Over the past year, USIP’s Gender and Peacebuilding Center of Innovation has hosted a series of events entitled “The Other Side of Gender." This series of events, which sought to broaden the gender lens and create a more nuanced research agenda, have greatly informed this Peace Brief.

pb 75

Summary

  • Gender is often used synonymously with the study of women. This narrow approach over looks the relational quality of gender and fails to include masculinity issues in analysis and research, which can have important bearing on policy interventions.
  • Taking a more inclusive view of gender roles in conflict, which also recognizes that these roles are dynamic, can lead to more informed research strategies and more productive policy interventions.
  • To effectively combat instances of extreme gender violence, such as the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war, a more nuanced understanding is needed of the actors involved.
  • Instead of being passive actors during conflict, women may be combatants or direct participants in sexual violence. Examining the motivations, belief systems and internal dynamics of armed combatants can provide insight into the origins of sexual- and gender-based violence in conflict.
  • Rather than representing an isolated event, sexual- and gender-based violence during conflict can perhaps best be viewed as a point along a continuum. In the postconflict period, damaged social and economic systems may contribute to the disempowerment of men seeking to return to traditional or customary roles. Coupled with the enduring impacts of trauma, the threat of emasculation can result in high levels of violence within the household environment.

About this Brief

Over the past year, the United States Institute of Peace’s Gender and Peacebuilding Center has hosted a series of events entitled, “The Other Side of Gender,” including an experts’ workshop on May 18, 2010, on the topic of how conflict changes gender roles.

Kathleen Kuehnast is the director of the Gender and Peacebuilding Center of Innovation for the U.S. Institute of Peace; Nina Sudhakar is the research assistant for the Gender and Peacebuilding Center of Innovation. This series of events, which sought to broaden the gender lens and create a more nuanced research agenda, have greatly informed this PeaceBrief.

Related Publications

Reaching a Durable Peace in Afghanistan and Iraq: Learning from Investments in Women’s Programming

Reaching a Durable Peace in Afghanistan and Iraq: Learning from Investments in Women’s Programming

Friday, March 29, 2019

By: Danielle Robertson; Steven E. Steiner

USIP recently partnered with New America to convene roundtable discussions with government, civil society, and humanitarian, development, and peacebuilding organizations to learn from the past decade of women’s programming in fragile states such as Iraq and Afghanistan. Based on these discussions, this report provides guidance for improving future programming to not only integrate the needs of women but also recognize the role women play in transforming violent conflict and sustaining a durable peace.

Gender

U.K. Secretary Talks History, Equality on International Women’s Day

U.K. Secretary Talks History, Equality on International Women’s Day

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

By: Anthony Navone

This year marks a full century since American women won the right to vote, lending particular resonance to 2019’s International Women’s Day. For USIP President Nancy Lindborg and her guest, Penny Mordaunt, the U.K. secretary of state for international development and minister for women and equalities, the March 8 celebration was an ideal moment to reflect on women’s progress in their countries and globally and to highlight remaining obstacles to women’s full participation in society.

Gender; Global Policy

Afghanistan Talks: No Women, No Peace

Afghanistan Talks: No Women, No Peace

Friday, March 1, 2019

By: Belquis Ahmadi

As talks between the U.S. and the Taliban raise hopes for peace in Afghanistan, the country’s women fear another—and related—possibility: That their hard-won rights to participate in the nation’s political and economic life could again be washed away by the Taliban’s rigid views on gender.

Gender; Peace Processes

How can we negotiate with the Taliban? Afghan women know.

How can we negotiate with the Taliban? Afghan women know.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

By: Palwasha L. Kakar

Afghan political leaders met in Moscow this week with Taliban representatives amid new momentum in diplomatic efforts to end Afghanistan’s war. Like other recent discussions, including those between U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban representatives in Qatar, Afghan women remain almost entirely excluded. Yet mostly unnoticed amid the formal diplomacy, Afghan women at their country’s grass roots already have managed negotiations with local Taliban leaders.

Gender; Peace Processes; Religion

View All Publications