Baltic states

Security Sector Reform, Small Arms and Light Weapons and Gender in the Post-Conflict Western Balkans


Szedlacsek, Eszter. 2019. “Security Sector Reform, Small Arms and Light Weapons and Gender in the Post-Conflict Western Balkans.” Corvinus Journal of International Affairs 4 (1): 26-38.

Author: Eszter Szedlacsek


We all experience war in a different way – building peace in post-conflict environments requires solutions that bring together various aspects of these experiences at the local, national and international levels. However, the actors involved and the social groups they address are only rarely those at the margin, and the diversity of the catch-all category of “locals” frequently goes unacknowledged when considering Security Sector Reform (SSR) and especially small arms control. Numerous studies have focused on SSR and gender in the Balkans, on perceptions of security in post-conflict environments and its gender-related aspects, as well as on the gendered aspects of small arms, but so far the analysis bringing together all of these aspects is scarce. This paper aims to address this gap, providing an overview of these areas to show that attempts at state-building and security-provision in the Western Balkans have failed to appropriately incorporate gender mainstreaming into their agendas. It is the central claim of this paper that policymakers must realize that gender mainstreaming without a broader understanding of gendered aspects of security does not and will not have transformative power – neither in the Western Balkans, nor in other post-conflict environments.

Keywords: security sector reform (SSR), post-conflict, small arms and light weapons (SALW), gender, Western Balkans

Topics: Gender, Gender Mainstreaming, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Security Sector Reform, Weapons /Arms Regions: Europe, Baltic states, Balkans, Eastern Europe Countries: Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Serbia, Yugoslavia (former)

Year: 2019

War, Resisting the West and Women's Labor: Toward an Understanding of Arab Exceptionalism


Angrist, Michele. 2012. “War, Resisting the West, and Women’s Labor: Toward an Understanding of Arab Exceptionalism.” Politics & Gender 8 (01): 51–82. doi:10.1017/S1743923X12000074.

Author: Michele Angrist


Countries with Muslim-majority populations often are viewed as places where women are particularly oppressed. To a degree, this perception reflects reality. Fish (2002) demonstrates that, relative to Catholic countries, Muslim countries are associated with larger male–female literacy gaps, higher male–female population sex ratios (which can reflect poorer treatment of females), and lower scores on the United Nations Development Program's (UNDP's) Gender Empowerment Measure, which focuses on political participation, economic influence, and income. Looking at the developing world, Cherif (2010) finds that Muslim countries are associated with inheritance and nationality laws that are discriminatory toward women. Some suggest that Islam itself is responsible for limitations on women's economic, political, and social freedoms. Whether referring to the substance of Islamic (shari'a) law, which treats men and women differently, or to the ways in which politicians defer to conservative interpretations of shari'a law in order to build and/or consolidate their legitimacy, or to contemporary regimes' need to appease (or at least not inflame) important Islamist constituencies who favor a subordinate role for women, many accounts of gender inequality in Muslim countries assert that “prevailing interpretations of Islamic law . . . and the attitudes it informs” are a key culprit (Cherif 2010, 1145).

Topics: Armed Conflict, Economies, Economic Inequality, Gender, Women, Gender Balance, Political Participation, Religion Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, West Africa, Asia, Central Asia, Middle East, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Europe, Baltic states, Balkans, South Caucasus

Year: 2012

Women, Non-Governmental Organizations, and Deforestation: a Cross-National Study


Shandra, John M., Carrie L. Shandra, and Bruce London. 2008. “Women, Non-Governmental Organizations, and Deforestation: A Cross-National Study.” Population and Environment 30 (1-2): 48–72.

Authors: John M. Shandra, Carrie L. Shandra, Bruce London


There have been several cross-national studies published in the world polity theoretical tradition that find a strong correlation between nations with high levels of environmental nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and low levels of various forms of environmental degradation. However, these studies neglect the role that women’s NGOs potentially play in this process. We seek to address this gap by conducting a cross-national study of the association between women’s NGOs and deforestation. We examine this relationship because deforestation often translates into increased household labor, loss of income, and impaired health for women and, as a result, women’s non-governmental organizations have become increasingly involved in dealing with these problems often by protecting forests. We use data from a sample of 61 nations for the period of 1990–2005. We find substantial support for world polity theory that both high levels of women’s and environmental NGOs per capita are associated with lower rates of deforestation. We also find that high levels of debt service and structural adjustment are correlated with higher rates of forest loss. We conclude with a discussion of findings, policy implications, and possible future research directions.

Keywords: deforestation, women, non-governmental organizations, cross-national

Topics: Economies, Environment, Extractive Industries, Gender, Women, NGOs Regions: Africa, MENA, Central Africa, East Africa, North Africa, Southern Africa, West Africa, Americas, Caribbean countries, Central America, North America, South America, Asia, East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Europe, Baltic states, Balkans, Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Oceania Countries: Albania, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Honduras, Hungary, India, Jamaica, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mexico, Mongolia, Mozambique, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad & Tobago, Uganda, Uruguay, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Year: 2008

Negotiating between Patriarchy and Emancipation: Rural-to-Urban Migrant Women in Albania


Çaro, Erka, Ajay Bailey, and Leo van Wissen. 2012. “Negotiating between Patriarchy and Emancipation: Rural-to-Urban Migrant Women in Albania.” Gender, Place & Culture 19 (4): 472–93. doi: 10.1080/0966369X.2011.610096.

Authors: Erka Caro, Ajay Bailey, Leo van Wissen


It is essential to explore the role of gender while analysing internal migration in Albania to account for the differing experiences of men and women. Quantitative studies suggest that Albanian internal migration is pioneered by men, with women merely acceding to their wishes. This article addresses the undervalued role of women in the academic discourse concerning migration in Albania. Utilizing ethnographic research techniques, it explores the role of women migrating from rural to urban areas as part of a larger household and examines the coping and negotiating strategies used for survival in the city. Our findings reveal that women actively participate in the rural-to-urban migration process, including the initial decision to migrate and the choice of destination. Women's narratives provide evidence of specific emancipation strategies through which they express themselves and their new ways of living. Women adjust to and challenge their new urban environment through gaining paid employment and expanding their social networks, as well as experience emancipation through daughters and by changing their appearance, achieving varying degrees of personal and social prosperity.

Keywords: emancipation, women, migration, rural-to-urban, Albania


Quotes and Notes:

According to Hugo (2000), when women move from rural to urban areas there is an increased potential for empowerment, as they are often separated from the extended family and can engage in paid employment outside the home. As a result of migration, women thus experience an increase in ‘autonomy, self confidence and agency’ (Ghosh 2009, 36). The benefits of migration can, however, vary for migrant women depending on their motivations, expectations, educational level, background characteristics, social status and the presence or otherwise of their husband in the household.” (473) 

Many societies, especially patriarchal ones, function according to social and cultural norms that determine the level of women’s participation in the migration process and the nature of gender relationships in the new settings (Ghosh 2009). To understand the social position of women in Albania and whether migration can influence this, it is essential to recognize that gender and migration are embedded in historical, regional and cultural settings, and that gender relationships in Albania are steeped in a strong patriarchal tradition.” (474)

Research Questions/Main Ideas:

“In this article, we argue that while international migration is determined by men, internal migration is often initiated by women and then conceived as a family project.” (473)

“Focusing on mothers and daughters within the context of emerging urbanization, this research aims to (1) explore the role of women in the migration process, (2) detail their emancipation strategies following migration and (3) compare the strategies and experiences of mothers and daughters.” (473)

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Migration, Gender, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Gender Equality/Inequality, Households Regions: Europe, Baltic states, Balkans, Eastern Europe Countries: Albania

Year: 2012

Imagery, Gender and Power: The Politics of Representation in Post-War Kosovo


Krasniqi, Vjollca. 2007. “Imagery, Gender and Power: The Politics of Representation in Post-War Kosovo.” Feminist Review 86 (1): 1–23.

Author: Vjollca Krasniqi


The article focuses on the politics of representation in Kosova since the United Nations took over 'peace management' in 1999. It uses UN propaganda posters (political pedagogy) and local nationalist political advertising as a way to read the multiple gendered discourses of representation. It shows how gender is used relationally between competing forces-the 'international community' and nationalists-as a tool to ensure UN's imposition of Western policies and norms and as a mechanism for local politicians to consolidate their domination of the domestic/private sphere. Moreover, it discusses the price paid to mimic the West: how Kosovar politicians have sought to 'undo' national identity in favour of a Western self-representation through a gendered abnegation of Islam. Thus, as an intrinsic part of the discourse of 'peace-building', these images represent the site of power production, domination, negotiation, and rejection, involving the collaboration of different actors, institutions, and individuals. Three specific points will be made: first, the article seeks to show that a Western political modernization discourse has, paradoxically, reinforced patriarchal relations of power and traditional gender roles in Kosova through the subjugation of women. Second, it explains the inability to resolve competing Albanian narratives — one relying on the legacy of peaceful resistance and the other on the armed struggle against Serbian domination during the 1990s. Third, through the intermeshing of international peace-keepers and local nationalist patriarchs, it will show how the militarization of culture is perpetuated through, and in relationship togender.

Keywords: Kosova, gender, peacekeeping, images, representations, patriarchies

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, International Organizations, Peacebuilding, Post-Conflict Reconstruction Regions: Europe, Baltic states, Balkans, Eastern Europe Countries: Albania, Kosovo

Year: 2007

Women’s Health, Changes and Challenges in Health Policy Development in Lithuania


Kalediene, Ramune, and Ruta Nadisauskiene. 2002. “Women’s Health, Changes and Challenges in Health Policy Development in Lithuania.” Reproductive Health Matters 10 (20): 117-26.

Authors: Ramune Kalediene, Ruta Nadisauskiene


Health is a sensitive mirror of social circumstances. This paper looks at the situation of women's health in Lithuania in the context of the social, political and economic transition in the country following independence in 1990, and reforms to the health system. Data since 1990 show that considerable social and demographic inequalities in the health of women exist in Lithuania, with low-educated women and those living in rural areas in the most unfavourable situation, including in relation to reproductive health. Reproductive health issues have received some recognition in recent years, with the main attention and resources directed to the development of a Maternal and Child Health Programme, especially perinatal care and the organisation of neonatology services, which has resulted in a notable decrease in maternal, perinatal and infant mortality. Services for family planning, abortion, infertility, cervical and breast cancer, and violence against women are under-developed. Non-governmental organizations are beginning to be formed to advocate for increased resources and services for reproductive health. Improvements in the health status of Lithuanian women can be expected if attention is paid to social determinants of health.

Topics: Armed Conflict, National Liberation Wars, Gender, Women, Girls, Boys, Health, Mental Health, Reproductive Health, Post-Conflict Regions: Europe, Baltic states, Northern Europe Countries: Lithuania

Year: 2002

Rape in Kosovo: Masculinity and Serbian Nationalism


Bracewell, Wendy. 2000. “Rape in Kosovo: Masculinity and Serbian Nationalism.” Nations and Nationalism 6 (4): 563–90.

Author: Wendy Bracewell


Accusations of Albanian rape of Serbs in Kosovo became a highly charged political factor in the development of Serbian nationalism in the 1980s. Discussions of rape were used to link perceptions of national victimisation and a crisis of masculinity and to legitimate a militant Serbian nationalism, ultimately contributing to the violent break-up of Yugoslavia. The article argues for attention to the ways that nationalist projects have been structured with reference to ideals of masculinity, the specific political and cultural contexts that have influenced these processes, and the consequent implications for gender relations as well as for nationalist politics. Such an approach helps explain the appeal of Milošević’s nationalism; at the same time it highlights the divisions and conflicts that lie behind hegemonic gender and national identities constructed around difference.

Topics: Gender, Women, Masculinity/ies, Nationalism, Sexual Violence, Rape Regions: Europe, Baltic states, Balkans, Eastern Europe Countries: Albania, Kosovo, Serbia, Yugoslavia (former)

Year: 2000

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