Defying Victimhood

Women and Post-conflict Peacebuilding

image of Defying Victimhood
Women are among the most competent, yet marginalized, unnoticed and underutilized actors in efforts to rebuild war-torn societies. Opportunities for sustainable peacebuilding are lost — and sustainable peace is at risk — when significant stakeholders in a society’s future peace and conflict architecture are excluded from efforts to heal the wounds of war and build a new society and a new state. The contributors to this book draw on comparative case and country studies from post-conflict contexts in different parts of world to offer their insights into frameworks for understanding women as both victims and peacebuilders, to trace the road that women take from victimhood to empowerment and to highlight the essential partnerships between women and children and how they contribute to peace. The authors examine the roles of women in political and security institutions.



Victimization, empowerment and the impact of UN peacekeeping missions on women and children: Lessons from Cambodia and Timor-Leste

The paradox of post-conflict reconstruction – the concurrent empowerment and victimization of women – is not unique to Cambodia and Timor-Leste. The post-conflict peacebuilding process involves both institutional reform and social readjustment to the legacies of civil war, which also defines post-war gender relations. While this chapter focuses on the role of the United Nations in Cambodia and Timor-Leste, with a particular focus on peacekeeping missions, its implications are relevant to other transition contexts. The author travelled to Cambodia and Timor-Leste in July 2001 to assess the impact of armed conflict on women and their correlative role in peacebuilding as part of a global assessment supported by the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM). In extensive consultations on gender issues with civil society, legislators, government officials and representatives of multilateral and bilateral donors, it was agreed that violence against women and children had emerged as one of the most pressing issues in both Cambodia and Timor-Leste.


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