Gender Guidelines: Peacebuilding
Armed conflict is a gendered process. Women and men experience conflict and are vulnerable to its impacts in different ways, determined by the gender roles and identities of masculinity and femininity in each particular society. Men are more often combatants, and therefore suffer the majority of fatalities and injuries, but they are not always aggressors; they playing often leading roles in peace-building initiatives. Conflict situations present women with a variety of ‘burdens’. They are frequently victims of multiple forms of violence, and often bear the responsibility of ensuring the survival of the family and the sustainability of the community both during and post-conflict. Women also play important and complex roles in peace-building processes, more often at the community level than in formal national-level processes.
Despite this, women’s individual and collective contributions to peace-building processes are frequently under-utilized. The inclusion of both men and women in every aspect of peacebuilding is of critical importance because such measures:
• Enhance the effectiveness of all elements of development work in conflict-prone contexts and in peace-building programs
Building peace means engaging women as well as men in the process of resolving conflict, rebuilding institutions and society, and achieving sustainable peace. Promoting good governance means ensuring women are voting and getting elected to office. Judicial reform means bringing legislation and procedures into line with international standards for women’s rights. Preventing conflict means engaging the commitment of men in cultures where masculinity is associated with aggression. In fact, states with high levels of gender inequality are more likely to experience violent interstate conflict. Every aspect of AusAID’s peacebuilding work – very broadly defined – requires action to promote gender equality.
• Promote actions to achieve gender equality in Australia’s aid program
Conflict-prone countries, and especially those emerging from armed conflict, provide a key window of opportunity to transform conditions, institutions, policies and societal factors to advance the human rights of women, as well as to promote gender equality more broadly. AusAID has made a policy commitment to address gender issues and support the role of women in all peace-building measures.