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Women in post-war Liberia. Identities, opportunities and constraints in a historical perspective Veronika Fuest Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology.

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Presentation on theme: "Women in post-war Liberia. Identities, opportunities and constraints in a historical perspective Veronika Fuest Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology."— Presentation transcript:

1 Women in post-war Liberia. Identities, opportunities and constraints in a historical perspective Veronika Fuest Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology Halle, Germany LSA 39 th Conference University of Indiana Bloomington, 24 March 2007

2 The issues Formal political representation in postwar countries of Africa ‚Affirmative action‘ by Liberia‘s president New female identities before the elections Exploring female „gains“ during/after war historical constellations and institutional change

3 A model of the past (north-western Liberia) Women as labor force Controlled by elders and husbands Division of labor

4 Developments since I New roles and skills More responsibilities More scope of manoeuvre New jobs Self-help organizations Enrolment of girls in schools

5 Developments since II Peace-making organizations Feminist identities Political participation at local and national levels Contesting traditional leaders

6 Foreign interventions and institutional change I Proliferation of western gender discourse Inclusive methods of training and sensitization

7 Foreign interventions and institutional change II Advice on gender policies and legislation (Unintended) consequences: Increase in institutional complexity

8 Historical Continuity „Feminization“ of production, female-headed households Women in leadership (informally and public office) ‚Cultural heritage‘ of Americo-Liberian rule

9 Subgroups who have gained Female politicians Leaders of new women‘s organizations Business women Employees in the peacebuilding and aid sector

10 Constraints and prospects Burden of responsibility as major providers Lack of capital Lack of appropriate education Weakness of the legal system Conservative backlash

11 Constraints and prospects Role models of women in leadership positions Importance of foreign support Gender discourse as symbolic resource

12 Thank you very much for your attention!


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