Making the Case for Systematic, Gender‐Based Analysis in Sustainable Peace Building

Date01 December 2015
Published date01 December 2015
C R Q, vol. 33, no. 2, Winter 2015 119
© 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. and the Association for Confl ict Resolution
Published online in Wiley Online Library ( • DOI: 10.1002/crq.21147
Making the Case for Systematic, Gender-Based
Analysis in Sustainable Peace Building
Dennis J. D. Sandole
Ingrid Staroste
In this article, we address protracted, often recurring violent confl ict,
arguing that the failure to solve entrenched confl icts and build sustain-
able peace is due in part to the absence of women from peace-building
processes. To change this negative status quo, we put forward three
essential instruments: gender mainstreaming to make gender rela-
tions the foundation of any analysis and decision making, the three-
pillar framework of confl ict mapping, and the New European Peace
and Security System model of confl ict intervention. When these tools
are employed together, they can establish conceptual and operational
coherence and positive systemic change by empowering women to work
with men as equal partners to build and maintain sustainable peace in
fragile, postconfl ict environments.
According to the Failed States Index 2014, which ranked 178 countries
on twelve indicators of state stress, sixty countries worldwide—nearly
a third of the members of the United Nations—qualify as “failed states”
(Fund for Peace 2014). Variously labeled as “fragile,” “weak,” “failing,” and
other expressions of state “distress,” failed states tend to encompass the
“bottom billion” of impoverished peoples worldwide who live on less than
one dollar a day (Collier 2007). Over half of the failed states are in Africa,
where 72 percent of countries with either high or the highest risk of insta-
bility are also located (Backer, Wilkenfeld, and Huth 2014, Ch. 2).
We gratefully acknowledge the helpful comments made by two anonymous reviewers on an
earlier draft of this article.
C R Q • DOI: 10.1002/crq
Many of the intrastate “new” wars (Kaldor 2012) that play out in failed
states recur for at least three reasons: (1) the failure of the international
community to deal with the deep-rooted, underlying causes and condi-
tions of the original confl icts (Autesserre 2010, 2014; Hewitt, Wilkenfeld,
and Gurr 2010, 3–4; Hewitt, Wilkenfeld, and Gurr 2012); (2) the absence
of the private sector in eff orts undertaken by the international community
to address confl ict origins such as poverty and unemployment (Sandole
and Staroste 2014; United Nations Women 2015b; Wenger and Möckli
2003); and (3) the absence of women and gender from the confl ict analysis
and design and implementation of peace-building interventions into those
confl icts (United Nations Women 2012).
e protracted confl icts in failed states are not only incubators of local,
regional, and global terrorism, but are also embedded in a complex matrix
of global stresses that themselves pose many challenges. Comprising the
global problematique, these are interconnected, interdependent issues that
nations and international governmental organizations can adequately
address only in collaboration with others (e.g., climate change, environ-
mental degradation, pandemics, proliferation of weapons of mass destruc-
tion).  ese transnational issues simultaneously drive and are exacerbated
by violent confl ict systems (Sandole 2010).
What, if anything, can be done about this complex state of aff airs? In
this article, we focus on one of the three sets of factors that account for
the persistence of deadly confl icts. We argue that the absence of women—
more than half of the aff ected population—from peace-building processes
explains in part why sustainable peace has remained beyond reach, and we
introduce the three sets of tools that facilitate the inclusion of gender and
women—their experiences, knowledge, and skills—in confl ict analysis and
peace-building design and implementation.  is eff ort is a recognition of
women’s social and cultural capital (Bourdieu 1986), which can be lever-
aged by policymakers and others interested in solving complex confl icts
and brokering sustainable peace.
The Concepts of Women and Gender
Before proceeding, we clarify how we understand and use the concepts of
women and gender. Although these terms are related, neither is synony-
mous with the other, as both women and men have a gender.  e category
“women” is in itself complex.1 When we refer to “women,” we mean indi-
viduals who are female. However, knowing that an individual is female

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT