Uganda: Pastoral Conflict & Gender Relations


Mkutua, Kennedy Agade. 2008. “Uganda: Pastoral Conflict & Gender Relations.” Review of African Political Economy 35 (116): 237-54.

Author: Kennedy Agade Mkutua


This article uses testimonials from women and men to ask how pastoral gender relations are configured, how they are being altered in the context of armed conflict, including violent cattle raiding, in the last four decades and how they are coping with their resulting pastoral livelihoods becoming increasingly unsustainable. In addition, the status of both men and women as defined by marriage is declining as marriage is dependent upon a diminishing cattle economy. It is here that women are being required to take on new roles for their survival and the survival of the family, including making decisions about acquiring guns and ammunition, and branching out into alternative livelihoods. Men are gaining power over women in some respects because they remain the owners of weapons, but conflict has also created space for women to gain independence and status. The article considers the benefits of this situation for women, but also notes the new risks to their physical and mental health. It then argues that in turn there are both positive and negative aspects for the whole family and the stability and sustainability of the Karimojong society as a whole.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Women, Men, Gender Roles, Health, Mental Health, Households, Livelihoods Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Uganda

Year: 2008

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