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1. Gender and post-conflict reconstruction in Sierra Leone Megan MacKenzie
Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand
2. Central questions Why, if women participated as soldiers, were they largely ignored in mainstream accounts of the conflict and overlooked in the DDR process?
What gendered stereotypes might influence post-conflict policy-making?
Is post-conflict a good time to address gender inequality?
Why does gender sensitivity matter when it comes to conflict and post-conflict policy-making?
How can we improve conflict programs by acknowledging gender?
3. Stereotypes about third-world women and war Women are not major actors in war
When war is over, women are happy to return to normal
4. Are females ONLY victims in war?What are the sources of this stereotype? Sexual violence emphasis.
Women removed from policy-making process.
Literature and research: Women as naturally peaceful and averse to risk.
Violent women are typically seen as exceptions or even monsters. (Sjoberg 2007)
5. The problem with female soldiers Challenge a particular understanding of social and gender order
-power, marriage, children, legitimate relationships
Disrupt gendered binaries associated with war (male warrior/female victim) and dominant myths about war (peaceful women, violent men)
6. Some background on female soldiers in SL the number of females soldiers was much
higher than existing estimations.
multiple and diverse roles
female soldiers were often perpetrators and victims
Distinction between combat and support roles (combatants as real soldiers)
Sexual violence rates extremely high amongst female soldiers
7. Responses to question: what did you do during the conflict? leading lethal attacks
screening and killing pro-rebel civilians
poison/inject captured war prisoners with either lethal injection or acid
I trained with [the AFRC] bush camp how to shoot a gun
fighting killing and maiming pro-government forces and civilians
planning and carrying out attacks on public places
do execution on commanders of my age group
8. What makes women soldiers and why is there resistance to this title? Various titles given to female soldiers:
camp followers, abductees, sex slaves, domestic slaves, or girls and women associated with the fighting forces and vulnerable groups associated with armed movements
9. Analysis The importance of combat duty to the soldier title
Reclassification of female soldiers as some form of victim: abductees, camp followers, bush wives
Ignoring/prioritizing diverse labor required to sustain warfare
Ignoring sexual slavery as a wartime currency and required duty for many women
This lack of attention to gender resulted in inefficient DDR policy-making
10. Whats in a name? Depoliticization of womens activities and labor during war
Ignoring or re-categorizing female soldiers reinforces gendered assumptions about what women do, or should do during war
Excluding women from post-conflict reintegration programs for soldiers
11. The DDR Grossly under-funded
Underestimated participants by about 20,000
Over 75,000 soldiers participated
Of the 75,000 disarmed only 5000 were women
Childrens DDR girls accounted for 8% of the disarmed
Emphasis on the first D
12. What does reintegration look like for females? Reintegration programs offered limited training options
Reintegration for females more generally seen as a social process that would happen naturally over time (NCDDR)
Returning to normal emphasized, including marriage.
Little local input on training
Post-conflict is an ideal time to address gender (reconstructing order)
13. There are Some Major Differences Sexual Violence
Over 20,000 in Sierra Leone
Female soldiers are aberrations, not heroes
14. Rape During Civil Conflict in Sierra Leone Statistics
15. Broader Conclusions and Policy Recommendations Dialogue between scholars and practitioners/ between beneficiaries and practitioners
We need to think about gender consistently and before the implementation phase
Recognize the gendered impacts of securitizing post-conflict (DDR, idle men)
Recognize sexual violence as a currency of war not just an impact of war
Need to rethink the meaning of post-conflict
Opportunity for women
Limited time frame (sexual violence impacts, reintegration for women)