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

How Women Are Using Technology to Advance Gender Equality and Peace

How Women Are Using Technology to Advance Gender Equality and Peace

Monday, July 15, 2019

By: Danielle Robertson; Mena Ayazi

From Afghanistan to Sudan, women in conflict areas are increasingly turning to technology to build peace and reduce gender inequality. Just as smart phones and mobile internet facilitate key functions of daily life, they also bring the world women’s voices once confined to the home or marketplace. It is a development with tremendous promise that the international community needs to support by widening access to technology, reducing social barriers to it and providing training that boosts proficiency.

Gender

Kathleen Kuehnast on Women in Conflict Zones

Kathleen Kuehnast on Women in Conflict Zones

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

By: Kathleen Kuehnast, Ph.D.

At a recent USIP event, Nobel laureate Nadia Murad discussed her efforts to end sexual violence and human trafficking—two criminal practices that Kathleen Kuehnast says “have been institutionalized and militarized.” To disincentivize these human rights abuses, Kuehnast says we must reinforce that these heinous but often lucrative practices are “not a livelihood—this is criminality.”

Gender; Human Rights

Women in Conflict: Advancing Women’s Role in Peace and Security

Women in Conflict: Advancing Women’s Role in Peace and Security

Thursday, June 13, 2019

By: Palwasha L. Kakar

Palwasha Kakar, senior program officer for religion and inclusive societies, testified on June 13 at the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights, and Global Women’s Issues' hearing on "Women in Conflict: Advancing Women's Role in Peace and Security.” Her expert testimony as prepared is presented below.

Gender; Peace Processes

Syria’s Ghalia Rahal: Surviving War, Building Peace

Syria’s Ghalia Rahal: Surviving War, Building Peace

Thursday, May 23, 2019

By: Palwasha L. Kakar; James Rupert

Amid the traumas of Syria’s war, women like Ghalia Rahal are building an unprecedented role in peace talks over their country’s future. Rahal—the founder of a network of women’s centers in northwest Syria—has helped energize a Syrian women’s movement despite threats from extremists, attacks on her workplaces, and the assassination of her son, a journalist. Now, Rahal and her women’s network in Syria’s Idlib Province face an extreme threat—the Syrian government military offensive against the province that has killed hundreds and displaced nearly 200,000 people.

Gender

View All Publications