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
Geographers provide new insight into commuter megaregions of the US
01.12.2016 | Dartmouth College
Sustainable Development Goals lead to lower population growth
30.11.2016 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy