Gender in Transition: Common Sense, Women, and War


Theidon, Kimberly. 2007. “Gender in Transition: Common Sense, Women, and War.” Journal of Human Rights 6 (4): 453–78.

Author: Kimberly Theidon


On August 28, 2003, the Commissioners of the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission (PTRC) submitted their Final Report to President Alejandro Toledo and the nation, thus joining the growing list of countries that have implemented truth commissions as a means of transitioning from a period of armed conflict and authoritarian rule towards the founding of a procedural democracy. The PTRC shared several features with the Guatemalan and South African commissions that preceded it. All three commissions were considered “gender sensitive” because they actively sought out women’s experiences of violence. This focus reflected the desire to write more “inclusive truths,” as well as changes in international jurisprudence. In this paper, the author draws upon research she has conducted since 1995 in Peru to explore the commissioning of truth and some implications in terms of women and war. She examines what constitutes “gender sensitive” research strategies, as well as the ways in which truth commissions have incorporated these strategies into their work. Truth and memory are indeed gendered, but not in any common-sensical way. Thus the author hopes to offer a more nuanced understanding of the gendered dimensions of war.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, International Law, Justice, Transitional Justice, TRCs, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Guatemala, Peru

Year: 2007

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