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THE GENDER DIMENSIONS OF SOCIAL CONFLICT, ARMED VIOLENCE AND PEACE BUILDING

There is a general belief there is a connection between gender and war-making. In trying to analyse this and come up with concrete evidence to affirm or dispel this assumption, a team of researchers came together in this project to investigate the link between gender and (violent) social conflict from an interdisciplinary perspective, drawing on the feminist literature and research on micro-level (i.e. sub-state) dynamics of violence and peace building.

The research project seeks to establish the link between gender relations and collective violence at a micro-level, demonstrating how gender interacts with processes of violent escalation; and seeks to ascertain how peace building efforts enhance or constrain women’s and men’s agency for conflict management.  The project also aims to contribute toward the refinement of gender-sensitive peace building efforts, which are considered to be a norm in the making; and this norm encompasses three ideas: those of prevention, protection, and participation. In other words, the norm states that gender equality can help prevent war, that women need to be protected from gender-based violence, and that women should be participating in peace making. These ideas have diffused widely and have been mainstreamed into most civil society peace building and development efforts.

The expected impact of the project includes, but not limited to: knowledge building and mutual learning between academic researchers and practitioners, enhancement of institutional and network capacity for violence prevention and conflict resolution within countries, geographical regions and internationally; enhancement of micro-level network capacity and diffusion of knowledge on violence prevention practices among women residing in conflict-affected regions, thereby empowering them to address conflicts within their communities and addressing social conflicts more effectively by integrating women’s potential agency for violence prevention.

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