The RSIS Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies' Blog


Post-Conflict Societies – The Role of Gender Analysis

Posted in Internal Conflicts and Human Security by NTSblog on October 28, 2010
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On 20th October 2010, the UN Population Fund released its State of World Population Report 2010 : From Conflict and Crisis to Renewal – Generations of Change (Report). Much of the report is aimed to coincide with the 10th Anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (Resolution 1325) on women, peace and security. The Report utilises a gender analysis to reflect on the accounts of men and women to violence and sexual abuse in situations of conflict and post-conflict.

It is revealed that the experiences and responses of men and women to situations of conflict affect their role and psychology in the household, community or society in post-conflict environments. The case studies illustrated that altered post-conflict dynamics in some households led to positive shifts towards core household responsibilities (chapter 4), whereas in other cases the effects of conflict were converted to expression of domestic abuse (pp. 28 – 29). The collected emphasis of the accounts was the fundamental importance of ‘caring communities’; whether extended family, a clan, a village or a local organisation. The existence of such social support mechanisms is vital. However, in most cases these need to be accompanied by awareness raising and educating efforts on post-conflict trauma at local and national levels, to accurately sensitise local  cultures and inform support mechanisms.

Some key points arising from the 2010 Report include;

  • A gender analysis is useful to expose the abusive impacts of conflict on men, as it can for women; Chris Dolan’s ‘Gender Against Men’;
  • The presence of differential socio-cultural reactions (chapter 1) to the abuses suffered by men and women during the conflict; sexual abuse, torture and abduction suffered by women was more severely denounced, eventhough men went through similar experiences, led to the psychological insecurities of women being unaddressed;
  • Local Women Organisations play a significant role in bridging access for women to public forums to raise their security concerns (see also pp. 21). The Report notes the high prevalence of domestic violence in post-conflict Timor Leste and the efforts of the UN in producing a manual for the Timorese National Police on investigating cases of gender-based violence (pp. 21). The incorporation of women representatives in UN Peacebuilding and Peacekeeping forces assisted in aware-raising and educating local women, alongside local organisations, on issues of gender violence, especially in societies where domestic violence is deemed a private matter;
  • The United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations has begun recruiting more women as civilian police officers, especially after Resolution 1325; India and Bangladesh (chapter 2, pp. 20) are among the top contributors of women to police work.

Many authors have written over decades on the importance of integrating women into post-conflict societal rehabilitation efforts; ‘Women and Post-Conflict Reconstruction: Issues and Sources’ (1998). The main objective of these writings is to influence against the presumption of women as ‘victims’ but to consider their potential as social agents in post-conflict restoration of societies. Accordingly, the UN issued Security Council Resolution 1889 in October 2009; urging states, and international and regional organisations to take further measures to improve women’s participation in all stages of peace processes, including  political and economic decision-making at early stages of recovery processes (para 1).

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