Bringing Gender Dimensions back from Obscurity

Introduction

Attempts to address the gender dimensions of governance, peace and security in Africa are often
plagued by several undermining tendencies. One tendency is that gender and, derived from this,
women’s concerns are presented as a standalone issue by an active women’s movement. This is done
without thorough engagement with the entire peace, security and governance environment. Mainstream
peace and security processes generally deal with gender and the women’s agenda as a peripheral
issue. They relegate it to the shadows of the governance and security debate. Policy interventions
aimed at achieving gender related transformation in peace and security have not delivered meaningful
change on the ground.
This policy paper discusses this disconnect between policy, scholarship and activism and the reality
on the ground; and its underlying causes. It makes proposals for relocating gender considerations in
mainstream governance, peace and security discourse and practice. Ultimately, the hope is that this
might begin to bring a systematic shift in the way all parties address gender issues. As such, this paper
brings several interrelated issues into focus:

● The relationship between governance, peace and security.
● The value of examining processes through which state and society forge a common understanding
around the protection of their citizens – and the place of gender in this. A key question is: why does
gender inequality remain relegated to the background while other issues occupy the foreground
of national conversation?
● The opportunities peace and security processes provide for reform of security governance in favour
of excluded citizens, particularly women, who are often at the receiving end of gender inequality.
The paper highlights the role of policy frameworks such as UN Security Council Resolution 1325.
● The constituency of actors who can help elevate the gender equality agenda as articulated in
Resolution 1325 in the policy and decision making arena.
● Despite efforts, the failure to achieve transformation in society and change for women toward
gender equality.

The summary section of this paper above includes three sets of recommendations for analysts, policy
practitioners and women’s organisations and activists.

Policy paper by:  Dr Fumni Olonisakin

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