Defying Victimhood: Women and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding

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Sample Chapter
  • Edited Albrecht Schnabel and Anara Tabyshalieva

    ISBN-10: 92-808-1201-7,
    ISBN-13: 978-92-808-1201-5
    United Nations University Press
    September 2012

    Women are among the most competent, yet marginalized, unnoticed and underutilized actors in efforts to rebuild war-torn societies. Opportunities for sustainable peacebuilding are lost — and sustainable peace is at risk — when significant stakeholders in a society’s future peace and conflict architecture are excluded from efforts to heal the wounds of war and build a new society and a new state. The contributors to this book draw on comparative case studies and country studies from post-conflict contexts in different parts of world to offer their insights into frameworks for understanding women as both victims and peacebuilders, to trace the road that women take from victimhood to empowerment and to highlight the essential partnerships between women and children and how they contribute to survival and peace. Drawing particularly on African cases, the authors examine national and global efforts to right past wrongs as well as the roles of women in political and security institutions. They argue that, for women in post-conflict societies, “defying victimhood” means being an activist, peacebuilder and — above all — a full participant in post-war social, economic, political and security structures, access to which all too often has unjustly and unwisely been denied.

    About the Editors

    Albrecht Schnabel is a Senior Fellow in the Research Division of the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF).

    Anara Tabyshalieva is an Assistant Professor of History at Marshall University and a Research Fellow at the Institute for Regional Studies (Kyrgyzstan).

    Table of Contents:

    Forgone opportunities: The marginalization of women’s contributions to post-conflict peacebuilding, Albrecht Schnabel and Anara Tabyshalieva
    Frameworks for understanding women as victims and peacebuilders, Lisa Schirch

    Part I: From victimhood to empowerment: Patterns and changes
    Mass crimes and resilience of women: A cross-national, Krishna Kumar
    Victimization, empowerment and the impact of UN peacekeeping missions on women and children: Lessons from Cambodia and Timor-Leste, Sumie Nakaya
    Frontline peacebuilding: Women’s reconstruction initiatives in Burundi, Rose M. Kadende-Kaiser

    Part II: Women and children: Essential partnership of survival and peace
    Women and children in the post-Cold War Balkans: Concerns and responses, Constantine P. Danopoulos, Konstantinos S. Skandalis and Zlatko Isakovic
    Emerging from poverty as champions of change: Women and children in post-war Tajikistan, Svetlana Sharipova and Hermine De Soto
    Young mothers as agents of peacebuilding: Lessons from an early childcare and development project in Macedonia, Deborah Davis

    Part III: Putting good intentions into practice: National and global efforts to right past wrongs
    Gender and transitional justice: Experiences from South Africa, Rwanda and Sierra Leone, Lyn S. Graybill
    Empowering women to promote peace and security: From the global to the local – Securing and implementing UN Security Council Resolution 1325, Ancil Adrian-Paul

    Part IV: Deconstructing victimhood: Women in political and security institutions
    State-building or survival in conflict and post-conflict situations? A peacebuilding perspective on Palestinian women’s contributions to ending the Israeli occupation, Vanessa Farr
    Women’s participation in political decision-making and recovery processes in post-conflict Lebanon, Kari H. Karamé
    Combating stereotypes: Female security personnel in post-conflict contexts, Kristin Valasek

    Defying victimhood: Women as activists and peacebuilders, Anara Tabyshalieva and Albrecht Schnabel

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  • “In response to the dominant, gender-blind perspective in the peacebuilding literature, this book offers a gendered perspective in order to understand why it is that women have often been both theoretically and practically marginalizsed in peacebuilding efforts. In contrast to the usual set of assumptions about women as passive victims the volume proposes that we see their capacities for survival, for building and for action.”

    Louise Vincent, Professor, Department of Political and International Studies, Rhodes University

    “This book communicates a simple but powerful message: Ignore women’s complicated and diverse agency roles in post-conflict peacebuilding and risk harming everybody’s security. An essential read for all policy-makers and researchers who care about ‘real world’ solutions.”

    Heidi Hudson, , Professor of Political Science and Programme Director, Centre for Africa Studies, University of the Free State