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  • Author: Rose Jaji
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: This policy brief addresses the under-representation of women in Zimbabwe’s public service institutions and in the security sector, despite the government’s expressed commitment to UN Resolution 1325 on women, peace, and security. While women account for 25 percent of public servants, there is no woman in the highest ranks of the security sector, particularly in the Zimbabwe Defense Forces (ZDF). Also, women’s representation in the national parliament is 35 percent, while their repre- sentation in the country’s urban and rural councils is below 20 percent.1 Women’s under-representation is reflected in their limited influence on peacebuilding in Zimba- bwe. Women who engage in peacebuilding in the public sphere face sexual harass- ment, arrest by the authorities, and censure. The marginalization of women in the public sphere is mirrored in the private sphere. Yet this is a space where attitudes are shaped and value for peace can be instilled in children and young people. The combination of gender discrimination in the public sphere and the exclusion of the private sphere from peacebuilding policies constrains women’s participation at lo- cal, national, and international levels (Björkdahl 2012; Tiessen 2015).
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Peacekeeping, Women, Feminism, Norms
  • Political Geography: Africa, Zimbabwe
  • Author: Hussaina J. Abdullah
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: The African Union (AU) has adopted the issues of peace and security and gender equality as part of its social transformation agenda on the continent. Specifically, the organization aims to promote peace, security, and stability on the continent; protect human and peoples’ rights in accordance with the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and other relevant human rights instruments; and promote sustainable development as well as the integration of African economies.1 The objective of this study is to provide a comprehensive overview and analysis of how women’s rights in situations of armed conflict and post-conflict contexts have been mainstreamed into various mechanisms, structures, and instruments of the AU’s African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA). As part of this exercise, this study conducts a critical examination of the links between APSA’s goal of promoting peace and security and the AU’s Gender Equality Architecture’s (GEA) goal of promoting and protecting the rights of women on the continent.
  • Topic: Security, Gender Issues, Human Rights, Regional Cooperation, African Union
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Hussaina J. Abdullah
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: This brief addresses the mechanisms of the African Union (AU) for protecting and promoting women’s rights during conflict and their participation in post- conflict peacebuilding processes. These mechanisms can be found in the policy frameworks and structures of the Protocol Relating to the Establish- ment of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union (the PSC Pro- tocol) of 2002, the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (the Maputo Protocol), adopted in 2003, and the Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa (SDGEA) of 2004. Other mechanisms include the AU Action Plans on Gender Main- streaming in peace and security, as well as a special rapporteur on women’s rights, appointed in 1999, a special envoy on women, peace, and security, appointed in 2014, and the AU’s Five-Year (2015–2020) Gender, Peace, and Security Programme. While the AU scores high on de jure instruments designed to improve the legal framework for women’s rights and gender equality, the evidence sug- gests less progress in terms of the de facto practices directed toward their implementation. For example, the Maputo Protocol—the African Women’s Bill of Rights—whose full ratification and enforcement were envisaged by 2015 and its domestication by 2020—has not been ratified by fourteen member states,2 and two countries, Botswana and Egypt, have not even signed the in- strument. Even some of the countries that ratified it did so with reservations. Furthermore, while member states are also expected to send biennial reports on the implementation processes in their respective countries, only Malawi had complied with this provision as of December 2015. And although the protocol demands the protection of women against violence in war and in peace times, reports indicate the continued perpetration with impunity of sexual- and gender-based violence (SGBV) against women in conflict-affected settings. The PSC protocol, the normative framework on which the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA)4 is based, recognizes the need to protect women from violence in conflict-affected areas, but in doing so it makes them appear as mostly passive victims of war. An approach is needed that recognizes women can be perpetrators of violence as well as agents of change pro- moting peace and reconciliation. The integration of an all-encompassing organizational gender strategy to guide the AU’s work in conflict and post-conflict situations will strengthen effectiveness in conflict-affected societies with regard to the women, peace, and security (WPS) goals of participation in post-conflict governance; protec- tion from SGBV and acts of impunity; prevention of the abuse of women, girls, and children; and the promotion of gender equality. The mandate of the AU’s special envoy on WPS to “ensure that the voices of women and the vulnerable are heard much more in peacebuilding and in conflict resolu- tion” is both timely and relevant. Priority should be given to coordinating mechanisms for an Africa-centered gen- der, peace, and security framework and to promoting synergies among women’s organizations, national gov- ernments, and peace support operations to ensure the implementation of actions that make a difference in the lives of women in conflict-affected countries. The spe- cial envoy should also engage closely with stakeholders to ensure full domestication of the Maputo Protocol is achieved by 2020. In sum, although the AU has made some progress in establishing a gender, peace, and security framework to ensure the protection of women’s rights and promote gen- der equality in conflict and post-conflict settings, some gaps and coordination challenges continue to limit its ef- fectiveness. Gender mainstreaming mechanisms across the peace and security sector, including capacity building initiatives, need to be addressed critically to prevent the continued violation of women’s physical and bodily integ- rity in conflict-affected and post-conflict countries.
  • Topic: Security, Gender Issues, Peace, African Union
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Heidi Hudson
  • Publication Date: 07-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: Peacebuilding is big business in Africa and the gendering of peacebuilding even more so—if the number of workshops and funding proposals with gen- der as their focus is anything to go by. As an academic enterprise, gender and peacebuilding have equally grown in stature and scope.1 But more often than not, gender acts as a proxy for women, especially because we are con- tinuously reminded that they must be included in all peacebuilding efforts because they make up more than half of the population and war and its aftermath affect them differently. So why bother with mainstreaming gen- der if it is actually just about adding women? Practice has shown that the rhetorical commitment to gender within peacebuilding programs (hailed as positive by some) has neither changed the generally widespread gen- der-blind nature of policy and practice nor led to more than an increased mainstreaming of women’s and girls’ needs based on a very narrow inter- pretation of male-female categories.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Decolonization, Peace
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Pamela Machakanja
  • Publication Date: 07-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: Africa faces formidable challenges with regard to the relatively few women influencing decisions and policies related to peace and security. A study on women’s participation in thirty-one peace processes between 1992 and 2011 showed that of the fifteen African countries, only five had women on their ne- gotiating teams (Burundi, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Kenya, and Uganda); five had women witnesses or observers ( Liberia, Si- erra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, and Uganda); two had women lead mediators (DRC and Kenya); and only one (DRC) had women signatories.1 Although UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 “reaffirms the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace negotiations, peace-building, peacekeeping, humanitarian response and in post-conflict reconstruction and stresses the importance of their equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security,”2 its full implementation remains a work in progress in Africa, as women’s participation in peace and security remains more symbolic than substantive, and their capacity to influence and engage in peace negotiations is often resisted by local cultural norms and patriarchal hierarchies.
  • Topic: Security, Gender Issues, Culture, Feminism, Peace
  • Political Geography: Africa