Author: A. El Jack
Publication Date: 2003
Institution: BRIDGE/Institute of Development Studies (IDS), Sussex.
This Report provides a comprehensive thematic overview of the distinct ways in which both men and women are affected by armed conflict and its impact upon gender relations. It provides a collection of case studies, summaries of key materials, tools, web resources and networking contacts. It is useful for those working on policy and programmatic responses to conflict and those seeking to understand the differential impact of conflict upon men and women.
The key lesson highlighted in the Report is interventions must account for the diverse realities of women and men in conflict and stabilisation environments - who may simultaneously play the roles of activists and parents, soldiers and victims - instead of relying on stereotypical perceptions of men and women’s roles. It focuses on two specific gendered impacts of armed conflict which, in some cases, have been deliberate strategies of war intended to destabilise families and communities; forced displacement and gender-based violence (GBV). However, these impacts of armed conflict are often not understood as human rights violations, but rather as cultural or private issues.
The Report shows gender-specific disadvantage during conflict is largely overlooked by conventional, gender-blind representations of armed conflict and its aftermath. It argues international laws and conventions designed to protect the human rights of marginalised groups, particularly women, during and after conflict are limited in their application. Interventions such as humanitarian aid, disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) and peacekeeping for example are often administered without regard to gender, potentially exacerbating gender inequality.
It urges better cooperation between international institutions, states and NGOs in order for gender awareness to be more effectively mainstreamed into interventions. Further recommendations are made which include: the need for more context specific evidence to understand the needs and roles of women and men in conflict; improving the implementation of existing international laws; improving the recognition of gendered concerns across all interventions, and placing more emphasis upon the concerns and priorities expressed by local populations, particularly women.