Global Resources

Building a state that works for women: integrating gender into post-conflict state building

Author: C Castillejo
Publisher: Fride
Publication Date: Jan 2013

What role do women play in statebuilding? How do statebuilding processes affect women's participation? Support for statebuilding has become the dominant model for international engagement in post-conflict contexts, yet donor approaches lack substantial gender analysis and are missing opportunities to promote gender equality.

This FRIDE working paper presents the findings from a project that was carried out from 2009-2011 entitled “Strengthening women’s citizenship in the context of state buidling”. The project involved case studies in Burundi, Guatemala, Kosovo, Sierra Leone and Sudan. Research was conducted at capital and local level and with a broad range of government, civil society and community stakeholders, as well as with donor representatives.

The paper argues that gender inequalities are linked to the underlying political settlement, and that donors must therefore address gender as a fundamentally political issue. The findings demonstrate that state building processes do offer important opportunities to strengthen women’s citizenship. However, they also show that political and traditional elites often fiercely oppose such improvements in women’s rights and political participation. Critically, the findings suggest that donors are not taking full advantage of opportunities to promote gender equality within the political, institutional and social change processes that follow conflict. 

[adapted from source]