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Post-conflict Governance

Women as Political Participants: Psychosocial Post Conflict Recovery in Peru


Laplante, Lisa. 2007. “Women as Political Participants: Psychosocial Post Conflict Recovery in Peru.” Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology 13 (3): 313–31.

Author: Lisa Laplante


This article presents preliminary findings on the effectiveness of postconflict recovery strategies, one of which is political activism. I describe Peru's experience to illustrate how mental health professionals adopt a more holistic view of psychosocial healing within the reparations framework established by Peru's Truth and Reconciliation Commission. I then illustrate how this model meets the particular needs of women who survived the conflict and are now reclaiming their mental well-being through political activism. The short-term evaluation of this approach reveals that it benefits this population both through raising their self-esteem and by involving them in policy decisions that directly affect their lives.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Women, Governance, Post-conflict Governance, Health, Mental Health, Justice, TRCs, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Political Participation Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Peru

Year: 2007

Constitutional Engineering: What Opportunities for the Enhancement of Gender Rights?


Waylen, Georgina. 2006. “Constitutional Engineering: What Opportunities for the Enhancement of Gender Rights?” Third World Quarterly 27 (7): 1209–21.

Author: Georgina Waylen


The majority of feminist scholars have neglected the impact of constitutional design to date. But it has recently come to the fore, as institutional engineering has been a key part of the efforts to ‘build democracy after conflict’ (or impose it from the outside), most notably in Iraq and Afghanistan. This paper will examine some contrasting experiences of constitutional design (with evidence drawn primarily from some transitions to democracy) and draw out some wider lessons for feminists exploring effective strategies to enhance gender rights. It will also widen the debate from the institutional concerns that have predominated to date, namely quotas as a mechanism to enhance women's descriptive representation and, to a lesser extent, national women's machineries as a mechanism to enhance women's substantive representation. It will focus more broadly on the opportunities that constitutional design can provide to embed women's rights more securely and create an enabling framework that can subsequently be used toenhance all forms of women's rights, not just civil and political ones.

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Women, Governance, Constitutions, Quotas, Post-conflict Governance, Peacebuilding, Political Participation, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Rights, Women's Rights Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East, South Asia Countries: Afghanistan, Iraq

Year: 2006

Theoretical Intersections: Implications of Postcolonial and Feminist Theory to Our Understanding of and Teaching on Sexualised Violence in Contemporary Post-Colonial Conflicts


Kirkegaard, Ane M. 2007. "Theoretical Intersections: Implications of Postcolonial and Feminist Theory to Our Understanding of and Teaching on Sexualised Violence in Contemporary Post-Colonial Conflicts." Paper presented at the International Studies Association 48th Annual Convention, Chicago, February 28-March 3.

Author: Ane M. Kirkegaard


During the post-colonial India-Pakistan war of partition somewhere between 80.000 and 100.000 women were abducted and raped. That women were abducted and raped was not particular to the conflict. What was particular was the large number of victimised women and the subsequent official acknowledgement of the violence. Half a century later the world faced the consequences of two other post-colonial conflicts during which women were specifically targeted through organised abductions and rape on a mass scale. This time, however the world reacted by defining rape as a weapon of war and as a war crime for which organisers and executors of rape during war and conflict could be accused and sentenced at international courts of justice. Also, research on sexualised violence during war increased, in particular studies mapping sexualised violence against women during war and conflict. However, theoretical explanations are lacking in precision and clarity with the result that we are still badly equipped to understand the complexities of organised sexualised violence, as explanations for such violence are often grounded in outdated andro- and/or ethnocentric theories about male and female roles and behaviour. In this paper I will argue that we need to bring peace and conflict theory up to date through the introduction of contemporary postcolonial and feminist theory. Applied to the examples above the theoretical explanations for the massive abductions and rapes, in particular in the case of India/Pakistan in the late 1940s and Rwanda in 1994, must include an analysis of the colonial and post-colonial context and the sexualisation of the Other as part of colonial and post-colonial identity formation and the consequent image of the Others? Selves. Reading contemporary post-colonial conflicts at the intersection of peace, conflict, feminist and postcolonial theory has academic implications both in terms of research and teaching within the field of peace and conflict studies. The rather conservative androcentrism of traditional peace and conflict studies will through the introduction of feminist and postcolonial theory have to approach both gender and the consequences of colonialism as fundamental to contemporary conflicts and the new wars. The demands from students on the inclusion of such perspectives on teachers and researchers are growing but few are willing to take on the task of renewing the subject. My contribution to the ISA 2007 annual conference is hence focused on the exploration of the implications of the theoretical intersection of peace, conflict, feminist and postcolonial theory, and should be read both as academic politics?i.e. a reaction against the too slow awakening of researchers in this field? and as an engagement with demands from students of peace and conflict.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Feminisms, Gender, Gender Roles, Femininity/ies, Gender-Based Violence, Governance, Post-conflict Governance, Post-Conflict, Sexual Violence

Year: 2007

An All Men's Show? Angolan Women's Survival in the 30-Year War


Ducados, Henda. 2000. “An All Men’s Show? Angolan Women’s Survival in the 30-Year War.” Agenda: Empowering Women for Gender Equity 16 (43): 11–22. doi:10.1080/10130950.2000.9675806.

Author: Henda Ducados

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, National Liberation Wars, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Governance, Post-conflict Governance, Peacebuilding, Peace Processes, Political Participation, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Angola

Year: 2000

Reframing Governance, Security and Conflict in the Light of HIV/AIDS: A Synthesis of Findings from the AIDS, Security and Conflict Initiative


De Waal, Alex. 2010. “Reframing Governance, Security and Conflict in the Light of HIV/AIDS: A Synthesis of Findings from the AIDS, Security and Conflict Initiative.” Social Science & Medicine 70 (1): 114-20. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2009.09.031.

Author: Alex De Waal


This paper draws upon the findings of the AIDS, Security and Conflict Initiative (ASCI) to reach conclusions about the relationship between HIV/AIDS, security, conflict and governance, in the areas of HIV/AIDS and state fragility, the reciprocal interactions between armed conflicts (including post-conflict transitions) and HIV/AIDS, and the impact of HIV/AIDS on uniformed services and their operational effectiveness. Gender issues cut across all elements of the research agenda. ASCI commissioned 29 research projects across regions, disciplines and communities of practice.

Over the last decade, approaches to HIV/AIDS as a security threat have altered dramatically, from the early anticipation that the epidemic posed a threat to the basic functioning of states and security institutions, to a more sanguine assessment that the impacts will be less severe than feared. ASCI finds that governance outcomes have been shaped as much by the perception of HIV/AIDS as a security threat, as the actual impacts of the epidemic.

ASCI research found that the current indices of fragility at country level did not demonstrate any significant association with HIV, calling into question the models used for asserting such linkages. However at local government level, appreciable impacts can be seen. Evidence from ASCI and elsewhere indicates that conventional indicators of conflict, including the definition of when it ends, fail to capture the social traumas associated with violent disruption and their implications for HIV. Policy frameworks adopted for political and security reasons translate poorly into social and public health policies. Fears of much-elevated HIV rates among soldiers with disastrous impacts on armies as institutions, have been overstated. In mature epidemics, rates of infection among the military resemble those of the peer groups within the general population. Military HIV/AIDS control policies follow a different and parallel paradigm to national (civilian) policies, in which armies prioritize command responsibility and operational effectiveness over individual rights. Law enforcement practices regarding criminalized and stigmatized activities, such as injecting drug use and commercial sex work, are an important factor in shaping the trajectory of HIV epidemics.

Keywords: HIV/AIDS, security, conflict, governance

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Gender, Governance, Post-conflict Governance, Health, HIV/AIDS, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Post-Conflict, Security

Year: 2010

Police Reform and the Peace Process in Guatemala: The Fifth Promotion of the National Civilian Police


Glebbeek, Marie-Louise. 2001. “Police Reform and the Peace Process in Guatemala: The Fifth Promotion of the National Civilian Police.” Bulletin of Latin American Research 20 (4): 431-53.

Author: Marie-Louise Glebbeek


After 36 years of mostly authoritarian rule and often bitter civil conflict in Guatemala, the December 1996 Peace Accords prepared the ground for a new phase of reconstruction, democratisation and social and institutional reform. Prior to the Peace Accords, policing in Guatemala had been often violent, repressive and subordinated to the counterinsurgency logic of the military. Security sector reform intentions included the abolition of existing police forces and the creation of a new National Civil Police (PNC). The PNC was meant to give substance to a new way of policing in tune with the building of democratic governance and effective law enforcement. This paper examines the general background of the reforms, discusses the limitations of the results so far, and takes a particular and critical look at one of the key components of the police reform: the recruitment and training of PNC aspirants, using the case of the 1999 Fifth Promotion that entered the Academy of the PNC.

Keywords: police, security sector reform, peace and reconstruction, Guatemala

Topics: Democracy / Democratization, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Governance, Post-conflict Governance, Peace Processes, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Security, Security Sector Reform Regions: Americas, Central America Countries: Guatemala

Year: 2001

Rights and Realities: Limits to Women's Rights and Citizenship after 10 Years of Democracy in South Africa


Hames, Mary. 2006. “Rights and Realities: Limits to Women’s Rights and Citizenship after 10 Years of Democracy in South Africa.” Third World Quarterly 27 (7): 1313–27.

Author: Mary Hames


South Africa's seemingly progressive legislation has been tried and tested over the past 10 years. Subsequent case law has been created and these precedents have given women citizens the courage and opportunities to challenge legislation in the superior and lower courts, and to use other legal mechanisms to improve their access to justice. This article takes a critical look at how effective some of these laws and other mechanisms are in responding to the needs of the most marginalised in South African society. The discussion shows how difficult it still is for many women to exercise or even understand their newly acquired liberal 'rights' as entrenched in the constitution and elsewhere, for a variety of factors. To illustrate these difficulties, the article draws on a series of workshops conducted with black women in a peri-urban district of Cape Town.

Keywords: citizenship, women's rights, democracy

Topics: Governance, Post-conflict Governance, Political Participation, Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: South Africa

Year: 2006

Land Reform for Peace? Rwanda’s 2005 Land Law in Context


Pottier, Johan. 2006. “Land Reform for Peace? Rwanda’s 2005 Land Law in Context.” Journal of Agrarian Change 6 (4): 509-37.

Author: Johan Pottier


A decade ago, Rwanda embarked on a major land reform programme. The government envisaged a new land law, supported by a land policy, and claimed that the new tenure system would contribute to enhancing food production, social equity and the prevention of conflict. The Land Law was finally passed in the summer of 2005. The UK Department for International Development (DFID) has taken on significant responsibility for monitoring the reform programme. This article provides a contextualized reading of the new Law. It argues that its emphasis on the obligation to consolidate fragmented family plots and register them will exacerbate social tension, but that some of the potential for social strife may be reduced because the state will allow flexibility in how the Land Law is implemented. 

Keywords: land reform, social inequality, new elites, land scarcity, local government, aid policy



“While the inheritance law is undeniably a positive step towards institutionalizing gender parity, three caveats must be noted. Firstly, in the absence of proper marriage contracts (legal or customary), children are deemed illegitimate. Since the majority of unions in Rwanda are common law unions ‘not legally registered,’ young women and girls are easily labelled illegitimate, which disqualifies them from the new-style inheritance provision…many rural women, including repatriates say they are confused about the legislation.” (519)

“Secondly, the Inheritance Law cannot be applied retrospectively. The Law does not apply to the tens of thousands of so-called legitimate daughters whose fathers and husbands died in the genocide.Thirdly, whoever controls the family council can decide whether or not a woman inherits land."  (519-520)

"[Article 4 of the 2005 Land Law] addresses gender imbalances in customary land tenure and connects with the Inheritance Law (1999), confirming that any form of discrimination in matters of land ownership, including gender discrimination, is prohibited. Further in the text, however, the Land Law reminds us that only legally married women and their children can inherit (Article 36). Although written some five years after the new legislation on inheritance was passed, neither the Land Policy nor the Land Law offer any reflections on gender above and beyond what the Inheritance Law (1999) has proclaimed.” (521)

“Authors of the National Land Policy and Land Law may have overlooked that the cultural aspects of land access are highly significant from a conflict prevention point of view.” (526)

“Threatens to make a vast number of Rwandans landless, either because they have insufficient land to consolidate or because they cannot meet the registration fee, or because in one way or other they risk being labelled unworthy farmers. If expropriation is extensive, the army of landless people thus created will have the potential for generating significant conflict, especially when, as is most likely, alternative livelihood strategies are not forthcoming.” (527)

“Today, land scarcity also has a strong gender dimension. Although the Land Law refers to the Inheritance Law, it does not spell out what women can expect to gain from the new law and tenure system. The sceptical answer – women should not expect anything – seems borne out in Article 87 of the Land Law, which declares in rather lofty fashion that the state has a duty to pass on confiscated lands ‘to those who have been deprived of their right to land.’ The absence of an explicit reference to the social categories the Law has in mind will make many Rwandans fear that Tutsi 59-ers are the preferred social category […].” (528)

“Finally, it remains to be seen whether the pro-women inheritance legislation (1999) will find champions – among politicians and administrators – willing and able to take on the full force of the language of public morality; a discourse condemning those ‘not properly’ married. This may not happen. Although the Land Law declares a commitment to gender equity with regard to land ownership (Article 4), the rest of the Law is silent on gender and land.”(531)

“Their [international actors'] attention will need to focus on the plight of women farmers. While women’s rights in land may seem guaranteed by the Inheritance Law (1999), women continue to face serious struggle when attempting to actualize their rights. The 2005 Land Law is not offering women any relief or reassurance in this matter, and may in fact be making them once again more invisible.” (533) 

Topics: Conflict Prevention, Gender, Women, Girls, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Land Tenure, Governance, Post-conflict Governance, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Peacebuilding, Rights, Land Rights, Property Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa Countries: Rwanda

Year: 2006

Women War Survivors of the 1989-2003 Conflict in Liberia: The Impact of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence


Liebling-Kalifani, Helen, Victoria Mwaka, Ruth Ojiambo-Ochieng, Juliet Were-Oguttu, Eugene Kinyanda, Deddeh Kwekwe, Lindora Howard, and Cecilia Danuweli. 2011. "Women War Survivors of the 1989-2003 Conflict in Liberia: The Impact of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence." Journal of International Women's Studies 12 (1): 1-21.

Authors: Helen Liebling-Kalifani, Victoria Mwaka, Ruth Ojiambo-Ochieng, Juliet Were-Oguttu, Eugene Kinyanda, Deddeh Kwekwe, Lindora Howard, Cecilia Danuweli


This article presents a summary of the qualitative data from research carried out in post-conflict Liberia by Isis-WICCE, a women's international non-government organisation, in conjunction with the Ministry of Gender and Development of Liberia and Women in Peace-building Network, WIPNET. Analysis of research findings detail women's experiences of conflict and the serious effects of sexual violence and torture on their physical and psychological health. The paper also describes the omission of women from justice and rehabilitation processes. In support of women participants' views, the author's recommend that funding is urgently required for the provision of holistic and sustainable, gender- sensitive services. Additional recommendations are made with respect to health, justice and policy changes in line with enhancing women survivor's roles and utilising their skills and resilience.



"The rates of sexual violence were higher amongst former combatants; 42.3%, amongst women combatants and 32.6% amongst male combatants." (9)

"The most visited health facility for psychological problems and surgical problems related to war were the private run clinics. However, significant numbers utilised self medication, traditional healers, local health centres and district hospitals. A tenth of the participants had not sought any treatment at all for their psychological problems. Participants described government health facilities as not having the necessary professional expertise to handle the psychosocial consequences of war as well as the emerging epidemic of domestic violence." (11-12)

"It was also observed that the DDRR largely failed to meet a large number of women's and girls' needs compared to men's and boys'. Thousands of women and girls formally associated with the fighting forces did not participate in the DDRR for reasons such as misinformation, lack of knowledge and understanding about the process, manipulation by commanders, lack of funding, lack of political will to ensure a gender-based approach, shame and fear. Some of the women that did participate were said to have been harassed by UN designated officials during the disarmament phase, including being ridiculed or hit whilst trying to disarm. Amnesty International (2008a) reported that some women did not benefit unless they were prepared to have sex with their commander. The programme failed to meet the needs of many women and girl combatants and did not ensure that their participation was proportional to their actual level of involvement. Many women were said to have failed to fully benefit from the rehabilitation and reintegration phase because the programme largely failed to acknowledge and address stigma and shame as a barrier to their participation, as well as taking into account adequate understandings of women's and girl's war experiences (Amnesty International, 2008a)." (14)

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Women, Gender-Based Violence, Governance, Post-conflict Governance, Health, Mental Health, Reproductive Health, International Organizations, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Rights, Women's Rights, Sexual Violence, Rape, SV against women, Torture, Sexual Torture Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Liberia

Year: 2011

The Impact of Armed Conflict on Women and Girls: A Consultative Meeting on Mainstreaming Gender in Areas of Conflict and Reconstruction.


United Nations Population Fund. 2001. "The Impact of Armed Conflict on Women and Girls: A Consultative Meeting on Mainstreaming Gender in Areas of Conflict and Reconstruction". A report from the consultative meeting held in Bratislava, Slovakia, November 13-15.

Author: United Nations Population Fund


A consultative meeting, “The Impact of Armed Conflict on Women and Girls,” was held in Bratislava, Slovakia, on 13-15 November 2001. The purpose of the meeting was twofold: first, to examine and explore the impact of armed conflict on women and girls; and, second, to formulate strategies and tools to ensure that reproductive health programmes accurately reflect this population’s needs, specifically by addressing them through a comprehensive, gender- sensitive approach.

Keywords: reproductive rights



“The presence of peacekeeping organizations in post-conflict settings sometimes has negative ramifications on public health, again with severe repercussions for women and girls.” (UNPF, 4)

“Female genital mutilation is a contributory factor in obstetric complications and is often overlooked. Its incidence can increase in conflict situations when communities heighten traditional practices or seek to integrate with cultural customs of host populations.” (UNPF, 9)

“In post-conflict settings, the sudden entry of money and foreigners, and specifically peacekeeping organizations, heightens an already precarious situation for refugee and host populations...most peacekeeping personnel are men between 20 and 50 years of age...The demand for commercial sex increases sharply in settings with peacekeeping organizations.” (UNPF, 30)

“Women’s NGOs, in particular, need to be visibly involved to highlight issues of women and girls, whose culturally based gender roles often determine their needs.” (UNPF, 35)

“As has been shown women will invariably have taken on new roles during displacement, gender attitudes may have changed and it is vital that these advances are not lost in the post-conflict setting but rather are built upon in the rehabilitation of societies.” (UNPF, 55)

“Empowerment, as opposed to participation, is a feminist vision of development better suited to modern concepts of development...In the mainstream development discourse, however, empowerment focuses on entrepreneurship and self-reliance and not on challenging power structures which subordinate women.” (UNPF, 61)

“Women have used several entry points to transform the culture of violence and war to a culture of peace, non-violence and tolerance. For some, their entry point was to change the mentality and social roles, targeting men and young adolescent males, assuming that ‘since war beings in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defense of peace must be created.’” (UNPF, 113)

“Post-conflict societies and countries in transition face the great challenges of reconstruction and rehabilitation. They need financial and technical resources in order to meet the demands of rebuilding political, economic and social sectors...In disbursing funds for civil building, however, donors must take into consideration the gender dimension in all income-generating activities and development programmes.” (UNPF, 117)

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Women, Girls, Gender Mainstreaming, Governance, Post-conflict Governance, Health, Reproductive Health, NGOs, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction

Year: 2001


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