Women's Empowerment and Leadership Development for Democratisation

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Gender in Conflict

Women, men and children experience and act differently in the context of violence and post-conflict reconstruction. In order to understand and address the gender-related consequences of conflict, an exclusive focus on sexual violence and the portrayal of girls and women primarily as targets has to be overcome. Such a narrative not only underestimates women’s capabilities for self-help, it can also hinder their empowerment. Just as men can be more than combatants, women can be more than just victims. In conflict, they can be civilians, breadwinners, peacebuilders and, at times, also combatants. By grasping the broad spectrum of women’s roles, a more nuanced understanding can be gained about gender in conflict; and more suitable policy responses adopted accordingly.

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Christian Dietrich and Clodagh Quain
European Union Institute for Security Studies
Published Date: 
Peace and Security