Empowerment: Women & Gender Issues

This subsection focuses on mainstreaming a gender approach to peacebuilding, emphasizing the interests and needs of women and girls in post-conflict situations, while noting the frequent conflation of the terms women and gender in discourses and practices. Use of 'women' and 'gender' interchangeably and the heavy focus of some programs on issues relating to women only are not easy tensions to reconcile; a point which this section will elaborate upon.

First, definitions for the main concepts related to: gender, gender-based violence, gender-based discrimination, gender equality (vs. equity), gender mainstreaming, protection, and empowerment are presented. Some of the conceptual issues attached to them are then addressed.

Over the past decade, practitioners have produced a myriad of guidelines and reports on the specific needs of women and girls in post-conflict situations and on the role women play in peacebuilding processes. Emphasis is placed on different elements of the notion: an analytical tool: gender analysis of conflict and peace processes; an approach: engendering peacebuilding; a goal: gender equality and peace. The writing examines these different dimensions, addressing both the needs and roles of women in the different components of peacebuilding, and also provides a short history of the growing consideration of the meaning and role of gender and gender relations in peacebuilding processes.

The main actors and activities supporting women's role in peacebuilding are also presented and concrete examples are provided.

The last part presents a short summary of some of the key debates and implementation challenges discussed by stakeholders in relation to the process of mainstreaming gender in the peacebuilding agenda and practices. The points covered are encompassed within three main sections: ambiguities attached to the empowerment agenda; consideration of local cultures, norms and customs; material constraints of gender approaches. These elements and other dimensions to concretely implement the gender agenda are detailed in the key documents and a wide range of guidelines presented at the end of this section.

The news, reports, and analyses herein are selected due to there relevance to issues of peacebuilding, or their significance to policymakers and practitioners. The content prepared by HPCR International is meant to summarize main points of the current debates and does not necessarily reflect the views of HPCR International or the Program of Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research. In addition, HPCR International and contributing partners are not responsible for the content of external publications and internet sites linked to this portal.