Complicating 'Complexity': Integrating Gender into the Analysis of the Mozambican Conflict


Jacobsen, Ruth. 1999. "Complicating ‘Complexity’: Integrating Gender into the Analysis of the Mozambican Conflict.” Third World Quarterly 20 (1): 175–87.

Author: Ruth Jacobsen


A case study of the Mozambican conflict is used to illustrate the need to integrate a gender perspective which is historically grounded and which encompasses social relationships between women and men rather than the existing 'impact of conflict on women' approach. This is demonstrated first by examining ways in which postcolonial states have continued constructions of gender which assign women to the private/ domestic sphere and then by establishing how security in Southern Africa has been mediated by gendered constraints, whether in peace or war. The specific character of the Mozambican conflict is summarised, as are its outcomes in terms of gender relations which have intensified women's vulnerability. This is then related to an examination of the nature of some of the major humanitarian responses to the Mozambican emergency, where there was a wide divergence between stated policies on gender and practice. It is argued that this 'gender gap' is being perpetuated in some aspects of the reconstruction phase, despite women's enormous contribution to the task of rebuilding Mozambican society.

Topics: Armed Conflict, National Liberation Wars, Gender, Women, Men, Gender Roles, Gender Analysis, Gender-Based Violence, Gender Mainstreaming, Humanitarian Assistance, Livelihoods, NGOs, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Mozambique

Year: 1999

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