The Importance of a Gender Perspective to Successful Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Processes


Farr, Vanessa. 2003. “The Importance of a Gender Perspective to Successful Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Processes.” Disarmament Forum 4: 25-36.

Author: Vanessa Farr


In many of today’s wars, fighters are no longer exclusively adult men. Faced with a dramatically changing demography of fighters in contemporary conflicts, a number of recent open United Nations Security Council meetings on country situations and thematically focused debates, as well as internal UN processes and documents, have identified the need for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) processes to pay attention to differences among those presenting themselves for DDR. As a result, in addition to men, child soldiers (both boys and girls) are being better catered for. Yet despite a general call for 'gender mainstreaming’ in all UN-run operations including DDR processes, women’s perspectives, experiences and needs are under-represented in current programmes. The difficulty is how to move forward from discussions about gender inclusion to a measurable reality in which women are playing visible and powerful roles. In practical terms, what should the inclusion of women in DDR processes look like? This paper is intended as a means of moving this important conversation forward. In it, I shall review recent DDR processes, drawing both from conversations with DDR field practitioners and planners working within various UN agencies, and from academic accounts of DDR. My focus falls largely on processes that have taken place in Africa, and the recommendations I make are intended to be immediately useful to those involved in the current Multi-Country Demobilization and Reintegration Program for the Great Lakes region, which represents the most ambitious and comprehensive DDR planning ever envisaged.

Topics: Combatants, DDR, Gender, Women, Gender Mainstreaming, International Organizations, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction Regions: Africa

Year: 2003

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