Why We Cannot Find the Hidden Girl Soldier: A Study of Professional Attitudes Towards Gender Analysis in International Conflict and Development Work


Kays, Lisa. 2005. “Why We Cannot Find the Hidden Girl Soldier: A Study of Professional Attitudes Towards Gender Analysis in International Conflict and Development Work.” Peace, Conflict, and Development, no. 6: 1–26.

Author: Lisa Kays


Girls’ experiences in combat are not as well understood as boys’. International development and relief projects focus on boy soldiers, though many girls are combatants and have experiences that are not addressed through boy-centred programmes.

To explore the potential influence of development professionals’ attitudes on implementation of gender mainstreaming in such programmes, eight individuals who work at an NGO that does international conflict resolution and development work—were surveyed about their knowledge of and attitudes towards gender analysis and their feelings about a proposal for assisting child soldiers in Africa created and submitted by their organisation with their input.

The results of the self-assessment of the professionals are then compared with the gender analysis executed within the proposal, to determine if the self-assessment is accurate.

The surveys indicate that professionals often may not fully understand gender analysis, and therefore do not account for girl child soldiers—negatively impacting the effectiveness of their efforts. Based on these findings, recommendations for remedying this trend within conflict and development NGOs are offered.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Child Soldiers, Female Combatants, Development, Gender, Girls, Gender Analysis, Gender Mainstreaming, NGOs

Year: 2005

Gender and ICTs for Development: A Global Sourcebook


Odame, Helen Hambly, Guihuan Li, Minori Terada, Blythe McKay, Mercy Wambui, and Nancy Muturi. 2005. Gender and ICTs for Development: A Global Sourcebook. Amsterdam: KIT (Royal Tropical Institute); Oxfam GB.

Authors: Helen Hambly Odame, Guihuan Li, Minori Terada, Blythe McKay, Mercy Wambui, Nancy Muturi


Around the world information and communication technologies (ICTs) have changed the lives of individuals, organizations and indeed, entire nations. This book is a collection of case studies about women and their communities in developing countries, and how they have been influenced by ICTs. ICTs can have profound implications for women and men in terms of employment, education, health, environmental sustainability and community development.

Women want information and engage in communication that will improve their livelihoods and help them achieve their human rights. This represents a formidable challenge to all societies in today's world, and especially to developing countries. Due to systemic gender biases in ICTs and their applications, women are far more likely than men to experience discrimination in the information society. Women are not giving up on ICTs. On the contrary, even resource-poor and non-literate women and their organizations are aware of the power of information technologies and communication processes and, if given the opportunity to do so, will use them to advance their basic needs and strategic interests.

Five case studies illustrate the different contexts facing gender and ICTs for development, including e-commerce in Bhutan, entrepreneurship by women workers in China, post-war communication using radio and ICTs in Sierra Leone, sustainable fisheries production in Ghana, and information exchange related to HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean. An extensive annotated bibliography of the international literature on Gender and ICTs for development, rural development in particular, and relevant web resources, complement the papers.

Topics: Development, Gender, Women, Infrastructure, Information & Communication Technologies Regions: Africa, West Africa, Americas, Caribbean countries, Asia, East Asia, South Asia Countries: Barbados, Bhutan, China, Ghana, Jamaica, Sierra Leone, Trinidad & Tobago

Year: 2005

The Hidden Challenge to Development: Gender Based Violence in Guatemala


Blanco, Blanca, and Lorna Hayes. 2007. “The Hidden Challenge to Development: Gender Based Violence in Guatemala.” Trócaire Development Review, 47-64.

Authors: Blanca Blanco, Lorna Hayes


This article examines past and current violence against women in Guatemala from a socio-economic and political context. The authors consider patterns of inequity, poverty and exclusion and describe the principle inhibiting factors, actors and perpetrators involved in violence against women. They then outline the conceptual framework and chart how this debate has evolved in Latin America, exploring the impact on gender based violence on development and democracy in Guatemala in general. The article finally summarises the multi-faceted responses required to halt such violence and draws a number of overall conclusions.

Topics: Democracy / Democratization, Development, Gender, Women, Gender-Based Violence Regions: Americas, Central America Countries: Guatemala

Year: 2007

Information, Female Empowerment and Governance in Oaxaca, Mexico


Díaz-Cayeros, Alberto, Beatriz Magaloni, and Alex Ruiz Euler. 2010. “Information, Female Empowerment and Governance in Oaxaca, Mexico.” Working Paper Working No 544,  Center for International Development, Stanford University, Stanfort, California.

Authors: Alberto Díaz-Cayeros, Beatriz Magaloni, Alex Ruiz Euler


Traditional community rules are formally recognized in multiple constitutions across Latin America. Scholars debate the extent to which these practices conform to broader principles of gender equality. A unique institutional feature in the impoverished state of Oaxaca, Mexico, divides municipalities into traditional and party-based governance. We exploit this feature with  original survey data and find that rates of female participation in traditional communities are not different when compared to non-traditional ones. We also conduct a survey experiment to explore how perceptions about female leadership change with factual information about female mayors. We find the strongest demonstration effect on women recipient of the conditional cashtransfer program Oportunidades. Our evidence suggests overall that traditional governance is not a relevant dimension to understand female disempowerment, and that entrenched discriminatory practices against women (which exist but are not inherent to traditional rule) are sensitive to community bargains and well-designed policy

Topics: Development, Gender, Women, Governance, Elections, Political Participation Regions: Americas, North America Countries: Mexico

Year: 2010

Hidden Opportunities: Islam, Masculinity and Poverty Alleviation


Ahmed, Fauzia. 2008. “Hidden Opportunities: Islam, Masculinity and Poverty Alleviation.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 10 (4): 542–62.

Author: Fauzia Ahmed


Much has been written about patriarchal interpretations of Islam as an obstacle to poverty alleviation in the gender and development literature in Bangladesh, but little research has been carried out on its counterpoint: grassroots Muslim feminist spirituality. Islam is seen as a patriarchal monolith; Muslim men are viewed as inherently inimical to gender empowerment programs. Based on a sample of 200 male and female villagers, this ethnographic study of sharecropper micro credit families revealed at least three masculinities: ‘high-minded (udaar)’, ‘mixed’ and ‘abusive (beshi mare)’. The author analyzes three vignettes of Muslim husbands of Grameen Bank loanees, to illustrate the role that Islam plays in the construction of the different masculinities that these men represent. Muslim women see Islam as a positive force and use boodhi' (wisdom), based on Muslim spirituality as a tool to argue for greater mobility and market access. Increased patriarchal risk compels ‘high-minded’ men to remain silent in public while ‘abusive’ men publicly denounce the Grameen Bank and the loanees as against Islam. In conclusion, the author suggests that field staff enable ‘high-minded’ men to use boodhi to change other men and to ally with women in their efforts to gain agency. These recommendations are part of a larger project that the author initiated in 2007, which is based on including masculinity as an analytic category in gender and development theory, and on using men to change other men as a key strategy in gender and development programs.

Keywords: Islam, masculinities, gender and grassroots politics, patriarchy, development, empowerment, microfinance

Topics: Development, Economies, Poverty, Feminisms, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Religion Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Bangladesh

Year: 2008

The Psychosocial Effects of Conflict in the Third World


Summerfield, Derek. 1991. “The Psychosocial Effects of Conflict in the Third World.” Development in Practice 1 (3): 159–73.

Author: Derek Summerfield


In current armed conflicts around the world, over 90 per cent of casualties are civilians. This article reviews medical and anthropological evidence of the psychosocial effects of extreme experiences such as torture, mutilation, rape, and the violent displacement of communities. The consequences for women and children are considered in particular. The author argues that the social development programmes of non-governmental development organisations should be extended to support social networks and institutions in areas of conflict, and ends by giving guidelines for mental health promoters working in traumatised communities.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Development, Displacement & Migration, Gender, Women, Girls, Boys, Gender-Based Violence, Health, Mental Health, Sexual Violence, Rape, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, Torture

Year: 1991

Deepening Security: Towards Human, Gender and Environmental Security: A HUGE Concept


Spring, Úrsula Oswald. 2008. “Deepening Security: Towards Human, Gender and Environmental Security: A HUGE Concept.” Paper presented at International Studies Association’s 49th Annual Conference, San Francisco, CA, March 26-29.

Author: Úrsula Oswald Spring


HUGE suggests as a deepening security concept to integrate Human, Gender and Environmental Security (HUGE). It combines a wider understanding of gender (including children, elders, indigenous and other vulnerable groups) with a human-centered focus on environmental security and peace challenges. The HUGE concept analyzes the patriarchal, violent and exclusive structures within the family and society questioning the existing process of social representation-building and traditional role assignation between genders searching for processes responsible for thousand of years of discrimination. It assesses the human security approach with equity and development concerns, where survival strategies, social organization, specific governmental policies, private ethical investments and legal reinforcements could stimulate sociopolitical participation of the socially vulnerable. As a holistic concept, HUGE includes environmental security concerns where a healthy environment, integral management of natural resources, prevention and remediation practices reduce vulnerability from hazard impacts. Hazard-prone countries are enabled to develop technical, economic and human support to reduce social vulnerability, to foster progress in internal organization and to stimulate resilience-building, supporting themselves and other regions affected by social and natural disasters. It enables especially the socially vulnerable people such as women and exposed groups to reinforce their own resilience-building through bottom-up internal organization combined with top-down policies and institution building. As nonviolent conflict resolution represents a central part of personal and social identity in a world where processes of unification and diversification are occurring quicker than ever in history. Human beings have a basic necessity to simplify and to put order into complex realities through social comparison. The upcoming systems of values, ideas and practices creates simultaneously processes of living together offering persons and groups the possibility to get familiarized with the social and material world, on behalf of contradictory messages and behaviour. Finally HUGE includes reflections on the consolidation of participatory democracy and governance through conflict prevention, nonviolent conflict resolution processes and peace-building; in summary a huge solidarity process of sustainable and equal nonviolent development.

Topics: Conflict Prevention, Democracy / Democratization, Development, Environment, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equity, Patriarchy, Governance, Nonviolence, Peace Processes, Peacebuilding, Security, Human Security

Year: 2008

Women and Wars Within States: Internal Conflict, Women’s Rights and International Security


Shoemaker, Jolynn. 2001. “Women and Wars Within States: Internal Conflict, Women’s Rights and International Security.” Civil Wars 4 (3): 1-34.

Author: Jolynn Shoemaker


Examines how women experience internal armed conflict processes. Precursors to internal conflict; Impact of pre-conflict conditions on women; Reasons for including women in formal resolution; Steps in facilitating women's long-term development. This article presents a comprehensive framework for addressing the complex roles of women during internal armed conflict. I argue that despite increasing attention to this issue, it has not been incorporated into the study of international security, and that analyses continue to focus on the implications for humanitarian responses during conflict or for post-conflict development policies without a comprehensive understanding of the issue throughout all stages of conflict. Without such a framework, international policies have been ad hoc and have generally addressed each stage of conflict in isolation. I attempt to establish a holistic understanding of women's roles throughout internal armed conflict and propose recommendations for incorporation of women into conflict prevention, resolution and peacebuilding as a crucial step in creating effective mechanisms to address internal armed conflict situations.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Development, Gender, Women, Peacebuilding, Post-Conflict Reconstruction

Year: 2001

Gender and Neoliberal States: Feminists Remake the Nation in Ecuador


Lind, Amy. 2003. “Gender and Neoliberal States: Feminists Remake the Nation in Ecuador.” Latin American Perspectives 30 (1): 181–207.

Author: Amy Lind

Topics: Civil Society, Development, Economies, Poverty, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Governance, Constitutions, Nationalism, NGOs Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Ecuador

Year: 2003

Reconstruction versus Transformation: Post-War Education and the Struggle for Gender Equity in Sierra Leone


Maclure, Richard, and Myriam Denov. 2009. “Reconstruction versus Transformation: Post-War Education and the Struggle for Gender Equity in Sierra Leone.” International Journal of Educational Development 29 (6): 612–20. doi:10.1016/j.ijedudev.2008.11.001.

Authors: Richard Maclure, Myriam Denov


In post-war contexts, education is widely regarded as essential not only for civic reconciliation, but also as a key force for gender equity. In Sierra Leone, however, despite enhanced educational opportunities for girls, much of the emphasis on post-war educational reconstruction is unlikely to rectify gender inequities that remain entrenched within mainstream schooling and in the broader social context. Yet the capacity of education to contribute to gender-based change has not been entirely muted. Several women’s associations are supporting girls’ education as integral to economic and political actions aimed at challenging the hegemony of patriarchy and gendered violence. What remains to be seen is whether these discrete efforts can foster a women’s movement capable of altering the structures of patriarchal power in Sierra Leone.

Keywords: Girls' education, Sierra Leone, post-conflict reconstruction, gender equity

Topics: Development, Education, Gender, Women, Girls, Gender-Based Violence, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Gender Equity, Political Economies, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Sierra Leone

Year: 2009


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