Friday, October 29, 2010

Finally a Gender Report That is Real

I am referring to a report about women and girls that were or are involved in conflicts throughout the world.  Most studies on Gender in conflicts portray women as "peacemakers" and "nurturers" which is just as biased as "traditional roles" for women in various societies.

Research shows that during Sierra Leone's 11-year civil war between 1991 and 2002, which witnessed wide-scale atrocities against civilians, women played a significant role as soldiers and not just as "camp followers" or abducted "sex slaves".  Adama Cut-Hand, a woman, was one of the most brutal RUF [Revolutionary United Front] members who headed amputation campaigns.

The UN, the World Bank, and other international organizations refuse to name female soldiers as soldiers rather than 'females associated with the war', 'dependents' or 'camp followers', makes dealing with reality difficult and it ignores and downplays their roles during war.  This makes it even more difficult for women to participate in DDR (disarmament, demobilization and reintegration) programs - as they "do not fit" the way they should.  These women are very unlikely reintegrate into society taking traditional roles.

I think it is refreshing that someone some place has come out with the truth.  Let's hope that the UN and others pay attention.

You can get more on the report here.