The Changing Nature of War and its Impact on Women
There are dozens of active conflicts today, many of them brutal civil wars. These wars often involve non-state actors and have become increasingly deadly for civilians, especially women, who face abduction, rape and dislocation on a massive scale.[i]
Traditional peace-making methods are proving ineffective at ending these smaller wars.
Women have been largely absent from peace processes.
Making Peace: Women Contribute Inside and Outside Negotiations
A growing body of evidence shows that women offer unique contributions to making and keeping peace – and that those contributions lead to better outcomes not just for women but for entire societies.
Women raise issues in peace negotiations that help societies reconcile, rebuild and achieve a just and lasting peace.
Women often speak on behalf of marginalized groups and organize across cultural and sectarian divides. This ensures that the voices of more people who have a stake in the future of a country will be heard, which is important for long-term stability.
In certain conflicts, women have been uniquely able to produce results because they are seen as honest brokers or facilitators in peace processes.
Women also mobilize pressure outside of actual negotiations to encourage progress.
As societies put conflict behind them, women’s economic and political participation has ripple effects that benefit everyone.
o Studies suggest not only that higher levels of gender equality and women’s physical security are linked to the security and peacefulness of a state, but also that reduction in inequality and improvements to women’s security can be important foundations for stability.[xxv]
o Research shows that the domestic levels of social, political, economic and gender equality are associated with the extent of a state’s level of reliance on military force during conflicts and crises.[xxvi] Data from 1954 to 1994 illustrates that states with higher levels of gender equality use less violence to manage crises than states with lower levels of gender equality.[xxvii]
[i] United Nations. (2002). “Women, peace and security.” http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/public/eWPS.pdf. See also UNICEF. 2005. “The impact of conflict on women and girls in west and central Africa and the UNICEF response.” http://www.unicef.org/publications/files/Impact_final.pdf
[iii] UN Women. 2011. “Facts & figures on peace & security”. http://www.unifem.org/gender_issues/women_war_peace/facts_figures.php#2. See also UN Special Rapporteur to the Commission on Human Rights. (1996). “Report on the situation of human rights in Rwanda.” E/CN.4/1996/68.
[iv] Ibid. See also Ward, Jeanne. (2002). “Bosnia and Herzegovina, if not now, when? Addressing gender-based violence in refugee, internally displaced, and post-conflict settings.” The Reproductive Health for Refugees Consortium. http://www.rhrc.org/resources/ifnotnow.pdf. p. 81.
[v] Ibid. See also Physicians for Human Rights. (2002). “War-related sexual violence in Sierra Leone: a population-based assessment.” https://s3.amazonaws.com/PHR_Reports/sierra-leone-sexual-violence-2002.pdf
[vi] Ibid. See also Rodriguez, Claudia. (2007). “Sexual violence in South Kivu.” Forced Migration Review. Oxford: Refugee Studies Centre of the Oxford Department of International Development, University of Oxford.
[vii] Human Security Report 2009/2010. (2010). “The causes of peace and the shrinking costs of war.” http://www.hsrgroup.org/docs/Publications/HSR20092010/20092010HumanSecurityReport-Part3-TrendsInHumanInsecurity.pdf
[viii] World Bank. (2011). “2011 World Development Report: facts and figures.” http://wdr2011.worldbank.org/early-findings
[ix] Diaz, Pablo Castillo et al. (2010). “Women’s participation in peace negotiations.” UNIFEM. http://www.unifem.org/attachments/products/0302_WomensParticipationInPeaceNegotiations_en.pdf
[xii] Africa Report. (2006). “Beyond victimhood: women’s peacebuilding in Sudan, Congo and Uganda.” International Crisis Group, 112(28). http://www.crisisgroup.org/~/media/Files/africa/horn-of-africa/Beyond%20Victimhood%20Womens%20Peacebuilding%20in%20Sudan%20Congo%20and%20Uganda.pdf
[xiii] Institute for Inclusive Security (uploaded 2010). Video interview with Monica McWilliams: “A voice of confidence we took to the table.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQd2ZQptsnE
[xiv] United Nations. (2002). “Women, peace and security.” http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/public/eWPS.pdf. p. 120.
[xv] UNIFEM. (2005). “Securing the peace: guiding the international community towards women’s effective participation throughout peace processes.” http://www.unifem.org/attachments/products/Securing_the_Peace.pdf. See also Sultan, Masuda with C. Levine & E. Powley. (2005). “From Rhetoric to Reality: Afghan Women on the Agenda for Peace.” Hunt Alternatives Fund. http://www.huntalternatives.org/download/18_from_rhetoric_to_reality_afghan_women_on_the_agenda_for_peace.pdf. p. 23
[xvi] United Nations. (2002). “Women, peace and security.” http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/public/eWPS.pdf. p. 62.
[xvii] Anderlini, Sanam Naraghi. (2000). “Women at the peace table: making a difference.” UNIFEM. http://www.unifem.org/attachments/products/WomenAtPeaceTable.pdf. See also Anderlini, Sanam Naraghi. (2007). Women Building Peace: What They Do, Why It Matters. Colorado: Lynne Rienner Publishers, Inc. Anderlini, Sanam Naraghi. (2010). “WDR gender background paper.” World Development Report 2011. http://wdr2011.worldbank.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/WDR%20Background%20Paper_Anderlini.pdf.
[xviii] Anderlini, Sanam Naraghi. (2007). Women Building Peace: What They Do, Why It Matters. Colorado: Lynne Rienner Publishers, Inc. See also Anderlini, Sanam Naraghi. (2010). “WDR gender background paper.” World Development Report 2011. http://wdr2011.worldbank.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/WDR%20Background%20Paper_Anderlini.pdf. Anderlini, Sanam Naraghi. (2000). “Women at the peace table: making a difference.” UNIFEM. http://www.unifem.org/attachments/products/WomenAtPeaceTable.pdf.
[xix] USAID. (2007). “Women & conflict.” http://pdf.usaid.gov/pdf_docs/PNADJ133.pdf Pg. 14-15. See also Rojas, Cataline et al. (2004). “In the midst of war: women’s contributions to peace in Colombia.” Hunt Alternatives Fund. http://www.huntalternatives.org/download/16_in_the_midst_of_war_women_s_contributions_to_peace_in_colombia.pdf.
[xx] Timmons, Debra M. (2004). “The Sixth Clan – women organize for peace in Somalia: a review of published literature.” University for Peace, Africa Program. http://www.upeace.org/library/documents/somalia_the_sixth_clan.pdf. p. 18
[xxi] Rehn, Elisabeth and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. (2002). Women, War, Peace: the Independent Experts’ Assessment on the Impact of Armed Conflict on Women and Women’s Role in Peace-Building. New York: UNIFEM.
[xxii] Falch, Ashild. (2010). “Women’s political participation and influence in post-conflict Burundi and Nepal.” Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO). http://www.peacewomen.org/assets/file/Resources/Academic/partpol_postconburundinepal_falch_2010.pdf.
[xxiii] Hausmann, Ricardo, L. Tyson & S. Zahidi. (2010). “Global gender gap report 2010.” Geneva: World Economic Forum. http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GenderGap_Report_2010.pdf.
[xxiv] Chattopadhyay, Raghabendra & Esther Duflo. (2004). “Women as policy makers: Evidence from a randomized policy experiment in India.” Econometrica, 72:5, 1409-1443. See also Beaman, Lori et al. (2006). “Women politicians, gender bias, and policy-making in Rural India.” Background Paper for UNICEF. The State of the World’s Children 2007 Report. http://www.unicef.org/sowc07/docs/beaman_duflo_pande_topalova.pdf
[xxv] Hudson, Valerie M., M. Caprioli, B. Ballif-Spanvill, R. McDermott, & C. Emmett. (2008/9). “The heart of matter: the security of women and the security of states.” International Security, 33(3), pp 7-45.
[xxvi] Caprioli, Mary. (2000). “Gendered conflict.” Journal of Peace Research, 37:1, 53-68. See also Caprioli, Mary. (2003). “Gender and civil wars.” CPR Working Papers, Paper No. 8. World Bank. http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTCPR/214578-1111996036679/20482367/WP8trxtsep3.pdf. Caprioli, Mary & M. Boyer. (2001). “Gender, violence and international crisis.” Journal of Conflict Resolution, 45:4, 503-518. Caprioli, Mary. (2003). “Gender and civil wars.” CPR Working Papers, Paper No. 8. World Bank. http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTCPR/214578-1111996036679/20482367/WP8trxtsep3.pdf.