From Gender-Blind to Gender-Transformative Reintegration: Women’s Experiences with Social Reintegration in Guatemala

Citation:

Weber, Sanne. 2021. “From Gender-Blind to Gender-Transformative Reintegration: Women’s Experiences with Social Reintegration in Guatemala.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 23 (3): 396–417.

Author: Sanne Weber

Abstract:

Disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) processes have become a standard component of international peace and security programming. Yet, in spite of increasing attention to the need for gender-sensitive DDR in policy and academic debates, the stereotypical ways in which female ex-combatants have traditionally been addressed have led to inadequate gendered reintegration policies. This article describes the effects of a gender-blind reintegration process on female ex-combatants’ experiences of long-term social reintegration in Guatemala. Social reintegration is a profoundly gendered process, which involves the rebuilding of civilian identities, social relationships, and trust between social groups. Based on in-depth interviews with female ex-combatants, this article describes how the absence of gender-sensitive reintegration strategies produced various problems for women. They faced difficulties in their emotional and family relationships, leading to mental health struggles and even violence, as well as persistent stigma which produced anxiety and challenges in the labor market. The article concludes with suggestions for making reintegration a gender-transformative process, by crossing the private–public divide, increasing collective strategies, and better aligning with transitional justice processes.

Keywords: female ex-combatants, DDR, social reintegration, gender equality, Guatemala

Topics: Combatants, Female Combatants, DDR, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality Regions: Americas, Central America Countries: Guatemala

Year: 2021

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