Gender and Governance in Post-Conflict and Democratizing Settings


Kindervater, Lisa, and Sheila Meintjes. 2018. "Gender and Governance in Post-Conflict and Democratizing Settings." In The Oxford Handbook of Gender and Conflict, edited by Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, Naomi Cahn, Dina Francesca Haynes, and Nahla Valji, 468-484. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 

Authors: Lisa Kindervater, Sheila Meintjes


Women have the opportunity to make significant economic, political, and sociocultural gains during transitions to peace and democracy; however, these gains are frequently lost when competitive electoral politics resumes. This chapter identifies the key mechanisms responsible for this loss, providing examples from several countries in sub-Saharan Africa. These mechanisms include institutional constraints, historical political conditions, donor-driven agendas, prevailing cultural norms, and the nature of the women’s movement. The chapter suggests that while the enactment of laws and policies related to women’s rights are an important first step, a feminist and transformational agenda in post-conflict societies requires focus on patriarchal cultures and practices. The chapter argues that such transformation is aided by the fostering of strong relationships between grassroots women activists and politically elite women.

Keywords: post-conflict, electoral politics, patriarchal cultures, feminism, women's movement, donor agenda, Sub-Saharan Africa

Topics: Class, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Governance, Livelihoods, Post-Conflict, Political Participation, Peace Processes Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, Southern Africa, West Africa

Year: 2018

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