We Are More Than Just Housewives : Young Women’s Expectations and Outlook on TheirParticipation Within the Post-Conflict Society of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Abstract: Peace processes have been slow to recognise women, which is later reflected in the political landscape of the post-conflict society. Researchers have emphasised that the post-conflict setting many times constitutes a greater challenge for women than men as they face more vulnerability and insecurity in forms of domestic violence and being excluded from the formal peace processes. This is the case for Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is still facing difficulties both socially, politically and economically due to the civil war at the beginning of the 1990s. For instance, the country is facing major economic difficulties, which have contributed to high unemployment rates which is especially affecting women and the youth. Thereby this study which is based on eight qualitative semi-structured interviews explores how young women with tertiary education in Bosnia and Herzegovina experience their participation in the post-conflict setting, and what out-looks they have on their future in relation to the predominant gender order. Through the thematic analysis and by using a theoretical framework related to “Conflict, Gender, Ethnicity and Post-Conflict Reconstruction” and “gender order” their experiences were analysed. The results of this study show that although the young women experienced that they could participate in society, all of them experienced obstacles related to politics and gender traditional expectations of women. Their outlooks were relatively positive as they recognised several opportunities to fulfil their dreams due to education. Moreover, the majority of them wanted to stay in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The post-conflict setting is affecting the entire population, however, young women are further affected by the gender order. Ultimately, the patriarchal gender order which is heightened in the post-conflict setting is impacting these young women’s participation and outlooks, which limits their prospects. However, through their participation and how they conduct themselves, they are opposing the place they have been given in the gender order.
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