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Civil Society

Women-to-Women Diplomacy in Georgia: A Peacebuilding Strategy in Frozen Conflict


Cárdenas, Magda Lorena. 2019. “Women-to-Women Diplomacy in Georgia: A Peacebuilding Strategy in Frozen Conflict.” Civil Wars 21 (3): 385–409.

Author: Magda Lorena Cárdenas


This research explores strategies led by women's grassroots organisations and discusses how they can offer opportunities for peacebuilding in frozen conflict settings such as Georgia and the breakaway territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. These conflicts are related to separatist aspirations which are based, on the surface, on ethnic differences. However, the precedent of inter-ethnic dialogue shows that there is not an inherent ‘us-against-them’ narrative separating Georgia from Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Therefore, it is possible to create alternative arenas for dialogue and mutual understanding among the parties. To this end, this study adopts a broad approach to peacebuilding as a process of social transformation of hostile attitudes and exclusive narratives. I argue that women-to-women diplomacy is a peacebuilding strategy with the potential to address the roots of polarisation by humanising the other and identifying common ground for cooperation and inter- ethnic dialogue. The empirical research based on the experiences of women’s organisations in Georgia illustrates the contribution of women-to-women diplomacy to peacebuilding as an alternative platform for coalition building based on the common goal of achieving equal rights.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Ethnic/Communal Wars, Civil Society, Gender, Women, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Peacebuilding Regions: Asia, Central Asia, Europe, South Caucasus Countries: Georgia

Year: 2019

Strategies for Including Women’s and LGBTI Groups in the Columbian Peace Process


Cóbar, Kosé Alvarado. 2020. Strategies for Including Women’s and LGBTI Groups in the Columbian Peace Process. Stockholm: SIPRI.

Author: José Alvarado Cóbar



In order to have a more nuanced understanding of inclusive peace processes, it is important to understand how civil society can connect to formal peace negotiations. The Colombian peace negotiation process is highly regarded as one of the most inclusive processes; involving civil society groups from diverse backgrounds, including both women’s and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender/ transsexual and intersex (LGBTI) groups. But how do these groups leverage influence among the main conflict actors, and what specific challenges and opportunities do they face? This paper applies a conflict resolution and negotiation framework to assess the involvement of women’s and LGBTI groups in the most recent Colombian peace negotiation process. In doing so, the suggested framework provides a practical application of conflict resolution and negotiation strategies that can further complement discussions on inclusion of marginalized groups in other peace negotiation processes. (Summary from original source)

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Society, Justice, LGBTQ, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Peace and Security, Peace Processes, Post-Conflict Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2020

Investigating Community Constructed Rural Water Systems in Northwest Cameroon: Leadership, Gender and Exclusion


Tantoh, Henry, and Tracey Mckay. 2020. "Investigating Community Constructed Rural Water Systems in Northwest Cameroon: Leadership, Gender and Exclusion." International Development Planning Review 42 (4): 455-78.

Authors: Henry Tantoh, Tracey Mckay


Many rural communities in sub-Saharan Africa have a long history of community cooperation and local-led development projects harnessed to improve the delivery of water services. This study examined issues of local leadership across various community-built rural water supply (CBRWS) in the Mbengwi, Njinikom and Ndu districts of Northwest Cameroon. The study found that where there was an absence of public water supplies, coupled with high levels of rural poverty, CBRWS projects were able to ensure a water supply lifeline. These projects were effective in communities where local leadership structures were strong, due to their ability to ensure high levels of community participation. Such communities experienced improved welfare and enhanced quality of life. Thus, involving community members in issues concerning their own development, coupled with good local-level leadership are crucial aspects of successful rural development projects. The study also found that, in all cases, local leadership was patriarchal and exclusionary. Labour, cash and in-kind support were donated by the residents but women and youths did not have a voice to participate in decisions relating to the community projects conferred upon them. Thus, community participation in these projects cannot be equated with promoting grassroots or participatory democracy. Rather it reinforced traditional hegemonies.

Topics: Age, Youth, Agriculture, Civil Society, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Infrastructure, Water & Sanitation Regions: Africa, Central Africa Countries: Cameroon

Year: 2020

Mothers, Mercenaries and Mediators: Women Providing Answers to the Questions We Forgot to Ask


Henty, Pip, and Beth Eggleston. 2018. “Mothers, Mercenaries and Mediators: Women Providing Answers to the Questions We Forgot to Ask.” Security Challenges 14(2): 106-23.


Authors: Pip Henty, Beth Eggleston


Current initiatives in countering violent extremism (CVE) often see women excluded or marginalised from the development, implementation and evaluation of these efforts. From informal grassroots levels to formal government platforms, women’s participation and perspectives in CVE continue to be absent or minimal. This paper analyses the role women can play in CVE, including leveraging global frameworks such as the Women, Peace and Security agenda. In providing case studies of Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Tajikistan, this paper seeks to elaborate on and promote women’s engagement for more effective CVE outcomes.


Topics: Civil Society, Gender, Peace and Security, Terrorism, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS, Violence Regions: Asia, East Asia, South Asia Countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Tajikistan

Year: 2018

Gender Mainstreaming of the Security Sector in Bosnia and Herzegovina: From the Policy Papers to Reality


Tomić, Ankica. 2015. “Gender Mainstreaming of the Security Sector in Bosnia and Herzegovina: From the Policy Papers to Reality.” Connections 14 (3): 87-102.

Author: Ankica Tomić


"Gender mainstreaming of the security sector in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) twenty years ago was perceived as a “foreign” syntagma and proved very difficult to translate into the three official languages (Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian). The challenge was not only translation but also the transposition of that concept into reality. The link between the concept of gender mainstreaming and security sector tasks and responsibilities was a new topic for BiH society as well as globally. As a post-conflict country, in the last twenty years Bosnia and Herzegovina has gone through reforms in different areas such as police, intelligence, justice, etc. Those reforms were intensified in the period from 2003 until 2008 in the framework of the BiH integration process into the European Union and NATO. At that time, neither the BiH political elite nor representatives of the international community were aware of the benefits of the integration of the gender concept in those nor in other reforms in the country. It was women’s organizations that started familiarizing the BiH public with the importance of including and applying the concept of gender in security sector reforms, namely to implement United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security (UNSCR 1325). They first gained financial support from the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and other UN organizations in order to implement different programs and projects. Those efforts, commitments, and the influence of these women’s organizations led to the government at all levels in Bosnia and Herzegovina establishing in 2003 official gender mechanisms such as the Gender Center of Government of Federation, the Gender Center of Government of Republic Srpska and, in 2004, the Gender Equality Agency at the national level. Their establishment came at a crucial moment for the institutionalization of gender mainstreaming in all areas of public and private life in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Only a few years after those gender mechanisms were established they were applied in the drafting of two strategic documents, the Gender Action Plan (GAP) for the period 2006-2013 and an Action Plan for the implementation of UNSCR 1325 in Bosnia and Herzegovina (AP 1325) for a period of three years (2010- 2013). Those two documents were not imposed or drafted externally, which was the case with many other documents in Bosnia and Herzegovina from that period. They were produced by the representatives of BiH institutions together with the representatives of NGOs according to local priorities and needs, an important precondition for local ownership and sustainability of the whole process. Because of this, many were hopeful that enacting these documents would have a real and positive effect on the lives of men, women, and children throughout the country. In this article I first give a brief overview of the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina before those national policy documents were adopted and of the post-adoption period. Second, my intention is to analyze the reasons why the adoption of AP 1325 was perceived as a big success in the country as well as the region and at a global level. Third, because I was personally involved in the implementation of the first AP 1325 on behalf of the Ministry of Security and in the drafting of the second AP 1325, my focus will be on the achievements of the Ministry of Security in the implementation process of AP 1325 as well as my personal experience with gender mainstreaming of the security sector in BiH. Finally, in my conclusion I examine the main lessons learned, current challenges, and present my personal view of how the envisaged goals from the documents can bring meaningful and real change to the daily lives of all people in Bosnia and Herzegovina" (Tomić 2015, 87 -89).

Topics: Civil Society, Gender, Governance, Post-Conflict Governance, NGOs, Post-Conflict, Security Sector Reform, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS, UNSCR 1325 Regions: Europe, Balkans, Eastern Europe Countries: Bosnia & Herzegovina

Year: 2015

Everyone Wants (a) Peace: The Dynamics of Rhetoric and Practice on ‘Women, Peace and Security.’


True, Jacqui, and Antje Wiener. 2019. “Everyone Wants (a) Peace: The Dynamics of Rhetoric and Practice on ‘Women, Peace and Security.’” International Affairs 95 (3): 553–74.

Authors: Jacqui True, Antje Wiener


‘Women, Peace and Security’ (WPS) is not just any normative agenda: everyone wants a piece of it. WPS is characterized by unprecedented recognition by states at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and the presence of multiple stakeholders, including its own transnational NGO network focused on the first Resolution, 1325. The high degree of participation from civil society in framing the norm from the outset—driving their own access to contestation—makes WPS relatively unique among global normative agendas. It is therefore a good case in which to examine the ‘dynamics of dissent’ and test the effects of discursive and behavioural contestation on normative change. The article seeks to advance the thriving literature on the UN WPS agenda and to further develop the exploratory approach to contestation, which evaluates normative progress based on increased access of all those affected by the norm to practices of norm validation. It maps norm contestation at distinct sites, reflecting a sequence of WPS events referenced at the 2015 UNSC open debate on WPS. It evaluates practices of contestation with regard to affected WPS stakeholders' access to political agency and assesses ‘whose practices’ affect norm change and transformative change in the WPS agenda. The authors conclude that the relative access of the wide range of stakeholders to the different repertoires and constellations of contestation affects the outcomes of WPS. They suggest that scholars should evaluate diverse practices of contestation and identify expanding spaces and choices for a variety of local, national and regional perceptions of gender-equal peace and security.

Topics: Civil Society, Gender, Women, Peace and Security, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS, UNSCR 1325

Year: 2019

The Australian Foreign Policy White Paper, Gender and Conflict Prevention: Ties that Don’t Bind


Agius, Christine, and Anu Mundkur. 2020. “The Australian Foreign Policy White Paper, Gender and Conflict Prevention: Ties that Don’t Bind.” Australian Journal of International Affairs 74 (3): 282-300.

Authors: Christine Agius, Anu Mundkur


After a 14-year gap, Australia’s 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper advanced a ‘comprehensive framework to advance Australia’s security and prosperity in a contested and competitive world’ (Australian Government 2017a, “2017 Foreign Policy White Paper.”, v). Focused on regional stability, partnerships and global cooperation, it identifies ‘risks and opportunities’ in an altered external environment. In this article, we argue that the neglect of gender and conflict prevention in the White Paper has implications for its stated aspirations with regard to peace and security. This is striking considering the attention that gender—particularly in the context of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda—has received in other policy areas and documents. Building on feminist security scholarship, conflict prevention approaches, and bringing in civil society voices, we argue that the White Paper contains a gendered, masculinist logic, separating domestic and international issues and paying insufficient attention to the structural and systemic causes of conflict. This article pursues a gender analysis in order to illuminate the gaps present in the White Paper and its limited vision of security and makes the case that conflict prevention from a gender perspective is key to sustainable peace, security and national interests.

Keywords: conflict prevention, Foreign Policy White Paper, Australia, gender, foreign policy, women, peace and security (WPS)

Topics: Civil Society, Conflict, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gender Analysis, Gendered Power Relations, Masculinism, Peace and Security, Security Regions: Oceania Countries: Australia

Year: 2020

Nosotras somos de la tierra, de la Pachamama.” Estado de Situación Sobre Tierras y Mujeres Indígenas


Núñez L., Ana María. 2009. "'Nosotras somos de la tierra, de la Pachamama.' Estado de Situación Sobre Tierras y Mujeres Indígenas." La Paz: UNIFEM Región Andina y Género, Raza y Ethnia en los Programas de Lucha contra la Pobreza. 

Author: Ana María Núñez L.


"La relación de las mujeres, especialmente indígenas, con la tierra es una analogía que reviste su particularidad. Desde muy niñas, el hábitat y el medio representan no solamente la provisión de alimentos y condiciones para reproducir su vida sino que, más tarde, se convierte en un medio patrimonial para asegurar la reproducción de su familia. Es en este punto donde las mujeres “resienten” una sociedad discriminadora y poseedora de la patria potestad. Son los varones, hermanos, esposos, quienes tienen más derechos que ellas al heredar la tierra y ostentar la titularidad sobre las mismas. Parece ser que el proceso de saneamiento también es “adverso” y son pocas las mujeres que pueden tener títulos saneados y contar con la titularidad de las tierras. ¿Por qué nos interesa la titularidad? ¿Estamos mercantilizando las relaciones familiares? ¿Estamos cuestionando la paridad y dualidad de la familia indígena? Nada más lejos de nuestra intención; solo retomamos las palabras cotidianas de dirigentas y dirigentes que reconocen que tanto hombres como mujeres, a la par de sus derechos colectivos, también tienen el derecho de ostentar derechos individuales de titularidad. En este sentido,la gestión del territorio, que en algunos casos es parte exclusiva del rol de la mujer, es también eficaz en la medida en que se combina la titularidad y la gestión y participación activa en la producción de recursos y sobre la tierra. Esta investigación así nos lo refleja" (Núñez L. 2009, 5).
Tabla de Contenidos:
1. Presentación
2. Introducción General 
3. Objetivo general de la investigación 
4. Situación de las mujeres indígenas
5. Tenencia de tierras
6. Acceso a la tierra por las mujeres indígenas
7. Titulación a nombre de las mujeres
8. Saneamiento
9. Organizaciones de mujeres indígenas
10. Conclusiones
11. Algunas propuestas
12. Bibliografía

Topics: Civil Society, Gender, Women, Indigenous, Land Tenure, Rights, Indigenous Rights

Year: 2009

Igualdad de género para el desarrollo territorial: experiencias y desafíos para América Latina


Cortínez, Valentina. 2016. “Igualdad de género para el desarrollo territorial: experiencias y desafíos para América Latina.” Serie documentos de Trabajo 180, Programa Inclusión Social y Desarrollo de RIMISP: Centro Latinoamericano para el Desarrollo Rural, Santiago, Chile.

Author: Valentina Cortínez


El análisis de las dinámicas territoriales desde un enfoque de género, muestra que las oportunidades de las mujeres de participar en el desarrollo de sus territorios y beneficiarse de aquello no se distribuye de manera homogénea al interior de los países, pues no solo se relaciona con sus características, sus activos o dotaciones, sino con factores propios del territorio tales como la estructura productiva, las instituciones formales e informales -que norman la participación de las personas en las distintas esferas-, y los agentes presentes.
Con base en la revisión de literatura, se observa que distintos territorios configuran de manera diferente la participación de las mujeres en los componentes de la dinámica territorial (estructura productiva, instituciones formales e informales, agencia de los actores). Ciertas configuraciones territoriales favorecen o restringen dinámicas de inclusión para las mujeres, las que a su vez abren o cierran oportunidades de desarrollo territorial.
En todos los territorios se observan arraigados estereotipos de género en desmedro del trabajo femenino, su reconocimiento y su valor. Incluso el desarrollo de cierto tipo de industrias en los territorios ha profundizado esta tendencia, cristalizando la división del trabajo para hombres y para mujeres.
Por el contrario, en aquellos territorios en proceso de reconversión productiva, se observan más espacios para la participación económica de las mujeres, oportunidades que han sido aprovechadas por ellas, gracias a su capacidad de agencia. Algunas experiencias dan cuenta que cuando las mujeres han tenido acceso a activos, ya sea crédito, tierra, asesorías u otros, promueven una mayor diversificación de las economías locales, movilizando nuevas oportunidades para los territorios y sus habitantes.
Las políticas de desarrollo territorial que han sido exitosas en aminorar las brechas entre hombres y mujeres se caracterizan por ser flexibles y abiertas a la articulación con los actores locales, especialmente con las organizaciones de mujeres. Emergen de un claro interés de la sociedad civil que encuentra en las instituciones la voluntad y los recursos para potenciarlo.
El texto concluye que para lograr un desarrollo territorial dinámico, inclusivo y sostenible, es necesario reconocer y valorar una gama más amplia de actividades productivas y reproductivas en el territorio, así como a quienes las realizan. Así mismo, ampliar el espectro de actores puede abrir espacio para la mayor participación de las mujeres en el desarrollo de los territorios, haciendo factible promover e incentivar su acceso a los canales de influencia y diálogo, como también a los activos que necesitan para contribuir mejor a este tipo de dinámicas territoriales. 


The analysis of territorial dynamics from a gender approach, shows that women’s opportunities to take part in territorial development and benefit from it, are unevenly distributed within the countries. Due to that, inequality of gender is not only related to women’s characteristics, assets or resource endowments, but also with factors in the territories, such as the productive structure, formal and informal institutions, and agents present in the territory. 


Based on literature review, it has been observed that the participation of women in the components of the territorial dynamics (productive structure, formal and informal institutions, and agency) is configured in different ways in the different territories. Some territorial configurations promote or restrict the dynamics of inclusion for women, and also open or close opportunities for territorial development. 


All countries have ingrained gender stereotypes which undermine the value and recognition of women’s labour. Furthermore,, the development of certain types of industries in the territories, has deepened this trend, solidifying the division of labour between men and women. 


By contrast, in territories which are undergoing/in the process of productive restructuring, more space has been observed for the economic participation of women, who have been able to take the benefits attributed to its agency’s capacity. Some reviewed cases highlight that when women have access to assets, whether credit, land, advice or other, they promote greater diversification of local economies, mobilizing new opportunities for the territories and their inhabitants. 


The territorial development policies that have been successful in reducing the gaps between men and women, are characterized by flexibility and openness to articulation with local actors, especially women's organizations. Also, these successful policies emerge from those institutions which have a clear interest in civil society, and the will and resources to promote it. 


The paper concludes that in order to achieve a dynamic, inclusive and sustainable territorial development, it is necessary to recognize and add value to a broader range of productive and reproductive activities in the territory, as well as those who make them. Likewise, broadening the range of actors can open up space for increased participation of women in the development of territories, making it possible to promote and encourage access to channels of influence and dialogue, as well as the assets they need to better contribute to these types of territorial dynamics. 

Keywords: desarrollo territorial, gênero, políticas de inclusión, estereotipos, capacidad de agencia, políticas de género, territorial development, gender, inclusion policies, stereotypes, agency, gender policies

Topics: Civil Society, Development, Economies, Gender, Women, Livelihoods Regions: Americas, Central America, South America

Year: 2016

Making Space for Women: Civil Society Organizations, Gender and Hydropower Development in the Mekong Region


Lebel, Phimphakan, Louis Lebel, Darunee Singphonphrai, Chatta Duangsuwan, and Yishu Zhou. 2019. “Making Space for Women: Civil Society Organizations, Gender and Hydropower Development in the Mekong Region.” International Journal of Water Resources Development 35 (2): 305-25.

Authors: Phimphakan Lebel, Louis Lebel, Darunee Singphonphrai, Chatta Duangsuwan, Yishu Zhou


Large-scale hydropower development disrupts local livelihoods and resource access. Adverse impacts are often greater for women than men, but also large for children, the elderly, poorer households and ethnic minorities. Burdens of resettlement often fall disproportionately on already disadvantaged individuals. The purpose of this study was to evaluate how international, national and local civil society organizations (CSOs) have addressed gender in hydropower development in the Mekong Region. Four CSO orientations are distinguished: communitarian, environmentalist, knowledge-based and feminist. Common activities of CSOs were to share information, to expand participation and to mobilize development. The extent to which these activities were promoted and appear to be making space for women depended on the types of CSOs and women and men targeted or otherwise involved. 

Keywords: civil society organizations, gender, hydropower, Mekong

Topics: Age, Youth, Civil Society, Displacement & Migration, Development, Economies, Poverty, Environment, Ethnicity, Feminisms, Gender, Livelihoods Regions: Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam

Year: 2019


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