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Megan MacKenzie Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.

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Presentation on theme: "Megan MacKenzie Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand."— Presentation transcript:

1 Megan MacKenzie Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

2  Why, if women participated as soldiers, were they largely ignored in mainstream accounts of the conflict and overlooked in the DDR process?  What gendered stereotypes might influence post-conflict policy-making?  Is post-conflict a good time to address gender inequality?  Why does gender sensitivity matter when it comes to conflict and post-conflict policy- making?  How can we improve conflict programs by acknowledging gender?

3 1. Women are not major actors in war 2. When war is over, women are happy to ‘return to normal’

4 1. Sexual violence emphasis. 2. Women removed from policy-making process. 3. Literature and research: Women as naturally peaceful and averse to risk. 4. Violent women are typically seen as exceptions or even monsters. (Sjoberg 2007)

5  Challenge a particular understanding of social and gender order -power, marriage, children, ‘legitimate’ relationships  Disrupt gendered binaries associated with war (male warrior/female victim) and dominant myths about war (peaceful women, violent men)

6  the number of females soldiers was much higher than existing estimations.  30-50%  multiple and diverse roles  female soldiers were often perpetrators and victims  Distinction between combat and support roles (combatants as ‘real’ soldiers)  Sexual violence rates extremely high amongst female soldiers

7  “leading lethal attacks”  “screening and killing pro- rebel civilians”  “combatant”  “poison/inject captured war prisoners with either lethal injection or acid”  “I trained with [the AFRC] bush camp how to shoot a gun”  “fighting”  “killing and maiming pro- government forces and civilians”  “gun trafficking”  “killing”  “planning and carrying out attacks on public places”  “do execution on commanders of my age group”  “murdered children”

8  Various titles given to female soldiers: ‘camp followers,’ ‘abductees,’ ‘sex slaves,’ ‘domestic slaves,’ or ‘girls and women associated with the fighting forces’ and ‘vulnerable groups associated with armed movements’

9  The importance of combat duty to the soldier title  Reclassification of female soldiers as some form of victim: abductees, camp followers, bush wives  Ignoring/prioritizing diverse labor required to sustain warfare  Ignoring sexual slavery as a wartime currency and required duty for many women  This lack of attention to gender resulted in inefficient DDR policy-making

10  Depoliticization of women’s activities and labor during war  Ignoring or re-categorizing female soldiers reinforces gendered assumptions about what women do, or should do during war  Excluding women from post-conflict reintegration programs for soldiers

11  Grossly under-funded  Underestimated participants by about 20,000  Over 75,000 soldiers participated  Of the 75,000 disarmed only 5000 were women  Children’s DDR girls accounted for 8% of the disarmed  Emphasis on the first D

12  Reintegration programs offered limited training options  Reintegration for females more generally seen as a “social” process that would happen naturally over time (NCDDR)  Returning to “normal” emphasized, including marriage.  Little local input on training  Post-conflict is an ideal time to address gender (reconstructing order)

13  Sexual Violence 70-90%  ‘War Babies’ Over 20,000 in Sierra Leone  Stigma Female soldiers are aberrations, not heroes

14  Statistics  Strategic Use  Stigma

15  Dialogue between scholars and practitioners/ between beneficiaries and practitioners  We need to think about gender consistently and before the implementation phase  Recognize the gendered impacts of securitizing post-conflict (DDR, idle men)  Recognize sexual violence as a currency of war not just an impact of war  Need to rethink the meaning of post-conflict Positive transition Opportunity for women Gender neutral Limited time frame (sexual violence impacts, reintegration for women)

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