Notes toward a Gendered Understanding of Mixed‐Population Movements and Security Sector Reform after Conflict


Farr, Vanessa A. 2007. “Notes toward a Gendered Understanding of Mixed‐Population Movements and Security Sector Reform after Conflict.” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 32 (3): 591–96. doi:10.1086/510156.

Author: Vanessa A. Farr


Armed conflicts in Africa are increasingly characterized by the movements of mixed populations of combatants and civilians. These movements may take place across international borders but sometimes come about from displacement across internal or state boundaries, including cease-fire zones, into territories held by an opposing force. The status of such mixed populations—as refugees or internally displaced people, as mercenaries or prisoners of war—is often difficult to determine. Their movement has direct implications for postconflict security measures such as repatriation and disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) of combatants, their dependents, and most particularly, women and girls associated with armed groups in noncombatant roles. Not surprisingly, however, given the vagueness of current approaches to cross-border and internal movements by militarized groups and the ongoing indifference to using a gender lens as an analytical tool in understanding insecurity, the fact that the movement of armed groups and fighting forces is highly gendered tends to be invisible to policy makers and program planners. In this article, I present a preliminary and largely speculative set of observations and questions on how militarized crossborder and internal movement is affecting women and girls, especially in areas with large internally displaced and refugee communities, and propose some avenues for further research.

Topics: Armed Conflict, DDR, Displacement & Migration, Refugees, Gender, Women, Girls, Peacebuilding, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Security, Security Sector Reform

Year: 2007

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