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Violent conflict and changes in gender economic roles: Implications for post-conflict economic recovery

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Abstract

This chapter examines recent empirical evidence on the ways that violent conflict impacts the economic welfare and livelihoods of men and women. It explores how the adaptation to violence profoundly changes gender roles within family structures. It also examines the impact of conflict on female labor market participation in several conflict-affected countries. Though female participation tends to increase during conflict, this participation is restricted to low-skilled jobs, and decreases again post-conflict. Due to social and economic constraints, women struggle to meaningfully raise their socioeconomic status in conflict and post-conflict situations. The chapter concludes by highlighting the importance of increasing gender-inclusive data analysis for post-conflict economic recovery interventions.

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... Despite the widespread view that women are mostly victims of armed conflict, there are numerous accounts of women taking up new jobs, joining armies and acting as peacemakers. They provide essential economic and social support to reconstructing communities affected by violent conflict (Justino 2016;Kumar, 2000;Moser and Clark, 2001b;Rehn and Sirleaf, 2002). Several studies have reported an increase in female labour-market participation in conflict-affected countries, including in Afghanistan (Bove and Gavrilova, 2014), Indonesia (Adam, 2008), Timor-Leste (Justino et al., 2015), Nepal (Menon and Rodgers, 2011), Tajikistan (Justino and Shemyakina, 2013) and Colombia (Calderón et al., 2011) -mostly in low-skilled jobs in the informal sector Kumar, 2000). ...
... However, most evaluations of these initiatives have found that, even though gender roles may change during the conflict and women may play crucial roles in conflict prevention and peace building, gender identities tend to appear unchanged in the post-conflict period (Adam, 2008;Date-Bah, 2003;de Watteville, 2002;Handrahan, 2004;Justino, 2012Justino, , 2016Kumar, 2000;Rubin, 2000). Women are again excluded from formal peace and political processes beyond the immediate local (family or community) level (Castillejo, 2010;El-Bushra, 2003Justino et al., 2012;Kumar, 2000). ...
... The most oft-cited barrier to women's involvement in formal peace-building agendas is the persistence of harmful cultural and social norms and patriarchal values that discourage women from participation in political decision making (Enloe, 2000(Enloe, , 2005Strickland and Duvvury, 2003 literature, in all four case studies, and independently of the presence of NGOs in the community, women's roles as peace builders were noted by both men and women that participated in the community focus groups as 'difficult' or 'dangerous' -terms that entrenched the idea of women as victims rather than agents in (post-)conflict contexts (Justino, 2016;Manchanda, 2005). ...
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The UN Security Council Resolution 1325 has made strong provisions to include women in peace-building interventions and actions. This is, however, rarely observed in practice beyond local-level activities. This article discusses new qualitative evidence on the opportunities and barriers to women's participation in peace-building processes, based on a comparative analysis of case studies conducted in Afghanistan, Liberia, Nepal and Sierra Leone. The findings show that women's engagement in peace-building activities, beyond their immediate social relations, is restricted by institutional, economic, cultural and social obstacles. These barriers prevent the realization of gender equality objectives in peace-building initiatives. Moreover, local understandings of peace typically place family relations at the centre of how women engage with peace-building processes, and how other community members perceive women's roles in peace building.
... That is, we control for the devastating impact of wars, as discussed earlier. However, the literature also notes that it is likely that female labor participation increases in most of the conflict-affected countries since women fills men's positions (Justino 2018). Thus, the sign of conflict variable is ambiguous. ...
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Feminist research has revealed significant relationships between militarization, patriarchy, and gender inequality. This paper takes that research forward through an empirical analysis of the impact of militarization on gender inequality and on women's participation in the labor market. Using the Gender Inequality Index and the Global Militarization Index for the period of 1990-2017 for 133 countries, the paper shows that higher militarization is significantly correlated with higher gender inequality and lower level of female labor force participation rate, controlling for major variables such as conflict, democracy level, regime type, fertility rate, and urbanization rate. The results are significant in the case of Islam and MENA countries, and with respect to countries with different income levels.
... The literature also notes the impact of war on female labor force participation. On the one hand, it is expected that female labor force participation increases in most of the conflict-affected countries since women fill men's positions (Buvinic et al. 2012;Justino 2018). On the other hand, women are asked or required to make way for men in the post-conflict era. ...
... Several studies have revealed that violent conflicts have specific gender-differentiated effects. Notably, armed violence typically results in changes in how families are structured and the role of individuals within them, the economic roles of women and men, and how they participate in society and in political life (Justino, 2018a). At the same time, gender equality may also affect the likelihood of conflicts and the sustainability of peace processes This article is protected by copyright. ...
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