Critical Aspects of Gender in Conflict Resolution, Peacebuilding, and Social Movements: Volume 32


Table of contents

(17 chapters)

At this advanced stage of human history, even with a century of overt and ambitious women's movements and many advances by and for women, the fact is that globally, by far, men outnumber women in positions of social control and power – in politics, the military, industry, economics, technology, mass culture, and the academy.

This section highlights the varied roles and contexts in which women contribute to both conflict resolution and conflict transformation. Three of the five chapters feature or include indigenous or traditional women's activities. Tursunova and Stobbe conduct primary research in their countries of origin, illustrating the traditional contexts in which women build and sustain social networks that contribute to conflict resolution and empowerment. Their studies not only widen the spectrum of potential conflict resolution settings but also broaden narrow conceptions of women's empowerment, such as gender mainstreaming that focus primarily on women's direct involvement in political systems overlooking traditional community means of decision making. Snyder's research expands peacebuilding models by putting the transnational social networking of refugee women's organizations at the center of her analysis and in the process, challenges the meaning of “local,” traditional conflict resolution by focusing on indigenous peoples in the context of a refugee camp or host country. Snyder, Tursunova, and Chawansky integrate development literature, bridging interdisciplinary fields and highlighting the interest of international development agencies in women's peace activities in the context of protracted conflict. Chawansky, in particular, critiques the ideology, both feminist and post-feminist, of peace and development agencies offering sports activities to girls in conflict arenas. Finally, Snyder, Graybill, Stobbe, and Chawansky include in their analysis the impact of UN mandates (e.g., UNSCRs on women, peace, and security, and the UN Millennium Development Goals) on gendered peacebuilding strategies from the grassroots to the transnational level.

In 2010, the Canadian government introduced the National Action Plan for the Implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions on Women, Peace and Security. Approximately 24 countries have developed national action plans to evaluate and monitor the implementation of UNSCR 1325 that calls for the inclusion of all women in peacemaking, peacekeeping, and peacebuilding and the protection of women. Refugee women were not included in the Action Plan as partners in peacemaking, mentioned only in sections referring to protection and post-conflict reconstruction. As such, refugee women are not considered key players in plans to bring about peace despite evidence that refugee women's organizations can participate in and even lead peacebuilding efforts.

This chapter analyzes the activities of three refugee women's organizations from Tibet, the Sudan, and Burma/Myanmar concluding that it is strategically important to support women's transnational networks and facilitate contact between diaspora, refugee, and local women's organizations interested in conflict transformation. A gendered analysis of refugee peacebuilding capacity reveals gaps in peacebuilding capacity approaches that become evident when female diasporas are the focus of the research. The women's refugee organizations show the capacity for transnational bridge building, that is, the capacity to build and sustain networks across geographical, social and political boundaries with the aim of bringing about nonviolent social change.

Conflict resolution theory and practice have often neglected the contributions of women in peacebuilding. To obtain a more balanced perspective, the work of women's movements, peace movements, and other social movements have attempted to highlight the importance of women's roles in society and their active participation in peacemaking activities throughout the world. This study hopes to contribute to recognizing gender in conflict resolution by examining the rituals of conflict resolution in Laos and the legacy of women working for peace. Through this gender lens, it highlights the importance of Lao women's work in the soukhouan ceremony, a conflict resolution ritual that is integral to Lao culture. The soukhouan ritual demonstrates characteristics that are vital to any peacebuilding effort, specifically how women are actively working to repair harm, restore relationships, and organize support networks that are essential for reconciliation in communities experiencing conflict. This research adds to conflict resolution literature that validates how women are playing a vital role in all stages of peacebuilding.

The purpose of this chapter is to describe how indigenous social and economic networks of rural women in Uzbekistan function as collective action for social and economic empowerment since 1991 to the present, the time when Uzbekistan moved from Soviet centrally planned to a market-oriented economy. This system of economic empowerment shows how women's agency, power, and knowledge reorganizes male dominated gendered space. In particular, I will examine women's gap and chenrnay kassa function as a mechanism for livelihood resilience and social and economic empowerment in the post-socialist economy.

Gaps, or more precisely the institution of the locally organized rotating savings association and recreational network known as gap or sometimes called as gashtak, tukma, or ziefat, are the local structures of power and authority of socio-economic communal life in Uzbekistan. Gaps are social gatherings of approximately 12 or more women who meet at least once a month. Each gap is headed by jo'ra boshi (a leader) who sets rules with its members, solves conflicts and takes care of accounting. These social networks operate also as indigenous economic networks where all participants contribute fixed funds that are given in turn to the host of the event which they receive as a lump sum payment at a future gathering. Each member take turns in hosting the event at their homes until the full rotation is complete. Then the next round of gap starts. At the time of the fieldwork, 1Kg of meat was worth 6–8 thousand so'm (equivalent of US$4–6), and is the index that is used in calculating the amount that each member contributes. The contribution amount is influenced by the gap's purpose, the status, and wealth of its members.

I argue that traditional socio-economic networks structures function not just as anticolonial solidarity groups against regimes, but also decolonizing networks for social justice, redistribution of resources, healing, meaning making, voice, knowledge, agency, and conflict resolution.

Sierra Leone established two post-conflict institutions to address the crimes committed during its decade long civil war which officially ended in 2002. The Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) was established to promote justice by trying “persons who bear the greatest responsibility” (Statute of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, 2002, Article 1) for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other serious violations of international humanitarian law, while the Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation Commission (SLTRC) was mandated to offer a forum for victims and perpetrators alike to tell their wartime stories in an effort to promote reconciliation. How were women's expectations for justice and reconciliation met through the two transitional justice mechanisms? Although both institutions made notable attempts to include gender-specific crimes as an important component of their work, the all-important third ingredient in the “toolkit” of transitional justice – reparations and reforms – remained underutilized, and would have had a more positive impact on women's lives than the two institutions. This chapter highlights some of the achievements of the Court and Truth Commission, which were arguably superior to earlier transitional justice institutions, such as the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (SATRC) in addressing women's needs, but concludes that unless social, political, and economic improvements are made that empower women, women will remain vulnerable to sexual and other human rights abuses not only in times of war but in peace time as well.

This chapter utilizes a feminist lens to review the academic literature within the new and growing “Sport for Development and Peace” (SDP) movement. It explores the ways in which issues pertaining to gender and social change are taken up by SDP programmes and initiatives to argue that the movement seemingly understands gender in one of two ways. The literature reveals that SDP programming seeks to either allow for girls' sporting access in mixed-gender settings or aspires to “empower” females in girls-only contexts. I suggest that the SDP movement's understanding of gender reflects the current historical moment with respect to contrasting third-wave and post-feminist sensibilities. In both instances, girls are positioned to have gendered identities/experiences that need to be assisted, altered, or enhanced, and thus the SDP movement obscures an understanding of gender as a relational identity. I contend that increased research and attention to the possibilities of re-imagining gender relationships within the sporting context will enhance the SDP movement.

Kathleen Blee's (1996, 1998, 2002) pioneering work on the white supremacist movement has demonstrated that the contemporary hate movement depends increasingly on women's participation. Oddly, given the import of this claim, few social movement scholars have explored its applicability to the militant factions of the new nativist movement. This chapter begins to address that gap through analysis of online discussion groups moderated by the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps (MCDC), one of the two major anti-immigration organizations that mobilize monthly civilian border patrol operations on the U.S.-Mexico border. Contrary to stereotypes that depict Minuteman activism as an exclusively male domain, this analysis demonstrates that Minutewomen have carved out a significant niche within the new nativist movement through online activism. This activism includes but is not limited to coordinating campaigns to boycott businesses rumored to employ or profit from the patronage of undocumented immigrants, oppose multicultural programs in local schools, and defend or depose elected officials according to their stance on immigration policy. These findings raise the ominous possibility that the relative anonymity afforded by technologies such as the Internet has extended the quasi-private sphere in ways that have opened new and highly gendered spaces for right-wing activism.

Existing research indicates that collective identity is critical in sustaining social movements, especially in the face of significant opposition. We extend this literature by analyzing the ways collective identity evolves and develops over time to combat external barriers and obstacles. Drawing from a unique dataset on activists in the post-communist Czech environmental movement, we analyze how women rallied around their gendered identity to protest against nuclear power. Our analysis focuses on the case of the South Bohemian Mothers (Jihočeské matky), an organization that rallied specifically around the protection of children and healthy communities. The activists faced extensive obstacles including: post-communist patriarchal institutions and sexism; the South Bohemian Daddies, a male-dominated pro-nuclear countermovement; and pervasive anti-environmentalist sentiments. Our results highlight the complex and evolutionary nature of collective identity and the role it can play in sustaining activism in the face of external challenges.

Since the 19th century, peace movements have consistently called on women to oppose war based on their roles as mothers and citizens. The women's rights and women's peace groups that participated in the anti-war movement of the 2000s continue this pattern drawing on both maternalist and egalitarian frames in their mobilizations. This chapter seeks to understand the forces that shape individual perceptions of the persuasiveness of these frames using face-to-face survey data collected at three 2004 demonstrations. The analyses show that different frames appeal to people with different levels of movement experience. The maternalism frame is negatively correlated with social movement experience and the egalitarian feminist frame is positively correlated. I extrapolate from this finding that that the maternalism frame may serve as a recruitment frame and that the egalitarian frame may serve as a retention frame. The conclusion theorizes that rather than thinking of women's groups that use different framing in oppositional contexts, it may be useful to think of the two sets of social movement organizations as working together in a symbiotic relationship that draws in new participants and maintains existing adherents through the use of distinctly different frames. This paper applies social movement framing theory in two unconventional ways: (1) it focuses on framing reception and the way that frames link individuals with organizations; (2) it encourages social movement scholars to think about the relationship between different frames within a broader movement and proposes an alternate conception of frame competition.

Using data from a multi-method study with a national reproductive justice coalition, this chapter examines the emergence of the US reproductive justice movement. I first examine how reproductive justice emerged in relation to the mainstream women's movements. Then I demonstrate how, due to the relationship between reproductive justice and social identity, the boundaries of the reproductive frame and movements are simultaneously broader and more constrained in meaning than reproductive rights. Finally, I show how (perceived) co-optation leads to tensions between movement sectors and weakens the potential for reproductive justice to reinvigorate activism around reproductive issues. I conclude with how the success of the reproductive justice movement, including around diversity and coalition building, can inform other social movements.

Alison E. Adams is a Sociology PhD student at the University of Florida. Her research interests center on social movements, political sociology, and environmental sociology. She is currently involved in a collaborative research project on the environmental movement in communist Czechoslovakia and post-communist Czech Republic. She has recently published in the Sociological Quarterly, American Behavioral Scientist, and Sociological Inquiry.

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Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change
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Emerald Publishing Limited
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