Presentation on theme: "Megan MacKenzie Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand."— Presentation transcript:
Megan MacKenzie Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand
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?
1. Women are not major actors in war 2. When war is over, women are happy to ‘return to normal’
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)
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)
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
“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”
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’
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
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
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
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)
Sexual Violence 70-90% ‘War Babies’ Over 20,000 in Sierra Leone Stigma Female soldiers are aberrations, not heroes
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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