Women, Gender and Peacebuilding in Africa

Authored by: Nina Wilén

Routledge Handbook of African Peacebuilding

Print publication date:  May  2022
Online publication date:  May  2022

Print ISBN: 9780367181949
eBook ISBN: 9780429060038
Adobe ISBN:


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Peace agreements, especially those signalling the end of internal armed conflicts, can be understood as blueprints of the envisioned peacebuilding. This chapter provides a discursive analysis of 130 peace agreements from interstate and intrastate conflicts in Africa between 1990 and 2019 which have provisions on women, girls or gender. The aim is to explore how women, their roles and functions are imagined in a future society and examine whether there is a noticeable difference in the way women and gender are addressed in peace agreements after the adoption of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security in 2000. Using an inductive approach, I analyse the wording and context related to women and gender in the peace agreements through a feminist lens and distinguish four categories which reflect how women are portrayed: vulnerable victims, moral peacebuilders, counting women and human rights (and women’s rights). While there is a clear increase in the number of references to women and gender in the peace agreements signed after 2000, they draw strongly on essentialist understandings of women. I therefore argue that while we may have passed the stage of “gender blindness”, we are still in the phase of gender dilemmas.

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