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Durham University

Durham Global Security Institute

Gender and Security

Experiences of violent conflicts, post-conflict reconstruction and peacebuilding are gendered. Women and men have been socialised into particular roles on how to deal with conflicts, insecurity and violence. Men and women participate differently in violent conflicts as well as in attempts to build peace; and they are affected by and experience violence differently too. For example, their mobilization into violence and the organization of armed groups often entails a gendered division of labour: women are typically more engaged in supporting and organisational roles, while men are typically the main fighters. Consequently, women are often not represented in the decision-making bodies of armed groups, and under-represented in negotiations for peace and from decision-making on post conflict reconstruction. During violent conflicts and wars women and men are targeted in different ways, men for example, are more likely to be forcefully recruited while women are more likely to become victims of sexual violence.

DGSi examines the role of women and men in violent conflicts and peacebuilding as gendered subjects. It addresses human security as an important and urgent question and focusses on how gender shapes different practices and forms of security and the way gender intersects with other societal markers such as class, ethnic affiliation, religion etc. We study how gender roles shift during and after conflict on the level of the everyday, as well as the lasting impact of those shifts. We apply a feminist lens to conflict mediation and policy analysis, seeing them as radically different forms of doing politics and ending conflict. We also analyse the impact of policy shaped under the ‘Gender, Peace and Security’ agenda at UN, regional, and national levels from a critical perspective.