Women and girls are marginalised within most societies. That, coupled with the violence of conflict and its gendered dimensions, can often lead to increased vulnerability and to particular kinds of loss, violence and harms. We can clearly see the trends in women and girls’ reduced access to resources, livelihood inputs and basic services; increased family and social responsibilities; restricted mobility; unequal access to protective services and legal mechanisms; and inadequate political power at local and national levels. All of these factors influence women and girls’ ability to survive and recover from armed conflict.
How does gender relate to conflict, peace and recovery? This review paper provides a synthesis of key literature, frameworks and research findings. It covers five broad topical areas: gender as an analytical framework; gender and the impact of armed conflict; gender and non-violent resistance; gender and peace-building; gender and transitional justice. It also identifies needs for further research in these areas. This paper contributes to the goals of reinventing peace and improving understanding and means of addressing armed conflict by providing a synthesis of key theories, frameworks and research findings regarding gender, conflict, peace and recovery.
- Gender as an analytical framework for understanding conflict-related violence (particularly against women and girls): Culturally-inscribed notions of gender lie at the heart of much contemporary conflict.
- Gender and the impact of armed conflict: While men, women, boys and girls experience similar phenomena during and after conflict, their experiences and levels of vulnerability are influenced by their gender.
- Gender and non-violent resistance: Not only are broad based, non-violent resistance movements more effective at achieving political ends than armed movements, this paper finds that organisations with a “gender-inclusive” ideology (i.e., one that promotes the rights of women) are more likely to use non-violent methods.
- Gender and peace: A gender analysis of community peace-building would be valuable in understanding the capacities and strategies of local groups that are able to influence national agendas, and would be key to promoting an alternative approach to peace that is not simply top-down.
- Gender and transitional justice: Too often, in the aftermath of conflict, crimes against women and children are given a lower priority and the crimes committed against them typically go unrecorded. Around the world transitional justice programmes consistently fail to incorporate women and girls’ specific needs.