Peacebuilding Actors And Gender Equality: a Positive Relationship? : Analysing the role of peacebuilding actors in challenging power structures and defeating gender inequality in Liberia and Rwanda

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Institutionen för freds- och konfliktforskning

Abstract: The inclusion of gender equality in the guiding principles of peacebuilding operations led by the United Nations raises questions of effectivity. Indeed, while the commitment of the international community to gender equality is well defined and the importance of gender equality for durable peace has been widely demonstrated, there is no consistent research on the effects of the interventions of peacebuilding actors on dimensions of gender equality. The question leading this paper is “what is the effect of peacebuilding actors’ interventions on gender equality?” and this paper particularly seeks to research whether the influence of peacebuilding actors on power structures, that define unjust gendered relations of power, could improve gender equality overall. The theoretical underpinning of this paper identifies women’s political empowerment as a change in power structures with possible positive consequences. The theory is tested in a qualitative way with a comparison between case studies and through the method of Structured Focused Comparison. The results show partial support for the hypothesis. Indeed, the empirical assessment of Liberia and Rwanda seems to point to an increase in the international support of local women’s organisation as a successful strategy to challenge power structures and, consequently, gender inequality.

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