Academic journal article Texas Journal of Women and the Law

Security, Gender and Post-Conflict Reconstruction: The Need for a "Woman Question" When Engaging in Reconstruction

Academic journal article Texas Journal of Women and the Law

Security, Gender and Post-Conflict Reconstruction: The Need for a "Woman Question" When Engaging in Reconstruction

Article excerpt

Introduction.................. 72

I. Feminism - A Historical Review ..................78

A. The Public-Private Divide: "The Personal is Political ".................. 82

II. Security Studies: Traditional Security, Human Security & Gender ..................84

A. Traditional Security (National Security) ..................84

B. Human Security.................. 87

C. Gender and Security ..................89

III. The International Community and State-Building ..................90

A. The Security-First Approach ..................94

B. Social-Economic Development.................. 95

C. Security-Development Nexus ..................97

D. The United Nations, Women, Gender, and State-Building: UNSCR1325 ..................99

IV. Gender, Women, and Post-Conflict Reconstruction ..................101

A. The Legal Approach to Post-Conflict Reconstruction ..................103

1 . Constitutions as a Means to Protect Women ' s Rights ..................1 04

B. The Shortcomings of the Legal Approach ..................106

C. Social Service Justice: An Alternative to Post-Conflict Reconstruction ..................107

V. A Gender-Security Nexus in the Post-9/1 1 Period ..................1 10

Conclusion ..................Ill

Introduction

Two decades have passed since the Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women issued General Recommendation No. 19, (1992), defining gender-based violence as a form of discrimination against women.1 The recommendation, coupled with changes in international criminal law,2 fortified resolve to end the culture of impunity that had existed in respect to gender-based violence3 in times of conflict.4 Alongside the aforementioned changes, issues such as the empowerment of women also began to receive more attention, resources, and interests.5 This was due to the recognition that women experience conflict differently than men, especially as many post-Cold War conflict victims are targeted because of their sex,6 leading to the possibility of gendercide.7 In 2006, United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Kofi Annan declared:

[W]omen are every bit as affected as any man by the challenges facing humanity in the twenty-first century - in economic and social development, as well as in peace and security. Often, they are more affected. It is, therefore, right and indeed necessary that women should be engaged in decision-making in every area, with equal strength and in equal numbers . . . there is no policy for progress more effective than the empowerment of women and girls. Study after study has taught us that no other policy is as likely to raise economic productivity, or to reduce infant and maternal mortality. No other policy is as sure to improve nutrition and promote health - including the prevention of HIV/AIDS. No other policy is as powerful in increasing the chances of education for the next generation. And I would also venture that no policy is more important in preventing conflict, or in achieving reconciliation after a conflict has ended.

Post-conflict reconstruction literature grapples with epistemological questions of whether post-conflict reconstruction is about the physical rebuilding of the society, the attainment of justice for victims, or the transformation of the society, including changing social and cultural norms and how they are viewed and defined.9 These epistemological gaps mean that gender and gender issues either do not receive sufficient attention within the field of post-conflict reconstruction,10 or are used as part of an anecdote-based approach to shock an audience into action." Another reason for the lack of progress stems from a desire to avoid accusations of neo-colonialism,12 leading donors to accept indigenous misogynist practices.13 Finally, a weak enforcement mechanism permits impunity, inequality, discrimination, and violence to continue, as the international community - a group consisting of industrialized, Western countries - fails to address the pervasiveness of structural violence14 and the genderized nature of society. …

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