This report is based on a three-year research project on gender in peacebuilding, which involved field research in four countries (Burundi, Colombia, Nepal and Uganda), with a thematic focus on four areas of peacebuilding:
- access to justice (including formal, informal, traditional and transitional justice);
- economic recovery (especially of ex-combatants and of returnee populations of refugees, abductees or internally displaced persons (IDPs));
- inter-generational tensions and conflict; and
- permutations and continuums of violence (e.g. self-inflicted, interpersonal, domestic, sexual and gender-based, criminal, communal and political violence).
In addition to examining the particular gendered dynamics of peacebuilding in the four countries around these four issues, the project also had a more conceptual aim of broadening and deepening the understanding of gender in peacebuilding.
The research confirmed Alert’s starting hypothesis that peacebuilding can be more effective if built on an understanding of how gendered identities are constructed through the societal power relations between and among women, men, girls, boys and members of sexual and gender minorities. This ‘gender-relational’ approach is, on the one hand, broader in the sense that it moves away from equating gender with women (and girls) and, on the other hand, deeper in that it examines the interplay between gender and other identity markers, such as age, social class, sexuality, disability, ethnic or religious background, marital status or urban/rural setting. While such an approach requires more nuanced and better-researched interventions, it can also allow for more effective and sustainable targeting of programming.