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Relationship Between Gender, Security And Justice Add in library

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Question:

Analyse the relationship between gender, security and justice in conflict-affected environments?
 
 

Answer:

Introduction

The conflicts create a feeling of insecurity among different groups of gender and the dynamics of every conflict is shaped up by these different conflict effects. The social interactions of everyday life are also disrupted by conflict and the role and relationship of men and women also change in the society as a result of that. The way of thinking in relation to conflict, security and opportunities for peace has been influenced by the interaction between gender and conflict. During the conflict the women disproportionately affected by the sexual and gender-based violence  and the most ignorant fact is that  in the warfare rape is the most powerful weapon regularly used. It is better to realize that women can fit into the roles of perpetrators and peacebuilders. The issues and challenges for women in a conflict affected environment are mostly unique and this is mentioned by UN Security Council itself.

The important UN resolutions recognized the followings-

  • Potentiality of women as peacebuilder

  • Political involvement of women

  • Conflict impact acknowledgement of women

Thus, international policy is set for conflict affected gender groups, especially the women in peace and security matter as per the UN resolutions and their subsequent resolutions. Exposure of masculinity can create the insecure feelings during conflict. The gender perspective is important as it can drive conflict and at the same time it is able to provide pathways to peace. So, the understanding is important to design the programs effectively.

Literature Review

Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict is the largest gathering to date on the issue and

 Many NGOs and organizations took part in the Global Summit. The main objective of these organizations is to work in a fragile and conflict-affected environments where sexual violence is prevalent and often used as a weapon of war. In order to end sexual violence during conflict, with many other countries UK launched an Action Plan at the summit and William Hague, Justine Greening and Philip Hammond all signed the same and spoke about the requirements of this action plan (Steven, 2012).

The following key points have come out as a result of the summit-

  • Acknowledging women as the center point for tackling conflict, building peace and stability

  • Benefits of multilateral organizations like the UN, the EU and NATO should be used by UK for privileged positions in order to attain the objectives

  • The importance of working with men and boys should be emphasized

  • The UK is trying to remain visible, transparent and accountable while monitoring, measuring and evaluating the impact

  • These initiatives will ultimately link with the broader prospectives of the rights of women, access to justice and violence prevention

In post-conflict environments the level of violence against women is alarming and lack of documentation and statistical analysis has heightened the issue. The women are unaware or unable to assert their rights and as such the incidents often go unreported. This is the main reason behind the difficulties to accurately monitor the GBV and SGBV. Implementation of dedicated reporting and monitoring tools are essential as these are the most difficult forms of violence to assess. The role of media regarding GBV reporting is very important as it has a tendency to leverage stories of rape or abuse to discredit its opponents. The privacy of survivors is of little consequence and as a result, women are often victimized multiple times.

 

The women as peacebuilder is acknowledged by the UN Security Council. The women have to pave the way for the recovery process and conflict prevention and their crucial role in this respect is recognized by many international institutions. As a result the resolution made the commitment to engage the women in conflict prevention and peace-building and most of the members of the UN are dedicated to fulfil this purpose. The serious threat of gender based sexual violence is recognized by the UN during and post conflict period and initiated the Stop Rape Now campaign. At the same time national plans of action on SGBV are promoted at the national level. The participation of women as a peacebuilder locally, nationally or internationally is an enormously challenging role in spite of the widespread recognition of their contributions. The women have to face social resistance when attempting to take on new public roles and this is the most important challenge for them. However, the women have the ability to effectively influence the peace-building processes, but they have to compromise it due to their actual experience of gender based sexual violence threat and it is escalated during and post-conflict period especially.

It is necessary to incorporate the rights and priorities of women besides involving them into decision making processes. For that purpose, peace agreements and post-conflict legal and political reforms have done requisite changes nationally in both policy and legislation. Although it has empowered women to better access to decision making roles, but it cannot give a guarantee of violence protection to them. These resolutions do not have any impact on the daily lives of women and so it can be said that these changes of policies should be transformed for the benefit of women.

The community level peace-building processes need women and their empowerment in this respect is associated with many challenges. It is a true fact that the women face extreme difficulties to go against traditional practices for adoption of new roles (Norville, 2011).

Numerous initiatives have been taken for transitional processes and peace building and for that purpose conflict resolution needs an increased number of women participation. In order to ensure full and active participation of women in peace and security subsequent resolutions has been adopted for substantial international progress in this area. These resolutions are implemented to emphasize on the national level formal participation of women. Some of the examples are-

  • Increasing influence of the official peace process by women

  • Constitutional or parliamentary involvement of women

It is necessary to strengthen women’s participation strategy at formal and national-level processes and for that purpose representation, inclusive democracy should be ensured at community and local-level. During conflict women have to fulfil a key instrumental role at the community level and  the Research study by the  Institute of Development Studies and Womankind Worldwide clearly demonstrated that. In diverse contexts to mediate conflict and build peace locally the collective organization of women is desirable for the first time and thereby mutual protection and support should be provided by the creation of safe and empowering spaces. 

 

The above is discussed in respect of formal environment. However, after the conflict women have to play an informal collective role with support from national women’s right organization. The vacuum created as a result of conflict should be filled up by women’s collective action and the World Bank background paper confirms that. The informal collective experience paves the way for women political empowerment increasingly as they have gained leadership skills and experience from the group involvement and encouraged to implement the skills to broader political and public life (Sudhakar, 2011).

Debate over relative happiness and fulfillment quotients of homemakers or breadwinners does not hold much relevance to women in conflict-affected areas as the demands of self-preservation and survival of the families oblige them to become homemakers and breadwinners. ‘Learning from doing’ is the essence behind their acquiring valuable negotiation and management skills and in an inhospitable environment they have to carry on business operation. Thus, economic empowerment is possible in spite of immense psychological pressure on them.

The war is a typically male-occupied matter and thus female-headed households typically increase during the conflict. Cambodia, Guatemala and Uganda are the specific examples of this and means of economic survival are explored by the women and thereby mobility and presence of women in public sphere increased. In order to facilitate women-run income generating activities unique organizations are created to include loan system for business investment purposes and at the same time they have provision of shared profits.

However, it is a reality that during conflict women have the privilege to such activities on which they may previously have been denied access. Thus, social norms restricting women’s movement erode during conflict. Out of many past treaties, only 16% have the references of women and the empowerment of women, including economic development are reflected in a mere 2% post-conflict budgets.

The potential economic contributions of women in the post-conflict stability and security situation is grossly underestimated and it is the hard core reality. The objective of these settlements is undermined due to the exclusion of women from peace settlements. As a result sustainable socioeconomic development has been set up for conflict-affected societies. In order to rebuild economies from scratch necessary resources are required and the majority of post-conflict societies do not possess that. Therefore, the existing resource capitalization is important and a crucial path should be chalk-out towards job creation and socioeconomic building. The hypothesis that women’s economic activities engender positive spillovers for the community is significantly supported by evidence and it includes increased spending on education and health. During conflict these women have been leading their families and communities and spillover generation necessarily involves engagement with women. Microcredit and other financial mechanisms are the main tools for women-led enterprises where engagement is in financial and policy support form (Taylor, 2013). In post-conflict countries, it is necessary that the economic activities of women should be maintained and expanded as there may exist uncertain ownership rights over productive assets and for that purpose access to resources should be facilitated. Therefore, it is necessary to maintain a specific policy priority regarding the economic empowerment of women during the peaceful transition.

Military forces frequently used rape as a tactic during times of violent conflict to harm, humiliation and shame. Systems of protection, security and justice also weaken by violence and war. Sexual violence is thus exacerbated and escalated by conflicts due to those reasons. In the same way the protection system is deteriorated by disasters as this will result in increasing abusive sexual and gender-based violence and human trafficking.

 

It is a true fact that increased levels of sexual and gender- based violence may persist even after the end of a crisis. Women and girls are usually disproportionately affected and the lives of survivors, their families, and their living communities are not excluded from the devastating, long-term effects of these crimes.

In any society sexual and gender-based violence is not tolerable as an inevitable fact. States are accountable for these violence and these are the outcomes of gender inequality and human rights violation (Stedman, 2011).

The UNDP has supported several national efforts to eradicate sexual and gender-based violence. For that purpose, it is necessary to-

  • Increase women political participation in several sectors like justice and security

  • Develop policy framework regarding women protection and women right

  • Improve quick access and delivery of justice and security service

  • Provide medical, psychological, legal and economic assistance to survivors

  • Raise awareness activities at community levels for prevention of violence

  • Mobilize men to tackle and advocate against the prevalence of sexual violence

The most essential question regarding gender and conflict is how different genders are affected by conflict due to several factors. Although the roles and needs may reflect biological differences to some extent, but for the most part the different roles and their priorities are determined by the society. Institutional norms and attitudes are controlling the characteristic of genders in many cultures. Thereby, the boys are encouraged to adopt the male ideals of toughness, strength, bravery, and aggression. Male status of the warrior and preparation of war as a core component of manhood is promoted by these ideals. Girls are expected to take the role of a caretaker of a family and active participation in local communities is preferred rather than on the national political stage. Thus, it is quite clear that gender in the form of man and woman is only fulfilling the learned roles and expectations (Kuehnast, 2012).

The history reflects again and again the idea of projecting man as decision makers and soldiers. There have been less exposed about the role and experience of women in war. The recent focus of the international community is on the potential contribution of women towards peace building and difficulties that women face in war. The gender perspective has recently been exploring the impact of excluding women and other groups on peacebuilding.

Since 1980 vulnerable groups are particularly having negative impact of the changing nature of war. However, the female: male ratio of people dying is going up considerably in the post-cold war era due to the direct effect of violent conflict. Both during and after war women and girls are more likely to be affected by sexual violence and domestic violence than battlefield-related physical violence. Sexual violence, forced abduction into sexual slavery and forced displacements are a major tactic of modern warfare.  Due to lack of access to basic services, healthcare, food, or clean water during the war women may also suffer disproportionately. Men are generally going to the battlefield and women are left to family care without much access to income, titles to any land or property and obviously the basic services or information. Displacement of families and communities compounded these consequences. The women are subjected to gross domestic violence as their present position and role is not accepted by their counterpart. Sometimes they have to assemble the pieces of their lives as they have lost their male breadwinners.

Significant research has found a number of reasons behind this sexual violence. This is a strategic form of warfare in order to create fear and trauma in the population, destroy families and communities and in some cases it is used as ‘ethnic cleansing’. Few weapons can erode the fabric of a community in a way the sexual violence can (Ibid, 2011).

The man can also be considered while addressing the gender and conflict issue. They have to bear the human rights abuses also at a fairly significant rate. Although they are not ‘vulnerable populations’ but they are the victims of combat due to recruitment into the armed forces or militias.

The research study significantly reported that gender issues also persist during post-conflict period. Gender inequalities are heightened during warfare and persist even after  the end of hostilities. Men are not accustomed to the role of women as economic provider. As the men are away, for fighting during conflict period women have to fulfil this economic provider role for the survival of the family with which they are not accustomed with during peacetime. But after returning from war men want women to return to their traditional role and as a result it creates tension and domestic violence.

The institutions like functioning civilian police forces and social service agencies may be weak in a society recovering from war and as such they cannot help the women in a proper way. However, if the laws exist the police may not be able to enforce the laws as domestic abuse is considered as a private affair by the local authorities. After the end of warfare roles of women are diminished as they have to struggle with the issues of rebuilding livelihoods, job discrimination etc.

The idea of empowerment of women in the most fragile environments is not new but lots of care is required regarding this issue. The sexual and gender based violence is often discussed in a conflict affected context and for that reason empowerment of women remains a neglected issue. However, following three action plans should be considered regarding the empowerment-

  • Transforming work for women’s rights

  • Making social policy work for women

  • Creating an enabling global environment for the realization of women’s rights

All these activities will create opportunity for influencing the gender norms positively and thus empowering women (Calderón, 2011).

 

Conclusion

Gender and justice are most concerned issue in any conflict affected environment. In post-conflict environments the level of violence against women is alarming and lack of documentation and statistical analysis has heightened the issue. The women are unaware or unable to assert their rights and as such the incidents often go unreported. This is the main reason behind the difficulties to accurately monitor the GBV and SGBV. Implementation of dedicated reporting and monitoring tools are essential as these are the most difficult forms of violence to assess.

The women as peacebuilder is acknowledged by the UN Security Council. The women have to pave the way for the recovery process and conflict prevention and their crucial role in this respect is recognized by many international institutions. As a result the resolution made the commitment to engage the women in conflict prevention and peace-building and most of the members of the UN are dedicated to fulfil this purpose. The serious threat of gender based sexual violence is recognized by the UN during and post conflict period and initiated the Stop Rape Now campaign. At the same time national plans of action on SGBV are promoted at the national level. The participation of women as a peacebuilder locally, nationally or internationally is an enormously challenging role in spite of the widespread recognition of their contributions. The women have to face social resistance when attempting to take on new public roles and this is the most important challenge for them.

It is necessary to incorporate the rights and priorities of women besides involving them into decision making processes. For that purpose, peace agreements and post-conflict legal and political reforms have done requisite changes nationally in both policy and legislation. Although it has empowered women to better access to decision making roles, but it cannot give the guarantee of violence protection to them. These resolutions do not have any impact on the daily lives of women and so it can be said that these changes of policies should be transformed for the benefit of women.

The community level peace-building processes need women and their empowerment in this respect is associated with many challenges. It is a true fact that the women face extreme difficulties to go against traditional practices for adoption of new roles.

It is necessary to strengthen women’s participation strategy at formal and national-level processes and for that purpose representation, inclusive democracy should be ensured at community and local-level. During conflict women have to fulfil a key instrumental role at the community level and  the Research study by the  Institute of Development Studies and Womankind Worldwide clearly demonstrated that. In diverse contexts to mediate conflict and build peace locally the collective organization of women is desirable for the first time and thereby mutual protection and support should be provided by the creation of safe and empowering spaces. 

‘Learning from doing’ is the essence behind their acquiring valuable negotiation and management skills and in an inhospitable environment they have to carry on business operation. Thus, economic empowerment is possible in spite of immense psychological pressure on them.

The war is a typically male-occupied matter and thus female-headed households typically increase during the conflict. Cambodia, Guatemala and Uganda are the specific examples of this and means of economic survival are explored by the women and thereby mobility and presence of women in public sphere increased. In order to facilitate women-run income generating activities unique organizations are created to include loan system for business investment purposes and at the same time they have provision of shared profits.

However, it is a reality that during conflict women have the privilege to such activities on which they may previously have been denied access. Thus, social norms restricting women’s movement erode during conflict. Out of many past treaties, only 16% have the references of women and the empowerment of women, including economic development are reflected in a mere 2% post-conflict budgets.

The potential economic contributions of women in the post-conflict stability and security situation is grossly underestimated and it is the hard core reality. The objective of these settlements is undermined due to the exclusion of women from peace settlements. As a result sustainable socioeconomic development has been set up for conflict-affected societies. In order to rebuild economies from scratch necessary resources are required and the majority of post-conflict societies do not possess that. Therefore, the existing resource capitalization is important and a crucial path should be chalk-out towards job creation and socioeconomic building.

Military forces frequently used rape as a tactic during times of violent conflict to harm, humiliation and shame. Systems of protection, security and justice also weaken by violence and war. Sexual violence is thus exacerbated and escalated by conflicts due to those reasons. In the same way the protection system is deteriorated by disasters as this will result in increasing abusive sexual and gender-based violence and human trafficking. It is a true fact that increased levels of sexual and gender- based violence may persist even after the end of a crisis.

The idea of empowerment of women in the most fragile environments is not new but lots of care is required regarding this issue. The sexual and gender based violence is often discussed in a conflict affected context and for that reason empowerment of women remains a neglected issue. However, economic empowerment of women will resolve many gender based issues and for that purpose necessary steps should be taken by the appropriate authorities (Justino, 2012).

 

References:

1. BBC News. https://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/4078677.stm Reference for “Men, Rape and Honor” box. Accessed from Time.com on 20th June, 2015.

2. Calderón , A. (2011) ‘Forced Migration, Female Labour Force Participation, and Intra-Household Bargaining: Does Conflict Empower Women?’

3. Ibid. (2011). “Translating Global Agreement into National and Local Commitments.” Women and War: Power and Protection in the 21st Century. United States Institute of Peace Press: Washington, DC

4. Kuehnast, Kathleen, Chantal de Jonge Oudraat, and Helga Hernes, Eds. (2011). Women and War: Power and Protection in the 21st Century. U.S. Institute of Peace: Washington, DC

5. Kuehnast, Kathleen, Manal Omar, Steven E. Steiner, and Hodei Sultan (2012). “Lessons from Women’s Programs in Afghanistan and Iraq.” United States Institute of Peace Special Report, no. 302 (March). https://www.usip.org/files/resources/SR_302.pdf

6. Taylor, B. M (2013), ‘Conflict financing: what’s wrong with war economies?’, Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre Report.James Cockayne (2010) ‘Crime, Corruption and Violent Economies’, Adelphi series Special Issue: Ending Wars, Consolidating Peace: Economic Perspectives, Volume 50, Issue 412-413.

7. Norville, Valerie (2011). “The Role of Women in Global Security.” United States Institute of Peace Special Report, no. 264 (January). https://www.usip.org/files/resources/SR264-The_role_of_Women_in_Global_Security.pdf

8. OESCE. (2012). Enhancing the role of women mediators in the OSCE region. Available at https://www.osce.org/gender/90562

9. Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe The Secretariat (2012). “Enhancing the role of women Mediators in the OSCE region.” (October). https://www.osce.org/gender/90562

10. Justino, Patricia (2012) ‘Women Working for Recovery: The Impact of Female Employment on Family and Community Welfare after Conflict’, UN Women.

11. PBS (2011). “Women, War & Peace: A Five-part Special Series on PBS.” https://www.pbs.org/wnet/women-war-and-peace/

12. Rauhala, Emily (2011). “Rape as a Weapon of War: Men Suffer, Too.” TimeWorld (3 August). https://world.time.com/2011/08/03/rape-as-a-weapon-of-war-men-suffer-too/

13. Stedman, Brooke (2011). "Security After the Quake? Addressing Violence and Rape in Haiti." United States Institute of Peace PeaceBrief, no. 73 (7January). https://www.usip.org/files/resources/PB73-Security_After_the_Quake.pdf

14. Steinberg, Donald (2011). “Women and War: An Agenda for Action.” Women and War: Power and Protection in the 21st Century. United States Institute of Peace Press: Washington, DC.

15. Steven Van Damme (2012) ‘Commodities of War’, Oxfam International Briefing Paper 164; Oliver Lough, Richard Mallett and Paul Harvey (2013) ‘Taxation and Livelihoods: A Review of the Evidence from Fragile and Conflict-Affected Rural Areas’, International Centre for Tax and Development, Working Paper 11

16. Sudhakar, Nina and Kathleen Kuehnast (2011). "The Other Side of Gender: Including Masculinity Concerns in Conflict and Peacebuilding." United States Institute of Peace PeaceBrief, no. 75 (14 January). https://www.usip.org/files/resources/PB75-Other_Side_of_Gender.pdf

17. The White House (2011). "United States National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security." (December). https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/emailfiles/ US_National_Action_Plan_on_Women_Peace_and_Security.pdf

18. United Nations Resolution 1820. www.undp.org/cpr/documents/gender/SCResolution1820.pdf

19. UN Women (2012). Facts and figures on peace and security. Available at https://www.unifem.org/gender_issues/women_war_peace/facts_figures.php 4 Embassy of the United States: Cairo, Egypt. “Secretary’s Remarks: Women, Peace, and Security.” https://egypt.usembassy.gov/tr121911.html. Accessed on 20th June, 2015..

20. Worden, Scott and Nina Sudhakar (2012). “ Learning form Women’s Success in the 2010 Afghan Elections.” United States Institute of Peace Special Report, no. 309 (June). https://www.usip.org/files/resources/SR309.pdf

21. Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice. https://www.iccwomen.org
 
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