola


The Niger-Delta of Nigeria is known for violence and conflicts as a result of opposition of militant groups to oil exploration activities concentrated in this area of Nigeria. The militant groups are still agitating for a share of the oil revenue and for the development of their region. Women in the Niger-Delta of Nigeria have experienced different levels of violence and torture during these conflict situations. Some of the crimes perpetrated against women during these conflicts are rape, forced labour, sex slavery, and brutal murder of their family members. In addition, during conflict situations and even thereafter, the women experience a deeper level of poverty as a result of their inability to continue with their economic activities such as farming or fishing due to displacements caused by the conflict as most of the women living in the Niger-Delta rural communities are subsistence farmers. Following years of insurgency by angry militants against the Nigerian government, the amnesty strategy was eventually mapped out by the government of the day in order to give the militant youth economic opportunities to stem the tide of conflicts. However, the vast majority of women and girls who were and are still victims of these conflicts were not included. This paper shall highlight the need for restorative justice especially for women who are victims of the insurgency. Whereas amnesty seeks to give a better future to the militants, the women are unable to recover effectively with little or no means of indemnifying their losses. This paper proposes restitution or compensation for victims while creating constructive roles for victims in the criminal justice process.

Keywords: women, Niger Delta, post-conflict mechanisms, amnesty, restorative justice

Topics: Age, Youth, Agriculture, Displacement & Migration, Economies, Poverty, Conflict, Resource Conflict, Extractive Industries, Gender, Women, Governance, Justice, Torture, Sexual Violence, Rape, Sexual Slavery, SV against Women, Violence Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Nigeria

Year: 2019

Hidden Inequalities: Tax Challenges of Market Women in Enugu and Kaduna States, Nigeria


Akpan, Imaobong, and Kas Sempere. 2019. “Hidden Inequalities: Tax Challenges of Market Women in Enugu and Kaduna States, Nigeria.” Working Paper 97, ICTD (International Center for Tax and Development), Brighton.

Authors: Imaobong Akpan, Kas Sempere


This paper presents the findings of a study on gender-based taxation differences among market traders in two Nigerian states. 
At a high level, no significant differences were found between female and male traders in the markets visited in terms of tax payments, payments for market services and tax increases. However, a closer look at the data shows implicit tax biases that affect women negatively. Although female traders pay the same amount of presumptive tax as male traders, they earn much less. Even female traders selling the same types of products as their male counterparts tend to earn less. Additionally, common tax increases beyond the legally stipulated amount, as well as the burden of unpaid care work (that keeps women away from earning more money), also aggravate the observed anti- woman tax bias. Based on these findings we recommend, in line with suggestions made by interviewed market leaders, that Nigerian tax policymakers should develop a segmented system of presumptive taxation more closely based on actual earnings, or at least based on the type of product sold. Such segmentation would help to alleviate the gender bias inherent to the current presumptive taxation system. This study also finds that all market traders value the benefits of female tax collectors. In general, this preference is due to a perception among traders that female tax collectors are more understanding and calmer than male tax collectors. Female tax collectors were also not reported to be involved in asking for sexual favours, which was a complaint levelled against some of their male colleagues. Some markets have even taken the initiative to create mixed-gender tax collection groups, and to replace male tax collectors reported for harassing women sexually with female tax collectors. Based on these findings we recommend that, in line with previous literature, Nigerian tax authorities should work to integrate more female tax collectors into the public tax system, as well as in the market unions and associations that act as tax collection agents for the government. (Summary from ICTD)

Topics: Economies, Public Finance, Gender, Women Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Nigeria

Year: 2019

Women’s Agency in Peacebuilding in Polarized Post-Conflict Communities in Plateau State, Nigeria


Bulus, Kwopnan Ibrahim, Feyza Bhatti, and Cemaliye Beysoylu. 2020. "Women’s Agency in Peacebuilding in Polarized Post-Conflict Communities in Plateau State, Nigeria." Journal of Politics and Law 13 (2): 189-200.

Authors: Kwopnan Ibrahim Bulus, Feyza Bhatti, Cemaliye Beysoylu


Over the last two decades, while significant consideration is given to women’s participation and representation in formal peacebuilding processes, there is the dearth of research on the grassroots level involvement and contributions of women to peacebuilding processes in post-conflict communities. Utilizing 28 semi-structured interviews and two focus group discussions with women in Bukuru and Gyel communities, this article aims at improving the understandings on the agency of women in building and sustaining peace in polarized post-conflict communities in Plateau State, Nigeria. The article argues that in spite of the global marginalisation of women in formal peace processes, women are actively involved in peacebuilding and use various forms of individual and collective agency to restore harmonious relations, build peace and foster social cohesion in polarized post-conflict communities.

Keywords: peacebuilding, women's agency, bottom-up peacebuilding, social cohesion

Topics: Gender, Women, Post-Conflict, Peacebuilding, Peace Processes Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Nigeria

Year: 2020

Land Grab, Property Rights and Gender Equality in Pluralistic Legal Orders: A Nigerian Perspective


 Nwapi, Chilenye. 2016. “Land Grab, Property Rights and Gender Equality in Pluralistic Legal Orders: A Nigerian Perspective.” African Journal of Legal Studies 9 (2): 124–46.

Author: Chilenye Nwapi


This article considers the impact of land grab on the promotion of gender inequality within the Nigerian pluralistic legal order. It examines the interface between customary law and statute law in the determination of land ownership and access in Nigeria. It makes two key arguments. (1) While legal pluralism presents opportunities for curtailing the excesses of customary law, it has often resulted in the dominant legal system – statute law – fostering gender inequality in a manner that is beyond the capacity of the so-called barbaric customary laws. (2) The capacity of law to effectively address the problem of gender inequality within the context of land grab is very limited, because the nature of most land grab-related activities that promote gender inequality are appropriately legal and it is their unintended consequences that undermine women’s rights. The article argues for an effective use of the political process to complement legal interventions.

Keywords: land grab, customary law, statute law, legal pluralism, gender inequality, Property Rights

Topics: Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Governance, Justice, Land Grabbing, Rights, Land Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Nigeria

Year: 2016

Women, Internal Displacement and the Boko Haram Conflict: Broadening the Debate


Ajayi, Titilope F. 2020. "Women, Internal Displacement and the Boko Haram Conflict: Broadening the Debate." African Security 13 (2): 171-94.

Author: Titilope F. Ajayi


Women and children make up 79 per cent of the population displaced by the conflict between the Nigerian government and the armed movement informally known as Boko Haram. Their lived experiences expose the considerable protection and humanitarian risks of being female in violent contexts and the complexities of addressing them. In addition to open conflict and inconsistent policy and humanitarian responses, women’s displacement is being protracted by disjunctures between women’s roles and their construction as victims in policy and humanitarian frameworks. Construed as lacking agency, displaced women are resisting the hardship of displacement by returning to Boko Haram. This article argues for a rethinking of the importance of context, autonomy and agency as a prerequisite to reconciling false narratives about women’s experiences of conflict and displacement and their lived realities. It speaks to broader debates about women and conflict and the utility of current approaches and frameworks for addressing the roles and needs of women in these contexts.

Keywords: Nigeria, gender and security, IDPs, UNSCR 1325, women, peace and security in Africa

Topics: Armed Conflict, Displacement & Migration, IDPs, Gender, Women, Humanitarian Assistance, Peace and Security, Terrorism, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS, UNSCR 1325 Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Nigeria

Year: 2020


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