In a unique study of women’s security and participation in three post conflict societies—Northern Ireland, South Africa and Lebanon—researchers found that women see security differently from men. And because men dominate the institutions of peace-making and peace-building, they often fail to consider the specific security needs of women.
The investigation, which was part of the ESRC’s New Security Challenges Programme, was carried out through a research partnership between the University of Ulster, Queen’s University Belfast and Democratic Dialogue and with research associates in South Africa (Centre for Study of Violence and Reconciliation) and Lebanon (Lebanese American University in Beirut).
In all three case studies, women saw security as much more than physical safety. It was about feeling represented in societal institutions, having a job, an education for their children, a good health service and a feeling that society recognised the specific interests of women.
“For me, the word security in Arabic is not to be afraid. First, not to be afraid to be hungry, to move, to think, and to be misjudged,” explained a Lebanese woman to the researchers.
Yet the ceasefires that signalled the ending of the conflict in all three countries and made the first significant step in bringing security and safety to people’s lives had not been followed by reconstruction efforts that freed women completely from violence.
In Northern Ireland and South Africa women expressed concern that ‘normal’ crime was increasing in communities and that gender-based violence had increased, partly as a result of the demobilisation of ex-combatants. In all three societies women criticised policing in the transitional environment and found that the provision of security remained heavily influenced by patriarchy and gender-insensitivity.
Professor Paddy Hillyard, from Queen’s University, Belfast and the leader of the project, said: “The dominant institutions of the state following peace-processes remain overwhelming male. Their transformation has to be part of the reconstruction effort before women can feel truly secure”.
All the evidence from the research indicates that the UN resolution 1325 on Women Peace and Security must be fully implemented so that women can play a full and equal part in societies coming out of conflict. The UN resolution affirms the important role of women in conflict resolution and peace building, and demands that women be equally represented in all spheres of public life.
The South African experience clearly demonstrated the critical importance of including women at all levels of decision-making. In Northern Ireland the experience of the Women’s Coalition provided evidence that women operate in a manner very different to male politicians, stressing issues that differ from traditional political preoccupations. In Lebanon women played a much more limited role and their marginalisation was reflected in women’s perceptions of their own and their children’s insecurity.
The case studies show how women experience violence in multiple ways and from a myriad of sources. From the family and community, through societal structures of class and power, violence against women continued during post-conflict transition. Measures addressing the inequalities of power between men and women have to be addressed.
As one respondent commented: “There are still too many men in the room when post-conflict settlements are negotiated.”
Annika Howard | alfa
Amazingly flexible: Learning to read in your thirties profoundly transforms the brain
26.05.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Kognitions- und Neurowissenschaften
Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology
Salmonellae are dangerous pathogens that enter the body via contaminated food and can cause severe infections. But these bacteria are also known to target...
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
23.10.2017 | Event News
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
23.10.2017 | Life Sciences
23.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.10.2017 | Health and Medicine